sh33pie (50ftqueenie) wrote in bloodclaim,
sh33pie
50ftqueenie
bloodclaim

The Collar

Author: Thea_Zara (aka 50ftqueenie)

Title: The Collar

Pairing: Spike/Xander

Rating: R / NC-17 in later parts

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no rights to BtVS or AtS, they belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy

Spoilers: Through Season 2

Warnings: Rape, Bloodplay, Violence. Because Angelus is a right bastard.

Summary: Angelus leaves Buffy a Valentine's gift, but she isn't the one to open it. AU from the Season 2 Episode Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered

Chapter: 5 of 6

"The hospital staff has tried to get the cat away from the patient, but the cat was quite vicious and every time they tried the patient's vitals would go through the roof." Said a voice down the hallway, waking Spike from where he was sleeping next to Xander on the hospital bed.

"If it is him, I don't recall hearing him mention a cat, but it could have been something he acquired during the time he was missing. I'll just have a look then, and see if this is possibly our missing friend."

Spike recognized the second voice after a moment or two. 'Bloody watcher, come to suss out my boy.' he thought before realizing just where he was sleeping; right smack dab in the middle of a sunbeam shining in the window. 'A dead bloke could get use to this.' he thought as he luxuriated in the warmth, before stretching and padding his way over to check on Xander.

A nurse and the watcher came in the room behind him, and he carefully walked down to settle in next to Xander again, watching the watcher, gauging his reaction to seeing the boy again. He seemed to grow a spine almost; his dejected shoulder slump of expected failure slipped away. There was what could quite possibly be the starts of tears in his eyes when he turned to the nurse to speak again.

"This is our friend. How long has he been here? What's wrong with him exactly?" The nurse looked dazed by the oncoming questions and said she'd send in the doctor when he made his rounds, then slipped away.

Giles stepped over to examine Xander for himself. He was laying on his side, and Giles slid the hospital gown to one side to look at the bandage on his back. He pulled it to one side to look at the wound. There wasn't one. The bandage had blood on it, and there was an abundance of bloody packing that had been in the wound, but the skin was smooth.

Giles put the bandage back on, then stepped back, trying to think. His eyes landed on the cat, who was intently looking right back at him. The charm on the collar caught the setting sun's light, catching his eye. He stepped closer intent on examining it when the cat batted his outstretched hand and backed away, hissing softly.

Giles stepped back murmuring in a placating manner, then suddenly darted forward to snatch the cat up by it's scruff. Spike hissed and spit and struggled, but ultimately failed to lay so much as a paw on Giles. He carefully reached out and pulled the collar off his neck, then promptly dropped him as the transformation began.

The two men both stared at each other in shock for a moment before Giles pulled a cross from his pocket and drove Spike backwards. His hand fell into sunlight and he hissed in pain diving to one side. Giles advanced on him again, cross held before him.

Suddenly a dry damaged voice croaked out behind them, stopping them both short. "Giles leave him alone." His eyes pleading with his friend, his father. Pleading for trust, for acceptance. When he looked beyond Giles and saw Spike, saw his hand, he was up out of the bed like a shot. "Love, what happened?"

Giles stood stunned as Xander swooped past him and pulled William the Bloody over to the other side of the hospital room and began to administer first aid to his burned hand.

At the same time Spike was struggling to check Xander over. "How are you feeling, pet? Is the back all better? Do you need anything, anything at all?"

"Why don't we get you fixed up first, Spike, then we'll see about getting us a nice wedding present. Do you think Deadboy's ribcage would make a nice conversation piece?"

Giles fully expected a squadron of flying pigs when he heard the answering laughter coming from Spike.

"Sure it will, pet. 'And this lovely set of bones was from the bastard who stabbed me on my wedding day, isn't my husband so romantic.' I can hear the appreciative gasps now."

"Wedding day... husband... Xander what have you done?" Giles was completely and utterly at a loss.

Xander ignored him for a moment holding his wrist up to Spike's mouth. "Drink, love. That burned flesh smell is turning my stomach."

As Spike bit down Giles surged forward, determined to stop him, but Xander's free hand went out holding him at bay. Giles changed tactics and tried pulling Xander to him, but Xander would not be moved.

Spike took a sip or two, then licked across the bite. "Enough, luv. Thank you." He said before kissing Xander. Giles dropped the hand he had been pulling on and stepped back, wary.

"Xander, what have you done?" He asked again, fear stealing across his face as the kiss went on.

After a moment Xander pulled away and looked at Giles. "I swear I'll explain everything, but we need to get out of here before dark, and we need your help." Giles stared at him a moment and then nodded. Xander eyed Spike critically then continued. "Is there a way to get you out of here in the daylight Spike? I don't trust the sewers."

"Yeah there is actually, I'll be needing that bauble back now, Watcher." He pointed at the collar which was still dangling from Giles' off hand.

"How's that going to help us, Spike?" Xander asked taking the collar from Giles.

"I put this on and you carry me out pretty as you please, luv. It makes me a real life boy... well cat while I wear it. No sun allergies."

"Wow, really? That's kinda cool. Next problem, what do I do about clothes? It's a bit drafty in here, you know?"

"We can't wait long, and I didn't think to grab anything but you, pet. I know, wear this till we can get you something more befitting your station." He smirked at Xander now.

Spike was slipping off his jacket when Giles spoke up. "I want one good reason right now why I shouldn't stake you, Spike. Why I should help Xander protect you, why I should LET Xander protect you."

"Well then we'll just stick to the main important reason, eh Watcher? If you kill me, you kill my consort."

The shock and horror in Giles' face just about shattered Xander. "Never mind, sorry Giles, we'll go, try and do it alone. Come on Spike, help me downstairs before you change." He'd turned to leave the room, Spike struggling to keep quiet, to not hurt Xander any more turned to follow.

They got as far as the door before Giles spoke up, promising to help if he could.

-----

They silently left the hospital, Xander wrapped up in leather with the kitten curled to his chest. No one spoke until they were at Giles' car. Finally Xander had to speak.

"Giles, we heard about Ms. Calender. I wanted you to know how sorry I am. She was... she was special, and I know she really cared for you, and I'm just so sorry about what that bastard did." Tears were welling up in his eyes as they climbed into the car.

"Xander, thank you, and I want you to know we'll do whatever we have to in order to get you out from this spell. Do whatever needs doing to make you remember your true feelings. You have my word."

"Giles, there isn't any spell on me... well there is, but the feelings were there first. We had no choice with the spell, Angelus and Dru found me, there was nothing else we could do. I know you're disappointed in me, but this was my decision, and I don't regret it. Once we get rested and regroup, Deadboy is gonna be dust, for Ms. Calender, for Buffy, and for Spike. The bastard's over, he just doesn't know it yet." He was looking out the window and petting Spike while he spoke.

"I must know what happened while you were away, Xander. Help me understand, please."

"We'll tell you everything Giles, once we're somewhere safe. Deadboy is gonna be looking for us at sundown."

"We'll go to the library."

"Can't he get in there? From what I heard about, well you know, then she was at the school, and we all know Angelus can get in there."

"Right now it's the only place I can think of, Xander. I'm not going to have William the Bloody over for tea and crumpets."

"Right, sorry, forgot about that. The school it is. Could we at least get me something to wear?" Xander asked, fingering the hospital gown with distaste.

"I'm sure that can be arranged."

They drove in silence for several minutes and then Giles stopped at his place. He returned with some clothes. Some very familiar clothes.

"Giles, what are my clothes doing at your place?" Xander asked while he slipped into his jeans.

"Oh, yes well you see... that is to say in your absence your parents felt..."

"Felt like tossing all their worthless son's stuff out to the garbage and Willow rescued it all for me cause she's ever the optimist, but then didn't have room to keep it and conned you into keeping it for her with threats of the puppydog eyes?"

"Er... yes quite."

"Cool, thanks."

-----

Xander held kitty Spike tightly as they entered the library. His voice caught at the sight of it. It felt like coming home. Willow was huddled behind a stack of books, just the top of her head visible. Buffy was off to one side stretching.

Willow was the one who spoke first. "Did you get to see the latest John Doe? They didn't give you any trouble getting in to see him did they?" There was just a touch of wistful hope in her questions.

"Yes I did get to see him, and no not too much trouble. Of course when they find out I ran away with him, I'm sure they'll be quite cross with me." Giles replied dryly.

"Who'd you run away with... Oh my God, Xander!" Buffy screeched before she launched herself at him, intent on giving out a slayer strengthed hug.

Willow gasped then jumped to her feet and launched herself too. Within seconds he was being squished from either side, while struggling to keep Spike from being crushed by his best gal pals. Each of them was demanding the hows and the whys in a tangle of babble he didn't even bother to try to make out.

"Why don't we give him a little room, yes? He's probably still sore from his injuries." Giles said, the calm amid the girly shrieking storm.

"Yeah, your right, G-man, I'm still a little tender. Stake to the lungs will do that to you."

At that both girls jumped back looking guilty, then ushered him over to a seat. He sat Spike down on the table, and Buffy reached over to pet him. He let her scratch his head, and then very deliberately turned and bit her finger.

"Ow! Vampire kitten much?" She said, sucking the bead of blood off her finger. Spike just preened.

"Funny you should mention that." Giles said scowling at Spike.

"There aren't... are there?" Buffy asked, eyes wide. "Please tell me there aren't poor little kitties being vampified, Giles. That'd be just too wrong."

"No there are not kittens getting turned into vampires. Oddly enough, this week it seems to be vampires getting turned into kittens." He said cleaning his glasses.

Buffy started poking around for a stake, her eyes on the kitten that Xander was pulling back into his protective grip.

"Don't even think about it." He warned.

"She wouldn't slay a kitten... would you?" Willow asked her own eyes already wet over seeing Xander again, refilling as she looked at the cat in his arms.

Spike for his part was shifting between glaring at Buffy and shooting pitiful looks at Willow. Xander had began scratching his head again while trying to organize his thoughts.

"Everyone needs to calm down. I have some stuff to tell you guys, and I know you're not going to like it, but I need you to hear me out. Okay?" He asked, giving off puppydog eyes.

Buffy settled down into a seat, her eyes locked on the kitten, but she nodded. Willow settled in beside her. "We're listening, Xander."

"Good. First things first, Buffy I'm gonna take this collar off and I need your word that you won't slay who it turns into."

"But what if it's something completely slayable?" She asked with a pout.

"Oh I guarantee it is someone you'll very much want to slay, but if you do you will kill me, so I need your word." His eyes were more serious than either girl had ever seen.

Buffy nodded slowly, "You have my word, Xander."

"Ok, now for you." He said speaking to Spike. "I love you, and if you hurt any of my friends, I may not be able to kill you cause of the you know loving you bit, but I can certainly kill myself, and I will cause you hurting them will be my fault. Are we understood?"

The cat nodded solemnly, drawing gasps from both girls. Xander reached around and pulled off the collar, leaving a very serious Spike looking at Xander.

While Buffy dove for a weapon, he crouched on the table, looking at Xander a moment before he spoke. "They're your family, pet. That makes them safe as houses around me, as long as they don't go trying to hurt you, you know by breaking their promise and staking me and killing you."

A very guilty looking Buffy dropped the stake that had been poised to do just that.

Spike smirked, then kissed Xander on the forehead before jumping down to stand next to him. "I always knew I'd get on with the in-laws." He said, putting a hand on Xander's shoulder.

-----

It only took five demands from Buffy of 'Giles, fix it', twelve 'But Xander's not gay', and a whopping fifteen 'Shut up, Spike's for Xander to wish they were both back in Spike's room at the mansion, constant threats of Angelus and Drusilla be damned. By the time Cordelia and Oz had joined the fun, he'd had enough.

"Guys..." He started, only to be totally ignored by everyone except Spike and Oz, who both looked at him, waiting. "Guys..." He tried louder, with still no luck. "Hey, guys..." If anything the room got louder.

"Oye you lot, shut it, my Xan has something to say." That shut them all up.

"So is it the Brit speak or the attitude?" He asked Spike, pleased and more than a little turned on.

"My shear animal magnetism." He said with a smirk.

Xander smiled and turned back to his friends. "Look, I know you guys are upset, and I get that this is insane even for Bizarroland, but it's how things are, and if you guys can't handle it then we'll do what we can about this whole Acathla thing, then leave. That's not how I want things. I love you guys. I'm just not going to be made to feel stupid all the time because of who I love. I think I was pretty good about not doing that to other people and I deserve the same thing."

"Oh right, like you were all hearts and roses over Angel." Buffy said with a sniff.

"First off, Buff, not liking a guy, and by the way souled or not I loath the bastard, just for reference, and giving YOU a hard time over him are two totally different things. I don't expect you to like Spike. Second, I wasn't just talking about you. Everyone at this table has had a shit relationship that they regret, but they had the right to have the damned things in the first place. Am I right, guys?"

"I guess so, I mean Malcolm wasn't the best relationship ever." Willow said reaching out for Oz's hand.

"I suppose I might have made better choices than Ethan." Giles added drawing a 'look' from everyone in the room.

"Devon." Cordelia and Oz said at the same time, then looked at each other for a moment, before shrugging and looking back at Xander.

"Well if we're all in share our sordid past mode, I guess Dru wasn't the brightest idea I ever had." Spike said with a sheepish smirk.

Xander leaned over and kissed him. "Yeah but we wouldn't be together if not for her. 'Sides, she wasn't too bad when she wasn't actively trying to make me into her next chew toy."

"That's my girl, she always did have good taste, with one glaringly notable exception."

"You know as cozy as this is, most of our ex mistakes had souls, Xander. Speaking of, why don't we try out that nifty little spell you found, Willow? Since Xander was good enough to bring us a guinea pig and all. What say we get with the animal testing?" Buffy said with a nasty little smile on her face.

The room went a bit nuts at that point. Oz and Giles were the only two not saying anything.

"You're bloody hell not doing any damned mojo on me, and especially not some sodding spell you've never even tried before."

"You are so not doing any damned spell on Spike, and how is it that Willow is doing a spell? I wasn't gone that long, was I?"

"You mean you're still gonna try that stupid soul thingie? I thought we all agreed it was too dangerous with the happiness clause. When the hell did we undecide that?"

"When Xander showed up carting his furry little lab rat. I say we slap a soul in Spike here to make sure it works, then take care of Angel."

"Don't you mean Angelus?"

"No I mean Angel. Once he has his soul back, everything will be fine, and he can help us undo whatever creepy mojo Spike tricked you into."

"Buffy, I have loved you since the day I first laid eyes on you, and I'm well aware of the fact that you have super powers, not to mention the fact that it's not ok to hit girls, but so help me God, I've never wanted to slam your petty little head into a wall more than I do at this moment."

"I don't mind hitting girls, I could take care of that for you, luv."

"Shut it, Spike. Buffy, Angelus is a threat to everyone here. He killed Ms. Calender to stop her from returning his soul, he will kill all of us for the same reason. You pushing that damned spell is going to get us all killed. Not to mention all he has to do is think happy happy thoughts and that soul flies off to Neverland without him."

"I might be able to do something about that." Willow said quietly.

Heads whipped around to face her. "What do you mean, Willow?" Giles asked.

"I mean the happiness clause is just that, a clause. There isn't any good reason to leave it in the spell, if we don't mind losing the threat of the loss of his soul. We could test it out and make sure it works first, maybe play around with the wording a little."

Giles looked pensive, Buffy hopeful, both Oz and Cordelia simply looked bored, but what worried Xander was the look of resignation on Spike's face. He'd promised to keep Willow safe, and she was bound and determined to force a soul back into his body, wanted or not. The shear helplessness on that face pissed Xander off.

"Willow you will NOT be testing that spell on Spike. You want to try animal testing, I say stick with Deadboy, or find yourself a minion or six, but you will not be doing it to my mate. Are we clear?"

Huge overly bright eyes were now locked onto his face. Pleading, puppy dog, 'how could you think that of me', 'aren't I your bestest friend', eyes met firm brown ones. "You are my best friend, Wills, but I know you. You'll settle in and get to thinking its 'for my own good' and then your quest to know to learn to figure it all out will lead to you trying the damned spell on Spike. I'm telling you now, don't. I have loved you for what might as well be my whole life, but so help me, if you do this we'll be done, forever."

Willow's overly bright eyes were now overflowing as she realized her best friend was telling her the absolute truth.

-----

They'd gone round and round for hours, with no more of an idea of what to do now than when they'd first started talking. Finally, Giles sent everyone except Spike and Xander out on patrol. Before they'd left both Willow and Buffy had cornered him trying to make him see their side. When he couldn't take the arguments anymore he simply kissed them both on the cheek and said he'd see them tomorrow.

Xander stepped into Spike's arms after watching them leave.

"You know, I think I like that ex of yours." Spike said with a small smile.

"Cordy? What'd I miss?" Xander asked, curious.

"She pulled me aside and threatened to chain me up, then visit every Chinese place in town for chopsticks. Said she'd soak 'em in holy water then poke me with em till I looked like a porcupine... all before she got into the more serious realms of pain." He explained, still smiling.

"Ooookay bonding over torture methods I can kinda get, I guess." Xander replied, clearly confused.

"No you git. She said she'd do that if she found out I wasn't treating you right."

"Oh." He said, a small sweet smile on his face.

A few minutes later, Giles stepped out of his office. "Spike, I think we need to discuss a few things."

"Yeah, watcher, I thought you might feel that way. We're also gonna need a place to hide out, before my dear old sire comes looking for us."

"Xander, why don't you go on into my office and get comfortable, you look about done in." Giles suggested.

"Yeah, pet, go on and have a sit down."

"You two just want me to go away so you can threaten each other, don't you?" Xander asked defiantly.

"Yup."

"Yes, actually."

"Ok, just so's we're all clear there is to be no bloodless corpse or pile of dust when I come back out here." Xander said with his best resolve face before yawning and stumbling into Giles' office.

Once he was gone Giles began straightening up the library, while watching Spike carefully.

"You can stop with the staring anytime Watcher, I gave my boy my word regarding you lot. You're all off the menu so far as I'm concerned. I may be an evil demon, but I'm a demon of my word." Spike said while boosting himself up to sit on the check-in counter.

"Not to impugn your honor, but I think I'll stay on guard, thank you. At least until my questions have been answered to my satisfaction."

"Fair enough, watcher. Ask away, but you should know I've got a few questions of my own to ask."

Giles took off his glasses and a hardness came across his features when he looked at Spike. He stared for a moment or two before speaking. "Well my first question would be just how stupid do you actually think we are?"

"Oh good, a question I know the answer to. Stupid enough to send children out prancing about with your bloody slayer on the Hellmouth every night of the week for more than a year without a drop of self-defense training. How's that, Watcher? Is that the proper level of stupid?" Spike asked with a vicious sneer.

"Be that as it may, do you really expect me to believe that you, William the the Bloody, are planning on betraying your sire for the love of a human boy?" Giles sneered right back at him.

"First off you bloody idiot, he's me grandsire, and secondly, why don't you tell me? Tell me how I can chose a man who risked his life and spilled his blood willingly to save my life three times over the so called sire who raped me and left me to dust twice, then got so angry he tried to stake me and only failed because my mate loved me enough to take a stake meant for my heart. Yeah, Watcher, I must be bloody well crazy to throw over my grandsire for that."

"What do you mean Xander took a stake meant for your heart?" Giles asked.

"Just what I said, Watcher. My wonderful grandsire was pissed because I claimed Xan. He waited till we finished the ritual, and while we were still recovering, both of us buck naked, and my bloody back to him, Angelus came at me with a stake. If my boy hadn't seen him coming and spun us around, I'd be a big pile o' dust. He didn't have time to warn me or stop it, so he flipped us over, took the stake instead of me. I had to chose between going after him or trying to save Xan."

"Good Lord!" Giles exclaimed, cleaning his glasses furiously. "His protectiveness does of course make sense if he'd just bonded with you." Giles added after a few moments of silence had passed.

"So what was the excuse for the first two times he saved my unlife?"

"What do you mean?" Giles asked.

"Just after the whelp disappeared your Slayer was making all kinds of noise and sent Angelus into a right state. She pissed all over his manhood, so he had to share the wealth, in a manner of speaking. He took it out on me and on Dru. Course he never did like me much, so after he raped me he didn't rightly give two shits about keeping me on this non-mortal coil. He drained me nearly dry, and left me barely conscious, unable to walk, with a still bleeding wound in my neck, then ordered my own bloody minions to leave me be until he said different."

"Well that's hardly unusual behavior for vampires." Giles huffed.

"It is when a sire leaves his childe so weak an' bad off they'll dust without blood and cuts off any help. Luckily for me, he didn't know about my poker winnings. You should have seen the shocked look on his face when I rolled out a couple nights later. He thought I was as good as dead, and he didn't give a shit, Watcher. Point of fact, he looked right put out that I was still alive."

"Poker winnings?"

"'S how I got the whelp. I won him in a game of kitten poker at Willie's. Anyway, I was keeping the bit in my room and he came up to comfort me after my bastard of a grandsire left me there. He must have had to watch the whole thing. Apparently just as I was passing out I knocked off his collar. He cleaned me up and when he realized how bad off I was, he sliced open his own arm and fed me not only enough to heal up Angelus' tender care, but put a dent in the damage you lot did to me with that organ."

"Dear Lord, how did he survive giving up that much blood?"

"It wasn't all that much, Watcher. Your lot knows about different potency in blood based on how it's gotten right? Take it during sex it has a certain flavor, take it when the victim is scared its a different taste entirely. He gave freely. He gave freely while WANTING me to heal. That's strong mojo, even off the Hellmouth."

"How much?"

"I ain't rightly sure. I was passed out now wasn't I. So far as I can tell it might have been as much as a pint, but I doubt if it were much more. The next day when I figured it all out, he was just a little slow, but that could have been only eating day old sushi and melted milkshake for 24 hours."

"What?" Giles asked, confused.

"Bloody barmy minions."

"I'm going to pretend that makes sense and move along."

"Right. The second time was just about the same. Your slayer pissed off Herr Forehead and he takes it out on me an' Dru. Course he didn't have a pair of day old minions drag Dru off to isolation and toss her on the floor practically drained with more than ten broken bones."

"And I suppose you just couldn't wait for another taste of Xander's blood to fix you right up."

"For your information, Watcher, he sliced open his wrist and dripped it in my mouth while I was unconscious. The moment I came to I closed up the wound and pushed him away. Told 'im he wasn't my bloody food."

"How... noble of you. How long did that resolve last?"

"Til he called me his friend and told me he was either going to feed me or bleed all over the ruddy carpet whether I liked it or not."

"Yes, and I'm sure you would have enjoyed the bloody show." Giles snarled.

"Rupes, what part of 'nearly dust with more than ten broken bones' did you miss? The boy's blood is exceptionally good, but it still takes time to work. If he took it into his head to slash open a wrist or two just then I might, might have been able to close the wounds if I could get to him. As it was, he could have staked me with a toothpick in that state."

"Yes, well, how then did his existence become known to the others?"

"Dru."

"Did she have a vision about his presence?" Giles asked, intrigued despite himself.

"It was because of her vision that he was even there. She was going on and on about me winning a kitten, so I went to the poker game. Later she tried to turn 'im as a kitten... or snack on 'im. She wasn't exactly clear about that. We'd taken to me locking him in when I left the room, and locking us in when I was back, so no one could just walk in, course locks don't mean much to vampire strength, and Dru decided she really wanted to play with the kitten."

"And where, pray tell, where you during this fiasco?"

"I snuck off to get him some real food. Between An-fucking-gelus and the slayer most of the minions I'd made were dust. His minions were right bastards and ordered not to listen to me without his express permission, and the ones Dru made tended to be as loopy as she is. I sent hers out the first night for milk or fish, and got a milkshake and sushi. I wanted to get the boy a real meal, he was starting to get scrawny from the scraps I'd been able to get so far. By the time I got back he was hanging from chains and Angelus was debating the possibilities."

"Possibilities?"

"Turn him, kill him, rape him. The usual debate for Angelus. He was trying to decide which would hurt Xan and your slayer more."

"And what did he decide?" Giles asked, horrified.

"I didn't rightly let him get to the deciding stage, now did I. I laid claim to Xander as a gift from my sire. By the laws of the line of Aurelius he couldn't reclaim something he'd offered me freely, even if he was that poof Angel at the time an' tryin' ta trick me. He challenged my claim and the only choice I had was to claim the boy, all proper like. The bloody poof even tried to interfere in that. He didn't know how healed I was. Offered to 'help me out'. I wish I had a picture of his face when I stood up and went to my boy. Right bloody brilliant that was."

Spike started pacing as he continued talking. "I explained the claiming to him, Watcher. I told him all I know, the good and the bad, and I let him make the choice. Not that there was much of one what with my bloody sire waiting to kill him, but I did offer to try and get him out without the claim. We both knew it wouldn't have worked, but I offered anyway, and I would have tried if he asked me to. No matter what you lot think, I wouldn't have claimed him, not if we'd had any other choice."

"You didn't want to claim me?" The voice was small and sad. Eyes brimmed with tears before Xander turned and ran.

"Bloody Hell! Xan, wait!" Spike jumped over the desk and ran towards the back entrance of the library. Before he got there a familiar voice began chuckling.

"You know, boy, you just keep making the same mistakes. I thought I taught you to guard your perimeter."

"Yeah well someone killed off all my minions. So manpower's just a little low right now, Sire." Spike snarled out the last.

"Seems to me you've lost track of that pretty little consort, William. Maybe I need to take care of him, like I do Dru."

"You keep your bloody hands off him, you bastard!" Spike launched himself at Angelus only to be tossed into a wall. He was picking himself up for another attack when a deceptively calm voice issued an order.

"Spike, do go see to Xander. Angelus and I need to have a few words... in private."

Spike opened his mouth to protest, then got a good look at the watcher and left without another word.

"Now, now, Rupert, it isn't polite to interrupt a conversation like that. I was going to teach my boy some proper respect for family."

"Yes, I'm sure you were." Giles said coldly. "Of course I think you and I need to have a conversation about that very subject."

"Really, Rupert, I'm touched. I never knew you thought of me that way."

"Do shut up now, Angelus." Giles said calmly. "You murdered Jenny. You tried hex Buffy with that collar. You were going to do unspeakable things to Xander. Not to mention the things you did to your own childe, who is now regrettably a part of my eclectic little family."

"Aww, Rupes, that's kinda sweet. You've taken in another stray."

"Quite right. I have." Giles said agreeably, just as he flung the small water balloons he'd held in each hand at Angelus' head.

"You son of a bitch, I'll rip your fucking guts out and make you watch while I tie them in knots for that." Angelus ranted while hissing and trying to wipe away the burning water.

"Colorful as always. Get out, and don't come back." His voice was like ice as he pointed a rather ridiculous neon super soaker at the very pissed off master vampire.

Hissing, Angelus made a run for the door.
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