rngrdead (rngrdead) wrote in bloodclaim,

Leading Lines - Epilogue

Title: Leading Lines
NB: By request, seventh arc in the Five Gold Rings canon
Author: josie_h@yahoo.com
Archived at:
http://www.excessant.com/fiction/josie/five_rings/five_rings.htm OR
Pairing: Xander/Spike
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.

Short Epilogue

It was five years to the day that Buffy had died, and though the family had suggested that they join the Immortal at his Tuscany estate as per the previous years, he had other ideas. The invitations went out. The seemingly timeless, tireless Willow was the first to reply – fit and healthy at just on seventy years of age, she was included in as many family events as her coven schedule allowed. Another reply came from Dawn and her now adult girls Fruini and Tisani, slayers adopted in their pre teens. They had spent a summer with Dawn in a ‘home stay’ after being rescued from Mozambique when their entire family fell victim to malaria then AIDS and no watcher was able to be dispatched. Dawn adored the girls and they her, making it permanent was a natural move.

Key members of the court, Council and, of course, a number of Slayers were invited for the latter part of the week but the first four days were just for the family… There was to be a blessing and dedication on the first night. Willow had agreed to preside.

Anton took a moment to wonder at his family. Gregor as dedicated a friend as ever – but now with the joy of a loving consort, Stephanie apparently not suffering the fate of Buffy as she was all human – therefore her status was linked direct to her beloved vampire partner’s.

The High Master and Mated Childe/Consort had consolidated their rule and there seemed no question in the minds of any of the Clans that their rule would be anything but long and prosperous, particularly as the meetings were often now attended by not only the Full Blood Connor and his Mate, but also their three older children.

Liam had been the first to flank his Uncles and parents, all in the room had heard the rumours but even the oldest vampires present gasped at his magical signature. Antonio too, endeared himself to the Courtiers as he happily took on all and sundry in the dojo – under the careful eye of the Mistress Janet of course. He was fast, vicious and skilled, and in vampiric terms was on level footing with most of the Masters of the court as both hunter and fighter, and respected for it.

Amelie was a less regular attendee at Court as her studies now took her to England and Willow’s Coven though she returned to spend time with family. Her mother and Stephanie were no slouches when it came to the white (and sometimes black) arts of the wiccans, but Great Aunt Willow had the edge. Added to that, Amelie had (of recent times) become quite enamoured by a young Irish witch, Sean who was also studying at the coven. He had been introduced to his girlfriend’s great uncles on their regular visit to the High Mistress Willow, Spike in particular, smirking a little as they realized just how like their Sire Anton the boy was. Raven hair, green eyes, slim physique and the feel of magical power. He earned a hard slap for suggesting as much to the love struck young woman. Amelie had been thrilled at how easily Sean accepted her exceptional relatives and her lovely Irish companion was now on the list of family for the celebration of Buffy’s life.

Connor had taken somewhat longer than anyone expected to recover from Anton’s malaise and the consequent months of feeding others. The sudden death of his older adoptive sister and a distressing trip back to the USA for her funeral was also extremely difficult despite Helle being by his side. Spike and Xander took to feeding him at least once every few days but it was only the trip back to Helle’s homeland in the north with all their children for a six week break that seemed to pull him back to full health.

It was a true holiday – the older children acting as nannies, so he might have time alone with Helle. Mistress Minna and her lovely Mate visited and took them riding and out to dinner… And there were many nights when he, and any older children who wished, had hunted local game without weapons or necessarily any intention to kill and therefore full permission of the local demons. The game of tracking and catching was far more exhilarating than any need to kill, though on occasion the bloodlust, once firing, did sometimes tempt. They all spent lazy days fishing, sailing, or simply lying around in the sauna or by the pool… and Connor gradually recovered.

The biggest change over the five years, since the necessary trip down memory lane, had been the strengthening of the relationships between the ruling couple and the Immortal. Already loving and Sire/Childe strong, it now seemed an even more profound connection. They were not always in the same house, but when they were, the air seemed to prickle with the joy of being together.

It was apparent that the experiences of Xander and Spike as they entered Anton’s world had also transferred some of their own life memories to Anton.

He clearly recalled Spike’s human days; his angst at Angelus’ abandonment of them after he gained a soul; the disastrous Sunnydale reunion with his Sire; the chip, the desperation, the hunger; his tumultuous relationship with Buffy ending in sadness and sacrifice; the reconciliation then devastating loss of his Sire after the Black Thorn; and the finding of his now mate. The Immortal also understood Xander at a far deeper level: The ‘good boy’, playing the lackey to cover for his own insecurity not lack of talent; his loyalty and bravery; his shame and loss; his love for his friends; his joy at finding his way in life… and finding Spike.

They had all loved and given so much and the memories of Buffy now simply added positively to the mix.

Everyone was affected by it and the Court no less so.

The European Court of the High Master always had its challenges, but as Spike and Xander integrated Anton’s memories and far more deeply understood his strategies, the Court leaders found themselves in the presence of (including Connor in the mix) a cohesive, infinitely capable, *dynasty* of rulers. There was little argument, even in the privacy of their own regions, that they were amongst the luckiest of the demon world.

And as a consequence, the last four and a bit years had seen the Clan leaders, already known as 'an extraordinarily successful group' across the demon world, follow their High Master’s example, gathering around them the best and the brightest of both demon and human worlds – all ultimately of a magical nature but nevertheless. The result for each region was a situation where pre-empting difficulties was possible; predicting profit or loss meant the ‘grab’ for territory was averted (at least as much as possible) and assisting those in need managed with swift efficiency and a lack of fuss; and with the consistent firm but fair rule of the High Master and family, it brought unprecedented harmony to the demon clans in a human world none too friendly, even to each other.

There were still issues of course, but now the strength of the ruling family gave all hope, and the extraordinary Patriarch, The Immortal, Anton, grew in reputation to levels unprecedented, even for him, yet he took each tribute with absolute grace and a humble gratitude that afforded any meeting him a sense of belonging, something the Immortal had finally found.

And so, on a chilly June morning, the whole family stood reverently in front of the ancient monastery where Anton had studied, in the now peaceful, independent Tibet, and raised their prayer flags to join the many already flapping in the wind. The silence spoke volumes as the family gradually found each other’s hands then the quiet touch became a very natural pulling together as they stood and watched the colourful material move against the backdrop of still timeless mountains. Familial arms found their way around waists and across shoulders until all were joined in a line with Anton in the middle, and allowed tears of love and thanks to fall.

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