NB: Sixth part in the Five Gold Rings canon
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Spike (High Master) and Xander (Esteemed Consort) rule the European Court, but when the pure bred brother arrives with the Immortal, and external threats are thrown in, family becomes the priority.
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
There were three more convenings of the main courts in the following six months.
Enormous progress was made but none of the participants could tell whether their efforts would be enough. The participating non-magical/community humans did their best but their fellow humans often influenced by fiscal &/or political demands to the point of inaction.
The Esteemed Consort took the leading role in funding and coordinating running life saving drugs to treat HIV patients into countries by demons with a vested interest and where the food supply for demons was becoming too low. In all the third world however, there was only ever a skimming policy due to the health of the population, the vampires from Sub-Saharan Africa noticeably taller and slimmer than their Northern American cousins.
They had just had the reports… the water crisis was far from resolved as was the fuel abuse, though with both demon and some humans working together, there was some hope. The drugs issue was a trickier one with as many demons as humans involved in both the trade and the using.
However there were inroads in all areas and with the combined efforts of all concerned.
It was nearing midnight and the European Vampire Court Master and his Esteemed Consort were lying on a broad blanket on the gentle grassy slope of the luxury conference venue just outside Nairobi. It had been yet another hard meeting. The two tasks in Africa were monumental.
The AIDS issue really only affected the feeding grounds of the sub-Saharan territories the worst – but really had to be dealt with through human channels. All the combined magical community could do was help regards obtaining and delivering contraband drugs where possible.
It was the task of recovering the child soldiers that had proven most distressing as they gradually rescued human and demon children. Thousands of dead eyes, owned by small bodies clutching deadly weapons, left all concerned with the worry that for some, there was no possible return to normality.
Child soldiers were not a new phenomena, Anton had seen it in every era. Children had always been used in wars, though the age definition seemed to shift depending on the culture and the era… But the deliberate abduction and *brainwashing* was something different, as was the modern day weaponry, including suicide bombings by the children.
The reality was, however, that in the past they would have gone into battle at the Master/Ruler/Father’s behest, or as servant/slave feeding and carrying for the troops, or as page to the nobles or volunteer to protect their country or as resistance fighter because they were ‘small’ But this global trend … this one was insidious and indicative of a human race returning to the slave days. And yet this was worse. Now ‘owning and breaking’ meant ‘breaking’ emotionally and psychologically.
The children no longer considered their targets anything more than objects to be eliminated and were conditioned to value their own lives as less. They would kill entire villages without emotion, not caring for their own safety, then return to their leader at the end of the night with no more remorse that one might have for mowing the grass in suburbia in a quiet English town on a Sunday.
A facility was planned, built swiftly, then the rescued children flown to a pretty spot in Tunisia where they were contained and treated with respect, some even ‘moving on’, with help. But most just happy to be fed and confused as to why they had not been ‘deployed’ of late.
Some of the demon children were able to be saved swiftly, as their heritage meant exchange of body fluids and ritual managed to redress at least a part of the trauma. Sadly for most humans there was little going back, though special schools were established (with a slight prison feel as there was need to stop the resident ‘students’ from escaping to do more carnage. By the end of the seventh month it was obvious, some of the inmates would never recover.
Regardless of attempted rehabilitation some of the demon clans chose the kindest option placing the pint sized soldiers into servitude, retraining them to follow a different set of orders (suitable for domestic servitude), then placing them with their clan families that the broken children only vaguely remembered.
Before the final meeting Spike had opened his wrist to his Sire, as did the Consort. They then did they same for Connor, who had been a tower of strength in the last six months, single handedly setting up the Tunisian facility. The four Aurelian leaders shared blood then offered to Mistress Minna and her two companions. The women knelt and took the offer with respect before being ushered into the ‘war room’ for the last session of the evening.
It was a reasonable result but after the meeting Spike and Xander took time out from everyone – Connor went for a run, and Anton retired to bed. The ruling couple worried, he had never looked quite so tired.
Xander and Spike ceased discussing business as they lay on a rug and Xander pointed out the constellations not visible from Europe. The southern hemisphere stars so much more visible due to fewer city lights. It had been their last evening of business.
Spike listened to Xander explaining the various star configurations but eventually his consort’s quiet voice and surreptitious caresses slipped into full blown love making. All thoughts of astronomy were forgotten as they sought their own heaven, joined and consummated their love for one another again and again. Xander began on his front, his rear now always pulsing and ready if the pair became amorous, then taken face to face with passionate kisses and adoring strokes, followed by Spike begging to be filled himself, Xander obliging joyfully. Blood was exchanged and the two relaxed. Xander eventually tugging his lover up, wrapping the rather sleepy High Master of Europe in their picnic blanket, before collecting up their clothing as his own ‘protection’. The two then wandered back inside hand in hand to tangle limbs again on the soft bed and snuggle into the warmth of the duvet to sleep away the day.
There was still much to be done, but the two still had their own interests, Anton and Connor too (when home the full blood happily working with the other two to bolster the family finances).
Connor’s adoptive parents and sisters were due to arrive the following month. They had learned of his business success and recent philanthropy via an anonymous phonecall, and were incredibly proud. But the father’s day present of four around the world business class tickets was extraordinary (and happily accepted). Connor planned it, Anton arranged it, Xander did the accommodation (with protection built in) and Spike bankrolled it.
It was to have been a joyful return home, but the assassin had done his homework and as they stepped from their car to alight Anton’s jet in Nairobi, a strange thud was followed by Xander’s surprised “Spike? Oh….Ssssssss……”
It was unbelievable!
He usually healed like a vampire but the sniper’s bullet had found its mark and no amount of vampire blood could heal a direct blast to the heart from a high powered military rifle.
Anton and Connor were both in shock and Anton openly crying, but still managed to tear off their upper clothing pressing it to the gaping exit wound to try to stem the flow at the back.
Anton looked desperately to his surrogate Childe. There was no choice. If Xander departed for all time, Spike too would dust. There was simply no way to save him but to turn him. If he took the Consort as his Childe they would both survive. Willow wasn’t present so Anton sent a silent appeal to his dear goddess Artemis, to the Powers and one to Gaia for good measure. All answered.
Spike was near hysteria and on his knees. It was their own actions that had brought this about. They had threatened the world’s most corrupt powers, and now he had to turn his lover, the lover that would have been immortally warm had this not occurred.
As Xander began his final struggle, his body bleeding out, Anton grabbed Spike’s wrist hard and said “Hurry we’re losing him.”
Spike was kneeling in a pool of Xander’s blood as he sobbed and tore open his wrist.
Anton added, “Not just this… You *must* drink from him…”
Spike sobbed as he fell into game face, “Oh Sire! No!!!”
As he felt his lover begin to suck from the so familiar wrist, he simply placed his mouth over the hole in Xander’s chest and drained his beloved. The Earth shook and grieved a lost son, and Anton prayed again to his goddess, requesting her help for a personal reason for the first time ever… and Artemis answered bestowing her blessing though the ruling couple would take some months to determine the real effect of her kindness.
The gaping wound in Xander’s back healed as he was turned and she breathed a message of hope into her favorite son Anton via a gentle breeze, and he knew at that moment, that the Powers had fixed Xander’s soul.
Spike and Connor watched in wonder as the now dead flesh and bone repaired and looked to their Sire. Anton leaned over the now dead body and took each of the men gently by the face and kissed them on the forehead with an enigmatic smile.
“All will be well.”
Spike lay with his consort, grieving and keeping vigil, Anton and Connor both fed him on the second day, worried by his silence and keen to reassure, but when Xander had not moved by the third night, even Anton began to worry.
As the evening of the fourth day approached, Spike was unable to stem his grief and where there had been silent crying, he now begged his partner to wake, kissed the cold lips repeatedly and desperately stroked the stiff, cold body.
He was rewarded around midnight on the fourth night of his lover’s turning, as the form suddenly lost its stiffness and within moments a game faced Xander latched onto Spike’s chest, just over his right nipple. Spike was utterly unprepared for the amount of blood taken, all but fasting as he waited in the hope that his lover might rise, yet had the wherewithal to bite deep and hard into his fledgling Childe’s neck as Sire to claim back some of what was his and reassure the newborn demon.
Xander immediately stilled, his game face disappeared and he rasped “Sire? Spike?” before collapsing into his beloved’s arms.
“Here Pet … will always be here for you… always.”
Xander was crying a little, he couldn’t really articulate the reason, just felt teary and said on instinct. “Sire, I’m cold.” Then pulled himself away a little to stare in wonder at Spike, having realized the implications of what he had just said.
He noted the new feelings and the night vision and… *Sire* who was still holding him so tenderly, who had claimed him and chosen him and loved him and… he gave in to tears again as his Sire struggled out the words “Oh Xan, my mate… Oh Xan I just couldn’t lose y……”
Xander instantly felt his demon rise with his Sire’s distress and ran on pure instinct. He stripped the thin sheet from them both, rolled Sire onto his back, then tugged the still upset Spike to stiffness and sank onto him easily with all the confidence of a professional hooker.
He rode his Sire with enthusiasm and adoration, and was thrilled when Sire accepted his proffered neck, Spike renewing the claim mark and taking of the young vampire. A flash of blinding white light acknowledged their joining.
Artemis had done as her wonderful Anton had asked, blessing the two and binding their souls. But she had also done more appealing to the Powers, requesting that she might have them if they were ever to leave the realm. The Powers agreed and added that she might have the entire Aurelian line in her care. As a consequence, they bound Connor to her as well, something that made her immensely happy since he had so graciously prayed to her along with her lovely Anton. Artemis instantly decided to be, literally, ‘Godmother’ to this extraordinary group.
When Connor woke bleary eyed and tired to the wonderful news that Xander had risen, he failed to notice the strange new adornment at the base of his spine, a tiny tattoo of a beautiful woman in flowing robes hugging one side his father’s original ‘A’. What the turn of events for the whole clan would mean was yet to be determined.
Artemis rejoiced as the Consort rose. There had not been an Esteemed Consort turned in a millennium and certainly never one blessed by the goddess. The implications were *huge*. Already powerful in his human form due to the partnership, Xander soul may have been tied directly to his Sire but that was not the only thing Artemis had gifted them. She used her power to help alert her new earthly champions.
High Master, now Sire… woke from sated sleep to bright morning sun warming the bed and his form, and light streaming into their room. The blackout curtains had collapsed (apparently silently!) sometime during the night.
Spike began to scramble for the covers before realizing that he and Xander must have been lying in the sun for some time, exposed completely. His skin was warm and he wasn’t on fire or dust. His Childe too was warm to the touch and slept on oblivious.
The implications were almost beyond comprehension. Spike had always missed the sun *so* much, particularly after the minor sojourn as ‘a minor’ earlier the previous year. He rolled away from his darling, lay on his front and simply felt the warmth. He couldn’t help it. He began to cry into the pillow quietly. Every gift of such magnitude came with a price, he knew that, but for now…
He eventually rolled over again and pulled his dear one into a spooned hug and loved him all the more, sending a message of thanks to the Powers and to Anton’s Artemis, somehow knowing they were all now tied to her. As the sun continued to warm the loving tangle of undead limbs, the new Childe opened a bleary chocolate eye and smiled whispered, "Nice..." then fell asleep again.