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The Hive, Chapter 10 
3rd-Dec-2012 12:36 pm
Originally posted by fangstress at The Hive, Chapter 10

THE HIVE

Chapter 10

By Fangstress

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover Angel the Series

Warnings: Violence, Slash, Rating R, Spangel, Eventual Spander, Vamp!Xander, Crossovers, Supernatural, Post Series, Ensemble Cast, Angst, Hurt/Comfort

SUMMARY: Xander's life changes forever when he tries to help a deranged Slayer...

To read Chapter 1, click here:  http://fangstress.livejournal.com/10764.html

To read Chapter 2, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/11426.html

To read Chapter 3, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/11695.html

To read Chapter 4, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/12097.html

To read Chapter 5, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/12826.html

To read Chapter 6, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/13435.html

To read Chapter 7, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/13968.html

To read Chapter 8, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/14954.html

To read Chapter 9, click here: http://fangstress.livejournal.com/15237.html

PREVIOUSLY:

"And now there are three of us." Angel said. "A Triumvirate, Wesley called it. Three Aurelian Vampires with Souls.  He thinks it's important, somehow. That maybe it's part of a prophecy."

**

Xander dragged his gaze from the floor to Angel's face. He realized he was glaring. Oh. And in gameface, too. Wonderful. He shook his head slightly, banishing his demon.

Angel hadn't moved an inch. "What's going on?" He asked quietly.

"You're going to get rid of me." Xander blurted, then looked down, ashamed of his own weakness.

AND NOW…

THE HIVE

Chapter 10

By Fangstress

A few days later, Angel came to collect Xander from his room, pronouncing him ready to move on. They gathered the few things Xander had with him, and Xander walked with Angel down the stairs to the lower floor. The section of the hotel they ended up in was much nicer. The carpets were clean, the walls painted-- looked almost posh. 

And Xander felt—almost human, dressed in comfortable faded jeans and a long-sleeved black t-shirt, new boots and even a new patch, courtesy of his host. His sire. Who incidentally, was dressed more casually than Xander had ever seen him. A black wife beater and jeans, so old the denim molded to his legs and – Xander caught himself. Was he actually looking at Angel’s ass? That was just …wrong.

Shaking his head in bemusement, Xander slung his duffle over his shoulder, securing it, as he kept pace with Angel. "So, I know Wes and Illyria are-- off boinking in the ether, but where's --you said his name was -- Gunn? Haven't seen him around, wanted to thank him."

Angel took a turn, leading Xander down another hallway. "He's out with Sam."

Somebody he hadn't met? Another team member? "Sam?" How many flippin’ people were in this hotel?

Angel kept walking, jingling keys in his pocket. “Not a member—but working with us, from time to time. Sam Winchester.  And his brother, Dean. I suppose you'll meet them later. They’re quite the characters. Sam and Gunn are ...good for each other, I think."

"They-- they're seeing each other? Gunn's gay?

Angel stopped and turned to look at Xander. "Err... some things happened-- you know about Wolfram and Hart? That it doesn't exist-- at least not on this plane of existence anymore?"

"Ah, no.... I knew it was an Evil Law Firm, and that you were running it-you know, everybody thought you went evil. Again." Xander wondered now, if he'd gotten the whole story.

Angel huffed. "I wasn't evil. I was trying to take it down. From within." He stopped, turned to face Xander again. "I made some bad mistakes." Angel said, expression grim.  "I almost got us all killed, trying to take out the Circle of the Black Thorn, and during the final showdown--it all went bad. Wesley was dead, Fred-- had already changed... into Illyria---Gunn was wounded, mortally. It was just me, Spike and Illyria-- and she was already starting to come apart... and we were surrounded by hundreds, maybe thousands of demons." Angel started walking down the long hallway again.

"So, apocalypse. Been there, done that. So not of the fun." Xander walked slowly behind Angel.

Angel looked wistful. "I really, really wanted to kill the Dragon... I thought Spike would argue about it, but he didn't." Angel turned to Xander with a rueful half grin.

"Dragon?" Xander asked incredulously, as they rounded a corner. "You fought a freaking dragon?"

"Yeah, I did." Angel sighed, nostalgically. "It was kinda fun."

Glancing around, Xander observed how much nicer this hallway was in comparison to the previous one. It had glossy, rich, mahogany paneling contrasting with smooth, ivory walls; lighting their way down the long hall were heavy, ornate, iron replicas of Renaissance wall sconces, spaced regularly.   But if you looked closely enough, you could see signs of badly repaired damage here and there.  Xander’s trained eye picked out small areas where hasty, slipshod repairs had been made, probably after a battle or two, if his experience with Hellmouthy after-siege patch-up work was any guide. It mildly offended Xander’s inner Tool Guy, but he didn’t say anything, not wanting to insult his host—but just looking around the old hotel made his hands itch like crazy for a hammer and some nails. And maybe some plaster and some spackle and…he ceased his woolgathering to keep up with Angel, and they went down another, wider flight of stairs; turned another corner. They had to be at basement level by now.

"So, suddenly there was this blinding flash of light," Angel continued, "and this angel - a real, authentic Archangel-- appeared with all these people armed with all sorts of low-tech weapons who proceeded to help us make mincemeat out of the demon army."

They stopped in front of a door. Angel turned to Xander, looking a bit put out, like a cat who'd just had its mouse snatched out from under it. "They disintegrated my dragon!" He said, indignantly.

Xander fought back a chuckle, picturing Angel as Marvin the Martian, complete with a black, shiny Trojan helmet with a crest--They disintegrated my space immo-du-lay-torrrr!  He stifled a snort of laughter."Oh. I'm sorry. Ah, what happened, then?"

Angel fished around in his jeans pocket and brought out a large key ring. "The demon army retreated, and the angel-- Castiel, healed Gunn. He'd brought Sam and Dean, two Hunters-- with him. From the future. They, in turn had brought every Hunter from the present they could find. Never even knew they existed. And unfortunately, for them, Sam and Dean are stuck here, for the duration—at least until Castiel comes back. They’re effectively marooned here—in what for them is the past. But I’m happy to have the extra muscle."

He handed the key to Xander, who took it and examined it. Standard hotel key, check. He waited to open the door, though-- not sure what to do. Just -- walk in? Didn't he need an invitation? "So, Sam and Dean, and wasn't a that an old blues act?--are from--the future. Uh-huh. Err...why here? Now?"

That's Rock and Roll; Jan and Dean." Angel laughed. "Castiel said something about the Will of God."

"Why did I bother to ask, of course it's the Will of God--"

"After witnessing what He was able to do through his angel, I'm not going to argue with Castiel. I'm just happy he knows I'm on the side of Good. Anyway, it was all about preventing Lucifer from escaping some sort of Gate." 

"THE Lucifer?" Xander asked, skeptically.

Angel nodded. "Yeah, THAT Lucifer. You know, thinking back, I'm wondering if it's connected with all of this, somehow. The Council. Something just doesn't pass the smell test. Castiel said something…” Angel trailed off, brow furrowed in thought.

Xander bit back a snarl at that, and then tried to cover it with a cough. It was troubling that there was even the barest chance that Angel has a point. It rankled. He felt another snarl bubbling up and ruthlessly stifled it.

Angel continued on, as if he hadn’t noticed.  “Anyway, I opened the hotel to the Hunters; that's what they call themselves-- and Gunn and Sam connected pretty fast. But then, Gunn has a lot of guilt he was trying to work out-- over what happened to Fred-- and Sam, he's got a lot of guilt, too. Seems he's part demon. Almost like a Vampire. Except he only drinks demon blood. He's learning to make it work for him, and not against him. His brother Dean was a real hard case there for a while. He really doesn’t like it. "

"Uh... Angel?" Xander asked, holding the key stupidly.

Angel smirked at Xander. "Xander, this is your room, if you want it. You gonna open that door?"

"Yeah." Juggling his duffle, Xander fitted the key into the lock, and opened it.

"Wow."

The room was large, much larger than his old one. Freshly painted, it featured a large living room; very well appointed with angular modern furniture, all done in warm grays, black, and touches of red. Glancing around, Xander could see down the short hallway, noting the open doors to the bedroom and what must be the bathroom. Xander thought of his ratty old flat in London with an inner cringe. The suite seemed palatial by comparison.

Angel led him to a long, marble topped bar set up with an economy refrigerator and a microwave beneath it. Xander bent and opened the fridge curiously, finding it stocked with blood, water, and beer. Investigating further, he discovered that the oaken cabinet above the bar had an assortment of his favorite snacks. Heart heavy, Xander looked at them longingly. "Ding Dongs. Not much use for these anymore..."

Angel spoke quietly. "No. No, Xander, don't do that."

The rage was coming back. "What? Not eating human food? I'm not human anymore.” Xander growled.

"You have a human soul." Angel said, emphatically. "You're still connected to life by that soul. Don't lose that. Don't lose the things that make you Xander. I did that once. I learned. Life is precious to me now. Living is precious."

Xander looked at the room, all set up for him. No-one had been so solicitous of his comfort in...well, ever. Not Buffy, not Willow-- not even his parents. The only person who'd even come close... was ...Spike, that once, back in Buffy’s basement.  And Spike ate human food…with gusto. Maybe Angel really did have something to teach him. But this-- this was so hard. "Is it really that simple?" He said after a moment.

Angel looked thoughtful. "No. But I thought these might help. He gestured, and Xander's gaze followed to light on something he hadn't noticed before. Taking up most of one wall was an entertainment center, oak, matching the cabinets-- complete with a huge flat screen TV, stereo, speakers-- already set up. Then, Xander noticed the DVDs.

It was like the best Christmas Xander could remember never having.

"Oh! Oh! Oh, my stars and garters! X-Men, Avengers, Star Trek! How'd you know? And--" Xander bounced over to the shelves, and ran his fingers lovingly over colorful, shrink-wrapped DVD cases. “Babylon 5! The whole series!? How--”

"Actually, Spike told me.” Angel said with a broad smile.  “And there's a couple of shelves worth of comics over there.”  Angel gestured at a bookshelf against the wall.  “If you need something, want something--ask. I'll do what I can."

Xander stared at the shelves, then back at the TV delightedly. "Wow. Wow, thank you. No-one's ever--" But, then his heart sank. He really, really needed to see Spike. But he felt so off-balance…maybe Angel was right. Control. Right. Graciousness. “Thanks, Angel. And thank Spike for me, will you?”

"You're welcome. And you’ll tell him yourself soon enough." Angel said. “You know, Xander, you’re doing really well. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It takes time.”

Xander met Angel's gaze, detecting nothing other than frank sincerity and absolute honesty. It rocked him. He hadn’t had that in too long. Someone who actually cared, who put his needs first, for once. Who didn’t lie to him. He remembered how many times he’d been the one always feeling left out—unless Willow or Buffy or Giles or even Dawn needed something. He’d always been the one to be there for them—but when he’d needed help—often they’d been too busy, too focused on the next apocalypse, too self-involved---  and then there were all the half-truths, secrets, and outright lies--and that was what had led to this mess. To him becoming a Vampire. That realization decided something within him—he actually felt it resolve itself within him, with an almost audible click--deep down at his center, in his gut.  He thought that he might just be learning that he could be worth the trouble; worth caring about — maybe, he mattered.  

He took a deep breath. Habit, really-- but it still felt good. Cleansing. But then, his stomach rumbled, and his shoulders dropped, dejectedly. "Actually, I'm really hungry.” he said, suppressing a shudder of revulsion at himself. What he’d become. He was never going to get used to this—to the need—the all consuming need for blood. It was embarrassing. He felt like a monster. He frowned deeply, resigning himself.

Angel seemed to expect it, and said, unfazed, “That's normal, Xander. You’re young, you'll need to feed a lot, and consistently; check the fridge."

Xander reluctantly approached it, and Angel casually followed. Opening it to examine the contents of the fridge more closely, Xander did a double take; the blood was human. Human blood? He picked up a bag, condensation wetting his fingers, and looked over at Angel, puzzled. He’d expected pig’s blood, even though the thought of it turned his stomach.

Angel confirmed it unapologetically, with a brief nod. "It's human. From my source at a Blood Bank. Several, actually. And other suppliers catering to Vampires. You need your strength. We all do. And we're not harming anybody. So, drink and heal, Xander. You still have a ways to go before you're up to full strength. And you'll be feeding from me again, soon."

Xander’s inner babyvamp could have done cartwheels across the room. He didn’t want to admit it, but how he loved…really loved… Angel’s blood. Sire’s blood.  He squashed the impulse to beg, mewl and cry for it, and instead fixed his gaze on the floor, noting the thick, soft, grey carpet. He considered the impulse. Xander was a Vampire now, and Angel was his sire--and the need for his sire’s blood was natural. The need to feed was natural. Maybe he should try to make peace with it? He mentally tried it, and the idea still didn’t quite take. No ringing of the inner bell of truth. Everything still felt so surreal.  After a long moment, he looked up at Angel.

“I –uh, “Xander stopped, not ready to broach the topic yet. Change the subject.   “I-I thought this would be ...harder.  I mean, dealing with you. What the hell happened to you, Angel? I don't remember you being this...nice.”

Angel took Xander’s query in stride. “Remember that angel I told you about, Castiel?”

Xander nodded warily.

Angel went to the fridge, pulled out a blood bag, opened it and poured the blood into a Star Trek mug. Xander’s eyebrows rose. Carrying the mug to the microwave, Angel said, “Well, along with everything else he did, he anchored my soul.” He put the mug into the microwave and pushed the appropriate buttons.  Turning to face Xander while the blood heated, Angel leaned against the bar, looking… profoundly at peace.   It was as if a heavy weight had been lifted from his shoulders, as if a dark shroud had been removed, revealing this new, almost human Vampire who stood before Xander so calmly; grounded and at comfortable in his own skin. It was quite a transformation, and Xander envied him. The microwave dinged, jolting Xander out of his thoughts.

“Mmmm.  Anchor?” Xander said, “You can't lose your soul? Like ever?” He accepted the steaming mug from Angel and sipped. It was too good, hot and full of life. And something else. “Wow.” He took another sip. “Wow, that’s amazing. But, let me get this straight—no get out of Soulsville card ever again? And again, can I say just how freaking ambrosia-ey this is? It’s like the Twinkies of blood. Jeezus. Almost as good as yours.”

Angel glanced at the rumpled empty plastic on the counter. “Otter blend.” Angel said.  “And yes, Xander, The soul is here to stay.” He looked pleased, and Xander had to wonder if it was because he’d mentioned how much he liked the taste of his sire’s blood.

Okay, so not a Vampiric faux-pas. “And that’s why the nice, relaxed, mellow Angel?” Xander went for another blood bag, searching through the packets and finding a stack with “Otter Blend” on the labels. He snatched one up with glee, and began preparing another mug. “Anchoring your soul tamed you into a big ‘ole Angel-cat?”

 “Ahh—I don’t know about relaxed and mellow, “Angel gave a dry chuckle.  “--but I discovered that once I wasn't afraid of losing my soul and becoming Angelus again, I wasn't so afraid to connect ...to the people I cared about. I almost lost everyone important to me, and they never really knew how I felt.  And that almost destroyed us all. I'll never let that happen again. I ...I can't fix everything. But I can be there, and that means I'll be there for you, too. You're Family.”

Xander gulped down the rest of his blood, and stared thoughtfully into the empty cup. Another one? Could Vampires get fat? “Family. I thought I had it once. And then I just ...got lost. Or maybe they lost me. I'd like to find out if the one I had is still salvageable. I just can't desert Buffy and Willow.  Giles and Dawn. But for the other--I - I don't know what to say. It's more than I hoped for.”  He tried to smile, but it felt sad and lopsided. 

Angel’s smile seemed just as troubled. “Yeah. We’ll work it out.”

“What about Spike?” Xander asked. “When can I see him? I know—I know I’m not ready yet—I know he’s not well--but--” He felt so frustrated. “Maybe I could help?” He asked.  There was so much he needed to tell Spike, so much that he needed to understand, that Spike could help him with. Not to mention that kiss. So long ago, and now it seemed that it was all Xander could think about.  Had it meant what he thought it did? And now—with him being a Vampire—it just seemed like there was so much that Spike could tell him, teach him. And he thought—that maybe, just maybe, Spike needed him. But until Xander could control himself---

Control…

c O

   n

t

rrrllll….

--scalding rage flooded Xander mind, blotting out everything but the need to kill.

It was overwhelming, it was acid burning through his insides and melting his perceptions of everything around him.

Somewhere in a small part of his mind still lucid, he knew before Angel said it, what the answer would be.

Inhuman rage erupted again, and Xander felt the bones crunch and shift in his forehead, wincing as he felt his fangs burst forth. Desperate for control, he clenched his jaw savagely, and felt those sharp, sharp fangs slash his bottom lip in a burst of liquid pain.  Blood slid down his chin, and his tongue swept it up, tasting it. Even his own blood tasted …good.  Everything was so clear, the scents, the sounds, the colors and---

---suddenly, he realized that he didn’t miss the eye. It shocked him like a bucket of ice water, and he just stood there—seeing. With full-on-fucking depth perception. Holy shit.

Angel, thankfully, didn’t say a word. He just observed, quietly, patiently.

Xander bowed his head, taking in deep calming breaths, struggling in vain to bring back his human face.

Angel waited silently, radiating patience and understanding. After a long moment, he gave Xander a small, genuine, sad smile.  “Get some rest, Xander. The hard part comes later.” He turned to leave the room.

“Hey, Angel?” Xander said quietly, still stuck in gameface. He forced calm on himself, relentlessly. He might be a demon, but he didn’t have to let it control him.

Angel stopped, turning to Xander with a questioning look.

Abruptly, Xander’s face felt—relaxed—normal again. He breathed a sigh of relief. Of course, his vision was back to sub- normal, too. But at least he hadn’t destroyed anything. No trashing of the Babylon 5, thank you, he told his demon.

Light dawned.

And my sire gets a prize for ingenious behavior modification training of the rambunctious new fledge. He gives me things he knows I’ll value—go absolutely apeshit for, actually—knowing that I’ll force myself to gain control of my demon. Huh. Xander shook his head, appreciating the irony.  Anger Management Training for vampires. Who knew? Well played, oh wise sensei.

“I was noticing there's a lot of stuff around here that needs fixing.” Xander flashed a swift grin. “Mind if I make some repairs?”

Angel looked both surprised and delighted. “Sure. Knock yourself out.”

**

That’s it for this week—and I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to give feedback—it’s the only way I’ll know what I’m doing right, and what I’m doing wrong. Thanks for reading along so far…

Catch y’all next week!

Comments 
(Deleted comment)
5th-Dec-2012 02:03 am (UTC)
Thank you, so much! I appreciate your reading it, and the feedback! It means a lot. :-)
3rd-Dec-2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
You make every week more exciting then the last, now Sam and Dean are here as well can't wait to get to their parts in this. So glad Angel is so helful, patient and trusting normally i can't stand him but your version of him i am happy to see. And Xander is still the loyal scooby not wanting to give up helping Buffy, Willow,Giles and Dawn even though they seem to always let him down. See you next week.
5th-Dec-2012 02:02 am (UTC)
Thank you, so much! I tried to write the Angel *I * saw in the series, vs what I often see in fic. People forget that he can be kind, thoughtful, funny, wry, silly, boyish-- and that he's actually pretty smart. I thought that if his soul were anchored-- it might allow him to show more of that, so that's how I'm writing him. Of course, he can still be a bit of a jerk when he wants to be. :-) Thanks for reading!
3rd-Dec-2012 09:54 pm (UTC)
What's happened to Spike? *is dying from antici............pation*

Am really enjoying this! Love your writing style and the cliff hangers you leave us with! More please *hopeful face*
5th-Dec-2012 01:59 am (UTC)
Thanks for the lovely compliment-- I'm still working on developing my writing style, so it means a lot!
3rd-Dec-2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
what a neat chapter, great dialog

hope Spike is gonna get better...
5th-Dec-2012 01:59 am (UTC)
Thank you, kindly! I appreciate your taking the time to read it. :-D
6th-Dec-2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
Finally I read this story. Love it! Thought it might go sideways with the addition of SPN. It didn't.You wrote that in a believable way. Enjoying it very much.
6th-Dec-2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was really , really trying for that. :-)
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