Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Anya utters a final garbled set of words that sets off a wish that will alter Xander’s existence forever…
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here! *Toys* and angst too… and lovin’ eventually
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.
Giles rang the Willow at the coven. It was critical he had the invocation *and* the proportions correct. Sadly he only managed to get through to an answering service, so rang her cell phone with the same result. Desperate, he sent a text message to Dawn’s mobile phone in the hope that she could contact Willow via Email.
Two minutes later a panicked Dawn rang. Spike and Xander had always been her big brother figures… the wonderful men in her life, if only for a short time. Now they were both in extreme danger – Spike critically injured and Xander as Consort, sure to follow if Spike died. But she *was* Buffy’s sister and truth be known, stronger in her resolve, a strategist and newly inducted wiccan. She guaranteed Giles would receive a call within the hour, one way or the other
Twelve minutes later Willow called. He conveyed the circumstances, the poison and their temporary reprieve.
“Giles are you *sure*? Who would do that sort of thing?”
“I imagine any number of groups who would like the current Master of the Bay ‘replaced’, or it could have been another demon group, or a Slayer trying her best to make her mark. Andrew has informed me of a new ‘incentive’ system for newcomers – ridiculous idea – getting more killed in the field… But this is all beside the point. Whether I agree with vampire culture or not, Spike is the key to keeping this region stable, is *critical* for Xander’s survival… and is… a long time ally.”
“Oh Goddess Giles! He’s more than that, he’s a hero… and a *friend*… and Xander’s partner!!! What do you want me to do?”
“I need to boost the antidote with a spell… it was a bone stake. You know what that means… and if it was taken from the femur of an innocent then we are going to need every bit of magical energy we can access. Do you think the coven would ag…..”
Before Giles had even finished Willow said, “What time? If you we a few more hours I will gather the full coven – and more.”
“Well it seems the change is fairly punctual, so I would think another twenty one hours from now.”
“We’ll be here waiting – just call my cell. Now what is the spell you are proposing?”
Giles read out the spell and in the end realized just how much Willow had grown as Mistress in servitude of the Lady, feeling quite the student, not the worldly wise Watcher and expert in all manner of the occult. She corrected two Latin words, advised him on the timing, and suggested an additional healing incantation he had never before heard of, let alone used.
The conversation ended up with a rather emotional, “My dear, thank you… thank you so much, you must know, just for the record, how very proud I am of you…”
“Oh Giles… thanks… but just save them OK? We’ll be by the phone ready for the boost… Now get those glasses polished and finish the potion, we’ve got some dummies to save.” The last part was said with rather false mirth, but it had the right effect.
A quiet “Thank you… You will hear from me soon.” finished the call.
Less than a minute later a loud banging on the door announced the arrival of a handsome Latino man who introduced himself as Santiago, the address apparently familiar to him, the distressed order to his magic shop ‘to deliver’ unusual, and the ingredients unmistakable. He was brash, charismatic and had a rather distinct Latino accent, but deferred to the older man instinctively. After introductions he was even more reverent.
“So you are *the* Giles?! F@#$ !! You should a’ heard that crazy Xan talk about you Man! He was *devoted* you like a favourite Uncle or somethin’! You are a hero to him and more I’ve heard… Man, it is *such* an honour to meet you, I wish my Mother was here!!”
There was barely enough time to walk to the kitchen to put down the box of purchases when there was another knock on the door. This time it was a strikingly beautiful, petite woman of Chinese origin, who introduced herself as Xu Li Wa - “But you can call me Grace if it’s easier”. Santiago kissed the woman on the hand and obviously had great respect for the lady, who belatedly Giles realized, had blue black eyes with vertical slits, slightly pointed ears and a swiftness of movement that marked definite demon heritage.
They quickly caught Giles up to speed with their connection to the Master of the Bay and his Consort and the old Watcher felt extremely relieved, though he still did not allow them to see the two latex figures under the covers in the bathroom.
He had done his best to mop up Spike’s spilt blood with three towels now soaking in cold water to try to extract the horrid red mess, but in the end the decision to leave the two was a logical one, as soon as the change occurred the bleeding would begin again.
Xander could feel his dear friend along his front, though unusually they were both near fully dressed upon the change. He had hold of Spike in a desperate hug as they changed, the other mannequin still in a vice like hold with head on his Consort’s shoulder. He could hear the phonecalls, the near panic in Gile’s voice then the relief as Willow rang, then heard the arrival of the two dear shop owners, friends of them both. And yet there was nothing he could do but wait and wonder if what he had done would prevent his worst nightmare coming true.
Spike was semi conscious, but was lucid enough to know that the form holding him in a protective grip was his lover, his friend, his soul, his dear Consort. He wished he might have just a few words before he dusted for all time… tell him how wonderful the man was, how much he loved him, how he would like to thank Xander for loving him back, for sharing a soul… for… everything.
There was nothing to do for either inert figure but wait, but at least they could still feel each other through their shared soul, feel that the other was still there… though for how long was a point of contention.
Giles was frantic, though reassured by the presence of two very eccentric individuals who seemed to know their respective trades, and certainly knew the people and the particular ‘condition’ they suffered each week. And beyond all else… were friends committed to producing a cure… *quickly*.
Santiago’s accent and handsome features was a stark contrast to the quiet tones of Li Wa (who was rather pleased when Giles continued to call her by her correct name, perfectly pronounced, and particularly that he continued to refer to her as Xu Li Wa… honouring her family also). But both worked at a furious pace to assist Giles in the preparations. It was only two hours later, as they all stood shoulder to shoulder, or rather, shoulder to elbow for the petite purveyor of herbs, that Li Wa gave in to curiosity.
“You are… respectful to demons… and helping a vampire and Consort…yet… a Watcher… Why??”
“None of us are who we might seem, dear lady, some defy their demon instincts to serve the greater good... while others seem born to serve and suffer for good. My dear, these two are the epitome of all that and more. They have sacrificed *everything* for the greater good, many times over… Xander… He… while still a boy, was fighting the good fight, as a man continued in many different ways.” For the first time, Giles truly gave in to the shock of seeing the curse change the human he had cared deeply for as a student, and grown to love and respect as an older uncle does a man, into a plastic parody of the male form.
He dropped all pretence of being in control, leant on the bench and all but whispered, “And Spike… He never sought atonement, accepted his weaknesses and offered the ultimate sacrifice for those he loved, the world he believed in – only to have to face the same again… And now… He didn’t *ask* for his current role yet he took it willingly. And… he gave up his soul to restore a friend… now his Consort… There is no greater love….” Giles gave in, fell silent and let a tear fall for Xander, and a second for Spike.
He composed himself and returned to stirring the mixture, “Dear Lady, my concern is that I would not have considered that the demon communities have been so dissatisfied by the Master of the Bay’s rule that they would make such a power play?!”
It was Santiago who answered. “This is not about the Bay. This is a Master who shares a soul and bonding with a Consort. A Consort who is a Hellmouth survivor, one who has been possessed several times, and both fought in and survived the worst of the attempted Armagedon’s of the last twenty years… Oh yes I do know about that…This was no normal attempt by the Vampire or even demon courts. If we can reverse the poison, we will have a chance to find the culprit and the intent perhaps maintain the balance. If we cannot I am not willing to think what might…”
Giles stared at the man, “The balance of what, exactly??”
“Why the balance of shared dark and light, soul and demon, Master and Consort, of strength and vulnerability, of intellect and practical ability… these two beings were anticipated.”
“Foretold by name you mean? But I… I have never come across any such prophesy”
It was Li Wa who left stirring and took up the conversation, “There isn’t one… there was something in the air when the two settled in this city and together they are most powerful …”
“But surely? What of the curse?!! They cannot stay like this in perpetuity!”
Santiago shrugged and Li Wa simply turned back to stir the potion. “It is hard to accept. But think of it this way… even the Gods have a day off!” And apparently there ended the lesson.
The following six hours were tortuous and mostly conducted in silence. The smell of the potion bordered on toxic, the company did nothing to quell Giles’ unease, and the inert state of the two in the bedroom led him to feel quite desperate. The potion was ready after two hours. After four Willow was contacted again to confirm that the coven was ready and waiting to boost the spell. A feeding tube was forced down the still vampire’s plastic throat, the perpetual position of the sex toy’s mouth assisting a little but the angle leading Giles to thank the stars that he was unable to really injure the dummy.
There was little else to do then but wait...