Title: Family Bonds
Summary: After his relationship with Anya fizzles out Xander and Spike become lovers. Xander’s insecurities lead him to seek help from
Notes: AU begins S6 replacing Hells Bells. No Dawn, Buffy didn’t die, and Season 6 Spuffy? Eewww no.
Feedback appreciated and lusted for
Disclaimer: not mine, all belongs to Joss and Co. Damn them. And bless them.
Other chapters are here
Betaed by kitty_alex any remaining issues are my own fault
Xander was thankful for their private, circular booth at the Lion, open enough that they could watch the pool games and follow the match on Tom’s television, but secluded enough that no one batted an eyelid when either of them felt the need for some reassuring contact.
“Can we start this evening over?” Xander gave Spike a lingering kiss. Nothing but Spike, smoke and whiskey. He smiled. “Hi honey, how was your day?”
Spike snorted. “Enlightening. Yours?”
Spike sat up a little straighter and cocked an eyebrow. “Yeah? What did the witches have to say?”
“The spell is mostly gone but it looks like the demons might still be able to keep tabs on me.” He explained the symbols and
“No point worrying about it love; you said it’s not functioning. If the witches can neutralise it then well and good. If they can’t then not to worry, you’re useless to those demons now. They can’t usurp a claimant and you’re mine. They’ll have a hell of a fight on their hands if they try and honestly, I’d be surprised if they did.”
“Yeah that’s basically what Buffy said too. Even though it’s not even active, I’d still feel better if this whole thing was over with you know? No traces at all.”
“Course you would, so would I.” Spike ran his fingers through Xander’s hair. “I’d be more than happy to get on with things without having some bloody slayer or demon trying to do one of us in.”
“You know Buffy is okay now right? She’s not going to have anymore psychotic episodes around me or try to dust you every time you open your mouth.”
“Might be a different story if she finds out I offed a few humans last night.”
Xander flinched just slightly at the lingering feelings that stirred up. “I won’t be telling her Spike. There’s no need for anyone else to find out about that.”
Spike sighed and pulled Xander to him. “I’m sorry it hurt you love. I had no idea how it would be.”
“Yeah I know that. It’s okay, really.” Xander relaxed as Spike kissed an apology. It was definitely helping to be able to taste him with no hint of blood. He inhaled deeply to add Spike’s scent to the mix; they would be fine.
“You’re a good bloke Harris and you’ll be a great consort.” Spike pulled away and smiled at him, then settled back with a shot glass in his hand. “So, nothing else happened when you went to see the witches?”
“No, nothing much. We had a chat, it was nice, there was food. Oh and we organised a patrol for tomorrow night.” Xander thought about that for a moment. He’d not been on patrol for a while, so really he had no idea just how much he’d changed since Spike had claimed him. “Is that okay with you? I kinda want to try out the new me, see if I’m any faster or stronger, you know.”
Spike slid across the seat and slipped his hand under Xander’s shirt to run up his side. “That is more than okay. You have no idea how much I want to see that. I want you to wear something tight and black, no coat. Big weapon.”
“You been working on that image for a while Bleachie?” Xander laughed. “No problem finding something tight. I’ve hardly patrolled at all these last few weeks, haven’t been at work either, just laying around with the man vamp eating junk. Sadly the regular and very enjoyable bedroom athletics isn’t enough to stop me getting a bit squishy.”
“If you want more regular and more athletic I can arrange that for you love.” Spike’s hand ran over Xander’s chest and stomach and he nuzzled at his neck. “You look fine Harris, more than fine. You want to go out the back and I can show you just how fine I think you are?”
“No, but keep that on the burner, we are not having sex in a men’s room. I’m sure Tom and Rose would be able to hear everything.”
Spike snorted a cold breath against Xander’s neck. “That’s half the fun love.”
“Not fun!” Xander slapped his arm. “Maybe strangers, but not the Joudels. That would be like having your parents listen.”
“You know love, for a vampire’s consort you’re a touch shy.”
“I’m not shy Spike.” Xander argued. “You’re an exhibitionist. You would have had me over the car last night and not thought twice.”
“You’re not shy mate?” Spike’s hand slid down to the button on Xander’s jeans, flipped it open and slid the zipper down. “Are you sure?”
Xander held his breath as Spike’s teeth scratched over his claim and his hand sunk deep into the front of Xander’s jeans. A cool draught from the open front door reached Xander and he realised how exposed he was. “You are evil,” he said pulling Spike’s hand away and fixing his clothes. “Pure evil demon. Get thee behind me, vampire.”
Spike laughed and shook his head at Xander’s mistakenly implied invitation. “With pleasure love, you just say when.”
“Evil, like you said.” Spike downed another shot. “Besides you walked right into that.”
“Will I never learn?”
“Hope not mate.” He took Xander’s face in his hands and kissed him. “Love you just like this.”
Xander could have sworn Rose had some kind of radar that helped her appear at just the wrong time. “So did I hear someone laughing at last boys? That makes a nice change for tonight,” Rose said, slapping her hands down on the table and giving them a stern look. “One day you’ll come to visit me and it won’t be a big drama, it will just be my boys, happy and content. Do you have yourselves sorted out again now?”
Xander looked at Spike who just shrugged.
“You want to talk about it?” Rose asked. “Share a problem with a friend?”
Spike’s eyes turned on Xander, seeming to weigh it up. Xander trusted Tom and Rose and knew that the Joudels had not steered them wrong in the past and had in fact helped get them back on this track when their own pig-headedness may well have been the end. He tried to share his feelings for Rose with Spike. He assumed it must have worked when Spike sighed and nodded to him.
“That Fewoi demon last week shorted out my bloody chip. We found out the other day. Last night I went out and fed off some humans. It was fu-, ah, damn good and so I went out again tonight. Turns out it was a bloody terrible idea and it’s not something I ever want to do again. Not sure how to feel about that.”
Rose took a moment, but only a very brief one, to process this and all it meant. Her forehead creased, the light rippling attractively over her scales with the movement. Her eyes immediately went to Xander’s neck, then to Spike’s. Rose’s face lit up with a broad smile. “My boys are mated? Oh that’s wonderful.” She waved her hands at Xander and he slid out of the booth and into a warm happy hug. “Congratulations Chooky.” Spike made all the expected noises of protest but also went to Rose for his congratulatory hug when she beckoned. “William, you are not as big an arse as I sometimes think. Congratulations my darling.” She gestured them back into the booth and slid in opposite. “So you’ve claimed each other and I assume, knowing you William, that you saw fit to forego the ceremony and ritual and get to the heart of things so to speak?”
“That I did Rosie. And if I didn’t know my boy here would die of embarrassment, I would tell you all.”
“Good god Spike, don’t you dare talk about that,” Xander said, horrified that Spike might even consider sharing.
“Settle, love. Wouldn’t give that away to anyone. No offence Rosie.”
“None taken,” she said cheerfully. “So then, William. You’ve claimed Xander, in that, ah, rather intimate way, then gone out and tried to bite humans? I imagine you felt unfaithful, yes?” When both Xander and Spike nodded uncomfortably she smiled. “One of the things I love about you William, is that you are so unique. Such an unusual mix of vampire and human; almost as though your soul tried so hard to hold onto you that it’s left it’s mark.”
“I don’t have a bloody soul Rosie. If I did I wouldn’t have killed those humans last night.”
“Oh now I know you aren’t naïve enough to suggest that in all honesty. What are the jails full of if not souls? But no, you don’t have one that’s true. Interesting though isn’t it, that you feel guilt for those acts yesterday.”
“Rose don’t get me wrong. I feel like all kinds of hell for how it made my boy here feel, but I have no guilt about killing those people. None at all. I’m a vampire, we live off humans, so no apologies there. But I’m also a master and what I did made me feel adulterous and made my consort unhappy. That’s what I didn’t expect and that’s what I regret.”
Xander took Spike’s hand and threaded their fingers together. “Its okay, we just didn’t know.”
“Doesn’t change the fact though does it?” Spike said.
“The consort bond can be so very fluid like that.” Rose told them. “One never knows exactly what form it will take, especially with your beloved being a human and you being you.”
“Me being me. That’s the rub. I am still a master Rosie. Just a soddin’ defanged one again.”
“Oh don’t be silly William. You still have a very impressive set of fangs I’m sure and if you needed to you could drain any number of humans. You aren’t defanged, or leashed, or restrained in any way. And no doubt if a human were to push you far enough or threaten Xander, you would attack without compunction.”
“Course I would but that’s completely different. I’m talking about everyday feeding. It’s what vampires do. If I can’t do that one basic thing what am I?”
Rose laughed, then stopped and sighed when she saw Spike’s genuine confusion over his position. “Xander, humans, specifically human males, before taking a mate can be rather liberal with their physical affections yes?”
Xander wondered where she was going with that, but decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. “Ah, sure Rose. Rampantly liberal in fact.”
“And that’s their nature, it’s what they do. Now when those rampantly liberal young men mate for life, they focus their need in only one direction correct?”
“Unless they want their balls handed over on a platter, yeah,” he agreed.
“And again that’s considered normal?”
“And they are no less a man for being loyal to their mate?”
“No, not at all.”
Spike sighed. “I’m not a bloody human male Rosie.”
“Oh really William? Thank you for pointing that out.” She patted his hand. “I know I’m simplifying things a touch, but my point is that you’re no less than what you were because you’ve chosen to give up something that was as natural to you as breathing is to Xander. The capability hasn’t gone, just the desire. I know that while you were chipped you satisfied the need for violence quite well didn’t you?”
“That’s one of the reasons I stayed with his lot. Always guaranteed a nasty to kick around.”
“And since Thomas has been delivering decent blood, you are strong and healthy yes?” Spike nodded. “So you are a master vampire at full strength and one who is regularly demonstrating his power over the violent and lethal demon population of a Hellmouth, while the other vampires settle for the humans, which I imagine are relatively easy pickings. Excuse me for being blunt Xander.”
Xander waved her apology away. “It’s just the truth Rose, no problem.”
Rose turned back to Spike. “You are a vampire who is constantly reinventing himself . From William to Spike, from a new childe to, as they say, the slayer of slayers. Now you’re the master who chooses to remain faithful to his consort. You are the master who is so strong and powerful that you are able to protect your consort by dominating the demons that would threaten him. And might I just ask, aside from yourself at this moment William, who on earth cares if you get your blood from a bag rather than run around killing humans and risking the slayer’s wrath? You have a consort to take care of; what will happen to him if next time you annoy her she doesn’t miss?”
Xander protested “I don’t want to jinx us, but I’m not useless, I can take care of myself. I have been for twenty one years now.”
“I know you can love.” Spike squeezed his hand. “You’re more than capable.”
“You’re a consort now Xander,” Rose told him. “Things are very different.”
“What? How are things different,” he asked, looking from Spike to Rose.
Rose appeared to glance uneasily at Spike before a flicker of understanding crossed her face. “Oh, well, by that I mean that, ah, you being master and consort, you aren’t just free and easy single men anymore, you have someone else to think about now. You both need to consider the impact of your actions on the other. If Spike feeds, he risks both of you.”
Xander noticed Spike give Rose a small nod in what he assumed was agreement. “You have a point there Rosie. The slayer seems too have a bag of stakes with my name on them. I don’t want to be giving her real reasons instead of excuses.”
Rose smiled kindly at Spike. “William I do understand all your worries. But I think those are solely your own. I doubt Xander would see any weakness in you. I certainly don’t. As for others, I know that among demons, the master and consort bond is highly respected, as is any action that is undertaken for the sake of protecting the consort.”
“You don’t leave a bloke much room to argue do you?” Spike shook his head.
“Boys, there are so many ways you could look at this situation, in the end, together you will come to a conclusion you are both happy with. For what it’s worth that was just the simplified opinion of an old woman who only wants to see you both happy.”
“Oi. Less of that ‘old’ business, eh Rosie?”
“We are happy Rose and we’re well on the way to being sorted out I think.” Xander glanced at Spike who nodded his agreement. “We’re going to throw the expectations out the window, along with the rule book and just take whatever comes and sing c’est la vie.”
Spike snorted at Xander and shook his head. “What he said but without the singing. You should hear him. No consideration for vamp hearing.”
“Hey!” Xander laughed and shoved Spike.
“Ah, that’s what I like to see,” Rose said with a happy smile.
Xander felt the vibrations through the floor and knew that Tom was on his way over. “You fellas kissed and made up yet?” His deep booming laugh rang out as Tom thumped two full dinner plates down on the table. “Our Rosie’s got a bit of a thing for-.”
“Thankyou Thomas, that will do,” Rose’s voice carried her mortification “You are the most indelicate creature I’ve ever known.”
Xander battled to stifle a laugh and tried not to let Rose see his struggle.
Tom’s eyebrows waggled comically. “Yep, I get good mileage when you boys make up.” Tom ducked Rose’s swing at the back of his head. “So everythin’ okay here now? I fancy a nice bit of how’s your father.”
“Oh good lord Thomas, you don’t know when to stop do you?” She grabbed a laughing Tom by the arm and dragged him away telling them over her shoulder, “I’ll leave you two to eat in peace while I have a quick word with my husband.”
“Now, now Rosie, I’ve got customers to serve, we haven’t got time for a quickie.” Tom chuckled.
Rose’s voice floated back to them from the kitchen doorway. “A what? Get in the kitchen now Thomas Joudel! How dare you-.” Her voice was muffled by the door that slammed closed behind them.
Xander let out the laugh he had been suppressing and Spike joined him. He felt a little guilty for laughing at Rose’s embarrassment, but Xander soon realised how much they both needed it as he felt the tension leaving him and felt Spike relax more too.
Spike gathered Xander in his arms and planted a sound kiss on his lips. “We’ll be okay mate. A little rough patch every now and then is nothing.”
“We’re good here Spike.” Xander agreed. “And I’d really love to talk more but, well, food, and it smells great and I am starving so-.”
“Eat love. I’ll help you work off the meal later yeah?”
Xander made happy noises of approval around a mouthful of steak.
Before they left, Xander and Spike joined Tom for a few drinks at the bar. Rose popped out every now and then, giving Tom a stern look and making sure he was getting on with his job. At the sound of the door opening, Tom snapped to attention and grabbed stacks of glasses or polished the bar top, but as soon as she returned to the kitchen Tom would give them a wink and chuckle and resume his conversation.
Xander enjoyed the quiet time, leaning back on a stool with Spike’s arm around him, sipping on a coke and listening to them arguing over English soccer and Rugby teams. When the talk turned to cricket however, he decided enough was enough and excused himself, to use the bathroom. On his way back he dodged the pool cues and sidestepped a couple of long tails that snaked from under a table of demons, waving an apology to the owners for the near miss. As he neared the bar a cool draught reached him and he automatically glanced at the front door. A frown creased his forehead as he saw the tall man leaving the pub. A sense of familiarity came over him, but there was no way to identify the person under the heavy coat and baseball cap. As the door swung shut Xander climbed back into his seat.
“Hey Tom. Did you see that guy that just left?” he asked.
“Yeah, strange bloke that one. Pops in every now and then, asks if there’s any poker games he can get in on. Sometimes has a few drinks, other times just leaves. Never talks to anyone, just watches the crowd.” Tom shook his head. “He’s never any trouble and his money is as good as the next fella’s, but like I said, strange.”
You know his name?”
“Know sod all about him mate, sorry.”
“Something wrong love?” Spike asked.
“No nothing wrong, just looked familiar is all.” Xander picked up his coke. “Nevermind, maybe it was just the long coat. I kinda have a thing for one particular guy in a long coat.”
Spike tossed the remains of his drink back in one go then slid off his stool. “Right then. I have a thing for you too mate, let’s get home and I can show it to you yeah?”
Spike dug in his pocket and handed a pile of notes over to Tom. “For the food, the bottle of Jack and a few more weeks of blood.”
“Cheers mate.” Tom waved them off as Spike dragged Xander out the door.
Out on the street, Xander had a quick look for the person he’d seen leaving but there was no one else around. The almost familiar man was soon forgotten as Spike pushed Xander in the car and gave him a detailed explanation of exactly what he was going to show him when they got home.tbc