Pairing: Xander/Spike (don’t be fooled by the Willow beginning)
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Wolfram and Hart may have won the day, but the battle is just about to begin...
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don't like boys together, don't play here!
Harsh circumstances and difficult start....
Spike began to improve slowly but something else was happening and it was Margaret again.
She seemed to want to be with him almost constantly. For some reason she knew to pull from the Earth as she drank, but also knew that Unca Spike needed rest and comfort.
After each feeding she cried because Unca seemed not able… and Nurse Susan would come on the run and her dear Unca would be fed again with the bottles like they gave her but a little bigger… and as he drank, she would relax on his chest and lick the place he always made for her to drink.
Her next best hugger was Daddy, but she seemed know that he had others too, her brothers and sisters were all there.
Even at just coming up for two and a half she *knew*, she could bring every member of the coven to its knees, but Unca told her… and she listened… she listened as he asked to be rolled onto his side “You don’t hurt thems as what helps you! Family! Family is all Pet, you need to *protect* them That afternoon whe had donated from her ‘special chair’ before he read her some, ‘Can you say this’ by Dr Seuss *again* and always ended up tossing it against the wall before continuing with Christopher Robin… even at two and a bit she was torn between liking Piglet or Owl the best. Owl seemed so much like Spike.
It was twelve weeks of extreme worry for Xander as he saw his dear heart undulate between health and dusty death. Twelve weeks of terrifying ups and downs, but at the end of week eight a momentous breakthrough, Spike had stood without pain for the first time to the cheers of members of the coven, and was hugged by all the children. And that was when Xander cried as he realised that he needed the vampire as much as the children… no… or rather his need for the blonde one went so much farther…
By week twelve Spike was again walking with a cane but this time knew that he was returning to full health, he felt strong and had taken to exercising his arms again – something he had been unable to do for some time.
The three girls were a joy and quite settled at the coven. Space was short and they still all slept in the one double bed which could be either blissful or a bun fight! The latter always sorted if father had to come in. They were already reading and apparently had their mother’s mind for studies and for magic – which they were being slowly encouraged to explore. They were loving to a fault and Xander delighted in late afternoon strolls with the three as they chatted away about all the things they had learned that day.
The boys were now in ‘sub-junior’ soccer and seemed to lean toward anything physical as a habit. The encouraging thing was that their magical signature too was strong, even at such a young age. The idea of two junior male wiccans with their heritage caused a ripple through the coven and beyond, it had been too long.
But Margaret was something more. She should still have been too young to understand her power, but somehow she did. She was allowed to visit Unca Spike ‘for a drink’ once a day but only if he had already drunk his limit in blood and had his special bottle on the side of the bed. She would always wait for that to be placed before wandering in.
These days she liked to wait until he was a little propped up by pillows and had time to read to her. She quite liked Winnie the Pooh and hugged her own teddy to her close every time Unca read another chapter or a poem… she even contemplated finding the North Pole herself one day.
And Spike improved and was back in a normal but specially low bed. Now whenever the little love fed, she slid down, planted her feet on the slate floor and drew from the earth. Spike giving back as much as he was able – as he always had, but now realising, this was a being so powerful that the whole spectrum of magic was hers to play with.
Xander saw it, the whole Coven did. Margaret may have been his by birth but she was also acting like… Lilliana said it first… increasingly like a fledgling vampire Childe whenever around Spike.
A very worried father stood at the door and stared, then, feeling the Mistress behind him, whispered, “But she’s not being turned… is she? Oh G$#% she’s not… I should…” He was about to move but felt the presence of the Mistress and the quiet word, “Don’t.”
“You know this is right. You know she will not be harmed by Spike, just as you would not harm her. She drinks of him and in turn, now imbues a little of Mother Earth’s strength each time she does so. She will be changed by the blood, but only that it makes her stronger, more bound to family, and to the ‘other’. When old enough she will return here to take my place – or to command a coven of her own that is clear. And the Battle Brand has seen it. She will have physical abilities at the extreme end of human, but family will train her and ground her. Do not fear for her, rather, let her be your littlest one Margaret. She needs you too… Her father is loved… precious… and so is the Mate of Spike.”
Lilliana’s quiet words meant everything. Xander wandered into the room and eased himself onto the bed behind his lover whilst the little one continued to feed from Spike’s wrist this time.
It had been weeks since Xander had touched Spike in such a way, previously simple petting or sympathetic touches to face or hands was the limit, now Spike felt it. His wonderful human was spooning him from behind, and he could feel every inch of the much loved warm body touching him. And then a wrist came around. His demon was already aroused so the bite was both gentle and painful for Xander and now three were joined in blood.
Margaret felt the love flowing between father and Unca and was not so much confused but incredibly excited. She stamped her feet and planted them as she took one last suck from Unca then toddled off to have Nurse Susan feed her the very last of Willow’s milk. Her joy was evident as she finished the bottle and planted her feet on the ground again – this time to send her happiness to Gaia and anyone connected to Mother Earth.
The ripple was not just evident, it was crippling. Every magical creature and most animals stopped for a moment and felt odd as the small girl once again touched their beings. Anyone with their feet to the floor dropped to their knees. Mistress Lilliana was a powerful witch, but she too paused as the little one took and gave. Her coven could not be compromised in such a fashion so regularly, but the Battle Brand had said that it was Spike who needed to school the little girl, and Lilliana knew that it would be in her coven, she had seen that much.
Xander worried that they would be banned from the Coven, and began to pack the children’s things but was staid by the Mistress’s hand, “You must not go and try to do it alone, it will dust your partner and possibly kill your other children.”
“But… I am so sorry!...”
Lilliana saw a man in distress as Xander dropped to his knees in front of her.
“I just… I don’t know what to do! Willow was my best friend… she was the mother of all my children and now she’s gone… [hic] and Spike is my partner, my lover, my mate… please don’t make us leave… Please! At least take the other children… I [hic] I will try to be here as many days as I can.”
Mistress Lilliana turned on her best motherly tone, “There is no need to leave. We will deal with this issue – just as Spike will. The little girl is simply ‘finding her feet’ and she *needs* to interact with other people.”
Xander was holding his still incapacitated friend’s hand tightly with one hand and was literally begging…
“Please! Mistress… How can we fix this!?”
The Senior Wiccan simply took both his hands in hers and asked, “Please focus, my eyes won’t tell all but they *will* inform to some degree.”
He saw Margaret running with other children; he saw Spike standing at the winter solstice some time in the future; he saw his teenaged girls all decked out for winter solstice and his tall handsome sons for summer some years later. There were no words… except… “Where’s Margaret… later? Please does something?...!”
Mistress Lilliana turned a learned gaze on the worried father.
“She is not truly ours. Xander you knew this from the beginning, hers is a destiny that is well beyond mine. Her power outstrips mine and yet she is *so young* I will train her for as long as I can – as will her *other* father… and together perhaps we will combine to save Gaia who *is* struggling. She is the next Mistress, and none have yet seen her true power.”
Xander rallied a little, “I think I might have had a feel before… Her Mother… her mother…”
“Marked you… and though you don’t seem to feel it at the time, we all can… Indeed we all did the instant she was sentient again. But your love brought her back.
“And your love rescued her and gave her peace and joy in the last years of her life… And as you were for your friend, the mother, now you are for her children. Their rock, their stability… You are as you have always been, but now are more. Your children are growing, and the product of love, despite their beginnings. And you have an almost recovered…”
Xander turned, only to see Spike slowly pulling the ‘Little Miss’ up for a hug after feeding then miraculously, he wiggled pale toes and for the first time in weeks pushed week legs up a little more. It was the first true sign of recovery Xander had seen.
The little one was gently removed by Nurse Susan and Xander bared his neck, easily taken, and for the first time in months, they moved together and when Xander lifted and shifted over him, Spike was able to happily drew his legs back with weak arms and joyfully invited the feeling as his lover sank down easily into his adored form.
Xander cried as he completed. There were no words but his partner was in game face and crying as he too released… there were no words.
Spike was on the mend.
The following day a bevy of tiny children joyfully rushed to his bedside. He was so loved and they had all worried, even though so young… especially the girls. Their father hugged them hard as they entered the sick room.
On her way out Maisie could not help herself. “Papa why is Uncle Spike so very thin? I heard it was… Sorry Papa, just curious?” The five year old saw the distress on her father’s face and accepted the rather shaky hug… and knew there was something amiss. It was only the “We have worked a deal that will heal” that gave her hope. Maisie was ever the optimist.
Indeed Spike did improve. After two months he was well enough to celebrate the boys’ fourth and shortly after even walk (with cane) to the girls’ entering their first year of school. They were in a ‘posh’ area so the school was tremendous. Teachers called themselves by their first names and the children were encouraged to explore their strengths in all directions. The three girls *loved* school, particularly as all had arrived there with their wiccan buddies. The Head of School was himself a private practiser of the art… and very aware of the community in his midst.
He interviewed a very nervous Xander (never one for schools!) then reassured the poor man that his girls would be well looked after. Knowledge of the family loss was almost too much but there were other relatives helping… at least a little. The principal Gerard made a note. The girls would be seen soon into the new year by the school psychologist and monitored. The loss was not to be discounted should they show ‘issues’ – particularly as triplets…
Xander provided all the paperwork and filled out so much paper as to kill five trees… then they… went home.
And Spike was standing, with Margaret at his side. The two year old grinning and said clearly “Look… Unca… Me… Unca!!!”
Xander congratulated and kissed all his girls (including Margaret) and ushered them all into the arms of Nanny Susan.
After they were inside he fell to his knees at his wonderful partner and began to drop heavy then copious tears of relief, or thanks, or grief… he was no longer sure… If his partner was truly on the mend, they were also one of… then he felt it… the link… It was all that was needed. Love… The Beatles had said it before he was even born… “Love is all you need”.
And what of Margaret? The connection with Spike was unmistakable and The Mistress had booked a meeting with both ‘parents’ the next day. She needed more magically and they needed a solution.