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.
Despite his imperviousness to the sun, the High Master rose late morning – though his dear fledgling Childe still struggled to get up before noon. In private his fledge, though unusually strong and already with full knowledge of vampire lore, was still as needy as any newly turned Childe. Spike made every effort to exchange blood whenever possible, allowed Xander to sleep on, and touched his turned Consort lovingly as much as possible.
He remembered the feeling of his new demon being denied that in his own history. Even as a human, it was only Nanny and Mother who provided affection. Following his turning, Dru was the needy one, and too infrequently, his true Sire Angelus would bestow a kind touch. He played up just for that touch – even if hitting him, it was better than nothing. He was determined that his new Childe would have no such concerns.
Spike had taken to working a little in the bedroom, their wireless network providing any required access and often more boring reviews of financial statements or Clan matters requiring his attention. He usually sat up in their bed quietly reading and taking notes whilst Xander slept on. Inevitably Xander would roll over, blink open his good eye and smile with such adoration that there would often be a crash of papers on the floor and his poor tablet laptop would be slammed onto the side board prior to Sire taking Childe once again in their morning passion.
They now both rose to a breakfast of human blood and for the fledge, the blood of relatives if present.
Unlike Xander’s early days as a human, this was a joyous upbringing - one full of familial love, careful instruction and encouragement. He delighted in each day and blossomed in the circumstances provided. Anton noticed the change in Spike too. He was calmer, happier, and the High Master took his role as Sire extremely seriously. He sparred daily with Xander, pushed his limits of speed and trained him to hunt, demanding that he learn how to use all his new senses fully, and Xander was the model student.
On his monthly visit, as Anton watched the two silently speed up the mountain in a practice hunt, he could not help but smile. The renegade Senior Partner and his undead bitch Lilah had made a *grave* error by killing the Consort. He sent another prayer of thanks to his Goddess Artemis and the Powers for Xander’s undead life.
Connor’s parents and adoptive sisters arrived the day after Anton. Their global tour was truly a once in a lifetime experience, everything from the Great Wall of China to the geothermal areas of New Zealand; from the Great Barrier Reef to the wonders of India; then on to Madagascar and Egypt then up the Greek Islands; then on to Rome, Tuscany and finally flying by Anton’s private plane to Basel. To be honest they were very tired and more than a little nervous. They knew the truth about their dear son Connor, but loved him dearly anyway. He picked them up at the small airport in a limousine – the quick transfers through customs and deference to the obviously important four (word had gone ahead!) noted by his parents.
It was just after three in the afternoon, so his two sisters (who had ‘read up’ on vampires and particularly on their adopted brother’s history) were utterly amazed as the ruling couple and Anton greeted them outside in the sunshine. All had obviously had some sun before, though William was noticeably naturally paler than the other two.
Connor’s sisters both giggled a little as they were greeted graciously by the three handsome men they knew to be Connor’s relatives. They assumed the one with the eye patch was the elder Anton, so were rather surprised when the stunning raven haired, apparently younger man introduced himself as the same.
The guests were ushered inside and settled into their luxurious suites. A large bowl of fruit and jug of iced water complete with lemon and mint was a welcome addition to both the girls and the parents’ rooms.
An hour or so later they joined Connor, Alexander, William and Anton on the pretty western balcony for afternoon drinks. A large cheese board boasted locally produced fruit, cheese, breads and condiments.
Initially the conversation was rather strained, but as Xander started to talk about the construction business with Connor’s father – including Connor’s contribution of course, everything relaxed. The girls giggled and flirted with Anton and asked him all sorts of questions about Italy, while Spike charmed Connor’s mother, eventually taking her for a walking tour around their gardens.
Spike really did adore the gardens and of late (given the sun) had taken to spending a little time each day with their full time gardener. He offered his arm to Connor’s mother before introducing her to Fusee and collecting the snips and an open basket from the small shed near the stables.
As he began to cut roses for the vases inside, Connor’s mother articulated her curiosity.
“So you are keen on gardening?”
Spike cut three enormous, apricot colored roses then turned and smiled, “I am afraid I am not so much the gardener as an admirer of gardens… and my mother always loved arranging flowers… We always had fresh flowers when she was…”
Connor’s mother was touched by the obvious sadness of her dear young host and on a whim, slid her hand down his arm and took his free hand, squeezing it gently, “We all lose people my dear, I am sure she would be so proud of you now.”
Spike had not felt so close to anyone approaching a mother figure since Joyce Summers, and held on to the hand for a little longer than perhaps he should. “Maybe… Thank you… I’m sorry to…”
She smiled and patted his arm affectionately, “No need to be sorry. Just show me this orchard Connor has been telling us all about.”
They wandered the grounds for another hour, and were eventually joined by Anton and the girls. It was a wonderful sunny afternoon and the precursor to a glorious week with the family.
Connor was amazed by the rapport between his father and Xander, the two both from fairly challenging backgrounds yet ‘making it’ both professionally and personally; and both loving, loyal and devoted to family.
The week of their stay was filled with shopping trips to the local village, long walks, sight seeing (whilst the ruling four worked) and delightful mealtime discussions.
Connor’s mother did mention a couple of times, that ‘you boys need to eat more’, forgetting that three at the table had different dietary needs. Connor simply smiled and assured her that they had eaten earlier (which was the truth - just did not involve human food!).
Lilah learned of Xander’s turning and began to try to redeem herself. She planned another attack on Connor but fortunately had no idea of the gifts bestowed on the Aurelian house by Artemis or the Powers.
Initially she had planned an attack on his parents as she discovered they were holidaying with him, but the information came too late and she was also finding that the various Wolfram and Hart offices to be rather bureaucratic and unhelpful of late.
She was just about to launch another attack when given the information that the other two Senior Partners were unimpressed by her boss’s antics. The Wolf advised her to lay low for a time. She did so without question but used the time to plot.
It had been three months since Xander’s changes and the implications of Connor’s changes were unclear, but according to a dream he had been graced with nightly since his adoptive parents departed, he *had* to partner. It was an imperative – to the point of disturbing. Spike consulted Anton and it was decided that perhaps it was just all the stress of the Tunisian project the family issues and the stress of all but managing Xander’s project in Sweden whilst the new vampire adjusted to his circumstances.
The following night Spike spoke to his brother in blood and it was decided. Connor headed north on ‘clan business’ and for a break. Minna was always so welcoming and the two very close. On the second night he told her of the dream, which she took for what it was, a demand from the Powers.
Within hours she had a person in mind that might suit but did not even have to introduce the two. As she had reconfigured her estate to accommodate the suffering slayers, a young wiccan and fully trained architect had joined her team and stayed in her Court even after the debacle with the Council. Helle Svensen had consequently also become a welcome asset as consultant to the Esteemed Consort’s construction company.
Helle was commissioned to consult on the Gottenburg project.
Connor was overseeing the project. They met in a meeting, and he was utterly smitten and asked her to have a drink after work.
Helle was from Mikkeli in Finland. She spoke perfect English and French, and was just a little taller than he. Her tanned skin and dark softly curled hair perfectly set off the pale blue-grey eyes that fell into half moons and positively sparkled when she smiled.
She tugged at her long locks as she chatted rather shyly about the project to the new ‘right hand’ of her European Manager, the Consort Alexander, and as she also knew of his full blood Aurelian status… everyone did.
The endearing factor was that, as he invited her for a coffee and chat after hours the second time, her shyness could not disguise her attraction to Connor. And he scented her arousal when he led her to their waiting car to take them to dinner then a movie on their third ‘date’. As he admitted his particularly sensitive nose, in their very late night conversation some days later, she was not shocked but simply slid her hand into his and guided it to her inner thigh, then kissed him soundly. His pants were already *far* too tight and he worried that he might embarrass himself!
Connor was utterly besotted, as was Helle, yet for weeks they did no more than kiss, touch, and enjoy the movies, shows and café’s of St Petersburg and Gottenburg together.
Minna grinned as she was given gossip from one of her ‘staff’ that Helle had spent *yet another day* having a very long lunch (with the implication that she was abrogating her duties). Minna bit the vampire hard and explained as to a child, that it was part of Helle’s duties and all for the full blood Connor and the Court. The minion immediately prostrated herself and apologized. There was nothing more said as Connor and Helle continued to work together and court quietly.
Helle knew Connor’s status in the Aurelian Court, and could not really bring herself to hope he might continue their relationship after his time in the north finished, assuming that it was, sadly, ‘a stolen summer’.
As his day of departure for Switzerland approached, she became very quiet, just waiting for disappointment. Connor noted the change and as they sat on a low wall on Minna’s property in the pink glow of a late afternoon sun, he took both her hands in his. He kissed the back of each deliberately.
They sat in silence for many minutes before Connor finally spoke, it all came out in rather a nervous rush, “Helle, you know how I feel about you, I mean I… it’s… I… Oh bugger… and now I’m sounding like Spike! Um… I love you OK… just that I really do love you and… I was wondering if you…”
She cut him off with a passionate kiss before leaning back, eyes sparkling and simply said, “Ditto… Yes… I really do.”
“Then come back with me… Please come back to Switzerland with me. I just don’t know if I could bear living without you now… Please? If you want your own place I’m sure we can do that. The estate is so big, but you wouldn’t even have to do that the town’s just…” Connor trailed off, realizing he was babbling.
“Can I have the rest of the week?”
“To get everything organized – you know packing and moving and finishing up things here … that sort of thing.”
“Oh Goddess *yes* Connor stood and lifted his statuesque friend off the ground in a passionate hug, then was stunned as she unconsciously proffered her neck. Connor’s small fangs dropped with the emotion of the moment, so when she whispered, “Please… take it.” He did.
He gently and lovingly bit and took where there had only been kissing before, opening his own wrist and allowing the woman to drink of him, where previously there had been coffee or chardonnay. And Connor knew as did Helle, in that instant. She was to be his Consort.
He returned to their home and his vampire brothers in Switzerland more nervous than a sixteen year old with his first ‘girlfriend’ but was welcomed joyously.
She was a natural born witch with both father and mother of the magical community – but also had a mother who insisted she ‘fit in’ – hence the degree in architecture and getting a “real job”. Her wiccan studies had continued and she was almost relieved when called by the Mistress Minna when the young Slayers were in need of a revised venue. She was able to use all her talents *and* met the legendary Willow three times! She was ever so nice, and seemed to relate to Helle’s natural shyness. They had a wonderful chat for almost five minutes on their second meeting!
Connor had heard many of her personal stories over the weeks of their courtship, but as the girl nervously chatted to his vampire family on the first night over dinner, he adored her all the more. When she began to talk about her work that her confidence and prowess was obvious. Not only her architectural skills but also her wiccan experiences were familiar, particularly to the newly turned Xander.
He was now three months old and his demon still very needy regards his Sire, but Helle saw it as no more than affection for partner and smiled at the charming one eyed vampire as he snuggled a little into the man she knew was Connor’s brother.
The High Master was not only attentive but positively charming to the young woman, engaging her in conversation not only in French and English, but also in Finnish for a time (until he admitted he was ‘out of practice’).
At the end of the night she knew the protocol. She knelt at the feet of the Ruling Couple and offered her neck. The handsome High Master simply kissed it and said “Welcome to the family,” then threw his arms around her and hugged her like no-one had done since she was a six year old. To her own shame she kissed the High Master on the cheek, held on, then began to cry; and sobbed even harder as both Connor then Xander joined them in the hug.
Spike eventually pushed her into Connor’s arms as he whispered, “You are loved little sister. Our brother has taken you, his mark is on you. Rest and consummate your bond in your own time. Our Sire will celebrate your joining, as will the entire Aurelian Court in due course, but for now, let your love flow.”
“But I’m just…”
Spike caught her face with a now slightly sun kissed hand, “You are our little brother’s chosen, Pet. And my understanding is that you have agreed.” Helle nodded profusely but was on the verge of tears and did not trust herself to speak.
“There will be no pressure to join in our Court proceedings, though if you join for all time you will take an honored place at my full blood brother’s side… For now, just enjoy your time in our home, you are most welcome little sister, joining with Connor also makes it yours. I look forward to a discussion engaging your expertise at some time in the next few days as we seek extension proposals for the east wing.” Spike winked and Helle relaxed a little.
He opened his wrist, and before she thought through what was being done, she took of the High Master himself.
As she pulled off the wrist, she said of her own volition, “I have already pledged myself to your brother and the Aurelian clan, but… I thank you High Master and… I … I…” She licked over the Master’s wrist before adding, “I adore your brother… and… want to… ohhh… Master William, I love him!”
Connor caught her on the way down as the strength of the magical blood struck her suddenly, and she fell in a dead faint.
The High Master smiled as his rather worried full blood brother carried his bride in all but name up the stairs to their room
Helle woke in a glorious room on a massive four poster bed, with her dear friend stroking her forehead gently. She was unclad under the covers, and he lying on top fully dressed as an obvious sign of respect.
He took her hand as she returned to consciousness, then waited. He kissed her gently then chatted for a little time of nothing in particular before asking, in a noticeably more somber tone, “Will you be my Consort, Helle. Will you partner with me for all time.”
She breathed heavily, then rolled into Connor and simply said, “Yes. Oh please… Yes.”
Connor began to kiss the dear lady as he stripped and then slipped under the covers with her and they lay together for the first time with the intention of making love. Gentle touches and loving kisses were the precursor, until finally Helle took the lead and pulled him over her and guided him inside in a single smooth act.
Enveloped by her warmth and with Helle nibbling at his neck, Connor stilled for a moment to gain a little control.
Finding his centre, he started to slowly make love to his dear one and whispered a prayer of thanks to his Artemis and the Powers… and to Gaia for the beautiful partner.
Helle picked up on his quiet prayer and stilled him *mid stroke* for a moment and struggled to find the appropriate words in the intensity of the moment, but eventually whispered into his ear, “To whom do you pray?”
Connor, on the edge and trying for control, ergo surprised and mildly frustrated, simply said, “Sire’s Goddess Artemis and the Powers… and the Mother Gaia.”
She pulled him into her again and said, “Then let me too? Please? My darling heart. Please…” She lost her train of thought as Connor nodded then entered her again and again. Their prayers of thanks and plea that they might remain together always *were* expressed as they coupled. Just before he climaxed Connor sank his fangs into her neck and Helle bit him on the shoulder hard enough to draw blood. Both bodies released and the exchange was complete.
Their prayers were received and appreciated. And two days later in a ceremony that included Anton, the High Master and his Mated Childe, and her friend the Mistress Minna, Helle was formally declared Consort to the full blood Aurelian.
Connor and Helle had a video conference with his parents and sisters in the USA, announcing their civil marriage and reasons for keeping their partnership ‘under wraps’ – “Office romance and all that” being given as the excuse. His mother was utterly charmed by the woman, father impressed by her business prowess and obvious adoration of his son, and sisters just pleased to see that their brother had finally settled. Connor promised to visit when they could and his parents, not normally religious, finished the call with a solemn prayer for their future happiness.
A month after that, Helle had her first dizzy spell but thought little of it. She put it down to fatigue, she and Connor had been quite the ‘athletes’ horizontally, and the current Gottenburg project was fairly high pressure! But by week eight after their first night together, her breasts were swollen and painful, and she felt definitely different. She had thought little of missing her menses as it often occurred when she was stressed, so mentioned nothing for another fortnight.
It was Connor who picked it as her scent changed and she burst into tears for the second time during their lovemaking. It was confirmed when his open wrist was offered as was now their post coital custom, she latched on and began to drink desperately, so fast and hard that Connor wondered if she was capable of draining him. Helle eventually released just as Connor began to feel a little dizzy with the blood loss.
He fell forward into her lap his ear on her stomach, and preternatural hearing gave away her secret, their joy. She carried his child, Their first born was safely growing inside the woman he loved as much as life itself. It was now Connor who cried before tearfully, reaching up lovingly to kiss his Consort, his life partner in all things, his beloved, who was soon to be a mother.
The senior vampires had all smelt the change in her scent, but gave nothing away. It was up to the prospective father to find out and tell them. The family rejoiced and immediately began to strategize.
The decision was made that only the inner circle of the Court should know. Lilah and the now outcast Senior Partner were still at large, and the offspring of Connor and Helle’s union so unique that they would no doubt try to obtain ‘it’.
In month five, Connor told his human parents of their impending grandparenthood in a call that used an encryption code worthy of the CIA. His mother cried and he just knew his father would be wearing the widest grin. And happily the call was somehow missed by those who might threaten the family.
World matters did not slow down for pregnancies, however, nor did her Gottenburg project.
Both she and Connor were in demand with their various roles. It had been an exhausting few months and the two had often found themselves (to their distress) forced to travel to different cities for their work.
Helle was increasingly staying at what was now the family home, the Court in Switzerland, her belly becoming obvious on her slender figure, though until month six, able to be disguised by carefully selected suits and ‘sit down’ meetings. But the stability and safety of the Aurelian home felt right.
She quickly learned that Anton was a tower of strength and that his constant assistant Gregor had a quiet efficiency and protective kindness that could not be matched.
Xander was her favorite. She could see why The Mistress Willow adored him. Coming up for a year turned, he was still an extraordinarily capable leader – both in business and as Mate to the High Master. He constantly displayed familial love toward her and (when his demon was let loose) could also be very childlike and playful. In her sixth month, they were sitting on the balcony together one evening when he asked politely if he might listen to her child’s heartbeat because he ‘was missing his own’. Helle saw the genuine sense of loss and heard the statement for what it was. She nodded and smiled.
Given permission Xander had reverently put his ear to her belly, and inadvertently had the privilege of feeling the child move. He lifted off in wonder and took her hands in his, kissing each one in turn before staring at her with teary eyes. “Thank you… I could hear the little one Helle, It’s so wonderful… the tiny heartbeat… and then movement!... Oh Helle! Thank you… thank you.”
The High Master William was also loving and attentive but seemed more worried by her condition than anyone else; constantly asking if she was well and concerned that she didn’t work too hard; demanding that staff to look after her needs more carefully; and insisting that Connor remain home for her last trimester. The High Master and his Consort now fed the full blood twice daily so that he might afford his own consort accordingly.
Helle blossomed under their care.
In the last two weeks of her pregnancy, as all the Masters of the Clans of Europe came together at Court once more, she entered the meeting room and was introduced as the Full Blood Connor’s Consort, her claiming mark exposed and her belly obvious to all. The response was extraordinary. Many vampires in the room pushed to tears as they saw their High Master and Consort’s joy and realized the implications.
It was Connor who addressed the group.
“Rejoice with me cousins. With the blessing of our Goddess Artemis, The Powers, and Gaia, my Consort and senior wiccan, my darling Helle, will provide us with a son… and as she is my formal Consort and therefore he, another full blood to our line…” Connor was somewhat emotional and his fangs dropped without him realizing. Anton immediately offered his wrist and Spike took over the meeting.
“Our Court becomes stronger by the day, many of you in this room have new Childer and others are carrying responsibilities we have not encountered before. All this bears witness to your efforts and for that I thank you, but we must remain vigilant and continue our mission to make our realm safe for all. The new full blood will be the target of many, as was Connor as a newborn, therefore will be protected by both physical means and wards.
“My dear brother, soon to be a father, has earned our support. It is not an assumption on his part, but I urge you to oblige. We, as a group of clans, stand proud of our efforts not just here but globally. And Connor has proven himself time and time again on our behalf.”
Spike then opened his wrist and offered it, to the surprise of all present, not to his brother Connor, but rather, to the Full Blood’s Consort. The heavily pregnant Helle had become used to the blood exchange, indeed seemed to crave it more and more as her pregnancy progressed, so was both grateful and reverent. Something the vampires in the room appreciated.
She laved the wound closed and four hours later, just after the last of their guests left for their hotels or flights, she went into labor.
The midwife and doctor were called immediately and er cries were heard through the corridors of their home, the labor fast and painful.
Without medical intervention she delivered in three hours, semi conscious with pain for the last hour and enduring close to sixty stitches afterwards as the speed of delivery had surprised even her doctor and caused a serious tear.
But the child was… perfect.
Connor was allowed to wrap him after he had been cleaned. Helle was helped to the shower while the proud father wondered at the tiny bundle in his arms. Deep blue eyes opening to his father’s handsome face and a new world.
The newborn boy was quiet, apparently lying content in his Connor’s arms. A half hour later Connor watched in amazement as the tiny boy struggled to latch on to his now reclining beloved’s breast, eventually successfully suckling for a few minutes then falling asleep. His partner also fell into an exhausted slumber as Connor took his own sustenance from Spike then Xander before collapsing into a three way embrace.
The ruling couple lifted their tired brother onto the bed beside his partner then nodded to the attending nurse and departed with a parting look at the two sleeping parents, and the tiny miracle between them.
Later that night, lying in their own bed Sire and Childe in a lover’s embrace, Spike addressed his partner and a sense of immense sadness flowed through their constant link.
“Sire… Spike… Master??”
Spike immediately exposed his chest for his Childe, but the Mated Consort could not drink as he felt the grief, so instead simply offered his own neck with the words, “Oh Please Sire? What’s wrong???!!”
Spike took the proffered neck and stroked his Childe/Consort as he finally relaxed and drank, “My darling, my all, you… You might have had children… even as Consort you still might have..”
Xander cut him off, “As might you, but I am the luckier one… I had chosen you! My Sire! Master William… Spike… I had the chance, but nothing came of it… I ran instead and eventually chosen you and identified myself as… what was it you said? Batting for the other team! Oh Sire, please don’t grieve my turning any longer! I am happy, I *love* you Sire. *Please* let’s just rejoice in Connor and Helle’s son… *Please Sire… take of me!”
The Childe exposed his neck again and Spike took solace.
As his Sire calmed and withdrew his fangs, a rather lethargic, drained Childe asked, “Ssssire… No… Jussss LovvvveYou! ”
Spike opened his wrist and answered, “Oh my darling… I… You …”
For the first time since he had risen and though a little drained, the Consort exerted his power rather than acting as the submissive fledge, and regardless of his own power, Spike allowed it, was thrown on his back and pinned, though the fledge knew better than to penetrate in any way. Xander simply felt the full contact and relaxed…
Spike too relaxed and smiled, aware of a happy Connor and Helle at the edges of the familial link, and one extra contented little signal that had not been there before. It was like a whisper in a noisy room. There had been a tiny cry from down the hall some minutes before, but now the new tiny Liam must have latched on for another feed. His magical signature unmistakably strong.
Xander leaned forward to kiss his Sire before they both slept, the Consort happily lying over his Master, their limbs entwined.