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....
The Mistress looked a little drained as she spoke to them from across her desk.
“Margaret is now two and a half, and I have decided to tutor her myself every day in private. Your older girls can continue with their lessons in the general coven sessions – the boys will begin in the junior group next year. Margaret must start immediately but it will only be short sessions as she is so young - but has already proven her power and instinct to connect with Gaia. My main concern is her temper, you both will have a great influence on that – but she has brothers and sisters and will in all likeliness find some frustrations – which will no doubt be minor and a battle of wills.
She is as any other young child and will be, at times, petulant and distressed. My concern is for the coven, as her power grows with her, and the temper tantrums few though they are, have already resulted in harm to the members here – several fainted in the last one, Jess dropped a large pot of soup (thankfully not hot) on her foot, and Rachel landed heavily face down and now sports a badly bruised cheek and hip.
I have spoken to the Battle Brand (much to his displeasure) and he has agreed to release some of his own funds if yours are inadequate. You see we have arranged a house on a small plot of land a mile or so away – just near the village green. It is a bungalow, has a cellar, chicken and rabbit runs and very pretty garden with vegetables and fruit trees on the plot. It is rather run down but the Brand surmised with your skills Xander that might be less of a problem. It does mean a permanent move to Britain and relinquishing your job Xander.”
Xander pondered for a moment then snorted a little, looking rather sad, “Think I’d be hard pressed to keep it now anyway. I’m sure the boss has a replacement after I’ve been away for so long. We’ll contact Clem and Noreen – sure they’ll be happy to pack up the apartment.”
Spike grabbed his hand and smiled, “Pet they might even want it now with the kiddies and their’s is really a bachelor pad. Last I heard Noreen’s younger brother wanted to move out of home, perfect. Leave the furniture, pack up what kiddies stuff you think we need – toys are all I reckon, and anythin’ of yours you figure you need or want and Bob’s your uncle.”
It was as though the Mistress was invisible as the two swiftly sorted their affairs but she smiled at the rather domestic scene and the pragmatic way the two adjusted to the idea.
“I really should go back Spike, we can’t let Clem do all that.”
“So cash in our return tickets and go back then come back.”
“What about a visa Spike I can’t work here legally or stay for a long time unless I…”
The Mistress cleared her throat, “The Battle Brand and I have fixed that. You will note that after the Sunnydale disaster and death of your parents that Mr Rupert Giles legally adopted you, here is your UK/European passport.”
“Don’t need to work anyway Pet – and you can tell the Brand to keep ‘is money but taa anyway… Long as you’ve got someone with a few contacts needing gems, I’ve got the cash for the house sorted.”
Mistress looked a little surprised but was rather insistent, “I think the Battle Brand would like to see his worldly assets put to good use and considers Xander very much as a son of sorts and therefore…” She handed over a bank cheque apparently from Giles for a hundred and eighty thousand pounds. “This is exactly half what you will need to purchase the property, the rest is yours to find. We negotiated with the owners and they are willing to wait a month should you struggle with the deal.”
Xander’s eyes went wide, “Mistress, I can’t accept this!”
“It’s not for you to accept, it is made out to the owners of the house. All you need to do is match it.”
Spike took over, though was beginning to look decidedly tired again, “We’ll have the dosh. Tell the folks we’ll take it.”
“You don’t want to see the property first?”
“Trusted ya this far Mistress” Spike made a point of looking around the room, “’N figure you have mighty fine taste – at least for interiors, so thanks but we’ll go on your word, ‘sides me ol’ self here really not up to a daylight inspection.”
“Oh yes William, I am sorry. I keep forgetting!”
“’S OK dear lady, lots do… must be the charm…” He would have finished the sentence with a customary smirk of old but instead felt decidedly ill of a sudden and grabbed for Xander’s arm “Pet… I need… I think I’m gonna…”
Xander knew the look and grabbed the waste basket from beside the desk and held his partner over his knees as he repeatedly heaved his last meal into the receptacle.
It was a very shaky vampire who was eventually eased into his partner’s lap in a sitting position.
The Mistress removed the soiled container and returned without comment, simply quietly touching a still very worried Xander on the shoulder. “Just take him back to your rooms, it’s been a long day for all of us.”
“Nought to be sorry for. Your dear love is still recovering and that takes time. Let Margaret tend him in the morning. That will settle things, but for now kind hugs and love is all he needs.”
As Xander departed with his partner held tight against his chest, he all but sobbed, “Thank you… for everything… everything…”
“You are very welcome my darling, now go to and look after those whom are precious to you.”
Spike still had an odd greenish tinge to his skin and was alternating between sweating cold droplets and panting as they entered the suite.
Margaret had already made a fuss causing Nurse Susan to allow her to leave her cot and toddle into Pa and Unca’s room.
Xander worried as he placed his partner gently on the lowered bed and the little girl immediately latched on by biting down once more. Spike arched with the pain this time. But then something remarkable, she planted her feet and this time Xander saw the glow as she pulled from the Earth then offered her tiny wrist. Spike took but a mouthful, but it was enough.
Xander scooped her up and hugged her as it was apparent that ‘enough’ meant on the healing path again. They simply sat as Xander stroked first Spike then Margaret in succession and repeatedly.
Three other five year old girls joined them shortly after followed by the two three and a half year old boys. It was fitting. Spike was surrounded by family, so were they all. And Xander knew that they had pushed it today but Spike was still on the mend.
A day later saw a far different picture. Xander booking his trip back. The children at school, and preschool, and Margaret back to the side of Spike but still rather tentative – his illness worried her and rightly so.
He rang Patch Dixon – the head of the community college and rather emotionally tendered his resignation. He apologised and thanked her profusely and *promised* one last visit on his short return, but also explained his youngest’s needs in terms of ‘medical attention not available in the USA’ – and the ongoing difficulties with his ‘brother’, Patch switched instantly into mother mode.
“My dear you take care of your own and *you*! We will miss you dearly but my darling we will use your notes for many years to come… With your permission of course…”
“I’ll include a note to that effect in my resignation letter.”
The phone call ended pleasantly. Patch wishing him well and ‘locking in’ a coffee date on the second day he would be in their locale.
Xander was to leave the next day. The calls to Clem occurred early and the enthusiasm for the upper apartment quite… lovely. Noreen was heard to be shushing her baby as the news obviously garnered a solid vote of delight from the twins and her!
Afterward Spike commissioned three of the young wiccans to do a ‘bit of a shop’ on his behalf.
As the ‘hippie-mobile’ came around the front Spike walked slowly with his dear love. He felt… He held on tight as Xander kissed him soundly.
“I… umm… Come back soon… yeah? Kids need you… I… Oh Xan don’t… don’t leave like the others!”
Xander was faced with two arms full of collapsed very vulnerable vampire.
He kissed Spike possessively on the lips, “Not a chance in hell or heaven! See you in a week or so. Take care of the kids Dad… Yeah?”
Xander bade farewell to all his children, the girls understood but his boys cried as did Margaret… as did Xander. He would be back soon but what that meant to small children was very different.
The ensuing seven days included a legal handover of the lease to the delighted Noreen and Clem, the packing of the childrens’ toys and other items for shipping, and a quiet coffee with his former employer, who was touched as he teared up explaining his partner’s slow recovery, and his daughter’s malaise, but also heartened that the medical facility they were currently attending gave some relief.
Patch reached across the table and on a whim held his hand, “Now what about you my dear? You were our favourite you do know that? Are you taking care of you?”
An extremely overtired Xander said nothing but simply shook his head. “No Patch… but this is all we’ve got. My adoptive father has given us some money and… Margaret is being well treated.”
Patch had seen parents with ‘special’ children before, “You need to do the best for your little ones… including your littlest love. We are sad to lose you…”
Xander became rather teary… it wasn’t just Margaret at stake! A droplet escaped without his permission, “I would have stayed, I’m sorry…”
Patch was touched that a father of six was so stressed and trusting of her that he dropped a tear as he apologised and thanked her repeatedly, she stood, rounded the table and pulled him into a genuine hug, “You use me as a reference – anytime! Now, just how are those Englanders going to understand you?!”
Her answer was a snort and a ‘thanks’. She worried as he left his family problems were taking their toll. He looked too tired and drawn. The following Sunday the strict Catholic, Patch, struck a candle and sent a prayer for her former employee and family.
Clem and Noreen were ecstatic. The residence was perfect, his brother had moved in and with all the furniture remaining – along with pretty much everything else bar for the children’s toys and some personal items. The children had already grown so taking them made no sense – but might prove useful for Noreen’s brood, which (as it turned out – a grinning Clem broke the news) was to grow to four by the new year.
Xander hugged his old friend then a rather rotund (already) Noreen. Clem literally glowed with pride as he introduced his two little ones – already walking, then his wife’s younger brother – who could have been his own twin!
“Is on the improve… back walking with the cane… all of the good.”
“And the kids?”
“Girls at school – love it and good at it… typical Willow really… boys into ‘football’ – well it’s soccer there and join the girls next year for wiccan studies.”
“She’s the reason we’re leaving here. Clem you know what she was like here – now it’s ten times the power – and growing. Mistress is training her, but it will take the Battle Brand and Spike to groom her… I’m sorry to leave you like this but…”
“You *have* to be joking! A fully paid up lease until next June, all the furniture, children’s clothes etc – give us a break! You just get yourself back to your gorgeous family and worry about when your floppy pseudo-relatives might visit.”
Xander smiled at the door, “We’ll be waiting” then left. Left their home… forever.
Two days later an exhausted Alexander Lavelle Harris Giles arrived back home.
On the anything to declare were a number of personal items that were duly checked – various gems with appropriate papers (from his Sunnydale days – who needed the stock market) and a wrapped gift for the girls containing all manner of creative play products – play dough, pencils, crayons… you name it.
In the end the customs official simply smiled sympathetically. Xander still carried his ‘wife’s death certificate and his own adoption papers (dated appropriately) and listed his reason for entering the country as permanent residency, listing the coven as his place of employ, which technically it was, for the moment.
Two phone calls were made – one to the Mistress, the other to the Battle Brand, both confirmed the legitimacy of his entry.
All would have been perfect but for the ‘sneaky F&*&ing bugger’ of a taxi driver who randomly decided to get them a ‘bit lost’.
It was unfortunate for the driver that he was half demon. As Miss Margaret took her evening meal and felt her Unca’s upset, she planted her feet and this time met it. Da was missing, and she *would* find him!
Spike gasped and passed out as she drained his magical and life energy and pulled from everything around her in her panic.
Mistress had warded all the coven rooms but Margaret was strong enough to break them all in her panic, and Spike was sleeping with his arms across all her siblings. She pulled from all of them, and the coven and the Earth.
The taxi driver was *compelled* to drive Da to his correct destination, within the hour, and the half demon waived the seventy pound fee on the grounds of “feeling… geez you *do* have connections!”
Margaret fell into her father’s arms as did all the other five as he arrived on the doorstep.
Spike was the last to arrive, and had been so drained that he was quite out of sorts when Xander arrived. It was only later, after all the fuss of … well the fuss, and they finally relaxed together, that he… relaxed too.
“The kiddies were so good for you Xan… All of them… They knew… How important it was for you… for us…right bright lot you and Red brought into the world.”
Xander began to stroke Spike’s increasingly long curly locks. “But Margie?”
“Yeah well she made a bit of a fuss in the end – but figure it was for the best… you should’a got the VW-ombile ta pick you up!”
“Was too much…” Xander looked contrite. It had been his choice to do all by himself.
“Trouble?! Bloody hell! Who are you kiddin’!? Maggie just about brought down half of bloody Berkshire with her panic – sooner we school that one the better!! Your girls are still cryin’ I think, and boys doin’ only marginally better – so get to… give ‘em all a Daddy hug and nice words and I’ll tend ya later.”
The last one Xander saw was Maggie. He found her again feeding from Spike, but this time she seemed to know that Da was home. He pulled her gently from her feeding and kissed her gently as he had done all his/their other children, then put her back on a willing chest.
Spike winced a little as tiny sharp teeth and mouth latched back on to the open wound that had been willingly, repeatedly accessed.
“Just take the little chit when she’s asleep yeah? Tends to bite too hard if’n she falls asleep.”
“Oh Ghod! Spike!...”
“Don’t fuss Luv or she’ll wake… just… here we go…” Spike put a gentle finger into the tiny mouth and broke the suction. Margaret slept on and Xander had the joy of bedding his youngest daughter then carrying his beloved to bed. He was truly on exhaustion point but it mattered not a jot.
They were to live in England, they were about to be house owners, his children all but one would attend school or kindergarten and his little one was to be schooled by his lover and the Mistress.
It would be perfect if only Willow was here. They were hers… If only she knew...