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.
Senora Christina was surprised by the strength of the second attack, pulled on an rather ragged toweling dressing gown, donned her old sandals and without even fastening them, raced upstairs to the Aurelian family’s rooms. She banged on one door then another and finally came to Connor and Helle’s, almost falling in as the door was opened on her second knock.
Stephanie caught their wonderful hostess and had already felt the reason for her panic. The entire family was up.
It was Anton who addressed her. He stood in all his regal glory, flanked on the right by his Childe the High Master and Consort/Grandchilde Alexander, then Gregor; and on the left by his full blood Childe Connor and his Consort Helle and the infant grandchilde Liam, the wiccan/Nanny Stephanie.
Anton stepped forward and kissed her hand, “Your wards are strong dear hostess Christina. I believe we may help you…”
Anton took his Childer William and Connor’s hands and they in turn took their own Consorts’ hands, then Xander took Gregor’s, and Nanny Stephanie placed her hand on her dear seated friend Helle’s shoulder since the small boy had chosen that moment to suckle, and his mother’s arm supported him as he took comfort.
Anton then lifted a hand to Christina, and Nanny Steph joined hands with her as she completed the circle…
Anton prayed to his dear Goddess Artemis that she might bless their family; then bent his thoughts toward the Powers begging that they keep the balance and help the family; then appealed to the dark ones the Ram and the Hart requesting that they reign in their renegade sibling.
The Powers and Artemis heard, the Ram and the Hart had their own battles but understood. It was all about balance.
The Aurelians were more demon than human, yet continued to seek balance. They were forced to bow to the logic.
But the maverick partner and his lackey Lilah were still had no respect for that…
The wards held fast for another half hour with the combined efforts of the family group, then a huge charge hit and all in the circle simply blown backwards, thankfully Liam had finished feeding and landed on his mother’s chest, tiny face between her ample bosoms. The infant began to cry as momentarily all in the room were unconscious. His cry seemed to rally them, but it was too late. There was a team of commandoes streaming through the door.
All the family were on their feet in an instant. Connor, Anton, Gregor, Spike and Xander forming an instant half circle around the three wiccans and the child while the women gathered their strength once more, but it was too late.
The five protectors dropped as stun gun darts shocked all their systems, the soldiers sending repeated pulses and increasing the power of the shocks until it would have killed the average human. They were dragged out into the garden with an efficiency that spelt a thousand missions. The operatives’ information was that at least three of the five were vampires, ergo the lovely morning sun now gracing the courtyard should spell elimination. The problem with the information was that there was an ancient being and a very young full blood – yet all the males they had felled looked of a similar age.
“Typical W & H deal. Just pull ‘em into the sun and we’ll soon find out who we need to down with a bullet… or whatever the hell the bitch says we need to use.”
Seeing their valiant protectors dropped with such ease, Helle, Christina and Stephanie began to chant but hardly made it through a single line before Christina and Stephanie were also dropped by a dart from a tranquilizer gun and fell into blackness.
Lilah stepped into view gun in hand and aimed it at Helle.
The soldiers were unsure of what to do, their instructions were to deal with the males, dusting the three males and trussing up the other two, but with no clear idea of who was to be dust, they simply bound them together their hands behind their backs, whilst the individuals were still incapacitated, then sat back to wait until the sun rose.
The bitch was confident she could take out the women. And the mercenaries really had no doubt of that after they saw a manifestation of her CEO, The Wolf, take down the wards with relative ease.
Lilah was standing in the doorway of the room as she aimed a conventional gun at Helle, she muttered “At last my prize… my promotion! Do it yourself… every time.”
Little Liam had been feeling the absolute distress from everyone across his familial link for many seconds but had not made a sound. Now as Lilah took one more step into the room and leveled the lethal weapon at his mother, the tiny boy recognized the deadly intent at an instinctive level and hugged his mother tight. Helle sent a silent prayer to Artemis to keep her son safe just as Lilah aimed at the woman’s temple and began to pull the trigger.
Then time seemed to almost… stop. The bullet being fired coincided with a blinding flash of white and bubble of energy enveloping mother and son so strong that the bullet ricocheted back to the woman firing it, hitting her square in the temple and causing her to fall backward landing across one of Christina’s hexes. Her evil intent was clear and the hex activated.
As the haze in the room cleared Helle sat up, cuddled her now utterly exhausted little boy to her chest and looked in wonder a the result of Christina’s clever spell.
Lilah Morgan was now Lilah Morgan the stuffed doll. She was sentient in her new form but in no way able to move or do *anything* about her predicament. The condition was permanent, Artemis had seen to that.
The following day she would be handed to a family of five local children to be pulled and tugged, dragged through dirt and left out in the rain, only to be repeatedly put through the washing machine and pegged upside down on the line. Eventually, missing an eye and woolen hair almost gone (courtesy of a ‘hairdressing’ session), she would be handed over to the new family dog as a chew toy.
Oblivious to the drama unfolding inside, the mercenaries watched in morbid fascination as the sun hit the courtyard full force. They expected flambé vampire, but instead found themselves trussed up like a brace of prize piglets with their own ropes in a matter of a second.
The four Aurelians and Gregor had recovered minutes earlier but bided their time until the soldiers dropped their guard. They had all felt the terror and then relief from Liam and Helle, and chose the latter moment to surprise their captors. Ropes and handcuffs were easily broken and the same used on their captors. Spike taking great delight in literally hogtying the four humans with the assistance of his Childe and brother.
It took almost six hours for Christina and Stephanie to fully recover, Liam also sleeping for an uncharacteristically long time. In the mean time the family debriefed and the day spent quietly as Anton arranged for a Wolfram and Hart helicopter to come and pick up the independently requisitioned mercenaries.
The Powers and the other two Senior Partners were tracking down the renegade Wolf. It was only a matter of time, but without Lilah, further attacks were unlikely.
Helle described feeling the power of the tiny Liam as he threw the magical barrier over them, and Anton smiled, “He is indeed quite unique my dear Helle. You must train him well. He straddles wiccan and vampire worlds naturally and both sets of talent must be schooled. But now I think you should attend your dear Connor… You have something he needs to know I think.”
Helle felt a little puzzled but as she stood to receive a kiss to the temple by her partner’s Sire, he put a hand over her belly button, pressed ever so gently and whispered, “Artemis has blessed you with a girl.”
Helle’s distress and worry of the last days dissolved into a flood of tears and buried her face in Anton’s chest… but now the tears were the result of relief, and of joy. She had felt different as they flew home from their holiday, in fact very queasy, but put it down to worry. And now… but it was still so early! She could not understand how Anton would know.
The Immortal eventually saw a rather puzzled Conner enter the room and eased her into the arms of her lover, her partner, the father to be… again, and smiled knowingly to his rather puzzled looking, surrogate Childe.
Later that night, with Stephanie and Christina both on the mend; the High Master and Childe out on a run with Anton and Gregor; and Liam sleeping after taking sustenance from his mother lying on their temporary family bed, Helle broke the news to her dear Connor.
The child would be born just over a year after Liam, all going well.
Connor looked at his beautiful Consort in wonder. A *girl*. He kissed her soundly then allowed tears to flow silently as he placed a trail of gentle kisses down her still flat stomach. He had nearly lost her… so very nearly lost them both. In his distress at the thought, the words *Never Again* permeated the familial link, and despite the others some kilometers away all understood and echoed the sentiment.