Title: Never Time Enough
Author: Part 1 50ftqueenie… then rngrdead – Ch 2 and beyond
Warnings/Squicks: M/M relations
Rating: NC-17 (or MA 15+ or R?) There is violence and sex and vampires, and boys.
Summary: Xander comes back from the past with a secret.
Note From 50ftqueenie: This can stand on its own as a ficlet, but honestly I know there's more to this story. Eventually I might revisit and do my own version….
Xander woke mid morning, too early vampire time, and rolled onto his back in the small bed, only to have Spike snuggle in tight to his side, pushing a top leg over to intertwine again and without waking, moved his arm over his Consort’s taught torso. Xander put one hand behind his head and used the other to quietly caress his lover’s ‘hugging’ arm rhythmically, deep in thought.
He had changed so much while away – but then, so had… everything here too, Willow and the tragedy with Tara, the dramas of that Initiative, Glory, Buffy and beyond. Yet in all of all the ‘otherly’ weirdness, it was learning of his parents’ response to his disappearance and their almost instant willingness to accept him as he was now, that was extraordinary. That coupled with Angel’s renewed connection with family since Xander’s miraculous return… it was so… he just wondered what was due to go wrong, after all it always did when he and Spike got a lucky break of some sort.
He was roused from his reverie by a quiet knock on the door. Willow whispered “Sorry, Xander? Are you…?”
He eased away from his limpet-like, heat-seeking partner, letting Spike roll gently into Xander’s warm depression and relax. He tugged on a sweatshirt and jeans, then followed Willow upstairs.
“Sweetie, Giles is going back to England tonight… He just wondered if he could have a talk with you before he leaves.”
For some reason Xander felt his stomach clench a little, and Spike stirred uncomfortably in his sleep, “Talk? Umm Yeah sure, but couldn’t we do it on the way to the airport? I mean… Are we still welcome to come out with you guys?
“Xander, sweetie… We’ll be driving back in daylight… so um.”
“Oh… yeah sure… Goodbyes from here then.”
Willow studied her hands hard, “Besides… Xan… He wants to talk to you alone… about your… um… changes.”
“If it’s about the gay thing then…”
“Xander, it’s not about the gay thing, or even about Spike directly, I think he just wants to know if you’re, you know… OK…”
The former Scoobie wondered what OK really meant but agreed… it was Giles after all. “Well… yeah sure… Um… when?”
“Well, now really… He’s waiting in the front room – he’ll go if you say ‘No’. It’s totally up to you but… Xan, this isn’t an inquisition or anything, he just wants to…”
“Know – I get it.” Xander sighed heavily and looked somewhat worried, but turned toward the lounge room anyway.
He slowed as he approached the doorway and was graced with the scene of Giles sitting with his hands folded and forehead resting on them as if in prayer.
Xander moved soundlessly, as his Consort’s nature and training allowed, until beside the settee and contemplated clearing his throat, but decided upon shifting to sit silently beside the now ex-watcher.
It was Giles who spoke in a near whisper as he felt the cushion beside him dip. “Thank you… even your entrance is a reason I must speak with you… I… Xander we tried *so* hard to find you… every avenue, but I should have taken more notice as the Watcher’s accounts began to change… and then Spike was acting extremely dangerously then outright insane – but with the chip – then his gaining a soul – well it really was anyone’s guess…”
“Giles… Giles… please look at me… I’m fine – in fact I’m better than fine. The last three years have changed me, Giles…”
Giles looked up from his hands at that, “That my dear boy is exactly why I needed to… Xander I must ask, even just as a curious retired watcher and old friend… What exactly are your ‘changes’?”
Before Giles had stopped speaking, Xander grinned and said, “Well obviously gay… and out – even to my parents last night… um… can speak reasonable French – at least well enough to get into trouble at dinner parties, hold my own in Italian too at a pinch. Also know how to lace a bodice properly and make a mean cup of tea with lemon. Oh and am pretty much up on vampire lore – well the application of anyway.”
“Oh please Xander, do be serious! What are the *physical* consequences of your …experience? You said you weren’t quite human, and that you and Spike were mated – twice? I need some sort of explanation… surely?! Why one earth would you agree to that?! How could you agree?” The aging ex-Watcher stared hard at the man opposite. The composure and stillness of the brunette was unlike anything he remembered of the youth he knew three years previously, the sculptured muscles and magical signature similarly unfamiliar.
“Giles, Wil is the reason I’m here… alive I mean… and happy. He saved me Giles, loved me, mated me and took the punishment for the same from the Bitch Great-Grandsire. The Consort thing was later, a reward(!) and a *celebration* of our commitment to each other, simple as that. I guess I always kind of knew, about the preferences… just didn’t want to admit. But after those few days at the beginning… Giles, he has been my lover, in every way. He is kind and loving and devoted and…” Xander’s voice dropped to a near whisper, “I’m sorry but I really did *not* want to come back…” Xander’s turn to admit the truth, “I really, truly, wanted to stay with him forever in the then! Things might have been so different for Wil if… but it was done – so… We’re together now…”
“But what of the effects of the Vampire Mating? Did you even consider? Xander what…”
Xander growled a little then let his eyes change to their brown ringed by gold, he had no ridges but Giles saw the fangs drop. Xander pulled the sweatshirt away from his neck to reveal a bright red claiming mark. “You want changes? Fine! I can see in the dark and hear better. I am connected to Wil in every way, and as his Consort, I am servant and equal, protector and lover. I am faster and healthier and loved in ways I never thought possible… That enough?”
Xander had felt Spike fly out of their bed when Xander’s fangs descended, but Giles was completely taken aback when the baritone voice intoned from the doorway, “Too right… an’ rules are we gotta exchange fluids every day… not a chore though… never was for us – was it Pet… but ‘causes all sorts of mayhem if one or other goes missin’ – death if the other is dusted. Most of it is the matin’, last bit’s a pressie after Spain wasn’t it Pet.” A shirtless Spike sidled up to stand easily beside Xander, hair in disarray from sleep and eyes flashing gold, but in control enough not to change.
“Consort’s usually another demon type or a Halfling see? The joining binds the two - psychic connection, that sorta thing. Bit o’ physical boostin’ too. Bloody useful that ‘ey Pet?” Spike reached for Xander’s hand. It was willingly given and Xander wondered, how it was he had been so lucky.
“Since we were already Mated just upped the anti a bit for both of us.”
Giles was still reeling from seeing the boy he though he knew, baring fangs and admitting he was happy, but did not miss the last part of Spike’s speech.
Though still deep in thought he managed to say a barely audible, “Which accounts for your Master Vampire status at what? Four years turned… that is… according to the *new* Watchers’ accounts… and I see no reason to doubt.” Giles’ eyes widened as he stared and realized, “No wonder the Slayers were at your mercy… good lord?! But why not establish a court… surely.”
“Well that’s just it innit. Still fought ‘em on even ground… see… Nothin’ really meant anythin’ *after* did it?! Boy here scarpers (not of his own free will mind) and I’m left with… ah bugger it… I was weakened wasn’ I, hurtin’ and longin’, OK?! Guess I went a bit sack ‘o hammers for a while. Gave me ol’ Grandsire all sorts o’ trouble. Then Angelus disappears and the high duchess of hate, Darla, leaves me ‘n Dru high an’ dry.”
Spike leveled yellow eyes at the ex-Watcher“No… Don’t reckon you really do… Ripper. A hundred plus years by meself carin’ for me crazy Sire. And never stopped lookin’ for the boy – never stopped lookin’. Dru said he was in the mist and all ‘grey’ an’ such, o’ course. Never really got that… He weren’t dead, knew that, but… where was he!??”
Xander felt Spike’s pain and was behind him encircling the beloved waist and hugging him tight in a move so fast that Giles had trouble seeing it. Spike relaxed a little accepted the embrace for the reassurance it was, then added, “’S different now though innit. Mighty different.”
Their position was an all too familiar one – but in days gone by, whoever stood behind was allowed to take a few sips from their mate’s neck, now in front of Giles, Xander refrained and simply kissed the usual spot lovingly.
“Good lord… But… how do you see your future… together I mean? How will you live? Xander you will need to get a job, re establish yourself… What about school or work?”
Spike could not help the growl, “Not your business nor problem is it. Mate here is mine to worry about. I’ve got me resources. Might even hit up the ol’ Grandsire for me inheritance at last.”
Giles looked from Spike to Xander, the young man he thought he knew so well, leveling a steady confident gaze in his direction, dropping the tone and quietly, resolutely stating, “We will be fine Giles. So long as we are together, we will be fine.”
Giles appeared like he was about to say more but simply nodded. “You know you can always…”
“O‘course he knows, now come give the boy a proper hug an’ let Red get you on that plane to ol’ Blighty.”
Giles surprised both of them by embracing not just Xander affectionately, but also Spike. Xander could not help but grin at the look of shock bordering on embarrassment on the vampire’s face as Giles whispered “Look after him, Spike.”
Moments later Giles was on his way to the airport in Willow’s car.
As the tail lights disappeared and the front door closed, Spike reached for his Mate’s hand, “Reckon we’ll pay the ol’ boy a visit sometime soon. Fancy London, now me bite’s back.”
Xander smiled knowingly. Despite their fame elsewhere, London had really always been William’s city.
After the excitement of Spain the Aurelians’ return to London was relatively uneventful, almost ‘normal’.
Angelus was again being pulled away by Darla, and Darla was over her ‘be nice to Consort’ moment and returned to her intensely violent, self involved persona.
Xander bore it, hid his fangs as William all but begged that yet another beating of his human was unnecessary. The one time Will refused point blank, Xander tried not to listen, or look. Strapped to the bench in the torture room he was again privy to Will’s beating – this time a tag team of Darla Angelus and Dru – her delight in no way reflecting their own reaction to the event.
Xander too had been striped by the Grand Dame’s whip, but he was still allowed to feed his master and the two had been left alone for almost three days, days that saw Angelus lave his grandchilde’s wounds and provide fresh blood (on foot as it were, semiconscious street dwellers dragged in and drained by a desperately injured vampire… at least it was quick).
Xander’s own changes saw Darla’s version of amusement being the still somewhat human Consort being stimulated, bound then strapped down and prevented from touching or tasting their Mate for hours to days at a time – with no more purpose than to be torture most painful for both Will (who was likewise brought to heightened need then restrained) , and Consort. And if she was in a particularly nasty mood both would be entered, Angelus and Dru being ordered to force matching glass dildos chilled in ice into the forcibly stilled figures, just to watch them squirm whilst she supped.
Dear Wil always suffered most when they were chilled. But both knew to endure the torture with stoic silence, not willing to give the Grande Dame of Aurelia any edge.
As a consequence there seemed to be more beatings, and more nights of Xander lying, licking his dear partner’s wounds whilst wincing with torn ankles from ill fitted restraints or chafe marks on his neck where his collar had been tethered too tight.
Will always seemed to be gagged and bound far tighter than he when such ‘entertainment’ occurred and inevitable made it up to his Consort as soon as he was able.
Angelus usually releasing him for a short ‘care visit’ on the two nights a week Darla went for a ‘Girls’ night out’ hunting with Dru.
Darla was not silly enough to risk dusting William – or murdering his mate – there was still kudos to be had from the pair, certainly in the demon world, but also in the realm of human as their pretty, devoted pairing attracted the ‘right’ sort of attention in certain circles.
In a way Xander found the ventures into high society and the ‘men’s clubs’ almost worse than private torture. For Will it was familiar territory, both as human and vampire - the old boy jokes, brief disparaging discussions regards this or that government minister, or decision by captain of industry followed by grunt of agreement or laughter. Spike seemed all too comfortable with where to sit, when to be silent, who to speak to, but for Xander it was positively foreign in the beginning and in many ways still terrified him.
Will would dress him up in formal attire and have him ‘admitted as a special foreign friend’ one or other club where Angelus had ‘paved the way’ to having them admitted as members with the identity of some oft (now permanently) absent patron. Even if Angelus was with them the pattern was the same, they would play billiards, smoke cigars, read the paper and have ‘a snifter or two’. More often than not Angelus and Will would surreptitiously skim from the help or take quietly from one of the sleeping patrons in a dark corner, leaving them a pint or so of blood lighter and with memories of a most erotic dream.
There was also the Turkish Baths and a few Demon ‘Clubs’ where gender seemed either obscure, optional or positively not an impediment to any sort of activity. In a way, once the other clientele melted into the background, and Will’s semi nude (by now) form rubbed against him, he really enjoyed the demon clubs more. A thought that concerned him on more than one occasion but one that was stolen when his wicked Master Vampire claimed his lips again and led him into a quiet corner where prying eyes would not see their partnering.
Strangely, as much as his own situation, his life in the realm of darkness and vampires worried him, in an odd sort of way, to the inner Scoobie, the gentle boy from California it was nothing compared to the misery he saw around him.
A decade from the turn of the twentieth century and one but had to turn down an alley or two to find poverty, hardship and child labor. It was a period where they papers were filled with the war in South Africa; the latest steam ship record across the Atlantic; the King’s visit to the Kaiser; comments on women and the vote; and reports on the opulence of ‘Mother’ Russia’s Czar and family. And yet there was starvation and desperation down filthy streets, and influenza, whooping cough, diphtheria and general infections claimed the lives of uncounted numbers.
Xander now knew that death at the fangs of a vampire was perhaps a best case scenario for many and wondered why Sunnydale was noted as a Hellmouth, surely there were many worse places in the world, with or without demons. Something he realized belatedly he now had to call himself.
The weekend following Giles’ departure, Xander visited his parents on several occasions. twice by himself and once with Spike, and was still surprised at the ease with which Spike was accepted.
The vampire’s passion for literature, general knowledge (born of a life over one hundred and fifty years long), and his stunning looks and charm, saw both Xander’s parents inviting the couple to celebrate his father’s fifty first birthday a month or so hence.
Spike felt Xander’s anxiety as he was informed that there were to be other guests: his mother’s best friend – the nosey Colleen; his Uncle Rory ‘and friend’; neighbors Sonya and Dean – always up for a free feed and beer; plus a number of his parents’ respective work colleagues. There would be questions, Spike knew Xander was worried, and that the newly returned, changed, ‘ex-Scoobie and son’ was still adjusting to… everything.
In the end the Consort convinced Spike to let him meet his mother ‘for coffee’ at a small shop in Sunnydale late afternoon the day before the event. It didn’t start well when he ordered Earl Grey tea and extra boiling water.
His mother stared at a polite, fit, handsome adult male, a son she was only just beginning to become reacquainted with.
Xander led the older brunette to one of the ‘lounge’ booths.
“Do you mind if we…?” He noted his mother nervously fiddling with her bag, “Mom relax! This is my treat, OK?”
He hadn’t noticed the grey streaks through her hair or the worry lines on their first few visits, but in the waning sunshine, beaming through the café windows, he saw them clearly.
As they sat he reached over and took her hand, “Mom… seriously, I just wanted to treat you… and ask you if it is really OK about me coming to Dad’s thing next month – I know you asked but – you know… I’m only just back and… I won’t come without Will, and I know he said he’s cool about the not coming… but I’m not. I’d really rather spend time with just us if it it’s going to make the whole thing less stressful… you know, rather than playing happy families for the sake of people I don’t know any more.”
Resolute brown eyes met her son’s chocolate, just barely holding back the gold.
“We want you and Will there, Xander. Your father wants you *and Will* there. Nothing will be said, but we have quietly told our dear friends the Johnsons and your father’s boss Peter about some of the horrors you experienced while you were away and no one else will ever know – it’s just that they were so supportive when we were… We felt they should know – at least you can be comfortable around them! Just… be discrete about the… other… can you? Your father is more than happy to acknowledge Will as his guest and your friend and rescuer… but the other… Well you know what I mean.”
Xander could not help but think that his parents really had no idea what horrors he had seen or the changes that had really had occurred, and stemmed the temptation of letting his small fangs descend.
In the end he agreed to go, asked what an appropriate present might be – to which the answer was a predictable ‘just you being there is enough’, and the afternoon ended relatively happily – even though Xander had hinted that he and William planned to return to Europe in the next month or two.
His mother instantly became rather teary and suggested with a begging look that perhaps they might just move to San Francisco since they seemed comfortable to accept ”your… type of partnership.”
At that Xander had smiled taken her hand and said, “I’m not running away Mom – and just think? One year here, then the next you’ll get to convince Dad to come visit the south of France.”
“Oh for goodness sake – he’s never even been to Mexico!” She then switched to concerned mother mode, “Anyway what will you do? What will you live on? You’re both already so thin! Are you on some sort of no carb diet… what?”
Xander grinned at the last statement, “No fear of giving up pizzas or chocolate! Anyway, S…William has money… ‘Old’ money and… we’ll be fine Mom… really.”
Three days later Master and Mated Consort had booked a night flight to New York (with rather basic accommodation at the airport for the daylight sojourn).
A month later Xander had packed the few things he really treasured from his previous life into a small box, Spike had raided his crypt for ‘things’… and they were ready.
Willow had promised to visit sooner rather than later (and the coven was awaiting her return) before she hugged her old friend *very* hard then let tears fall, to which Xander simply said, “Oh Please Willow… don’t.” They stood for many minutes, a simple embrace that said everything.
Dawn hugged them both and made Spike *promise* to send her news (and items) from London’s fashion houses.
Buffy bypassed Spike and made very short work of the hug with Xander. He felt her shudder as she hugged him whilst saying in a strange string of babble before releasing, “You really do feel like a vampire now. And I’m still a bit confused about all the… back in time stuff. But… thanks… for your help… when… well you know, before you went away. And take care.”
Their bags were packed but there still was a party to attend.
In the end it was logical really. William was the least known of all the guests and a natural orator. He stepped up of his own accord, winking at Xander as he took the microphone. His baritone, cultured ‘BBC’ English, drew everyone’s attention ringing out over the jerry rigged PA, and the crowd fell silent.
With the most minimal of written prompts shoved into his hand at the last moment, Xander looked on with amazement and love as his mate took on the role of MC – vampires… ever the superb actors!
Will, Xander’s all, swiftly took the proceedings in hand, invited various appropriate people to speak; regaled and feted the guest of honour to the friendly (all knowing) crowd with stories ‘supplied’; joked easily with a couple of rather inebriated hecklers; and invoke the traditional “Happy Birthday” as the cake was presented, then finally standing back as others called the chant “Speech, Speech!!!”
Tony thanked his wife and son and all attending, for their thoughts and good wishes, then named the most precious present he had been given this birthday, his son’s return. In front of everyone he then thanked Will but not just for the MC-ing on the night, but also for … his son’s safe return, then to everyone’s surprise, wished the Englishman Will and Xander happiness together. An emotional father then embraced a lost son publicly followed by opening the hug to his son’s partner and wife.
There was rather stunned silence then someone began to clap and finally the party goers roared their approval and raised their glasses – though in truth some were still unsure of just what they were toasting.
Xander and William’s present was delivered in private the following day, the evening of their departure with strict instructions that it was to be opened after they drove away.
Tony was already a little emotional, and his wife still in tears as they opened the large, carefully wrapped box to reveal an extraordinary set of silver chalices. The note read
“With Many Happy Returns Love Xander and William
*We* want you to have these. Feel free to sell them to a reputable collector FYI the insured price (now in your name) is $45,000 US but Will thinks add 20% to that as a reserve ;-)
See you in France or England in the new year.
With our love X & W.
PS papers for legitimacy and valuing are at the bottom.”
On the birthday night the boys had delivered flowers, but this? Tony looked to his wife who winked and said, “Shopping in Europe – start saving!”
They both smiled and hugged as they re read Xander’s rather scrappy hand writing – some things didn’t change.
And Xander and Will were on their way 'home'.