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.
Two hours after the first feeding, Giles nudged a snoozing Xander and urged him to hold the towel again while he went for more blood. Spike woke as the brunette moved, only to have his right calf cramp painfully, and twitches that now felt like someone sticking pins into him in random parts of his body. Xander moved swiftly to massage and stretch the limb until the vampire relaxed a little, then took over from Giles.
Five more bags of blood topped up Spike’s system and as Giles emptied the last of the fifth bag down the tube, the vampire moved back into his human guise and begged with sad eyes as he lifted his hand to a still slightly bloodied mouth and tube end.
Giles patted Spike’s shoulder, “I understand Spike but it is best we leave it for the next half hour or so. Just let the blood move around you a little more. Try to relax and sleep a little.” Xander began running his fingers rhythmically through his lover’s hair and the blonde did eventually doze off.
It was actually an hour later, as Spike’s awareness returned again, that Giles brought in a bowl of water and packet of cotton swabs and began to gently separate the towel from the neck it was now attached to by dry blood.
What was revealed was a nasty hole remaining but it seemed to be only skin deep, corded muscles and intact blood vessels barely visible. It would be safe to remove the tube and Spike could feed naturally again.
Towel off and a clean smaller bandage applied, Giles warned, “Spike, the procedure is usually done with something to dull the discomfort, but I will have to do this for you without that luxury. OK?
Spike blinked slowly once and Giles began to slowly tug the tube free. Spike paled and began to sweat after the sliding piece of plastic continually rubbed against his gag reflex, and coughed violently as it finally pulled from his mouth.
He managed, “Taa” then threw up a little of the blood he’d ingested the previous hour, Xander managing to catch most of it in the neck towel he grabbed from the floor.
For the first time since his injury Spike rolled onto his side and slept once more.
The following day showered and cleaned, Spike’s shakes and pins and needles had all but disappeared, and the neck was recovering well. It was time for some serious research – and pulling in some favours.
It seemed extraordinary that Spike had only really been ill for five days. Now Spike called the other Masters in his jurisdiction together, Giles was invited for the specific reason, that he had saved their leader from certain death after the Consort removed the bone stake and stemmed the flow from the gaping hole.
Giles was treated with polite respect, largely as Spike played up his Ripper days, expulsion from the Watchers’ council and his fight against the Initiative on the Hellmouth. The fact that he arrived flanked by the Master of the Bay and his Consort did not hurt either. But it was the other Masters that amazed him. Most wore trendy street wear, though some were in well tailored suits (Giles happy he had taken Spike’s dress code advice of neat casual seriously). They were, with few exceptions, rather good looking, fit and extremely articulate; all, well educated in both human and vampire sense; also obviously rich and would fit in at any after-hours Directors’ meeting in a big company. The Childer attending fitted the same demographic. And all, Giles realised, would therefore be charming, disarming and extremely deadly were they in human company or the company of enemies.
Minions of all present were not permitted in the board room or indeed near it. Body guards and drivers performed their tasks then waited in the purpose built demon bar in the basement of an adjacent building, easily accessible by a walkway from the underground car park. The drinks were paid for by their bosses, with blood running freely, and while other minions were rewarded the occasional treat, the minions at the Masters’ gatherings were always on their best behaviour. As Spike explained the layout of the building and the exodus of drivers and others through the tunnel, he looked across at Xander pointed to the tunnel and mouthed “Spike’s idea?” to which Xander rolled his eyes and nodded with a grin, Giles replied with one of his own.
The rest of the demon clan and family heads were utterly varied in their appearance, and from what Spike had told him, often had to rely on their vampire allies to proxy for them when a ‘human face’ was needed to interact with the general populace. It demonstrated the level to which Spike and the group as a whole had moved forward in terms of trust and the strength of the alliance.
With the general agenda dealt with Spike drew their attention to an agenda item simply marked ‘New Player, Old Game’.
“I would ask that you hold questions and comments until the three of us have concluded, as this is a matter that with impact, I believe, on everyone in this room.
The room fell silent as the Master of the Bay stood and began by saying, “Five days ago an assassin, I believe perhaps a rogue slayer – though that is pure speculation – attacked me in front of the building I called home, managing to stake me in the neck with a bone stake laced with Piliothorn. For those who are unfamiliar, it is specifically designed to cause us to bleed out and dust within minutes, the bone stake vital to complete the dark magic.” There were horrified looks on many of the older faces – though many Childer appreciated the extra information.
“I managed to stagger back to my apartment where my Consort saw that the stake was removed and managed somehow to stem the blood, but it was my Consort and my long time friend and scholar in all things magical, who identified the poison and who’s fast action allowed a coven in England led by the extraordinary, powerful wiccan Mistress Willow to collaborate and come up with a combination of spells and a fast acting antidote. I will invite Mister Giles to continue if you will.”
Giles looked a little surprised but stood at the prompt, “Master Spike - William the Bloody, Consort Alexander, Esteemed Masters of the Bay Region, your Deputies and Family members, I am honoured to be invited to speak. This was a little unexpected, so I hope the delivery is both accurate and succinct.” The vampires and demons alike were most impressed at the formality and inclusiveness of the introduction.”
“Though our actions were swift and the response from the coven, prompt, it was also the assistance of Santiago Montega – proprietor of the Lugar Magico shop - and Xu Li Wa owner of a Chinese Herbalist and of Chinese desert demon heritage.” Many in the audience nodded at the names. “They not only personally delivered the required ingredients and assisted in the preparation of the potion, but also stayed until, hours later when the worst was over. I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the High Priestess Willow and all members of the Coven of the Lady who chanted the healing spells along with us and without whose energy I am not sure we would have succeeded.”
“The wound itself had severed the carotid artery and the oesophagus rendering a feeding tube necessary for two days. At all times his Consort was by his side and was the first blood the Master took after the poison was reversed.”
“This is no ordinary attack. In my opinion the assassin was just that, but whoever was behind it knew who they were attacking and a great deal about the dark arts. I also postulate that this attack was directed at the Bay Region of clans and families, not merely your ruling Master whom I was honoured to be able to help on this occasion. Thank you for you time.”
With that Giles sat down and the room all but exploded. There was no precedent for such an attack in current memory. When the noise quelled a little Spike stood and all fell silent once more.
“Suggestions and thoughts from the floor … let’s just go around the table shall we, Master Jeremy?”
For the next forty minutes names of warlocks, Masters from other regions, various inter-dimensional demons were tabled, though most did not have the capacity or the motivation to murder a Ruling Master so revered by those in his alliance. The only explanation for the attack it was decided, was the destabilization of the entire region – and perhaps others, though to what end no one could establish, until Xander said almost to himself, “Balance.” Spike looked at him with a trademark puzzled expression. “Beg pardon?”
“You told me that when you first came here, Li Wu said it was predicted it was to restore balance. And it seems we have a highly successful alliance – and our model is being adopted by other regions across the nation. I guess that’s not so helpful to know really, but maybe there’s someone trying to tip it one way or other.”
It was Giles looking worried, spoke for the first time since his formal address. “That means we should not rule out fanatics for the forces of ‘good’ *and* evil.” The comment was considered and deemed valid should Xander’s insightful suggestion prove true.
One thing was not so troubling. Retribution would be swift and vicious was he or she captured by any of them. But in the end it was decided to use the full force of their networks to seek the one behind the threat – particularly those outside the Bay Region – and reconvene in a week if not before should something be found.
Spike focused on his vast number of contacts some in South America, Australia, China and beyond. While Xander concentrated on their network of ex-Scoobies and some of his African contacts.
Giles quietly contacted and researched with people in places that few others – even the Masters had access to. And of course wished he had access to his own private library, in the end he decided to cut his visit short and headed home to “be of more use to you in this ugly turn of event.
At the airport Spike went buy ‘something’ while Xander hugged him soundly and said a very emotional, “Thank you *so* much… for… well… for everything ‘n come back soon… please?”
“Of course Xander – how could I not?. Be careful… both of you. Choose your days inanimate with caution, and keep the two minions who know loyal.” Giles then released him and they found a seat to wait on while Spike apparently ‘shopped as Xander went on to reassure him they were being careful.
“I think Spike takes care of that pays them well in cash and blood and occasionally spikes it with his own as reward (sorry ‘bout the kind of pun there… they seemed pretty happy with that as incentive…” There was a long pause then Xander’s teary brown eye (the other one covered by the patch today – some days the socket ached too much) looked directly into Giles’ baby blue, “I love him Giles, I love him so much it… He really completes me, even inanimate… I can never repay you for what you did… what you are doing… and you need to know that I don’t just respect you Giles – you are the dad I always wanted, you’ve always been there for me, us all and I love you for that.” A single tear tracked from his good eye as Giles pulled the brunette’s head gently forward and kissed him on the forehead, “You really are so very dear to me my boy… so very, very dear.”
The mood was broken by a, “Hey Watcher, hands off the merchandise and get yer own fella!” Spike was in fine form, the original Big Bad persona but as they moved toward the entrance to Customs and security, Spike turned to Xander and said, “Give us a mo’ will you Luv.”
“No problem! If I don’t find a bathroom soon there may be an embarrassing puddle.”
Giles followed the vampire to a slightly less crowded corner, and as he turned to look Giles directly in the eyes, all pretence was gone, and the ex Watcher had the true Spike addressing him in low sincere terms, “I wanted to thank you, Pet, private like, for what you did for me, for the boy, and what you are doing now. This is just a little somethin’ to show our appreciation.”
Giles opened the plain black card with the image of a door half opening and light streaming out. The message was written in Spike’s glorious Victorian handwriting, in ink no less! Giles looked up to see Spike’s wink and a shrug, “Bought me own along so’s I could do a proper job of it.”
Giles snorted a laugh, shook his head, “Why am I not surprised?” then began to read the note.
We are now old friends, and once again comrades in battle. Few could hold a candle to your courage and commitment to the greater good in all its guises. Let us hope that once more we triumph and bring balance.
In this last couple of weeks you have seen both Xander and I at our best and our most desperate, and you saved us both from oblivion… We are indeed in your debt.
You are a remarkable man, Rupert. It is an honour to know you. The boy loves you to bits and I share his soul, so I know how that feels.
Spike and Xander”
Giles tugged off his glasses and wiped his right eye with the back of his hand, “Spike I…”
“Don’t say a bloody word just accept the pressie and let’s get you back to Blighty and sort this sorcerer out. Well come on.”
Giles looked in the envelope there was five hundred pounds in fifty pound notes, and an open ticket voucher for the return flight London to San Francisco.
“Spike! I can’t accept this! Good Lord…”
“You can and you will bit o’ spending money for the return, relyin’ on you for the single malt duty free when ya come back. So you better bloody well stay safe, yeah?” Spike’s words may have been harsh but the sentiments were clear and Giles could not help but pull the vampire into a hug just as Xander joined them.
“You old two timer! Here was me thinking I was your boy!” Xander winked and Giles pulled back a little embarrassed.
“Nah mate, you’re my Consort, your ol’ mentor here was just checkin’ me hug out on your behalf, see if I were doin’ it right.”
Mood broken the farewell was still a little tense but easier than expected.
The drive home was quiet, but once in the door and alone, and well for the first time in what seemed like forever Spike spun his partner, and kicked the door shut with his foot. Back against the wall, Xander was kissed with a passion that had him instantly hard, another jeans clad member and Spike’s hand rubbing insistently on either side of his. The next few minutes were a blur, but somewhere along the line, clothes were taken or torn off, they had made it to the bed and Xander was now straddling his partner, sucking a nipple and rubbing so hard that Spike could swear he was with another vampire.
Lube was applied swiftly by both and Xander sank back onto the hard shaft easily, Spike fulfilling and filling him in every way as tongues tangled and hands caressed.
Sated but in need of calling the change. They fitted each other out ready, Spike insisting he be on the inside of the spoon, Xander in him. The spell was cast and the change began, but now even the familiar pain seemed arousing. The two mannequins had no external expression change, but both knew the other had a blissful smile on the inside. After all, it was their day of rest.