Title: Fealty and Family
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.
The Court meetings over and most issues addressed (though there was still much to be done) all present took their leave in good spirits.
But Xander felt it as did Spike… the ripple of ill will from one of the attendees as he accepted the farewell handshake. A vampire from London. They had issues before with that Court, but this was more.
As one of the guests left the final farewell meeting, Connor radiated mistrust through the familial link to all Aurelians present. There was something that put him on edge about the vampire.
The Master Fritz came with the Southern German contingent. Throughout the days Connor had notice him to be overly ‘attentive’ and interested in minor household details. A little due diligence swiftly found that even for a vampire he had a rather checkered past.
Fritz had been an ‘enthusiastic and decorated’ member of the Gestapo when he was turned by the Master of Insbruck late in World War II. The Master apparently appreciated the vicious nature of the human, particularly his penchant for torture and simply couldn’t resist. The fledgling Fritz was notorious during the last days of the war, after which he and his Sire made regular visits to the war torn Hungary to take advantage of the conflict with Russia. His rise in the Southern German Court however, was rather odd and apparently due to a series of unfortunate dustings of colleagues and vampire siblings. Others in the Court were not blind to the goings on, so much so that when the old Master dusted a decade ago at the hand of one the now numerous Slayers, his ‘guaranteed’ place heading the Court was taken, with the support of the Court, by a sibling who had escaped elimination by virtue of attending Minna’s court at his Master’s instructions.
By chance the now Master Fritz had heard of the Wolfram and Hart split and sought out the deadly Lilah, exchanging his loyalty and services for a guaranteed place at the head of the Southern German Court given the successful retrieval of the Childe by Lilah’s team – with his information pivotal to that occurring of course.
Master Fritz had reported the impending family holiday but not that Gregor would also be present. Nor did he realize the ruling couple’s status regards the sun. Yet his information was still dangerous, and the photos of the family home even more damaging. Entrances windows, stairwells, all were documented.
Lilah was ecstatic. They had two opportunities. Her teams could make a grab for the Childe while the small family were relaxing on holidays, the island close enough by military helicopter yet remote enough that any help from the Courts would come too late. And even if they had to abort, there was enough information about the family home to strike when the Immortal was absent and the Ruling Three otherwise occupied. Bringing down the wards would be tricky but she would simply appeal to the Senior Partner who was expectant of a result very soon. His power would break through the basic magic with ease.
Master Fritz reported the presence of Nanny Stephanie – a wiccan – but Lilah knew, they had ‘taken her out’ in the past and this time it would not just be a dart coming from the gun.
Happily, Fritz was also oblivious of the family’s *other* connections, and so Lilah planned the two assaults confident that they already had the day
It was a relief when the three days were over and all the various Court members had departed.
Anton and Buffy left the next day but not before Buffy had deliberately walked the estate in sunshine with Xander.
“It’s still kind of … I don’t know… odd … you with the blood drinking and the speed and …”
Xander had been quite subdued, feeling like he needed to do the ‘right thing’, but brightened as a thought occurred… “One eyed Mate challenges Immortal’s Consort to a race you around the property!” After which he grinned then took off at speed.
He was fit and lean and Buffy struggled, but kept pace until they came to a particularly steep section and his longer strides proved the better measure. She approached the peak panting desperately only to be scooped up in an indignant heap and carried half way down the mountain by a sprinting vampire before he righted her, yelled “Last one home is ‘It for tag’” then sprinted for the house. She was close on his heel but couldn’t match the pace.
Xander pulled up short at the back door of their enormous abode, and caught in the moment picked her up and kissed her soundly on the lips. But the kiss was chaste and the gesture appreciated. Lowered to the ground, she simply grinned and slapped him on the arm. “You cheater! I haven’t got my patrolling shoes on… I’ll have you next time! You know I will!”
Xander grinned, fell out of the gameface he had been in for the run, “OK… but first one to Sire Anton wins!”
Buffy pushed past him with a force that left the young vampire literally on his back foot and made it to the GrandSire of Aurelius first. She tagged the rather stunned Anton on the knee then stood back with her hands on her hips like some schoolgirl, turned and yelled a triumphant “Ha!!!”
Xander was on her heel but let her win the day. Had he employed his full speed he might have outdone her by several seconds, but it seemed polite as she was a guest. Spike smiled knowingly as he observed the scene. His Childe the gentleman… and the vampire… and love flowed freely through the link.
A week later the house was packed up and on holidays.
Anton and Buffy returned home for some quiet time but in the end, Spike and Xander decided to travel to Kimolos with the others, though took a separate villa.
Gregor was torn as they alighted the plane, his duty was to protect the ruling family and yet they were in two different locations. The High Master recognized the distress and grabbed his arm, before offering a little of his own blood from his wrist. “Stay with the GrandChilde Gregor. We trust you above all others, but also know that you are not alone in your task.” Spike gave him a knowing look then he and Xander picked up their luggage and sprinted to their abode three doors up the steep hill.
Spike knew that they could get to their relatives in seconds and could still feel all of them.
The younger Aurelians settled into a beautiful apartment owned by a Greek couple Aristos and Effitema. They also owned the apartment up the hill that William and Alexander were renting and were thrilled that a family of such standing would take their humble accommodation. Anton had rung ahead and the half Gresthdah demon pair had no problem making sure the food was right – particularly for the ruling couple. But they also took on board Anton’s concern and the fact that he had sent his personal PA to defend the new child.
Effie (as she was affectionately known throughout the village) was a grandmother herself and the tiny boy took to her on their very first meeting. Liam held out his arms and went to her so easily that the dear lady had tears in her eyes and barely restrained her short tail from rising with joy. The little love had such a strong feel! Before she embarrassed herself, she handed him back to his mother and fussed about their food arrangements and various entertainments whilst they were in town.
Connor had been upstairs in the bedroom when she had introduced herself, but now as he entered the room to greet her, his strength of magical signature simply overwhelmed the dear woman and she fell to her knees. Connor recognized the gesture for what it was… instinctive and so fell to his knees in front of their dear host and begged her to accept the family’s gratitude. He opened his wrist as an indication of their thanks, and though Effie declined she still returned to her husband that night adamant and found him in firm agreement.
He had attended the Ruling couple, not even making it in the door before his feelings overwhelmed him. Not normally emotional he was overcome by the sense of power and benevolence directed at him and that rolling off the two he was to meet. The signature was one of magnanimous generosity and strength of will. Effie had *never* seen her husband so moved by a first meeting with guests in their thirty five years of marriage.
They were both determined. Effie openly declared that *nothing* would hurt nor interrupt the Ruling family of Europe as they holidayed at the Konstantopolos establishment! And Aristos simply nodded and smiled knowingly. Even if he ended up the first line of defense, Heaven or Hell help the person or demon that tried to go through his wife!