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Ghost in the Machine # 23

Title: Ghost in the Machine

Author: josie_h

Pairing: Xander/Spike
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes later on - ie M/M
Summary: Post Black Thorn and final AtS - The PtBs screw with Spike yet again.
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Author’s Note: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators
Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
Previous parts here




With thanks to the lovely petxnd for the wonderful banner


And a huge thank you to all those who so kindly commented and read this story

(and special thanks to Chaoskir for help with the german!)

Part 23

Spike’s visit to his bankers in Switzerland was interesting to say the least. He had spent the morning of arrival at a hairdressers having his rather long mop of dark blonde hair stylishly cut then coloured with white blonde highlights, then visited a couple of stores to find appropriate attire for one of the jetset elite. The standard black leather jacket was a given but now partnered with designer dark jeans and a dark burgundy silk shirt. Even Spike was happy with the effect and felt much more like the Spike of old. Knowing his demon was part of him now was also somewhat comforting.

His memory of the German language certainly served him well, though his personal banker seemed just as comfortable with English as a start. When he switched easily the young man smiled broadly and continued in rapid Deutch.

“Danke für Ihre Unterstützung, Herr Klemants.” (Thank you for your understanding Mr Klemants)

“Keine Ursache. Nicht der Rede wert.” (and you are most welcome Mr Aurelius)


“Ich würde gerne den Safe (Schließfach) meiner Familie sehen.” (I would like to see our family safe)

"Und ich möchte gerne etwas Geld überweisen. Meine Geheimzahl ist fünf, fünf, sieben, null, neun, drei, drei sieben, null. Und .. Herr Klemants? ... Danke “( And I would like to withdraw money. My number is five five seven zero nine three three seven zero. And… Mr. Klemants? … Thanks.)

The young man nodded, quickly checked the number and passport. Signatures satisfied and memorized twelve-digit pass provided, he was welcomed by his personal discrete banker, Stefan, almost as a long lost relative. He was in his element, commenting on the burgeoning funds in an off handed way, he accepted the key to the strong box, keen to see what else Angelus had stashed in days past. Stefan stood smiled again and indicated the large door leading to a hallway and through to the vaults.

Ich freue mich, Ihnen helfen zu können. Bitte hier entlang. (I am happy to oblige. This way…)

He was led down a series of corridors, security codes typed in by his banker before a single massive vault door was opened and he was led to a significantly sized safe door at the end of the room. He was left to examine the contents with assurances that the bank attendant would be ‘right outside’ put the key in, typed in the code and turned the handle. It opened with a swish of stale air, suspecting that Angelus had probably cleaned it out years before, but was very mistaken.

“Bitte. Ich lasse Sie nun allein. Ich werde direkt draußen warten.” (Of course I leave you to view. I am right outside.)

The contents included long lost sketches by Renoir, several hand written original scores by Vivaldi (typical bloody Angelus), diamond tiaras, a handful of exquisitely cut precious gems of unknown origin, earrings by the dozen, a number of strings of pearls, three gold men’s fob watches, plus various other pieces of jewelry. But what took Spike’s breath away were the sketches of himself done in Angelus’ own hand… sketches that dated from when they were running in Russia together solo, without the girls. It was the hand of a lover and a Sire. The pictures of a debauched, satisfied, nude, young William the Bloody, looking at his Sire with both desire and adoration.

It unnerved him for a moment and he let a tear fall for the now dusted Grandsire of the line, but he eventually pulled himself together, tucked the sketches away with the other treasures and pushed the vault back into place. It was millions of dollars worth, he knew that, but it was best left for another time. For now, the funds he had access to were more than ample.

He transferred six amounts of twenty thousand Euro to the various covens who had assisted he and Xander, and an additional two hundred thousand to the coven in England, and the same to Xander’s direct account, though made sure the source was ‘masked’. The transaction would be logged, but was security noted as the initiator being “Benefactor X from Reisenbank, Switzerland, Anonymous.”

The transactions made barely a dint in his funds which, his banker was keen to acknowledge, had been growing significantly since ‘his grandfather Angelus Aurelius’’ the initial investment and the rate had accelerated over the past two years. Spike smiled stated that he had only taken over control since his ‘grandfather’s demise’ and was complimented on his obvious talent for investment.

Satisfied that he had done and seen all he needed to, Spike returned to his hotel and changed for dinner, and how odd was that, an old human habit his mother would have been pleased he had resurrected. He’d been reminded of his human status several times during the past three days but the pleasure of ordering and consuming a meal of trout, salad and berry dessert in a setting he had only been to as a vampire before brought it all into sharp relief.

The next day would see him do some shopping, something for Xander, then catch a late flight back to London. There was no real rush, but travelling solo now that his business ventures had been dealt with held little appeal. He needed to get back to his boy.

……………….

Xander had slept badly. His Spike shaped friend was absent and he was in a strange bed. It didn’t matter that he had disappointed Adrianna by not staying for cocktails, there were other things to worry about.

Lilah had cornered him on the day after the opening, she and two women who gave him the creeps. She had asked him all sorts of apparently innocent questions about his sculpture, but there was obviously more to it. He had seen the odd marks on Spike’s twin. Barely discernable marks on the ankle, near the hairline, and one on the wrist. Noone else would have seen but there was nothing innocent about the small circular marks on the wood. They had been doing tests and it was as Spike had suspected. He had hoped there was nothing to Spike’s suspicions but knew better than to trust Wolfram and Hart.

On the second day Xander had confided his worries to Mistress Yollanda who agreed they all had to be careful, but was adamant that the changed Spike had both demon essence and human soul entwined for all time… and that he was devoted to Xander.

It was the last statement that gave him some hope… devoted… that was the Spike he knew, the one that lived and died, dusted, for his friends. The Spike that loved without reservation. The Spike that had nursed and apologized to him on a daily basis since they had successfully made the change in Ivalo. The Spike who… and it didn’t matter that it was only four days… he needed to see Spike, in the flesh. He took his meds, lay back on the bed, his good arm over his eyes and despite the early hour, slept.

…………………………..

Lilah was on the back foot, in more ways than one. The opening of the art gallery had been a triumph, Wolfram and Hart had ample coverage to satisfy the finance department, but she was still no closer to resurrecting the vampire William the Bloody. In the end it had been a side comment by a minion that had her thinking. If both Angel and Spike were ensouled and had been dusted then perhaps it was time to ‘envampire’ a statue with one of the other Aurelians. Darla was no good, silly bitch dusting herself over a child, but Drusilla had found her end far more conventionally. She had been dusted less than a year ago by a new slayer in Miami Florida. It seemed the perfect solution.

Have the unsuspecting Harris carve an effigy of the departed Drusilla and purchase it outright. It might take a few months but Lilah was happy with the schedule. She cornered the artist shortly after he arrived for the final day of opening celebrations.

“My people at Wolfram and Hart are very interested in your work Mr Harris, particularly as it seems to have attracted rave reviews.” She smiled sweetly and took his uninjured arm. “This is Mr Edwin Cole the head of our London branch. He has been dying to meet you.” A rather plump, mousy haired man nodded enthusiastically and extended his left hand for a somewhat limp handshake before starting to speak at pace.

“Indeed, indeed. I am most impressed. Lilah here tells me you do work on commissioned pieces.”

“Well yes… but at the moment I’ve had to… you know put a few things on the back burner.” Xander held up his still bandaged right arm and hand.

“Yes, yes of course. But were we to engage your services for a piece you would consider it? The time line is flexible.” Mr Cole shot a quick look to Lilah who gave an encouraging nod.

“I guess…” Xander wondered where this was going.

“Well it seems you have a talent for sculpture and we would like to celebrate some of our best clients of the past and ahhh… present of course. We are prepared to remunerate you well for your efforts… say ten thousand euro to start and ten more when the figure is complete.”

Xander was a little shocked by the offer, so took some time to reply, finally smiling, “Sure that sounds about right. But I guess I’ll need some images and that sort of thing to make a real go of it. Adonis was modeled on a real person, from photos etc. If you have those it should be doable.”

“*Wonderful*. I will send the contract to you and we can iron out other details further down the track. No doubt Lilah, you will want to be involved?”

“Of course, happy to play liaison.”

“Splendid. Now you said drinks and nibbles?”

“This way.” With that Lilah led off with Mr Cole on her heels and Xander was left to ponder what he had just agreed to.


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