Of Shadows and Silence – Chapters 31-35

Chapter Thirty One: The Silence In Between
Summary: Spike has some realizations
Rating: PG

 

The world was crumbling, shattering into millions of pieces beneath his feet. Buildings were falling into tiny shards, piling up around him. Raising his hands he watched as his fingers crumbled, landing amongst the ruins around him. He opened his mouth to scream, but even the sound fell apart, tumbling down.

“Hey, wake up,” a soft voice cajoled, making the horror fade away. He forced his eyes open, wondering why they were so heavy and looked up into worried blue ones. Spike leaned over, brushing his fingers down Xander’s face. “Are you okay now?”

Xander managed a weak nod, wincing at the pain in his throat. Raising a hand, he touched the swollen flesh of his neck. He remembered the nurses leading him into the operating room and helping him onto the table. He remembered someone coming in to put him to sleep, inserting a needle into his arm. Then there was a soft fog that emptied his mind, save for the brief flash of some ancient map, and then he drifted. And then there was nothing. Finally, there was the world, falling apart around him.

“Doctor said we can take you home in a few hours,” Spike told him, taking Xander’s hand away from his neck.

Smiling, Xander squeezed Spike’s hand. Once again feeling safe, he let himself fall back to sleep, content that Spike was there to protect him.

 

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Watching the young man sleep, Spike let himself relax. His boy would be fine now. With a needless sigh of relief, he leaned back in his seat, still holding on to Xander’s hand with an iron grip. The hours of the operation and the time waiting for Xander to wake up had dragged on him, leaving his nerves tense and tight. But once his boy had smiled up at him, lucid if groggy, he had set most of his fears aside. He was aware there was still danger until Xander healed completely, but the true peril had passed.

“Sir?” His head snapped up at the soft voice and he relaxed when he saw the nurse standing by him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. Has he woken up?”

“Yeah,” Spike nodded. “Drifted back off though.”

“That’s good,” she smiled. “Come get me the next time he wakes up and I’ll give him his next dose of pain medication.”

“Thank you,” he said. She patted his shoulder and walked off, leaving him staring down at his sleeping boy.

He spent the next little while watching the minute twists and twitches Xander made as he slept. Finally the boy opened dazed eyes and looked at him, a half smile on his lips.

“Hey, pet,” Spike whispered, brushing curls away from Xander’s face. “Have a nice nap?” The young man nodded, then paused and shifted a little. “What’s wrong?”

A wave of red washed over the boy’s face and realization dawn on Spike. Smiling, he helped Xander slip from the bed and supported him on the walk over to the bathroom. Leaning against the wall, he waited as the young man used the facilities. Glancing over he caught the nurse’s eye and she nodded. The sound of the toilet flushing and sink running snapped his attention back to his boy on the other side and he waited for the door to open. Xander stepped out of the bathroom and Spike led him back to the bed, catching him when he stumbled.

“Hey there,” the nurse said as she walked over to the bed. “Are you feeling any pain?”

Spike wanted to smack her for the stupid question, but he could tell by the look on her face that she didn’t really want to ask it. He looked over as Xander nodded and the nurse smiled.

“Okay then,” she said, placing the tray in her hands on the table over the bed. “I have something that’ll help with that.”

She handed him a small cup filled with clear liquid. Spike took a quick sniff as it passed him, checking for anything harmful. Flicking a brief glance at Spike, Xander took the medication and gingerly swallowed it.

“Would you like anything to drink?” the nurse asked. “Water, juice, maybe some pop?”

Xander shook his head and then nodded. “Pop,” Spike translated.

The nurse smiled and then went to get the drink, handing it over with a small pat to Xander’s shoulder. Once she was gone, Spike turned his full attention back to his boy, using all his senses to check Xander’s condition. Satisfied that the boy was okay, he smiled, relaxing fully. They spent the next while like that, Spike watching as Xander drifted in and out of sleep while the nurse popped around to check on the young man. Finally, Xander was deemed fit to leave.

Spike helped the still slightly unsteady Xander get dressed, easing the young man into his clothing. As he helped pull each article of clothing on, he got strange flashes of heat through his body, centering in his mid-section. Something about the way the clothing covered Xander’s pale flesh made him feel odd and out of sorts. Pushing it to the back of his mind, he helped Xander finish dressing and walked the slightly dazed young man out to the parking lot. The feelings were not something new to him, though new to the situation, but he wasn’t going to rock the boat and ruin the trust the young man had in him. Xander’s past would always make the young man uneasy of anything to do with sex, and Spike had spent too much time keeping the boy sane to ruin that.

 

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Xander glanced at Spike out of the corner of his eye, wondering just what had his vampire so riled up. Normally Spike was easy going, but at the moment he was tense and jittery, as if something or someone bad was coming. Spike said nothing on their ride back home, his hands clenched around the steering wheel. Feeling desperate for something to shatter the silence building between them, Xander leaned over and flicked on the radio. Spike jumped and shot a startled look at him before giving him a strained smile. The young man wiggled in his seat to the music, moving as much as his battered throat would let him. Suddenly Spike leaned forward and turned off the radio, his other hand gripping the wheel tightly.

Wondering just what was going on, Xander curled up in his seat, holding himself still as possible. Spike flicked a glance over at him, and the hands clenching the wheel loosened slightly.

“Not mad at you, pet, I promise,” Spike said soothingly, reaching over to run a hand over Xander’s arm. “Just not in the mood for music, okay?”

Xander could feel the truth in the first part and the lie in the second and he wondered just what was bothering his vampire so much that he would lie to him. To keep the peace, Xander nodded and let his body unwind some, staring out the window as the buildings passed.

 

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They reached the Hyperion fairly quickly, though Spike was not driving anywhere close to his normal speeds. The vampire led his boy inside, only to have him pulled away by the concerned members of the eclectic little family. Seeing his boy safe and where he belonged, Spike made his way into the office, heading for the stash of liquor he knew Angel kept in there. Bottle in hand he sat at the desk, his feet on the top and took a healthy swallow, relishing the burn as it slid down his throat. A quiet cough made him lift his head and meet the worried green eyes staring at him.

“Is everything all right?” Doyle asked, venturing close to the desk.

“Xander’s fine,” Spike told him. “Doc’s said as long as he took it easy for the next few weeks, there’d be no problems.”

“That’s good,” nodded the seer. “But that’s not what I asked.”

Taking another swallow, Spike leaned his head back, avoiding the intent eyes. “For the past several decades things have been pretty constant. Darla left us and it was me and Dru against the world. And then I meet this boy, and everything changes. Mostly for the better. We have family, a steady supply of food and violence and a bloody great home. And this boy, this boy I’ve been charged with guiding. A boy I saw as my little brother, my little shadow. . .”

“You don’t see him that way anymore, do you?” Doyle’s voice was soft as he crept closer, carefully removing the bottle of fine scotch from Spike’s fingers. “How do you see him now?”

A half laugh half sob broke from Spike and he tilted his head to look at the half demon, his eyes haunted. “I still see him as family,” Spike said slowly. “I still see him as my little shadow, but now it takes on a whole new meaning.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” Spike smiled sadly. “I’m not going to do anything.”

 

 

Chapter Thirty Two: Sheltered Shadows
Summary: A kiss and a change
Rating: PG

 

Xander’s Writing

 

Angel followed the sound of thumping to his and Doyle’s bedroom, finding his husband seated on the floor and banging his head off the wall in a measured beat. The half-demon paused and glanced up at him before restarting. He slid down beside Doyle, pulling the smaller man away from the wall.

“What’s wrong?” Angel asked, rubbing a soothing hand over Doyle’s back.

“Spike,” the seer muttered, turning to bury his face in Angel’s shoulder.

“And what’s new about that?” Angel asked dryly.

“And Xander,” Doyle added.

“Okay, that’s new,” he said, easing Doyle back a bit. “What’s going on?”

Doyle sighed. “It’s more like what’s not going on,” he said. He scrubbed a hand across his face. “Spike has developed some feelings for Xander.”

Angel nodded. “I noticed that,” he admitted.

“Yeah, well it would be fine except he’s practically avoiding Xander which is making him feel rejected and making Dru mad,” explained Doyle.

“I do understand why he’s avoiding Xander,” Angel said. “He probably doesn’t want to scare him.”

“Oh, that’s not the fucked up part,” Doyle shook his head. “Xander came to me a while back because he was confused by his feelings for Spike. He also thinks that Spike would never see him as anything other than a little brother.”

Angel stilled and blinked slowly. “Oh,” he managed to squeak. “You’re right, this is fucked up.”

“I don’t know what to do,” Doyle sighed, snuggling deeper into his husband’s arms.

“Maybe you shouldn’t,” the vampire said softly. “This is their problem to work out.”

“Yes, but with the way Spike’s been acting Dru might dust him and either way Xander will end up hurt.”

“Do you want me to talk to him?” Angel asked.

Doyle blinked up at him. “Would you? That would be great. Hopefully you can get through to him.”

“But not right now,” Angel said, tightening his arms.

Doyle grinned, pulling Angel’s head down for a kiss. “No, not right now.”

 

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Spike sat beside his boy, noting the minute flinch Xander gave. He sighed and turned so he was facing his boy, ignoring the way Xander refused to look at him.

“I’m sorry,” he said, reaching out to touch his boy’s shoulder. Xander pulled away and shook his head. “As Angel pointed out, I’ve been an idiot.” This time Xander nodded, still looking straight ahead. “Got a reason for it,” he offered.

Xander turned to look at him, blindly grabbing his pad of paper and scrawling something across it. What reason?

Spike sat for a moment, trying to find the words to explain it. Finally, he leaned over and brushed a chaste kiss over Xander’s lips. Pulling back, he watched as the young man raised one trembling hand to touch his lips, brown eyes full of confusion.

Is that why you don’t want to be around me? Xander wrote.

“It’s not that I don’t want to be around you,” Spike said. “It’s actually that I want to be around you a little too much. I didn’t want to scare you or make you feel uncomfortable.”

A strange look descended on Xander’s face and he scribbled something furiously before thrusting the pad of paper at Spike. So instead of making me scared or uncomfortable, you made me feel like I wasn’t worth anything to you. That you didn’t want to be around me anymore.

“Shit, pet, I’m sorry,” Spike said, pulling the young man into his arms. “I never meant to make you feel that way.”

Xander wrote something again, looking away when he handed it over this time. I didn’t avoid you when I figured out I had feelings for you.

Spike blinked and reread the words. “You have feelings for me?” he asked, turning Xander back to look at him. Xander nodded. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

Because I thought you saw me as your little brother or something like that, Xander scribbled.

Smiling ruefully, Spike leaned forward to brush another kiss over Xander’s mouth, this one a little less chaste. “We definitely need to talk about all this,” he said when he pulled back.

Xander nodded and settled firmly into his arms, turning so Spike could read the paper over his shoulder. You start, he wrote.

 

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A furious look on her face, Cordelia stormed through the hotel, grabbing Wesley as she passed him and pulling him along. She burst into the main office, interrupting Angel and Doyle’s conversation.

“Cordy?” Doyle asked, noting how angry she looked. “Is something the matter?”

Too angry to speak, she thrust a piece of paper at him and paced the length of the small room. Doyle read the letter, his mouth dropping open in shock.

“What?” Angel asked.

“Her parents are suing her. According to the summons, she stole from them amongst other crimes,” Doyle said, handing over the letter. He turned back to her, reaching out to pause her frantic pacing. “Why are they doing this?”

She sat down on a chair and sighed. “When I was sixteen the IRS showed up and audited my father. It seemed he hadn’t paid his taxes in about ten years.” They all winced at that. “We lost everything. When they were going through his papers, they found a proposal to,” she stopped for a moment, her face twisted in disgust, “sell me to the highest bidder. There were some that were offering almost a million.”

“What?!” Angel snarled, vamping out in rage. Doyle laid a calming hand on his shoulder and motioned for the young woman to continue.

“When I found out I petitioned the courts for emancipation,” she told them. “I won shortly after my seventeenth birthday.”

“Why are they suing you?” Wesley asked, sitting on the chair next to hers.

“When I left I took all my belongings that hadn’t been seized yet and the pieces of jewelry that my grandmother had left me,” she said. “The jewelry is worth a lot of money. Truthfully, I’m surprised they waited this long.”

“What are you going to do?” Doyle asked.

“Only thing I can,” Cordy said. “Fight them.”

“We’re behind you a hundred percent, princess,” Doyle told her, moving over to give her a hug.

“Good,” she smiled brightly. “Does that mean you’ll hire me a lawyer?”

Angel smiled a truly evil smile. “I know a lawyer that might do it.”

“Is that a good idea?” Doyle asked, turning concerned eyes on his husband.

“Probably not,” Angel admitted. “But he does owe me.”

Doyle shook his head. “I hope you know what you’re doing.”

 

 

 

Chapter Interlude Two: Bemused Shadows
Summary: Strange Things Blossom between Wes and Cordy
Rating: PG

 

There was a pleasant, flowery scent near her, luring her into wakefulness. Blinking dark eyes open, Cordelia stared at the single flower lying on her pillow. She reached out and touched it with one finger, wondering if it was real or a figment of her still sleepy imagination. Her finger encountered cool petals and she carefully lifted the flower, bringing it up to breathe in its smell. Climbing out of bed, she quickly dressed and headed down to the lobby, hoping someone could tell her who had given her the flower. All the while, she cradled the bloom carefully in her hands.

She reached the bottom of the stairs to see Spike and Xander curled up on one of the couches, watching something on the t.v. they had convinced Angel to buy. Angel was behind the counter, reading something and she could see Doyle behind him in the office. Only Wes and Dru were missing.

“Morning,” she greeted. “Did any of you leave this for me?” She held up the flower. They all made motions of denial. “Did Dru or Wes?”

“Dunno,” Spike shrugged. “Who knows what Dru does. She is batty after all.”

Seeing she would get no help from them, she left the lobby in a snit, heading off to find the two missing members of their little family. As she traveled down the hallways, she could hear an almost ghostly voice singing, the words inaudible. Moving up into the unused floors, the voice got louder and the words started to come through stronger.

Mistress Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And marigolds all in a row
.”

She followed the singing to a suite and gently pushed the door open. Inside, Dru sang and spun around, her doll cradled in her arms. Wes was sitting on a divan, a matching flower twirling between his fingers. Cordelia paused when she heard the Englishman speak softly.

“Do you really think she’ll like it?” he asked, breaking into Dru’s singing.

“Like mini-sunrises, glowing red and yellow and orange, little suns in a row,” Dru giggled.

He shook his head with a little smile. “I don’t even know how I should give it to her. Should I just walk up and hand it over? Place it by her plate before a meal?”

Dru giggled again. “Shh,” she whispered, leaning down to peer into his face. “It’s a secret. Edge of dreams, like wisps of smoke. Can be real. Can be not.”

Wes blinked, confused by her words. “I don’t understand, Dru.”

She only laughed and went back to her spin, her voice once again picking up the song.

Mistress Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And marigolds in a row
,” she paused. “Or side by side, such pretty little suns. Aren’t I right, Cordy?”

Wes leapt off the divan, his hand almost crushing the flower. “Cordelia?” he squeaked.

Smiling slightly, the former cheerleader pushed the door open further and walked into the room. She looked at Dru, dark eyes meeting and exchanging information. “Thank you, Dru,” she said. The vampiress giggled again and floated out of the room, her work done. “Is that one for me too?” Cordy asked, pointing to the floor that Wes still held.

“Y-yes,” Wes stuttered, holding it out with a blush. “How. . .” he trailed off.

“She left it on my pillow,” Cordy told him, stepping closer.

“Oh,” he managed to say, his blush deepening. “Um. . .”

Moving closer, she leaned in and whispered in his ear. “Any way you wanted to give the flower to me, I would have taken. I’ve been waiting for you to make a move.”

“Really?” he squeaked.

“Really,” she said.

“I wasn’t sure my attentions would be welcome,” he confessed quietly.

Cordy kissed him. “They’re more than welcome.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Thirty Three: Forgiving Silence
Summary: Dinner and fun
Rating: PG

 

Cordelia walked out of the court house, a wide smile on her face. Tilting her head, she let the sun shine on her for a moment before climbing into the specially tinted car waiting by the curb.

“We won. When we left they were grovelling,” she told Angel, her smile still splitting her face. “Lindsey said he’ll show up later, after he’s finished filing the paperwork.”

“That’s good,” he nodded, starting the car up and heading back home. “We should celebrate tonight.”

“We should,” she agreed. “Where though? Not many places would be able to deal with us.”

“Hm, not sure,” Angel shrugged. “Doyle or Spike would know.”

“True,” Cordy laughed, settling back into the seat as the scenery passed by.

 

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Xander finished the last bite of his food and pushed his plate away. The celebration of Cordelia’s win had taken them to a high end demon restaurant that Doyle knew and they had plans on heading to a club after.

“Where should we go?” Cordy asked, taking a sip of her wine.

“I know one,” Lindsey offered. “It’s demon run and violence free.”

“Caritas,” Doyle nodded. “I know that place. Not a bad idea.”

Xander stared at the man. He wasn’t sure if he liked the lawyer or not. There was something charming about the man, but he did work for the firm that had kidnapped Xander, and he didn’t like the reminder.

“Xan?” He looked over at Spike who looked back, concern shining in his eyes. Xander smiled and leaned over, brushing a soft kiss over Spike’s mouth. Both smiling, they turned back to the debate taking place. Once everyone agreed, the group of them headed for the bar, deciding to walk the short distance instead of taking cars.

“Lindsey,” Angel called, falling back a bit. “I want to talk to you.”

The lawyer slowed until the vampire caught up with him, letting the others move ahead. Xander strained his ears to listen to their conversation, knowing that Angel’s proximity to the handsome lawyer was bothering Doyle.

“Are you going back to them?” Angel asked finally.

“I don’t really have a choice,” the lawyer replied. “The contract had a soul clause.”

Angel scoffed. “I know you aren’t stupid enough to have signed it. And I’m fairly sure you know a loophole out of the contract. So why go back? They’re going to kill you some day.”

“I don’t have anything else,” Lindsey admitted softly. “They’re all I have, all I know.”

The vampire sighed and looked away from the younger man before glancing back. “I’d offer you a place to stay-”

“But your husband would probably kill me in my sleep and your psychotic childer would help,” laughed Lindsey ruefully.

“Yeah,” Angel smiled.

“I’ll be all right, Angel,” the young lawyer promised.

“Not if you stay with Wolfram and Hart,” Angel shook his head. “But I can’t force you.”

“We’re here!” Doyle yelled back from the front of their little parade.

Xander turned his attention away from the drama happening behind him to the plain door they were approaching. Doyle pulled it open and they all filed in, stopping in shock at the Polgara demon singing horribly on a small stage.

“Welcome to Caritas,” a bright green demon greeted them.

“A karaoke bar,” Angel whimpered.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Thirty Four: Truthful Shadows
Summary: OMG, some sex, finally
Rating: R/NC-17

 

The night was dark, hot and humid, weighing down on him. Spike stalked through the dark alleys, skirting the sprawled and curled bodies of the homeless, evading the cunning pickpockets and murderous muggers. He had a single intent thought, and nothing was going to sway him from it. He moved through the dark like he was part of it, meshing with the shadows, edging around the pools of light cast by the street lights.

Slipping down another alley, he kept all his senses open, tracking his prey through the night. Suddenly, the shadows deepened, darkened and he had only a second before a warm body collided with his, forcing him into the wall. Spike started to fight back, but a familiar scent teased him and he relaxed into the body pinning him to the wall. Wet heat latched on to his neck, teasing and tasting and Spike let his head fall to the side, encouraging the mouth to do more. Teeth entered the equation and Spike moaned as the sensation aroused him beyond all thought. He let the other turn him and smiled into warm brown eyes. His attacker leaned forward to kiss him and he opened his mouth, letting the warm tongue invade his mouth, letting the other man set the pace of their encounter.

“Xander,” Spike whispered as the young man stepped closer, pressing their bodies together in all the right spots. The vampire groaned as his boy rocked forward, their erections pressing and rubbing together with delicious friction. Spike reached out and pulled Xander closer, running his hands beneath the shirt the young man wore, teasing all the skin he could touch. Each of their movements sent tendrils of pleasure through Spike’s body and he could feel the need tightening in his stomach, heralding his orgasm. Xander pulled his mouth away and brought his head down to Spike’s shoulder, biting into the flesh there. The pain mingled with the pleasure, rocketing the blonde over the edge and he yelled his pleasure into the night.

The warm body sagged against his, hot breath passing across his neck as Xander panted out his own pleasure. Spike wrapped his arms tightly around his boy. This was perfection, utopia. His boy in his arms and both of them sweaty and sated.

 

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Blinking slowly, Spike gradually made his way into awareness. The memories, the sensations of his dream stayed vividly with him, encouraged by the wet, sticky mess centered on his groin. Turning his head, he gazed at the still slumbering Xander curled up next to him, the boy’s expression peaceful. In deference to Xander’s past, Spike had been taking his seduction of the boy slowly and it was starting to wear on him.

“Soon, my Spikey,” Dru whispered, leaning up to peer at him over Xander’s sleeping form. “Slow and steady wins the race. The kitten will be yours, body and soul, but be like the stream cutting its way, slow and steady.”

Spike stared at her as she lay back down and cuddled into Xander, drifting off to join the young man in sleep. Slow and steady. It may well be his final death, but he would do it.

 

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Xander kept his breathing and heartbeat steady, letting both vampires believe he was still asleep. Listening in to the cryptic words Dru was saying, he wondered just what they were talking about. He wondered if it had anything to do with the way Spike would pull back when their kissing got too heated. The vampire would push Xander away with shaking hands and sit there, panting slightly before pulling Xander back in and holding him, nothing more. Truthfully, it was driving the young man crazy. He knew he wasn’t ready for everything, but he did want something more than the sweet kisses Spike would give him. Letting sleep drag him back down, Xander decided to enlist the aid of the two who would get him his vampire. Spike would be unable to stand against the forces of Xander, Dru and Cordy together.

 

 

Chapter Thirty Five: Purrfect Silence
Summary: Spike gets some startling news
Rating: PG

 

Spike carefully brought blade and whetstone together, the soft sound filling the empty lobby. Everyone had gone off to do something, leaving the blonde, hyperactive vampire by himself and very bored. Xander had grabbed Cordelia and Dru, dragging them upstairs. Wes was researching something in the library, while Doyle and Angel were playing newlyweds in their room. Utterly bored, Spike had decided to pass the time sharpening the multitude of knives, swords and axes they had in the building.

Submersed in his task, he didn’t notice the faint shimmering that formed a few feet away. The slowly forming shape finally caught his attention and he placed the whetstone to the side, gripping the newly sharpened sword in one hand. Finally the shimmering shape solidified into the tall form of a familiar green-hued man.

“Robin,” Spike said in greeting, offering his empty hand to the other man.

“William,” Robin smiled, grasping the vampire’s hand in a warrior’s clasp. “It is good to see you again.”

“So, are you here for business or pleasure?” Spike asked bluntly.

Sighing, Robin sat down on one of the couches. “Unfortunately, I’m here on business,” he looked intently at the blonde. “And you’re not going to like it.”

Spike sat back down and placed the sword on the table, giving his visitor his undivided attention. “What’s going on?”

“Some of the Elders have learned of plots to take young Alexander,” Robin began. “One of the groups is Wolfram and Hart, who had the boy before.”

“We can protect him,” said Spike. “They’ll never get their hands on him.”

“True, if they were planning a physical attempt you could keep him safe, but they’re not,” the emissary from the Elders pointed out. “They plan on using the legal system to get him.”

“We’ve got proof of what he went through. No judge would give him back to them,” countered Spike.

“No human judge,” Robin nodded. “But they plan on using the Demonic Courts.”

“Bloody hell,” Spike whispered, slumping down in his seat. “Do you know what case they’ll try to make?”

“One of my sources informed me that Wolfram and Hart are using the fact that Alexander’s parents signed custody of him over to the hospital.”

“Which they own, which gives them custody of Xander,” Spike growled. “And he wasn’t formally released so they can still claim custody.” Snarling, he picked up the sword on the table and hurled it across the lobby, listening with satisfaction as in landed point first in the far wall. “What do we do?”

“There is a way to protect him,” the green-hued man said softly.

“How?”

“You must mark and claim him.”

 

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Hella arched into the hand petting her, purring softly as she listened to half of the conversation happening above her.

“What was so urgent you had to drag us up here?” the loud, dark one asked. There was a moment of almost silence, the scratch of pen on paper the only sound. “More what?”

Rolling over, Hella peered up at her human charge through narrowed eyes, watching the rushing of blood that rolled over his face. He paused to write something else, handing the paper over.

“Oh,” the loud one said, her face turning a bit red as well. “Do you want to go all the way?”

Hella’s human shrugged, looking down as he pet her. The look on his face was so flustered that the hellcat wished she could laugh.

“Have you tried to go further?”

The boy nodded and wrote something quickly.

“So he’s being noble,” the loud one sighed.

“Silly Spikey,” the pretty, cold one giggled. “He doesn’t see his kitten likes to be pet.”

The boy blushed again, looking at the two females intently, silently asking their advice.

“It’s okay, Kitten,” the pretty one crooned. “The stars are spinning faster now. Time is drawing to a close and the pace must be picked up.”

The loud one shot a searching look at the other female, opening her mouth to ask a question before shaking her head. She turned back to Hella’s boy. “Maybe you should just talk to him,” she suggested. “Tell him you want more.”

The boy shook his head, then nodded, then sighed and cuddled Hella closer. He looked over at the pretty one who only smiled, humming softly to herself. Sighing again, he pushed to his feet, still carefully cradling Hella and leaned over to kiss both human females on the cheek before quietly leaving the room.

“Spike is such an idiot,” Hella heard the loud one say as they left.

The hellcat snuggled into her human’s chest, silently laughing at the silly humans that lived in her castle.

 

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“Are you bloody insane?!” Spike growled, launching to his feet. “With everything the boy has been through, you want me to mark and claim him? Marking I can do, but claiming as well?”

“If it was anyone else pushing this, I’d say to just mark him, that alone would keep him safe,” Robin said soothingly. “But they know how to work around a mark. It won’t be enough.”

“He’s not ready!”

“Have you asked?” Robin countered. “If you can’t suspend disbelief in my words, talk to the boy and ask him. You might be surprised.”

“I don’t want to hurt him,” Spike said, flopping back down on the couch.

“I’m not asking you to hurt him,” Robin said softly. “I’m asking you to protect him in a way that can’t be broken, not even by time or death. I’m asking you to keep him safe forever.” He stood and stared down at the blonde for a moment. “You don’t have a long time to think about this, William. A few days at the most.”

“You’ll be back?”

“Yes,” smiled Robin. “Farewell for now.”

Spike watched as the green-tinged man shimmered out of view. He sat, thinking about the situation and what a claiming entailed. He didn’t want to hurt his boy, but if Robin was correct, then a claiming was the only way to proceed. Lost in thought, Spike jumped as a warm body leaped on the couch. He looked up into the smiling brown eyes of his boy and opened his arms, letting the young man cuddle into his side. The warmth and trust made him realize that he would do anything to keep his precious boy safe.

 

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Of Shadows and Silence – Chapters 46-50

Chapter Forty Six: Shocked Shadows
Summary: End of the trial and learning the news at home.
Rating: PG

Spike could feel the bounds of the spell tying him to Xander. It was a strange feeling, like Xander was beside him even when he wasn’t. Robin kept staring at them, as if the green man saw something in them, something other, and was comparing it to the reality. It spooked him a bit, but he didn’t mind. Robin was good people in his book

Testing the pull of the tether, Spike shuddered. When he was too far away from Xander, the tether would send warnings out to him, starting with a light tickle running up and down his spine until finally it would send a burst of pain and transport him to Xander’s location. The fact that something had that much power over him was unnerving, but he would put up with it for Xander’s sake. After all, it was one more way he could keep his mate safe in these troubled time.

The trip back to the court house was silent. Everyone was on guard. W&H were going to try something, that they were sure of, but no one knew what or when.

They filed into the court room and awaited the judge, the opposition’s lawyers looking smug.

“I’ve looked over everything and thought carefully about this,” the judge began. “With the evidence presented, the only compassionate thing I can do is allow Alexander Harris to remain where he is. It is obvious his family loves him. It is also obvious that the Council of Elders wish him to remain there. I am also ruling that Wolfram and Hart are to take no actions against Alexander Harris or anyone he considers family and/or friends without just cause. If you are found in violation of this I will punish you to the full extent of this court. I’m sure you know what that means. New houses are so hard to come by these days.”

The W&H lawyers paled, one dropping into his seat. All nodded.

“Good. Case closed. Have a good day.”

*

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Robin said as he followed them out of the court house.

“The judge’s ruling against the idiots?” Doyle asked. Robin nodded. “Neither were we. I figured we’d win and have to spend our time still fighting them off. That was kind of shocking.”

“No really,” Spike said, walking with his arm around Xander. “He must know what they’re like if they don’t get their way. So he just preempted anything they might try.”

“They’ll still try something,” Angel added.

“Yeah, but not yet,” Spike said. “They’ll wait until they’re not being watched as hard anymore. Especially since they’ll think we’ve lowered our guard at that point.”

“Definitely not going to be lowering our guard,” Angel growled. “We’re going to work on the protections around the hotel and the ones on all of us. I don’t think they’ll hesitate to take one of us out to get to Xander.”

Xander shivered and pressed closer to Spike. He didn’t like this, but it was true.

*

“Why couldn’t we go home a different way?” Spike groused, holding onto his trembling mate.

“Because this way we could be assured you arrived at your destination,” Robin explained. “Despite the judge’s words, I wouldn’t put it past the senior partners to divert your journey to a place of their choosing. This ensures that you get home since the portal was created by an Elder.”

“Well, at least it’s a short trip,” Doyle said with a shrug as he landed on the ground outside the Hyperion.

“That too,” Robin laughed, reaching down to help the seer up.

As the others exited the portal, the front door to their home opened and a black blur slammed into Xander, nearly knocking him over. Smiling widely, he hugged Hella to his chest, letting her rumbling purr sooth him. He had missed his little hellcat. He had missed his home. Noise at the doors caught his attention and he watched as Angel and Spike stared at Cordy, identical expressions of shock on their faces.

“Hi guys,” Cordy grinned. “Surprise.”

“What? How?” Angel stuttered.

“If you’re asking that then Doyle’s falling down on the job,” Spike snarked as he walked up to Cordy. “Can I?” She nodded and he placed his hand over her stomach,concentrating. Xander realized he could feel an echo of what Spike was experiencing and vowed to talk to the others about it, but for now he focused on the fluttering beat his mate could feel.

After a moment Spike dropped his hand and stepped back. “Congrats.”

“Thanks,” she whispered, throwing her arms around him in a hard hug. “Dru says girl.”

“She’ll probably be right,” Spike nodded. “I can’t tell yet though. A few months and I will.”

Spike stepped back over to Xander and wrapped his lover in a loose embrace, both watching as Angel strode over to Cordelia, staring hard down at her. When she started to get that irritated look, he pulled her into a hug, whispering too softly for even Spike to hear. She sniffled and hugged him tight before he handed her back to Wes.

“We’re going to have to do some renovations,” Doyle said contemplatively. “Not quite safe as it is.”

Angel groaned. “I have to spend more money?”

 

 

Chapter Forty Seven: Skittish Shadows
Summary: Things start to heat up and heat up
Rating: NC-17

Xander’s Writing

 

There was a strange feeling swirling around the hotel. It was more than just the new magic being worked in. Much more than the construction happening to update the building. It had nothing to do with the construction workers and the caterers called to feed them. Instead, it was a feeling that left Xander twitchy and jumpy, only feeling safe snuggled down between Dru and Spike in their suite. He had mentioned it to the others, but Doyle wasn’t seeing anything, Angel and Spike promised to be on the look out and Dru was strangely silent. Overall, he wasn’t comfortable. Something was going to happen and he had a feeling it wasn’t something good.

“What’s wrong, luv?”

Xander looked up at his Mate, shrugging slightly. He didn’t know how to explain his feelings more than he already had. Just feeling strange.

“Still?” Spike asked, sitting down and curling around Xander. “I’ve had Wes look and see if anything was coming up, but there’s nothing other than that idiot Hellgoddess in Sunnydale.”

Maybe that’s what I’m feeling, Xander wrote. That hadn’t even occurred to him. The presence of Charity, Faith and Mr. Giles had become common place and he had forgotten they were actually hiding from the insane demonic deity.

“Good chance,” Spike agreed, hugging him tightly. “But we’re working on it.”

Do we know who her host is yet?

“No clue,” the vampire admitted. “But we’ve got it narrowed down. Whoever it is works at the hospital.”

We need to figure it out soon, Xander scribbled. Or we’ll all be in danger.

“We will, luv,” Spike promised. “We will.”

*

Warm and cool flesh slide together, followed by ragged moans and breathy gasps. Shivering, Doyle arched into his husband’s touch, almost desperate. Angel chuckled, pressing the smaller man down into the bed as he tormented pale skin with teeth, lips and tongue. Red marks sprung up in his wake, littering that fragile skin with his claim. The demon in Angel loved seeing his husband wearing his marks, ownership visible for all to see. Hot hands tangled in his hair and pulled him up so their mouths met in a needy kiss. Doyle wiggled until Angel was settled between his legs, hard flesh meeting between them.

“Angel,” Doyle gasped, rocking up into his husband’s solid body. “Please.”

Angel didn’t reply verbally, instead he slid a hand down and under, fingers somehow already slick finding and breaching the guardian muscle. It was only moments before Doyle was begging, body writhing under Angel’s as the larger man carefully prepped him. It wasn’t really needed with how often they made love, but Angel still took his time, showing his love with careful touches.

Fed up, Doyle snarled and pushed hard, rolling Angel off. Before the vampire could react, he was slathering a layer of lube over Angel’s cock and sliding himself down on it. Moaning and shaking, Doyle paused when he reached bottom, the stretchy burn almost more than he could handle. He loved that part. The borderline between pain and pleasure when he took his husband into his body. Cool hands curved around his hips and he met Angel’s eyes, smirking as they flashed between gold and brown. Slowly he began to move, easing up just a bit before sinking back down. Beneath him, Angel panted needlessly, hands still gently cupping his hips. While Doyle loved how gentle his husband could be, he rather wished Angel would lose control and just take him. Other than the quickly fading marks the vampire left, Angel was never rough, never harsh and Doyle was set on changing that.

With a wicked grin he rose up farther until Angel was barely connected to him. He waited until Angel’s hands tightened slightly as the vampire fought for control, then he slammed down, nearly screaming as Angel’s cock managed to hit just so on his prostate. Angel’s hands convulsed on his hips, sure to leave bruises. Still the vampire held on to his control. So Doyle did it again, and again, until finally Angel snapped, flipping them back over and pounding into Doyle’s body. The half-demon reveled in the feeling, knowing he was going to be feeling it for days. But he didn’t care. At that moment it was the most perfect sensation in the world. Then Doyle was screaming as his orgasm hit and sharp teeth sank into his neck and the world whited out.

*

“Took you long enough,” Spike remarked from the doorway.

Angel glanced up at his Grandchilde, growling a little. “What are you talking about?”

Spike only smirked. “Remember it has to go both ways.”

The dark vampire watched as the blonde walked away, the door shutting softly behind him before he looked down at the dazed man in his arms. Then he realized what Spike had meant. There on Doyle’s neck was a Mate bite. For them to be fully Mated, Doyle had to mark him as well in blood and semen. He met serious green eyes and wondered what was going through his husband’s mind.

“My turn now?” Doyle asked huskily.

Angel shivered and nodded. Spike was right, they had taken long enough.

*

“She knows,” Mr. Giles whispered, staring in shock at the phone in his hand. “She’s on her way here.”

“The Hellgoddess?” Angel asked, taking the phone from the Watcher and hanging it up.

“Yes,” the mortal blinked. “She’ll be here soon. That was my contact back in Sunnydale.”

“Well, guess we don’t have to look for her host anymore,” Spike shrugged.

“She’s powerful,” warned Mr. Giles. “And strong. It won’t be an easy fight.”

“Three vampires, a slayer, a witch, two Watchers who can do magic and a half-demon,” Spike listed. “It won’t be a stalemate fight. We’ll win.”

“Don’t get too confident, Spike,” Angel told him. “I’ve researched her. She’s a higher level demon goddess.”

“Not too confident,” Spike replied seriously. “We won’t get out of it unscathed, but we will win.”

Mr. Giles bounced his gaze between the two of them. “While that is all good, we need to find some protected place for Charity.”

“Caritas,” Doyle offered, walking into the room. “Lorne’s got a anti-violence spell on the bar. She’ll be safe there.”

“You already asked him?” Angel asked, smiling down at his Mate.

“Yep,” Doyle smiled back. “Didn’t tell him the particulars, but did say I had a few non-combatants I needed to get out of the way.”

“Thank you,” Mr. Giles said, sagging in relief. He straightened up. “We should send them over soon. She’ll be here within a few hours.”

“I’ll take them over,” Spike stated.

“Tell Lorne we’ll call when we’re done,” Angel told him.

Spike nodded and headed to gather Xander, Cordy and Charity. Caritas would be the safest place on this realm for them. And if it wasn’t, Lorne would know where else to send them.

 

 

Chapter Forty Eight: Saddened Silence
Summary: Things go terribly wrong
Rating: R (for fighting and language)
Warnings: Hightlight for warnings.Character Death Remember though, not all is what it seems.

 

Some inane pop song pumped through the club’s speakers, and a slime dripping Chaos demon warbled along on stage. Xander ignored the off-tune singing, instead focusing inward and along the link between him and his Mate. He could feel everything Spike felt, from the slight hunger to the pre-battle nervousness. He kept his own emotions in check, knowing now was not the time to distract his Mate. Beside him, Charity bopped along to the music, humming quietly.

“Honey buns, we should head to the back room,” Lorne said suddenly, his red eyes staring intently at the young girl.

“What’s wrong?” Cordy asked seriously, glaring at the green demon.

“Nothing, nothing,” Lorne rushed to reassure her, his voice cracking slightly. “I just think it would be best if we moved somewhere a little more private.”

Staring at him suspiciously, Cordy nodded and urged Charity up and into the back room. The sound of the music cut off as the door closed behind them. Once in the room, the ex-cheerleader turned on the Host.

“What is going on Lorne?”

He glanced at them, then pulled Cordy off to the side. Xander strained to hear what they were saying, but they were talking too low. Cordy’s gasp of pain and shock told him clearly that all was not well. He glared at them, waiting for them to come back over. Cordy’s face was pale and her eyes large and damp. Lorne gave her a quick hug and then left them alone.

What?, he scribbled sharply.

“There’s going to be a death,” she said quietly so Charity wouldn’t hear.

Who?.

“Lorne doesn’t know,” she half-sobbed. “All he knows is someone is going to die.”

Blinking heavily, Xander turned back to the link, locking his worry down and paying all the attention he could. From the spike in Spike’s emotions, he could tell that She had gotten there and the fight was going to start. Then there was fear, anger, an orgy of emotions, and then a deep pain that echoed deep in his heart, all followed by a wave of pure rage. His mouth opened in a silent scream as Spike lost all control. And the world went black.

*

Cordy held Charity as the young girl cried softly. Xander’s seizure had shocked both of them and when he passed out both had nearly screamed. Somehow they managed to get him on one of the couches where he now lay too still. Part of her wondered just what had happened to make Xander lose it like that while the rest really didn’t want to know. It had to be something terrible, something to do with their family fighting that Hellgoddess. A reaction like that meant something really bad.

Time passed as they waited, Charity moving from Cordy’s arms to curl up next to Xander. The lack of news was beginning to stress the ex-cheerleader and she swore she’d smack all of them when they finally got there. More time passed and she began to wonder about the nature of the universe and if anything other than the thoughts in her own mind were real. Shaking off the odd thoughts, she focused on the two across from her.

 

The door flying open startled her and she toppled off her chair. Sitting on the floor, she watched as a blood smeared Spike raced across the room, pushing Charity aside and gathering Xander into his arms. She noticed absently the bloody tears rolling down the blonde vampire’s cheeks as he rocked his Mate.

“Angel?” she asked quietly when the vampire entered the room. His eyes were just as wet as Spike’s, the faint tracks of wiped away tears on hischeeks. Doyle, Wes, Faith, Tara, and Mr. Giles filed into the room after him. Cordy rushed over to Wes, checking him for injuries. Then she noticed their missing member. “Dru?”

Tara began to cry, deep body wracking sobs and Faith gathered the witch into her arms, leading her over to a chair.

“Dru didn’t make it,” Wes said softly. “She came up with an idea.”

“Didn’t tell the rest of us,” Doyle added quietly.

“She and Tara switched features,” the ex-Watcher swallowed. “Glory went after what she thought was Tara, thinking her a weak target. She put her hands into Dru’s head-” He turned green and ran to the bathroom hidden off to the side.

“It seems she can suck energy and thoughts from people’s minds,” Doyle said emotionlessly. “But it doesn’t work right on vampires. It weakens her instead of strenghening her. Dru knew it somehow.”

“Where is Dru?” Cordy whispered.

“One of Glory’s minions saw what was happening and staked her,” Doyle told her flatly. “Enough damage was done that we could easily force her back to her host form and kill him.”

“Xander felt it,” she told them, watching as they all paled underneath bruises and blood. “He had a seizure and passed out.”

“Every member of the Aurelius family felt it,” Doyle told her.

“No, I mean he felt it,” Cordy stressed.

“He felt me,” Spike said hoarsely. “Told him to keep the link closed. Told him it was too dangerous. Silly boy.”

“Will he be okay?” Charity asked timidly.

Spike tried to smile to reassure her. “In time.”

*

He was standing in a field of flowers, the sun shining brightly down on him. Movement from his left drew his attention and he turned to watch a familiar figure dance among the multitude of blooms. He blinked in shock and stared in wonder at the way the sun brought out the highlights in Dru’s hair.

“Hello Kitten,” she smiled, coming to a stop in front of him.

“Dru?” he whispered, jumping at the sound of his own voice.

She giggled. “Who else?”

“Where are we?”

“Dreamland,” she told him, swaying slightly. “They’re letting me have a few minutes with you.”

“Who?”

“The Powers,” she smiled.

“You died, didn’t you?” he whispered, reaching out to touch her face.

“Someone had to,” she sighed. “I chose myself. It’s all for the best.”

“But Spike-”

“Has you and Daddy,” Dru told him. “But don’t worry Kitten, I’ll be coming back.”

“When?”

“Sooner than you think.”

 

Chapter Forty Nine: Living Silence
Summary: The group begins to deal with the aftermath
Rating: PG

 

Spike held on to his Mate as the young man slowly regained consciousness. After losing Dru, he wasn’t going to let Xander out of his sight. Burying his face in Xander’s neck, he listened to the steady heartbeat and felt the pulse beneath his lips. Here, at this moment, he knew somehow that everything was going to be alright.

“Spike,” Angel called quietly. “We need to be getting home.”

Sighing, Spike sat up and loosened his grip on Xander, letting the young man sit up as well. But Xander made no move to rise, instead he reached for his notepad and began scribbling out a frantic message.

I saw Dru.

“Where?” Spike asked, wondering if the young man had lost his mind. Dru was gone, dust covering the ground.

Dream. Spike, she said she’s coming back.

“What?” he yelled, pulling back to stare at his Mate.

She told me she’s coming back. Sooner than we think, he paused and glanced slightly at Cordy. Can we have Lorne check how, just in case.

Spike caught the look, eyes widening. “Angel, go get Lorne please.”

“Why?” the older vampire demanded. “We don’t need Lorne, we need to go home and rest.”

“Angel, if Spike thinks we need Lorne, maybe we do,” Doyle said quietly, touching his husband’s arm. “Go get him.”

Huffing, the dark vampire headed out to find the green demon, muttering under his breath. A few minutes later he returned with the Host in tow.

“What can I do for you, honeycakes?” Lorne asked Spike.

Xander shoved the notepad into his hands, letting him read what he had told Spike.

“Is this a problem?”

Xander snatched the pad back. Depends on who she comes back through.

Lorne blinked and paled to a lighter shade of green. “Oh hell,” he whispered. “Sing something Spike.”

Softly, Spike began singing a lullaby that Dru often sang when Xander was first with them. The young man smiled at his Mate and snuggled into his arms, listening to the quiet words.

“Enough,” Lorne said after a lines. “She is coming back, but no worries on that front. I’m not exactly clear on the how, but it’s not that way.”

Xander slumped and Spike sighed in relief. That was one problem down. “You don’t know how?”

“Sorry, honeycakes, but that’s hidden even from me.”

“If it’s hidden that well, then it means someone higher is in charge,” Doyle said. “Could be the Powers or it could be the Elders.”

“Yep,” Lorne nodded. “Either way, she is coming back and fairly soon.”

“That’s…” Angel trailed off.

“Creepy,” Cordy offered. “But I’m glad.”

“So am I,” Wes added, hugging his lover close to his chest.

“Thank you,” Spike said, rising off the couch and pulling Xander with him. “Thank you for a lot.”

“No problem,” the Host grinned. “As long as I’m not doing the fighting, it’s all good.”

Xander grinned and hugged the green demon before following his Mate out the door, leaving the others to say their own goodbyes.

“So the flowers will be over there and the arch will be there,” Cordy pointed. She was standing the main lobby of the hotel, one hand on her belly as she made the final plans for her wedding. “The caterers will be setting up the reception in one of the upper rooms.”

“It’ll look beautiful,” Wes said, kissing her softly. “Now, go rest for a bit before they start setting up.”

“I love you,” she whispered, kissing him back.

“I love you too.”

“Enough of the sap,” Spike said as he walked by. “Go lay down, princess. You have a lot to do today.”

“I will,” she promised, giving Wes one last kiss before heading to the elevator.

“Is everything ready?” Wes asked, once his bride-to-be was out of earshot.

“Of course,” Spike smirked. “When she comes down, everything will be already set up.”

“Good,” Wes smiled. “Thank you, Spike.”

“Hey, she’s carrying the first baby in the family, she deserves the best for her wedding.”

*

Xander smiled at Cordelia as she danced the first dance with Wes. The wedding had been beautiful, even out doing all the plans Cordy had made. She had almost cried when she came down to see everything all ready set up for her. Now, she danced happily in the arms of her husband and Xander couldn’t wish anything more for her.

“Do you want this?” Spike asked, coming up behind him.

Xander shook his head. He didn’t want a public wedding. They were married, hell, beyond married. He didn’t need to show the world with a party. Anyone that mattered could see the bond between him and Spike and their family knew, that was all he cared about.

“Okay, but if you ever do,” Spike left it there.

Smiling, Xander turned and pressed a hard kiss to Spike’s lips, sending waves of love and happiness down their bond.

“Break it up,” Doyle intruded, laughing. “This is Cordy’s big day.”

Spike only flipped him off before turning Xander around so they could watch as she danced with the father of the bride. Angel carefully led her around the dance floor, all the while whispering something to her. With the squeal she gave, it must have been about whatever present the dark vampire had gotten her and it must have been a good one.
Spike stepped away from Xander and held out his hand as more and more couples began to crowd the dance floor. Beaming, Xander took his hand and they moved to join the crowd, dancing to the slow song, content in what life had brought them, despite the pain and loss they had suffered.

 

 

Chapter Fifty: Silence Fading Into Shadows
Summary: An end to things and new beginnings
Rating: PG

 

Angel and Spike paced the lobby, each shrill scream echoing down to them. Every sound had them wincing and restraining themselves from rushing up the stairs. There was nothing they could do up there. No, they were needed down here, making sure none of their enemies used this chance to attack.

Xander brushed dark hair back from Cordy’s forehead, pressing a gentle kiss to her temple. The ex-cheerleader screamed again as another contraction ripped through her, cursing at the top of her lungs about the need to kill all men. Beside the bed, Doyle laughed and offered her another spoonful of ice chips. She took the melting ice gratefully, leaning over to kiss his cheek before settling back against Xander’s chest.

Wes stood on the other side of the bed, his hand being constantly crushed by his wife as the pain of childbirth hit her. He wanted a way to ease the pain, the drugs the healer had given Cordy had only dulled it at bit. The healer had told them that pain was necessary during birth, ensuring all was going well. Cordy, of course, didn’t take that well and had berated the poor demon until he was nearly cowed, but he stood firm on that point. Now, hours later, Wes wished he had given in and given Cordelia something a little stronger.

“Perfect,” the healer proclaimed, glancing up from his position between the pregnant woman’s legs. “It is time to push now, Mrs. Wyndam-Pryce.”

“Finally,” she snarled. As the next contraction hit, she did as she was told and pushed, wanting to finally hold her little girl.

More pushing, and screaming, and Cordy was finally handed her daughter. From over her shoulder, Xander smiled down at the red, wrinkled little face, easily seeing the beauty she would be when she grew up.

“Her name?” the healer asked, cleaning off his hands and reaching for the certificate.

“Abigail Cheri Wyndam-Pryce,” Cordy declared quietly, stroking a finger over one plump cheek.

“She’s perfect,” Doyle told her. “I’ll go let big brave men know that’s it’s over.”

She laughed. “Tell them to get their asses up here.”

“You make beautiful children,” Wes said, taking Xander’s spot behind Cordy.

“We make beautiful children,” she corrected.

*

I wonder when?

“When what, luv?” Spike asked, looking down at the young man resting against his chest.

When Dru’s coming back. I miss her.

“I don’t know,” Spike answered. “But I miss her too.”

Think Robin would know?

Spike grinned and shook his head. “We never even thought to ask. We can do that tomorrow, okay?”

Xander nodded and placed his notepad to the side, turning to place a kiss on Spike’s lips. Asking Robin could wait.

 

*

“I was wondering when you were going to call,” the masked man said, exiting from the portal that opened in the lobby.

“Took Xan saying something for any of us to think of it,” Spike admitted drily.

“He always sees to the heart of things,” Robin remarked, giving the young man at Spike’s side a hug. “I’ve also brought presents from the Council for the new baby and mother.”

“Cordy will love that,” Spike smirked. “Glad to see ya.”

Robin smiled. “So you have a question for me?”

“About Dru,” Spike nodded. “We were wondering when she’s coming back.”

“Hmm, I heard the Host told you,” the green-tinted man said, tilting his head to the side.

“All Lorne said was soon. We were worried about her coming back through Abigail,” Spike told him.

“No,” Robin stated. “Abigail is a new soul. The PTB and the Elders decided that would be for the best. Otherwise you would have been given the second last Slayer reborn.”

Spike blinked. They had never thought of that. Slayers were often reborn if they had unfinished business. And from what they heard, that Slayer had a lot of unfinished business.

“Druscilla will be back,” Robin told them, leading them over to the couches. He sat down. “She is being brought back in a very special way. There is not much I can actually say about how she’s being brought back.”

“We figured as much,” Angel said, coming down the stairs. “But when is important.”

“Why?” Robin asked, looking up at the dark vampire. “Why is it so important?”

“What if we’re not here?” Angel retorted. “What if there are complications that need special help? We can plan better for her return if we have some idea when she’ll be coming back.”

“All good points,” Robin admitted. “I cannot give you an exact date.”

“How about a general idea?” Spike asked. “Maybe what season? What month? Something like that.”

Robin smiled at the blonde. “She will be back in the winter, but before the Earth’s turn.”

“So some time in November or December?”

Robin nodded. “Yes. But that is all I can say.”

“That’s good enough,” Spike told him. Xander grinned beside him. “We have some idea now. Thank you.”

Xander bounced off the couch and over to hug the Council representative.

“You’re welcome,” Robin said, hugging Xander back.

“It’ll be good to have the whole family back again,” Angel said quietly. “Cordy really wanted Dru’s opinion on clothing for Abigail.”

“That is not the only reason,” Robin said.

“No, but it’s the only one she’s giving,” Angel smiled. “So, this winter. That’s not that far.”

“No,” Robin agreed. “You will have her back soon.”

“Thank you.”

Robin stood, handing over two packages before calling up a portal. “Just remember, not all is what it seems.” And with that he walked into the vortex.

“What’s that suppose to mean?” Spike shouted after him, but only laughter drifted back. “Really, what does that mean?”

Angel shrugged. “We’ll find out this winter.”

 

Fin

Previous 

Of Shadows and Silence – Chapters 41-45

 

Chapter Forty One: Sorting Shadows
Summary: Helping new friends
Rating: PG

The denizens of the Hyperion Hotel watched with wary eyes as the Watcher seated himself on an available sofa and removed his glasses, furiously cleaning the lenses. Rupert Giles did his best to give the impression of being totally at ease in the presence of three of the most famed vampires in the world, but his nervousness was more than visible. Spike hid a grin as the man jumped when Dru gave a little hiss.

“Behave,” Angel admonished absently. ” Do you care to explain the situation to us?”

“I remember you,” Giles said, his head tilted slightly. “You followed her.”

“I was there to try and help her,” Angel replied steadily. He had made peace with Buffy’s death and nothing, not even the man who had been her Watcher could change that. “Unfortunately I couldn’t. But that is the past. So let’s deal with the present.”

Doyle pressed lightly into Angel’s side and stared hard at the Watcher. “Why did it take so long for the new Slayer to get to the Hellmouth?”

“She’s not the one that was called directly after Miss Summers,” Giles explained softly. “That Slayer and her Watcher came to Sunnydale, but the Master was ready for them. Faith Lehane is the newest Slayer. Like Miss Summers, she is not a Council raised Slayer.”

“She’s not a puppet then,” Spike snorted.

“No,” Giles smiled evilly. “She’s not. She, and her Watcher, came to Sunnydale just after the New Year. Faith is…” he trailed off.

“I’m different,” a husky voice drawled from the doorway. Everyone turned to stare at the dark haired young woman casually slouched against the door jam. “Not one for rules, regulations or any of that bullshit. Drives the bastards overseas buttfuck crazy.”

Spike looked around at everyone and grinned. “I think I like her.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

“So you’ve suddenly got a little sister?” Doyle tried to clarify.

“I can remember her being born,” Faith nodded. “I can remember hiding her from my Mom’s friends. All these memories and feelings that ain’t mine. But she’s a good girl. Does what she’s told and stays out of trouble most of the time.”

“So, what is she exactly?”

Giles sighed, removing his glasses to clean them again. “She’s the Key.”

Angel choked and Dru giggled. “Pretty, sparkly green lights.”

“Y-yes,” Giles stammered slightly. “She’s an artifact of great power, capable of opening portals between dimensions. The Key was being guarded by a group of monks. They have been protecting and hiding the Key’s power. Unfortunately a very powerful being who needs the Key’s power found them. To hide it better, they made it into a young woman, gave it flesh and memories and sent it to Faith.”

“Charity has no idea,” Faith added quietly, all the brashness they had been subjected to gone now. “In her eyes, she is my sister, born and raised. And I’ll do just about anything to keep it that way. I don’t want her to know what she is, was. I want her to be a normal teenage girl.”

“Do you know who this person who wants her is?” Angel asked.

“Yes,” Giles’ voice had gone hard. “She’s a HellGoddess.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Arguing and insults flew around the room, but Xander ignored them in favour of watching the Slayer. She wasn’t that tall, but somehow managed to see she was. Faith was slender and covered in lean muscle, her hair dark and falling in loose waves around her equally as dark eyes. To Xander she looked almost as if she could have been his sister. She was brash and blunt, ready to tell anyone exactly what she thought. Like Spike, Xander liked her. As if she felt his gaze, Faith looked at him and winked one dark eye. He grinned and turned his attention over to the mix of loud voices.

“Okay, shut up!” Doyle yelled, effectively silencing everyone. Xander snickered silently as Angel smiled up at his husband affectionately. “Mr. Giles and Miss Lehane have come for our help. The only real question is, are we going to help them?”

Xander quickly scribbled on his board, a gift from Cordy, and thrust it at Doyle. There’s a child involved. She might not have been real before, but she is now and she needs our help. End of story.

“Good point, Xander,” Doyle nodded. They ignored the strange looks they were getting from the Watcher and Slayer. “Angel?”

“Guess we’re helping,” the older vampire sighed. “Pack up, we’re heading to Sunnydale.”

“No.”

Xander was shaking slightly and was pleased to hear Spike disagree. Sunnydale was how he’d ended up in the hospital in the first place. Spike’s arms came around him and he gratefully snuggled in.

“Excuse me?” Angel’s voice was soft and dangerous.

“Are you forgetting that Xander is not to go back to Sunnydale? That the Elders demanded it?” Spike’s voice was just as soft but still hard, like velvet over steel. “Plus, the trial is coming up. Most of us need to be there for that.”

“Shit,” Angel groaned. “I forgot. I’m sorry Xander.” Xander nodded, still huddled in the safety of his mate’s arms. “We can’t go to Sunnydale.”

“There has to be something we can do,” Wes said, looking around.

“What all do we know about this HellGoddess?” Doyle asked, reaching out to absently run a hand over Angel’s arm. “Any weaknesses?”

“There’s something about a host,” Giles said, reaching for the book he had brought with him. “We don’t understand what it means.”

“What does it say?”

“Her host is her weakness.”

“One shell, two forms, two spirits, fighting to win,” Dru murmured from beside Xander. “One wants to go, One wants to stay. Kill one both die.”

“That works,” Spike smirked.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand,” Giles said, looking at the vampiress.

“To kill this HellGoddess you have to kill her host,” Spike clarified. “Find out who he is and off him.”

“Slayers don’t kill humans,” Giles protested. “It goes against everything that they are.”

Spike shrugged. “Then you do it.”

Giles spluttered, looking extremely indignant. “I could never!”

“Fine,” Spike snapped. “Figure out who the host is, call us and I’ll come kill whoever it is for you. That work?”

Xander pinched his lover. When Spike glanced over at him, Xander gave him a disapproving look, all the while knowing it wouldn’t change his lover. Suddenly an idea popped into his head and he reached over, snatching his board back. A quick swipe erased the previous words and he quickly jotted down his thoughts, thrusting the board impatiently at Doyle when he was finished.

Bring her here. Maybe we can hide her like we did me. The others are staying when we go to Rome, they can help figure out who the host is and we can deal with the HellGoddess together when we get back.” Doyle read aloud. He blinked and then smiled. “That’s a great idea! Might have to call in a few favours to ward her, but it would work.”

“Can someone explain what that meant?” Giles asked, his gaze shifting between them.

“And why doesn’t BoyToy there talk?” Faith added, leering a little at Xander.

“Xander has a powerful law firm after him. They’ve taken the case to the Demonic Courts and we have to be there in two weeks,” Doyle explained. “When we first got him away from them, an ally of ours brought a protection amulet for him. It hides him from being found. Especially from those with less than pure intentions. The same thing just might work for your sister. I’m going to contact some people, see if we can do it.”

“Xan doesn’t talk because he can’t,” Spike told her. “And he’s no one’s toy!” The last part was snarled. Xander laid a calming hand on his mate’s cheek, forcing the vampire’s attention away from the Slayer.

“Sorry,” Faith shrugged.

“Wait! You’re going to the Demonic Courts. Are you sure it’s not a trap?” Giles asked, concern and worry colouring his voice. “It is possible they are luring you there to just take the boy.”

“Can’t happen,” Angel assured him. “Though thank you for your concern.”

“Why can’t it happen? I’m sure you’re all very strong and smart, but it is dangerous there.”

“Can’t happen because we’re Mated,” Spike smirked. “They grab one of us and they get both.”

“Dear Lord!” the Watcher exclaimed.

“What?” Faith asked, eyeing him carefully.

Giles removed his glasses and cleaned them. “I actually feel sorry for them now.”

“Us?” Spike asked archly.

“No, the idiots you’re up against.”

 

 

 

Chapter Interlude 3: Shadows Stealing Moments
Summary: Brief Moments in Time
Rating: G-PG
Warnings: A bit of swearing.

 

Giggling filled the large room, interspersed with the sounds of slight slaps and great tickles. The group of adults on the other side of the room glanced over occasionally, smiling at the sight of three dark heads bent together.

“What are they playing?” Mr. Giles finally asked.

“Some card game,” Spike shrugged. “They explained the rules to me, but I still don’t get it.”

“I think you have to be a child or nuts to get it,” Faith replied with a bemused smile.

“Which spot does Xan fall into?” he asked archly.

Faith laughed. “I’m not naive enough to fall for that. Come on, back to work.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Xander placed his card in position with infinite care and stared at the two girls, daring them to call him out. Dru only giggled and set her next card down on his. Charity snorted and pointed to Dru, picking up the card and giving it back.

“They think we’re nuts,” the young girl said as she played her next card.

“Spinning, spinning, spinning,” Dru laughed.

“Yep, exactly,” Charity nodded. Xander grinned.

He liked Charity Lehane. She was a lot like her sister. Brash and bold but with a core of soft steel. She lacked the uncertainty Faith had, but Xander figured that was because Faith did everything to care for and protect her little sister. The young girl liked to tell jokes and play pranks, which made her friends with Spike almost right away. She only shrugged when she was told Xander didn’t speak and thought it was cool that Angel was a vampire.

The woman they had called to bring Charity to LA was almost totally the opposite. Her hair was long and blonde and she used it as a shield, hiding her face and blue eyes from the world. She was beyond quiet, speaking softly and often stuttering. But there was a core of hardness within her that spoke of seeing bad things. And the power that radiated off her was nearly blinding.

“Tara,” Charity called to the blonde woman. “Come play with us.”

Smiling softly, Tara walked over to them, sitting close to Charity. She watched the game for a few minutes before picking up a stack of cards and joining in, catching on to the rules immediately.

“How come she understands the game?” Spike almost whined. Xander grinned.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

“Are we sure this is a good idea?” Mr. Giles asked, slumping in his seat.

“No, but it’s the best one we got,” Angel pointed out. “And it’ll keep Charity safe until we can figure out how to beat this HellGoddess.”

“But to take her there,” he protested.

“The Courts are run by high level demons,” Doyle reminded him. “These aren’t the type you’d run into on the street. They’re the rulers of realms and dimensions. There’s no way she can break in to steal her. To get Charity at the Courts there would have to be a petition and it would have to be on file for over three months.”

“And since we’ve just thought of it there’s no way for her to get one on file,” Faith finished, nodding a bit. “I agree. It’s the best plan but I want Tara to go with you.”

“Why?” Angel asked.

“‘Cause she’s strong,” Spike said before Faith could answer. The Slayer nodded. “She’ll be added protection if Wolfram and Hart try something.”

“And I’ll stay here with Giles and your crew,” Faith continued. “We’ll be watching over the city and all that shit. Keep the hotel safe until you get back.”

“Guess that’s that then,” Spike said, standing to stretch. “I’m gonna go grab my boy. Been to long.”

“TMI!” Faith shouted. “Definitely too much information. But have fun.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Dru smiled at Charity and Tara. “You’re going on a trip.”

 

 

 

Chapter Forty Two: Serious Silence
Summary: The boys head to the Demonic Courts with a few new friends
Rating: NC-17

 

Arching into the touches moving over his skin, Xander opened his mouth in a silent moan, panting for breath. Spike chuckled, reading the signs of his body and upping the pleasure until all thought left Xander’s head. He pushed up into Spike’s touch, reaching up and dragging the vampire down until their lips met in a hard kiss. Taking pity on him, Spike sped through the preparations and sank inside his body in one smooth move. The twinge of pain was forgotten as the pleasure of being connected with his mate rolled over him and Xander slid his legs open wider, pushing his hips up.

Grinning wickedly, Spike started up a steady rhythm, a slow one. Beneath him Xander writhed and twisted, trying to urge his mate to move faster, harder, just more! Finally Spike sped up, stroking in and out with sure quick strokes that managed to hit that perfect spot nearly every time. Xander slid a hand between their bodies, wrapping it around his own cock and stroking to match Spike. Meeting vibrant yellow eyes, he tilted his head a bit, giving Spike access to his neck and he gasped silently as razor sharp teeth sliced into his flesh sending him over the edge and into bliss. Stiffening and groaning, Spike held still as his own orgasm ran over him before carefully removing teeth and cock from his lover’s body.

He stroked a hand down Xander’s side. “Sleep now, we leave in the morning.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

“Why do I have to go?” Charity whined, glaring at her sister.

Xander hid a grin. He knew the girl was only playing the brat to bother her sister, but it was still funny to him. He watched as identical stubborn looks descended on their faces as they stared off over the breakfast table. At the other end of the table he could see Angel’s face getting darker at what he saw as a problem to their plan. A quick word from Doyle calmed him back down but left the vampire looking confused. Xander shook his head and kicked Charity lightly, making her lose her focus.

“Ha, I won!” Faith declared. Xander had a brief flash of her sticking her tongue out.

“Only because Xander cheated,” Charity pouted.

“Enough,” Mr. Giles said finally, removing his glasses and cleaning them. “Charity you are going with them. Faith will be staying here to help out. This is not a discussion.”

“I know that,” Charity shrugged.

“Then why-?” the Watcher blinked.

“Because it was fun,” she grinned. Faith and Dru cackled, the Slayer nearly falling out of her chair.

Angel pushed away from the table. “As fun as it may have been, we need to get going.”

“How are we getting there?” Spike asked, helping Xander to his feet. ” Is it on another plane?”

“Part of the trial is they have to have a way for us to get there,” Doyle answered. “There’s a portal waiting for us at Lorne’s.”

“So the sewers it is,” Spike sighed.

“For you and Angel,” Doyle grinned. “I’m taking Xander and Charity by car.”

“Not fair!”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

The swirling vortex of power almost repulsed him and if it wasn’t for Angel’s stern look Spike might not have gone through. Traveling by portal wasn’t his favourite activity and he was certain there had to be another way of getting to the Demonic Courts. He exited the other side and caught Xander as the young man came through. Charity was next and she moved to cuddle with Xander, both bothered by their trip.

“We’re going home another way,” Spike announced once Angel and Doyle were through.

“Sure,” Doyle shrugged. “We need to go sign in and head to the hotel.”

Angel led the way through the Court, twisting and turning down half-remembered paths. They stopped at the reception desk and filled out the necessary paperwork, Spike grumbling all the while.

As they headed to their hotel, Angel pulled Spike aside. “You do know they’re going to try for him, don’t you?”

Spike sneered. “First come, first killed. No one touches my boy.”

“Good,” Angel nodded. “Our attorney should be at the hotel when we get there. We need to have everything set out before the trial starts tomorrow.”

“No matter what, they won’t separate us,” Spike vow, eyes flashing yellow briefly. “And if they kill me, I know you’ll take care of Xan if he survives.”

“Family,” Angel agreed.

“Family.”

 

 

Chapter Forty Three: Frightened Shadows
Summary: A brief talk with the lawyer
Rating: PG

The lawyer asked question after question, little and big. Spike did his best not to snarl at the little man. He hated lawyers on principle and this was just another one, even if he was helping them. Every question Xander was asked made the young man curl in on himself a little more and all Spike could do was hold him.

“Are we done yet?” Doyle asked softly, glancing slightly at Xander.

“Just one last question,” the lawyer smiled. “When did Xander lose his voice? With you or before?”

“Before,” Spike answered. “Dru said something about a shadow taking his voice.”

A man came, Xander wrote quickly. When I first was sent there. He said he was doing it to protect me.

“Bur you didn’t know him?”

Xander shook his head.

“Do they know you can’t talk?” the lawyer asked shrewdly. Xander shook his head again and smiled a little. “Ah, they think you won’t talk. That is an advantage to us.”

“How so?” Angel asked.

“Because that means they were lax in their care of him,” the lawyer explained. “That is something they should have noticed despite the actions of their orderlies and nurses. Especially since they want something from him.” He put his papers in order and closed his briefcase. “The trials start first thing in the morning. I’ll send someone to get you. Spike, I’ll be calling you first since you know Xander the best. I’m going to try to keep Xander off the stand but I make no promises and I don’t know what W&H are going to pull. They want him enough that they called in the New York office.”

The blonde nodded. Doyle let the lawyer out while Spike led Xander back to where Charity and Tara were watching TV. He let Xander curl up next to the girls, smiling at the way he moved to curl around them and went to speak with his GrandSire.

“Do you think this is going to work?” he asked softly.

Angel sank back in his seat, wrapping an arm around Doyle when he sat beside him. “Legally, I think we’ll win,” he replied seriously. “With everything that happened to Xander while under their care it’ll swing in our favour. But, I know they’re going to try something. Something to split the two of you. Keep close to him no matter what any time we’re out of this room.”

“What about in the room?” Doyle asked.

“Because of the nature of the Courts, all the rooms are shielded and warded. Nothing can get in without our permission.”

“Meaning they can howl at the door all night,” Spike finished with a smirk. “Good, I like that.”

“Don’t get cocky,” Angel warned. “This isn’t going to be easy.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Spike pushed open the bedroom door and stopped, flummoxed. The room was dim, only a few red candles burning on various surfaces. The sheets on the bed were red and black, beautifully highlighting the man sitting on them. Xander stared at him, a small smile on his lips and his eyes wide. Spike crossed the room quickly, pulling his mate up and into his arms, taking his lips in a deep kiss.

Xander pulled back, breathing heavily and used a finger to trace something on the blonde’s chest. Concentrating, Spike grinned as he realized what Xander was writing.

“I love you too,” he growled in to Xander’s ear. “Now, we have this lovely room and way too much clothing on.”

Giggling silently, Xander pushed away from him and started stripping off. Spike stripped off his own clothing and picked up Xander, dropping him on the bed and crawling in to wrap his arms around his mate. He held on tight and buried his face in his lover’s hair. Xander looked up at him, worry shining in his eyes.

“No matter what happens,” Spike said fiercely, tightening his hold. “Remember I love you.”

 

 

Chapter Forty Four: Callous Silence
Summary: The Trial pt 1
Rating: PG for a moment of swearing

 

The court room was filled with demons, making Xander move until he was sheltered between Spike and Angel, Doyle following closely behind them. Tara and Charity had stayed at the hotel where they would be safer. Many of the demons here would notice just what Charity was and some would be tempted to mug her and use her for the power she contained. She was safer locked behind the warded doors of the hotel room.

They slipped into their seats and waited, all steadily ignoring the W&H lawyers sitting not that far from them. Xander could feel himself shaking and gripped his board tightly to hide it. This was not the place to show weakness. The court room finished filling and the bailiff call the court into session, introducing the judge presiding over the case. The judge looked like a large owl to Xander as it stared down at them. He met the judge’s eyes fully and the judge nodded.

“It seems the basis of the case is who Alexander Harris belongs with, correct?’ the judge asked.

“Yes, Your Honour,” both sets of lawyers replied.

“If the prosecution would like to start.”

“Your Honour, Alexander Harris was given into our custody several years ago,” Wolfram and Hart’s lawyer began, standing and looking at the judge. “He was a patient at one of our hospitals until he was kidnapped from there three years ago. We have been trying since then to return him to a hospital, since the original one was destroyed.”

“Why?” the judge asked.

“Why was it destroyed?” the lawyer asked.

“No,” the judge said patiently. “Why are you trying so hard to get him back into a hospital?”

“Mr. Harris was admitted to the hospital because of delusions, Your Honour,” the lawyer explained. “It is best for him and society that he is kept in a secure facility. We are here today because William the Bloody kidnapped Mr. Harris from the first hospital, putting everyone in danger.” He sat back down.

“Defense.”

“Thank you, Your Honour,” their lawyer said, standing. “Despite what the prosecution may say, not only does my client not have delusions, he is not a danger to anyone. Yes, Mr. Harris was a patient at their hospital, but I have evidence that shows the only danger was the hospital itself. Mr. Harris is better off where he is than in the hands of Wolfram and Hart or any of their subsidiaries.” He sat down.

The main lawyer for the prosecution stood back up. “We call the shade of Lilah Morgan to the stand.”

A shimmer started and slowly morphed into the shape of a pretty blonde woman. Xander recognized her and shrunk back.

“Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” the bailiff asked.

“I do,” Lilah smirked.

“Miss Morgan, you briefly had Mr. Harris in your care, correct?”

“Yes,” she nodded.

“Can you tell us about it?”

“Nothing much to tell,” she replied. “I asked him a few questions but he refused to answer. It was quite rude.”

The lawyer asked a few more question, mostly about nothing, just filling the time before turning it over to their lawyer.

“Miss Morgan, you said he didn’t answer, correct?”

“Yes,” Lilah answered. “He didn’t say anything the whole time he was with me. Like I said before, very rude.”

“Thank you, no other questions.”

Looking confused, Lilah faded from view. A few more shades of employees of the hospital were called up, all saying that Xander was a loner and never spoke to anyone. Their lawyer always asked about the never speaking part, confusing W&H’s lawyers.

“Does the defense have any witnesses to call?” the judge asked.

“Yes, I’d like to call William the Bloody to the stand.”

Spike stood and sauntered up, swearing in and waiting.

“William the Bloody, you and your Sire removed Mr. Harris from the hospital, correct?” their lawyer asked. “Why did you do this?”

“Yes, we took him out of there,” Spike said with a bit of a sneer. “We took him because that place was slowly killing him. He was beyond pale and bruised, smelled of blood and semen.”

“Semen?”

“He had been raped just before I got there,” Spike told him.

“You are certain about that?”

“Since he smelled of pain as well and wasn’t standing properly, yes I am.”

“So you took him with you. What have you done for him since then?”

“Helped him heal. Made him gain some weight since he was too thin. Gotten him up to date in his schooling. Taught him how to defend himself,” Spike shrugged. “He’s family, I treated him as such.”

“And have you ever seen any signs of delusions from him?”

“No.”

“Has he ever been a danger?”

“No. He doesn’t like to cause others pain.”

“Thank you.”

W&H’s lawyer stood up. “You admit you kidnapped him from the hospital.”

“No,” Spike said coldly. “I rescued him from that hospital.”

“Really?”

“I asked him if he wanted to come with us. I didn’t force him. So no, not kidnapping.”

The lawyer glared at him and sat back down, letting the bailiff dismiss Spike. He smirked suddenly. “We call Alexander Harris to the stand.”

Spike gave him a hard hug and let him make his way up to the stand, still trying to hide his shaking.

“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” the bailiff asked.

I do, Xander wrote.

“Excuse me!” W&H’s lawyer shouted, surging to his feet. “What is going on?”

“Mr. Harris cannot talk,” their lawyer answered, smirking slightly. “It actually is part of our defense. Something your employees should have caught a long time ago.”

The other lawyer trembled with anger. “Fine,” he spat, shrinking down when the judge glared at him. “Mr. Harris, how old were you went you were admitted to the hospital?”

13.

“What was the reason you were sent there?”

I saw something that scared me. I told my parents and they sent me away.

“So your parents signed custody of you over to the hospital?”

I was thirteen, I don’t know. All I know is that a day after I told them what I saw I was locked up.

The lawyer stared at him for a moment. “How long were you there?”

Almost four years.

“How often did you interact with people there?”

Not often. Not being able to talk makes it difficult.

“When did you lose your voice? Before the hospital?”

No, a few days after I was there. Someone came into my room and used magic. POOF! Can’t talk.

“Someone used magic on you within the hospital walls?” the judge interrupted.

Yes.

The lawyer blinked, that wasn’t where he wanted it to go. “No other questions.”

“Xander,” their lawyer began. “What was it like in the hospital?”

Lonely, Xander wrote. The only person who paid attention to me was Trent.

“Tell me about this Trent.”

He used to come into my room at night. Sometimes more than one time. He would fuck me then leave.

“Language, Mr. Harris,” the judge chided. “Even if you’re only writing it.” Xander nodded.

“And no one did anything about this?” their lawyer asked.

No one cared.

“What’s your life been like since William took you from there?”

Happy. They love me. They protect me. I’ve been happier than I’ve ever been. Even when I was younger.

“I have a question,” the other lawyer said. The judge nodded. “Are any of them using you in a sexual manner?”

Do you mean am I having sex with any of them? Yes I am. And no, no one is using me.

“Which ones are you having relations with?”

Xander smirked a very Spike smirk and pulled down the collar of his shirt, showing the vivid scar. I am the acknowledged Mate of William the Bloody, Childe of Drusilla the Mad and GrandChilde of Angelus. No one would dare use me and Spike would rather stake himself than hurt me. Any other questions?

A murmur ran through the crowd and Xander just knew the gossip would be hitting the streets in minutes. Everyone would know he was Mated to Spike and no one would be able to touch him, even look at him wrong without it getting back to the vampire.

“No,” the lawyer stuttered. “That’s all.”

“You may step down,” the bailiff said, a slight grin on his face.

Nodding in thanks, Xander headed back to his table, sinking into Spike’s embrace.

“Proud of you, luv,” the vampire whispered.

 

 

 

Chapter Forty Five: True Silence
Summary: The Trail pt. 2
Rating: PG

 

Xander ignored the voices around him, concentrating on the warmth he could feel, warmth somehow coming from Dru a world away. The world faded away and he calmed. Beside him Spike shifted slightly and Xander wondered if the vampire could hear and feel Dru like he did.

“You good pet?” Spike leaned over to whisper in his ear.

Opening his eyes, Xander flashed him a small smile. He was actually fine despite the fact his life was being exposed to everyone and the Courts were going to decide his fate.

“Your Honour, I really don’t understand why the prosecution wants my client so much,” their lawyer said finally. “It is has been several years since he was in their care and he has not been violent or delusional. Instead he has worked to get an education and find a life outside of the hospital walls. So why are they trying so hard to get him back? Could it be to cover up some of their less than savoury actions?”

“What do you mean?” the judge asked, glaring down at him.

“A few months after Mr. Harris left the hospital he was brought back,” the lawyer replied. “During his time there he was beaten, raped and tortured both physically and mentally. It was through the actions of William the Bloody, Angelus, the Seer Doyle and one other that he was freed.”

“Lies!” the W&H lawyer shouted.

“Control yourself, Counselor,” the judge snapped. He looked at their lawyer. “Do you have proof?”

“Better,” the lawyer smirked. “I have a witness. I call to the stand the Council’s representative, Robin Goodfellow.”

Xander perked up at hearing his friend’s name. Having Robin on their side was a big advantage. The tall, green-tinged man walked serenely into the court room, ignoring the wide mouth look from the Wolfram and Hart lawyers. He took the stand and was sworn in, giving Xander a brief grin. Xander ignored the line of questioning, having already lived through the experience, he didn’t need to hear it again. Instead he watched the others in the room, noting that the opposition’s lawyers were awfully pale.

“We will break until tomorrow,” the judge announced once Robin was allowed to step down from the stand. “I will have my decision then.” As he left the room a flurry of sound started.

“Come on,” Robin said, coming to stand before them. “Let’s head back to your rooms. We have much to talk about.”

*

“We’re going to win, aren’t we?” Spike said to Robin.

Robin nodded. “Everything is stacked in your favour and all their actions speak against them. But that is not why I’m here.”

“They’re going to try something,” Doyle stated.

“Yes, they already have a ship waiting. There is no set destination for it so I wouldn’t even know where to look if they managed to get a hold of Xander.”

“Do you have any idea of how they’re going to try and snatch him?” Angel asked, settling beside his husband.

“They’re going to cause a riot and in the imbroglio they’ll grab him,” Robin told him. “You must make sure one of you is with him always. For obvious reasons I suggest Spike.”

“I can do a spell,” Tara offered.

“What kind?” Robin asked, turning his head to look at her.

She blushed and ducked her head, hiding her face behind her hair. “I can make it so that where ever Xander goes Spike will go too. It’s like a handcuff spell but harmless.”

Spike blinked. “You can do that?”

“Yes,” she answered, blushing brighter. “It’s fairly easy.”

“Do it,” Robin decided. “We can remove it later.”

 

 

Previous Next

Magic and Relationships

For the Price of Many, One

 

“Oh dear,” Giles murmured, staring down at the leather bound book in his hands.

“I don’t like that phrase,” Buffy complained, looking up from her own dusty book.

“Hmm, oh yes,” Giles stammered, looking up at her. “There’s a prophecy here that’s due to happen anytime now.”

“Any time,” whimpered Buffy. “What’s it about?”

The time will come when one must pay for the price of many, one,
For the price of one, none.
Time will pass on Raven’s wings
Listen as the Cuckoo sings.”

“Does that make any sense?” Willow asked, her fingers racing over her laptop’s keyboard.

“Not to me,” Xander muttered, flipping another page.

“Are you sure it’s happening soon?” Buffy asked plaintively.

“Yes, it was confirmed using the Antikythera mechanism,” Giles told her.

“The what-what?”

“It doesn’t matter, it’s just right,” Giles snapped.

“Fine, we’ll go scouting and see if anyone knows anything about this,” Buffy said, standing up. “Willow, come on.”

Xander watched them leave, an odd look on his face. He shook his head and went back to flipping through his book, pushing the fact that they ignored him once again out of his mind. After a few minutes he found something and began laughing.

“What is it, Xander?” Giles said exasperated.

“I think I found your prophecy, Giles,” he snickered, pushing over the book.

Giles picked up the book and stared at the pictures on the page. “I think you are right, Xander,” Giles smiled.

“Are we going to tell them?” Xander asked.

Giles lifted an eyebrow. “No, not at this moment.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Buffy and Willow walked wearily back into Giles’ apartment, flopping down on the couch.

“No one knows anything about this prophecy,” whined Buffy. “We even stopped to beat up Spike.”

“Oh well, then,” Giles sighed. “Perhaps you should head home and we’ll try again tomorrow.”

Smiling their thanks, Willow and Buffy headed off to their dorm, leaving Xander and Giles at Giles’. Once the door closed behind them, Xander started laughing again, nearly falling off the chair he was sitting on.

“Are you ever going to tell them?” he managed to gasp.

“With the way they’ve been acting lately,” Giles scoffed. “I think we can let them hang for another day.”

Xander stood up and moved over to hug Giles. “You are the best!”

“And I love you too,” Giles smiled, placing a soft kiss on Xander’s lips. “We’ll give it a few days and then tell them.”

“Bed now?” Xander breathed a kiss across Giles’ lips.

“Bed now,” Giles agreed, pulling the younger man along.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

“Giles, we still don’t know anything about this prophecy,” Buffy said, pushing the book in front of her away.

“Actually,” Giles disagreed, “we do.”

“What?” Buffy and Willow gasped.

“We’ve known about he prophecy and what it is about for a few days now,” he said absently as he made himself some tea.

“A few days?” Willow echoed.

“Yes, Xander found it,” Giles smiled at his lover.

“Xander? But Xander never finds anything,” Buffy exclaimed.

“Actually, Buffy, Xander has found several key pieces of information in the past,” Giles said coldly. “Only Willow and you never noticed. Because of your willful blindness, you have spent the past several days searching for something that has already happened.”

“It happened?” Willow echoed again, looking around confused.

“Yes, Willow, it happened.”

Giles tossed something down on the table in front of them. Both girls leaned over to read the print and see the pictures.

Valley Shoes Sale – Three Pairs of Shoes for the Price of One.
Kitten to a good home – free.
New Raven wear – Watches, ties and hats.
Sunnydale’s Newest Band – Cuckoo playing tonight at the Bronze.

“Xander found it in event/classified column of the Sunnydale Times,” Giles said softly. “Mostly since neither of you deemed him worthy of reading a real book.”

“I’m sorry, Giles,” Willow said softly.

“It’s not me you have to apologize too,” Giles told her. “And Xander has already said he won’t be by for a while.”

“Why not?” Willow asked.

“He’s in the middle of moving and doesn’t have the time to bother with you,” Giles said walking away.

“Moving?” Willow echoed, looking over at Buffy who shrugged.

 

 

Behind Closed Doors (Or Get Out)

 

With a moan of contentment, Xander settled against Rupert on the couch and looked around the room in satisfaction. It had taken them two days to come to a compromise on where Xander’s things would go in the apartment, but the finished product was a sight to behold. New and old things mix together from clothing to toiletries to music and gave the apartment a feel that it was home to both of them instead of being Rupert’s place that Xander just happened to stay at.

“Got everything put away?” Rupert asked, brushing a kiss across Xander’s hair as he continued to read his book.

“Left a few things out,” Xander grinned, taking the book and carefully marking the page before placing it on the table. “Wanna go see?”

“Cheeky brat,” Rupert said fondly as Xander stood and pulled him up.

“Your cheeky brat,” Xander corrected, leaning in for a kiss.

A sudden banging on the door interrupted them and they pulled apart, sending twin glares at whoever was beyond the wood.

“I’ll head upstairs,” Xander said. “And get myself ready.”

Rupert groaned as he watched his young lover walk up the stairs, loosened jeans starting to slip down the slim hips. Wrenching his eyes away, he strode to the door and jerked it open as Buffy raised her hand to pound again.

“What?” he snapped, ignoring the two witches behind her.

“Something wrong, Giles?” she asked.

“Nothing’s wrong,” he informed her. “But I am presently occupied. Now state your business so I can return to mine.”

“Oh, we were worried,” Willow said from behind her. “We haven’t seen from Xander and when we went by his parents’ place they said he left. But we can’t find him anywhere. And we’re really worried because Xander attracts trouble and he’ll get hurt if he’s by himself.”

Rupert glared at her. “The sad part is that you really believe that. And if you recall, I told you a week ago that he would be out of touch because he was moving. I do know where he is and no I am not telling you.”

Tara looked at him intently then smiled shyly and nodded. She grabbed Willow’s hand and started to pull the redhead away. “If Mr. Giles knows where he is then he must be alright,” she said calmly. “Maybe Mr. Giles can have him call you later.”

“I will tell him you inquired about his whereabouts,” Rupert said, giving the shy blonde a thankful look. “Now begone, please.”

“Fine,” Buffy huffed, following Willow and Tara.

Rupert closed the door and leaned against the wood. He was getting tired of the little spoiled brats. They were driving him starkers and he was sure he was going to crack one of these days.

“They gone?” Xander asked, leaning over the railing to look at him.

Rupert looked up and smiled at the now naked young man. “Yes, and they would like a call.”

“Tara?”

“Tara,” Rupert agreed as he began to ascend the stairs. “She is a very insightful young woman.”

“That she is, but I don’t want to talk about her right now,” Xander said as Rupert reached the top of the stairs.

“Oh, and what would you like to do?” Rupert asked, pulling the younger man close.

“How about we investigate those items I might have left out,” Xander grinned.

“Sounds delightful.”

*

“Where have you been?” Willow hissed, pretending to read the book in front of her.

“I moved,” Xander said shortly, all his attention on the text Giles had handed him.

“That’s what Giles said, but he didn’t tell us where,” she complained sullenly.

Xander looked up at her. “Did it ever occur to you that he didn’t tell you because I asked him not to?”

“You don’t want me to know where you live?” she whispered.

“Willow, you haven’t visited me in months,” he said patiently. “Hell, you barely say two words to me when we’re in the same room. Why would you need to know where I live and why would I want to tell you?”

She stared at him with a confused look on her face. “I don’t understand.”

“I know you don’t,” he shrugged. “And right now I don’t care. There are more important things to worry about.” He turned back to his book and kept looking for the demon that Spike had seen. Beside him Willow sat silently, staring blankly down at her own book.

“Hey Giles,” Buffy said suddenly, breaking the silence that had fallen over the room. “Where did you get that lamp. It’s a bit swank for you isn’t it?”

“Why the sudden interest in my light fixtures?” he asked dryly, not looking at her.

“Dunno,” she said. “It just seems out of place.”

“I can assure you it is not out of place,” he said. “It’s right where it is suppose to be.”

“Fine,” she huffed. “Was just wondering.”

“Well don’t,” he snapped. “We have to figure out just what Spike saw.”

“Described it the best I could,” Spike complained from his seat. He poked at the book in front of him. “I haven’t found anything yet that matches it.”

“I-I m-might have,” Tara stammered. She pushed the book over to Spike. “W-was that it?”

He glanced down at the page, studying the picture for a moment. “Yep, that’s it.”

“Let me see,” Giles demanded, reaching out a hand for the book. He read the inscription on the demon, smiling after a moment. “It’s fairly easy to kill. Simple decapitation.”

“So why didn’t Spike kill it when he saw it?” Buffy pouted.

“Because I didn’t know what it was or how to kill it,” Spike said patronizingly.

“Well go do it know,” she commanded, waving a hand imperiously. “I have a test tomorrow.”

Giles removed his glasses and began cleaning the lenses, trying to hold back the scathing words he so desperately longed to say. “Fine. Xander, Willow and Spike can go handle it while you study for the test.”

“Um, I’m in that class too,” Willow said hesitantly.

“Fine,” Giles sighed. “Xander and Spike can go deal with it.”

“But Xander will get hurt,” Willow protested. She flinched when Tara smacked her, looking up with shocked eyes at her girl friend.

“I will go with Xander and Spike,” Tara said softly. Xander smiled at her and Spike leered. “We should be fine.”

“Let’s go then,” Spike said gleefully. “Time for some mayhem.”

Giles went into another room and returned with a sword in hand. “Here, this should do the trick.”

With a sweet smile, Xander took the weapon from him, his eyes promising rewards for the older man later. The three left and Giles turned to look at the two women still sitting in his living room.

“You can go now,” he said shortly, heading to the kitchen to fix himself some tea.

“But I thought we’d study here,” Willow blinked.

“You thought wrong,” Giles informed her. “You know where the door is: use it.”

He listened to them pack up. “What’s gotten into Giles lately?” Buffy asked.

“I don’t know, maybe a spell or something,” Willow replied.

“Can you fix it?”

“I can try,” Willow said and he heard the door close behind them.

Leaning against the counter, he began to plan a protection spell for himself and Xander to render magic useless against them without their permission. Nodding he decided to talk to Tara in the morning and get her to help. She was powerful enough to counter anything Willow could throw at them.

*

Xander and Tara seated themselves on a headstone and watched as Spike toyed with the demon. The blonde was having so much fun neither of them had the heart to interrupt.

“So how long have you and Mr. Giles been together?” Tara asked softly.

Xander blushed. “A few months,” he answered.

“You moved to his place,” she stated.

“I figured you’d notice that,” he said ruefully. “Finished moving in the other night.”

“When we stopped by.”

“Yep.”

“Did we interrupt something?” she asked cheekily.

“Tara!” Xander squeaked. “Good girls don’t ask stuff like that.”

“What’s the fun in that,” she giggled. The laughter died down. “Are you happy?”

He looked at her, meeting her eyes. “Extremely.”

“Good,” she smiled, leaning against his arm. “Then I’ll do my best to keep Willow off your case.”

He hugged her. “Don’t worry, we can handle Willow. You don’t have to sacrifice yourself for us.”

She giggled again. “Who said it was a sacrifice?”

“If you two are finished chatting, can we finally kill this thing?” Spike shouted at them, kicking the downed demon.

Xander hopped of the headstone and walked over, the sword held loosely in his hands. “Wanna do the honours, Blonde?” He held out the sword.

“Sure,” Spike grinned, grabbing the sword and swinging it down with a sickening thud.

Xander looked down at the remainders of the demon. “Fire?”

“Fire,” Spike agreed.

“Tara,” Xander called. He pointed to the dead demon. “Wanna light it up?”

Smiling, Tara cast a quick spell at the body and they watched as it quickly burned down to ashes.

“Time to go home,” Xander bounced. “Let’s drop the sword back off at Giles’.”

“Don’t bother pretending, Harris,” Spike said, handing the weapon over. “I know you’re shacking up with ol’ Rupes.”

Xander blinked at him. “How do you know that?”

“Can smell it can’t I?” Spike smirked, walking off.

“Smell it? Hey, what else can you smell?” he yelled, running after the vampire.

Snickering quietly, Tara followed along behind them.

The Price

 

Tara watched her girlfriend mix the potion ingredients together haphazardly with a wince. She was well aware that the spell wasn’t going to work the way Willow wanted, and would more than likely rebound on the witch, but she couldn’t find the words to warn the redhead. Every bit of magic Willow did went further and further toward the wrong side of the equation and Tara hoped that this mishap would make Willow consider her actions.

“That should do it,” Willow sat back with a wide smile. “Are you going to help me?”

“No,” Tara said softly.

“Why not?” Willow pouted. “It would work better with the two of us.”

“Because I know there’s no spell on Mr. Giles,” Tara said patiently.

“But he’s been so mean to me and Buffy lately,” Willow whined. “There has to be a spell or something on him.”

“I hate to say it, but you’ve been a bitch lately,” Tara pointed out. “And Buffy’s been worse. Maybe that’s the reason Mr. Giles has been upset with you.”

Willow flinched back. “I haven’t been a bitch!”

“Yes you have,” Tara retorted, then shook her head. “Nothing I say is going to change anything, so do the spell if you’re going to do it.”

A confused expression on her face, Willow turned back to the potion she had made, pouring it over a picture of Giles as she whispered the incantation. The potion fizzled and popped as it touch the photograph and a bright light flash, throwing Willow across the small room. Tara watched from her seat on the bed as the redhead picked herself up.

“What happened?” Willow asked groggily.

“There’s a protection spell on Mr. Giles,” Tara explained. “It repels all intrusive and malicious magic, like the spell you just used.”

“How do you know that?”

“I put the spell on him.”

“Why didn’t you tell me? You don’t trust me!” Willow accused.

“I didn’t tell you because it was none of your business,” Tara snapped. “And with how you keep misusing your magic, no I don’t trust you.”

Willow pushed to her feet and loomed over her girlfriend. “What are you saying?”

Tara stood and faced her head on, eyes unflinching and back firm. “I’m saying, if you can’t get control of your magic use then I’m walking away. I can’t be with someone who has no control.”

“I have control,” Willow protested, eyes dark with anger.

“No you don’t. You throw spells together without thinking about the consequences. You use magic to pry into other people’s private lives. You seem to think that magic gives you the right to do anything you want,” Tara said sharply. “Back off the magic or I’m gone.”

“And where will you go? Back to your parents?” Willow taunted meanly.

The blonde stared at her in shock before backing up a step. “You know, I was willing to give you a second chance, see if you could reform, but after that comment I can’t. I’m sorry Willow, but I can’t be with you anymore. I’ll pack my things up tomorrow.” Without looking at the redhead, Tara left the dorm room and headed off, shivering with grief in the night air.

“What are you doing out by yourself?” a familiar British voice snapped from a shadow, making her jump.

“Heading to Mr. Giles’,” Tara said quietly as Spike stepped into the lamp light, wrapping her arms around herself.

Spike stepped closer, smelling salt, anger, grief and fear on the witch. Without a word he began to walk with her, keeping her safe on he way to the Watcher’s place. He didn’t know what happened, but it was enough to make him want to protect her. He stayed back as she knocked on the door and waited. The door opened to reveal a half dressed Giles with an angry expression. The anger melted at the look on Tara’s face and Giles met Spike’s eyes over her head. Spike shrugged, he didn’t know what was going on either. Stepping back, Giles let them both into the apartment.

“What has happened?” he asked, leading the now shaking Tara over to the couch. “Is something wrong with Willow?”

“Yes, but it’s her own doing,” Tara said quietly. “We had a fight. I-I left her.”

“A fight about what?” Xander asked, coming down the stairs in pajama pants. He sat beside Tara and pulled her into a loose hug.

“Her using magic,” she looked over a Giles. “She tried to do a reveal spell on you, but the protections stopped it.”

A very Ripper-ish look fell over Giles’ face and Spike felt sorry for Willow for a moment, but it passed quickly. Even he had noticed that she used magic too much, even for the simple things.

“I told her to stop using it so much or I’d leave,” her voice broke a little. “She asked where I’d go, back to my parents. I couldn’t stay after that.”

A low growl sound from Xander and Spike felt himself slip into game face at that revelation. Willow had definitely gone to far by saying that to Tara. Brown eyes met golden and an accord was made, Willow would be dealt with. Glancing at Giles, Spike could see the same resolution in his eyes.

“Okay then,” Spike said, breaking the silence. “We should shuffle of this mortal coil and engage ourselves in something entertaining.”

Xander blinked at him. “Huh?”

“It’s a quote from Shakespeare,” Tara said softly, moving deeper into Xander’s arms. “It sort of means, leave behind the strife of everyday life.”

“Ah, so we should vegetate,” Xander nodded knowingly.

“Perhaps Spike should not offer our services so lightly,” Giles said, raising an eyebrow.

“I’m sorry,” Tara said suddenly, pulling out of Xander’s arms. “I probably interrupted something, I shouldn’t ave come here.”

“No, no,” Xander said, tugging her back against him. “Rupert was just teasing Spike. You haven’t interrupted anything and we don’t mind you coming here.”

Giles looked over at her. “Where are you going to be staying?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” she whispered. “I told Willow I’d be back to pack my things, but I don’t really have anywhere to go.”

Giles and Xander held a silent conversation over her head. “You can stay with us,” Xander told her, giving her a hug. “We have a guest room and we’re pretty close to the campus.”

“I couldn’t,” she protested.

“You can,” Spike said firmly. “There’s no telling what Red will do. Between Giles and Harris they can keep you safe both physically and magically. It’s safer if you stay here.”

“I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Spike, but he’s right,” Xander said with a smile. “Tomorrow we’ll go get your things and make the room pretty for you. And if you beg Rupert might even let you bring Miss Kitty.”

Tara giggled at that and gave Giles a pleading look. He pretended to disagree but nodded under twin puppy dogs eyes. Spike watched the interaction with a small smile. This kept the three of them relatively safe, even if it guaranteed Red and the Slayer finally finding out about Rupert and Xander’s relationship. The only thing that could keep them safer was him moving in as well, but that wasn’t going happen.

*

Tara opened the door with shaking hands, grateful for Xander’s solid bulk behind her. She sighed with relief when the room ended up being empty of the redheaded witch. She really didn’t want to deal with Willow at that moment. The wounds of Willow’s words and actions were still too raw. Moving quickly, she packed up her meager belongs, leaving anything that might have belonged to both her and Willow. She didn’t want any reminders of their relationship. Everything all together, she smiled at Xander as he lifted up the majority of the boxes, leaving her with only a couple bags. Before they could leave, the door opened to let in a scowling Buffy and weeping Willow.

“What’s going on?” Buffy demanded. “What did you do to Willow?”

“Why does she have to have done something to Willow?” Xander countered, putting the boxed back down on the bed.

“I wasn’t talking to you,” Buffy sneered at him. “I was talking to the sniveling little witch behind you.”

“Stop,” Xander said harshly. “You know nothing about what’s going on but you still come in here and make judgments and demands.”

“I’m the Slayer,” she began.

“And that has nothing to do with this,” he snapped. “This isn’t some monster for you to kill. This is an issue between Tara and Willow.”

“Fine, I still want to know what’s going on.”

“I left her,” Tara said quietly but strongly.

You left Willow?” Buffy snorted. “To do what? You were nothing without her.”

Tara touched Xander’s arm as a snarl formed on his lips, shaking her head when he looked down at her. “I was a witch before I met her, I’ll still be a witch without her. The only thing I’ve taken from our relationship is how not to abuse my gifts. Now, if you’ll move, we’ll be leaving.”

“And where are you going? You’ve got nothing,” Buffy sneered again.

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Xander smirked. “She has me, Rupert and Spike. We’ll always be there for her.”

“Since when do you call Giles Rupert?” Willow asked, finally stopping her crying.

“Since I’ve been fucking him,” Xander said bluntly, grinning a little at their expressions of shock and disgust. “We’ve been together for a while now.”

“How? Why did you keep this from us?” Willow asked.

“Because it was none of your business,” Xander told her. “Thought you would have figured it out when Buffy saw the lamp.”

“What lamp?”

“That’s so sad,” Xander said, shaking his head. “You gave me that lamp. It belonged to your grandmother and you gave it to me after my own died. Of all the things I moved into that apartment, you should have recognized at least that.”

“Oh,” Willow said softly, eyes wide. “I didn’t-”

“You didn’t care, except about the fact that Rupert was hiding something from you,” Xander snapped. “It doesn’t matter anyway. I’ve gotten over it and over both of you.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Buffy said dismissively, waving a hand. “We don’t need you anyway.”

“I thought you’d say that,” Xander smiled sadly. “That’s gonna come back to bite you, but I can’t find it in me to care. Come on, Tara, let’s go home.”

Smiling, Tara nodded and picked the bags back up, heading out of the room.

“Wait, I wanted to talk to Tara,” Willow yelped, reaching out for her ex-girlfriend.

“I don’t want to talk to you,” Tara told her. “I think we said everything we needed to say last night. It’s over Willow, get used to it.”

“But I didn’t mean it,” Willow protested.

“Yes you did,” Tara replied. “And you know it. I’m not coming back. Nothing you say or do can change that fact.” She left the room, heading down to the car waiting.

“You lost the best thing in your life,” Xander said quietly. “And it wasn’t the first time. Maybe this will finally get through to you.” He followed Tara’s example and left the two women standing in the middle of the room.

“Forget them,” Buffy told Willow. “We don’t need them.”

“Yeah, we don’t need them,” Willow echoed.

*

“How did it go?” Rupert asked as they piled into the apartment with Tara’s belongings.

“Well, you’re probably gonna have to watch for a pissed of Slayer wondering why you’re with me,” Xander grinned. “Other than that, it went well. Tara stood up beautifully to them.”

“And Buffy decided she doesn’t need us,” Tara added.

“Hmm, I wonder if she included me in that,” Rupert smiled, pulling his lover in for a quick kiss. “Come on, we’ll get this stuff up stairs and then go get some better linens for the bed.”

“I don’t need that,” Tara protested as she followed the men upstairs.

Rupert stopped and turned to look at her. “You’re part of our family,” he said quietly.

“And we take care of family,” Xander finished. “That means buying you nice sheets, making sure there’s food you like in the house and finding a place for Miss Kitty’s litterbox.”

“Did you remember to get her?” Rupert asked. “I didn’t see her.”

With a smile, Tara reached into the box Rupert was carrying and pulled out the sleeping kitten. “She was napping.”

“No dawdling now,” Rupert smiled at her. “Let’s get this upstairs and then go shopping.”

“And if you want, we can see if Spike wants to join us for a cheesy horror movie marathon,” Xander offered.

“That sounds good,” she said softly. “Thank you, both of you. I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

“Survived,” Xander said seriously. He reached down and brushed a piece of hair out of her face. “We always survive.”

“Yes,” Rupert agreed. “We always survive.”

 

 

All Alone (Or so We thought)

 

“We are all alone and you are at my mercy,” Xander said with an exaggerated leer.

“Oh am I?” Rupert smiled. He loved his lover’s silly side and loved to indulge the young man in games. “And just what are you going to do to me?”

Pushing lightly on one shoulder, Xander steering Rupert toward the couch, sending him sprawling with a slightly harder push. “It is two hours until Tara’s class ends,” he murmured, moving to straddle Rupert’s lap.

“Yes, but it is less than an hour until sundown,” Rupert pointed out, gasping slightly as Xander’s lips found a sensitive spot on his neck.

“Hmmm,” Xander hummed, pressing wet, opened mouth kisses to Rupert’s collarbone. “He’s waiting for Tara, so he won’t be here until she gets out of class. That means we have two hours to do whatever we want without interruption or worrying about a voyeuristic vampire.”

“True,” Rupert admitted, drawing Xander’s face up for a series of deep kisses.

Pulling back slightly, Xander tugged at the buttons on Rupert’s shirt, growling when they wouldn’t open right away. Rupert sat back and watched as his lover struggled with the buttons, not offering to help. A moment later, the buttons went flying as need progressed past rational thought and Xander ripped the shirt open. Any protest left Rupert’s mind as warm lips slid down his chest and fingers traced through his chest hairs. Wet heat surrounded one nipple as clever fingers found and pinched the other. Shifting a bit, Rupert moved so he could removed Xander’s shirt, breaking them apart briefly. Once his shirt was off, Xander moved back quickly, going back to his task of driving Rupert insane. He traced the muscles of Rupert’s chest and stomach with his tongue, tasting the flesh and need. Moaning, he moved down to dip his tongue into his navel, grinning at the gasp and thrust that got.

“Naked,” Rupert commanded, pushing Xander off his lap. “Now.”

Standing, Xander complied, unbuttoning his jeans and pushing them down, taking his boxers with them. He stood there unashamed for a moment before reaching out and snapping open the button on Rupert’s pants. Tugging the older man to his feet, he quickly divested him of his remain clothing. With a wicked grin, Xander dropped to his knees, leaned forward and swallowed Rupert whole. The sudden cursing made him smile around the hard flesh in his mouth and he pulled back, swiping his tongue over the tip. With smooth movements, he blew Rupert’s mind, not caring when his lover’s hands wound into his hair, holding him still as Rupert’s hips began to move. Reaching up, he cupped fragile balls, rolling them lightly in their sac. He could feel Rupert getting close and he pulled away, smirking at the sound of discontent.

“We’re not done yet,” he scolded his lover, pushing at his hips until he was seated again. He moved one hand to lightly stroke Rupert’s erection while the other moved behind himself to start the task of stretching. Xander watched as his lover’s eyes widened with surprise at his actions, grinning as he moved the hand stroking the thick cock to grab the lube he had stashed in the couch cushions early. Sliding his fingers out of his body, he poured the slick liquid over them and moved them back to his hole, slicking himself up. He drizzled a layer of lube over Rupert’s cock, watching as he shivered at the cool sensation. Now ready, he moved to position himself over Rupert’s lap, reaching back to hold Rupert’s cock still as he sank down on it. Large hands held Xander’s hips, steadying him as he took Rupert to the root. Gasping he held still for a moment, relaxing round the feeling of being stretched and filled.

*

“Every time I moved the bloody thing disappear,” Spike groaned. Beside him Tara giggled, her laughter light and free. “I swear the bloody thing was playing hide and seek with me.”

“It was probably lonely,” Tara teased. “And you make such a good playmate.”

“Thanks, ducks,” Spike whined. “Just what I want to be known for.”

“It’s okay,” she said soothingly. “We all know you’re still the big bad.”

“Not nice to tease,” he groaned.

“Come on,” she laughed, grabbing his hand and pulling him along. “I’ll make you some hot chocolate since you were nice enough to walk me home.”

“Can’t let you wander around town by yourself,” Spike pointed out. “‘S dangerous.”

“I know,” she nodded and leaned over to kiss his cheek. “But thank you anyway.”

Thankful he couldn’t blush, Spike changed the subject. “How come you’re out early?”

“The teacher was attacked by a barbecue fork last night,” she reported mockingly. “So after getting our papers back, class was canceled.”

“Teacher dead?” Spike asked.

“Nope, just in the hospital.”

As they walked up to the front door something made Spike stop. “Perhaps we should wait,” he started, but Tara was already opening the door.

They both stopped in shock. Xander was straddled across Giles’ lap, both of them naked. The older man’s hands were cupping flexing asscheeks as Xander lifted and dropped down and the sounds and smells of sex filled the air. Tara gasped, dropping her bag and both men turned at the sound, freezing all motion.

“Nice show,” Spike quipped, breaking the silence that had fallen over the room.

Blushing brightly, Xander buried his face in Giles’ shoulder, murmuring about forgetting to lock doors and dusting voyeuristic vampires.

 

And To Complicate Matters

“What kind of demon did you say it was?” Giles asked, looking over at the grumbling Spike. Tara smiled into her own book as the blond made faces at Giles.

“It was a Crot’ch’rot demon,” Spike repeated, staring out the window with a pout. “Fully grown too.”

“Okay, Tara, see if you can find any spells to banish the Crot’ch’rot demon,” Giles said, handing her another book. “Xander, can you look to see if the demon has any weaknesses.”

“Why banish it?” Xander asked, picking up a book.

“Crot’ch’rot demons can’t be killed,” Spike offered in explanation. “They can only be banished back to their home dimensions.”

“Then why am I looking for weaknesses?” Xander asked, already flipping through the ancient tome.

“Because it might have a magically weakness that will make it easier to banish,” Giles explained, stopping behind the young man briefly to drop a kiss on the dark hair.

“Oh, okay,” Xander smiled up at him before going back to his reading.

Tara flipped the page and stopped, staring at the picture of the demon Spike had described. Quickly, she read all the facts, noting that no weaknesses were listed but the list for strengths was very long. Finally she found the section that mentioned how to banish them back to their home dimension. Blushing, the paling, she gasped Giles’ name, bringing the older man to her. When he reached the table, she pushed the book over, her finger highlighting the area.

“Oh my,” Giles breathed, reaching up to take his glasses off and wipe at them. Both Xander and Spike looked up, wondering just what the problem was.

“Found something then?” Spike asked, coming to read over Giles’ shoulder. “Bloody hell!”

“Okay, what?” Xander asked. Giles handed him the book and waited as he read it. “Am I reading this right?”

“Probably,” Spike noted. “Especially if it says we have to have sex to get rid of these demons.”

“See, that’s what I think I’m reading wrong,” Xander said, looking at his lover. He looked back down and read. “Only the seed of several men collected and mixed together with the proper spell ingredients can banish the Crot’ch’rot demon. The seed must be collected by a single witch within a short period of time. Though the manner of collection can vary, results are best when collected intimately.

“That’s what it says,” Giles sighed, cleaning his glasses again as he tried to force his blush back down.

“So it says the only way to banish these demons is for Tara to have sex with us?” Xander asked for clarification. Giles nodded. “Are we forgetting that even if she would be willing,” he spared a glance for the blushing witch. “She still is a lesbian?”

“I realize that is a bit of a problem,” Giles admitted. “We’ll have to keep researching and see if there is an alternative means of banishing them.”

Handing the book back, Xander groaned. “Tara, can I talk to you in the kitchen?”

Tara hurried out of the room, ducking her face so her hair hid the splotchy redness of her blush. Xander was seated at the kitchen table, his head in his hands, muttering softly to himself.

“I don’t think there’s another way,” he said to her, lifting dark eyes. “But I don’t want to put you in a position that would make you uncomfortable.”

“I-” she started.

“Let me talk first, please,” Xander said. “I’ve seen. I know even if you haven’t admitted it yet. Rupert wonders and he won’t care either way.”

“Spike?” she squeaked, paling when Xander nodded.

“I know this spell worries you,” he smiled a little. “Hell it worries me. I won’t make you go through it if you don’t want to.”

“It scares me,” she admitted softly. “Until Spike I’ve never been attracted to men. And now this spell depends on me having sex with three of them.”

“Like I said, you don’t have to do it,” Xander reminded her. “We can find another witch who might be able to help.”

“But would you be able to be intimate with them?” she asked boldly.

He sighed. “No. I probably would have a big problem with it.”

“But you have no problem with me,” she said shrewdly.

“You’re family,” he said, reaching out to touch her hand. “It would be awkward at first, but I think it would bring us all closer in the long run.”

“Should we go tell them then?” Tara smiled, standing up.

“Yeah, before they waste another hour looking for something that doesn’t exist.”

tbc…

Doing Spells

 

“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” Spike asked again, settling on the couch beside the blond witch.

“It’ll be fine,” Tara replied softly. “I trust all of you. I know you won’t hurt me.”

“When are we going to do this?” Xander asked from the other side of her.

“As soon as possible would be the most opportune time,” Rupert said, removing his glasses and cleaning them. “So, basically anytime Tara is ready.”

“D-do we have the ingredients for the spell?” she asked.

“Yes,” Rupert nodded. “And in excess too. We can put if off for a few days if you want.”

“No,” Tara shook her head. “It’s best to get this done as soon as possible.”

“Meaning?” Xander asked softly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.

“Now would be best,” she whispered. “Before I have time to think about it.”

“Are you sure?” Spike asked once again.

“Yes,” she stressed.

“We should head upstairs,” Xander offered. “A bed would probably be best.”

“I’ll get the potion’s ingredients,” Rupert smiled at his lover. “You go on up.”

Xander led Tara and Spike up the stairs, almost feeling the witch shaking behind him. He pushed open the door to his and Rupert’s bedroom, stepping out of the way to let them in. Spike whistled at the king size bed taking up most of the space in the room.

“We don’t have to do this,” Xander reminded Tara as she sat gingerly on the edge of the large bed.

“Would you all stop,” she complained. “I’m fine with this. Tomorrow I might have issues, but I good right now.”

Smiling, Xander stepped in front of her, lifting her face to place a gentle kiss on her lips. “I’m going to get some, um, stuff out. Remember, you can stop it at any time.”

“He’s quite correct,” Rupert said from the door. He walked over and placed his arm full of items on the dresser, before shutting the door. “Are we ready?”

“Yes,” the others responded.

“I think you and Xander should start the show,” Spike leered. “Seems you’re already good at it.”

Xander blushed but nodded, stepping up to his lover. He pulled the older man into a kiss, driving his tongue deep into Rupert’s mouth. Rupert responded in kind, kissing him hard as their hands began the familiar dance of removing clothing.

On the bed, Tara watched with wide eyes as the two men kissed, clothing falling under clever fingers. Spike sat beside her, pulling her into his arms.

“Aren’t they beautiful,” he whispered into her ear, his eyes still on the couple in the middle of the room. “They fit so well.”

She moaned quietly as Rupert fisted a hand in Xander’s hair and tilted his head tot he side, attacking his neck with teeth, tongue and lips. Xander gasped and grabbed onto his shoulders.

“They know we’re watching,” Spike murmured, hesitantly running a hand up and down her arm. “They’re putting on a show for us.”

By now, Xander had pulled a bit away from Rupert and giving a wicked grin, dropped to his knees, mouth tasting the skin just about the waist band of Rupert’s pants.

Spike’s hand wandered a bit, sliding down to play with her fingers and up over her neck to toy with Tara’s hair. She shivered a bit beneath his touch but didn’t pull away. As they watched, Xander deftly opened Rupert’s pants, pushing them and the boxers beneath down over the older man’s hips to puddle on the ground around his feet. Tara blushed at her first real look at a naked, aroused man, but Spike’s careful embrace kept her from bolting.

Rupert reached down and tugged Xander to his feet, flicking open the simple button on his baggy jeans, letting them fall to the ground. One hand pushed impatiently at his underwear until they joined the mess of clothes on the floor. Turning Xander to face the other two, Rupert stepped up behind him, wrapping his arms around his lover.

“Your turn,” he said softly. “Would you like some help?”

Feeling her face heat up, Tara nodded. A smiling Xander extracted himself from Rupert’s arms and removed her from Spike’s, pulling her to her feet. He placed another soft kiss on her lips as his hands gently undid the small buttons on the top she wore. He pushed the thin cloth away, leaving her in her bra and skirt. Next he tackled the shirt, easing it down her hips and thighs. Tara stood before him in her underthings and suddenly any thoughts of running left. These were her friends, her family and she knew they wouldn’t do anything to harm her in any way.

Glancing over, she noticed that Rupert already had Spike naked and had pinned the vampire to the bed and he devoured his mouth.

“Okay, that’s hotter than I thought it would be,” Xander admitted softly, wrapping his arms around her.

“Me too,” she agreed, as the two men on the bed continued to ravage each other’s mouths. “I still have clothes on.”

“I think it would be best if you removed those,” Xander told her, stepping away a bit to give her some space.

She understood. If she truly wanted to do this, she needed to participate somehow and something as simple as taking off her underwear would speak much louder than any words she might utter. Nodding, she reached back and unhooked her bra, dropping it at her feet. Then she pushed the plain white panties down, stepping out of them and back into Xander’s arms. He smiled and kissed her again, this time much more than the chaste ones before. She gasped as his tongue played over his lips and her opening her mouth let him sneak inside.

“Oh my,” Rupert remarked.

Tara and Xander separate and turned tot he bed, smirking down at the men sprawled over the large surface. They moved as one, sliding between Rupert and Spike, waiting for the older men to react. Spike reacted first, gazing intently into Tara’s eyes before moving forward and taking her mouth in a hard kiss. She moaned as all thought stopped, blasted away by the taste of Spike.

Time became a blur as the four of them tasted each other in multitudes of ways. They kissed and touched, rubbed and tugged before Tara found herself splayed beneath Spike. The vampire watched her as he sank into her body, breaching the tender barrier with no pain.

“Special lube,” Xander whispered into her ear as he rubbed her stomach.

Slowly she adjusted to the feeling of being filled for the first time. Reaching up, she pulled Spike down into a kiss, telling him without words that she was ready for more. Carefully he began to move, soft and slow, getting her used to the sensation. They rocked together, her legs climbing up over his hips and beside them, Xander and Rupert watched, hands playing on each other’s bodies as the waited. Before Spike could come he pulled out and Tara cupped her hands beneath his cock, catching the spilled seed. Carefully, she transferred it over to the waiting dish. Breathing heavily, Spike leaned down and kissed her again.

When Spike pulled back, Tara turned to look at Xander, smiling at his with surety. “Both of you,” she whispered, placing a hand on Xander’s face.

“Both?” he asked, leaning into her touch.

“Yes. You’re together in everything else, it shouldn’t be any different here,” her smile was serene.

Instead of answering, he leaned down a kissed her, drawing a soft moan as he mapped her mouth. Rupert moved to kneel behind Xander, hands drifting over both of them. They broke apart and Xander eased it position between Tara’s legs, looking down into her eyes once more for assurance. She smiled and he slid into her body, resting comfortably against her. They kissed again as Rupert sped through the preparations and thrust slowly into Xander. The two under him gasped and moaned into each other’s mouths as Rupert’s weight settled on to them. The rhythm was choppy at first until it slid into perfection, each of Rupert’s thrusts sending Xander harder and deeper into Tara.

Tearing her lips away from Xander’s, Tara glanced over a Spike shocked to find him once more aroused, erection in hand as he stroked to their rhythm. He met her eyes and she moaned at the heat directed at her and the gasped as Xander did something that sent her over the edge, her eyes still locked with Spike’s.

Still, Xander took several deep breaths and pulled away, seating himself further on Rupert’s erection for a moment before he moved off his lover’s lap. Hurrying despite the languid feel to her legs, Tara position a hand beneath each of them and watched as they stroked each other to completion. She transferred her warm handfuls over to the dish and Rupert added a mixture of ingredients. They both whispered the spell as they carefully mixed everything together. A quick flash and a new potion sat there, waiting to be used.

“I take it that worked,” Xander said quietly as he slipped off the bed.

“It did,” Rupert smiled at him.

“Well, I think I might have been for nothing,” he said in an off-hand manner as he crossed over to the window.

“Whatever to you mean?” Rupert asked, sliding of the bed to walk over to his young lover.

“We’re not in Kansas anymore,” Xander said, pointing outside.

Tara and Spike raced over the window, none of the four even aware of their state of undress as they stared out the window at the strange world they were now in.

“Did the spell do this?” Spike asked, glancing at the two magic users.

“No,” Tara shook her head. “This is a different type of spell all together. What we did would never be able to do this.”

“I think this is a different type of magic all together,” Rupert said absently, mentally cataloguing everything he could see. “This is Dream Magic.”

“We’re in a Dreamworld?” Tara squeaked, scooting so she was closer to Spike.

“So it seems,” Rupert said, casting a look at her. “But I don’t know how.”

“I do,” Xander said with no inflection in his voice. They all turned to stare at him. “Who’s the one person with the skills and power to do this? Who’s the one person with reason to do something evenremotely like this?”

“Willow,” Tara breathed, paling drastically.

“It could be Ethan,” Rupert pointed out.

“No, he always lets you know when he’s in town,” Xander pointed out. “He hasn’t been around since he gave his approval.”

“So what do we do? What do I need to kill to get us out of here?” Spike growled, wrapping a protective arm around Tara’s shoulders.

“I’m not sure yet,” Rupert admitted. “Every Dreamworld has its own rules. We need to find out which one we’re in before we can figure out how to get out of here.”

“I vote getting showered, dressed and fed before we tackle this,” Xander said. The others glanced down realizing they were still naked. Both Rupert and Tara blushed while Xander and Spike laughed. Xander grabbed Rupert and Spike guided Tara out of the bedroom and to the bathroom. There was nothing they could do yet and they all really needed a shower.

..

 

 

Well, That’s Interesting

 

“Anything yet?” Xander asked, sliding into the seat beside his lover.

Rupert brushed a quick kiss over his hair before turning back to the book. “Not yet, I’m afraid. Hopefully I’ll find something soon.”

“D-d-do we e-even know w-which Dreamworld w-were in?” Tara asked softly from the other side of the room.

“No stuttering,” Xander admonished. “Especially after all that’s happened.”

“Sorry,” she said, with a quick grin and a duck of her head.

“I have it narrowed down,” Rupert informed them. “But the category has hundreds of different types of Dreamworlds. I’m afraid I don’t know anything more than that.”

“So what’s that mean then?” Spike asked from his perch by the window.

“We’re going to have to go out and see what’s in this world,” Rupert side, taking off his glasses to clean them. “It’s the only way I’m afraid.”

“What should we expect out there?” Spike asked. He glanced outside. “So far it looks different but not that different.”

“We can’t be sure,” Rupert shrugged. “We could be in a fairy tale world, a world filled with nightmares, or anything really. It all depends on where Willow sent us and what she was thinking at the time.”

Xander groaned and shared a resigned look with Tar. They could be anywhere. Willow’s mind often flitted around when she was working on something and she wasn’t always focused on the task at hand.

 

They loaded up on weapons and the like before carefully exiting the apartment and locking the door behind them. They really didn’t want visitors when they got back. Spike led their band of merry misfits, scouting ahead but staying close enough to keep watch over the more fragile humans. He had been surprised to find he could venture out into the sun, but not that surprised considering the orb of light hanging overhead was a light blue in colour instead of the normal world’s yellow. Rupert and Tara followed him, magic at the ready. Xander pulled up the rear, keeping his attention on the terrain around him instead o his lover’s ass in front o him.

The Dreamworld was full of rolling hills and picturesque meadows, but that didn’t fool any of them into believe it was innocent. They journeyed for a few hours, finding nothing of interest or anything to help pinpoint their exact whereabouts. Feeling more than a little dissatisfied, they trekked back to the apartment, all hoping a good meal and a night’s sleep would perk their spirits.

Almost to the door of the apartment, Spike stopped cold, a low growl issuing from his throat. The others brought their weapons up and waited, looking around for what was causing the vampire’s anger. A dark shadow stepped out of a small alleyway, gliding forward. Spike’s growl inched up a notch and he flashed into his demonic visage.

Little parts of the shadow seemed to stream forth, reaching out and wrapping themselves around Spike. His growl grew louder and a strange whine was added in. Xander stepped forward and Tara’s hands began to crackle with energy as the darkness completely engulf the vampire.

“Do you thirst?” something hissed from the shadow. The three humans shuddered as the sound seemed to slither into them, chilling them to the core. “Surrounded by heartbeats. Does your demon thirst?”

Spike laughed, a sound full of dark humour. “You,” he told the shadow. “Are an idiot. They’re all marked as mine. Why would I thirst? My demon sees them as family, not a source of blood.”

The shadow hissed again, breaking away and drifting off a bit. Slowly it grew solid, coming together in the shape of a young boy. He was small and slight with ash blond hair, but his eyes were solid black. His clothing seemed to be made of the shadows, shivering and sliding over his body. He cocked his head to the side and stared at Spike in confusion.

“You don’t thirst?” he asked, stepping forward. “I thirst.”

“What do you thirst for?” Tara asked, stepping past Spike to confront the boy.

“Touch,” he whispered. “So thirsty.”

“Don’t,” Rupert told Tara, coming closer. “What are you?” he asked the boy.

“He’s a Pen’Umbra demon,” Xander said softly. “Where’s your family?”

The young demon shivered, dissolving briefly back into a shadow before solidifying again. “Gone,” he whimpered. “All gone. All alone.”

Rupert gasped. “How long have you been alone?”

“Time has no meaning here,” the boy sighed. “Minutes are days, years are seconds, it’s all the same.”

“So too long,” Spike said.

Xander walked past them all and drew the young Pen’Umbra demon into a loose hug, not wanting to startle the youngling. The boy sighed and relaxed against him, drinking in the contact.

“What?” Tara asked, looking at the two hugging then at Rupert.

“Pen’Umbra demons rely on touch to survive, it’s how they feed. They live in large family groups that are almost always in constant contact with someone,” he explained, watching his lover help the young demon with a fond smile. “They’re not dangerous unless they see you as a threat.”

“He was touching Spike though,” Tara said, looking confused.

“They can only feed in human form,” Rupert smiled at her. “I think he might have been trying to protect us from Spike.”

“Wot? But I didn’t do anything,” Spike protested.

“You’re a demon with three humans on a Dreamworld,” Rupert said patiently. “It would look like we’re either your thralls or your prey. He’s young.”

“He thought if he saved us we’d take him in and help him,” Tara finished thoughtfully. “He really is young, isn’t he?”

“Pen’Umbra age slower than humans, but I’d still put him in his early teens either way,” Rupert nodded. “Poor child.”

“I take it he’s coming with us,” Spike noted. Rupert shot him a glare. “Good, means I’ll have more help protecting you three.”

“You’ll take me with you,” the young demon asked in shock, stepping out of Xander’s embrace.

“Not leaving you here alone,” Xander told him.

“Thank you,” the boy cried, throwing his arms around Xander’s waist in a hard hug.

“What’s your name?” Tara asked kindly, coming over to lay a hand on the young demon’s shoulder.

“Momma always said that Daddy lack imagination,” the boy grinned. “He named me Chade.”.

 

 

Calling Long Distance

 

Once inside the apartment, Xander headed upstairs to get Chade some clothing. Tara led the young boy over to a couch, sitting down and cuddling him to her side.

“Chade, how did you end up here?” Rupert asked, sounding puzzled. “I thought your kind could move between the Dreamrealms and the real world.”

“We can, but I haven’t learned that yet. Walking is only taught to those of a certain age,” Chade said quietly. “I was to learn it after my next birthday. I’ve got the basics of everything else down so far though.”

“Basics?” Spike asked, arching an eyebrow.

“Shifting between forms at will, dreamwalking, protection, that kind of stuff,” Chade smiled. “Walking between the worlds was deemed to dangerous for the young after a few got lost so the elders put an age limit on it.”

“How old are you?” Tara asked the young demon leaning against her.

“Thirteen,” he said promptly.

“In which?” Rupert asked.

“Both,” Chade answered. “I haven’t reached the second aging yet.”

Xander came back down the stairs, a shirt and jogging pants n his hands. “Okay, these’ll be to big, but they’re better than nothing. Bathroom’s up the stairs and to the right.”

Smiling gratefully, Chade made his way upstairs, his shadow abilities hiding his nudity by mimicking clothing. He came back down a few minutes later, dressed in the too large clothing. Tara hid a smile at his appearance but Spike laughed out loud.

“You look cute like that,” the vampire noted. Chade stuck his tongue out and went to curl up next to Xander.

“What happened to your family?” Rupert asked, sitting across from them.

“We came here because my parents were teaching my older sister how to Walk,” Chade started quietly. “She was really sick for a while so she had to wait a long time. We hadn’t been here long when this girl shows up. She was smiling and it scared me.” He shivered a little and burrowed into Xander’s side. “She saw us and frowned. Momma made me go hide since I was hiding behind my brother and hadn’t been seen. I found a deep shadow and hid there. It, it was awful. The girl, she was a witch. She let them go into their shadow forms and shattered them.”

Spike leaned forward. “What did this witch look like?”

“She was a little taller than me and had red hair,” he said quietly, a gentle shaking starting in his limbs. “She grinned after they were gone and said that it was perfect.”

Rupert got up and walked over tot he bookcase, coming back with a slender, hardcover book. He flipped through the pages for a moment before handing the book to Chade. “Is this her?”

“Yes,” Chade said, looking at the picture.

Xander took the yearbook from the young demon and growled. He didn’t even have to look at the photo to know it was Willow. She had placed them here on purpose and she had killed a family of harmless demons. “We really need to do something about her.”

“We will when we get back,” Tara said firmly. “I’ve been looking into ways to bind her magic for good. Something that only a decree from a God can get through.”

“Is there anything stronger?” Xander asked. “I don’t trust her not to find some dark God just so she can have her powers back.”

“There might be, but it’ll take research,” Tara said.

“I’ll asked Ethan when we get back,” Rupert added. “He knows more than he lets on about other magics. Plus, I think she might be tapping into chaos magic anyway.”

“You know her?” Chade asked softly, looking around at them fearfully.

“We knew the person she used to be,” Xander told him, giving him quick hug. “But she’s changed a lot and done a lot of wrong things lately. We’re going to fix that.”

“As soon as we get back to the real world,” Spike added with a snort.

“I might be able to help,” Chade offered.

“How?”

He looked at Tara. “You’re a witch right?” She nodded and smiled a bit. “If you help I might be able to contact one of the other families. They would help us get out of here.”

“How can you be sure?” Spike asked.

“Because it’s a child asking,” Rupert answered for Chade. “No child is to be denied unless what he or she is asking for is dangerous to the clans.”

Chade nodded. “I can’t do it alone. I’m not strong enough yet.”

“How about in the morning?” Tara offered, smiling brightly at him.

“Okay,” he smiled back.

*

They spent the rest of the day doing minor things around the apartment. Chade was attached to someone at all times, his time spent alone leaving him frightened and wary. He spent most of it next to Xander, giggling softly as Xander told him stories and jokes to help the young demon settle in. Rupert watched his lover interact with Chade with a fond smile that was tinged with sadness. Xander was the type that was meant for fatherhood, but being in a relationship with another man took that option away. Sighing, he pushed the thoughts away and went to make supper, knowing that they all had to be hungry by now.

“Chade?” Rupert asked suddenly as a thought hit him. “What have you been eating?”

“Huh?” the boy looked up from the comic Xander had him reading. “I found some berries and stuff. There really isn’t anything else.”

“That means we’ll have to detox you before we head back,” Rupert groaned.

“Detox?” Tara asked, worried for the young demon.

“Food from here can do strange things to the body once it’s back in the normal world, so anything eaten has to be purged from the body,” Rupert explained.

“What about us?” she asked, gesturing to the food he was cooking.

“This food came from the normal world so we don’t have to worry about that,” he smiled.

“That’s good,” she sighed. “One less worry. When do we have to do the detox?”

“I’d say in the morning, after he makes the call,” Rupert decided, nodding slightly. “That way there’s nothing to stop us from going straight home if the others agree to help.”

“Do we need anything special?”

“Yes. We can get the ingredients ready tonight.”

“Will it hurt?” Chade asked, coming to stand by them, his eyes wide.

“It won’t hurt, but it won’t feel very good,” Rupert told him. “It will make your stomach feel a little strange.”

“I won’t be alone, will I?”

“No,” Tara smiled down at him. “We’ll all be here to help you through it.”

“Of course we will,” Rupert agreed. “Now, why don’t you go get Spike and Xander and tell them supper is ready.”

All grins, the young demon bounced off. Tara smiled and shook her head as she got places down and began setting the table. Commotion at the kitchen door made her lift her head and she giggled when she saw Chade dragging a resisting Spike into the kitchen.

“Mr. Rupert said to come to supper,” the young demon chided the vampire. Spike rolled his eyes and gave into the tugging, letting Chade push and pull him until he was seated in one of the chairs around the table.

*

 

After supper they all piled onto the couches, the adults picking up books and reading while Chade moved around the room, cuddling each of them. The sun set in sections, darkening the world outside the apartment.

“Chade, are you okay sleeping down here, or do you want to come and sleep with one of us?” Xander asked.

“Can I sleep with you, Xander?” Chade asked, looking around the darkening living room fearfully.

“Of course,” Xander smiled.

“We don’t mind,” Rupert added with a sincere smile.

“Thank you,” Chade said, hugging Rupert tightly. “I don’t like being alone.”

“Come on,” Xander said, standing and pulling the boy with him. “Let’s go get ready for bed. Tomorrow’s going to be a big day.”

*

Rupert woke slowly, wondering what the heavy weight on his chest was. Xander normally snuggled up to his side, not his chest, and the weight was too light to be his lover anyway. Opening his eyes, he blinked at the blond head laying over his heart. Smiling softly, he ran his hand through Chade’s hair, wondering what would happen to the young demon once they were back in the real world. Would one of the other clans be willing to take him in? Or would they leave the child to fend for himself?

“If things don’t go right, are we going to keep him?” Xander asked softly.

Rupert turned to look at his lover, noticing the tender look he gave the sleeping child. “Yes, I think so.”

“Good,” Xander smiled at him. “He should be alone anymore. Willow will pay for what she’s done.”

“Yes, she will,” he agreed. “She has a lot to pay for. I think I’ll contact some of the people I know in England and see if there’s anyone there who can do something about her.”

“You are binding her when we get back, right?”

“Definitely,” Rupert growled, waking Chade.

“What’s wrong?” the young demon asked, sleepily, rolling so he was laying between the two humans. “Did I do something wrong?”

“No,” Xander assured him, giving him a hug. “We were just talking. Why don’t you head downstairs. I’ll be right behind you to make breakfast.”

With wide grin, Chade slipped off the bed and raced down the stairs. Xander shared a fond smile with Rupert before leaning over and giving his lover a morning kiss. Moaning into the kiss, Rupert pulled Xander until he was sprawled across him. Hands travelled under shirts and pants as they continued to kiss, only breaking away for brief bits of air. Finally Xander pulled away, his reluctance written on his face.

“Chade’s waiting for us,” he murmured, brushing one last kiss over Rupert’s lips before climbing out of the bed. He changed quickly into jeans and a clean shirt and headed down to start making breakfast for them all.

“‘Bout time you got up,” Spike groused. “You breathing types spend too much time sleeping.”

Xander indulged in a moment of childishness and stuck his tongue out at the vampire. “Just for that, no eggs for you.”

“Hey,” Spike yelled, following Xander into the kitchen. “I take it back. I want my eggs.”

Xander grinned at him. “Tara would pout at me if I didn’t make you eggs.”

“True,” snickered Spike.

“Have you started cooking yet?” Rupert asked as he came down the stairs.

“No, why?” Xander asked, looking at his lover with questioning eyes.

“I just had a thought that it might be better to do Chade’s detoxing before he ate,” Rupert informed them.

“Huh,” Xander blinked. “Good idea.”

“So we’re doing it now?” Chade asked, looking around at them.

“If that’s okay with you,” Rupert nodded.

“Okay,” Chade shrugged.

“Let’s go into the living room, there’s more room there.”

Tara was seated on the floor of the living room, a few spell components on the floor around her. She smiled reassuringly at Chade as she began to mix some together. Rupert came out of the kitchen with a pot of steaming water. Tara dumped the items into the pots, stirring it a few times before straining the mixture into a mug that she handed to the young boy.

“Drink it all,” she told him.

Grimacing at the smell, Chade did as he was told, swallowing down the drink.

“How long until it works?” Spike asked.

“It’s not like a purge,” Tara said quietly. “It won’t make him run off to the bathroom, though it will make his stomach feel strange for a bit.”

“Are you okay, Chade?” Xander asked, sitting beside the boy.

“That didn’t taste good,” Chade whispered.

“Most potions don’t,” Xander grinned. “But any that Tara makes will work.”

Chade nodded and leaned against him as the potion started to take effect, removing all things that were natural to the world they were in but not to the real world. The young demon curled up, shaking a little as the potion did its job. After an hour, he finally uncurled.

“All done,” Tara smiled at him. “And you won’t have to do it again as long as you don’t eat anything from the Dreamworld.”

Chade nodded. He really didn’t want to do that again.

“Let’s go eat,” Xander said, jumping to his feet.

Spike snorted while Rupert and Tara shook their heads and Chade raced to the kitchen with him.

*

Once breakfast was eaten, Tara led Chade outside, both of them sitting on the ground, Tara slightly behind Chade. A haze of shadows and magic surrounded them and a low thrumming sound started. The three men watched as the call went out, magic flying in all directions. As the two on the ground started to stand, a strange sound began. The sound called up despair from the deepest parts of their souls, making them want to weep. It wrapped around them, choking all thought.

“Stop!” Chade shouted, his shadows whipping around him. “That’s not nice!”

The sound stopped a two new shadows flowed toward them. “Are you the one who sent the call?”

“Yes,” Chade nodded.

“You used human magic to do it,” one of the shadows hissed.

“I’m not strong enough to do it by myself,” he admitted softly. “Tara helped me.”

“Why are you here?”

“A witch killed my family,” he said quietly. “I was trapped, all alone.” He wrapped his arms around himself.

“This witch?” the shadow hissed.

“NO!” Chade shouted. “Tara and the others have helped me. They’ve been nothing but nice. They’re trapped here too, by the same witch that killed my family.”

“What do you ask of us, child?” the other shadow asked, solidifying into the form of a woman.

“We would like to go back to the real world,” Chade told her.

“And where would you go after that, child?” the woman asked, stepping closer to Chade.

“I don’t know,” he said softly. “I have nothing left.”

“We cannot take you,” the first shadow said, forming into another woman. “We do not have the resources. But we can get you and your friends back to the real world.”

“We can take him in,” Xander said, coming to stand behind the young demon. “If that would be all right with you.”

“You would be willing to take a demon in?” the first woman asked, staring intently at Xander.

“We would be willing to take a child with nowhere to go,” Rupert told her.

She nodded. “Do you need the building to go with you as well?”

“Yes, please,” Rupert smiled at her. “Thank you.”

“No, human, thank you. Few would be willing to take a demon in,” the second woman smiled kindly.

“Not the first demon we’ve taken in,” Xander grinned, gesturing to Spike.

Shaking their heads, the two female demons joined hands. “Head back inside,” they told them. “You will be home shortly.”

Hurrying back inside, they waited as the demons sent them out of the Dreamworld and back into the real world.

“Did it work?” Xander asked after a few minutes.

Tara glanced out the window and smiled. “Yes, it did We’re home.”

“Good,” Spike said with a feral grin. “Now we have a witch to deal with.”

Piles of Broken Memories

 

Throwing a sly smile at Xander, Spike ushered Tara and Chade out of the apartment, firmly closing the door behind them. The events of the past few days had left both Xander and Rupert stress beyond belief and the lovers needed some time to themselves. So Spike decided to take Tara and Chade to see his crypt. Not the ratty mess he usually let the Slayer see, but the true home he had made beneath the crumbling stone. Chade watched wide eyed as the walked through the darkened streets of Sunnydale, glowing eyes of various species of demon staring back out at him. Shuddering a little, the boy edged closer to the vampire, trusting Spike to keep him safe.

“Here,” Spike said, pushing the door open and letting the other two inside. “Hidden over in the corner is a ladder leading down.”

Giving him shy smile, Tara headed over to the ladder and carefully began the short journey door. Her startled gasp echoed up when she reached the bottom and both demons raced over to the opening, Spike jumping down and Chade take the safe route. Once on the ground Spike saw the mess that had once been his home. Clothing was torn and strewn around the small space. Pictures were ripped up and littering the floor. The bed had been overturned, the mattress sliced. Bending down, Spike picked up the broken pieces of wood of what had once been a gift from Dru. He could feel the growl rumbling in his chest, aching to be set free. Hesitantly Tara walked over to him, taken the shattered gift.

“What was it?” she asked softly, turning the pieces over in her hands.

“It was a chiwara,” Spike growled lowly. “Dru had a young man down in Africa make it. Of course she ate him after but she was so enthralled of it.”

“Just another thing that they will pay for,” Tara said soothingly. “I think we should head back. Gather up what you want to keep.”

Still growling, Spike did as she said, letting Chade help him bundle up any items that weren’t too damaged. The young demon hugged him, whispering how sorry he was. Spike wrapped his arms around the boy and tried not to scream out his rage at the destruction of his most cherished belongings.

“They won’t be done yet,” Spike said softly as they finished packing his things.

“Hopefully they were smart enough to go upstairs this time,” Tara said with a blush and a slight grin.

Spike grinned back. “Would be funny if they didn’t.”

“You, Mr. the Bloody, are a very bad man,” Tara said in a mock stern voice, shaking a finger at the vampire. She was glad to see the true smile on his face instead of the cold rage that had been there. Willow and Buffy were running up a tab of crimes and they would be paying for them.

*

Xander shot Rupert a mischievous look before racing up the stairs. He could hear Rupert lock the door behind the three, but he didn’t care. It had been too long since they had been alone together and he missed the feel of his lover on him and in him. Rupert’s steady tread sounded on the stairs and Xander quickly stripped off, knowing they didn’t have a lot of time to play around with.

The older man stopped just instead the door to their room, his eyes taking in the naked flesh on display for him. Eager to touch his young lover, he hurried across the room, clothing falling in a trail behind him. Climbing up the bed, he moved until he was kneeling over Xander’s prone form, loving the look of longing and need in the younger man’s face.

“Not a lot of time,” Xander reminded him as he reached up and pulled Rupert down with a tug.

Rupert let his body cover Xander’s as their lips met in a searing kiss that spoke of love and affection. Keeping in mind their limitations, he reached out to the night stand and snagged the bottle of lube they kept there, hurriedly slicking up his fingers and adding a generous layer to his cock. His fingers were quickly busy, stretching and preparing Xander’s as his lips located and exploited hot spots on Xander’s neck, shoulders and upper chest. Once he was satisfied they continue without injury, he moved to press inside, keeping the pressure constant until he bottomed out. Underneath him Xander gave a low moan, his head tipping back and his hips tipping up, encouraging Rupert to move. And move he did, thrusting hard and fast, driving both of them to the edge of insanity quickly.

Xander’s legs climbed up his torso, opening his body more, letting Rupert sink that little bit deeper with each stroke. Lifting up a bit, he slid a hand between their bodies and grasped Xander’s cock, stroking it counter to the rhythm of his thrusts. The cry Xander gave a loud and almost animalistic, driving Rupert to move just a little faster and harder until both slipped over the edge of pleasure. Sinking down, Rupert let his weight pinned his lover to the bed, knowing Xander loved the feeling.

As they lay there, they heart rates and breathing returning to normal, they heard the sound of the door opening and quiet voices in the living room. Glancing at each other, they laughed. At least this time they were upstairs.

 

*

Spike sniffed the air as they unlocked the door and entered the apartment. He could smell sex and couldn’t help but grin wickedly, giving Tara a broad wink. She blushed and shook her finger at him again. He stashed his things in the corner, looking up when he heard footsteps on the stairs.

“You guys are back early,” Xander said as he walked down the stairs.

“Seems the Slayer didn’t like me helping you lot,” Spike shrugged.

“What did she do?” Xander asked softly, a hard look entering his eyes.

“Trashed my stuff,” Spike answered.

Xander looked at him, staring hard before glancing at Tara and then turning to look up at Rupert. “I think we have to act sooner than later,” he said with quiet menace. “Before the violence becomes fatal.”

tbc…

Bound and Naked

 

Chade sat safely in the circle of Xander’s arms as Tara and Rupert cast the spell to bind the bad witch’s powers. He hoped that it worked and the witch did hurt his new family. As if reading his mind, Xander tightened his arms and smiled down at him, brown eyes serious.

“This will work,” the older man whispered to Chade. “Tara’s strong and Rupert has the focus.”

Chade nodded, turning his attention back to the two magic users. He could feel the magic swirl in the air around them as Tara called on the gods and goddesses over magic, asking them to bind the bad witch’s magic from her. Chade shivered as the magic grew, swelling around them and crashing with an earth shattering flash. The young demon curled further into Xander’s arms as he blinked the spots from his vision. A gasp had him looking up, staring in shock at the tall, harsh looking woman standing in the middle of the room. She smiled at them gently, the expression altering her face slightly, making her look softer.

“You have been heard, daughter,” she said to Tara, smiling down at her.

“Hecate?” Tara whispered, eyes wide.

“Yes,” the goddess laughed, gracefully sinking to the floor. “We all heard and it was decided I would be the best candidate to come and speak with you.”

“Why?” Rupert blurted, blinking at his own rudeness. “I’m sorry.”

“It is okay,” Hecate told him. “We are answering directly because we feel this something we must deal with. I really wish we had watched Willow a little closer, but the Hellmouth masks most of the power around here. We did not notice her until it was too late.”

“When was that?” Xander asked quietly, drawing the Goddess’ attention to the two of them. Chade shivered again at the power in her eyes.

“Unfortunately not until she sent you to the Dreamworld,” she admitted. “It took a lot of power and it was off the Hellmouth. It was a big flash that shouldn’t have been and it definitely caught our attention. Before we could bring you back ourselves, you were back and calling on us. So, here I am.”

“And we thank you,” Tara said softly. “Can you help us?”

“Of course, child,” Hecate chided her. “We can bind her magic until she gets help, or we can take it a step further.”

“How much further?” Rupert asked.

“It is up to you since you have been the victims of most of her crimes, but we can strip the magic from her totally,” she said seriously. “Nothing would ever be able to bring it back. Even the dark gods are concerned about her misuse of magic. None of us like it. She has no care for the rituals that should be observed or the proper ways of magic. She does what she wishes no matter who it harms. That is not the way of magic, even chaos magic. We all want her stopped.”

“As useful as she has been in the past, I personally think it would be best to strip her of her magic,” Xander stated. Chade shifted to look up at him. He had been told that Willow had been Xander’s closest friend. She really must have done some bad things for even Xander to ask for that.

“I agree,” Tara sighed. “She’s too dangerous. We were asking for the binding while we looked for a way to block her.”

“Then we will do what we must,” Hecate said with a sad smile. “I will do my best to make sure she is not harmed in the process.”

“Thank you,” Tara whispered. “I do still care about her even if the love has died.”

“Those who hold our hearts will always be in them, no matter what,” the goddess said, rising to her feet. “I will tell the others and we will start. In two days Willow Rosenberg will be stripped of any magical abilities. Until then, shield yourselves well so she cannot harm you again. Oh, and get the young one some teachers. He’s about to come into all his powers.” She disappeared with a flash, leaving them sitting in shock and awe in the living room.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Willow whimpered, trying to get away from the bone deep pain. She didn’t know why she hurt, just that nothing she did eased her suffering. Through clenched eyelids, she saw a flash of light and eased her eyes open, staring at the strange group of people staring down at her as she writhed on her bed. Moaning, she tried to move away as they lifted glowing hands and held them over her as their power surrounded her, ratcheting up the level of her pain.

“What? Why?” she managed to gasp out.

“You have been found guilty of misusing your gifts,” one harsh voice hissed and she looked up at the two-faced God of Chaos, Janus.

“No I haven’t,” she protested.

“Yes you have,” another voice said and a woman stepped into her line of sight. “You have harmed others with magic, those who did not deserve it and justice has been called. We are here to deliver it. From this day forward, no magic will respond to you. Your powers have been stripped from you and nothing will bring them back.”

“Tara!” she growled, gasping again as the pain surged.

“She called on us to bind you,” the woman sneered. “We decided stripping you of magic would be much better. This way you cannot harm another with magic again. The pain will fade, eventually. It is reminder and a warning.”

The group disappeared, leaving her to cry into her pillow. If she didn’t have her magic, what did she have? Who would she be?

Removing Masks

 

The door shook under the heavy pounding, even the wall surrounding it shaking. Cursing softly under his breath, Rupert hurried over, throwing it open and glowering at the petite blonde on the other side. She glared at hi, hazel eyes furious before pushing past into the apartment.

“Hello Buffy, why yes, you can come in,” Rupert said sarcastically as he closed the door.

“Where is she?” Buffy demanded, staring around at the empty room.

“Who?” Rupert asked, heading back to packing up the last of his things.

“That witch that cast the spell on Willow,” Buffy growled. “Willow no longer has magic.”

“I know,” Rupert said, taping up the last box. “And Tara didn’t do it. Not directing at least.”

“So she did have something to do with it,” Buffy confirmed. “Where is she so I can make her fix it.”

“There is nothing to fix and Tara did not do it,” Rupert said again, turning to glare at the Slayer, the girl that had once been like his own daughter. “We called upon the sources of magic, the gods over it, to deal with Willow’s misuse of her powers. They are the ones who took the magic from her.”

“Where do I find them so I can make them give it back?”

Rupert rubbed his forehead. “Listen carefully. Willow has been found guilty of extreme misuse of her magic, more so than even some of the worst warlocks and dark wizards.” He paused to let that sink in. “There was magic found on all of us. Spells to bend us to her will. If she had continued down the path that she was on, she would loss all her humanity and you would be duty-bound to slay her. Is that what you wanted?”

She gaped. “But-”

“There’s nothing you can do, Buffy. She has been tried and found guilty. The punishment is fitting to the crime,” he snapped. Stepping back he really looked at her, noticing the swirls of magic still surrounding her. Throwing a quick spell he had her frozen. “Tara?”

“Yes?” the blonde witch said, poking her head around the corner at the top of the stairs.

“Can you come here for a moment?”

Tara hurried down the stairs, stopping at the bottom to stare at the magic flowing around the Slayer. She rushed forward and placed her hands on either side of Buffy’s face, reading the spells. “Loyalty, obedience, confusion, lust, arrogance, hostility and blind violence.”

“All that?” Rupert breathed, stumbling back to a wall. “How did we miss this?”

“There is the remains of a see-not spell laid over all of them,” Tara said softly, dropping her hands and stepping back. “It was hidden very well from us, but without Willow continually pumping power into the spell, it faded.”

“And now we can see it all,” he finished. “We need to check the rest of us for anything else she may have cast.”

“And see if cleaning the spells off Buffy will change her back to the girl she was,” Xander said quietly as he came down the stairs to stand behind his lover.

“After we finish packing,” Tara said firmly. They smiled and nodded, going back to packing up the last of the apartment while Buffy stood, still frozen in the middle of the empty living room.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Chade watched as Tara cast the spell and all the magic circling the strange blonde woman stopped. The woman slumped, her shoulders shaking and he could smell the salt of her tears.

“What have I done?” she whispered.

Xander was beside her in an instant, hugging her close and whispering things that Chade couldn’t make out. He looked around at the others, judging their reactions to the woman. Spike looked like he didn’t care, a sneer of his lips, but his eyes were dark with worry. Rupert was shaking slightly, as if he wanted to go over to her as well. Tara’s reaction shocked him though. Tara was very angry.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Xander held tight as Buffy shook in his arms. He could almost feel the conflict of emotions as they happened and he slightly cursed Willow again for putting them all through this. A small sound from Chade had him looking up and he followed the boy’s gaze to a very pissed off Tara. Glancing at Spike, he nodded toward the now glowing Tara, knowing the vampire would calm her down.

“I’m so sorry,” Buffy said quietly, sitting up and moving back a little.

“That’s a bit paltry,” Spike noted as he wrapped Tara in a hug.

Buffy glared half-heartedly at him. “I know it’s not enough. I know nothing ever will be. Some of what I said and did was my own. She only played on my own feelings.”

Xander released his hold on her. “So what are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted. “Talk to my mom first though. Let her smack some sense into me.”

“Get her to a doctor too,” Spike added. She glanced at him. “She smells off, like she’s sick but I’m not sure what it is.”

“Thanks,” she nodded. She looked around, noticing the lack of nearly everything. “You’re moving?”

“The flat’s not big enough for all of us,” Rupert told her. “Angel is letting us have the mansion on Crawford Street.”

“I’d ask but it’s none of my business,” she said with a small smile. “I’m going to go talk to Mom. If it’s okay, I’ll come visit when you’ve got the new house set up.”

They all sat in silence when she left, lost in their thoughts. Xander hugged Chade absently when he came over. Tara had already taken the spell off them and now they had to live with memories off all that Willow had done to them.

A Good Son

 

“Why didn’t anyone tell me?” Joyce asked Rupert quietly. She had shown up while they were unpacking, an expression of hurt on her face. One smile from Chade had made things right though and she joined up with Tara to make sure the mansion was suitably clean.

“We didn’t want to make you chose sides,” Rupert told her with a soft smile. “Buffy is your daughter, regardless of her actions.”

“Yes, but if I had known I would have been able to beat some sense into her,” Joyce countered. “Daughter or not, she’s wrong. Even left out of everything I’ve noticed that.”

“She admitted that some of Willow’s spell work only amplified her own feelings,” he looked away briefly. “I fear she was talking about my relationship with Xander.”

Joyce smiled at him, a smile of soft compassion. “Do you love him?”

“Yes.”

“Then what she thinks doesn’t matter,” she told him. “As for my feelings on the subject: as long as you don’t hurt him, every thing’s fine.”

“That simple?” he questioned.

“That simple,” she answered. “But if you do hurt him, any punishment you can think up will pale in comparison to what I will do to you.”

Rupert grinned. “Thank you. Other than Spike and Tara, no one has offered to stand for Xander. He hasn’t said anything, but I know it hurts him greatly.”

She nodded. “I’m not surprised. He always has been one to feel everything to the extreme.” She clapped her hands together, dismissing that topic. “Now, tell me about Chade.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

“Do you think she likes me?” Chade asked quietly. He looked up at the vampire sitting with him.

“Joyce is a good woman,” Spike assured him. “Gave my cocoa and let me blabber about Dru. Hell, she put up with the Slayer for all these years.”

“But that doesn’t mean she’ll like me,” the young demon pointed out.

Spike thought for a moment. “How do you see Xander and Rupert? What are they to you?”

“Family,” Chade answered easily.

“And to her they’re family, which means you are family,” Spike reasoned. “Joyce sticks by family. If you’re doing something she doesn’t like, she’ll tell you. She’s straightforward.”

Chade curled up and cuddled further into the vampire’s side. “If you say so.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Spike carefully hid a grin as he watched the two interact across the room. Once Chade’s nature had been revealed to Joyce, she had wrapped her arms around the young demon and had yet to let him go. Chade was confused at first, but quickly adapted, sinking into her embrace like he did with the rest of them. Now, Joyce had a firm grip on him as she talked with Rupert about something and Chade looked content. A brief thought flickered through Spike’s mind, wondering if something happened to them, would Joyce take Chade in?

“Joyce?” Rupert’s voice rang loud and Spike looked up in time to see the woman slump, only Chade’s tenuous hold on her keeping her from hitting the ground. Rupert easily lifted her and laid her on the couch while the others rushed over. “Joyce?”

“What happened?” Xander asked. He glanced at Chade and pulled the distraught youngster into his arms.

“I don’t know,” Chade whispered. “She seemed confused and then she fell.”

Rupert looked at his lover. “We were talking about schools and teachers for Chade when she trailed off. I called her name just before she passed out.”

“Wha?” came groggily from the prone woman. “What happened?”

“You passed out,” Rupert told her, helping her sit up when she tried to move.

“Again?” she muttered.

“This has happened before?” Rupert stepped back. “How often?”

“I’ve actually fully passed out a few times lately,” Joyce admitted. “The rest are just momentary black outs.”

“That’s not normal,” Rupert said, shaking his head. “Did Buffy pass on the message for you to get checked out?”

“Yes, but there’s a wait to get into the doctors.”

“I think we need to schedule a trip to LA,” Xander said quietly. “See if we can get in to see someone there.”

“It’ll be a longer wait,” she protested.

“There’s some strings I can pull,” Xander assured her. “And I’ll gladly do it if it means you’re healthy and here for a long time.”

Joyce smiled softly at him. “You’re a good son, Xander.”

 

Across the Pond

“Ah, Severus my boy,” Albus Dumbledore smiled as his Potions Master stalked into the room. “Thank you for coming. Tea?”

“No thank you, Albus,” Severus Snape said softly, seating himself in a chair across from the Headmaster. “What did you want to see me about?”

Albus didn’t answer right away, instead carefully fixed himself a cup of tea before smiling, eyes twinkling, at Severus. “I have a favour to ask of you.”

“Last time you asked a favour of me I ended up spending most of my time in the presence of Him,” Severus reminded him harshly.

“Oh, this is nothing like that,” the older man assured him. “An acquaintance of mine, and yours actually, has contacted me. It seems he has been given guardianship of a young boy and needs someone to help the young one in question control his abilities.”

“And you want me to go and do it?” sighed Severus, running a hand over his face. “Why?”

“The boy’s heritage is such that only a few would be able to teach him, otherwise the gentlemen who wrote me would have attended to that himself. He had attended Hogwarts for a bit.”

“Who is you friend?”

“Rupert Giles,” Albus said with a wide grin.

“Ripper?” Severus gasped, sitting forward to stare hard at his mentor. “Last I heard he had run back to the Watcher’s Council after the scandal that happened with Rayne.”

“He did,” Albus nodded. “He began a Watcher. A Watcher to a Slayer actually. And as I said, he recently became the guardian to a young boy who he cannot teach.”

“Ripper was a top student,” Severus protested. “Even if he has not used his magic in years, he would still be able to teach the basics to a young wizard.”

“Ah, but see, that’s the dilemma. Rupert’s ward is not a wizard. He’s a demon.”

“A demon?”

“Yes, a Pen’Umbra demon to be exact. And given your own familial history, I figured you would be the most capable to teaching him to use his powers.”

The Potions Master stared at his mentor, shock and fear racing through him. Instead of sending him to spy of a Dark Lord, he was sending him to teach a demon. The man had to be mad! He shook his head, trying to clear the jumbled thoughts.

“I wouldn’t be asking if it wasn’t important,” Albus said quietly. “The young demon in question has lost his entire family to a rogue witch. Rupert and his mate have taken Chade in, given him a home and stability. But Rupert is not capable to teach Shadow Magics and his mate has no magic to speak of. There is another witch there, but she deals only in LIght and White Magics. She can teach him bits, but not enough to give him any control. And a young boy with uncontrolled magic is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Slumping back, Severus groaned. “Fine, I’ll go.”

“Thank you, my Boy,” Albus smiled slightly. “You won’t be going alone though. I thought it best if you had, well, a guard so to speak.”

“No, Albus,” Severus growled. “Not him.”

“Who else could protect you?”

“He has classes!” he exclaimed triumphantly.

“Which you can help him with.”

“We can’t stand each other!”

“Yes, but you have proven time and again that you can work together,” Albus countered. “You will not change my mind. Harry will be accompanying you.”

“Fine,” Severus sneered. “Where exactly are we going?”

“To Sunnydale, California. To the Hellmouth.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

“So who’s coming?” Xander asked, sliding between the cover and snuggling up to his lover.

“Albus said he was sending the best he knew,” Rupert replied.

“So you don’t know,” Xander teased, yelping when the older man moved, flipping them so that Xander was on the bottom.

“No, I don’t know,” Rupert agreed, a shark like smile on his lips. “But I don’t care at the moment. I have better things to do.”

“Like what?” Xander asked coyly, shifting a bit so his lover was nestled between his legs.

“You for one.”

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

The sudden appearance to two men in their living room had all the inhabitants of the mansion jumping up and running for weapons. Rupert stopped for a second, recognition slowly coming as he stared at the older man. The face was older, but otherwise Severus Snape still looked the same. He looked at the young man standing at Severus’ side and blinked, wondering how the hell James Potter still looked seventeen, until the young man winked and he noticed the bright green gaze, very different from James’.

“Hello Rupert,” Severus drawled, quirking an eyebrow.

“Hello Severus,” Rupert replied. He felt Xander come stand beside him, their arms brushing with each slight movement. “It’s been a long time.”

“It has,” Severus nodded, then he smirked. “Never figured you would go for the young ones.”

“Much could be the same could be said for you.”

The young man at Severus’ side burst out in laughter, stepping away a bit. “I’d never shag Snape,” he managed to get out. “He’s a bastard and a git.”

“Is that your unbiased opinion?” Rupert asked.

“No, just my plain opinion,” the young man said. “He hates me. I hate him. And the world keeps on spinning. Harry Potter by the way.”

“James’ son?” Rupert gasped. “With who?”

“Lily Evans,” Severus answered. “But we’re not here to talk about Potter’s ancestry. I was told you have a young man in need of teaching.”

“Oh, yes,” he turned and look at Chade, beckoning the young demon forward. “This is Chade. He’s a Pen’Umbra. With his family gone and the nearest clan too far away, we have no one to train him.”

“I can do that if you are willing to help me continue with Potter’s training,” Severus offered. “Albus wouldn’t let me come without at guard and he still has a few months of school left.”

“Of course,” Rupert smiled. “Between myself and Tara, I’m sure there’s plenty he could learn.”

“Then it’s settled,” Severus nodded. “Do you know of a boarding house who could stay at?”

Xander snorted, drawing attention to himself. “We live in a mansion. Plenty of rooms. Besides, it would be easier to teach if you didn’t have to travel.”

“Quite right, Xander,” Rupert said, leaning over to brush a kiss over Xander’s mouth. “Well, let’s get started.”

.

Being a Friend

 

The sounds drifted through the walls, muffled but still there. Severus sneered at the walls and brandished his wand, casting a quick silencing spell. He sighed when the sounds stopped. It has been longer than he liked to remember that he had been without a steady lover and each of the sounds had cut into him, reminding him what he was missing. Flipping over in the bed provided he began to think of what he could teach Chade. It wasn’t often that he delved into his own heritage, but this time he would. A scowl crossed his features as he realized that Potter would now know one of his most private of secrets.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Harry groaned as the sounds of sex and love echoed down the hall and slid under his door. He was well aware that a simple spell would end the noise, but he couldn’t find it in him to lift his wand and cast it. The sounds were coming from two different sources, both the sounds of sex, but full of love. He could almost feel the love in each breathy moan and sharp cry. Throwing himself back on his bed, he regretted rejecting Draco’s offer of a quick one before he left. Thinking about it now, there had been just enough time before he had left, but it was too late now.

“Harry?” A soft voice called from the other side of his door.

“Yeah?” he called back. The door opened a crack and Chade peeked in, waiting until Harry smiled and gestured for him to come in. “What’s wrong?” Harry asked as the young boy shut the door behind him and stood in the middle of the room, fidgeting.

“I’m hungry and they’re all busy,” the boy whispered.

“Well come on,” Harry said, standing and walking to the door. “We’ll get you something to eat.”

“Not food,” Chade said, shaking his head. “Touch.”

“Touch?” the wizard blinked. “What do you mean?”

“You don’t know,” Chade sighed. “I’m sorry. I’ll leave you alone.”

“No,” Harry said, laying a hand on Chade’s arm to stop him. “You just need to explain this to me first.” He led the young boy over to the bed and made him sit, taking a spot beside him.

“My kind, we have to eat, but we also feed off touch,” Chade explained quietly. “We were so busy earlier that I didn’t get a chance to feed. Now I’m hungry and I don’t want to bother the others.”

“You’re kind?”

“Pen’Umbra demons,” replied Chade.

“Okay,” Harry said slowly. “What do you need?”

“Just touch,” Chade told him.

“Like a hug?” Harry asked.

“Yes,” nodded Chade.

“I can do that,” Harry smiled, reaching over to pull the young demon close. “I like hugs.”

Chade leaned into his side, sighing as the ache within him settled. “Xander gives good hugs.”

“My friend Hermione gives good hugs too,” Harry grinned. “She’s always hugging me.”

“I don’t have any friends yet,” Chade murmured.

“Why not?”

“Before I lived here, I lived with my family and I didn’t need friends, I had my brother and sister. But everyone here is always so busy, it gets lonely sometimes,” he admitted. “I started to wonder what it would be like to have friends.”

“Have you said anything to the others yet?” Harry asked, worried about the young demon.

“No, not yet.”

“You should,” Harry told him. “There might be somewhere you can go sometimes to make friends. It seems a town like this probably has a place for young demons to go and hang out.”

“You think so?” Black eyes stared up at him imploringly.

“Yeah, I do,” Harry nodded. “How about in the morning, we talk to the adults and see if there’s anywhere to go play.”

“Spike might know,” Chade said thoughtfully. Then he smiled. “Thank you Harry.”

“For what?”

“For being a friend.”

 

Fic: Rhytm Problems

 

A small spark of black flame formed in the palm of Chade’s had and he grinned up at his teacher. The normally stern man smiled slightly and nodded.

“Very good, Chade,” Severus said. “Now, extinguish it and do it again. This time try to make it bigger.”

Chade let the flame go out and waited a moment before calling forth the power within him to create a new flame, this one slightly larger than the first. The small spot of black fire danced and flicker in his hand, casting strange shadows across his face.

“Good,” Severus nodded sharply. “Tomorrow we should be able to move on to the next lesson.”

“He’s doing that well?” Rupert asked, walking over to them.

“He’s almost ready for the advanced lessons,” Severus answered. Chade grinned at both of them, bouncing a little in his seat. Severus shook his head. “Go play.”

“Is he really doing that well?” asked Rupert, sitting beside the other man.

“I don’t exaggerate issues like that,” Severus replied stonily.

“I didn’t mean it that way,” Rupert chided.

“He’s doing better than I expected,” the Potion Master said truthfully. “He told me he watched as he parents taught his siblings so he knew some of the basics.”

“He just didn’t know how to put them into practice,” Rupert finished. “That’s good.”

“Has Potter made any progress?”

“Up until we reached chants,” Rupert sighed. “I can’t seem to get it through to him. Tara either.”

“I’m not surprised he’s having problems, the boy never listens,” remarked Severus.

“I don’t have problems with him,” Rupert pointed out. “Harry’s just having rhythm problems. He can’t seem to keep the cadence of any of the chants.”

“Is it that important?”

“He asked to learn the type of magic Tara and I do, said Voldemort wouldn’t be able to block it, so I guess to him it is.”

“Little brat’s finally learning,” Severus sneered.

“Perhaps you should be nicer to him, Sev,” Rupert admonished, pushing to his feet. “After all, he doesn’t have to do what everyone wants. We would welcome him over here.” The ex-Watcher walked off, leaving his school mate to think about what he had said.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Xander watched as Harry slumped, disappointment evident in every line of his body. It was hard to watch the young man struggle. He actually had a fair hand for Chaos and Nature magics, but any spell that required chanting of any kind simply would not work for him.

“This isn’t working,” Harry moaned. “No matter what I just can’t get the rhythms right.”

“I might have a cure for that,” Spike said thoughtfully. He moved over to the entertainment system and fiddled for a moment. Suddenly a bass heavy song started. Moving quickly, Spike positioned himself behind Harry. “Listen.”

“To what?” the young man asked.

“To the beat of the music,” Spike said, stepping a little closer. “Listen.”

Harry closed his eyes and Xander saw when the music finally got to him. He began swaying slightly to the beat and behind him Spike grinned. Softly the vampire began to murmur the words of the spell, chanting along with the rhythm of the music. Harry picked up the stream of words and Spike’s voice faded out, leaving the young wizard speaking them alone. A flash of light briefly lit the room, blinding Xander momentarily, but when his sight cleared he laughed. The spell had finally worked and a small white rabbit sat on the floor in front of Harry.

Dazed, Harry opened his eyes, looking down when Xander pointed. “It worked!”

“All chants follow a rhythm,” Spike said, stepping away. “If you can’t find the actually rhythm, start it to the beat of your own heart. After that the words will show you the right way.”

Harry leaned down and picked up the rabbit. “Thank you.”

“No problem,” Spike shrugged. “Just find some place for that.”

Fic: Minor Glitch

 

A variety of magics flowed through the mansion, all flowing around each other, never clashing no matter how different they happened to be. Chade loved watching the way they mixed and mingled, brushing against everyone. It was a beautiful sight.

Mr. Snape had spent hours teaching the young demon to control his magic and how to call up some of the higher magics. Chade soaked up all the knowledge the wizard gave him, learning everything he could. Likewise, Harry learned everything he could from Rupert and Tara while Spike and Xander watched on in amusement. In all it was a good life.

But even Chade had learned that nothing stays good forever. It was a lesson that stuck and was repeated again and again.

The day had been normal. Chade and Snape in one part of the house, Tara and Harry in another, Spike asleep in his room while Rupert researched something upstairs and Xander headed off to work. Then the house shook.

“Earthquake?” Spike asked, spilling down the stairs.

“No,” Snape said seriously. “That was magic. Heavy magic.”

“But no one in town has the kind of power,” Tara protested, looking around. “We’re the only ones who could have managed it.”

The door splintering open stopped any other words and Chade shrank back at the sight of a very familiar woman standing on the other side. Red hair flew in an isolated wind and the witch’s eyes were black. Her hands were covered in odd green-black scales and a strange amulet hung around her neck.

“Willow!” Tara shouted, pulling her power up while Snape and Harry moved together to flank her.

“You will pay for what you did,” Willow said harshly. There was an odd echo to her voice, as if more than one person was speaking.

“I didn’t do anything to you,” Tara yelled. “You did it to yourself and the Gods punished you for it.”

“Liar,” Willow screamed, raising her hand to shoot a bolt of power at the blonde witch.

Chade watched in horror as Tara went flying past the two men behind her, impacting with the wall. He rushed to her side, keeping an eye on the insane woman in the doorway.

“Are you going to try now?” Willow asked Snape and Harry. Neither said anything, but a quick motion of their wands had ropes binding her in place. A second later the ropes snapped and she grinned. “Not good enough.” More power lashed out at them, knocking them back and out.

“Wonder if you still read as human?” Spike asked, leaping at her.

Willow lashed out at him, sending him out into the fatal sun. Chade moved as fast as his abilities would let him, shifting past her and to Spike, surrounding the vampire in shadows to protect him. Out there, he couldn’t see what was happening in the house and could only listen to the faint sounds.

“We need to get inside,” Spike said quietly. Chade nodded and concentrated his powers, slipping them into the shadows then into the house, hidden from the witch. “Can you go get Xander?”

“I don’t want to leave you,” Chade said, clinging to the vampire.

“I know,” Spike said softly, pushing the young demon back a bit. “But we need help and he’s the only one who can get through to her. You know where his site’s at?”

“Yes,” Chade nodded. He shifted so he was back outside and took off running, hoping to get to Xander in time to help.

*

The house was quiet when they got back. Xander pushed open the ruins of the front door and entered quietly, making Chade stay outside. He could see Severus and Harry laying in a twisted pile on the ground but no one else was present. Venturing upstairs he began to hear a low chanting in a guttural voice. He could tell it was Willow. Following the sound he stopped at one of the unused room, staring at the sight inside the room. Rupert, Tara and Spike were tied up, naked, with symbols painted on them. Willow stood above them, chanting as power crackled around her. Xander took stock of the situation then walked in, breaking Willow’s concentration.

“You,” she hissed, turning dark eyes on him. “My other betrayer.”

“Is that how you see me?” he asked softly, stepping closer to her. “Despite the fact that you betrayed me first. I’m the betrayer?”

“You took my magic!”

“No, I didn’t,” Xander replied calmly. “The Gods and Goddesses over magic took it from you because you were abusing it. There’s no one to blame but yourself. But you never were good at taking the blame for anything you did.”

“What do you mean?”

“Even when we were little, I always took responsibility when things went wrong and got in trouble for everything you did,” he told her, stalking closer.

“You lie! I never did anything wrong!” she yelled.

“The sad part is you believe that,” he shook his head. “Where did you get the biohazards on you arms? What did you kill for that?”

“They were just demons,” she sneered. “They deserved to die.”

“Not all demons are bad,” Xander reminded her. “You told me that. What changed your mind? The magic? The power?”

“Shut up!” she yelled, moving to hit him with a bolt of power.

Xander moved before she did, slamming his fist into her face. She dropped, power dying without focus behind it. He stripped the gloves off her and removed the amulet and quickly tied her up before freeing the others.

“Thank you,” Rupert said, pulling Xander into his arms. “I’m sorry.”

Xander buried his head in his lover’s neck. “Chade’s still outside and Severus and Harry are knocked out downstairs.”

“I’ll take care of them,” Spike said, grabbing his clothes and heading out.

“I’ll take care of her for now,” Tara said, getting dressed and levitating Willow out of the room.

“Why?” Xander asked once they were alone.

“I don’t know,” Rupert answered. He lead his lover out of the guest room and to theirs, pushing Xander down on the bed and climbing in with him. “It was worse than we thought.”

“When Chade came and got me, I was so scared,” Xander admitted, hugging Rupert tightly. “I worried I would get here to late.”

“You weren’t,” Rupert assured him. “We’re fine and we’ll figure out what to do with her.”

“Buffy?” Xander whispered, pulling back to look at the older man.

Rupert’s eyes widened and he reached for the phone, dialing the number. Xander listened to the conversation.

“She’s okay,” Rupert sighed, hanging up. “They weren’t home when Willow went there so she came here.”

“I could have lost you,” Xander said quietly, still stuck on that fact.

“Yes, but you didn’t,” said Rupert, rubbing his over Xander’s back. “I’m still here and I always will be.”

Silent Decisions

Severus stepped up beside Rupert and watched as Tara stroke Xander’s hair. Chade had curled up against the older man and Spike sat a few feet away, watching with a pensive expression.

“I take it he’s normally not this taciturn,” Severus said softly.

“Normally he talks a mile a minute,” Rupert said fondly. He sighed. “Xander has a brilliant mind, but it works faster than his mouth sometimes. The girls used to put him done all the time, not realizing he often found what we were looking for.”

“They were that cruel?”

“Worse,” the ex-Watcher glanced at his friend. “I would sit in my office and listen sometimes. Xander would find something important and babble it out and they would scoff. A few times I tried to thank him in front of them, but they didn’t care so I started thanking him in private.”

Severus smirked. “Is that what they call it now.”

“Not like that,” Rupert snorted. “We started seeing each other after he came back from his road trip. He had all these tales, even if he didn’t make it very far, but Buffy and Willow didn’t want to listen. I did. We began spending more time together and one night after a bad patrol ended up in bed.”

Something in Rupert’s voice caught Severus’ attention. “You thought you took advantage of him.”

“Yes,” the other man sighed. “But Xander wouldn’t let my back way. Now, months later we’re still together.”

“What are you going to do?” Severus asked.

“I’ve called in a favour, a coven of witches in Devon have agreed to take her in. They can keep her from accessing any magic,” Rupert told him seriously. “She’ll be under constant supervision. One slip and they will bind her permanently.”

“Permanently?”

“It’s like Draught of the Dead,” Rupert explained. “She’ll basically be in a coma. Not something I really want to happen, but with everything she’s done, there is not alternative.”

“And the rest? Do you plan on staying in Sunnydale?”

Rupert turned to look at him. “Why are you asking?”

“Albus has an offer for you,” Severus admitted. “I was to see what your plans were and then offer if it was feasible.”

“What’s the offer?”

“DADA.”

“What?” Rupert yelped, startling everyone into looking at him in shock. Xander stood and slowly made his way over, leaning against his lover’s solid form.

“What’s wrong?”

“My employer has offered Rupert a job,” Severus told him.

“Doing what and where?”

“Teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts.”

“Sounds like a good job,” Xander said thoughtfully. “But what about the rest of us?”

“There are offers for you too, but he wanted to put them forward in person,” the Potions Master said. “If Rupert agreed I was to take all of you back to Hogwarts when Potter and I left.”

“We need to talk about this first,” Rupert said.

“Agreed,” Severus nodded. “I need to start packing.” He walked off, beckoning Potter to follow him. Harry threw a quick grin back at them before heading up the stairs.

“This is. . .” Rupert trailed off. “I’m not sure.”

“What would we do there?” Tara asked, pulling Chade up and walking over to join them.

“I’m not sure,” admitted Rupert.

“I have an idea,” Xander said, glancing around at them and Spike still seat across the room. “Why don’t we go and find out what this guy has to offer? Make no concrete decisions until we hear everything?”

“That’s a good idea,” Spike said, finally joining them. “Keep our options open.”

“Are we agreed?” Rupert asked. Tara nodded and Chade just shrugged. “I’ll go talk to Severus. The rest of you start packing for the trip.”

 

Next Time, Different Means of Transportation

Xander landed on the floor with a breath stealing thump, a second thump hitting beside him. Forcing his eyes open, he turned and looked to see a white faced Harry being helped to his feet by a young redheaded man while Rupert was talking to an old man wearing Gandalf’s beard.

“I hate portkeys,” Harry mumbled, reaching down to pull Xander up.

“You okay?” Xander asked. The younger man nodded and Xander made his way over to his lover.

“Ah, this must be Alexander,” the bearded man said.

“Xander,” he corrected. “I take it you’re Severus’ boss.”

“Albus Dumbledore,” he bowed a bit. “Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

“Cool,” Xander grinned, then his face went suddenly blank. “Do you keep people from going bad?”

“I try,” Albus replied softly. “But if they truly want that path then no force on earth can stop them.”

“Not even death,” Harry added, appearing beside them. “Sir, I’m going to head back to the dorms.”

“Go ahead, my boy,” Albus smiled. “I’ll talk with you tomorrow.” Harry nodded and left with his friend. “I’m sure we have much to talk about, but perhaps it would be better if we got you situation first.”

“That would be nice,” Rupert agreed. “Can you make it so that Chade has a room connecting to ours?”

“And to ours,” Tara added.

“Oh, that will be easy,” Albus said with a bright smile. “The castle already seems to like him.”

Xander glanced over to see Chade sitting in a shadow, magic visibly humming around him. The young demon opened his eyes and grinned. “It tickles.”

“I’m sure it does, young man,” Albus laughed. “The magic in Hogwarts will keep him from running higgledy-piggledy.”

Xander blinked. “Say what?”

“The mojo will help keep him out of trouble,” Spike translated from the corner near Chade.

“Oh,” Xander nodded. “What about you?”

“What about me? Worried I’m going to nosh on the kiddies?”

Xander shook his head. “I know you better than that, Spike. No, how are you going to get around. This place is pretty shady, but there are still sunny spots. Not good for the flammable society.”

“Don’t worry,” Albus butt in. “I have just the thing for that.” He rummaged in his desk for a moment. “Here, this is the Gem of Amara.”

“Angel destroyed that!” Spike gasped, stepping closer. He plucked the ring out of Albus’ hand. “He destroyed it.”

“Did you really think only one had been made?” Albus said kindly. “There were three made. One was hidden in the depths of hell, one was given to the alchemist and one was lost in the halls of time. This was given to my dear friend Nicholas Flammel. When he heard there was a friendly vampire coming to Hogwarts, he sent it to me.”

“The depths of hell obviously was Sunnydale, but the halls of time?” Rupert murmured distractedly.

“Not now,” Xander grinned. “Can we head up to those rooms for now? I think we should unpack.”

“Of course,” Albus grinned back at him. “Severus can show you to one of the suite of rooms near his. Most are three or four room suites and well protected. That way you are all still together. And here,” he handed over a roll of parchment. “Some ideas of what the rest of you can accomplish here at Hogwarts and in the Wizarding world in general.”

“Thank you,” Xander told him before following Severus out, leading his still distracted lover.

 

Forgive and Forget?

It sat there, a reminder of things better left in the past. Xander could only stare at it, wanting the damn thing to disappear. Arms wrapped around him and loving lips dropped a quick kiss on his shoulder.

“Are you going to open it?” Rupert asked, keeping his young lover in his embrace.

“I don’t know,” Xander admitted quietly. “I’m not sure I want to hear anything she has to say.”

“It could lead to closure,” Rupert offered, not really believing it.

“No,” the young man disagreed. “I put the past behind me already. I don’t need closure.”

“No, but she does.” They turned to see Tara standing in the doorway, a sad smile on her face. Behind her, Spike stood grim-faced, eyes flashing between blue and yellow. “Her fate has been decided. Read the letter, Xander.”

With a sigh, Xander reached for the envelope and opened it, pulling out the few sheets of paper. He read silently, letting his lover read over his shoulder. The words did nothing to change his feelings on the matter, but he could sense the pain underlying them. When he reached the end he blinked in shock. The punishment she would suffer was harsh, but knowing the litany of crimes she was responsible for, it was fitting.

“I’m sending a letter back,” Tara said quietly. “I can include yours if you like.”

Xander nodded, leaning back into Rupert’s arms. “Thank you.”

*

Willow,

I got your letter the other day, but I can’t understand why you felt the need to send it. Tara says you need closure before taking on your new role, but I know you better. You didn’t send it looking for closure or forgiveness. You sent it in the hopes that I would come and rescue you. I’m sorry, but I won’t be.

You’ve done so much damage. Not only to myself, but Tara, Spike, Rupert, Buffy and Joyce. Not to mention the destruction of Chade’s whole family. You hurt those you say you love and then hope a few words of sorrow will make it better. It doesn’t. Life doesn’t work that way.

I can’t accept your apologies. Nor will I ever forget what you have done. I’m not saying any of this to hurt you, it’s only the truth. I do hope, though, that your truly learn the extent of your crimes and truly understand the pain you caused.

Alexander Giles.

 

“It is time,” a harsh voice intoned.

She stood and followed the cowled figure to a large throne room. He left her standing before a black throne sitting empty in the room.

There was a flash of light and then an older man was sitting on the throne staring down at her. “Willow Rosenberg. Normally I do not allow the living down here. But Hecate and Janus have spoken on your behalf. Therefore I will bend the rules a bit.”

Willow swallowed. She had no idea that anyone had spoken on her behalf.

“They have devised a punishment for you, one suitable to the crimes you have committed,” the man continued. “You are sentenced to help those whose demise came at the hands of magic. Being that there is a wizarding war occurring, there are quite a number of those. Your punishment will continue until the time your jailors feel you have learn the error of your ways.”

Another flash of light and Willow found herself standing in a enormous room filled with people. All of them having died by magical means. Skin sliced off. Body parts missing. A few looking normal but for the terror in their eyes. And at the front, staring up at her with confusion, a group of young children.

Willow wept.

 

Fin

The Master – Chapter One

Xander leaned back against the mausoleum and watched as Buffy toyed with the newly risen vampire. He could hear her taunting the dirt covered man as she danced around him and he sighed in frustration. They had too much to do and they didn’t have time for her to play with still confused fledge.

“Hurry up,” Xander yelled, pushing away from the wall. “We still have to hit Restview and the Bronze tonight.”

“Chill, Xander,” she snapped, absently staking the fledge when it lunged for her. “We have plenty of time.”

“No we don’t,” he said, trying to keep his voice even. “I have work in the morning and you have an eight o’clock class, remember?”

“I can miss class,” she shrugged.

“Yeah, well I can’t miss work, so let’s go,” he growled, turning to head in the direction of Restview.

“Why don’t you just go home then,” she yelled, stomping a foot.

Spinning back around he threw a stake at the vampire sneaking up on her. “That’s why I don’t go home. And if you would just accept Spike’s help I would be home and sleeping.”

“I don’t trust him,” Buffy said. She glanced at the pile of dust. “Thanks.”

“Yet you trust Riley?” he questioned. “I’d rather trust Spike; at least I know his motivations.”

“I know Riley’s,” she protested. “He helps because he loves me.”

Xander smiled sadly. “He helps because he regrets what happened. But he won’t be sorry all the time. And where is he tonight anyway?”

She sighed, slumping a little. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “He didn’t come home last night.”

Stepping closer Xander asked the first question that came to mind. “Do you think he’s turned?”

Fat tears rolled down Buffy’s cheeks and he steeled himself against comforting her.

“I don’t know,” she whispered. “I had Tara do a warding on the house and the shop. I’m afraid to find out.”

Looking around, Xander sighed. “Hit the Bronze and Restview,” he told her quietly. “I’ll look for Riley.”

“And if-”

“I’ll take care of it,” he promised.

Buffy hugged him tightly. “I didn’t want to ask you. But I didn’t know who to turn to.”

“I’m here for you, Buffy, as much as I can be and as much as you’ll let me,” he told her softly. “Go finish patrol. I’ll call you when I know something or when I get home.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, heading off.

Shaking his head, Xander pulled out his cell and hit the speed dial button.

“What?” a familiar voice snapped on the third ring.

Xander grinned. “Have you seen Riley?”

“Not tonight. He missing?”

“Yep,” Xander smirked. “Need to see if he’s turned.”

“Bloody hell!” There was a moment of silence followed by inventive swearing. “I’ll have someone look into it.”

“Thanks, babe,” Xander said.

“Anything for you, pet. Love you.”

“Love you too, Spike,” Xander replied. “I’m gonna check the Rothans and Willy’s before heading home. Call me if you find out anything.”

“I will. See you soon,” Spike said then hung up.

Closing the phone, Xander heading to Willy’s first, hoping the snitch would know something so he wouldn’t have to deal with the information demons. He couldn’t stand Rothans. Their den smelled like decay and even the peppermint oil that Tara had found for him couldn’t cover the stench.

The bar was packed, but everyone moved out the way as he passed, letting him get to the front quickly. Willy said something to the patron he was with then hurried over.

“What can I get for you tonight, Consort?” the snitch asked nervously.

“Have you see Riley?” Xander asked, getting right to the point.

“The Slayer’s pet?” Xander nodded. “He was here last night. Left with a couple of succubae. I tried to warn him but he didn’t listen.”

Xander swore softly, smirking when Willy flinched. “Do you know where they took him?”

“The rent by hour hotel over on 7th,” Willy said. “That’s where they’ve been hunting from. Some of the Fyrals have been trying to get rid of them before they got noticed.”

“Thank them for me,” Xander commanded. “Last thing we need is Buffy realizing what’s going on in town.”

“She still hasn’t figured it out?”

“Her, Giles or Willow,” Xander said smugly.

Willy shook his head. “Some are intentionally blind. Did you want me to send someone over there?”

“No, I’ll go myself,” Xander answered. “Thank you though.”

“For you and the Master, anything,” Willy said sincerely. “And tell Spike I got that order he wanted.”

“I will, have a good night.”

Jogging quickly, he headed over to 7th street, only pausing to call Spike and inform him. When he reached the hotel Spike was waiting for him, several minions behind him.

“What’s the what?” Xander asked, coming to halt next to his lover.

“There’s five of them in there,” one of the minions reported. “He’s still alive, but weak.”

“Call Slutty,” Spike told Xander. “She can take care of him while we deal with the demons.”

Nodding, Xander placed the call. A few minutes later Giles’ car pulled up. Buffy, Willow, Tara and the ex-Watcher piled out, only Tara not staring at the massing minions.

“What’s going on here?” Giles demanded. “Why are all these vampires here?”

“We’re here because the Master told us to be here,” one of the vampires answered, looking at Giles like he was dumb. “We go where he tells us to.”

“And who is the Master?” Buffy asked. “Spike?”

Xander grinned. “Nope, sorry.”

“You?” she asked, palming a stake.

“Still human, Buffy,” he said, still grinning.

“He’s the Consort,” a helpful minion pointed out. Giles glared, making the vampire back up and hide.

“Then who?” she demanding, crossing her arms over her chest.

“How about we find out after we get Cornfed out of there,” Spike suggested.

Blushing, Buffy listened to them layout the problem and everyone’s positions. It only took minutes for them to break into the hotel room. Buffy and Willow grabbed Riley, dragging him outside while the rest of them sent the succubae back to their domain. Once they were finished the minions headed back to headquarters while Xander and Spike followed Giles and the others back to the Magic Box.

“Who is the Master?” Giles asked once they were settled around a table. “And I thought you were with Spike? How can you be the Consort if Spike is not the Master?”

“I am with Spike,” Xander said. “Just not only with Spike.”

“Who else then?” Buffy said, glaring from her position beside the groggy Riley.

“That would be me.”

“Angel?!”

 

 

Previous – Next

The Master – Prologue 3 – Paying the Debt

Warning: This is a demons made them do it, sex pollen type story.  If that bothers you, don’t read.

 

Xander followed his lover and Angel through the sewers, happy beyond belief that Sunnydale’s sewers were fairly clean. He couldn’t imagine walking through one in L.A. or some other place like that. Then again, Sunnydale catered to its demon population and that meant the sun-sensitive needed safe passage through the city and the underground walkways definitely provided that.

He stopped when the two vampires halted and strained his sense to see what alerted them. In the distance he could barely hear the snarling, hissing language of the Kithan, the demons they were tracking. Grabbing his crossbow, Xander checked it quickly and then loaded a bolt and waited. It didn’t take long for the strangely feline reptilians to come boiling out of hidden holes, all snarling and snapping as they advanced. Xander took a step back and levelled his weapon, waiting to see what his companions did.

“You’ve broken a treaty,” Angel said shortly. He glared at the demons. “That is a punishable crime.”

“Who are you to decide that?” the lead Kithan growled as it inched forward.

“I’m the Master of Sunnydale,” the dark vampire replied calmly, though he slipped into a deceptively casual stance. Beside him Spike took up a similar stance.

“We don’t acknowledge you as Master,” the Kithan said defiantly.

“That doesn’t change the fact that I am,” Angel replied. “You broke the treaty you had with the Vroli. They have asked me to bring you to stand trial.” He grinned evilly, a very Angelus expression. “You can fight us, but you will stand trial.”

Hissing, the lead Kithan rushed them and Xander calmly shot it, watching as it reeled around and fell to the ground, keening in pain at the bolt sticking out of its upper chest.

“Anyone else want to try?” Angel asked urbanely.

A few more leapt forward and this time the two vampires meant the violence with violence. They moved in unison, easily tossing combatants at each other. Xander loaded another bolt and waited to see if any of the Kithan tried to rush past them. A couple eyed him but backed off when he raised the crossbow. It only took a few minutes for the vampires to subdue the more aggressive Kithan and the rest huddled together in small clumps.

“Now that that’s settled, you’ll accompany us back to the Vroli nest,” Angel commanded, gesturing for them to march.

The injured demons moaned, but obeyed and were followed by their kin. The whole trip to the Vroli nest, Xander kept his crossbow ready; he didn’t trust the defeated demons. The sentries at the Vroli nest beamed happily as the clan of Kithan marched sullenly past them and into the holding area.

“Thank you, Master,” one sentry said with a bow as the other ran to fetch the Elders. “We are in your debt.”

“While that is true, I am currently only trying to put the city back in order,” the vampire told the sentry. “I ask for no debt.”

“Be that as it may, a debt is owed,” the approaching Elder said serenely. “You have saved our latest clutch, and even if you were not the Master a debt would be due.”

Angel sighed and Xander hid a smile. The souled vampire hated having any of the peaceful demons indebted to him. The less than peaceful ones were a different story. Still, Xander knew there was no way they would get out of there without the Vroli paying their debt. The Vroli were very honourable demons and having a debt of any kind hanging over the nest was seen as a major sin. He wondered what they would give them. The last time it had been a beautiful set of swords that Spike was still trying to steal from Angel.

“Come,” the Elder commanded, heading toward the back rooms. “The others are busying trying the Kithan, I will pay our debt.”

Sighing again, Angel nodded to Xander and Spike and they all followed the Elder through the nest. It wasn’t the first time Xander had been in the Vroli nest, but he was always amazed at the simply beauty. The nest was a series of natural caves just within the borders of the town. Though natural, all the walls had been polished to a mirror shine and multicoloured crystals studded them, forming abstract patterns in the rock face. The last time he had been there, Xander had found himself in one of the further caverns staring at the winking crystals for hours, mesmerized by their beauty. When he had come out of his trance he had found several of the Elders beaming at him and declaring him kin.

“Sit, sit,” the Elder said, pointing to the scattered cushions on the floor. “We must decide what would be the appropriate gift to cover our debt.”

“Anything would do,” Angel began.

“Pah,” the Elder spat. “Not anything. Like must be paid with like. You have done us a great service today by catching those marauders. We must gift in accordance.” She looked at them critically and Xander felt a shiver of worry. “You are unbounded.”

“Yes,” Angel started.

“That will not do,” she interrupted. She studied them again. “That will work.” She then called out in the language of her people. From a distance someone answered and moments later several other Vroli entered the cavern. “We must pay our debt. Venish, begin the spell.”

“Spell?” Angel exclaimed, standing quickly. Spike and Xander stood as well, forming a united front.

“No harm,” she smiled. “Sit. We will pay.”

Xander blinked as magic washed over him and shivered as his skin became ultra sensitive. Beside him Spike growled a little and shifted closer, his eyes constantly changing from blue to yellow. Angel stiffened and a grimace passed over his face.

“You can’t do this,” he ground out. “The curse-”

“Will be changed,” the Elder nodded. “We fix. Relax. We pay.”

“What is happening?” Xander asked, looking at his lover.

“It’s a lust spell,” Spike replied, reaching over and pulling Xander closer. He glared at the Elder. “What are you doing?”

“You are not Mated,” she stated. “We fix.”

“No,” Angel snapped. “This isn’t right.”

“Relax,” she said again and the spell swelled around them. Xander groaned as a feeling of need settled into his bones. “Take them to the blue room; the young one likes it there.”

The other Vroli lead them off and Xander considered fighting, but the want in him made it difficult to concentrate. Spike kept a firm grip on him as they were lead to Xander’s favourite spot in the nest. Several mattress-like pads were laid on the ground and covered in sheets. Candles were lit, making the crystals shimmer and reflect the flame. A slew of items were laid out beside the makeshift bed, but Xander paid no attention to them, all his focus had turned to his lover as he became almost desperate for Spike’s touch.

~*~

“You know what to do?” one of the demons asked Angel.

“Yes,” he snapped. “But this is wrong.”

“Too late,” the demon shrugged. “The Elder has decided and it is started. There is no return. The pipe is there and oil for ease.” The demon glanced at Xander and Spike, the two now pressed together on the bed. “Do not hurt the young one. The Elders would be displeased.”

Angel grunted and turned his back on the Vroli. He bit back a moan at the sight his GrandChilde and Xander made, dark and light pressed so closely together. Idly, he noticed the Vroli left, but he could hear the spell for a Consort bond being whispered somewhere. He had hoped they could keep it to a lower bonding but that was not to be. Bowing his head in defeat, he gave in. There was no way to fight it. Vroli magic was strong and it seemed as if all the Elders were working together to create this bond.

He stepped closer to the make-shift bed and gasped as two sets of hands pulled him down. He could feel Xander’s warmth on one side and the familiar cool weight of Spike on the other. The two lovers exchanged a deep kiss over him before turning their focus. Hot lips covered his and Angel gave in to the kiss, letting Xander lead for now. Spike proved that he never forgot any of Angel’s hot spots in the decades they had been apart. At some point they moved, ending with Xander lying beneath the two vampires as they teased and tortured him.

Moving away Angel grabbed the pipe and checked to make sure it was full then lit it. Keeping his gaze on the other two, he took a heavy drag, letting the smoke fill his lungs. He leaned down and pressed his lips to Spike’s, letting the smoke escape into the younger vampire’s mouth. Spike then turned and kissed Xander, breathing the second hand smoke into the human’s mouth. Surprisingly, Xander didn’t choke but inhaled deeply then sat up and gave the smoke back to Angel. Taking the smoke that now tasted of the other two men in, Angel held it for a moment before exhaling, letting it drift up and around them.

As he put the pipe aside, Angel watched greedily as Spike moved between Xander’s thighs, one hand slipping down. The sounds the young man made were driving him crazy and he grabbed the small pot of oil the Vroli had left, handing it to Spike. The blond grinned at him before covering a few fingers in the thick liquid and adding the oil to the flesh he was stretching. There was another quick dip in the oil and Spike coating his erection and moved closer, pressing into Xander’s body. They way they moved together spoke clearly of the love they shared and the last lucid bit of his mind wondered just how close they had already been to a Claiming. The lust spell was raging and with it affecting them, it didn’t take long for the two lovers to come, both moaning each other’s names. When Spike moved away, Angel got into position. He met Xander’s eyes, seeing they were need fogged but there was still something aware in them. Xander reached up and pulled him down, sealing their mouths together in a long kiss. Gasping as cool, slick fingers wrapped around his cock, Angel reared back and stared at Spike. The blond vampire just smiled and then nodded towards Xander. Taking the hint, Angel slotted himself into the vee of Xander’s legs and thrust smoothly inside. The heat of the human body made Angel hiss and he paused as he bottomed out. Wrapping his legs around Angel’s waist, Xander thrust his hips up and Angel began to move.

~*~

His blood was on fire, but the cool thrust of Angel in and above him and the cool press of Spike beside him calmed the inferno. He moaned as each drive of Angel’s hips hit that sweet spot, sending him spiralling higher. He could feel the need to come rise up, but something was missing. A series of whimpers broke free and Angel pulled them back until Xander was sitting on his lap. Spike scooted up behind them, bracketing Xander between their bodies. Just before he came both vampires bit, driving sharp teeth into either side of his neck. Xander screamed as the pleasure overloaded and the world went black.

~*~

Spike opened his eyes and blinked at the darkness. There was no light at all, nothing to see which was odd considering he could normally see in the dark. Pausing, he catalogued what his other senses were telling him. Somewhere close was Xander, the deep breathing of his sleeping lover calmed him a bit. He shifted a little and froze when he brushed up against a body that definitely wasn’t Xander’s. Inhaling, he scented Angel and nearly jumped. What was his GrandSire doing in bed with him and Xander?

“What do you remember?” came Angel’s deep voice from the dark.

“Taking down the Kithan, bringing them to the Vroli, that Elder talking about debts and paying them,” Spike began. Then it hit him. “We’re bonded!”

He heard Angel sigh. “A Consort bond between Xander and me, and a reaffirmation of the bond already existing between us.”

“Consort?” Spike ground out. “You took Xander as your Consort?”

“It’s not like I planned it,” Angel pointed out. “And you have a Claim on him too. Not quite Consort level, but close.”

“What does that mean?” asked Spike, trying to keep from yelling.

“You’re mine, he’s mine and I’m yours,” Angel stated. “I don’t know how this is going to work with me living in L.A.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Xander said sleepily. He then said something in the Vroli language and a low light began to glow from the crystals in the wall.

“How didya do that, pet?” Spike asked, lifting up enough to look at his Mate.

“They declared me kin,” Xander reminded him. Spike watched as he sat up carefully. “We should get home and make plans.”

“You’re not upset?” Angel asked.

Xander shrugged. “I’m not happy with the Elders but it’s useless to worry over something that’s already done. We’ve got the future to plan for.” He stood. “Besides, some of the other clans might like this better. It gives a stable power base.”

“That’s my Xan,” Spike grinned up at him. “Always thinking tactically.”

“Yeah, well right now I’m thinking I want to eat,” Xander said, dressing quickly. “So let’s head home before the sun rises.”

“Home?” Angel questioned as he got up and dressed.

“My apartment,” Xander reminded him.

“No,” the dark vampire said, shaking his head. “If you’re my Consort you can’t be living in an apartment. I still own the mansion.” He looked a Spike who was pulling his clothes on. “How long would it take you to get everything moved there?”

“I’ll call Clem,” Spike smirked. “About two hours. Probably less.”

“Don’t I get a say in this?” Xander asked, glaring at them.

“He’s right, pet,” Spike shrugged. “If we’re to be the equivalent of Vampire royalty we’ve got to live like it. Plus, living in the mansion means some of the demons who look really strange will be able to come and plead their cases.”

Xander wilted at that. “Fine, but I’m redecorating.”

“Sure,” Angel agreed, ignoring Spike glare. “We’ll get Buffy’s mom to help and I’ll send Cordy down.”

Xander gaped at him. “That’s mean. Are you sure you aren’t Angelus?”

Angel smiled serenely. “I’m more. No more struggles between my demon and my soul. It’s peaceful.”

Spike stepped close and hugged his GrandSire, happy for the older vampire. He knew how much the constant fight was driving Angel insane and for him to finally have that ended without one side winning was a blessing. “I’m glad.”

“So am I,” Xander said, hugging Angel from the other side. “Come on. We have a lot of work to do.”

 

Previous Next

The Master – Prologue 2 – Getting Settled

“Angel!”

The vampire being called winced as Cordelia’s voice hit a new pitch and rang through the office. With a suffering sigh, he pushed himself out of the chair and headed over to see what she wanted.

“Did you need something, Cordy?” Angel asked, staring down at her.

She thrust the phone in her hand at him. “Here. It’s your idiot, bleach-fried GrandChilde,” she snapped.

Confused, Angel took the phone and brought it up, blinking at the barrage of cursing on the other end. That was definitely Spike. He listened for a moment, trying to place the voice he could hear in the background.

I know you’re there,” Spike snarled.

“What do you want?” Angel finally asked, resisting the urge to hang the phone up.

You’re needed in Sunnydale,” the blond said shortly.

“Buffy-” Angel began, nearly crushing the phone.

Slayer’s fine,” Spike said darkly. “Not everything is about her. Now get your ass here!”

At the dial tone, Angel pulled the phone away and stared at it until Cordy noisily cleared her throat.

“What was that about? Buffy in trouble again?” the aspiring actress asked archly.

“No, not Buffy,” Angel said absently, hanging the receiver up. “Spike just said I’m needed in Sunnydale.”

“And you trust him?”

“No,” the vampire admitted. “But there’s something going on.”

“Fine,” she nodded. “I’ll call Wes and we’ll meet you in an hour.”

“Huh?” he blinked at her.

“You’re not going to Sunnydale alone,” she said, pointing at him. “You and her Blondness will start up your doomed romance thing and bad things will start to happen.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Angel protested.

Cordy just gave him a look and dialled the phone. Shaking his head, Angel gave in. There was no use arguing with her.

~*~
The ride to Sunnydale was filled with Cordy pointing out how much of a bad idea it was. Angel exchanged glances with Wes, both men well aware that she wasn’t going to stop any time soon. They pulled up in front of the apartment building Spike had given them the address for.

“Well, looks like Xander finally moved up in the world,” Cordy snarked, a strange look in her eyes. “Which apartment?”

“306,” Angel said, following her up the stairs.

Cordy knocked on the door impatiently, tapping her foot as she waited for someone to open it. “About time,” she snapped when it swung inward.

“You had to bring her?” Spike groaned, looking past the ex-Cheerleader to his Grandsire.

“Do you think I really had a choice?” Angel countered.

Spike smirked. “I won’t comment. Come in.”

“You live here?” Cordy asked as she brushed past him.

“Yep, better than a crypt any day,” Spike grinned. “And it’s got lots of perks.”

“Perks?” Wes asked as he walked in.

“Yeah, perks,” Spike leered, nodding to where Xander had just exited the bathroom, clothed only in a pair of jeans, love bites and the towel he was using to dry his hair.

“Spike,” Angel said warningly, looking between the blond vampire and the human.

“Wot?” Spike blinked at him innocently.

“Don’t bother, Blondie,” Xander laughed as he walked over. “You can’t do innocent.”

“Xander,” Angel began.

“Can it, Deadboy,” the human said, raising a hand to halt anything the vampire had to say. “Yes, I know what Spike is, I know what he’s like and I know what I’m doing. Does that cover everything?”

“Does Buffy know?”

“No, and she doesn’t need to,” Xander replied. “We’ll tell her in our own time.”

“Ashamed?” sneered the older vampire.

Spike growled but Cordelia beat him to the punch, literally. Angel rubbed his jaw and stared at Cordy in shock.

“That was uncalled for,” she snapped. “And coming from me that says a lot. Now apologize.”

“Cordy-” he started.

“No, Angel, you’re acting like a spoiled brat, I should know,” she smirked. “I doubt this is why they called us down. Now say you’re sorry and focus!”

The vampire sighed. “She’s right. I apologize.”

Xander shrugged. “Thank you, but we’re used to it.”

“Why did you call us down?” Wes asked, finally stepping forward.

Xander shot him a grateful look. “There have been a lot of problems in town.”

“Buffy can’t handle it?” Angel asked, sounding concerned.

“Not this,” Spike answered. “She’s good for killing, but this is more a management issue.”

“Huh?” Cordy asked, looking at them strangely.

“With Wilkins dead these past few years and all the shit from the Initiative, there’s no set power structure in town,” Xander explained. “A lot of the lesser and weaker clans are suffering.”

“And with the damn chip in my head I can’t take control,” Spike added.

“And you want what?” Wes asked.

“They want me to step into position,” Angel stated bluntly.

“You’re the best choice,” Xander said with a wry grin.

“And I’d just leave everything I’m doing in LA?”

“No,” Xander shook his head. “If we do it right we can set it up for us to take care of business here while you deal with LA.”

“Ah, you would act as his proxies,” Wes nodded. “That’s actually brilliant.”

“Was my pet’s idea,” Spike said, pulling Xander against him.

“Not in front of the single people!” Cordy yelped.

“Well, we could add you in,” Spike said with a leer.

“And I get told to focus,” Angel sighed under his breath. “I’m not certain I’m the right person-”

“Who then?” Xander asked. “There’s no one else. I can’t because I’m human; Spike can’t because of the chip, which leaves only you.”

“Xander,” the older vampire began.

“We actually looked for a way to disable the chip first,” the human said, “before we thought about asking you to step up. But the scientist in charge of it took off with the info just before the base fell.”

“You would trust an unchipped Spike to be in charge of the Hellmouth?” Angel gaped.

“I know his motives,” Xander replied coldly. “I know what he will do and why. Which means, yes, I’d trust him before I’d trust you and you’re unstable soul.”

“Xander,” Cordy began then shook her head. “This is messed up. Xander and Spike are right, and I can’t believe I agree with them, someone needs to balls up and take command and you’re the best bet, Angel. And with them here you won’t be doing most of the work anyway. You’ll be a figurehead.”

Xander nodded. “Yep.”

“It is for the best,” Wes added quietly.

“Damn,” Angel swore softly, looking at them all. “Fine. We’ll let the major players in town know that i’m taking over as Master of the Hellmouth.”

“That’s settled then,” Spike said, clapping his hands together. “They’re waiting over on 7th.”

“What? Already?”

 

Previous Next

The Master – Prologue 1 – Edith

Prompt/Challenge: kissbingo Body: hands and Xander finds himself playing mom to a hellhound puppy and someone steps in to help, Spike! from The Spander Files

 

The bang at his apartment door woke Xander out of his half doze. He stared at the door in confusion for a moment until a second bang had him up and racing over. Grabbing a stake, he threw the door open and stopped, shock running through him. On the ground in front of his door was a tiny form. The tiny form of a hellhound. There was a hellhound puppy sitting in front of him. Gaping, Xander looked down both side of the hallway but there was no one and nothing there. He looked down at the puppy and sighed as it gave him the demonic version of puppy dog eyes.

“I’m going to end up bathing in holy water,” he muttered as he leaned down a picked the puppy up.

The hellhound yipped softly and snuggled into his arms and Xander carried it inside and closed the door. Snagging the blanket he kept on the back of the couch, he quickly made a little nest for the puppy and situated it on the couch.

“Are you a boy or a girl?” he asked. The puppy only stared up at him adoringly so Xander picked it up and checked. “A girl then. So what am I going to do with you?”

~*~
Xander resisted the urge to bang his head off the wall as the hellhound whimpered and whined. He had no idea what it wanted. Or what it needed. What did a hellhound puppy eat anyway? He picked the puppy up and cuddled it, crooning softly in an attempt to get it sleep. It still cried at him, shaking a little.

“Fine,” Xander sighed. He put the puppy down and grabbed the phone, dialling the one number he never thought he never call. “i need your help.”

“Really? Doing what?” Spike asked.

“Just get over here, Bleachy,” Xander snapped before hanging the phone up. The puppy looked at him. “Yeah, I know, not the best way to get help.”

It wasn’t that long before Xander heard Spike pounding on his door and cussing. Giving the puppy one last glance, he opened the door and let the vampire in. Once inside Spike zeroed in on the hellhound, eyes flashing gold before he turned to glare at Xander.

“What is that doing here?” he snarled, pointing at the whimpering, shaking puppy.

“I found it abandoned on my doorstep,” Xander told him.

“Abandoned on your doorstep?” Spike echoed, disbelief loud in his voice. “Only you, Harris.”

“Yeah, demon magnetic, I know. But I need help taking care of her,” Xander said, turning his own version of puppy eyes on Spike. “Help?”

The vampire groaned. “Have you fed it?”

“No,” Xander sighed. “I know don’t what it eats.”

“It’s still young, it eats like a normal dog at this stage,” Spike informed him. “Dog food should be fine, water and the like.”

“Okay,” nodded Xander. “Can you watch her while I run to the store?”

“Got beer?”

“Of course.”

“Fine, but don’t take forever.”

~*~
“And he’ll help you grow up to be a big, bad hellhound,” Xander heard Spike say as he opened the door. “You’ll probably only get to eat bad guys, but they can be tasty. Oh, you’re back.”

Xander grinned at the sight of Spike sprawled out on the couch, the puppy curled up on his chest. He wished he had a camera to preserve the moment. Still smiling, he carried the bags full of food and toys into the kitchen. Opening the food bag, he poured his puppy a bowl and filled another with water. Tucking one of the toys under his arm, he carried the bowls out into the living room and placed them on the floor by the couch and put the toy on the table. Picking the puppy off of Spike’s chest, he put her down in front of the bowls and grinned happily as she attacked the food. Reaching over, he grabbed the toy and hissed as the cardboard it was tied to cut into his hand.

“You okay?” Spike asked, sitting up.

“Just a cut,” Xander shrugged, examining the injury.

“Let me see,” Spike commanded.

Xander showed the vampire his hand, stilling when Spike caught it in his own. Spike turned Xander’s hand this way and that as he stared at the cut. Finally he dropped a kiss over it.

“My mother always said kisses make hurts heal faster,” Spike said softly.

There was a small smear of red on Spike’s lips and Xander watched as Spike’s tongue darted out to taste it.

“You can if you want,” he said softly, holding his hand up a bit higher. Spike stared at him in shock. “Really.”

Holding his gaze, Spike brought Xander’s hand up to his mouth and slid his tongue across the small cut, lapping up the tiny amount of blood. Xander felt his breath hitch at the eroticism of the act and shifted a little as arousal burned in his gut. After placing another soft kiss on Xander’s palm, Spike let his hand go.

“Thank you,” the vampire whispered.

Xander opened his mouth but was interrupted by his puppy jumping into his lap and barking excitedly. Smiling down at her briefly he looked back up at the vampire. “You’re welcome.” He looked down the puppy then back at Spike. “Stay and help me?”

“Yeah, pet,” Spike agreed quietly. “I can do that. So, have you thought of a name for her?”

~*~
Two months later

“Spike, where’s Edith?” Xander asked, looking around the apartment.

“She was on the bed last I saw,” Spike answered from the kitchen.

“Damn. Edith. Edith, come here,” Xander called as he headed toward the bedroom.

When he entered the room he didn’t see their puppy anywhere, but there was a sheet of paper lying in the exact middle of the bed. Picking it up, he read it.

Alexander and William,
Thank you for taking care of my puppy for me these past months. I unfortunately was called away on business and couldn’t take her with me. I hope she was well behaved for you. Since you went through the process of naming her (which I hadn’t done yet), I’ll leave the name you gave her. Edith she will be. She will visit when she gets the chance. Thank you so much,
Belonire

“Spike?” Xander squeaked, bringing the paper to the vampire. “Who is Belonire?”

Spike quickly read the note and then looked at Xander with startled eyes. “Belonire is the demonic version of Cupid,” he managed to say.

“Cupid?”

“Yeah,” Spike swallowed. “He’s said to match demons with their, well not soulmates, but the demonic equivalent. He makes perfect matches.”

“So we’re perfect matched for each other?” Xander stepped closer with a smile.

“Yeah, pet, we are,” Spike said, reaching out to pull them together.

“Why use Edith?”

“Probably a fast way to get us together,” Spike shrugged. “Does it matter?”

“No,” Xander said, leaning against his lover.

They stood together in the middle of the apartment, arms wrapped around each other, both happy than they could ever remember. Occasional soft kisses were passed back and forth.

“I miss Edith.”

Next

Tear You Apart – Part Two

05

 

There was something wrong with his friend. Xander watched as Spike fidgeted for the seventh time in as many minutes. The blond couldn’t seem to sit still and it was starting to get to Xander.

“What’s wrong?” he asked finally, snapping Spike out of whatever thoughts he was locked in.

“Wrong?” Spike echoed. “Why would anything be wrong?”

“Unless you’re sitting on an ant hill, something’s bothering you,” Xander pointed out. “Now talk.”

“It’s coming up on Christmas,” Spike said quietly, peering over at Xander.

“Oh,” the brunet whispered. “Missing your family?”

“Yeah,” Spike nodded. “I spent last Christmas with Walter and his family and he had Mum flown in for it. This is the first year I’ve been without her.”

Xander shifted over and wrapped an arm around Spike’s slim shoulders. “Miss her?”

“Every day,” Spike whispered, leaning against his friend.

“Does your uncle have anything planned?”

Spike shrugged. “I haven’t asked. Didn’t want to impose.”

Xander thought for a minute. “If he doesn’t you could probably join us this year.”

“Really?” Spike looked up.

“Yep,” Xander smiled down at him. “We have breakfast and presents, and then we go to the local shelter at lunch and help out there. Joyce and Dawn meet us there. Then we hit LA for dinner with Faith and her boyfriend up there. It’s a long day, but fun.”

“Wouldn’t I be in the way?”

“For breakfast and lunch definitely not,” Xander assured him. “Dinner might be different. I’d have to call Faith and see if she minded another person.”

Spike shook his head. “That sounds like it’s just for family.”

“Hey, you’re my best friend, that makes you family,” argued Xander. “Don’t worry, Faith’ll probably say yes.”

“Wait on that until I know what Uncle Rupert is doing,” cautioned Spike. “No use making plans if he’s got his own.”

“True. Once you know, let me know, okay?”

 

~*~

 

“Uncle?” Spike asked hesitantly.

Uncle Rupert looked up from his book. “Something the matter, William?”

“Um, are we doing anything for the holidays?” he blurted.

A startled look came over the older man’s face followed by a look of chagrin. “I totally forgot,” he murmured. “Oh dear.”

“It’s okay,” Spike hurried to assure him. “If you don’t have plans Xander told me I could join them.”

“Oh?”

“Yes,” Spike said, squirming a bit under his uncle’s stare. “They do breakfast and presents, then help at the shelter for lunch.”

Uncle Rupert nodded. “Normally I help at the shelter as well,” he told his nephew. “And dinner?”

“They’re going to LA to visit with Ang-Liam’s sister.”

“And they don’t mind you coming along?” Uncle Rupert raised an eyebrow.

“Xander was going to call and make sure,” Spike told him.

“Hmm,” the older man hummed, still staring at Spike. “I would like to spend some of the holiday with you. Perhaps we can have our own breakfast and presents then meet them at the shelter.”

Spike grinned. “Okay! And dinner?”

“If Alexander finds out it is permissible, I don’t foresee any problems with you going to LA with them,” Uncle Rupert smiled at him.

Spike threw his arms around the older man. “Thank you, Uncle.”

“No, thank you,” he murmured. “I would have forgotten the holiday completely.”

“Completely?” Spike asked, pulling back.

“Well, no,” Uncle Rupert admitted. “I did get you a few presents.”

“Pressies!” Spike crowed.

The older man laughed. “You still have to wait for Christmas morning.”

“Yes sir!” Spike saluted before running up to his room to call Xander. He hoped Angel’s sister wouldn’t mind a tagalong.

 

~*~

 

“Did you give him the standard warnings?” Angel asked as they neared LA.

“Not yet,” Xander replied with a wicked smile.

“Warning?” Spike asked from his spot in the backseat.

Xander turned to look at him. “Faith doesn’t have a lot of boundaries. And she’ll say the most outrageous stuff to make you blush. She’ll comment on her sex life, ask about yours and then give tips.”

Spike gaped. “What?”

“Andrew is a geek. He’s the King of all geeks. Expect that somewhere in tonight’s meal will be a Star Trek themed dish. Most likely there will be Star Trek themed wrapping paper on the presents,” Angel added.

“Okay,” Spike said slowly. “I’m sure it won’t be bad.”

Xander shrugged and grinned. “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

Spike worried as they reached the city. It didn’t take long for them to reach their destination and he stared in shock when they pulled up to a large house decorated with Star Trek Christmas decals.

“Wow,” he muttered, following the other two out of the car and up the stairs.

“Like I said, King of the Geeks,” Angel laughed, knocking on the door.

The door opened and a dark blur hit the older man, nearly sending him to the ground. Angel wrapped his arms around the figure in a tight hug, nearly lifting it off the ground.

“Put me down!” Laughing, Angel let go and the person stepped back glaring at him. Angel locked eyes with his sister and Spike could only goggle as they stared at each other. With them standing here so still, he could see the resemblance between them, though Angel dressed a bit more conservatively than his sister did. Black leather pants and a barely there tank top generally weren’t considered normal holiday wear.

“Merry Christmas, Faith,” Xander said, breaking up the staring contest.

Faith turned and looked at Xander, smiling softly and pulling him into a hug. “Hey there, Boy Toy,” she greeted. “And this is William?”

“Hello,” Spike said quietly.

“Oo, shy,” she cooed. “That’ll be fun.”

“Be nice,” Angel chided, ushering them into the house.

Once inside Spike could only blink at the decorations. The Star Trek theme carried inside, and most of it wasn’t up just for Christmas. From the ceiling in the living room hung a model of the Enterprise and over the television was another ship that Spike didn’t recognize.

“That’s Voyager,” Xander whispered into his ear. “I warned you.”

“I didn’t think it would be this bad,” Spike whispered back.

“This is mellow,” Xander grinned. “Faith makes him take down most of the models and stuff for the holidays.”

“There’s normally more?” Spike squeaked.

“Lots more,” giggled Xander. “Come on.”

Xander pulled him into the kitchen where a slender man was standing in front of the stove. When the man turned to look at them Spike realized he wasn’t much older than the two teens.

“Hey, Andrew,” Xander said, pulling the man into a hug. He stepped back. “William, meet Andrew.”

“William?” Andrew asked. “Why don’t I believe you go by that?”

Spike grinned. “My friends call me Spike.”

“Spike? Cool,” Andrew smiled widely. Then he pouted. “I never get cool nicknames.”

“Well, you didn’t like Andy or Drew,” Xander pointed out. “There’s not much more to use.”

“And you got Spike from William how?” Andrew argued. “Or Angel from Liam?”

“Point,” agreed Xander. “Think of something then get Faith to start calling you by it. The others will catch on.”

“Like Boy Toy?” Spike asked archly, watching as the wave of red raced up Xander’s face.

“I’d gladly give him that name if he wanted it,” Xander groaned.

“And take all of Faith’s fun?” teased Andrew. “Head back into the living room and keep the two pig headed siblings from killing each other please.”

“Sure,” nodded Xander.

 

They spent the next hour keeping Angel and Faith from tearing the house apart as the brother and sister teased each other. Occasionally from the kitchen Andrew would yell at them. Finally he called them in to eat and the siblings once again became adults.

“Are they always like that?” Spike asked as they followed them into the dining room.

“Yeah,” Xander nodded. “Sometimes worse too.”

Dinner was better than Spike expected, especially given the names of some of the dishes. And after the clean up they piled into the living room to watch movies. Xander and Angel took one of the couches while Faith and Andrew curled up in one of the chairs. Spike sat on the far side of the couch his friends were on, suddenly feeling like the fifth wheel. Before he could descend into self-pity, Xander reached over and pulled him closer. Leaning against his friend’s warm side, Spike watched the Christmas movies and drifted, happier than he had been in a long time.

 

~*~

 

“Are you going to the Bronze for New Year’s?” Xander asked a few days later. “You’d finally get to hear Dingoes Ate My Baby.”

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Spike grinned.

“Great,” Xander said with a bounce. “The party starts at seven but the doors open at six. I’ll pick you up at quarter to, okay?”

“Sure. Is Angel going?” asked Spike.

“Yeah, right,” Xander laughed. “He calls it an excuse to behave like fools.”

“It is,” Spike agreed. “Fun though.”

“Yep.”

 

Spike dressed in his usual attire. He wasn’t much for dressing up anyway. He was downstairs and saying goodbye to his uncle when the horn honked outside. Hurrying out, he slipped into the car and they headed off to the club.

“Everyone will be there,” Xander cautioned as he parked. “But tonight’s pretty much a neutral night.”

“That’s good,” Spike agreed.

The joined the short line already in front of the club. Within a few minutes the line behind them grew extremely long.

“That’s why I wanted to get here now,” Xander said, nodding to the people behind them.

“Good idea,” Spike said as they moved forward a bit.

It only took them ten minutes to get inside and Spike was surprised to see the Bronze looking as it did. The normally dingy club was cleaned so it sparkled. Balloons and streamers hung from the ceiling and party hats were being handed out by the bouncers. The dance floor was already half-packed and a band was setting up on stage.

Music blared through the speakers and Xander pulled him out onto the dance floor. Moving to the beat they soon lost track of time, only leaving the dance floor to get quick bits of air and drinks. At ten to midnight the music stopped and everyone readied for the turn of the year. When the clock clicked to twelve the crowd went wild, people cheered and Spike found himself on the end of a very enthusiastic kiss. He gave himself over to the kiss, losing himself in the taste of Xander. Breaking the kiss, Xander went back to calling Happy New Year to those around him, leaving a very confused Spike standing with one hand pressed to his mouth.

 

 

 

06

 

Xander stared at his reflection wondering if he could see any changes. It was only a day until his birthday and he would finally be eighteen. He had been waiting for this day for over a year. But first they had to deal with one last major interview with the social worker.

He didn’t mind Ms. Frek. She had often stated she didn’t want to just shuffle children around from place to place; she wanted to find them homes and love. It was through the hard work of her and Joyce that he was even allowed to live with Angel and Ms. Frek had never commented on the fact that he shared Angel’s bed.

“It’s just a routine visit,” Angel said from behind him.

Xander met his love’s eyes in the mirror as Angel reached around to straighten his collar. “Still scary.”

“Hallie likes you,” Angel reminded him, wrapping him in a hug. “And as of tomorrow she can’t separate us.”

“No, but she could cause problems,” Xander pointed out.

Angel kissed the side of his neck. “Nothing will make me let you go, Xan. Not unless you truly wanted to leave. I love you.”

“Love you too,” Xander sighed, leaning back into Angel’s solid form. “Don’t mean to be a scaredy-cat.”

“It’s been a long year,” Angel said. “With a lot of issues. It’s not wrong to be scared.”

The ringing of the doorbell cut off anything Xander was going to say.

“Come on,” Angel sighed, pulling away. “Sooner we get down there, the sooner this is over with.”

Xander lagged behind his lover, listening as the older man opened the door and let the social worker in. He could hear them exchange pleasantries and Ms. Frek asking for him.

“I’m here,” he said softly, coming down the stairs.

Ms. Frek smiled at him. “Don’t worry, Xander, it’s just a meeting to wrap up the paperwork.”

“Okay,” he said, coming to sit across from her.

“As of tomorrow you’re officially an adult,” she started. “I’ve got some papers I need you to sign. Date them all for tomorrow too,” she added with a wink. “That way I don’t have to come back.”

Giving her a shy smile, Xander signed his name after Angel did a quick read through of the legal documents. Seven pages and a hand cramp later she sat back and smiled at them.

“Now, that’s all done,” she said happily. “As of midnight we are officially off your case, but-”

“But?” Angel asked, staring at her sharply.

“But with everything that Xander has been through we’ll be keeping an eye on you both unofficially,” she admitted with a tiny shrug. “Nothing major, just to make sure Xander’s adjusting well and things don’t go wrong between you.”

“I’d never hurt him,” Angel said tersely.

She nodded. “I know that. My main boss knows that but the idiots in charge are, well, idiots.”

“It’s okay,” Xander said, trying to diffuse the situation. “I’m not really surprised.”

“I didn’t think you would be,” Ms. Frek commented. “Truthfully, I think they’re just trying to cover their asses since they didn’t act when you were younger.”

“Doesn’t matter now,” Xander said with a smile. “I have Angel. That makes up for everything else.”

Ms. Frek sighed happily. “I feel that way about my Anyanka. Love has a way of doing that to you.” She scooped up the papers. “Well, that’s all set. Remember boys, you can call me if you need anything.”

Xander sat in slight shock as Angel let the social worker out. When his love sat down Xander automatically snuggled into his arms. “We’re legal now.”

“Not quite yet,” Angel laughed. “But close enough.”

 

~*~

 

Xander stopped just inside the door to the bedroom. The lights were off, the only illumination a few candles scattered across the top of the dresser. A slight hint of sandalwood filled the air and he felt all the tension ease from his body. He knew what this was. Finally, the time to reconnect physically had come.

“Strip,” Angel whispered into his ear. Xander shivered as the warm breath brushed over the sensitive flesh. “Then lay down on the bed.”

“Yes, sir,” Xander answered, hands already obeying the command.

He undressed slowly, teasing both himself and Angel. First his shirt went, the buttons sliding slowly through the holes until all were undone. He shrugged the garment off, catching it before it hit the floor and carefully folding it. From the side he heard the approving murmur. After setting the shirt on the desk, he slipped off his shoes, toeing his socks off at the same time and pushed them to the side. With shaking hands, he unbuttoned his jeans and pushed them down, making sure to leave his boxers up. Once again, he carefully folded the pants and laid them on top of the shirt. Turning to look at Angel, he hooked his thumbs in the waistband of the boxers and eased them down, baring the last of his body to Angel’s gaze. He placed them with the rest of the clothing and stood there for a moment, wearing only the collar around his neck and the mesh chains around his wrists. Angel’s lust filled eyes met his and the older man nodded towards the bed. Letting out a shaky breath, Xander walked backwards until he came to the edge of the bed, then let himself fall back, offering everything up to his lover. He wasn’t sure why he was suddenly so nervous. It wasn’t like Angel hadn’t seen him naked plenty of times before. Still, this was different, this was more.

“So beautiful,” Angel commented, stalking over to stand beside the bed. “All mine.”

“Yours,” Xander echoed back softly, doing his best to stay still.

“Move up, towards the top,” commanded the older man. Xander scooted up until his head rested on the pillows and waited. “Perfect.”

Angel climbed up the bed, moving like some great jungle cat as he prowled toward the top and over Xander’s body. When they were face to face, he smiled down at Xander, shifting his weight to one hand and brushing the unruly curls back with the other. At that simple touch all of Xander’s nervousness fled and he relaxed into bed, content beneath his lover.

“You can say no,” Angel whispered, leaning down to brush an almost chaste kiss over the prone man’s lips.

“Don’t wanna say no,” Xander replied, rearing up just enough to kiss Angel back. “It’s been so long. I miss your touch.”

There was no verbal reply; instead Angel swooped down, taking Xander’s mouth in a hard and hot kiss. The larger man lowered himself until he was lying on top of Xander, cradled between the younger man’s thighs.

Xander moaned into the kiss, daring to raise his hands and stroke the material covered expanse of his lover’s back. He groaned in loss as Angel broke the kiss, both of them panting lightly. Angel smirked down at him before lowering his head to Xander’s neck and nibbling. The sound that emerged from Xander’s throat was a cross between a moan and whimper and he arched into Angel’s mouth.

“Tonight,” Angel whispered, lips pressed to the very sensitive spot below Xander’s ear. “Tonight is just for you.”

Before Xander could reply Angel began a sensual attack, hands and lips randomly hitting all the spots that reduced the young man to a quivering wreck. All he could do was moan, writhe, beg and twitch as Angel brought him to the brink over and over again. Warm lips and a wet tongue surrounded his cock as clever fingers found and rolled his balls gently. Then there was a hint of teeth and he tumbled over the edge, his vision darkening as the pleasure overloaded his senses.

 

~*~

 

There was a calm air to Xander when he slipped into the car. Spike stared at him openly for a moment, trying to place what had changed for his best friend. It was something big, that much he could tell.

“What happened?” he asked finally, slipping the car into drive and pulling away from the house.

“Why does something have to happen?” Xander asked, glancing at him coyly. Yep, something was up.

“You’re different,” Spike pointed out. “Not as nervous as you usually are. You’re a lot less tense too.”

“Thursday was my birthday,” Xander said with a grin.

“What?” yelled Spike, nearly slamming on the brakes. He pulled the car into a parking lot and glared at his friend. “Why didn’t you tell me? We could have done something this weekend.”

A light blush filled Xander’s face. “I didn’t tell you ’cause I had plans,” he replied. “I’ve been waiting for this for a while.”

“Waiting for what?”

Xander just looked at him. Realization hit the blond and he felt his face heat up. It had been Xander’s eighteenth birthday and he was legal. Swallowing down the immediate surge of jealousy, he swung the car around to the exit.

“Was it good?” he questioned archly, pulling back into traffic.

“Oh yeah,” Xander sighed, his face still pink. “More than I thought it would be.”

“Did you guys ever. . .? Before, I mean?” Spike asked, watching his friend out the corner of his eye.

Xander shifted in his seat. “Remember how I said I did a lot of things I wasn’t proud of?”

“Yeah,” Spike nodded.

“I ran out of money at one point,” the brunet said quietly, his gaze focussed out the window. “Not a lot of options. Wasn’t old enough to get a real job. Only one way to make anything.”

Spike paled. Despite all the allusions Xander had made to his time on the streets, somehow that never factored into any of Spike’s thoughts. “Was he a client?”

“A john, you mean?” Xander countered. “No, actually. I was in one of the worst areas of the city. Hell, I was the only white boy in one of the worst areas. A lot of the johns liked the idea of fucking a white boy in a black neighbourhood.” He stopped, hugging himself tightly. “Some liked to be rough. One night one got out of hand.”

“You don’t have to continue,” offered Spike. As much as he wanted to know, he didn’t want to see his friend like this: uncomfortable and scared, lost in his memories. He headed away from the school and to his uncle’s place. This was definitely something that called for skipping school.

“S’okay,” Xander replied. “I haven’t really told anyone. Angel knows, and I told some to the social worker, other than that. . .”

“I’m honoured then,” Spike said solemnly. “What happened?”

“I don’t remember much of it. We were in an alley just off one of the clubs. He had pushed me into the wall and ripped my pants. I remember fighting back and then he banged my head off the wall a few times. I blacked out. When I came to he was almost finished. God, it hurt so bad,” he whispered.

“Xan?” Spike’s voice was soft.

“He took me dry,” the other boy murmured. “Thank God he used a condom. When he was done he straightened his clothes and then began to beat me up.”

Spike parked the car in front of the building and shut if off before reaching over and pulling Xander across the seat and into his arms. “I’m here.”

“He would have killed me,” Xander continued, huddled into Spike’s embrace. “All I can remember is him hitting and kicking me. Next thing I know I’m waking up in a hospital.”

“What happened?”

“All the noise attracted attention. There’s, well, technically they’re a gang that live near there. Charles Gunn is the leader. He saw what was happening and stopped it. His sister called the cops while the others bundled me up and took me to get help.”

“Sounds like they’re nice people,” Spike remarked.

“They are,” Xander said, a small smile on his face. “It was Gunn who contacted Angel. They’re friends. I told you Angel’s an artist right?” Spike nodded. “Well at that time, Angel had an investigation company in LA. After talking to me, he offered me a job with him.” Xander laughed a little.

“What?”

“He thought I was older at the time,” Xander answered. “Which is why when I came on to him, he was only worried about me having flashbacks to the rape.”

“How did he find out?” Spike was curious now.

“I had made some stupid remark about school, I don’t even remember what now and he asked how old I was. Stupidly, I answered and he flipped,” Xander pulled away a bit, wiping tears off his cheek. “Normally, Angel’s really calm and almost nothing sets him off. But when he gets mad, damn does he get mad. I think he swore for a whole hour.”

“So I take it he wouldn’t do anything after that?”

“You’d be right,” Xander smiled. “And he decided I was going back to school. We were going to stay in LA but the school board was making a racket, saying things about kidnapping and the such. So he handed the PI company over to his sister and we came back here to settle all the bullshit. That was just over a year ago.”

“How long were you in LA?” wondered Spike.

“Six months or so before I met Gunn and Angel. Another three after that,” Xander replied.

“You were fifteen, right?”

“Yeah, almost sixteen.”

“Damn,” Spike whispered, pulling Xander back for a hug. “I wish there was something I could do.”

“Just having you listen was enough,” Xander said, hugging him back. “That’s more than anyone other than Angel and Gunn has done. Thank you.”

“You’re my best friend,” Spike replied, brushing a chaste kiss across Xander’s cheek. “I’d do anything for you.”

Xander shifted back into his own seat. “Why are we at your place?”

“I thought it might be better than dealing with school,” Spike said giving Xander a small smile. “You were a bit emotional.”

“Yeah, it was a heavy subject,” sighed the other boy. “We can’t skip.”

“Why not?” countered Spike.

“Because we’ll both get into trouble with the social worker,” Xander said quietly. “I may be eighteen, but they still have some control and they can make our lives a living hell.”

“Bloody hell,” sighed Spike. He turned the car back on. “You’re right.”

“Of course I am,” Xander smiled. “I’m a Xander after all.”

 

 

 

07

 

“Hey, Spike?”

Spike looked up from his lab work. “Yeah, Xan?”

“How come you haven’t dated anyone since you’ve been here?” Xander asked, carefully executing the next step of his work.

“Haven’t found anyone I want to date,” Spike answered, looking away.

“No one?” Xander asked, staring at him.

“No,” Spike said softly. “No one.”

“That sucks,” Xander said honestly.

“I’m fine,” Spike shrugged.

“Did you have anyone back in England?”

Spike thought about Fred. They hadn’t really been dating and anything they could have been was destroyed by his move to the States. “No, no one.”

“Did you maybe want to look for someone to date here?” Xander offered.

“Where did this new interest in my love life come from?” Spike snapped.

Xander stopped and looked at him. “You’ve been upset for the past two weeks and you’ve shot down every thing I’ve done to try and get you to smile again. This was a last ditch effort.”

Spike sighed, feeling bad. “Sorry. I’ve just been out of sorts.”

“What’s wrong?” Xander pressed.

“Nothing,” Spike shook his head.

Xander watched him for a moment then nodded. “You like someone.”

“What?” Spike yelped, then ducked his head as the teacher glared at him. “Where did you get that idea from?”

“The only reason a person acts like you are and then says nothing is wrong is when they like someone.”

Groaning to himself, Spike admitted there was logic to Xander’s statement. “Fine,” he ground out. “I do like someone.”

“Then ask them out,” Xander told him.

“I can’t,” Spike replied. “H-she’s seeing someone.”

“Oh,” Xander slumped. “That sucks. Maybe they’ll break up soon.”

Spike smiled sadly. “I doubt that.”

 

~*~

 

Hot hands landed on his skin, leaving trails of fire and need wherever they went. He arched into the touches, wanting more. A soft chuckle sounded in his ear and he shuddered as lips and teeth caught his lobe, nibbling lightly. Then there was another mouth, teasing the edge of his collarbone. He moaned, surrendering to whatever they decided to do to him.

Mouths and hands traced along his torso, ruthlessly assaulting his nipples, dipping into the indentation of his navel, scratching down his sides. Pleasure rolled over him, wave after wave.

“Please,” he whimpered, pressing against the large hand on his stomach.

“More,” he begged, arching his back when they rolled him onto his stomach.

Teeth and tongues drew random designs down his back and talented hands kneaded his buttocks. He felt his cheeks being spread and opened his legs to help, gasping at the first tentative touch to the hidden sensitive flesh.

“Shh,” a rough voice whispered as something firm pressed inside.

He pushed back, panting from the feeling. Just a little more and he’d-

“William!” Uncle Rupert shouted up the stairs. “Get up before you’re late.”

Spike sat up, heart hammering as his dream fell away. “I’m so fucked,” he whispered as the identities of both of his dream lovers hit him.

Bad enough falling for one of his friends, but to fall for the guy’s lover too?

 

~*~

 

“Spike!”

Spike looked around trying to find who had called his name. Finally he spotted Angel leaning against his car and headed over.

“Xander’s not here,” he told the older man.

“I know,” Angel replied. “He has a doctor’s appointment. I’m here to talk to you. Get in.”

Wondering if he should run, Spike slipped into the passenger seat. “What did you need to talk to me about?”

“Xander.”

“Is something wrong?” Spike asked, looking over at Angel.

The older man smiled a strange little smile. “Xan’s fine. But I figure you already know that.”

“Huh?”

“I’ve seen how you watch him,” Angel said quietly, glancing over.

Spike paled. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Don’t play stupid,” Angel growled. “You want him.”

Swallowing heavily, Spike didn’t say anything. Angel laughed.

“Does it bother you that every night he’s under me, calling out my name as he comes?” Angel asked silkily.

Spike shivered.

“Do you image what he looks like? If he’s a screamer or a scratcher? If he begs or whimpers?”

Spike shifted in his seat at the result the images promoted. “Doesn’t matter.”

“You’re right,” Angel said softly. “Because he’s mine. Still…”

Spike looked over at him, wondering about the expression on his face.

“Angel?”

“Do you love him?” Angel asked, looking over briefly.

Blue and brown eyes met and Spike knew Angel could read everything in his gaze. “Enough to not pursue him,” Spike replied.

“Enough to share him?”

His mouth opened then closed. He didn’t know what to say to that. “Share?” he finally managed to squeak.

“It’s not one sided,” Angel said quietly. “And it’s tearing him apart.”

“I don’t understand,” Spike shook his head.

“He cares for you,” Angel told him seriously. “A lot.”

“But he loves you!” Spike protested.

“People can love more than one person at a time,” the older man chided him. “And Xander loves you. But he doesn’t know what to do about it.”

“I-” Spike could only blink. Hell, he didn’t know what to do about it. He looked up as the car came to a stop.

“It all comes down to you,” Angel said, shutting off the car and turning to look at him. “You know the true nature of my relationship with Xander.”

“Yes.”

“Does it bother you?” Angel asked.

“No,” he answered truthfully.

“Have you every thought about it? Wondered?”

A hot blush filled Spike’s face. “Y-yes.”

Angel leaned over and kissed him hard, stealing the breath from him. When the older man pulled away Spike could only stare.

“Like I said, it all comes down to you,” Angel repeated. “Talk to Xander when he comes by.”

Nodding, Spike climbed out of the car in a daze. He watched as Angel pulled away then walked blindly up the path to the apartment, only realizing he was home when he reached the door. Pressing a hand to his lips he turned to look down the street in the direction Angel had driven off in. He would talk to Xander later, if only to understand just what was going on.

 

 

 

08

 

When Xander knocked on the door Spike was ready. He wasn’t sure what he was going to say to his best friend, but he was more than ready for them to talk. Angel’s revelation had opened Spike’s mind to the possibilities.

“Hey,” he said softly, letting the taller youth in.

“Hi,” Xander replied just as quietly, standing uncertainly just inside the door. “Can we talk?”

“Yeah,” Spike nodded, leading the way up to his room. He closed and locked the door once they were both inside.

Xander paced around the room and Spike watched from the seat he had taken on the bed. All of his friend’s movements were jerky and his whole body was tense.

“Relax, Xan,” Spike urged, reaching out to stop the nervous movement.

“Did Angel talk to you?” Spike nodded. “Then you know?” He nodded again. “How the hell can I relax then?”

“Easy,” Spike said, pushing the older youth down onto the desk chair. “You can start by telling me what’s wrong.”

“I-” Xander started then broke off. “Angel told you everything?”

“I don’t know if he told me everything but he did tell me how you felt about me.”

Xander flushed. “Are you upset?”

“Why would I be?” Spike asked, puzzled.

“Not everyday you find out your best friend is in love with you,” Xander replied.

Spike realized that Angel had told him about Xander’s feelings but he had never said anything to Xander about Spike’s feelings. Spike wanted to be upset by that, but realized that as Xander’s Master Angel had the right to divulge information like that to Spike but since he didn’t own Spike he couldn’t say anything in kind to Xander.

Leaning forward, Spike made his friend look at him. “I have no problem with you loving me,” he said intently. “Especially since I love you too.”

Xander froze, eyes wide as he stared at Spike. “Don’t joke.”

“I’m not,” Spike said leaning back. “The only reason Angel said anything to me was because he knew how I felt about you. I do love you, Xander.”

“This isn’t right!” Xander exclaimed, shooting to his feet. He paced again. “You’re only supposed to love one person at a time. How can I love both of you?”

“I don’t know,” Spike answered, standing up and moving into Xander’s path. “But if you do then we need to decide what to do.”

“How?”

Spike licked suddenly dry lips. “Angel said it came down to me.”

“What does that mean?” Xander whispered, stepping closer.

“I think it means, I can join the two of you, I can sit back and watch you together, alone, or I can wait and see if you stay together,” he said thoughtfully.

“What are you going to do?” Xander asked, his eyes pleading.

“I want you and I know the two of you are going to stay together,” Spike replied, stepping forward so they were touching. “So if I can have you I’ll take you anyway I can get you.”

“Even if that means submitting to Angel?” Xander asked, not moving.

“Can’t say I haven’t thought about it before,” Spike admitted with a blush. “Did a lot of thinking after you told me about you and Angel.”

“It’s not like playing a game,” Xander warned. “You’d be collared. You’d be owned. If he wanted he could dictate every move you made.”

Shifting just a bit, Spike kissed Xander gently. “I know. I’ve thought about it. I want it.”

Pulling Spike closer, Xander kissed his back. “If you’re sure then we need to sit down with Angel. If you still want it after we’ll work out your contract.”

“Hmm, sounds good,” Spike murmured. Then he pulled back with a grimace. “Bugger!”

“What?” Xander asked in worry.

“I’m not eighteen yet.”

Xander stared at him for a moment then giggled. “I forgot.”

Sighing, Spike leaned back in, resting his head on Xander’s shoulder. “That sucks.”

“It’s less than a month away,” Xander pointed out. “We can work on the contract now but not sign it until your birthday.”

“Yeah,” Spike agreed softly. “Get all the details figured out now.”

“Let’s head to my place. Angel will be waiting to talk to me anyway. Hell, he’s probably expecting you too.”

 

 

 

Angel was sitting in the dark when they walked in, a blank expression on his face. Xander led the way over to him, sinking to his knees and pulling Spike over.

“And?” Angel asked quietly.

Spike met Angel’s dark eyes knowing his own put his feelings on display and slowly sank to his knees in front of the older man.

“Really?”

“Yes,” Spike answered softly.

“Why?” Angel questioned, leaning forward to stare at him seriously.

“Because I love him and could easily love you as well,” Spike answered honestly. “Because something in me is screaming that this is the right thing to do.”

“You’d be willing to submit totally to me on every level?” Angel asked. “Let me dress you? Decide what you eat and when you eat?” When Spike nodded Angel smirked. “Would you let me push you down and fuck you over the couch, the counter, the front step? Would you let me chain you to the wall and flog you?”

A wave of red rushed over Spike’s face and he whimpered a little as his pants became a bit too tight. “Yes,” he managed to say.

“You’d be willing to sign a contract?”

“Yes,” Spike whispered.

Angel sat back, staring at the blond thoughtfully. “What would your family think?”

Spike licked dry lips. “My cousin and his family probably wouldn’t care. Uncle Rupert is another matter.”

“Would he be upset?”

“I don’t know,” Spike admitted.

“Perhaps you should talk with him first,” Angel said.

Spike knew the older man was offering him a way to bow out gracefully. “I don’t need to. I know what I want.”

“And what is that?” Angel asked silkily.

“Xander and you,” Spike answered, his voice steady. “For as long as you’ll have me.”

There was silence as Angel thought everything over, then he leaned forward and wrapped a hand in Spike’s shirt, pulling the younger man up and closer to him. Spike managed a small gasp before hot lips covered his own as Angel kissed him hard. He lost track of up and down as the kiss went on and it took a bit for Xander calling their names to break them apart.

“As hot as that looks there is one problem,” the other youth said.

“What now?” Angel groaned, letting the blond go. Spike sank back down.

“It’s still a month to Spike’s eighteenth birthday,” Xander told him.

“Fuck!” Angel exclaimed. “That puts a kink in things.”

“Not really,” Xander disagreed. Angel glared at him. “We can draft the contract now and sign it in a month.”

The older man blinked. “True. We can also use the time to make sure this will work.” He looked at Spike. “You will, however, be talking to your uncle.”

Spike winced. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

“In a month there won’t be anything he can do,” Angel stated. “But, if he’s agreeable, you can move in now. It will help us figure everything out.”

“He might think the worst,” Spike pointed out.

Angel nodded. “We’ll all go and talk to him then. He might feel better if he knew all the facts.”

“If you think it’s best,” Spike submitted.

“I do.”

 

~*~

 

“Uncle Rupert?”

Rupert looked up from his book to see his nephew standing at the front door nervously. “Did you need something, William?”

“Can we talk to you?” Spike stepped forward to show the two people standing behind him. Rupert knew Alexander and recognized Liam O’Rouke from around town.

“Of course,” he said, putting his book down. He watched as the three men moved together to sit on one of the couches. When Spike sat between the two men all the alarms in Rupert’s mind went off. “Is there a problem?”

“No sir,” Spike said quickly. “It’s just…”

“Yes?”

Liam smiled gently at the blond then looked over at Rupert. “I know you are aware that I am in a relationship with Xander.” Rupert nodded slightly. “Are you aware of the nature of our relationship?”

Rupert glanced at Alexander and noticed the leather collar that had replaced the chain the young man normally worn. “I believe I am. What does this have to do with William?”

“William is very much in love with Xander,” Liam said with a smile. “And that is not something I can fault. Since Xander returns his feelings I can’t find it in me to keep them apart. However, I am very possessive of what is mine and Xander is mine. Therefore there is only one solution that the three of us can see.”

“William joining you,” Rupert said flatly. He removed his glasses and wiped the lenses. Glancing up he looked at Spike, noting the look of hope and fear on the young man’s face. “Do you want this, William?”

“Yes, sir,” he answered steadily.

“Do you know exactly what it means?”

“We’ll be drawing up a contract,” Alexander told him. “Everything will be laid out in it. That way there’s no surprises.”

Rupert nodded at that wisdom. “He’s not eighteen yet.”

“Which is why we won’t be signing the contract until he is,” Liam assured him.

“Then why are you here now? Once he’s eighteen it won’t matter what I think,” Rupert pointed out irately.

“What you think will always matter,” Spike protested. Rupert watched as Alexander hugged him. “That’s why I was worried about telling you. I don’t want you disappointed in me.”

“Oh, William,” Rupert sighed. “I’m not disappointed in you. If this is what you truly want then I would not stand in your way. I want you to be happy.”

“Thank you,” William said with a wobbly smile.

“I would still like to know why you are here now.”

“Signing the contract and joining us is a huge step,” Liam said. “We want to be sure about this. So I am here to ask you if William could live with us.”

“Live with you?” echoed Rupert.

Liam nodded. “It would be as if he had signed the contract minus the sexual aspects. It would give all of us a good idea of the dynamics of the relationship and if we could not deal with it, then at the end of the month we could tear up the contract.”

The librarian blinked. That was actually brilliant. “There would be no sex?”

“Not between me and William,” Liam replied. “Since they are basically the same age, I would not keep them apart.”

Rupert looked at his nephew. “This is what you want?”

“Yes, sir,” William nodded.

“Then I agree,” Rupert smiled.

William threw himself up off the couch and into his uncle’s arms. “Thank you.”

“I want you happy,” Rupert said simply, returning the embrace. “Go sit back down.” He looked at the other two. “Have you started the contract yet?”

“No,” Liam replied. “We were going to wait for your decision first.”

Nodding Rupert stood and walked to his desk. He pulled out a few sheets of paper and a pen, bringing them back to the others. He went to back and opened the bottom drawer, pulling out a folder. Sitting back down, he placed the folder in front of Liam. The other man quirked an eyebrow then picked it up. The look on Liam’s face when he read the first page made Rupert chuckle.

“That is why I am not against this,” he told Liam. “We can also use it and the one between you and Alexander for the base if you like.”

Smiling, Liam put the contract on the table after reading it through again. “It’s almost the same as the one we already have.”

“A bit outdated,” Rupert admitted.

“Not by much,” Liam grinned.

“Uncle?” William asked in confusion.

“When I was not much older than you I was in a relationship with another young man named Ethan. That is the contract we had together,” Rupert said, pointing to the paper on the table.

“Really?” William said, picking up the contract to read through. “Wow.”

Liam pulled the blank paper over and began to write out the contract with Rupert giving him pointers. It didn’t take them long to work out all the details. Once it was finished, Rupert took it and locked it in his desk.

Liam pulled a length of chain out of his pocket, a small padlock dangling from one end. “Would you like to witness?” he asked Rupert.

“Of course,” the older man smiled.

Turning to William, Liam draped the chain around the young man’s neck. “This is a promise,” Liam said solemnly. “I promise to care for you, to protect you and to cherish you. This is a promise that in a month I will remove this chain and you will decide to stay or go. Do you agree to wear my chain?”

Swallowing audibly, William nodded. With a soft smile, Liam snapped the ends of the lock together.

Pushing to his feet, Rupert smiled. “This calls for a celebration. Dinner is on me.”

Liam laughed. “I’ve seen these two eat, you might want to rethink that.”

“As long as we don’t go to Chez Martin I can afford it,” the older man assured him. “Besides, to see William happy and smiling is worth more than money.”

From his position between the two men, William smiled happily at his uncle. “I love you too, Uncle Rupert.”

 

~*~

 

The shrill beeping of his alarm rocketed Spike wake and he reached out to slap it off. Lying on the bed he stared up at the ceiling. Today was his birthday and it was decision day. Today Angel would take the chain off and Spike would have to decide if he would accept Angel’s collar. Not that it was really a choice. When Angel had locked the chain around his throat a month ago Spike had already made up his mind. The time between had just confirmed that he had made the right choice.

Of course the past month had not been perfect. Arguments between him and Angel popped up often with Xander playing sarcastic referee. Occasionally he felt as if Angel was just being cruel but deep down he knew the older man was just showing him every scenario to give him the best possible choice.

“You’re thinking too hard,” Xander said softly, rolling over to cuddle against Spike’s side.

“Can’t turn my brain off,” Spike sighed.

“Are you afraid?”

“No,” Spike answered. “I made my decision long ago.”

“Then what’s wrong?” Xander asked, pushing up on one arm to look down at the other boy.

“Truth?” Xander nodded. “I’m worried that Angel’s going to change his mind.”

“It won’t happen,” Xander said firmly. “Angel cares for you. It’s too soon to be love, but he does care and he does want you here.”

“I know it’s stupid,” Spike sighed again. “That doesn’t mean it’s not rattling around in my brain.”

“I have a way to make you think of something else,” Xander said with a wicked grin.

Spike gasped as Xander slid a hand beneath the sheet covering them and brushed against his hip.

“None of that,” Angel commanded from the door, making both young men jump. “Get up, we have to talk.”

They looked at each other and sighed before sliding off the bed. Getting dressed quickly they headed to the living room where Angel waited. On the table in front of the older man were a simple collar and a small lock like the ones Xander wore. Beside them was the contract and a pen. Xander took a seat when Angel beckoned Spike over. The young man knelt gracefully at his feet. Steady hands unlocked the chain Spike wore and set it aside.

“You don’t have to make the decision right now,” Angel told the young man. “You can take a couple of days if you like.”

Spike smiled up at him then reached out and picked up the collar, offering it to Angel. “I don’t need time.”

Angel took the circle of leather from him and slid it around Spike neck. Warm hands rested against his flesh, a sharp contrast to the cool leather.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“There’s no going back once this is on.”

“I know. I’ve never be more certain of anything in my life.”

There was a moment of silence, then the lock slid together, the faint click ringing loudly.

“Welcome to the family, William,” Angel said formally, kissing him softly.

When Angel pulled back, Xander stepped forward. “Ours now.”

“And forever.”

 

Fin

Tear You Apart – Part One

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series
Rating: NC-17
Summary: All Human AU. After the death of his mother, 17 yr old Spike is sent to live with a relative in the States. There he meets and befriends Xander and his lover Angel. Add the usual teenage angst plus social workers, judgmental townsfolk, homework and collars and you find Spike falling in love and finding himself a place to call home.
Pairings: Xander/Angel, eventual Spike/Xander/Angel
Warnings: Mentions of BDSM, some swearing and violence, sex!
Disclaimer: I don’t own the BtVS characters or any part of that universe. No money being made and no offense intended.
Beta: The ever lovely laazikaat. All mistakes are mine when I change shit after she’s fixed it 😀

 

01

There were some things that were certain in life and William Bradshaw had learned them at a young age. The main one was that life was rarely fair. At seven his father had died of a heart attack, surprising many since the man had been fairly healthy. It took a while for William to learn to deal with the death of his father, his role model, but by age nine he had pushed the grief and pain aside and forged on in his life.

Then, shortly after his sixteenth birthday, his mother had fallen ill, too ill to take care of him and he had been shipped off to one of his mother’s cousins. The Wyndam-Pryces weren’t a bad family. Though Walter Wyndam-Pryce, the patriarch, was a stern man, Wesley, the only son, and Martha, the mother, had welcomed the lost young man into their family with open arms. He had stayed there a little over a year until the passing of his mother. At the reading of his parents’ wills he got a new shock. The Wyndam-Pryces weren’t named as his guardians despite Walter’s attempts to keep the grieving young man with him. No, William was being sent off to live with his father’s uncle, a Rupert Giles, in a small Californian town called Sunnydale.

Before William could process any of this, he was packed up and shipped off, his life falling in tatters around his feet.

 

~*~
 

The building loomed in front of him like some stone monstrosity. Spike shuddered as he stared at the simple brick building. There was no soul, no character to the school and he wondered if that extended to the students within its walls. Sighing, he shifted his bag higher up on his shoulder and followed the flow of students in, sliding easily through the gaps.

It didn’t take him long to locate the main office. He stepped through the open door and into a room filled was chaos. There were several teens in there, all waiting to talk to the secretary behind the desk. The woman glanced at him when he came in and Spike got the feeling she was a no nonsense sort of woman, the kind that truly ran the school behind the scenes. She nodded to a set of chairs just behind her desk, next to a closed door. Nodding back, Spike shifted past the students and took a seat, waiting.

“William Bradshaw, correct?”

Spike glanced up to see the secretary standing in front of him with a file in her hands. “Yes, ma’am,” he said quietly.

She smiled. “I’m Mrs. Prince. The Vice Principal will be out to talk to you and get you settled in a few minutes.”

“Thank you,” he replied, keeping his voice soft. She shook her head and went back to her desk, greeting the student standing there.

Spike knew she had made a contradictory appraisal of him. He was well aware that how he looked contributed to that. But his personal style wasn’t anything he was willing to give up on. Even back home, despite going to a private school with uniforms he had still managed to keep true to himself. He glanced down at his black jeans, tight red shirt and loose black shirt over it. Add in black nail polish, black boots and bleach blonde hair, Spike knew he looked the part of a punk. Hell, he could play the part when needed, but he could also play the part of the respectful youngster. Living with his cousin Walter and his family had taught him that.

“Mr. Bradshaw?”

Spike looked up at the short, round man standing in the door next to his chair. “Yes?”

“I’m Mr. Bondy, the Vice Principal. Come on inside, we’ll get you settled,” the man said, his voice cheerful.

Grabbing his bag, Spike stood and followed the short man into the office, hiding a smile at the clowns all over the room. Mr. Bondy grinned at him and gestured to one of the chairs in front of the desk.

“According to your records, you’re a bit ahead of us,” Mr. Bondy started. “And seeing as it’s your last year, we can’t jump you ahead. But, we do have some advanced classes if you’re interested.” The man didn’t wait for him to answer. “They’re college level courses, generally offered to our brightest students. Not that many in the classes, and you’ll have all the same classmates in each class, but they are a bit more challenging.”

“Um, sounds good,” Spike managed to say, blinking at the torrent of words coming from the Vice Principal.

“Good, then I’ll grab you a schedule,” he said, rummaging around in his desk. “You’ll probably need a guide for a few days.” Mr. Bondy passed a sheet of paper across the desk. “If you want to wait a few minutes, I’ll get someone up here to help you.”

“Um,” Spike blinked. “Thank you?”

“Good boy, just take a seat out there and tell Mrs. Prince that I’m having Alex show you around,” Mr. Bondy said, standing to open the door.

Spike stood and quickly made his escape. He wasn’t sure what to think of the clown loving man. Once outside the office, he repeated the order to Mrs. Prince who gave the office door an odd look.

“I’ll let you know when Alex gets here,” she told him. “Just sit and take a look at your schedule for now.”

Sinking back into a chair, this time the one furthest away from the office, Spike looked at the paper.

8:30-10:00 – Advance Chemistry
10:00-11:30 – Advance Biology
11:30-12:30 – Lunch
12:30-2:00 – Advance English
2:00-3:30 – Advance Calculus

He groaned, doubting these were gong to be easy classes or an easy schedule. He wondered about only having four classes. He was used to having six to eight classes a day. Folding the paper up and shoving it in his bag, Spike sat back to wait.

“There you are!” Mrs. Prince’s voice rang out. “Get in here!”

“Hey Mrs. P,” a male voice said.

Spike leaned forward to get a glimpse of the speaker and nearly fell out of his chair. The young man standing in front of the desk made his own punk look seem tame. The guy was tall and fairly lean with shaggy dark hair that kept falling into equally dark eyes. He was wearing a skin tight black tee shirt underneath a dark grey long sleeved shirt. His pants were nearly obscene and there were heavy boots on his feet. But what caught Spike’s attention were his accessories. Around his right wrist was what looked like a metal mesh bracer covering almost up to the middle of his forearm. On his other wrist was a simple chain with a small tag hanging from it. Circling his neck was a thick braiding chain held together in the front with a small padlock. Everything was done in silver, even the padlock and when the boy turned, Spike could see the glimmer of something silver on his ear.

A shiver went through Spike as he stared the other boy. Around the same time he had figured he was gay, Spike had also realized that tall and dark was his ideal man. Back home there had been a few that fit the criteria but none evoked a reaction like the young man standing before him. Forcing down the distracting attraction, he focused back on the secretary.

“Mr. Bondy wants you to play tour guide for the new student,” Mrs. Prince said to who was obviously the ‘Alex’ they had been waiting for. Spike wondered at the fondness in her voice. Most people in authority positions looked down on kids dressed like Alex. “William?”

Spike stood and walked over, noticing the appraising look he received from Alex. “Hello?”

“Cool,” Alex grinned. “British. Come on, we need to head out or we’ll be late. Want me to bring him back here after school, Mrs. P?”

“If you can,” the secretary said with a smile. “Go on, now.”

 

Alex smiled at her one last time then led the way out of the office and down the hallway.

“Okay, do you go by William?” Alex asked, once they were out of range of the adults.

“No, Spike,” he answered.

“Spike? That’s interesting,” Alex drawled. “You’ll probably only get a handful of the teachers to call you that.”

“Don’t care if they call me William,” Spike answered with a shrug. “I’m used to it.”

“Your choice,” Alex said. “Did they assign you a locker?”

“Um, locker?”

“I’ll take that as a no,” sighed Alex. “Well, I know the one next to me is free and I have an extra lock. You can shove your stuff in there. You don’t want to carry everything to every class. Thankfully, it’s on the way to Chem.”

 

~*~
 

The day passed quickly, with Alex chattering constantly in his ear. Spike wondered about the other boy. Alex dressed fairly Goth, but his attitude was anything but gothic in nature. Alex seemed to be a fairly caring young man, though a bit of a loner. Only a handful of students called his name as they walked through the halls between classes.

At lunch they sat together, Alex pointing out the different cliques and who it was best to avoid. Spike noticed that no one approached them and a few of the larger students, the jocks, even cast uneasy glances in their direction.

“Why don’t they like you?” Spike asked finally, the mystery surrounding his guide getting to him.

“I’m not like them,” Alex said with a sad smile. “I grew up here, but I’m still nothing like them. They’ve known me my whole life, hell; some of them were friends with me when we were little.”

“What happened?” Spike asked quietly, not sure if he really wanted to know.

“My home life wasn’t he greatest,” Alex explained, staring down at the table top. “Two years ago I decided it would be best to go, just go somewhere else, somewhere away from the booze and the fists. I ran all the way to LA. And then I found out the hard way that life is shitty just about anywhere you go.”

“You were alone in LA?”

“Yeah, for a few months,” Alex glanced up briefly before dropping his eyes again. “I did a lot of shit that I’m not proud of, but I met someone there, someone who helped me get back on my feet. He made me come back here, go back to school.”

“Nice to have someone care for you,” Spike said softly, thinking of the Wyndam-Pryces back in England.

“Yeah,” Alex agreed just as softly. “But the people in town don’t see it that way. All they see is my coming back in the company of an older man. Small minds automatically think the worst. Even called CPS on us.”

“Obviously you’re still with him.”

“New social worker, she actually looked at my file and after talking to me and Angel she decided I was better off with him than back with my parents,” Alex smiled slightly. “She’s watching us though, just in case.”

“In case of what?” Spike asked, confusion colouring his voice.

“Never mind,” Alex said, shaking his head. “Come on, lunch is almost over and we should hit our lockers before next class.”

 

~*~
 

“Who’s that?” Spike asked, trailing along behind Alex as they exited the building after classes were done. They had made a quick stop at the office, letting Mrs. Prince know just how the day had gone. She had smiled at them and shooed them out the door, eager to lock up and head home herself.

“Who’s who?” Alex asked, glancing at Spike.

“Bloke in the black car?” Spike pointed to the old style convertible parked in front of the school. He could just make out the form of a man behind the dark tinted windows.

“Oh, that’s Angel,” Alex grinned.

“The one who helped you?”

“Yeah, he picks me up everyday after school,” Alex shrugged and continued walking. “Says it keeps me from getting into trouble.”

“But that’s not what you think,” stated Spike.

“Yes and no,” hedged Alex with a grimace. “I know it’s mostly because he worries about me. When we got back to town I wasn’t welcomed with open arms by the other kids. So he started driving me to and from school, said it kept down the hospital visits.”

Spike laughed at the rueful expression on Alex’s face. “At least you know he cares.”

Alex stopped just short of the car and turned to meet Spike’s eyes. “What are you doing tonight?”

“Homework,” Spike said with shrug. “My uncle’s not going to let me get away with slacking.”

“Homework can be done anywhere,” Alex pointed out. “If you want you can come and do it at our place. That way I can help you get caught up.”

The offer was the last thing Spike had been expecting. “Sure,” he managed to say through his shock. “Where do you live?”

“It’ll be easier if we came and picked you up,” Alex laughed. “The town’s not that big, but it’s still possible to get lost. Say five-ish?”

“Sounds good,” Spike nodded. “My uncle lives at number 8 in the apartment complex on Oak Crescent.”

“See you at five then.” Alex opened the door and slid inside, leaving the still shocked Spike standing by the curb.

“You shouldn’t hang out with him,” a haughty female voice said from behind him as the car pulled away.

Spike turned and looked at the speaker, noticing it was the girl Alex had called Queen C. She was regal looking, tall and statuesque, dressed in designer clothing. He had watched all the jocks and cheerleaders flock around her all day, doing her bidding. Alex had laughed when Spike commented on his shock at seeing her in the advance classes. According to the other youth, one Cordelia Chase was extremely intelligent in more ways than one. She knew her academics, but she also knew the ways to manipulate people and she did it all with class.

“Why not?” Spike asked, meeting her gaze firmly.

“He’s not right,” she told him, shifting her bag a bit. “He never was but it’s gotten worse since he got back. Everyone knows that Angel of his is fucking him, or pimping him out. Hell, probably both. Hang with him and people will start to think the same of you.”

“Despite what they already think of me, you mean,” he smirked. Spike had heard the rumours circling the school about him already. Some said he had burned down his school. Others said that he had beaten a man nearly to death. He was a drug dealer, a murderer, a model in hiding and on and on. “I think I can live with a trash reputation.”

“Up to you,” Cordelia shrugged, sauntering past him. “Just a friendly warning.”

 

 

 

02

 

Spike let himself into his uncle’s apartment, knowing that the man was still at work. At first he had been leery of the fact that his uncle worked at his school, but after hearing the man was a librarian Spike figured he could just avoid that room and all would be well. So far, Rupert Giles had been decent to him. He hadn’t laid down too many rules, mostly ones about curfew and homework. Spike hoped that meant his time spent with the man wouldn’t be horrible.

Heading into the kitchen for a snack, he glanced at the clock, noting it was nearly four thirty. The walk from school had taken him longer than he thought it would. Shrugging, he grabbed an apple out of the fridge and headed to the room his uncle made up for him. Opening his bag, he pulled out his books and set the ones he didn’t need to work on aside, shoving the rest back in. He didn’t want to carry around a heavy bag unless he had too.

He heard the front door open and his uncle call his name. Sighing, he grabbed his bag and headed down the stairs, stopping at the bottom to watch the older man go about his normal after work routine.

“How was your first day?” Uncle Rupert asked, loosening his tie and shrugging out of his jacket.

“Not bad,” Spike answered.

“Did you get around without problems?”

“Mr. Bondy had a student come help me,” Spike said, moving to sit on the couch. “He’s in my advance classes.”

“And who might that be?” Rupert asked, casting a look over.

“Alex Harris.”

“Hm,” the older man mused, seating himself across from his nephew. “Not a bad student. I never hear much fuss from the teachers about him.”

“He seems nice,” Spike agreed. “He asked me over to his place to do our homework so I can get caught up.”

“Do you need my car?” Rupert asked, reaching for the keys.

“No thanks,” Spike smiled, glad that the man had offered. “He’s coming to pick me up so I don’t get lost.”

“That is probably a good idea,” Rupert smiled ruefully. “It is dreadfully easy to get lost in this town. Did you know there are twelve churches and ten cemeteries?”

Spike blinked at that morbid bit of trivia. That was an over abundance for a town the size of Sunnydale. “Wow. That’s just weird.”

“Yes, well there seems to be plenty of strange things in town, so you be careful and home at a decent hour,” Rupert chided gently.

Before Spike could answer there was a knock on the door. Rupert was up and opening it, smiling at the young man on the other side.

“Hello Mr. Giles,” Alex said with bright smile. “Is William ready to go?”

“I believe he is, Mr. Harris,” Rupert said, opening the door to let Spike slip past him. “You boys have fun.”

Alex made a face at him as they walked away from the apartment building. “I didn’t know Giles was your guardian.”

“He’s my uncle,” Spike replied. “Sorry, didn’t really think about it.”

“Nah, that’s okay. He’s a pretty cool guy actually,” Alex grinned. “He even got comics for the library after I complained there wasn’t any.”

Spike tipped his head to the side. “Somehow I just can’t see that.”

As the neared the car, Spike noticed there was no one in it. “Angel didn’t come?”

Alex laughed as he got into the driver’s seat. “He had some phone calls to make. Said something about his sister and a dog. Knowing Faith, I’ve decided I don’t want to know.”

“Faith?”

“Take every rumour you’ve ever heard about school sluts, add leather, attitude and a violence problem and you have Faith. I love the girl, but she scares me shitless.”

Spike smirked. “Can’t wait to meet her.”

 

When Alex slowed the car to a crawl and turned onto a small road, Spike felt his eyebrows rise. He had thought the other young man lived in town and closer to the school from the way he had spoken earlier.

“We had an apartment in town,” Alex said, answering his unspoken question, his voice devoid of any emotion. “But CPS said I have to have my own room and Angel didn’t like any of the bigger apartments in town. He looked around and found out his family actually owned the house out here so we moved.”

“You live all the way out here?” Spike blinked as they continued driving.

“It’s not that far,” Alex shrugged. “At least not during the day. A bit wiggy at night though. And here we are.”

Spike blinked up at the house and felt his eyes open to cartoon levels. That wasn’t a house that was a bloody mansion. Hell, it wouldn’t look out of place around Walter’s estate. Feeling slightly shocked, he followed the brunet up the stairs and inside, letting Alex shut the door firmly behind him.

“Any problems?” a deep voice asked from a shadow off to the side.

To his embarrassment, Spike yelped and jumped, landing a bit behind Alex.

“No problems,” Alex said, his voice filled with laugher. “And be nice. Spike, this is Liam O’Rouke, also known as Angel. Angel, this is William Bradshaw, also known as Spike.”

“Bradshaw? Any relation to Arthur Bradshaw, the barrister?” Angel asked, stepping out of the shadows.

“Yeah, he was my father,” Spike managed to say while taking in the beautiful vision of masculinity before him. Like Alex, he was tall, with dark hair and eyes, though his hair was perfectly styled. His shoulders were wide and strained the seams of the shirt he wore, all tapering down to his lean waist and hips followed by long legs. Only the last bit of his resolve, and his burgeoning friendship with Alex, kept him from jumping on the man. Idly, he wondered if there was something in the water around the town to grow tall, dark and gorgeous men.

“I had heard his wife had passed. I’m sorry about your loss. Arthur did some work for me a few years ago. He was a very intelligent man,” Angel said, his voice still deep and dark. Spike felt a shiver run through him. “Get your homework done and I’ll have a treat for you.”

“A treat?” Alex’s eyes lit up and Spike found himself grinning at his new friend. “Come on, the sooner we get done the sooner we get our treats.”

“Are you sure there’s going to be something there for me?” Spike asked as he winded through the maze of rooms.

“Yep,” Alex nodded, a bounce in his step. “He would have brought extra.”

“Okay, guess that means we have to buckle down,” he mock sighed as they finally reached Alex’s room.

Spike wasn’t sure what to expect of Alex’s room, but the uncluttered space wasn’t it. The room was fairly large with a bed to one side and an enormous desk to the other. A dresser bridged the gap between the two, stretching along the whole wall. All the furniture in the room was done in old wood, gleaming with obvious loving care. It didn’t look like the room of a seventeen year old boy; it was the room of an adult. He walked around after Alex gave him a small smile. His attention was drawn to the dresser and the items scattered across the top. There were several brushes, colognes and other grooming implements on the surface. He wanted to open the drawers, or the closet in the corner, to see if there were more than one type of clothing inside. It was obvious, at least to him, that Alex and Angel were sharing a room.

“Shocked?” Alex asked quietly.

Spike turned to look at him, noticing the tension in the thin frame and the way Alex held himself, as if the other boy was expecting a blow. It made Spike wonder about the reactions of the people in town and the other students. How often had someone raised their hand to Alex once he returned to town?

“A bit,” he admitted, moving to drop his bag by the desk. “Your room is cleaner than mine.” The sudden explosion of air from Alex made Spike laughed. “I don’t care, Alex. It’s your life.”

“A lot of people wouldn’t agree. Hell, a lot of people don’t agree,” Alex sighed, sitting down on a corner of the bed. “There’s a lot of restriction on us because of my age.”

Spike scoffed. “In England you’re already considered an adult. What you do is your business.”

Alex laughed softly. “Wish we were in England then. It would be easier.”

“Yeah, well we’re not,” Spike said, shaking his head. He could see that Alex was hesitant to say anything more. “We should get to work if we want those treats.”

“Oh yes, the treats,” Alex’s sigh was wistful. “I wonder what he got this time.”

“He gets you treats often, then?”

“Sometimes,” Alex grinned. “Especially when things are going a bit rough.” The brunet made a face. “We had a visit yesterday from the Social Worker. She didn’t say anything bad, but it’s still hard.”

“Yeah,” Spike agreed, looking at Alex with sympathy. “That I understand. I had several visits when my mother got sick and after she died. Bloody hell, I think I saw more of them then I did anyone else.”

“What happened?” Alex asked.

“I was living with some cousins when my mother was sick,” Spike began quietly. “She couldn’t take care of me and I really couldn’t stay alone so our cousin Walter took me in. When Mother passed, I found out that my guardianship didn’t lay with Walter and his family, but instead my father’s uncle.” He looked away from the understanding in Alex’s eyes, not wanting the other boy to see the tears in his own. “Walter petitioned the courts to keep me. I saw six different Social workers over a month. They decided I was stable enough to live somewhere else.”

“Why? I mean, you sound like you were happy with your cousins,” Alex said, confused. “Why would they make you move all the way over here?”

“The wills said I was to live with Uncle Rupert and since I wasn’t emotionally or mentally unstable I was therefore fit to move here. If I had needed more time to come to terms with my mother’s death I might have been able to stay there,” Spike sighed. “What I wanted didn’t seem to matter.”

“That sucks. At least they took into consideration what I wanted,” Alex said, shaking his head. “Sometimes I wish they had more sense though.”

“That would make sense,” Spike replied drily. He groaned. “Can’t really do anything about it now and we need to get to work. All this won’t do itself.”

They spread their books across the desk and sat side by side. The work wasn’t any harder than Spike was used to, he only had catch-up work to do and Alex helped him finish everything the teachers were waiting for quickly. As they worked, the dark haired boy made sarcastic comments about and to the textbooks making Spike laugh. There was something about Alex that put him at ease, something that soothed the ache buried deep within his soul.

“Ready for a break?”

Spike jumped. He hadn’t heard the big man walk up, yet Angel was standing just behind them, looking over their shoulders at the work they had already finished. Looking up at the big man, he blushed at the smirk.

“Sounds good,” Alex said, grinning up at the taller man. “And stop scaring Spike. One of these days I’m going to buy you a bell.”

“So you keep saying,” Angel laughed. “Come on, I have hot chocolate in the kitchen.”

Alex stood up with a groan and flapped a hand at Angel. “Go, we’ll catch up.” Still laughing, Angel left the room. “Don’t mind him; I think he likes sneaking up on people. He manages to get me a least once a day and I’ve lived with him for a year.”

“Thought I was going to choke on my heart,” Spike admitted, scowling at his new friend. Alex just laughed. “You’ve gotten used to it, I haven’t.”

“Give it time, you will,” Alex promised, leading him back through the house to the kitchen.

“Promise?” Spike leered.

The brunet blinked at him for a moment before a wicked grin curved his lips. “Promise.”

 

~*~
 

Xander snuck a glance at the blond walking beside him. So far, Spike was a bit of a mystery. A hot mystery, but still a mystery. He wondered about the other boy, just what was going through his mind, especially after that comment. While he was inclined to take it as just teasing, Xander couldn’t help but think there might have been something more underneath it all. Of course, he had played along but the thought still lingered.

The smell of hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies greeted them as they neared the kitchen and Xander moaned despite his attempt not to. Angel’s cookies were the best he had ever tasted but the older man didn’t often make them. Ms. Frek’s visit must have shaken the older man more than he let on. The social worker was nice and did her best to keep the two of them together, but there was still the threat of being separated if they didn’t follow the rules set out. Xander hated those rules. He hated only being able to share brief kisses and caresses with the man he loved. The idea that others had the say on their love life made him seethe every time he thought about it.

“Alex?” the hesitant note in Spike’s voice brought Xander back to the present and he smiled sheepishly at his new friend.

“Sorry, just thinking about some things,” he offered. “Come on, you’ll love Angel’s cookies.”

“You do realize that sounds wrong, don’t you?” Spike laughed, shadows still present in his eyes.

“Only to the perverted,” Xander shot back.

Spike sobered a bit. “You don’t mind me teasing you, do you?”

Xander stopped and forced the blond to look at him. “Are you willing to be my friend?”

“Yes,” Spike replied instantly.

“Are you going to make fun of me behind my back? Spread my secrets across the school? Hurt me in anyway?”

“Of course not!” Spike practically shouted.

“Then, no, I don’t mind the teasing,” Xander smiled. “And if you’re my friend, you might as well call me Xander or Xan.”

“Xander?” Spike tested the name. Xander shivered. He like the way his name sounded with Spike’s accent and if he stopped to think about it, he could really start to love it.

“I had a friend when I was younger, he couldn’t say Alex and refused to call me Alexander so he started calling me Xander and Xan. It stuck,” he shrugged. “Only my close friends call me it though.”

“What happened to him? Your friend.”

Looking away, Xander shrugged. “He moved when I was fourteen. His father got a job out of state.”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”

Shaking his head, Xander offered Spike a small smile. “You didn’t, not really. Jesse was my best friend. He’s where I hid all the time. When he left I had no safe spot. Before that though, he was my protector.”

“Everyone needs one of those,” said Spike, bumping his arm against Xander. “I had that in my cousin Wesley.”

“I think I’d like to hear about him sometime,” Xander said softly. Then he smiled widely. “If we don’t get into the kitchen, Angel will eat all the cookies.”

Spike widened his eyes dramatically. “Oh my dear fellow, we cannot allow that to happen.”

Xander laughed and pushed the blonde towards the kitchen door. “Better hurry then.”

Angel looked up from the stove as they came in, offering them a smile in greeting. “Cookies are cooling on the racks and the hot chocolate is just about done.”

“Who’s recipe?” Xander asked, hopping up onto one of the stools to the island bar.

“Joyce’s of course,” Angel smirked. “She’s the only one I know who makes decent hot chocolate. Traded her my cookie recipe for it.”

“Oh damn, that means poor Buffy is going to get fat,” Xander mock complained before grinning. “Spike’s lucky; he hasn’t met the Summers yet.”

“That bad are they?” Spike asked, seating himself beside Xander.

“Joyce is an absolute sweetheart,” Xander smiled widely. “It was decided if they took me from Angel that’s where I’d be going. And she turned around and told them she had no problems with us together as long as we didn’t go too far until I was legal.”

“Wow, sounds like a sweet woman,” Spike blinked.

“Oh, she is,” Angel laughed. “She’s also a harridan when you get her back up. Snyder, the principal, tried to expel her eldest daughter, Buffy, for something stupid. They were in his office for ten minutes, he came out crying, she came out smiling smugly and two weeks later he was replaced.”

“Something the whole school, including the teachers, was glad for. Hated the little troll,” Xander shuddered. “Mr. Fluty moved up to Principal and they brought in Mr. Bondy, who’s not a bad guy even if he is a bit obsessed with clowns.” Now Xander really shuddered. “I don’t like clowns.”

“Back to the Summers women,” Angel laughed, pouring the hot chocolate into mugs.

“Joyce has two daughters. Dawn is the baby. She’s a sweetheart. We watch her sometimes when Joyce has to go out of town. Then there is Buffy. She’s in our year, regular classes though. Very athletic. On the cheerleading squad, dating the mindless jocks and heading towards a teen pregnancy,” reported Xander with a smirk. “I can’t stand her. She wasn’t that bad when they first moved to town, just before I left, but by the time I got back Queen C had her claws hooked into her.”

“Cordelia, right?” Spike asked, accepting a mug from Angel.

“Cordelia Chase,” Xander agreed in disgust. “She’s the unofficial queen of the school. Intelligent, like I said earlier, though she hides it behind airhead statements. She aced the SATs. Cordy’s the queen bitch of the school and it’s a title she loves. I once heard her gloat how long it can take her to break down a person.”

Spike snorted. “I met her.”

“When?” Xander asked, blowing over the steaming mug.

“After school. She warned me to stay away from you or else my reputation would be ruined too.”

“And just what are they saying about his rep this time?” Angel asked, sliding a plate of cookies between them.

Spike blushed a little. “She said you were fucking him, pimping him out or both.”

“And what do you believe?” The question was almost casual, but Spike could hear the underlying threat.

“You two care for each other,” Spike shrugged carelessly. “At home you’re both legal. Xan’s more adult than half the people I met after my mother’s death. What you do is your own business.”

“Thanks,” Xander said grinning. A strange look flitted over his face and he grinned rather evilly. “Perhaps we should give Miss Chase a taste of her own medicine.”

“Xan?” Angel asked, reaching over the counter to push a section of Xander’s hair back.

“Reputation wise,” Xan said, devilment in his eyes. “Start out with little things and then work our way up. Nothing truly damaging, just enough to make her feel like others do sometimes.”

“And how will we do that?” Spike asked, getting into the idea.

“We start with her wardrobe,” Xander grinned. “Angel, can you get me the latest fashion magazine over in France or something. One that won’t be coming out here for months?”

“Easily,” the older man replied. “Why?”

“Cordy thrives on being at the top of the latest fashions,” Xander explained. “What would happen if someone, say Amy, was wearing them before her? And at the same time, someone could make a comment about how maybe she can’t afford to get the latest things?”

“That’s evil, Xan,” Angel frowned. Then he grinned. “I’ll have it to you in a few days.”

Spike rubbed his hands together. “This is going to be so much fun.”

 

 

 

03

 

The operation of tearing down one Cordelia Chase was going well. Spike couldn’t help but smirk as she stared in fascinated horror as Amy Madison walked through the halls of Sunnydale High dressed in the latest couture fashions. Rumour had it that Cordelia had gone home and threatened her father until he shipped a new wardrobe over from Paris for her. Of course, by that time Xander already had Amy wearing something else new.

It was Spike’s job to spread the rumours about a possible lack of money. He did it subtlety, just random remarks that couldn’t be traced back to him. And with him being new, no one thought to accuse him. Overall, Spike loved it. It was nice to see someone as haughty as Cordelia brought down a peg. He had gone to school back in England with girls like her, though she actually had more sense then the silly little bints still across the pond.

“You two are so bad,” Angel snickered as they told him the latest break down Queen C had in the middle of the gym.

“She started it,” Xander said bouncing a little. “Way back in kindergarten.”

“Oh?” Angel and Spike both queried.

“Yep, she called me a poopoo head.”

Spike slid off his stool in helpless laughter while Angel just stared at his young lover. “That’s so bad, Xan.”

Xander grinned. “True though.”

“What’s next?” Spike asked once he got his breath back.

“Nothing,” Xander replied with a sly smile.

“Nothing?”

This time Angel grinned. “She’s got to know someone’s setting this up by now,” the older man pointed out. “So she’ll be searching for the culprit.”

“And just stopping and letting things go for a while will drive her nuts,” Xander crowed. “She’ll constantly be looking over her shoulder trying to see who’s pulling the strings.”

“Oh, Xan, you are evil,” breathed Spike.

Xander bowed. “I know. It’s a gift.”

Angel reached out and swatted Xander across the head. “Behave.”

“I am,” the young man pouted. He turned wide, dark eyes on Spike. “Aren’t I?”

Spike blinked. At that moment a sliver of light crept through the window, highlighting the hints of red in Xander’s hair and giving a soft golden glow to his skin. Spike swallowed hard. Xander looked beautiful.

“Spike?” The pout was gone from Xander’s face and concern replaced it. “Are you okay?”

“Y-y-yeah,” Spike stuttered. “Just got lost in thought.”

“S’okay,” Xander shrugged. “It happens to everyone once in a while. Want to go play a game?”

“Yeah,” Spike said softly, following his friend out. As they left they missed the speculative look in Angel’s eyes.

 

~*~
 

“Did you really burn down your old school?” a high, feminine voice asked from the other side of Spike’s locker door.

Leaning back, he looked at the girl standing there. He recognized her as Willow Rosenburg from his advanced classes. Of all the students, she was one of the few Xander didn’t say anything negative about.

“Or did you kill someone? Are you really a model? Or a spy?” she babbled, smiling brightly at him.

“No,” he answered, shutting the door and leaning against it. “None of those are true.”

“I didn’t think so,” she nodded. “But you never know. So, you’re friends with Xander right? That’s good; he can always use some good friends. I don’t know why people are so mean to him, Xander’s the best. Well, not the best. Oz is the best but I’m supposed to think that ’cause Oz is my boyfriend and they’re always the best, right?”

Spike paused to work his way through her jumble of words. “I guess,” he finally said.

“Oooo,” she bounced a little. “The Dingoes are playing a gig in LA this weekend and I can get tickets. Do you want to come?”

“The Dingoes?” he asked.

The Dingoes Ate My Baby,” Xander supplied as he walked up. “Willow’s boyfriend Oz plays bass for them. Pretty good band too.”

“Yeah,” Willow beamed in agreement. “Are you coming this weekend?”

“Sorry, can’t,” Xander said shaking his head. “Mandatory shrink time.”

“Oh poop,” she muttered. “Fine. How about you, William? Are you coming?”

“Probably not this time,” Spike replied, starting to feel a little scared of the girl.

“Fine,” she sighed. Then she smiled. “Maybe next time.”

“Maybe,” Xander smiled own at her. She gave him a big hug and bounced off. “And that is Willow.”

“Hyper,” Spike remarked.

“Actually, that’s mellow,” Xander admitted. “Get a few mochas in her and she could probably power all of Sunnydale for a year.”

“Really?” Spike grinned. “She seems nice though.”

“She is,” Xander agreed. “She’s one of the few to stick up for me through all this. Or, as much as she could.”

“Huh?”

“Her parents are shrinks,” Xander replied, pulling Spike along as they started to walk to their next class. “She isn’t allowed to associate with me anymore. So she doesn’t. At least not in public.”

“That sucks,” Spike offered.

“Yeah, but it’s okay. We were good friends when we were little, but things changed after I left,” Xander shrugged.

“People grow apart,” Spike nodded. “Still surprised to see someone like her dating a musician.” His mind brought up the image of her: long red hair, pale face, no makeup (though she didn’t need it), blue overall, a frilly pink shirt and green shoes.

“You’d have to meet Oz to understand,” chuckled Xander. “He’s anything but normal.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oz is actually about a year older than us, he flunked last year,” Xander grinned. “He’s in our Advanced Class.”

“I thought I sort of met everyone in those classes?” Spike asked perplexed.

“Yeah, well Oz doesn’t actually like to come to class,” the other boy laughed. “I think I’ve seen him twice this year. He shows up for tests and exams, that’s it.”

“And they let him?”

“The teachers made a deal with him. He does the tests and stuff as well as an extra assignment and he doesn’t have to come to class,” Xander explained. “Oz isn’t stupid and neither are the teachers. He’s just bored and more interested in his music. They know he knows it all so they don’t bother trying to keep him in class.”

“Smart of them,” murmured Spike.

“Yep,” Xander nodded. “Keeps Devon, the singer of the band, from interrupting class too.”

“Why?”

“Devon’s pretty, popular, a bit of a pot-head and totally devoted to the band. The only reason he comes to school is to connect with people in hope of furthering The Dingoes career. So when Oz is in class, Devon often shows up to pull him out,” Xander told him.

“Guess it would be easier if Oz just stayed out then,” spike agreed.

“Yeah, but we miss him,” Xander admitted. “He doesn’t talk a lot but sometimes he gets the teachers with these witty little zings. It’s hilarious.”

“Maybe he’ll come to class soon,” Spike wondered. “And I’ll get to hear them for myself.”

“He might, but don’t hold your breath,” Xander replied. He paused and stared down the hall. “Never mind, you just might.”

Spike turned and followed the line of Xander’s gaze, staring in shock at the person currently holding hands with the still babbling and bouncing Willow. The guy was a bit shorter than his girlfriend, dressed fairly normally in a t-shirt and jeans, but that’s where the normal stopped. Even at the distance, Spike could see the hints of makeup on the guy’s face. His hair was a bright blue and standing up in spikes and when he lifted a hand to brush some of Willow’s hair back Spike could see sparkly nail polish that matched the hair. He was almost totally the opposite of his girlfriend.

“And that’s Oz,” Xander said. Spike looked at him. “I know, odd couple but they fit. He rarely says anything and she rarely stops talking.”

“There’s odder couples out there,” Spike guessed. “Maybe.”

 

~*~
 

“Don’t forget, class,” the Calculus teacher called as they started packing away their books. “There’s a test worth thirty percent of your final grade on Monday.”

Groans met that proclamation and Spike could only stare. Thirty percent in a single test. Not an exam, a test. He couldn’t believe it.

“Don’t worry,” Xander consoled him, helping the smaller boy up. “Her exams are easy.”

“And the tests?” Spike asked hopefully.

Xander winced. “Not so easy. Her tests are killer. Thankfully she only gives two tests a year, the rest of the grade is made up of quizzes and the exam.”

“Bloody hell,” Spike muttered, heading blindly through the halls to his locker. “I’m going to fail.”

“No you won’t,” disagreed Xander. “Besides, I’ll help you study. I’ve got to prepare for it too.”

“At least I won’t be alone in my misery,” Spike snorted, jerking open his locker.

“Relax,” Xander soothed him. “It won’t be that bad. You know this stuff.”

“Hate tests,” he admitted, shutting his locker. He looked at his friend. “Want to come over and study?”

“Sure,” Xander smiled. “When?”

“A few hours,” Spike shrugged. “I’ll check with Uncle Rupert then call you.”

“Okay,” Xander nodded. “Talk to you later.”

Spike watched Xander walk away, battling the sudden bout of nervousness. He had spent hours with Xander in the past month; he had no reason to worry about spending time with the other boy now. Except this time they’d be alone at his place until Uncle Rupert came home. At Xander’s Angel was always there, even if they didn’t see him.

“This is a mistake,” he murmured to himself as he walked toward the library.

“Of course it is,” a snide voice remarked.

He looked up at the blond girl Xander had pointed out as one Buffy Summers. “What are you talking about?”

“You’re making a mistake by being friends with that loser Harris,” she said snottily. “We thought you’d learnt that by now.”

“Did it ever occur to you that I like Xander?”

“Oh,” she nodded, smirking slightly. “You’re one of those.”

“One of what?” Somewhere he had lost track of the conversation.

“A fag,” she sneered.

“What does it matter?” he asked with an evil grin. “I wouldn’t shag you if you were the last living creature on earth.”

He was fairly sure she was trying to say something but the only sound coming out of her mouth was a high pitched squeak. Shooting one last glance, Spike brushed past her and continued down the hall to the library.

“Uncle Rupert?” he called once he passed the swing doors.

“William?” the bespectacled man peeked his head out of the office. “What can I do for you?”

“Do you mind if Xander comes over to study this weekend?” Spike asked, not wanting to impose on his guardian’s good nature.

Uncle Rupert smiled at him. “That’s fine with me. Are you two studying tonight then?”

“Yeah,” Spike nodded. “We have a test on Monday.”

“Remember to take breaks,” the older man reminded him, still smiling. “And I’ll bring home pizza for supper.”

“Thank,” Spike replied, grinning widely. “See you at home.”

 

~*~
 

The knock at the door came within half an hour of Spike calling Xander. He let his friend in and watched as Angel’s car pulled away.

“You didn’t drive?” Spike asked, closing the door behind them.

“Nope,” Xander said with a careless shrug. “Angel has a meeting tonight with some clients.”

“I never asked, but what does he do for a living?” Spike wondered as he led the way into the kitchen.

“He’s an artist,” Xander grinned. “He’s got showings all over the state.”

“Wow,” Spike blinked in shock. “Didn’t take him for the type.”

“I know,” the brunet laughed. “He’s got some paintings and stuff at Joyce’s gallery. There’s this really beautiful one of this girl we knew in LA. Dru’s absolutely beautiful. Not quite all there, but stunning. Angel had to draw the whole thing from memory since we couldn’t get her to sit still for it.”

Spike laughed. “I know people like her. My mother’s best friend, Darla fits that bill.”

“They’re everywhere,” Xander said agreed. “Are we studying in here?”

“Yeah,” Spike nodded.

“Good, easy to get to snacks,” grinned Xander.

Spike grinned back. “I don’t think Uncle Rupert supplies snacks like Angel does.”

“Probably not,” Xander laughed. “He’s probably afraid of the mountains of books in the living room stealing them.”

“I’ve seen them,” Spike whispered in a stage whisper. “They’re plotting to take over.”

Both teens stared at each other then looked around as if they were hiding in the shadows. The front door opening made both of them jump. Spike started to giggle as Uncle Rupert stared at them in confusion.

“Are you two all right?” he asked, shutting the door.

“Just fine,” Spike gasped, moving to take the pizza from his uncle’s hold.

“Did you get any work done yet?” the older man asked, glancing at them.

“Not yet, sir,” Xander replied. “I just got here a few minutes ago.”

“Well, eat now then,” Uncle Rupert told them. “Then head upstairs so I don’t end up disturbing you.”

Xander looked at Spike who shrugged. The blond had thought they would work in the kitchen, but his room was just as good. Opening the box, the two of them set to devouring the pie as only teenaged boys could.

When the pizza was finished they grabbed their bags and raced up the stairs. The feeling of nervousness returned as Spike pushed open the door to this room. He watched Xander step inside and look around, dropping his backpack on the bed.

“You need to decorate,” Xander noted, looking around the fairly bare room.

“I’ve been here for a month,” Spike replied dryly. “And most of the time I was trying to get caught up in school work.”

Xander nodded. “We’ll have to do something about that then.”

Spike shook his head. His friend focussed on the oddest things sometimes. “Alright, let the torture commence.”

“It’s not that bad,” Xander laughed, taking his books out and setting them up.

“Thirty percent,” Spike reminded him.

Xander looked at him. “Both tests and the exam are each worth thirty and the quizzes total ten. Even if you do badly on this test the other will cover it. And hey, you missed the first test anyway.”

Spike blinked, he hadn’t realized that. “So technically, this test is worth more for me.”

“Yeah,” Xander winced. “Sorry.”

“I’ll just have to make sure I do well then,” Spike sighed, setting his own books up beside Xander. “Push over.”

They sat side by side on his bed, working through past homework and making little pop quizzes for each other. After a while Spike saw something he’d noticed before. Whenever Xander got flustered by a question he would play with the little lock on his chain. Spike had a good idea of what the chain and lock meant in some circles and couldn’t help but wonder if it was the same for Xander. And if it was, who put it on him?

“Go ahead and ask,” Xander said, breaking Spike out of his staring.

“What?”

“You want to know about this,” Xander said, pulling on the chain a little. “Ask?”

Spike flushed. “Don’t want to be rude.” Xander shrugged. “It’s strange.”

“Not really,” Xander replied. “There’s a fair amount of people who wear them.”

“Generally not teenagers, though,” Spike pointed out.

“True,” conceded the other boy. “Ask.”

“Who?” Spike finally asked.

“Angel.”

“But I thought you guys couldn’t, you know,” Spike said in confusion.

“We can’t,” Xander agreed. He stopped and traced a finger over the chain’s links. “It’s more of a promise collar than anything.”

“Oh?”

Xander smiled slightly. “We have a contract,” he said quietly. “It will go into effect when I’m eighteen. Until then, this is an idea of things to come.”

“Not just playing?” Spike asked, worrying slightly about his friend.

“No, not playing,” Xander answered. “The contract was drawn up and witnessed by a domme in LA. A good portion of it is protection for me. Tara’s awesome that way.”

“Huh,” Spike grunted thoughtfully. He could see the uncertainty creeping into Xander’s eyes. “I stand by what I said before. It’s your life.”

Xander leaned over and hugged him. “Thank you.”

Spike pushed him off. “You’re welcome. Now let’s get back to work before we flunk.”

Laughing, Xander pushed the quiz he had just written over. “Go ahead.”

Groaning, Spike grabbed his pencil and started answering the questions. He hated Calculus.

 

 

04

 

Carefully eyeing the balls on the table, Spike took his shot, sending the cue ball flying to hit its target. A sharp crack and two balls sank into the pockets. Behind him Xander groaned, muttering something about sharks.

“You’re just a sore loser,” Spike teased, walking around the table to set up the next shot.

“I’ve lost seven games to you,” Xander pointed out. “Of course I’m a sore loser.”

“You’re just a plain loser, Harris” Larry said, pushing past the brunet. His friends roared with laughter. “I’ll take next game.”

“No thanks,” Spike said, finishing off the game by sinking the eight ball. “I’m done for the night.”

“Not up to playing against real competition?” Larry sneered, grabbing the pool cue from Xander’s hand.

“If there was real competition here I’d be all for it,” Spike smirked, leaning one hip against the table, his own cue held loosely. “Since there isn’t, I’d rather spend my time playing against an entertaining target, like Xander, than fleecing imbeciles, like you.”

A perplexed expression settled on Larry’s face as he stared at the blond. Finally one of his friends took pity on him and leaned over, explaining Spike’s comment in a whisper. Confusion gave way to anger.

“I’m not an imbecile, you fag,” Larry practically yelled.

“Last time I looked I wasn’t a smoke,” Spike drawled, standing up from his lean. “And you are an imbecile. You had to have someone translate normal speech for you. That makes you more than an imbecile. You’re a fucking moron.”

“Spike,” Xander said warningly, moving away from the group of people. “Let’s just go.”

“That’s right, Harris,” one of the jocks said, smiling nastily. “Run away. That’s what you’re good at.”

A low growl trickled from Spike, shocking everyone watching. “What is it with you small minded people that you always have to bring that up? Can’t you even think of new insults? Or are you too brain dead for even that?”

Larry needed no translation for that and with a roar he rushed forward, barrelling into Spike. The blond held his ground, proving size didn’t matter if you actually knew how to fight. Within moments, Larry was on the ground, blood pouring from his nose and both his eyes quickly darkening. As soon as Spike stepped away from the jock’s prone body, Larry’s friends jumped into the fight. Xander snarled and threw himself into the fray, pulling bodies off his friend. Fists and feet flew, hitting solid flesh and bone with deafening thumps.

“Break it up!” The bullhorn enhanced yell startled everyone enough that the fighting stopped. The police had arrived. “Separate now or we’ll do it for you.”

Quickly they moved apart, the jocks standing on one side, Xander and Spike on the other.

“What happened here?” the cop asked, looking between the two groups.

“Harris took a swing at Larry,” one of the jocks said. “We jumped in to stop him.”

“That’s not what happened!” Spike yelled, taking a menacing step forward.

“Step back,” the cop warned, glaring at the blond. “Is that what happened, Larry?”

“Yes, sir,” Larry said, his speech slurred.

“Take those two down to the precinct,” the cop said, gesturing at Spike and Xander. “I’ll take Larry to the hospital.”

The other cops nodded, quickly cuffing the two boys. They dragged them out of the club, shoving them into the back of the cars.

“Why didn’t you say anything, Xan?” Spike asked as the cop car headed to the jail.

Xander sighed. “It wouldn’t have made a difference. Right, Officer Roddick?”

The officer driving nodded. “Sorry, boys, but I have no control over it. Matthews is higher up then I am. I know neither of you started it.”

“What?” Spike looked between the two of them.

“Most of the force here in town is corrupt,” Roddick explained. He glanced back at Spike. “There’s only a few of us that are here to help. The rest just want the money they get from the bribes and the perks from the Mayor. Larry’s parents are rich and influential. That means his word will always be taken over yours.”

“That’s bullshit,” Spike declared, flopping back in his seat. A sly look filled his eyes. “I wonder…?”

“Spike?” Xander asked, staring at his friend.

“Technically I’m a lord,” Spike grinned. “I really wonder how they would take that.”

Xander laughed. “Probably not very well.”

 

Once at the station they followed Officer Roddick into the station, bumping shoulders as they walked. The police station was fairly empty, only a few officers mingling around.

“Hey Marcus,” a dark haired woman called from behind the front desk. “Trouble?”

“Not much, Fred,” Roddick said, stepping aside to let the two of them pass. “Just a bit of scuffle at the bar.”

Fred looked at them, dark brows rising. “Xander?”

“Hi, Officer Burkle,” Xander said cheerfully. “How have you been?”

“Obviously better than you,” Fred said, leaning on the counter. “What happened?”

“Larry started shit again,” the dark haired young man shrugged. “The normal.”

“The normal doesn’t normally land you in jail,” she pointed out. Then a grimace passed over her face. “Marcus, put them in a private cell.”

“Why?” Officer Roddick asked, pointing the direction for them to walk.

“Rory Harris is in general lockup,” she sighed.

Xander paled and Roddick swore. Spike looked at the two of them before glancing at Fred for an explanation.

“Rory’s Xander’s uncle,” she said quietly, giving the taller boy a sad smile. “It’s best to keep them separate.”

“Understatement,” Xander whispered. “Can we go sit down now?”

“Yeah, Xan, Marcus will take you back,” Fred told him gently. “I’ll call Liam for you.” She looked at Spike. “Who do I call for you, cutie?”

He grinned despite the situation. “Rupert Giles,” he told her and rattled off the phone number.

“Fine,” she smiled. “Go sit and relax until they get here.”

Nodding the boys followed Officer Roddick back through the jail to one of the single cells. He quickly uncuffed them and smiled regretfully as he closed the cell door. “Behave and I’ll bring you something to drink in a few minutes.”

Xander sighed and sat on the thin cot, leaning back against the wall. “Well, that went well.”

“Could have been worse,” Spike offered, sitting beside him.

“Not by much,” Xander replied, turning his head a bit to look at him. “We’re gonna get it from the whole school tomorrow. Larry’s the beloved star of the football team and I’m the bad element.”

“No you aren’t,” Spike hissed, twisting to glare at the other boy.

Xander laughed mirthlessly. “It’s not what I believe. It’s what they believe. And it’s how they treat me. So far the only ones who treat me as anything else are you, your uncle, Fred and Marcus, and Angel. To everyone else I’m the worst possible thing in town.”

“That sucks,” groaned Spike. He leaned against Xander. “What can I do?”

“Just keep doing what you’re doing,” Xander said truthfully. “Even knowing so much of my past you accept me. That means a lot.”

“You’re my friend,” the blond replied. “I’ll stick by you through everything.”

They sat in silence, their peace only broken by Officer Roddick bring them a couple cans of pop. Spike occupied himself by counting the number of cracks on the wall across from the bunk while Xander dozed against his shoulder.

“Xan?” he called quietly, not wanting to wake the other boy if he was asleep.

“Yeah,” Xander whispered back.

“Why did they keep us away from your uncle?”

Xander sighed. “I wondered when you were going to ask that question.” There was silence for a moment before Xander took a deep breath. “When I first got back to town my parents made a whole mess about me running away. They kept calling me ungrateful and lazy. Told the social worker I was too stupid to amount to anything.”

Spike growled low in his throat and wrapped an arm around his friend. “What happened?”

“A judge ruled I had to stay with them at first,” Xander told him, taking comfort in the embrace. “I was there for a total of three days before everything went to hell. Dad and Uncle Rory came home early from work, both beyond drunk. I hid in my room. Idiot that I am, I thought I was safe.”

“Xan?”

“I had fallen asleep when the door burst open,” the story continued softly. “I don’t know what set him off, but for some reason Uncle Rory decided I was responsible for it all. He beat me with just about anything he could get his hands on. A neighbour heard the screams, thought it was my parents getting into it again and called the cops.”

“Good reason to keep you apart,” the blond commented.

“Yeah,” Xander sighed. “He got a restraining order and I was allowed to move to Angel’s.”

“How bad were you hurt?” Spike asked.

“Not that bad actually. Mostly just bruises.”

Spike hugged him close. “I’m glad you’re alright.”

“I am, too.”

 

~*~
 

Spike yelped as the car took a right turn sharply, throwing him into the door. He snuck a glance at his uncle, wincing at the fury on the man’s face. When Uncle Rupert had stormed into the jail, Spike had wanted to sink into the floor. The sheer anger radiating off the man scared him and he wasn’t surprised when Officer Burkle had pulled the librarian aside to let him cool down. Over an hour later and the man was still seething.

The car jerked into the parking spot and Uncle Rupert shut it off, resting his hands on the steering wheel.

“Go inside and do your homework,” he commanded quietly.

“Uncle-”

“No, William,” he cut Spike off. “I’m too angry to talk to you right now. Go inside.”

Knowing discretion was the better part of valor, Spike hurried out of the car and inside. Once in his room he closed the door firmly and threw himself on the bed. He had a bad feeling about the whole situation. Sighing, he sat up and grabbed his bag, pulling his homework out. Settling comfortably on the bed he worked in silence.

“William,” Uncle Rupert called from the living room awhile later.

Spike groaned and rolled off the bed, heading down the stairs. The older man was sitting on the couch, a cup of tea in his hand and his glasses on the table beside him.

“Sir?” Spike said softly, sitting on the chair across from the older man.

“We need to talk,” Uncle Rupert started, pausing to take a sip of his tea.

“About what?” asked Spike in confusion.

“Alexander Harris.”

“Xander?” Spike blinked.

Uncle Rupert sighed and put the cup down. He looked across at this great-nephew intently. “I think it would be best if you didn’t associate with Mr. Harris anymore. It is clear he is a bad influence on you.”

“What?” Spike yelled coming to his feet. “How can you think that?”

“You got into a fight, William,” Uncle Rupert replied angrily. “You were arrested!”

Spike glared at him. “Did you ever stop to ask why?”

“Why what?”

“Why I got into the bloody fight in the first place? Or was it just easier to act like the rest of the town and put the blame on Xander?” Spike hissed.

Rupert spluttered. “How dare you lump me in with those idiots!”

“Why not?” Spike ground out. “You’re acting just like them, jumping to conclusions without all the facts!”

“How did the fight start then?”

Spike sat back down, still staring at his uncle. “Larry insulted Xander; I insulted him back even if he didn’t get it. He called me a fag, then Xandertried to make me leave. One of the idiots said something about Xander again and I called them brain dead.”

“William,” Uncle Rupert sighed.

“Larry charged at me and we started fighting,” Spike continued. “When the others jumped in so did Xander. He actually was just trying to help me.”

“You shouldn’t have said anything,” the older man told him seriously.

“And just let them insult Xander?” Spike scoffed. “I’m not the type to sit there and let them hurt my friend, even if it is just words.” He looked at his uncle. “I didn’t think you were either.”

Leaning forward Uncle Rupert sighed again. “I am sorry,” he said, meeting the younger man’s eyes. “I was just a bit upset at having to come get you out of jail.” He paused. “Why were you arrested instead of Larry and his friends?”

“According to Officers Roddick and Burkle and Xander most of the police are corrupt,” shrugged Spike. “Larry’s a town favourite so of course they wouldn’t be arresting him.”

“Are you okay?” his uncle asked after a moment.

“Bruises,” Spike replied. “Officer Burkle had the doctor at the jail look us over.”

“Good,” Uncle Rupert nodded. “I take back what I said about Alexander.”

“Thank you,” Spike smiled. “I just wish the rest of the town could see what he’s really like.”

Uncle Rupert stared at him for a moment. “Do you perhaps feel more than just friendship for Alexander?”

Blushing, Spike looked away. “Even if I did, he’s got someone and I don’t break up couples.”

“People would probably accept him better if he was dating someone younger,” Uncle Rupert pointed out.

Spike shook his head. “I’ve seen the two of them together. They love each other. It’s the ’til death do them part kind of love. I can’t ruin that.”

The older man smiled a sad look in his eyes. “Your parents did a fine job raising you, William. I’m proud to call you family.”

“Thank you, Uncle. That means a lot to me,” Spike replied softly.

 

~*~
 

 

“What the hell was going through your mind, Xander?” Angel hollered as he slammed through the front doors.

Xander followed behind him, not even trying to answer yet. He knew he’d get to tell his side of the story once his love calmed down a bit. Listening with a half an ear to the ranting Angel was doing, Xander headed into the kitchen to make a snack for them. Talking would be easier with something in their hands. He went simple, tea and cookies, and loaded them onto a tray to carry out into the main living room. Angel had flopped onto one of the couches, his hair a mess from running his hands through it.

“What happened, Xan?” the older man asked calmly, reaching out to pull Xander into his lap once the tray was set down.

“Larry’s usual bullshit against me,” Xander replied, cuddling into the larger man’s arms. “He called me names, Spike made fun of him. He called Spike a fag and got humiliated for it.” He grinned at that, and then sobered. “I wanted to leave.”

“Why didn’t you?” Angel questioned, rubbing Xander’s back.

“Derrick said something about me always running away and Spike defended me, ending it with calling them brain dead. Then Larry jumped him.”

“How did you get into it?”

Xander made a face. “When it was just the two of them I just waited. Spike can take care of himself, but when he got Larry down the others piled onto him so I jumped in to help.”

Angel squeezed him tightly. “I can’t be mad at that,” he told the worried Xander. “You were just protecting a friend. But try to keep the fighting to a minimum.”

Giggling a little, Xander laid his head on Angel’s shoulder. “Gladly, I don’t like fighting.”

Part Two