Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Xander has PTSD after rescuing one too many slayers. Spike is recovering (sort of) after the battle with W&H. Fate may have it they eventually find each other - she's funny that way.
Spoilers: Sometime in early season five – or possibly late six BtVS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Disclaimer: 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.
Two hours later found both individuals lounging, one apiece, on the comfortable, outdoor furniture of the balcony, small laptops perched on their knees, occupied with their own thoughts and matters online.
Xander had called Willow but only managed to leave a message promising he was well and would send an email.
Spike spoke to Giles immediately after, casually querying whether others in the Watcher’s Council or anyone outside the Coven a) might know of his existence and current location – and Xander’s, and b) may have deliberately or accidentally passed it on to someone(s). Giles was adamant that no such slip could or would have occurred and went on to stress his utmost support for the men he was entrusting his London abode to. Xander listened intently as the vampire stressed they were both well and happily occupied. To Xander’s relief, no mention was made of panic and injuries on the first day, before Sp0ike rather reluctantly passed him the phone, apparently to satisfy the older gent that the man he considered a surrogate son was indeed enjoying his ‘holiday’.
Xander repeatedly reassured Giles that he was enjoying himself; that Spike was being considerate and caring; and that he was more than happy to remain in Spike’s company, as long as Spike was happy to have him around.
Spike was pacing the floor by the time Xander was on his second round of, “Yes. Yes, I have. No. Of course… Yes. Yes, I know. Yes, I will I promise. OK. No, it’s really OK…” He had given up listening to Giles' side of the conversation, primarily consisting of “remember to…” and “are you sure that…”s in favor of openly growling. Finally he could stand it no more, he wrenched the phone from Xander said, “Listen Watcher, ‘e’s a big boy an’ ‘e’s here with me, an’ I take care of my own – you know that. Now, we’re due to pop out to the museum and at this rate it’ll be closed before you finish the lecture, so I’ll just say a cheery bye from both of us. We’ll call again soon.”
Spike would have slammed down the phone if he could, but had to be satisfied with pushing the call finished button and flinging it across the room, only to bounce off the settee and ricochet into a shocked Xander’s chest, where it was (happily for the phone) caught by reflex, and placed gently back on its stand.
Xander stood expecting a post phone call rant from Spike, but instead the vampire gave Xander a look that he interpreted as worry. Still somewhat reeling from the litany of instructions and voiced concerns from Giles, he dropped his gaze and chewed the inside of his cheek nervously, not sure what to say. He felt pathetic, the dull ache of old hurts and failures returned in full force for the first time since their first night in the flat.
Spike saw the change and recognized the problem for what it was, so acted rather than spoke. Before Xander could even glance up Spike had closed the space between them, put one hand on Xander’s bicep and tilted up his chin with the other. They were only inches apart and the younger man had no choice but to look into sincere, crystal blue. “Now pet, none of that. You are doin’ fine, have done for years, and it can only get better, yeah? I was serious about the British Museum by the way, someone’s got to educate you colonials, so come on. Emails can wait.”
With that he gave Xander’s strong arm an extra squeeze and made for the stairs. They were out the door within minutes.
The museum was only a ten minute walk through backstreets and the day overcast but warm. Xander was in a rather more subdued mood than on previous outings, obviously still mulling over the concerned lecture from Giles. Spike had expected as much but let the boy be, until they were mounting the grand steps of the museum entrance and he heard Xander's mumbled, " Sorry, Spike."
He took another step then spun on the spot to face Xander with a fierce expression, growled and (as they were about the same height in that position) poked Xander in the chest. "You say 'Sorry' one more time for somethin' else you didn't do or are, just because Watcher-man says, and I promise I *will* bite you. Got it?"
Xander looked as though he was going to shrink into the pavement, then closed his good eye and took a deep breath. "Yeah, I'll try..."
Spike looked skeptical for a moment, then his demeanor softened and he patted the arm he had been holding, "Right then. Let's go find us some mummies."
As they ascended the steps and passed the impressive colonnades of the front entrance, Xander ventured quietly, "And could we see the Vikings Exhibit, I'd kind of like to... it looked interesting online."
"Don't rightly mind what we look at."
For the next two and a half hours they tagged along behind various free guided tour groups on the ground floor, saw all that was to be seen of upper rooms, and finished up sitting in the museum's main cafe where Xander had just consumed an enormous, ice cream laden iced chocolate. Looking rather pleased with himself, Xander leaned over pointing to an area on the guide map, "I know it'll cost but I'd really like to see the Ancient Lives Exhibit. What do you think?"
Spike smiled indulgently, the young man really did seem to be having a good time, and to be honest, felt he could better use the time to visit the Credit Suisse offices and confirm arrangements for his Zurich visit in person. "I think I'll sit this one out."
Xander's face fell immediately, "Oh."
"Don't mean you can't go though."
"But what will you do?"
"Well I won't be runnin' off and leavin' you if that's what's got your knickers in a twist. I fancy I'll just observe the 'passing parade', that sort of thing. Look meet you out front in an hour or so. That should be enough time for you to have a good gander, an' you can let me know all about it on the walk home."
"So we'll meet on the steps?"
Spike pushed back from the table, "That sounds a fine plan. Now come on, let's get you sorted with a ticket."
Watching the young man head happily into the exhibit armed with 'guided tour headset and iPod', Spike made for the front door, hailed a taxi and directed it to the Pall Mall office of Credit Suisse.
The building was not particularly impressive, and the receptionist eyed the rather handsome blonde man with some disinterest, but was nevertheless polite as he stepped up to her desk, "Good afternoon, can I help you?"
Spike replied in his original upper crust English accent, "I do hope so. I was wondering if George Montague might be available?"
"Oh. I will check with his PA. Did you have an appointment?"
"Not as such. If you would be so kind as to let him know that it is Master William Aurelius."
"Of course. If you will bear with me for a moment."
Spike stepped away from the desk and studied the large abstract art piece on the wall opposite while he waited. He smiled to himself when he heard the receptionist give a slight squeak followed by "Yes, yes of course. I'll send him right up."
"Sir? Mr Aurelius?" She beckoned to Spike, " Mr Montague is currently in a meeting, but his secretary said he won't be long. He was expecting you, so if you would be kind enough to go up to the fifth floor..."
Spike gave her a blinding smile and turned toward the elevator, leaving the blushing woman to wonder who exactly the handsome young man was to have Mr Montague so willing to see him at such short notice.
Several flustered businessmen were waiting to enter the lift as Spike exited on the fifth floor.
A silver haired man immaculately dressed in a dark, pin striped suit complete with red rose in the lapel immediately strode across the hallway, hand outstretched and broad smile firmly in place. "William! Wonderful to see you again. I was hoping you might stop by."
Spike returned the easy smile and shook the outstretched hand, marveling that it felt, as he remembered, almost warm. "Come in, do come in."
He was swiftly ushered into a large well appointed office, noting the drawn curtains and tasteful lighting as he was offered a seat and Montague took his own behind a wide, glass topped desk.
The businessman's age was indeterminable from his appearance, particularly when he smiled, "I must say I was rather surprised when the chaps from Zurich contacted me last month. There had been some mutterings from across the drink, but then those colonials never could get their facts straight. It's a *great* pleasure to see you after all this time..." Montague leaned forward with a rather conspiratorial look on his face, "Now tell me, how's the family, and when do I get to meet your new mystery man?"
Spike cocked his eyebrow at the last statement then gave the banker a *very* abbreviated version of events in LA, carefully skirted around any mention of his soul or sun proof status, managed to avoid all but the information necessary regards Connor's existence, and hedged around Xander and his exact relationship - Consort and Master, or otherwise.
Montague's normally carefully schooled expression alternated between surprised, saddened, annoyed and pleased as his fellow demon's story progressed. He liked William a great deal, and had always made a point of dealing directly with him rather than Angelus or the rest of the unpredictable Aurelians. Adding to that, neither he nor the bank had time for the very 'slippery' Wolfram and Hart - other than when utterly necessary- so when the vampire finished with "... and so you understand my need for discretion when it comes to liquidating some of our assets held in the Swiss vaults.", he allowed his true form to emerge for a moment. Attractive silver grey spines replaced hair, his elegant nose elongating slightly to match now pointed ears, and he replied with a slight lisp caused by his forked, bluish tongue. "You have my absolute word, dear fellow. And my sincere condolences regards your Sire."
Spike felt at once relieved and touched by the genuine sentiment being expressed. He trusted Montague, always had, truth be known. He smiled and gave a curt yet friendly nod, "Thank you."
Montague relaxed back in his chair and reverted to his human guise once more, "Now, I take it you are not just here to afford an old friend fuel for the gossip circle, so when do you intend visiting Zurich and how can I help, other than the obvious."
Twenty minutes later Spike was being ushered personally to the front door of the building. Montague barked an order to the receptionist as they walked past her desk, "Maria, have my car brought around for Mr Aurelius."
Within moments a large, silver, top of the line Mercedes pulled up outside and Spike was handed an umbrella as it was still light though overcast outside. "I'll send through the documents immediately and I'm sure we'll catch up before you leave. Lady Regina is having one of her usual soirees on Saturday and I *know* she won't allow 'her dear William' to miss it." George rolled his eyes and gave Spike a wink adding, "Don't worry, I'll be sure to rescue you if needed."
Xander emerged from the building exactly an hour later and scanned the steps for his friend and minder. There were a few people obviously doing the same, but Spike was nowhere to be seen. Pushing down his urge to panic, he checked the time on his mobile phone and sat down to the right of the front doors to wait. After seven minutes he spotted the blonde striding across the museum square with purpose and moved to meet him.
"I thought you said here at half six."
Spike took in the mildly worried look on Xander's face and smiled back apologetically, "Sorry mate, the car had to go the long way, road works."
"But I thought you were going to... you know... "
"Yeah, well... Just needed to see a man about a dog is all." Spike stood trying to look innocent but failed miserably
Xander narrowed his good eye at the comment but fell into step beside the vampire as he turned toward home.
They made it another hundred or so metres before Xander said, "Hang on. What car? I thought you were..."
"Tell you at home yeah? C'mon, still have to pick up some dinner."