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.
Part 18 & final
News of the apparent disappearance of the mage travelled like wild fire and was greeted with both rejoicing and a strange sense that his essence was still present somewhere. So when a certain Mistress Willow called Spike and Xander to give details of what had transpired, all Spike could do was roar laughing.
“You’re sure? He was pretty strong Pet, I mean, all the people he changed and hurt and controlled – what are the chances of him finding a way back?”
“Spike there were *four* vengeance demons casting the spell! And it was no ordinary spell – I felt his magical energy drained from him as he changed, though I guess we’ll never know exactly where he ended up or what sort of ugly lapdog he has been turned into – the spell was unusually specific though.”
It was cause for celebration, though for Masters who had lost Childer, and Childer who were left taking over the mantle of their dusted Sire, plus the demon clans now devoid of leadership, there was little satisfaction. The vengeance had been someone else’s. Nevertheless, some solace was taken in the knowledge that the ‘illustrious’ Sorcerer Barnardo was not dead – but rather, living a life utterly out of his control.
The efforts the Bay Region had made to stop Barnardo in their region and the assistance they had afforded others, not to mention the price they had paid for their trouble, was recognized across state and national borders and the reputation of the Court and their Ruling Master and his Consort grew.
With many of the West Coast Regions in disarray after their leaders or key family members and staff were eliminated, time and again the Bay Masters, and the Ruling Master in particular, would receive an appeal to simply settle a dispute, or more importantly, offer guidance or provide support while a Region re-established the agreements, partnerships and trust. Many of the Masters of the Bay willingly sent their Childer (or children/hatchlings/pups as the case may be) to assist with the proceedings personally.
Spike and his Consort travelled also, though more to inspire and encourage than to hands on organise – Spike’s time was at a premium, so he tended to let the Masters who had volunteered to help a region get on with it uninterrupted. He made time every day to concentrate on keeping his own Bay Region as well run and balanced as he could manage and increasingly he and Xander were being contacted – or indeed visited – by leaders from further a field.
In the end it seemed obvious. An open summit was to be held in San Francisco within the year. The vast majority of his Masters agreed wholeheartedly – the one thousand, eight hundred or so delegates from one hundred and ninety-one Regions would also spend their money in the city and it also held the possibility of making business relationships cross country and beyond.
There was an enormous team organizing everything from venue, accommodation and transport; to food, other special needs, communications, trade show and tours; and an ‘event’ on every one of the three nights/mornings after the proceedings were over – culminating in a gala dinner.
Forums on trade, small discussion groups regarding specific issues for certain species, opening keynote written by Xi Pa Lao and proudly delivered by Xi Li Wa, plus the many, many other highlights had to be factored in.
The venue was a huge old underground silo, easily decorated and able to be divided into smaller breakout rooms or used as one for the final dinner, and the main theatre was large commercial lecture auditorium accessible by tunnel.
It took nearly seven months to organize - seven months of frustration and triumph; of public spotlight and private calm; of huge crowds of unknowns and a small intimate group of friends – all part demon (or in Xander’s case Consort to one and a changed human) and totally committed to each other.
As the day approached, the number of Emails, phonecalls and meetings increased exponentially, to the point where Xander and Spike forgot the days between their change. They had taken their ‘day’ on the third day of the previous seven, but the but minutes after the seventh day of the next week came to an end and the new week began, and with no change invoked Xander doubled over in pain. He cried out as his form stiffened of its own accord with unprecedented speed and associated pain. Spike was in the spare room, now home office, and similarly afflicted. Luckily they were at least in the apartment – able to feel each other through the soul/Consort link, but sadly in two different rooms with backs arched and limbs contorted – and would inanimate for twenty four hours.
As Xander lay in his twisted form, he worried whether their forgetting and overstepping the time might carry a penalty. And with little else to do but think, Spike worried about his consort and vice versa. They both worried about the soon to happen summit, and about what they should be doing in the next twenty four hours, and how they would explain the various commitments missed, and belatedly how they yearned to be in their comfortable bed, feeling their connection, even though unable to move.
It was just after sunset when the change had occurred. They had always invoked the spell then so no one would miss them in the sunlight hours and effectively they were only unavailable for a single working night. Normally their time was quiet relaxation and a loving embrace, now it was torment with little likelihood of reprieve. Spike had listed all the meetings he could think of in his head, his cell phone went off several times, as did Xander’s, and the home phone was obviously switching through to voicemail also.
Most of the Bay Masters and their teams working toward the Summit, worried little regards the lack of the Ruling Master on site. Spike had given them the right to choose the role they wished to take and respected their right to organize things as per centrally decided timeline. Spike’s main role was that of the CEO – making sure all aspects of the Bay Region, along with the Summit, were continuing to run smoothly. If he missed a meeting he would usually phone through or at very least apologize profusely, if he did not stop by to see how things were going and encourage, then he inevitably came the following day.
But Philip and Andrew were worried. It was the anniversary of them being adopted by their new Sire (at Spike’s insistence and to their joy) and Spike had promised to meet them at the Magic Shop around midnight for a quiet celebration, an exchange of blood “… and a drop o’ the good stuff.” When midnight came and went, then one and two am, and the cell phones rang out, and any of the Masters they rang simply reported not seeing them, they began to worry.
It was only when Santiago came back in around two thirty after a bit of ‘clubbing’ that they found themselves suspecting a possible cause of the sudden absence.
Santiago was pulling back on the jacket he had discarded only minutes ago, “How long since they changed?”
Philip and Andrew both frowned and, as often happened these days, said “What?” at precisely the same moment.
“The change. How long since they invoked it?”
Andrew looked at his brother then back to Santiago and both shrugged looking worried at the same time.
“Come on, let’s just go over to their apartment, we’ll all just worry otherwise.”
The three piled into Santiago’s ancient Fiat, the twins both in the back seat by necessity, and drove the four blocks to Spike and Xander’s building. When there was no answer on the buzzer, Santiago used the spare key Xander had given him and let them all in. The knock on the apartment door got a similar null response but there was music playing quietly in the background and the lights were on, something Santiago knew for a *fact* that neither of them would not have done if they were both out or had invoked the change (the two had lived without for too long to waste like that).
Santiago put the key in the lock, not quite sure what to expect.
There was no indication of life inside – but as they rounded the entry way wall and entered the lounge they saw the macabre contorted Xander shaped figure. Santiago left the boys to search the rest of the apartment – finding Spike half way under his own computer desk, legs tangled around the cords at the back, knees semi bent and one arm stretched over his head as though reaching for the door, the other grabbing for something above him.
“Oh Spike! Andrew… Philip leave Xander for a minute… I need help!” The boys appeared at the door mere seconds later and gasped as they saw their Sire in a position that spelt agony. In the past they had seen the ruling couple changed, but it had always a peaceful, loving scene. This was *entirely* different.
“Help me with his legs first… we have to pull him free… Philip, can you get to the cables under the desk at that end?”
“I… ughh… yep… what now?”
“If you can, at least unplug this thing so we don’t all fry.” A sharp tug from Philip and almost undetectable hum of the computer’s fan ceased. Philip then carefully unplugged anything that seemed to be stopping Santiago from freeing the difficult to manoeuvre mannequin’s legs, but finally they were free (Andrew relieved as he tried his best to reach far enough under the table to help despite their conjoined arm aching in the position that entailed).
Santiago lifted Spike easily and carried him to the bedroom, leaving Andrew and Philip to attend their Sire, who was still in a rather odd position, while he retrieved Xander. By the time he carried the Consort in to lie beside his partner, Andrew and Philip had used their three appendages to great advantage – the combined hand useful to apply pressure where needed as they straightened out whatever they could according to the limits of the mannequin. In the end, both Xander and Spike were naked and lying side by side in the bed, sheets tenting where the sex toys’ plastic erections stood proud for the twenty four hours of their current state.
Andrew turned to Santiago, “Can we put them in an embrace at least – it seems so awful to simply lie on your back beside someone you love, especially when in need of comfort.” Philip felt a tingle in their combined arm and knew it to be his brother’s deep love. He thought of the countless nights since their change – and even before that – when they had cuddled for comfort, now more than ever.
Santiago nodded and the three manoeuvred the Master and Consort so they were facing and touching in as many places as possible.
Spike and Xander both felt the careful treatment, the kindness and concern, and listened as the decision to hold vigil until they recovered was made. The twins would take the first watch while Santiago (who was now looking distinctly tired) slept for a time on the couch. The boys souvenired a couple of large cushions from the lounge room, and took up their position on the chaise lounge against the wall on Spike’s side of the bed.
Xander hoped with all his heart that their current predicament was somehow not made worse by their tardiness in calling the spell. The two pretty vampires, Spike’s twin Childer, deserved to have their Sire whole.
Shortly after sunrise Santiago took over from the boys who volunteered to sleep on the floor of the bedroom – or more strictly speaking on a luxurious white sheepskin rug while Santiago took watch duty.
Eventually Santiago had to return to the shop. Opening time was usually eleven and it was just a little after. The vampires promised to ring him if anything changed.
That evening, as Santiago served a young human who wanted “...some of those totally weird books about 'Shakras ‘n stuff?'” the phone rang. He swiftly convinced her to buy inexpensive introduction to the ‘Spirituality of the body’ and another on ‘History of female spiritual life’, then closed the shop and rang Spike’s home number. Sure enough they had changed back.
By the time Santiago had arrived the ruling couple were showered and dressed. Xander said nothing as the werewolf entered, simply hugged him hard. Spike did likewise and whispered, “We owe you Pet.” to which Santiago replied, “Didn’t think we were keeping score.”
Relieved beyond measure that the worst that happened when they forgot was a forced change, Xander and Spike began addressing things that had been missed the previous evening and attending to pressing matters.
The Summit was a triumph.
Not everyone was completely comfortable with the whole concept of trade agreements, dispute mechanisms for territory squabbles, or the inclusion of certain demon species in the Summit, however it did seem, by the end of the four nights, there was an accord and at least a written commitment from all those present to attempt to strategize for ‘balance’. The mood at the final Gala dinner was one of genuine optimism and an intent to have fun. A wide variety of food requirements were provided for and drinks of all descriptions free flowing.
The minions and servants of those present were also thrown a party, much to the astonishment of the majority of their number. They had already been accommodated in relative luxury for the three nights, in some cases their Masters being somewhat surprised at their enthusiastic approach to their work while in the Bay.
Spike gave the final keynote, announcing several initiatives that had been signed off during the course of the Summit, one of which included a mentoring system for young vampires and demons who were forced into the role of Master of their clan or family due to death or dusting (depending on species). It was a bold but welcome move and would shore up relationships between adjacent Regions.
He opened by addressing a rather malicious article in a local demon paper, published some week before the Summit.
“Fellow Masters of all races, as Ruling Master of the Bay Region and on behalf of our clans and families, I thank you all for attending this inaugural Summit. It was aimed at striking balance and establish broad alliances for mutual benefit throughout our vast network of Regions. And I think we have begun that process in a way I had only hoped would occur.
"But before I give you all an overview of what went on in the many meetings, forums and workshops, I would like to clarify for those of you who asked at the dinner last night… Yes that was a picture of myself and my Consort in the demon magazine – my only complaint being that they didn’t get a clearer view of the toys being used and place the information in the education section! There’s more than one Childe who could do with accurate information!”
It brought a roar of laughter – particularly from the vampire Masters. Said photo had been taken telescopically one night when Xander and Spike accidentally left their curtain open in the height of passion. Consequently it was very fuzzy and the buy line “King of Kink” was supposed to cause uproar. Instead the local Masters thought it hilarious and respected Spike even more when he sent a ball gag to the highly annoyed journalist.
The remainder of the speech was brief and inspiring, organizers were thanked publically and the Summit concluded with a date set for the following March to repeat the process, and the delegations departed satisfied.
The day the Demon Regions from around the country and a significant number of overseas Regions’ attended the Opening Speech by Li Wa at the Summit, Pumpkin had been dressed in a ridiculous rain jacket and booties over his furry paws and taken for a walk by the girl who came every few days. As usual he had been giggled at by passers by, called a pretty cat by a three year old, and growled at by two huge Rottweilers who were also on the trail, frightening him so badly that he whimpered and hid behind his human handler’s legs, so was lifted up and carried for a time.
Mrs Taggerty, his owner, was out when they arrived home. Usually when he’d been out walking, she would make a huge fuss of him, then would order him to sit up and “Ask for your treat Pumpkin”, and when he complied, would fuss some more, then feed him one or two doggy chocolates.
But this time he was shivering with both cold and fear after the encounter. He put up with having his booties removed and knew to lift his chin as his little hood and cape was released, relieved that his ears could return to their proper positions. He had been trained to go to his mat whenever there were no other instructions, but was too upset, so checked the apartment one more time for his owner and gave in to instinct, whimpering a little when he found the rooms empty.
Finally he went to his mat and lay down and, despite being bathed that morning, began to reflexively licked his nether regions feeling, as he did every day, the scar where there should have been… reminding him again of how far he had fallen. He let out a whimper and curled up miserably to wait for the broad lap and the plump ring encrusted hands petting him, the only place he now truly felt safe.
Santiago had met her through Li Wa – she was an extraordinarily pretty girl from Shanghai, well educated and spoke English with an accent. He knew Hong Zu had studied with Li Wa’s father for almost two years to ‘find balance’ and assumed it was simply part of her personal spiritual journey. At the end of their seventh week of dating, Santiago finally plucked up the courage (prompted by Li Wa) to tell the woman he was falling deeper and deeper in love with, that he was ‘not what he seemed’ etc. And so was both thrilled and mortified to learn that she too had been bitten and carried a werewolf within. She loved him all the more for his grief at her plight, but also delighted as he suddenly realised something… They had the moon together too!
Two days after the revelation, Andrew and Philip grinned widely as Hong Xi arrived at the shop, shyly accepted Santiago’s hand, and descended the stairs for their first night together as wolves.
The handsome blondes were constants in the Magic Shop now – well known and liked by clientele without exception – once their particular circumstances were accepted of course. They were attractive, knowledgeable and friendly, and always dressed in the latest of men’s trendy styles (custom made courtesy of Maria).
Over the last three years they had learned to cope with their limitations – using their two good hands as one person might, learning what their ‘other’ hand could do, and had shared so much blood that they all but felt each others thoughts. They also felt Sire to a certain extent, at least monthly receiving Spike’s blood as part of his duty to his adopted Childer.
Andrew did all the writing these days as Philip was naturally right handed, now had to use his left, and was embarrassed by the rather childish scribble. They had even been out on a several double dates with demons and semi-demons a few times – though at the end of the night still found it difficult to go beyond anything but kissing.
Seeing their dear friend disappear with his soon to be mate and wife, their combined hand tingled as it sometimes did when they felt deep happiness these days. The twins had seen the two lovebirds steal a kiss or two before, but were a little unprepared for the several hours of growls and howls from the basement, or the following morning when two young human forms attempted to sneak into the shower together and suppress the sounds of giggles and another round of (this time human) lovemaking. Still, in all the craziness of their lives it felt wonderfully… normal.
A month or so later, Li Wa surprised them all one evening as they sat on the grass looking out to the south end of the Golden Gate and across the bay. Enjoying good company and a picnic fit for… well the Leading Master and friends… it seemed the perfect time.
Santiago and Hong Xu had just finished telling the group of their plans to visit Mongolia, Santiago thanking the twins in advance. He and Hong were to be mated there in the werewolf sense with Xi Pa Lao presiding, stay for three months with him then come back to a small indoor wedding with Santiago’s family and their San Francisco friends (human and otherwise) present.
Glasses were raised in a toast to the happy couple and as their very public passionate kiss concluded and all stared thoughtfully out into the bay, Li Wa spoke quietly to the group, “I too have news... I am with child.”
The other six in her presence were suddenly lost for words until Spike spoke for all of them, “Bloody brilliant Pet!” He moved to hug the wonderful woman/demon, “But if ya don’t mind me askin’… who’s the lucky bloke? He must be pretty bloody special.”
“There is no one… not any more.”
“Oh Luv, you just point us at the bastard and we’ll soon prick ‘is conscience on your behalf!” Spike’s eyes flashed yellow, as did those of his Childer.
“No Spike … No! Our race of demons has the ability to hold the fertilized egg within us until the time is right… until we are settled and happy and are able to bring up a child. My egg was fertilized nearly twenty years ago to a lover, my life partner who was killed soon after we coupled. It is part of the reason I fled China.
“Now she has been freed from her stasis, and is growing in me. She will be born to a world where the demon families and clans, Regions and renegades are all trying to live in harmony with each other. And will grow up knowing all of you… at least that’s what I would… ”
“Just let some ponce try’n hurt her Luv – they’ll have ta go through all the uncles and one pissed of female werewolf to boot.” The twin’s joint arm tingled, Xander kissed his partner soundly, and Hong Xu leaned back against Santiago’s strong chest.
The next ten minutes were spent musing about what the future of the little girl, indeed all their futures, might hold.
Spike saw a sad look exchanged between Philip and Andrew. He moved over to them, knelt down between two sets of legs and pulled them to either side of his neck, encouraging them to drink, petting the identical straight blonde locks and purring loud enough for Xander to hear. The two released after two or three drafts and Spike pulled them in, kissing them on the forehead in turn and simply saying, “Don’t grieve – you are my beautiful, beloved Childer, respected by the Region and beyond, and well liked in the human world. Let us rejoice with our dear friends… B’sides , reckon you’ll be our little demon girl’s favourite uncles right from the outset, whaddya reckon Pet?” Spike turned to Li Wa and she smiled shyly at the two pretty boys and replied, “I have no doubt.”
As three am approached they all adjourned to their various abodes. Santiago and Hong Xu walked in front hand in hand, Simon and Andrew following quietly but relaxed as they contemplated their future. They would go on living at Santiago’s but use the three months he was absent to seek another place to live and give the married couple their space. As it turned out, even before Santiago and Hong departed, the next door shop had a vacant apartment above it available – though dilapidated, it could be renovated inside, and was certainly convenient for work. Perhaps life would work out for them after all…
Spike and Xander drove Li Wa home then returned to their own apartment, they made joyous love for a few hours, slept for some, showered and ate late afternoon then returned to bed, kissing passionately and stimulating each other to hardness, then fitted their vibrators set on low before shifting to a sixty nine position, wrapping loving arms around waists.
Spike swallowed Xander so quickly that he almost forgot to invoke the spell, but managed to do so and at the last minute swiftly took Spike into his mouth. The Ruling Master of the Bay Region and his Consort were mannequins once more and though inanimate, they were completely under the covers, warm, filling and filled, and resting blissfully for the next twenty four hours.
They exchanged love through the soul/Consort link and felt the same thing -Life/Unlife even when forced to stillness once a week - really wasn’t all that bad.