Warnings: Will appear on chapters if needed – some M/M relations
Summary: Spike survived the Black Thorn but only because one of the Senior Partners had heard Illyria refer to him as suitable for her pet and decided to amuse themselves with devastating results
Previous Parts here
Poppie and Luka could hardly contain their excitement as Xander *and* Connor ran with them in the early light of morning. Poppie made sure to stay close to Connor on his left as the Battle Brand ran easily with Xander. The man was the most beautiful human she had *ever* met and she felt it in her nether regions. She would have his pups in a heart beat should he offer to service her.
The previous night she had suddenly understood her mother Chloe's devotion to father, but worried now that her dog status might prevent any real interaction. Poppie resolved to be a model dog in his presence and consequently growled a little at Luka as he stopped to investigate an odd smell. He fell into line immediately but looked over quizzically at his sister. Master seemed unworried at his action, as did father, so he growled back unrepentant, earning a sharp nip for his trouble.
Around half way home on their run, Connor turned to Xander and stated, “Mind if I sprint them home?”
A rather exhausted, “Be my guest” was the answer. Xander had been running quite a lot faster than usual, male pride at the core, but somehow knew that Connor was holding back.
The Battle Brand took off with true vampiric speed, closely followed by all three dogs running at full pelt to keep up.
It was a thrilling race home for all of them, broken only by Spike’s insistence that the dogs pull to a halt at each corner to look for traffic. Connor picked up on Spike’s natural fatherly protective instincts and he too waited and checked after the second intersection before taking off, egging the dogs on.
They all arrived home panting and in need of a drink from the ‘over flow bucket’, the tap still to be fixed by Xander the handy man.
Xander arrived home panting a few minutes later and served all breakfast before leaving for work as normal, the three dogs relaxed on the back porch, the Battle Brand adjourning to bed to sleep through most of the day.
Independently both Xander and Spike had noted how close Poppie stayed to the Battle Brand’s side during the run, always a step or two behind on the left but never missing the increase or decrease in pace. They also saw the surreptitious affectionate pat he gave her at every opportunity. It did seem the two were destined to be together in whatever form.
Spike kept mulling over the words of the previous night, and events from his ‘before’. He loved his life now but knew his daughter and surmised her wishes to have a family were very real. Luka was a different matter, his role in ‘family making’ would mirror Spike’s apparently and would be addressed at the appropriate time, he was still so young. And now Chloe was about to give birth to her third litter by Spike. Should Poppie leave them, there would be another young one of his to grace their household, he was resolved to request that of Xander.
It would be a challenge for them, but he knew instinctively. Poppie and Connor wanted each other. His worry was the irreversibility of the decision and resolved to have a ‘father/daughter’ talk the following evening.
It was a rather long day, though snoozing in the sun was hardly a chore and Spike noted that Poppie licked her father and moved into the house as soon as Connor was awake. Wandering inside he saw Connor’s kind hand absently stroking over her very sensitive ears as the Battle Brand read the daily newspaper and drank coffee. It was an easy, heart warming scene, until Luka bounced in and began a bit of a tussle with his sister.
Spike tugged gently at Connor’s pants, indicating his need to talk via the computer. Connor finished his coffee quickly and followed Spike to the guest room that housed the instrument of communication.
Spike ushered the duelling children outside and gave each a nip for good measure. They knew the meaning and left father to talk.
Spike held up each paw in turn to be fitted with the writing implements, Connor rather surprised at the speed of typing.
“You and Poppie… that a real thing?”
“She is beautiful Spike. If I take her as Consort to The Battle Brand she will take human form albeit only as long as I survive but she will retain her ability to have children.”
“You’ve only just met her mate… What if you figure you don’t like each other after a month or two… Consort is for all time… as is family, present company notwithstanding. Are you sure she is the one?”
“I feel a connection with her Spike. She is kin of a sort, but also a sweet soul. I will love her until the end of time. You know I must speak the truth. Trust in that.”
What was typed next was accompanied by begging eyes, “Check that, and you must keep your word. She’s my blood Connor. I will not see her hurt or cast out.” The sentence took almost five minutes to complete but Connor waited patiently, his role as Battle Brand had taught him that at least.
“You have my word and my honour. She will have children and live as my Consort, she will have the sun even though The Well is a dark place. If she partners with me then it will be her home.”
Spike made a futile effort to take off both writing implements, Connor assisted in the end and grabbed a rather surprised Spike for a heartfelt hug. “I am sorry I cannot change your status, but it is the Powers’ wishes. I cannot cross that.”
Spike licked the assisting hand then moved to join his children outside. He had the sun; he had Xander; he had the children and another litter on the way; it was more than enough.
As sunset came, Poppie took herself into the Master’s bedroom. She bore the shift to human then showered and dressed quickly but was somewhat reticent when it came to joining Connor in the lounge room, choosing instead to help her brother into his sweat pants and t-shirt and spending time with him on the floor playing with his Lego collection (provided by Xander with some items from Jerry’s boys).
Eventually, however, Spike collected the children, insisting they join the adults for a ‘good chat’ regarding the Andrew self proclaimed Master of Calgary and Surrounds factor. It was particularly urgent as yet another package had been delivered, this time in the form of a ‘gift’ of collars for the dogs apparently courtesy of a breeder from Edmonton.
Connor had accepted the package late afternoon but swiftly destroyed it after opening as there was an odd magical signature and even stranger smell to the collars.
The mood was serious but it did not stop Poppie from giving Connor a shy smile each time his eyes met hers. Luka wriggled in his chair until Spike gave a low growl which stopped the behaviour immediately.
Connor began the conversation “Either this ‘master’ Andrew is able to cast spells, or he had the help of a mage or two. The collars were charmed and if I am not mistaken poisoned. I suspect once on they would not be removed until the wearer succumbed.”
Spike pulled off his chair, knocking it over in the process, picking it up and throwing it for good measure (the chair the worse for the event), “*Bastard* Why us? Why now? Why so…”
Connor cut him off, “Master Andrew learned of Xander’s whereabouts while still a Watcher. He is committed to eliminating Xander, not just scaring him out of town. By demonstrating he can track down and eliminate a former warrior for the light. Xander is seen to have saved the world several times and is a dear friend of the most powerful wiccan Willow whom they would not dare touch. And also Xander has the friendship of the Key, of Buffy and the favourite ‘son’ of Mr Giles. By killing him he knows it will tear the ‘heart’ from the original Scoobies and send a clear message to both covens and slayers alike.”
“And in that way ingratiate himself to the Senior Partners of Wolfram and Hart. Silly bugger, a single one of his ‘vampyre’ lectures and they would squash him like a bug.”
“Nevertheless the threat is real. You must dust him and it may be best in your dog form as it will arouse less suspicion that you have your Master vampire status back. It is best not to alert Wolfram and Hart of your ongoing existence as vampire with a soul.”
“Why? Won’t it leave a power void.”
“A void which may be filled by yourself, or better, your son.”
Luka had been picking at the hem of his sweater during the discussion looked up suddenly. “Who me?”
“Shhh dear heart, we’ll get to you anon…”
Connor continued, “So you suspect he’s harmless?”
“Ho no… he’d any one to death. But like you say wants to big note himself but typical, has shown his hand half way through his game. Shoulda stuck to eye spy with his Sire she at least would’ve dusted ‘im within the hour. What if Master Annoying gets to Xan or us, is unsuccessful but reports a full blown attack? Faces names that sort of thing.”
“I have no doubt they will change their focus. Would he know you if he saw you in your vampire form?”
“Yes…most emphatically yes. But surely W&H aren’t interested in Xander?”
“I doubt they see Xander as a threat, however if Andrew is successful or even partially so and his attempt to unnerve the servants of the Powers is accurate, then it will change the balance.”
“Bloody Hell. So Xan’s workmates? Jerry and the like? Would they then be targeted?”
“They would not be seen as of interest to Andrew unless directly involved in any conflict. The attack near his workplace was all Andrew’s doing. Such a clumsy premise, accurate security footage of the same and the attention from the police would all be frowned upon by the Senior Partners were they alerted.”
“So what of my lot. Poppie and Luka, why them?”
“Andrew no doubt sees the three dogs as Xander’s pets, his protectors, and closest companions.”
“So you reckon he gets the human connection? You know ‘bout yours truly, the handsome blonde on his arm occasionally.”
“As to the human form children? No. It was part of Willow’s strategy to ward the house and mask the change. And as long as he has not seen you in your vampire guise, then the ruse is also uncompromised. He would no doubt have been given reports of the visiting Willow and her young English charges either by his minions or… he is ‘Net savvy’ after all. Regarding Willow - Even the Senior Partners would be unlikely to directly attack the most powerful witch on the planet. He would not know The Battle Brand or the original Connor at all but as legend of the one who guards the Deeper Well. And you? Dressing as you do when out, you have yet to arouse suspicion, given Xander’s preference for pretty boys in the past.”
“Oi! Don’t need to remind me of his prior lack of good taste! So what the attack on David and Chris, Xander and I after a night out?”
“Was ill advised and again, far too public. He would have had none but the police reports afterward. The dustings were well positioned and the witnesses unreliable dolts. It is apparent, Master Vampire William the Bloody you have ‘flown well under his radar’, even after your transition to changeling and consequent claiming.”
Spike was listening but couldn’t help adding, “Go by Spike, regardless of the form or status mate.” Then Spike winked for all to see to let them know he was both flattered at the old moniker, and try to lighten the mood.
Connor gave a rare smile, and sent a tiny grin in Poppie’s direction, “My apologies… Spike… Family.”
Xander had been listening with interest but without comment up to that point, “So all this is fine but strategy for this dusty end to this ‘mini me’ of a Master Vampyre?”
“I believe if I convince him to meet with me as a ‘visiting Master’ it will give Spike and opportunity to enter his lair during the daytime and also allow Spike the backup he will need to take out Andrew. We will need to do some careful recon first. I am happy to do this and since my signature is that of vampire it should go unnoticed in the tunnels under the city during the day. Do you have any maps of the sewers and other conduits I might use? Underground railway-lines, etcetera. Also some idea of the industrial buildings or any derelict warehouses would be helpful, though I can probably track the lair by scent or body count.”
Xander screwed up his nose, “Yes, yes all of the above ‘D’ too easy for construction guy. But can I just say… eww to the sniffing via body count!”
“Then it is agreed. I will begin my search tomorrow night but for now I am fatigued and must rest.” And with that Connor simply got up and retreated to his room
Poppie looked decidedly disappointed but also understood as both she and Luka yawned in unison.
“Think bed is of the good for all of us Spike. Tomorrow sounds like a big day is in the offing.” Xander ‘caught’ the yawns too and stood to go but Spike stayed the children for a moment longer.
“Now you two. We do need to chat ‘bout all this… so tomorrow I do the talkin’ afore we go runnin’ with Gracie and at sundown we have a good family chin wag. Got it?”
“Yes father” Poppie had a slight frown on her pretty face but accepted. Tomorrow was another day and one she hoped would be full of Connor again. She reached for her little brother’s hand and stood them both.
They kissed Spike in turn and Luka whispered “Can I be a Master like you… Really?”
“Tomorrow Pet, I’ll answer that tomorrow – for now it’s teeth straight to bed with you.”