NB: By request, seventh arc in the Five Gold Rings canon
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: The Immortal Anton is now universally accepted as the Sire of the High Master William Aurelius (aka Spike) and his Esteemed Consort, now Childe, Xander, just as he is to the Full Blood Aurelian, Connor. He has supported them all in the past, perhaps now it's his turn
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.
But this time the shift was back to their own time. An exhausted looking Connor jerked awake as Xander groaned and squeezed his partner’s hand. Spike’s awareness returned slowly, he wondered what they were this time, and he reached out to his mated Childe through their link and took an unnecessary intake of breath as he felt a second signature, his full blood brother!
Instantly wide awake, Spike took proper stock of their surroundings. They were as they had been when the spell was first cast, he on lying Anton’s right, Xander the Immortal’s left. He squeezed back and sent deep adoration through their immediate link and love to Connor, who’s worried, sleep deprived, tear-filled eyes now looked down on them, desperately relieved to see at least them conscious.
All Connor was able to manage was a croaky, “Hey…” before a tear escaped and tracked down his still surprisingly boyish features as he pushed a wrist against Spike’s mouth and felt the gentle piercing and two or three drafts being taken before they were withdrawn and the offering made to the Mate while he himself, for the first time in almost a month, accepted blood from his brother.
The two vampires then exchanged a little blood and sat up slowly. Connor cleared his throat then sat at the end of the bed. Neither of the ruling couple failed to notice the hand on Anton’s still inert covered leg and worried look at the gaunt features. The usually animated dancing green eyes were still closed, his breathing and heart beat absent, the perfect picture of a corpse.
“We had to… you had stopped feeding – even the force feeding wasn’t working, except when it was my blood… and I’m sorry I just… It’s just that… I didn’t have enough for all three of you, not every day! And I *knew* you needed it… but in the end… I just… Forgive me! Please?!” Begging eyes found a loving look and a smile from the High Master.
“Thought I felt a might peckish. Now come here you daft bugger, ‘n stop apologizin’ !
Spike pulled the man into his arms and hugged him as tightly as he was able, and Xander reached over to make contact also. Unfettered love and concern flowed in all directions through the link, and Connor so distressed that Helle flew into the room seconds later, Olivia on her hip. Connor’s dear partner cried out with a combination of surprise, joy and distress. They were awake.
She, Willow and Stephanie had eventually agreed to Connor’s request after they realised that the three now were failing to feed properly.
Anton’s condition still had not changed but later that night the two sides of the family compared notes.
Amelie took the notes – her older and younger siblings were all present, as were the wiccans, Gregor, plus Mistress Minna and her entourage (arriving unannounced to assist the full blood and High Master as needed).
“Tell us what you saw… it has been a month…”
Spike looked rather amazed. Now very well fed and back to full strength, he and his Mated Childe were trying to get their thoughts around the idea that it had only been just on four weeks! Nevertheless the two conveyed what they knew. Each of their incarnations were given dates, but more importantly context. If Anton was seeking something, then they had to be clear, as the now well fed High Master and Mated Childe voiced their intention to repeat the spell in an attempt to ‘go back.
Spike began the narrative, or rather the summary, some details too private to divulge, Xander only pitching in occasionally when things… became too painful for his Sire.
In the end there was a definite trend:
- Two of Kliesthenes’ soldiers, slaves and lovers, given mercy by Anton in his human guise, followed by the grief of losing a loving servant and comfort from his two. Grief and solace.
- Two slave girls , mothers of his children, their forced marking and his consequent desperation and kind acts. Grief.
- The two dogs and his turning, his special status and appreciation of their continuing loyalty. Grief and solace.
- His years of exile and the clemency of the Senator as the ‘demon’ submits to his damning. Grief and solace.
- The camel master on the Silk Road, Xander’s violation and death, and Anton’s first use of his demon nature for retribution… and the fatherly feeling of love of the other boy. Grief.
- Lessons at the Tibetan Monastery with the spiders. Acceptance of his own changed state.
- Taking in Gregor as life friend and helping the little girls. Sadness for them and solace for the lost Gregor … Love, Loyalty and Companionship.
- Respect and responsibility as academic Master at Heeidelburg, reinforcing the notion of the acceptance of the ‘other’ in all of us, and reinforced by new standing in the demon community. Anton accepted as having a role for the first time since in human form, but also aware of the ‘outcast’ factor. Devotion and Loyalty and… Power.
- In London with Burbage, mixing with royalty and influence increasing but also willing to venture his attentions to the arts. The idea of ‘not all we seem’ and ‘use the inadvertent ruse to advantage’ being the theme. Love, Respect, Power, and Companionship.
- The Swiss interlude was important too. Societal foibles would prevent males from showing affection – but allow them to be passionate in other areas. It was also the time Anton began the truly international of his interests. And they were there. Trust and Love and Investment.
- And finally as the two recalled their feathered incarnation they both simply said… Love, Loyalty, Skill and Companionship.
They were living through Anton’s unbelievably long life, and there was no doubt the reason… the struggle to make sense of such a long life when now, at a time he had found true love with the Slayer and family happiness with his boys, his partner had been cruelly taken from him, his magical status null and void to help her.
If Anton could not move beyond the notion that his dearly departed Buffy was the summation of everything he was, everything he needed for his existence, then he would be doomed for all time to a state of inanimate grief in a tomb for the undead. He needed to accept the love of others once more, and lean on family and friends, letting them lend their strength to him for a change.
At the end of the meeting all knew, the demise of Anton following her death was the *last* thing Buffy would have wanted for the love of her life.
It was the Childe Xander who spoke first. Still clad in his dark purple silk, brocaded dressing gown, his tone was commanding. “You must send us back! He *must* make sense of all this… he really must!” Xander looked to his Sire and Spike reached out to take his Childe’s hand.
“I agree. Leave us under until we are at the point of no return. If we cannot do it then… the Court will go on. Pull us out and we will all grieve together.”
Both vampires spent the following day catching up on the various business and court issues that had been identified by Connor as urgent and ‘not a Connor thing’.
That evening the family gathered. They all knew, if this did not work then their beloved Anton would not come back to them, effectively as dead as his dearly departed partner, Buffy.
Ot was the first time Spike and Xander had seen Gregor cry. Anton’s loyal loving friend stood in the shadows of the doorway his beautiful Stephanie already in the room preparing with the other wiccans to begin the spell again. But as Gregor looked at his dearest friend, his Master, he simply could not face the implications of possible the failure of the venture and fell back against the wall, sliding down and sobbing with a grief he had not felt for centuries. The ruling couple were the last to enter the room and almost tripped over the figure curled up just before the doorway. They both dropped to their knees and pushed in close.
For the first time in his very long life, Gregor cried into another man’s chest. He had always been strong for his Master but could not imagine going on without the Immortal. How could he be strong for his Stephanie if he lost his brother, his Master, his father figure, his best friend, his surrogate Sire?? His demon was grieving, his soul lost, his whole identity challenged and his hope waning. Stephanie needed her strength for the spell, but as Connor joined the ruling couple on the floor the noble Gregor collapsed forward in an agonised flood of tears keening and simply sobbing over and over, “Take my blood… drain me… but save him… Please save him… Please save him. He is my brother, my friend, my father, my master… please… br…bring him back!!!”
Spike pulled the dear friend into a tight hug, kissed him on the forehead soundly, then did something he had never dared before, with lightening speed he moved to bite just below the vampire’s mark and drew blood, as Spike took a long draft, first Xander, then Connor gave their wrists to Anton’s devoted servant and loyal household member.
Eventually the mood calmed and close to midnight (and a full moon) the Xander and Spike kissed loved ones then lay down with the Immortal once more. At the very last minute before they were hit by the spell again, Willow mentioned something in passing, “Maybe he just needs to make his way back here too? Maybe this is about the accepting love in the now and believing it will continue…?”
Spike took that onboard to ponder as their world went black once more.