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.
Kimolos was delightful. And they had ten days in Chirio, the main town. Ten lazy days promised a respite from the constant pressure and responsibility of being a member of the ruling Aurelian household.
By the time the family, in two different locales, woke late morning, the rather exhausted leaders of both vampire and human based organizations truly let their wider troubles melt away, and just relaxed for the first time in literally years.
Stephanie and Gregor were both up early, but only in as much as they smiled at each other as they passed on the way to the bathroom. In the quiet, they decided to wander to the local café open for breakfast early morning.
Stephanie peeped into the master bedroom and noted that some time in the morning Liam had been taken into his parent’s bed and had obviously fallen asleep suckling his mother, his father spooning his back. Helle and Liam slept on, but Connor woke as soon as she pushed the door a little and rolled over. She mouthed “Sorry!” then managed to convey that Gregor and she intended to get a coffee locally. Connor simply smiled his approval then closed his eyes and returned to the family slumber.
Local bread, fresh goats cheese, figs and good coffee were on offer. Stephanie noticed that her breakfast companion only ate a tiny portion of their shared meal, then remembered his true status and suddenly understood why he had only wanted to go to the café two doors down; kept to the shadows as they walked to the café on their western side of the street; then asked politely if she minded them sitting inside.
Their conversation was rather minimal, the young wiccan trying to fill in some gaps with what she had been studying with Helle and stories of Liam’s antics, but eventually Stephanie’s curiosity got the better of her. “So I… It’s morning and you’re a vampire?”
“What sort of vampire is that? Um oh… sorry, I don’t mean to pry.”
“It’s fine. Of sorts means I was turned normally but then things… happened… circumstances, and of course … The Immortal Anton.”
Stephanie simply sat and expected her rather taciturn companion to summarize his circumstances in one or two sentences. She didn’t expect the floodgates opening, as the normally so quiet Gregor’s eyes glazed over and he began to speak, switching from English into French after the first few words… and then she understood why…
“I was a lieutenant in the French army during the reign of Catherine de Medici, and was turned one night in 1570 after a very drunken encounter with a prostitute. My wife had died not six months earlier… a fever they said - she was with child, it was to be our first.
“The prostitute was a vampire, but no Sire, she preferred debauchery of the basest kind and had little time for fledges or training a Childe. Still she dragged me with her for a time.
“We went to Paris where the pickings were easy. And I was happy enough, but the night of the marriage of the protestant prince and Margot De Medici… St Bartholemew’s Day 1572, Paris exploded with religious hatred… By the order of the Queen, every Huguenot in the city, including all the wedding guests of the now husband of Margot, were to be ‘purged’.
“My Sire thought it wonderful, rivers of blood and mountains of dead flesh, but even without a soul I could not countenance the bloodshed. By the end of the night my Sire who was still *gorging* herself on the bodies of the dying and dead, banished me from her, as I continued to beg that we left.
“The idea that humans who could happily walk into a Christian church with impunity, a Catholic church, with all its icons and holy water, when I could not, yet were able to massacre twenty thousand men, women and children in cold blood in one night for no better reason than an altercation about religious tradition… not even the actual religion itself!??? The mobs went about mutilating the bodies of their victims even after death and cheered as men were torn disembowled, children raped to death, and women impaled on a pike from their nether regions to their mouths. Not even the Scourge Angelus could ever have conceived of such as I saw that night.
“Unable to control my gameface with the smell of the blood, I simply ran all the way to the outskirts of the city. As sunrise came I found a stable and crawled into the loft were I found two tiny girls hiding and terrified.
“I took them into my arms and comforted them. I was as bereft as the children, first with the confusion of what I had just seen, but more with the banishment by my Sire.
“That evening I entered the house to find food and a blanket as the little girls were whimpering with hunger and clearly in shock. What I saw determined the rest of my unlife.
“Obviously the girls’ mother had been dismembered. Her *husband* was lying beside her mutilated form. He had been brutally violated, had every limb broken, his eyes gouged out and ears and tongue sliced off, and he had been castrated. Lying on his side I could still hear a heart beat, but felt I had no other choice. I drained him, though hope he only felt relief. As I held the dead body I recall praying to any power that might be listening to keep the two girls safe, and to guide us all.
“That night I put the girls on their plough horse with as many supplies as was feasible, and they slept tethered to the animal’s back as we made our way directly east, away from the warring French. Switzerland was out of the question as many of their Cantons had sent troops to assist in the murders, so I intended to head across Germany… to…? anywhere. Our only problem was finding shelter each day.
“As it happened, the approach of the seventeenth morning found our only option was to sneak into one of the outbuildings of the Heidelburg University… it was cold and old – established two hundred years prior, but I had learned along the road that it followed the Calvinist tradition – and hoped anyone discovering us might be sympathetic, though doubted a vampire would qualify.
“The little ones were so exhausted that we stayed an extra night in our apparently safe abode… and that was when Anton found me… us. He was at the University studying… with Martin Luther no less! He simply walked into our tiny hiding space, lifted up the girls in one arm and said, “The horse will be tended to. Follow me.”
“The little ones didn’t protest and were put in the care of a lovely rather rotund cook who scooped them up into her ample bosom and hugged them until both little girls began to cry. It was the first time. They hadn’t uttered a word nor shed a tear since the night I found them. That beautiful woman…” Gregor paused for a moment as he blinked back tears.
“She took them in as soon as she knew their background, and without being asked, as Anton took me in. He asked my story, and I felt compelled to tell him, such a strong signature gave one so young little option.
“I told him, then pledged my undying loyalty to him, and he did the most unexpected thing… he bit me hard, over my claim mark, draining me to near oblivion all the while sending prayers to his Goddess Artemis for clemency and a blessing for me… for *me*!” Gregor stopped again this time to take a sip of coffee but also to use his napkin to wipe his nose.
“So now you know, that night I was blessed. I have served my master ever since joyfully… and thank the day our paths crossed. I have the sun if I have taken from the Immortal recently but still prefer the shadows. It is where I belong.”
The tender hearted Stephanie couldn’t help herself, the napkin holder on the table was now empty as she had sobbed through the Gregor’s story. She stood and kissed a rather surprised Gregor soundly on both cheeks then the lips, before sniffing and wiping her eyes once more. “I am so honored that I know you, and have always felt so safe with you. And I… um … I really do thank you for trusting me enough… to um… you know… you didn’t have to…” Steph was still a little too teary to finish but Gregor took her hand and simply said, in English, “Mine to tell, and you seemed willing to listen.”
As they approached the apartment Stephanie reached for Gregor’s hand and squeezed it affectionately. Smiling sweetly, she asked, “Tomorrow morning?”
Gregor suddenly looked pleased, flattered and rather shy for a man who appeared to be in his mid thirties. Then he simply smiled and agreed, it was the first time Stephanie had seen him smile. There was no romance in the look nor the response, but genuine friendship, something they both needed.
Connor and Helle were enjoying the late lie in. Liam had been fed in the wee hours of the morning and exhausted from the trip, slept on. Shortly after Connor heard Stephanie and Gregor leave, he gently lifted Liam into the cot provided, placed the beloved fuzzy rhino in his arms and tucked a rug over him. Liam snuggled down and Connor returned to his beautiful Consort who was now wide awake and grinning.
“If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, this is going to have to be very quiet and who knows when he’ll wake!”
Helle simply held out her hand and pulled him over her as she whispered conspiratorially, “Then you’ll have to make it quick and I dare you to make it silent!”
Connor felt like he was in the dorms at college again, but it was better than that … so much better… he pushed up and straddled his beautiful partner and began to kiss her. The passion was mutual, the expressions of love reciprocated and their joining reminiscent of their first joyous times together (though much quieter!) what seemed like eons ago but was only coming up for two years!
Just as Connor climaxed, Liam began to snuffle then cry. Despite her own rather sated state, Helle’s milk dropped immediately with the sound, and as her dear partner slipped from her passage to let her rise, he also took care to suck one of her now leaking breasts. Helle slapped him without malice, “Cheeky! Now let me get up hey?”
They began the morning at a leisurely pace, all ending up in the shower together. Liam sat on the floor splashing in the shallows and sucking on the face washer, oblivious to his parent’s passionate kisses and occasional fondling above.
Helle was so aroused that she could hardly bear the thought of going out for the day to the beach and as Connor massaged the shampoo into her hair then ran his hands down her body, she leaned forward and begged, “When Steph’s back…” Connor’s hands had found their way to her backside and were kneading the cheeks. “Gahhh, just … need you… Love you.”
Liam took that moment to do the most enormous fart that seemed to echo with the acoustics of the bathroom, and followed it up by weeing almost vertically, hitting his father in the leg with the stream. He grinned in triumph and his parents simply burst out laughing. The romance would have to wait, at least until the little man was dry, clothed, fed and looked after.
Up the hill their relatives had their own schedule – Sire and Childe taking advantage of the lie in and their sun resistant status. On the third floor Spike figured that no one would see them and that meant opening the traditional shutters on the eastern facing windows and letting the sun stream in.
They made love face to face, then game face to game face. Spike taking his Childe to dizzying heights over and over, until Xander had utterly lost track of everything but his Sire above him, the blood in his mouth, and his desire to come… again. Finally they lay side by side, petting each other’s sun warmed skin, and taking the occasional gentle kiss.
They rose around mid morning, showered, ate then wandered down the street at almost noon to find their relatives.
Lazy days followed.
They walked to the beach at port Psathi, only a kilometer away each afternoon and Liam took to the water instantly. On the third day he was even happy to be repeatedly dunked all the way under for a second or so before coming up blinking then grinning at whoever was holding him. He splashed and kicked and sat in the shallows with only a Tshirt and nothing else, delighting in squeezing the sand, and distressing his mother by occasionally having a little ‘taste’.
Connor and Xander challenged each other to various swimming races… Connor having no hope at the underwater swim but only realizing after spluttering to the surface, that his competitor was both a very good swimmer *and* no longer needed to breathe! Much good hearted protesting was the result. But when Spike tentatively waded out into waist deep water to join them, Xander dropped the argument and instantly went to him offering safe arms for the still very nervous beginner.
“Bloody hell it’s *cold*.”
“Not once you get moving… anyway we don’t feel the cold.” Xander pulled Spike over him, causing his Sire’s face to go under and the blonde vampire to panic just a little. He quickly found his feet and shook the water from his eyes looking daggers at his Childe.
“Speak for yourself you git!”
Xander was laughing but quickly saw the distress and moved up to hug his partner then offer his neck, “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry! I just… didn’t think OK… I… Please Sire, I didn’t mean to upset you.” He led Spike gently back toward shore but didn’t expect the tackle. As soon as they were in knee deep water Spike tipped him over with ease and sat on his squirming Childe. Much thrashing from both parties later and they were on the wide beach towel taking unnecessary breaths and giggling like the little boys they had been in the not so distant past.
The number of adults present made the time for Helle quite joyous and she relaxed, working on her tan which for someone from the north of Europe, seemed all too easy to acquire! Xander and Connor too, seemed to tan effortlessly. Unlike poor Spike.
On the second day he returned to the apartment feeling decidedly strange. His skin felt tight and prickled, and he felt quite dizzy for the first time in years. Xander was worried, gave him a long draft of his own blood, then a glass of water, and two full bags of blood, and only then did the source of trouble became evident.
The pale English skin of the upper class William, then vampire Spike, really hadn’t seen the sun… ever! As soon as the blood entered his system, it rushed to the baked skin and radiated the oversupply of heat.
Xander had gone to the tiny kitchenette to wash out the mugs and was stunned on his return. His lover had gone from pale vampire to sunburned English tourist in less than a minute!
Spike was lying on his back groaning, “Gods Xan… I think… I’m just… Think I might… It’s so hot… So! Hot! And if I… Oh Xan… Hurts!!”
Xander grabbed a hand towel and wet it thoroughly, placed it on his Sire’s head then proceeded to bite his tongue, before beginning to lick with a cool, healing tongue over the full length and breadth of Spike’s body grinning at the very definite line where his shorts had been… but still licking his Sire where it wasn’t needed, just to see him squirm.
By the time he turned Spike onto his front, his Sire was utterly compliant and seriously contemplating getting sunburned more often, if the soft cool tongue treatment was the result.
Lilah’s men’s first attempt to take Liam was on the seventh day of their stay. The attack was in the daytime and conventional.
Helle had gone to the beach early and alone – giving Stephanie and Connor some time to simply sleep and regroup. Liam was between her legs and they were making sandcastles (or rather she was and he destroying them with glee).
Three men on jet ski’s swished in and parked on the beach. They were pleasant enough and greeted Helle in English. She sensed something was not quite right as they gave her their full attention, but then Connor arrived along with Stephanie, and coincidentally another large group of tourists arrived at the port to wait for their ferry. The men departed immediately which seemed odd to Helle, but the rest of the day was so lovely she forgot all about the incident.
That night Lilah’s men decided on a raid of the apartment. Typical special ops. They had watched Connor leave the apartment and walk up the road to an unknown destination (Xander and Spike's for only a few minutes to plan the following day). Effie arrived minutes later but was grabbed as she entered with some fresh fruit for the family, and thrown inside. But as the three men entered, all *three* women begin to fight back and Liam’s distress call was felt by all the Aurelian vampires.
Fortunately no one noticed the small child hugging the floor, eyes closed and instinctively drawing energy from the ground, directing it to the people he cared for and who cared for him.
The attackers were stunned by the power of the women they encountered, and Effie surprised that when she turned to face her attacker, her own demon nature was boosted three fold somehow. She picked up a nearby chair and threw it with such force that it not only knocked out the man who would do her harm, but later they would discover shards of the shattered wood embedded in the plaster so deep it looked like they had been hammered in.
Helle too, was holding her own for a time, but their assailants pulled weapons, and she blanched as Stephanie was shot in the hip at close range and fell. Distracted and terrified, she was about to go to the woman’s aid when she saw the man with the gun heading for Liam.
She launched herself at him with all the ferocity of a lioness, convinced he was about to kill her son. Later she would reflect on the rather unconventional method of attack. She tackled him sideways, causing the gun to fire into the ceiling glancing her temple as it did so, but that merely seemed to spur her on. She tore at his face with sharp nails and bit down into the shoulder of his gun arm so hard that even the seasoned soldier was a little surprised.
He was just about to break free of her when a second set of teeth came from apparently nowhere, and sank deep into his neck. As his world went black, he saw that his two compatriots were already either unconscious or dead, he wasn’t sure.
The mercenary woke utterly spent but conscious enough to know that he was tied fast to a chair in a darkened room, legs bound and arms behind. And there were at least two vampires in full game face circling him. But he was more worried by the full blood Connor. The man had none of the usual vampire features that he could see, but prowled like a leopard on a hunt. Though it was his absolutely calm stare leveled on the man who had tried to take his child, the one now strapped to a chair, that made the seasoned soldier’s heart rate rise with fear.
Connor approached slowly and simply said, “I do hope you have children *dear* sir… so they too might learn the true meaning of the word *fear*. You have taught it to my son and partner so *very* well. But then *my son* doesn’t really matter to you does he. The six month old innocent is just another project, a meal ticket to money and glory in the eyes of your employer? Well isn't that just… swell…”
But it was the two vampires who had moved behind the man, and that licked his neck simultaneously just after the statement, that had the mercenary truly terrified.
The blonde rounded on him, opened the man's fatigues and began to trace a line down his front with a fang, though when it came to his underwear Spike tore it away using the hunting knife, then caressed around the brunette's nether regions with the deadly weapon, nicking the man’s scrotum just enough for him to know the consequences of his silence.
Spike was in his element. Soul or no soul, he had a hundred plus years of experience. And his Childe, and dear full blood brother, were quite in the mood for some blood play.
Spike addressed the man for the first time in slow seductive tones, “All you need to do Pet, is tell how we locate your boss, the bitch… and perhaps enlighten us to her plan B and ya get to keep your knackers.”
The man had studied hard and knew that Spike was ensouled, but miscalculated. He spat back “You and your demon spawn… go to hell.”
Spike's voice went hard and hissed from his instant gameface. “You first mate!”
The man obviously flinched as Spike slid the knife from base to tip of the exposed lax member – enough to draw blood but not dig in deeply enough to cause permanent harm. There was a heady smell of blood in the air as the Master Vampire placed the cool steel crosswise under the man’s penis.
“Nip and a tuck mate… Wha’dya say? Shall I lighten ya ‘round the nethers… before we start again elsewhere… Hmmm..." The vampire sniffed the air. "Now that’s better… that’s fear... Too right mate... Nowhere to go now is there little pawn. She’ll take ‘em sure as I will if ya go back, so how's about ya give us a hand to find your employer hmmm? What’s it to be?”
The soldier took a chance, “F@#$ you... Boy’s demon scum… y’all deserve to die, just doin’…” he never got a chance to finish.
Connor had been pacing the room increasingly quickly, even taken two drafts of Xander’s blood, but simply could not contain his rage at the statement. It was *his son* they were trying to kill.
Before either Sire or Childe realized, he was on the man, savagely tearing at his neck. The mercenary bucked in protest, causing Spike to slice a cut in the underside of the penis before he dropped the knife, and moved with lightening speed to pull Connor away, but it was too late. The force of the bite crushed the assailant's windpipe and the carotid artery was torn out.
Connor stood in the centre of the room in stunned silence. Xander looked a little overwhelmed... and both accepted Spike’s wrist. It wasn’t the perfect scenario, but it was obvious to Spike and his relatives, that they were very unlikely to have gained anything from the man anyway.
With no idea who the three now dead men were, the best they could do was to wrap them in sheets and place them on a broad expanse of flat ground near Prasa, then set off a distress beacon one of the soldiers was carrying. Three hours later a chopper was heard, and the next morning the bodies had miraculously disappeared.
The family had a crisis meeting half way through the next day.
Spike spoke solemnly, “We’ve known it was likely but they will now take a little time to regroup, let’s all just exchange blood and continue to enjoy."
The following afternoon the picnic basket was taken by Xander, Liam handed to his father and the rest of the entourage simply followed behind with wine glasses and champagne down to their beach. Stephanie was supported by Gregor, her hip wound painful but only a flesh wound, luckily no bones involved. Connor had licked Helle’s grazed temple with a bitten and bloody tongue – consequently it was well on the way to healed.
It was only one thirty in the afternoon, but they all felt they had deserved an early drink.