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 season five AtS – and possibly late seven 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.
“My direct lineage is that of the Taexali tribe born of a fae mother, and father was a Drengr demon and a geasadair(1), a draoidh(2), living as one of the Venicones tribe, both tribes were north of the Antonine wall. Though I doubt you have heard of either clan as it was the time of the late Roman occupation.
“My own longevity and ‘gifts’ are due to fae and demon ancestry, and their various magicks. And before you ask, I do age physically, simply not according to the time scale that is this realm. Upon my adulthood and as is customary for the fae, a ceremony was performed to enhance my abilities and protect the old knowledge. It also meant that I aged physically, but very slowly, the equivalent of twenty or so human years over a century of theirs. I do feel it now and again, but I ‘keep active’ as they say.” The professor gave a broad smile and waved a hand indicating the library around him. “The presence of youngsters and a little dabbling here and there keeps the mind active and the spirit willing.
“I was pleased to see you have returned to your roots, though am unsurprised. I suspected you would be drawn here eventually, after all that has happened in recent times, it was all but a given. You always were destined for great things, such fine life energy, such a strong, resilient, old soul. And after all you have endured, and although there is still more to come, you now walk in the sun, have a brother of sorts, and most recently, found your ‘other’ - your kindred spirit, worthy and willing to share your journey, a matching soul. All are strengthening blessings I think.” Sir Gordon gave him an all knowing, broad smile and relaxed back, looking somehow satisfied by his last statement.
Spike was rather taken aback by the old man’s revelations, most of it he knew or at least suspected, perhaps not the details but certainly his enduring presence at the university alone had indicated some supernatural intervention. But his alluding to Connor and then Xander was a surprise. He leaned forward and met the professor’s dancing gaze before asking the obvious, “Why Xander? What ‘matching soul’? And what do you mean ‘more to come’?”
At the rather exasperated look on William’s face, the professor reached out and patted the cool pale hand resting on the desk. “All in good time, as it is your journey to take, not mine to tell. But that you *are* needed and necessary, and will not be alone. I can tell you this much, it has always been ruidic(3) doctrine that the souls of men are immortal, so when the body dies and after the lapse of an appointed number of years, they came to life again by the soul entering another body, therefore the ancient sense, collective memory if you will, of lives past lie buried below the surface, shaping and shaped by the life being lived. And for the lucky few, this ancient soul is more in control, closer to the surface and therefore the feelings, knowledge and abilities are not forgotten, and very occasionally, accessible when needed most. You and your friend are so blessed. And not just that, you are bound together in the past and the present.”
“You are saying that Xander and I… But that can’t be right… I know we were… and then… but we’ve only just… I mean we haven’t… What *do* you mean?”
“He is an old soul, as are you. And it is your time to come together again at last. He can be the light to your dark, and you to his. I have said too much I fear, so I reiterate, it is your journey to take.” The professor pulled back and the intensity the moment abruptly evaporated as he chuckled jovially and said, “Now, it really is time I call it a day. I assume you and your friend are coming with Jonathon to dinner tonight. My current wife, Jemima, is an excellent cook and the company is set to be grand fun.”
With that, he stood and bustled Spike out the door of the library with a final, “Oh, and I have a little something for you at the house – a trifle I had tucked away for you in case you ever came to visit. See you tonight.”
Spike noted the lengthening shadows of the afternoon and guessed Xander would be well and truly back at the B&B waiting for him so set off at a brisk ‘human’ pace, paying little heed to the scenery en route as he mulled over the professor’s words.
Sir Gordon knew more than what he had divulged, of that Spike was certain, indeed the ageing fae (or whatever he really was) had said as much. But what did that mean for Xander? For him? For them?
He tried to look at it from all angles, to re-examine sections of his past featuring the boy in particular, and wondering at the implications of the ‘old soul’ and ‘dark/light’ business. Failing to draw any satisfactory conclusions by the time he turned into their street, he gave up and focused on matters at hand – in particular, getting to the room and having at least two bags of the red stuff, he was starving.
Xander was seated on the bed fully clothed, afternoon sun streaming into their shared abode, with his laptop propped on his lap and an open beer on the bedside table, by the time Spike returned from his day out.
Still somewhat caught up in his rather revelatory conversation with the good professor, and what it might mean for them both, he managed a distracted hello before helping himself to a beer from their tiny fridge.
Xander put the computer to one side and looked hard at his companion who was now staring out the window picking distractedly at the label on the bottle of beer.
“So… Good day at school?”
Spike seemed to jolt from his musings at the comment, “Wha..? Oh, yeah. Talked a bit, had lunch with Jon – nice bloke. Then spent the rest with ol’ Prof. Urquhart. Wily ol’ bugger, knew me from my first time here.”
Xander processed the statement then shoved his laptop aside and swung off the bed to standing, with a rather stunned, “Wait… What first time? You didn’t kill his family or something? Geez Spike?! Are you OK? I mean how? Did he try to… ”
“What?!” Spike was both confused and incensed by the comment, “Course I didn’t bloody kill ‘is family! I was a namby pamby twenty somethin’, still wet behind the ears when I got here. What would I be doin’ hurtin’ anyone’s family fer Ghod’s sake?”
Xander was still befuddled, “But I thought you meant sometime before you came to the states, you know… before you and Drusilla came to SunnyD and all that… ?”
Spike’s eyes narrowed for a moment, and said very slowly, “Before. I. was. turned. You git! Bugger was one of the dons when I was here as a student.”
Xander’s good eye went wide with shocked surprise as the implications of the statement set in. He sat heavily in stunned silence, finally managing, “Sh#@, but that’s impossible!”
Spike grabbed his beer from its resting place and made his way over to sit on the end of the bed, the same side as Xander, one ignored laptop separating them. “Yeah well, wouldn’t ‘ave known at the time, but the bloke’s mum was fae folk or some such. No idea how old he is really but was a wily ol’ bugger then, an’ still is. Knows far more than he shared, that’s for certain. Apparently he has the gift of the sight, ‘n who knows what else. Said some bits about the two of us. Nothin’ dire mind, like tryin’ to interpret a bloody eight ball, to be truthful… Anyway, he’s invited us for dinner at his place tonight. Jonathon is pickin’ us up around seven, ‘n before you go gettin’ your nickers in a twist, it’s low key, an’ ‘twas we not just me he invited.”
Xander was still caught rather like a deer in headlights, staring wide eyed at Spike, “I… um… Wow… and yeah, I guess, whatever.” Finally breaking eye contact, he picked up his computer in silence as Spike polished off his beer. The blonde then announced he would shower and eat some ‘red stuff’, after which Xander could “tell yours truly all ‘bout your day in the hallowed halls an’ paddle to follow.”
Given Spike’s flash of emotional concern, or perhaps even jealousy (?), as Xander and Richard had departed for their ‘tour de force’ of the university that morning, Xander decided to give the cliff notes version, omitting any mention of the nude photos of the handsome rugby player, and the fact that he had spent the afternoon alone.
Spike was stark naked, toweling his hair dry and obviously just fed, as he exited their small en-suite in a billow of steam. Xander quickly tamped down on any erotic thoughts and focused on shutting off his computer in an attempt to distract himself from the handsome visage of his companion. By the time he looked up again, Spike had a pair of designer jeans slung low on slim hips and was searching through their belongings for an appropriate casual shirt for the evening.
The inevitable question was rather a distracted one as Spike slid on the rich blue silk shirt and proceeded to wrestle with its small buttons, “So, you and Richard get on OK then pet?”
“Umm, yeah he was great. We sort of did an unofficial tour, part historical, part film sets type thing. He was great at avoiding the official tourist parties, and knew stuff I’m sure you only get when you are an actual student here.”
Spike moved to the fridge and pulled out a beer for each of them and sat on the bed beside the brunette. “’S that right. Well come on… bit more detail for the bloke who was stuck inside for most of the day.”
Xander did deliver a more comprehensive description of his day than he had perhaps intended, but did manage to omit any mention of rugby. It was only when he said he had ended up at the swimming pool alone that Spike began to growl, stood and began to pace. Xander felt indignant and guilty all at once, tried defending (the ‘stupid bint’) Rebecca and stressed his own need to have ‘time out’, and when that seemed to have no effect, expressed his frustration at being treated as a burden, an invalid, idiot and useless sidekick.
Angry, worried, and upset, the two ended up standing toe to toe glaring, Spike with his hands on his hips, Xander with arms protectively across his own chest. “Spike! I’m here and I’m fine. You are my friend, not my keeper! I’m not a naughty child! Not feeling the love here, or a whole lot of trust.” Exasperated, he broke eye contact, huffed in frustration and turned away. He didn’t blame Spike for the whole debacle that was his life, far from it, it just seemed that every time he seemed to see a glimmer of hope that things were getting better, he seemed to screw it up somehow, and in the process, hurt or worry others.
Spike remained silent and watched with a sinking feeling as Xander turned away, he hadn’t meant to be angry, hell he hadn’t meant to care so much, but he was and he did. They may only have been in each other’s company for a few days, but they had a history and they had held each other, and talked and laughed, even kissed. In the past he could have blamed his demon for the protective, possessive urgency of his feelings, but he knew it was more than just that. He knew he had fallen for the boy and not just because he had ‘volunteered his services’ as minder for a time. He had always been love’s bitch, always loved quickly and completely, and so often had hurt or been hurt in the process.
He gave up his angry stance and sat heavily on the bed. If this was to be the breaking point for their budding relationship then so be it. They would finish their time in Oxford, travel back to London and Harris would no doubt return to Giles, happy to be rid of the changed vampire and move on with his life. And Spike would… he just wasn’t sure.
Xander continued to stare at the wall, caught in his own maelstrom of thoughts and emotions, registering only belatedly that Spike had moved and was now seated in silence, looking dejectedly at the floor.
He moved and sat beside him, and when nothing said, quietly extracted a pale cool hand from where it was clasped in his own broad warm one and interlaced their fingers. “I’m sorry Spike. Not for having a good day, but… I’m just sorry OK? I was just…”
Spike didn’t look up, “’s alright Harris. You don’t want me around to mother hen you. ‘s fine. Just a stupid bloody vampire after all, no apologies needed. We can finish our time here and I’ll be on me way. Don’t need me gettin’ in your way ‘n messin’ things up…” He was about to withdraw his hand from their shared clench but found it held fast, squeezed tighter in fact.
“And that is so not what I was trying to… Look, you just came on a bit strong with the whole Mr Indignant thing, but… I guess I thought we had a good thing… you know… between us. Besides, I… well… I kissed you! And I don’t go around doing that to just anyone - alright?”
Spike relaxed a little and grumped a rather half-hearted, “Should bloody well hope not.”
“So, I don’t… and I’m not apologizing for losing it for a bit back there, and neither should you, OK? And I don’t want you gone, in fact I’d really be pissed at you if you left, out of my life, I mean, because… well because I really thought that we… s@%t Spike, I kind of thought we were kind of at the start of something… something good… more than just friends, but friends as well, if you know what I mean. Look I just want… I mean, I thought you might… but of course…” It was Xander’s turn to attempt to move away, but found himself held fast as Spike’s free hand reached up to touch his cheek, gently coaxing him around until his good eye could focus on the intense blue pair of Spike’s.
“No pullin’ away just yet, pet, let’s just sort this, as best we can… for now, at least.” Spike seemed to be waiting for a sign of approval, or something in Xander’s expression to give, and apparently found it as he leaned in to give, and take, a tender, chaste kiss to the lips. “Need you to be sure luv. Need you to know I won’t take what’s not freely given. Need you to feel strong ‘n free to choose. Need you to know I… well, I want you for all of you, for the long haul like… Need you to want me the same way… Ah shoot Xan… ‘m a vampire, sun’s rays notwithstanding, still a bloody vampire…”
Xander finally tugged his hand free and used both to cup the beautiful face so close to his, all but whispering, “I know what you are… and this is free will.” With that he initiated another kiss, this time a passionate one with tongues exploring, and the two easing gently back onto the bed until the position became awkward and Spike rolled on top of the human without breaking contact.
Spike’s leg slid into the warm valley created by Xander’s two as their forms melted together further and caresses continued. Finally it was Xander who rolled them to the side and broke for air but seemed content to remain touching. He stroked Spike’s cheek one more time evoking the softest, most tender smile he had ever seen from the blonde, and it was directed at him.
“We’re a right pair, ain’t we luv. Coupla tossers that’s us… Yeah… that’s us alright…” He stroked Xander’s arm rhythmically in time with the thumb that gentled his cheek, reluctant to do or say anything more.
Ultimately it was Xander’s stomach that broke the mood, giving a loud rumble of complaint. Spike snorted a laugh along with ‘bloody hell Harris’ while Xander’s ‘oops’ and sheepish grin had them both sitting up.
Spike stood and held out his hand to help Xander up, “C’mon, let’s us get some kit on. Jon’ll be at the door in a half hour or so. Reckon you can make it ‘til dinner without chewin’ your own leg off with hunger?”
Scots Gaelic translations:
1. Draoidh: druid
2. Gaesadair: wizard, sooth sayer
3. Ruidic: according to druid beliefs