Title: All over Again
Warnings/Squicks: M/M relations (way later) and human boys (for now)
Rating: NC-17 (or MA 15+ or R?) There is violence and sex and vampires, and boys.
Summary: He was too sick to raise his head, the vampire was bleeding out. They were both heroes in their own right, but saving both of them had a bizarre set of implications – not least of which was the chance to start again.
Disclaimer: Characters are the concept of the wonderful Joss and Co. Don’t make money from the writing etc etc.
Life for William, the fledgling, reverted to almost normal, his suicidal tendencies gone with the knowledge that ‘Sire was there’. And though he seemed to need to know that Trent was nearby on an almost constant basis, he also appeared to have boundless energy – to the point of needing to spar with as many coven members as could be bothered working out on any given afternoon and evening.
The aging retired Watcher, Andrew was contacted (at one of his regular ‘haunts’ in the south of France accompanied but yet another pretty young would-be Watcher). He still had sway with the Council, Willow informed him of William’s needs and put a good argument as to the advantages for the Council of having Ella admitted to the Coven and training regularly with William, and a week later Andrew put a proposition to the Council.
Consequently Ella’s not so loved Watcher was given a promotion - “Watcher-in-charge of Archives” at the newly founded headquarters in Brussels and Ella was given the unique position of being the first Slayer assigned directly to a coven.
Her Watcher could not have been more thrilled. Having hated field work since the very beginning, the now balding Dr Clifton had only lost four Slayers, and saw little need to hide the fact that he felt utterly demeaned by the role of guiding ‘yet another a fifteen year old whose parents did not even have the money to send her to a *decent* school!’
Following his move to Belgium, Dr Clifton would tell people for years that his original role was a mistake as he handed out his gilded card noting his ‘Expert Archivist’ role, oblivious to their knowing grins. His empire was the vault under the main library. His role somewhat redundant – given that all had been recorded digitally – but nevertheless, he was diligent, proud of his work and ‘important’.
When Ella arrived at the door of the Coven she was met by a black haired, black clad witch who introduced herself as ‘Raven’. Instincts made her naturally twitchy around werewolves, vampires, hyenas and… well a whole coven of powerful witches was just nasty – but she took a deep breath and said her piece (also deciding that if she did run, there was nothing in her backpack she *really* couldn’t leave – so could let it go in preference for speed were that necessary.) She took a moment then said as she had been instructed on the text message, “Emeritus Watcher, the deeply respected Andrew, has arranged that I be admitted to the Coven of High Mistress Willow and that I be protected and trained and be a hero with my friend in so much, Spike (?)”
Mistress Willow stifled a smile knowing full well that Andrew must have written the speech, but took the greeting with the reverence with which it was delivered. She admitted the youngster and calmly introducing her to her new colleagues and to Charlotte – and a very pregnant Blanche(!) whom she had met before. The young Slayer visibly relaxed, and that evening she actually thrilled in the experience of sparring with William, both as humans, then, for the first time she was challenged to ‘not hold back’ and was able to let her full power loose *in practice*. She let her demon free… and so did he.
There were no weapons on other than teeth, iron hard muscles, and speed beyond that a human eye might see. It was exhilarating for both combatants, made all the more pleasurable by the intrusion of the hyena Mate, the Sire and the High Mistress. The three watched with satisfaction. Ella was strong but unskilled, her magical signature was that of a wiccan, as was William’s – and both were so much more.
As the fighting progressed each took the upper hand at times and there was blood on both sides. But after an hour the intensity meant that instinct really was taking over consequently, as Poppie entered the room late in the session with their father at her side, there was a problem. William in his demon form, launched himself at the human his Sire ‘brought for him’as old memories were confused with new feelings. Sire came in at the end of the sparring to feed them…“Fight, F#@$ or Feed!” That was it… Angelus had always said… but…
Trent saw the move and pushed Poppie behind him in an act that may very well have saved her life given the speed of the attack.
Ella was on her way to intercepting but was tackled and held fast by a hyena spirit, Alexander. He had moved as swiftly as his Mate, and everyone was working on instinct, so there was no kind touches. She hit and bit and slammed the stake she had somehow found, into his leg – the only place she could reach – and he bit the shoulder of the offending arm until her grip faltered. Alexander was terrified that everything had gone terribly wrong was too afraid to move as his body began to go into shock with blood loss, distressed messages from his Mate, and the adrenalin from the fight. Ella struggled as he held her fast but pushed her head sideways. They both watched a scene that would not be forgotten by any present.
Trent’s booming voice, so rarely used, bellowed “*Down boy*.” and literally slapped William to the ground.
William fell hard and curled up on his knees, arms folded over his head, and after a few seconds of silence in the room began to shake and whimper quietly.
Trent approached him. Again working on an instinct that was not his, he grabbed William roughly by the neck and pushed him hard to the ground, “She is human?”
William struggled, his face was pressed sideways and he was still in game face and tried to speak, “Yethhhfff!...”
Trent shoved him again, and Charlotte gasped in horror. Trent had *never* rough handled *anyone*.
“Do you harm your own, halfling? Do you prey on the weak…?”
“I… did… maybe… I have… *Oh Sire Please*… *Please*… I tried… have tried… will try… just… I am trying, Nanny said that… bad… I am a bad man!”
Trent recognized the slip into other lives, but his *Childe* deserved so much more.
He slapped his son so hard it sent him sprawling to the floor, then stood over him as William licked at the blood on his lip. The new Sire demanded, “Show me your human face! You will not insult your family by showing the demon in this situation. Human face! *Now* boy!”
Charlotte could see her partner’s true anguish at having to do this but also knew the reason as the horrific scene played out.
William shook his head but could not get the ridges and teeth to shift, so simply was crawling toward his father, his Sire, on his knees. “I… I… Oh Sire!!!”
Trent followed instinct once more and grabbed William’s arm with a steely grip and shook him a little. “Did you wait to smell her origins?”
The shaking had an effect and William’s pretty human face returned. “I… nnnn… I donnn…. Oh Sire!!! I would never… who?? Did I hurt…??”
“Did you *pause* *pre-attack* try to see if she were… *family*?”
“No Sire… I’m… sorry… Sire.”
“Did I give you permission to feed?”
“N…No Sire… I am sorry Sire. Please Sire! It will *never happen again*”
For some strange reason Mistress Willow nodded to him and mouthed Trent went with it, “How will you guarantee that? I think that as your Sire I must punish your demon and you *will not* feed again, for the coming two months, without asking express permission of your Sire. Understood?”
Trent was shocked by the words that seemed to come by themselves but knew that this was the ‘real deal’. He had never been one for rules but whatever he had imbued with the ooze of the Mistress Illyria or his other form’s spores had had an effect and as bizarre as it was he knew William’s demon needed this.
“You have endangered your Sire and threatened others, so you *will* bear the punishment in front of your family. Now bare yourself and count!” William dropped his sweat pant and boxers enough to expose his backside then was thrown over his new Sire’s lap and twelve strikes were administered – there was no secret number – just a whole lot of stinging open handed whacks – and really only the last hurt – but that was largely because Trent was so upset by the whole proceedings that his last one actually missed the round buttocks and struck William’s coccyx instead.
Punishment over… Father/Sire pulled his dear boy his *human son* into his arms, and both cried and rocked. Alexander released Ella and flew to his mate’s side.
Charlotte, Poppie, Blanche and Willow also raced forward, joining father and son in a desperate, reassuring pile of familial … hugs. There were no fangs, no magic, no fur, no ‘other’ beings – just family. And in the end Ella and three quarters of the coven had joined in the pile of hugs as well.
William was eventually fed a small draft of his Sire’s blood then knelt silently, submissively, his Sire’s feet before Charlotte lifted him and a very human William struggled to meet his mother’s eyes.
“My darling, you have memories… and you have a new Sire… but – now you must heed me William(!) You are part of a bigger whole! You are ours, and you won’t hurt any of us – we know that. And you and Alexander are due to come to the coven’s solstice party tonight, so go and clean up OK?” And with that everyone dispersed.
The incident was never repeated, nor was it ever mentioned and William’s life began to even out. Trent gave a little blood daily and spent time observing the fledge as he trained…. But the new Sire had, without a doubt, grounded their William into this dimension.
Less than five months later, a rather physically stressed Blanche paid another visit to the family home – this time for respite in the very last part of her pregnancy. Triplets were always going to be a challenge, her slim frame meaning that even at five months she had looked *heavily* pregnant. Now in her last trimester (in the non lunar parts of the month), the issues with her blood pressure were life threatening for mother and children. The irony being that her wolf form seemed absolutely suited to multiple births, so all blessed the fact that at least that gave *some* relief.
Blanche had been accompanied by her wonderful Tjun to London but he was due in Hammersmith for two weeks at a series of ‘gigs’, so she made for the coven and home. Now Blanche rejoined the family at the coven, mid lunar month and six weeks from the due date of the children. Strangely the affect of maternal lunar changes were undocumented.
Mere hours after the pregnant werewolf’s partner’s departure, Charlotte called the Mistress Willow, and Trent was on his knees holding his distressed daughter’s hand!
Extraordinary pain came in waves for Blanche. William could *hear* the heart beats from the room above and raced to report the same to his father, both mother and babies were in extreme distress. As the call was made to Willow, Blanche let out a very audible wolf like howl of pain.
A mere two hours later, Blanche was in the local hospital’s maternity ward and one of Willow’s most trusted wiccan’s Janice(Blanche’s personal obstetrician) performed an emergency caesarean section, delivering three, five week premature, babies - two girls and a boy.
Tjun received the call from backstage. Andrew, the lead singer of Wolfmother, grabbed the base guitar from the distressed father just as they were about to take the stage, and ordered him home with an “Oz said this might happen”, before striding up the steps to the roar of the crowd.
The following night an aging rocker with purple and black dreadlocks would take over the base, then swap with the regular backup guitarist to stun the audience with one of the most skilful, original guitar duals with lead guitarist (completely in Wolfmother style!) heard for years on the open stage. At the ‘after party’ that night, Oz passed on the news that Tjun was a father to three ‘pups’ to the cheers of the crew.
The curly ‘afro’ of lead singer Andrew was seen to nod but was a little puzzled at the reference to puppies. One of the ‘roadies’ simply grinned knowingly, he was of Oz and Tjun’s kind, he always hoped for pups of his own one day.
A thrilled and terrified Tjun arrived at the coven home within hours of the call.
Visibly shaking, he was ushered to the neo-natal unit of the hospital by his lovely partner’s father – who himself looked worried and very grey – and lay adoring eyes on his tiny children.
They were *so* small and seemed to have tubes, and monitors everywhere!
The new father stood in shock. The thought that they might not survive was suddenly real despite the report from the nurses that ‘things were promising’.
He managed to get out “Oh Goddess… they’re… are they… Ohh… before he fell into Trent’s arms and the new grandfather saw a nod confirming they were welcome to visit Blanche. Trent all but carried the father of his grandchildren to see the new mother, his daughter, who so recently had sat on his knee and handed him a new piece of art from her year one class at school..
Trent was so glad to note his sons at the bedside, but even more, that his darling Charlotte, his tower of strength, was quietly evoking a prayer of healing as they entered the room.
Seeing Blanche so pale and non moving, Tjun could no longer contain his emotion and fell to his knees at the doorway in tears. She had risked everything for them, he knew that. Finally, encouraged and supported by Trent he stood and lightly kissed her forehead, nose then lips. Thanking her over and over for their children. Blanche smiled a little as she felt her partner, then sighed and fell asleep in the knowledge that he was there.
The next nine days were fraught with worry. The children were so very tiny… so very, very (!) tiny. They were natural human triplets but smaller than normal according to the records - an instant family born to a lovely couple.
The nurses were wonderful, but to one (Lucy) who was ‘in the know,’ the three were a wonder. They were the first children to two changeling witch-werewolves in a thousand years. Mistress Willow also knew – as did most in the magical community, it was another ‘win’ for the family… but also another nail in the prophesy coffin.
Despite the excellent survival rates of premature and multiple birth babies, the exhausted parents and family waited minute to minute as breathing and variable heart rates saw little bodies struggling to survive. Each minute was a blessing. Each time expressed milk was slowly sucked a wonder.
They were encouraged to name the children on the second day. All parents in the special care unit were advised to do so, the prospect of an unmarked grave was one no one wanted to even contemplate. So it was - Rosamund, Wendie and James. Their naming day would occur when they came home to the coven.
And so it was. After fifteen days of life and tiny forms hooked to various monitoring instruments, the new children were finally released into their parents’ care. The three tiny forms wrapped in purple, green and yellow baby blankets and small enough that they all fitted into a single baby carrier were taken home to their grandparents’ cottage at the coven.
That night William quietly absented himself at a time he would normally been most active. Alexander found him on the roof in tears… again. Alexander understood and joined him, initially sitting quietly but eventually the two were wrapped around each other in a tight hug and understood his Mate’s upset. Once more William had to face what he had become – and not of his own choice… William in *all* his manifestations would have been a *wonderful* partner and loving father… and now, it was still not to be!
There was no sleep that night for the new parents as they desperately tried to contact Willow (in Scotland) and Oz three days prior to their monthly change.
Oz (honorary uncle), arrived hours later – the advantages of friends in high places and private jets!. He reassured everyone and grinned then nodded at the white haired High Mistress returned and examined the children.
She confirmed what Oz knew. The children were not at risk from their parents, their magical signature was unmistakable, indeed it was highly recommended that the children *did* remain with their parents for the coming evenings of change. Nevertheless, William and Alexander were on standby, Blanche’s talisman was firmly in place, and Oz, Willow, Blanche and Trent stood ready to step in if all else failed.
Blanche and Tjun chose to take their change as they had in the months of her pregnancy - face to face. This time it was in Blanche’s double bed in her room at the family home. For the first time, however, the babies were no longer safely ensconced within their mother’s body, but were human newborns in the open, between two wolf parents.
What no one expected was the first act of the changed wolf father as he rose and deliberately pushed three human babies with a furred muzzle. All on standby tensed, then realized what he was doing as he encouraged the three newborns to feed from the canine nipples of Blanche. They then watched stunned silence as the she-wolf tore off tiny soiled nappies as they fed, growled her pleasure, then thoroughly licked each in turn.
Intervention had been thwarted early on as Alexander, in his hyena form, growled a panicked “Leave them!” and they observed Tjun’s wolf form licking his partner then taking special care to lick each of his children in turn as the tiny forms continued to feed and finally fell asleep.
Three hours later, the scene was repeated, but for one difference.
This time the children too, shifted form a little, and the more they fed, the more their tiny bodies became those of newborn wolf cubs. Their human snuffles and cries were soon replaced by the contented squeaks and high pitched growls of cubs and despite still human-like blue eyes, the three were most definitely wolf pups.
It was at once bizarre and thrilling, and by the third night, everyone in both family and coven were utterly relaxed and confident that the children were not only out of danger, but given their small size and early arrival, utterly advantaged by their unique situation.
The morning after the full moon saw the family resting in human form – but for one difference. The children retained observable, inch or so long, furry tails. Of course as they grew older the change back would be complete, but for now it was a reason to rejoice. Grandma Charlotte said nothing and simply tucked the extra appendages neatly into nappies before gently delivering the three back to their once more sleeping mother’s side.
After the first change, it was Oz who reassured the distressed extended family.
Each of the children, like their parents, would change with the monthly cycle. The three were part of a family pack, their magic was powerful and of unmistakeable pedigree. Whether with Oz’s pack, the coven, or at home with family, the children would always feel their belonging at an instinctive level.
Willow sent Oz an Email a month later. The thrill of the three little ones wobbling around and playing together in their wolf forms was wonderful, but the word ‘portent’ was front and central.
The full red eclipse of the moon on the night following the Email only made the family more nervous.