Author: Part 1 50ftqueenie… then rngrdead – Ch 2 and beyond
Warnings/Squicks: M/M relations
Summary: Xander comes back from the past witvh a secret.
Note From 50ftqueenie: This can stand on its own as a ficlet, but honestly I know there's more to this story. Eventually I might revisit and do my own version
Previous parts here:
Please feel free to correct my schoolgirl French and I’ll fix it! (Should have had the whole thing in English as I’m sure the banker would be fluent… but too late now ;-)
The late afternoon call was taken by Xander who had extracted himself from Spike’s strong embrace around two in the afternoon and had eaten some of the fruit platter provided, drank several cups of coffee then paced the luxury suite for a time before settling to watch a Formula One race on the oversized flat screen television.
He thanked the concierge, then strode into Spike and his shared bedroom, then Angel’s, turning the lights on and quietly, and insistently, demanding that both vampires wake and dress.
Angel rose immediately, but Spike was still luxuriating in the left over warmth of his partner.
Xander’s open wrist, dribbling a small offering of blood, brought him to full awareness swiftly.
Ruffled blonde locks of hair and a growl led to, “Bloody hell, Pet! Do that and we’ll have to see to things afore I get up!”
Xander grinned down at his game-faced master and grinned unrepentantly, “Promises, promises. Come on we need to go do this. Bank apparently closes at five, and they’re staying around just for the Aurelians to arrive so hop to it. Shower, dress… I’ve been up for…”
He didn’t get to finish the sentence, “Hours… I know Pet… and if that…” Spike looked pointedly at Xander’s erection tenting his elegant Armani suit pants, then to the rather obvious bump in the covers of their shared bed, “… is for me, well, p’rhaps we should just stay in.” Spike wiggled his eyebrow and gave his best ‘come hither’ look, only to find the covers pulled off with a flick of Xander’s hand, a furious kiss and the order, “Only after we do what we came to do… Now come on! Angel is no doubt fussing about his hair, time for a shower and dress. We can play later.”
Spike grumbled his way to the elaborate, modern bathroom to shower, “Bloody tease is what you are… an’ you better bloody well stick to the ‘play later’!”
A mere thirty minutes later, with Angel and Spike both having bathed, dressed and consumed a couple of perfect temperature bags of A-pos, the three were alighting a large black Mercedes and on their way to the bank.
They were met at the door of the headquarters of Credit Suisse bank on Paradeplatz in Zurich. An impressive old façade, though they were swiftly led to a modern private office by a rather young looking, though obviously, senior banker.
Rather than leading them to sit at the large mahogany desk in the corner, he ushered them to the far more comfortable leather lounge chairs, and settled himself opposite, laptop on the low table.
The Banker addressed them in perfect French, something Xander was not expecting, as he knew Spike’s German, and Spanish and … well just too many languages to count – both human and demon, were just as good.
Spike winked at Xander then leaned over and whispered, “Sire’s OK with French – bloody Micks – banker’s no doubt been briefed.” winked and then added conspiratorially, “Thank goodness for an Oxford university education then 100+ years hey Pet. Can hold my own in a bunch of tongues… just wait ‘til we finish and promise to smile… Me ol’ Sire will be left wondering a little, and I know you could hold your own too back in the day.” The wicked smile left Xander in no doubt it was Spike’s intention to have a little fun with his Sire and see Xander’s sojourn in limbo had stripped him of his ability to understand the discussion. As soon as it started he realized it hadn’t.
‘Back in the day’, they had made many visits to Paris, and William had been a *good* tutor, spending many patient hours teaching his Pet then Consort to speak the language. Lessons done well rewarded in the most wonderfully wicked, and horizontal of ways.
Xander flashed Spike a grin of pure admiration. He was in his element again and though Spike would still let his Sire take the lead, Xander knew it was Spike who would end up finalizing any transactions so he politely sat and waited for the rest of the visit to transpire.
The banker settled, smiled then introduced himself, “Bonsoir Messieurs. Je suis Jean-Paul Ettreci, votre conseiller traditionnel de compte dans des investissements à long terme, et vous aiderai de quelque façon que je peux.” (Sirs, good evening. I am Jean-Paul Ettreci, your traditional account adviser in long-term investments, and will help you in any way which I can.)
Jean- Paul sat opposite the three very handsome men and wondered at their youth and obvious wealth. His CEO had been most adamant that they be treated with the utmost care and discretion.
Looking at the three now, he surmised they were some kind of royalty or at the very least, ‘Old money’? He decided on casual but respectful so as they settled, quietly expressed, “Est-ce que je peux t'offrir une boisson avant que nous commencions ? Café peut-être?” (May I offer you a drink before we start? Coffee perhaps?)
Angel looked across to Spike and Xander – who had moved their chairs a little closer to each other and were holding hands. “Merci non, Nous seulement ont juste diné. Mais peut-être l'eau serait appréciée.” (Thank you no. We have only just dined. But perhaps water would be appreciated?)
Jean-Paul what appeared as an old fashioned brass button on the wall, then spoke into the modern communicator, and in less than thirty seconds a silver tray with iced water and four elegant crystal glasses were silently delivered to the central table and served within reaching distance. All took a sip of their water and relaxed a little, before Angel eyed Monsieur Ettreci with intent.
“Et, bonsoir à vous M. Ettreci. Votre banque est la plus généreuse de votre banque pour nous permettre cette visite tellement en retard. Nous apprécions tout votre service à notre famille pendant les nombreuses années où nous avons investies avec vous. Je suis Angelus Aurelius. C'est William Aurelius, et son associé, Alexandre.” …(“And, good evening to you Mr Ettreci. Your bank was most generous of your bank to allow us this visit so late. We appreciate all your service to our family during the many years we have invested with you. I am Angelus Aurelius. This is William Aurelius, and his partner, Alexandre.”)
Angel toasted the banker with his glass of water then announced, “Nous souhaitons accéder à notre chambre forte cette soirée, car nous avons l' intention de vendre une partie du contenu et de la réinvestir. Elle sera à votre banque naturellement. Je demanderais à William pour continuer des négociations car il a été un excellent directeur de nos investissements pendant beaucoup d'années.” …(“We wish to access our safe deposit vault this evening, as we have l' intention to sell part of the contents and to reinvest it. It will be at your bank naturally. I would ask William to continue negotiations as he has been an excellent manager of our investments for many years.”)
Angel looked to Spike at this point, who merely nodded and gave a blinding, azure eyed smile to the almost stunned banker – who definitely decided on royalty and old money combined.
Angel leaned across and whispered to Spike, “This one is yours to manage now.”
“Has been for years now, Sire.”
“I know. So… let’s just do this.”
Spike smiled at the banker and recited the fifteen digit code without hesitation, the eight digit ‘additional’ number and then answered two further security questions while Monsieur Ettreci typed furiously.
Monsieur Ettreci then checked his laptop, smiled and immediately arose from his place on the comfortable lounge chairs, tapped in a code on the keypad beside a very lovely original Monet painting on the wall above the inoperative, ornate fireplace. The painting swung open revealing a hidden safe, typed in a code, and as the secure place opened, proceeded to seek the key that would open their vault.
“Messieurs, si vous me suivrez…” (Gentlemen, if you will follow me...)
Xander was left to wonder at the ‘many years’ part of Spike’s management of funds while he was ‘away’. If so, why had he been in such a desperate state in Sunnydale when he had arrived back? Scrounging for money by doing the slayer and ex Watcher favors? Living in a crypt from what he could gather, when he could have just accessed the money and run? And how had Angel afforded to own the Hyperion, if not by accessing the accounts? They were all questions that he needed answers for, but stayed quiet as they walked three abreast down a long wide, ornately adorned corridor, turning right before following the banker down another. Spike quietly taking Xander’s hand and squeezed, a little concerned at the quiet and the rather worried expression on his Consort’s face.
They stopped a few meters from an enormous metal door with no apparent handle.
Monsieur Ettreci, keyed in yet another code then placed his eye over a small camera, a mere second later the door swung silently open, lights turned on automatically revealing a long line around sixty identical floor to ceiling doors each with its own keypad and led them to one second to the end on the left of the corridor.
Monsieur Ettreci, smiled nodded then retreated, simply stating, “Vous pouvez prendre du temps, pour autant que vous souhaitez. Quand vous avez accompli, simplement la presse sur le bouton bleu sur l'intérieur de la porte principale de la chambre forte et de moi sera présente immédiatement.” (You can take time, in so far as you wish. When you have completed, simply press on the blue button on the interior of the principal door of the vault and I will be present immediately.)
Spike stepped forward, keyed in the eight digit ‘additional number’ and the door swung open, and like before the lights came on immediately. The vault was at least 5m by 10m and the ceiling as high as the ballroom at their home in Surrey.
All three stood for a moment, rather stunned before Spike broke the silence, “Bloody Hell… never thought I’d see all this lot again… and certainly not like this. Reckon I had been too crazed to be this organized back then.” He shrugged, squeezed Xander’s hand a little tighter and looked toward Angel who simply retorted, “You were always one for order William, even if you denied it.”
Spike huffed at the comment but returned Angel’s smile and commented under his breath, “Yeah well, a bloke’s got ‘is pride.”
There were paintings of all sizes in purpose made holders as per gallery storage; small bronze and porcelain statuettes and random objects (obviously of value) neatly positioned on several shelves; boxes and old fashioned chests stacked high on well arranged shelves. A number of pieces of expensive antique furniture were placed at the rear, all carefully covered, and where possible, also stacked high.
The fading labels on the boxes and chests indicated their contents - almost. “Precious books”; “jewelry – various”; “crystal – various”; “gems and all sorts”; and then there were other labels more intriguing. “Demon gains”; “Russia”; “Post 1945”; and so it went on.
Xander wondered where on earth it all came from, but not only that… where were they to start, and how would they sell the pieces chosen… legitimately! His attention was immediately drawn to Spike who strode across to two old fashioned, dark mahogany, four tiered filing cabinets set side by side.
“Right Sire, what’s first? Not gettin’ rid of everything, but it’s your call on the paintings, do fancy a few hanging in the Surrey house, but some will have to go. Most have papers of authenticity in here, others will need to be valued ”
Angel immediately fell into game face and mumbled around his fangs, “Spoils of War first, then we can decide on the other.”
Spike had returned to Europe after his brief sojourn under the sea at the hands of the Nazis and being pushed from the submarine by his traitor of a Grandsire, seeking out and finding his dark plumb with all the determination and abilities of a vampire at his best.
He found Drusilla in Italy, ensconced in a former nunnery and protected by the local vampire master, Mistress Lucia, in Pisa, as the country at war (on the losing side apparently) was in meltdown, late 1944. Reclaiming her, he had paid Mistress Lucia in fresh blood and a number of ‘baubles’ for her trouble, then dragged Dru into the melee that was the end of the war. The ‘pickings’ were easy, and the dying on various battlefields lying in the dark, generally grateful and submitting willingly to a swift death.
He had tracked down several of the senior German officers who had been the cause of his brief, though eventful, stay under the sea at their behest, killed them easily and ‘requisitioned’ their stash of stolen treasures.
Crossing borders was easy enough, all German occupied, and having no papers simply meant an evening feast for Spike and his paramour, as he drove a stolen baker’s van full of the loot to Switzerland.
As he entered the vault, he had been somewhat surprised at the time that the vault was so full, but didn’t question the welcome additions, not realizing that Angel too had returned to Europe briefly, via a second forced mission courtesy of the US forces.
Angel had fulfilled what was expected without effort, parachuting to the ground in the middle of the night, only to find that the experimental laboratories focusing on vampires and other demons had already been destroyed by the bombings in Berlin. Though he reported all were dead to his ‘bosses’ in covert operations, he had managed to rescue a number of the demons still trapped and then apparently disappeared off his ‘boss’s’ dial.
After a number of attempts to contact him, and with the Pacific on their dial, they assumed he was dust in the wind, giving it no more than a passing note on his file. Nobody would miss a non-person.
Like Spike, Angel found it was easy move about amid the confusion that was the end of WWII, when all around him were either fighting or fleeing, so along with a number of his sun-allergic charges, took what they could in blood and in possessions from the perpetrators of the horror.
His soul justified the elimination of a number of high ranked officers, either by his hand or his ‘colleagues for now’ easy. Killing for food or sport was one thing his demon agreed with, but to do it for no better reason than genocide and the requisitioning of the riches of the Jewish community, his soul found beyond deplorable.
Gradually their little group of rescued demons had dispersed and despite his soul, or perhaps because of it, Angel deliberately charmed his way into a number of remaining rich Nazi loyal houses across Europe, either eliminating the perpetrators of the horror, or anonymously placing them ‘in harm’s way’ as the Allies swept to victory.
Consequently, Angel too, had driven to Switzerland and deposited a significant quantity of the German ruling classes’ stolen items in the Aurelian vault, before accessing some of said General’s and Colonel’s own hidden, ill begotten treasures kept at the very same bank courtesy of one of his rescued demon’s ability to thrall.
The young, rescued vampire, Mishka was thrilled. He had been rescued by the great Angelus and so was more than happy to oblige his services when it came to retrieving the spoils of war, and was richly rewarded as a consequence. His intention to return to Hungary after the war met with a smile and a grand gesture (a bite to the neck) by the legendary Angelus (soul not an issue as far as he was concerned). Therefore two vaults on the left were designated as his. Its owner dead, there was more than enough to fund the foundation of Mishka’s court upon his return (once the human fighting had diminished to nothing. He was fifty years turned, and as Angelus pointed out at the time… He had the time to wait out the outcome and access it all later.
They had parted company at that point, Angel returning to the USA, Miscka to his beloved Hungary… never to be heard of again… apparently. Circa 1946.
Spike identified the items according to the itinerary in the cabinet and the dates so carefully itemized, then watched, in sadness for all they had won and lost, causing his Grandsire to back up to the vault opening and slide down the wall.
Spike looked over with concern
Spike turned to Angel with a flash of yellow hinting his demon was more than a little incensed. “You were here too? You bloody bastard! Why didn’t you stay? I mean Dru ‘n me…” He wasn’t allowed to finish.
“I was *ensouled* Spike. I just couldn’t… couldn’t admit what I had done *again* and…” Angel stared at his shoes for a moment, “I so needed to… just get back to…”
“You really are a prize wanker *Sire*… could’ve tracked Dru ‘n me ‘n spent the fifties like we did – on the ‘A list’ for humans and demons alike. More parties ‘n I can count and not too many bodies – blood given willingly, ‘though must admit Dru needed someone to watch her. Nearly bloody well drained one of our human hosts (not that he minded at the time apparently!) But you could have stayed…”
Xander sensed his partner’s angst and held tight to the hand then gave him a soft, gentle kiss on his turning mark, mumbling, “Let’s leave the past, just let’s let it all go and do what we have to do.”
Angel had been careful to identify the misbegotten treasures in the vault on the right and took what he felt right. He knew the heritage, the angst at the time, protesting that if some of the families should have them returned if any of said offspring/survivors still existed, vowing to do the same. And if not, at least he could respect the dead by keeping their precious possessions within Aurleian care. It was as though a moment ago in Spike and Angel’s lives. So stark, and confronting, and the older vampire moved to the front of the vault and slid down the wall.
Spike raised an eyebrow, but nodded in agreement. It would take some time to track down said relatives, but his sense of ‘right’ was as strong as his Grandsire's.
“So we take what we know are from them’s what are dead ‘n gone then we track down the families for the other. That OK with you Sire?”
Angel nodded from his position on the floor, then stood with fluid grace and began to sort through the paintings, while Spike sorted through the files – particularly focusing on families who had been ‘wiped out’ in the ‘ethnic cleansing that was the Third Reich.
Angel had returned to the USA by boat with the first wave of refugees fleeing the war ravaged continent just after 1945, not penniless, and certainly in a position to survive for some time on the healthy sum he took from the Aurelian account at the Credit Suisse. But at the same time, felt his Grand-Childe’s pain and knew he could do nothing. So simply left, again without contact.
There was little for Xander to do but to sort through to drawers (and drawers) of precious gems and jewelry that was part of the contents of the security vault. Once he had sorted through various unset jewels, he began to refer to Spike again. “This one is…”, only to find that the majority were now without owners to return said treasures to, but occasionally Spike was able to ask him to put them aside. Xander never happier for the internet link on his phone that allowed Spike to track down survivors, and not in a moment missing that the two vampires had souls, and consciences that compelled them to return ill begotten goods.
In the end they had a trolley load of artifacts and jewels that they were happy to auction, and some that would adorn their home(s), mostly pre WWI. Plus at least forty names to track down, survivors of the WWII Nazi purges, that all the Aurelians all vowed would have precious heirlooms returned to the existing families if possible.
Yet what remained in the vault was still a veritable treasure trove, and as the vault closed, Xander was the one to point out, “We could have sold the lot.”
Spike sent a pointed look to his Grandsire then sighed, “’M now the High Master of the South East, Pet. Who knows when we might have a need for it sometime in the future. ‘N if not, then it’s the Grandsire and our ‘retirement fund’... And us vampires (‘n consorts) we tend to last a long while...
Xander let his gaze wander to the now secured door and the approach of their attentive banker, and simply stated, “With your management of accounts and investments, I figure that will be a dark day in Hell we’ll ever need it.”
Spike smirked a little, preened himself at the compliment and turned to Angel. “You OK with all this now?”
Angel’s reply was simple and genuine, “Always trusted you William, even in the bad days, and always will. Let’s go home, rid ourselves of the cursed lot, return what we can and decorate that house of ours in the style of… ”
Spike turned azure eyes sparkling, and intoned, “…St Petersburg! Thought it was odd with some of your choices. I always thought you had forgotten? Especially after Xan…” Spike trailed off as he pushed the door closed only to find Angel in full game face, holding him tight from behind and scraping fangs over Spike’s original turning mark. Xander smiled a little, the act did not threaten him in the least, rather he felt the joy flooding from Spike, his William, through the consort link. Something had occurred in St Petersburg between Angelus and William… yet another question for another day.
Instead of interrupting the moment he simply pushed the blue button just outside their vault and summoned Monsieur Ettreci – who seemed to appear instantaneously with a number of assistants to relieve Xander of the task of pushing the trolley of goods they had decided upon from the vault.