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.
Previous parts here
The portent was real, but the timing was unclear.
Willow was adamant that the two boys must be together when the event (undescribed) occurred. Their parents continued to support the boys as they worked and worried, and worried and worked.
The months seemed to go by so quickly and each time the three days of change, now the family rejoiced as did the coven. Blanche’s little ones were a delight in their human form but obviously delighted in their change as it allowed them to walk on all fours confidently and tussle, their wolf forms far more advanced physically than their human one. By eleven months as humans the children could all crawl, stand and walk around things with support, and by twelve months were toddling in their human form. These days their tails *almost* disappeared, though some wolf traits seemed to remain even in the non moon days, their heightened sense of smell and hearing, the baring of teeth when threatened, and habit of falling into a ‘full down position’ when submitting if being reprimanded were all consistent. But whenever they visited (which was usually once a week at least, they were the joy of the coven.
When not playing sessional music for recording artists in London, Tjun took on the mantle of ‘guest’ language teacher at the coven, quite confident to instruct the wiccan’s in some Eastern/Asian texts that had previously been indecipherable. He was patient, quiet and tended to gravitate towards Trent whenever at the coven and worried by something. Xander could see it clearly. His sister had chosen someone very like her birth father as a partner. If ever there was a reason for a private smile, it was that.
The vampire William and mate were rarely seen apart when at home, still claiming the ‘old barn’ as their own and delighted in their older sister’s happiness, found in partner, children and acceptance of her changed state.
Poppy too delighted them, and though she complained often that her older siblings kept ruining her ‘dating prospects’ because of their status – and the fact that William and Blanche were inclined to growl at anyone they perceived as not being good enough for their little sister! And yet she still loved them dearly and would not have swapped her family for the world.
It was late winter when William’s editor asked him to do an extra piece – an expository report following up complaints of animal sacrifice and cult activity in the area. Apparently two senior students from the local comprehensive college had been arrested semi-nude, lighting a fire circle around a specific grave on un-consecrated ground just outside the church graveyard gates. They were said to have, “Fought with unusual strength, biting and scratching the arresting constables before being placed in a safe cell for the night and attended by a doctor specialising in drug related psychosis.
William interviewed the attending medico and the senior sergeant shortly after sundown. His quiet manner and apparent understanding of their dismay at the occurrences put the men and young female nurse interviewed at ease. If anything he was more nervous than they.
“I, um… Senior Sergeant, for the record, do you consider this to be something unexplainable? You know like um, demon possession or… I, um… Could it just be some young girls, you know… umm. My Editor thinks this is a big story but I really would just like to write the truth if I can.” William was speaking for the coven in the last sentence, though the context for the Senior Sergeant was perhaps a little different. Nevertheless he saw a young man with scruples, not some sensationalist reporter he had expected.
The older man answered honestly and noted William’s swift note taking on computer, the boy could touch type almost as fast as he could speak. The text was presented to him for review and he was thrilled to see a very accurate account without flourish.
William was pleased at the response – and the fact that it seemed the two girls were unaware of the coven – though concerned that they continually referred to the Ram and the Hart, wailing that the Wolf was with ‘the other’. William stood and shook the older man’s hand, “Thank you for your time – I realize you are very busy. I will send you the transcript of our interview and the final draft I submit to my editor.”
The older law enforcer released the handshake and frowned a little as though trying to remember something, then smiled a little, “Your folks live on the Trellawly estate. Your sister was one of the ones hurt by that nutter of a constable a few years back. Terrible business.”
“Yes Sir. Blanche my older sister. She is married with three children these days. She lives in Caversham.”
The greying Sergeant seemed to think for a moment then grunted, “Hmph. Give my regards to your folks. Wife loves your stall on the first Saturday – always good stuff. You lookin’ to move with your career then? Local news is no news surely?”
William recognized the shift from formal interview to friendly exchange so went with his gut, “Not really Sir. Family is here. And…” He looked up with impossibly long lashes and blushed in a way that made him look all the younger, “I would really like to write for a living. Fiction… And family is here.”
Senior Sergeant Dwyer smiled the warm paternal smile of a father who had three of his four still living in and around the village. “Well said lad. Now you go write that story and I’d better get back to policing this corner of the world. Don’t hesitate to call if you have more information, this one is a real puzzle.”
The meeting at the Police station ended most amicably, and the ensuing report was a front page (albeit, second tier) report approved by the local constabulary as very balanced and non-sensational.
At the coven it was a different matter. The Wolf, the Ram and the Hart. It was too familiar, especially for William and his memories of the Black Thorn and being played in the previous life.
Alexander was his rock but it was becoming harder. For some reason they seemed to quarrel more of late. There was a new school Head Master, who had taken Alexander ‘under his wing’ and seemed to hold more and more influence over the young Junior school Physical Education teacher. Alexander quoted him, skipped dinner with William in preference to attending ‘in-service’ meetings and was often too tired from the day’s proceedings to even reciprocate a kiss with any more enthusiasm that would be afforded a favourite aunt. His boss was ‘grooming him’ for a senior administrative position and Alexander revelled in the attention. Finally he would be successful at something.
A few weeks later William heard alarm bells ringing when Alexander slipped into a casual conversation that all the extra attention seemed to follow his being introduced to an important London barrister at the annual function for staff and the school board, that.
Roger Hart QC, senior partner in a successful London law firm, school governer and personal friend of the Head Master. He had taken a specific interest in the handsome young PE teacher, and seemed un-phased when Xander let slip that he was not really interested in a job at the very old (est 1125), exclusive, Reading School which could easily be arranged by Mr Hart, stating that he preferred the smaller casual setting of their own community school and living as he was with family on the ‘co-operative’ farm just out of town.
Alexander was immediately alarmed as his Mate rounded on him, threw him roughly to the floor and pinned him there with preternatural speed and strength not previously used in anger borne of fear.
Feral yellow eyes and angry ridges were present at once, causing Xander’s hyena to whimper and submit immediately. “What did you tell him? And do be specific… What *exactly* was said?”
“Geez Will… Nothing um… Just who I was, you know, what I did at school… that sort of thing!”
“What did you tell him about the coven… about me, us?”
“Nothing… He knew about the coven – Head Master knows – geez the whole village knows. Anyway who’s taken the jam out of your donut today… I just talked to the guy and things have been going well for me,” Will saw Alexander look a little crestfallen and released his grip, letting his game face drop.
“Wolfram and Hart took the jam a lifetime ago – and looks like they’re back for seconds.”
Alexander shook off the hyena pelt and sat up rubbing his wrists. “That’s it, how did you know the name? How did you know? Have you heard of them?”
“Too bloody right I have… Black Thorn was their inner circle in LA… We… that is Angel, Wes, Charlie… We have to tell the coven! If it’s really a senior partner after you then…” William moved like lightening grabbed a still rather puzzled Alexander from the floor and dragged him across to the coven, slammed open the door to Willow’s office, and announced to a stunned group of senior wiccans and Mistress Willow, “We have a problem.”
Some time later as William paced the back of the room like some big cat trapped in a cage whilst Willow confirmed the identity of the school benefactor, including that he had only been on the school board for some three months, yet in that time the school had been afforded all sorts of grants and concessions hitherto unheard of. She also noted – via a quick search online, that the Head Master had been given a position on the National Curriculum Board and a tidy raise after invitations and his contributions to three other committees (County Discipline Review; National Health in Schools Initiative; and Innovative Technologies Project)
Several teachers had apparently been granted leave atypically suddenly during that time, and were replaced surprisingly quickly by teachers recommended by various board members. All were consummate professionals according to Alexander and he could see no real problem, until Willow did some more digging. Two had been former employees of a private International school in Highgate, ostensibly attached to Kings College as far as funding went and strictly set up to groom overseas students for the rigors of an English University undergraduate degree in Law or Medicine. A third had given up a place at Harrow Junior School to come to their humble little school.
What didn’t add up was why these teachers had opted for a country primary school with few prospects of advancement and only limited tenure.
Alexander was getting a little nervous but still pushed the point, “Geez paranoid much? Who here would *want* to live in that sort of pressured environment? Maybe they just wanted a sea change?!”
Will turned and literally snarled, “Then go to bloody Bogner for the summer! This is *not* right! What could Wolfram and Hart possibly want with the coven? What are they planning? It can’t just be about the kids?”
Willow stood and moved to catch William by the arm mid pace, noting the arrival of Trent and Charlotte as she did so. “We are and have always been on ‘their dial’ as you might put it William. The difference is that now you, Alexander and Trent are different, unique, as is Blanche and her brood.”
William stared at his father, his Sire, for a moment then rounded on her in full game face, “You knew? You knew we were being spied upon and failed to mention…”
Willow’s eyes went black, the contact on William’s arm throbbed momentarily and his knees buckled under him. Prostrate in front of her Willow’s voice seemed to cut through him like a searing hot knife. “You will not doubt my motives William, Spike (!) It was necessary for them to get this close or we shall not be able to fully utilize your abilities – or those of the extended family and coven. Illyria visited my dreams this last week, and has shown me what is to come.
“It is better to keep the enemy close, and better that we allow them to think they have the upper hand. We still do not know how far down the spiral goes, nor the ultimate outcome wished for by Wolfram and Hart. But the world’s covens are in agreement, it does involve mass elimination of all white magic.
Spike was incensed, “So what? We just sit here and…?!”
“Let Xander do his regular job, why yes. And you do yours, we all do as we have done, but now in the knowledge that unusual occurrences and requests are reported here… And only here… and that we commune with trusted covens and are ready when the W&H ‘push’ comes. And it will, the signs all point to the winter solstice. We need to prepare.”
Alexander looked decidedly pale and held his father’s hand for a moment, “What push?”
“Of that I am not sure Alex, but I am fairly certain they are looking to subsume the energy of the human world for their own ends. Changelings and half breeds are so much easier to control.”
A worried Charlotte spoke up, “Have you informed the Watchers’ Council?”
“Unfortunately we know of three at least who are in the pocket of Wolfram and Hart, to reveal our knowledge of their actions and intentions would be to expose ourselves even further.”
“Oz has contacts in many places, dark and light, and Tjun and Blanche with their little ones are part of his pack now. They are innocents to the outside, and though under scrutiny from Wolfram and Hart, will be able to convey messages as needed whenever the children are left here as Blanche and Tjun tour for short periods… It’s called nappy-gram. A crude but effective revelation of information scribed on the disposable exterior – and only visible when ‘wet’.
“Werewolves are seen as free agents – much as unsouled vampires – so the heat is off. Oz is a maverick yes, but has never stood in the way of Wolfram and Hart, nor done them any favours. They see him as a non-threat and are content that he is only interested in his and his pack’s survival. In other words, he is yet to owe them anything, let’s hope he is able to stay that way.”
Alexander turned to Willow and looked at her hard. The High Mistress looked more tired than he had seen her previously, “…But? Come on Willow… you have but-face.”
Willow turned to the young man looking incredulous and a little bemused, “Oh Xander… You are always there just under the skin…”
Alexander blushed then protested, “I just… um… I didn’t…”
Willow gave a fatigued smile, “There is a ‘but’. We cannot let in new coven members for the foreseeable future. At least not until we know what W&H have in store and the meaning of the prophesy, and of course, the fate of William and Alexander in all this.
“We will set up a number of craft groups in the local community centre (tatting, longstitch, jewellery and soap making that sort of thing) and hopefully a meditation group, therefore be able to ascertain the alliances of various women at least in and around.”
The impromptu meeting was adjourned and all returned to their respective abodes for the evening.
William refused to come to bed when invited, preferring to stay up and write at a furious pace. The story was the conclusion to an expose of corrupt selection of a local U/15 county cricket team and the inaccuracies in umpiring over the previous three seasons seeing the same team premieres. His senior editor would take the credit for the final draft. It now became apparent that that was perhaps a good thing though at the time it was suggested William had felt somewhat put out. Now it was just fine. The umpire and two selectors were good friends with the Head Master of the local school.
By the time William did climb in to spoon his partner, he was cold and over tired. Alexander snuggled back then rolled to embrace his Mate whispering almost in slumber, “’t’ll be fine Will… Love youuuu….”
William let himself drift as his body warmed against his lover’s, and his last thoughts were devoted to his love for the body he was snuggled against, and the impending unknown doom threatened by W&H and approaching faster than any of them had hoped.