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! i.e. Caution - boys playing together in this chapter particularly.
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.
Anton and Spike stood shoulder to shoulder observing the couples on the dance floor, many of whom seemed to be making up for lack of ability with happy enthusiasm. Spike looked for Xander but could not see him amongst the immediate crowd, scanned the garden with no joy, then followed Anton’s line of site and spotted him politely leading Lady Regina over to a table laden with fancy hors d’oeuvres and champagne.
Spike knew better than to interrupt her ladyship, knowing full well that she would want to ‘assess’ his Consort, so followed Anton’s lead and moved to politely invite two seated ladies nearby to dance. Very attractive, perfectly coiffed, fifty something (at a guess) Penelope Hilton-Smythe was an excellent dancer, and obviously enjoyed the attentions of the young William Aurelius. She batted her eyelashes and smiled easily as they whirled around the floor to a fast tango, enjoyed a few words in the break between numbers then resumed the pace with as the music continued.
By the time Spike was leading Penelope (“please call me Pippa”) back to her seat she was flushed and smiling. He kissed her hand in genteel fashion and excused himself, sure that Xander had had enough time to do his duty toward their host, providing her with enough information to be satisfied she was being treated and respected as the ‘go to’ person in the upper echelons of London society (human and demon) by William’s friend.
As he made his way toward the brunette, he noted that Lady Regina had moved on and observed two individuals he was sure he knew from years before approach Xander, one deliberately bumping the man from behind, causing the drink he was holding to slosh onto the floor. Spike was too far away to intervene immediately but clearly heard the insincere apology and what followed.
Xander jerked forward, relieved that his drink had not landed on anyone. He turned to the individual who had knocked him and felt a strange prickle of warning as the stocky male grinned unrepentantly and said, “How clumsy. Oh look, this must be William’s little human friend. Trust him to pick up with another damaged item.” He snorted derisively and stood straighter (though still having to look up to Xander) then stated imperiously, “Edgar Lemark, Master of Greater London, and this is my Childe Neville, and you would be?”
Spike moved up behind Xander before he could reply and growled, “None of your bloody business, is who.” His arm wound around a relieved Xander’s waist and his next words dripping with hatred, “Edgar, Neville, how’s the racketeering business these days?”
Neville’s eyes flashed gold, but he continued to smile, “Oh you are rather behind with your information, but then you always were on the fringes, as it were. I take it this is a ‘flying visit’ since you haven’t shown your face at the London Court for fifty odd years. A bit of an oversight on your part, still, after all the ridiculous reports of your exploits since you were last here, I am surprised you have the nerve to show your face at all.” He looked to his entourage three of whom sniggered in agreement. “Well, Lady Regina always did favor upper class fops. Odd that she should tolerate your pathetic pet human as well.”
Xander felt Spike tense and placed a now shaky hand over the vampire’s and squeezed, trying to convey his support and worry, and in truth, afraid of what might occur. He had no idea how old this ‘Neville’ was, nor whether Spike was willing or able to take on more than one assailant if it should come to that. But he need not have worried. The blonde turned, deliberately putting his back to the others and smiled at Xander, “Don’t bear anythin’ he has to say luv, just stay calm ‘n follow my lead yeah?” Spike kissed the human squarely on the lips then turned back to Neville with a faux sweet smile.
“Not my place to question our gracious hostess nor is it yours, but then good manners never was your strong point, was it. I can forgive your comment about my recent history as I suspect your sources are as inaccurate as they always were, but as for my Consort, well… have a care. I would defend his honor but hardly think it fair… See, if you’d done your research you’d know he’s a survivor of the Sunnydale Hellmouth, ran with the Slayer for years, and dusted more of your kind of idiot than he would bother to count. And I know for a fact that his favorite stake is on ‘im somewhere, but I’m sure he wouldn’t want to cause the help extra sweeping duties on such an auspicious occasion. Then again…” Spike nudged Xander who tried hard to affect a nonchalant stance, but a tense Spike was not a good sign. Without thought his hand habitually went to his belt and slid back his coat in a well practiced Sunnydale move, as though checking for said weapon.
Neville seemed to consider for a moment, then scowled, turned and stomped off toward the entrance hall, his companions following at a brisk pace.
Spike stood for a moment then turned and gave a derisive snort, “Idiotic ponce. We’ll no doubt see him again, but not tonight. C’mon luv, I fancy a twirl around the floor with my Consort. What ‘d ya say?”
The remainder of the evening was extremely pleasant – indeed was deemed a ‘triumph’ in a loud toast to the hostess, led by a rather inebriated Monty just before the band performed their last number. It was almost two in the morning by the time Xander and Spike opened the front door of their apartment and all but fell inside.
Spike went straight to the refrigerator and pulled out a bag of blood, “You want a cuppa or an orange juice, Pet?”
When there was no reply he shrugged, heated the blood and carried it and a glass of juice in to his companion, who was preoccupied by the answering machine.
“Hey Xan. It’s Willow. Call me when you get a moment.” …Beeep…
“Hey Spike? Andrew just told me you were still… well around! Andrew!! And since when, you big meany?!!! And now you’re in England? I so won’t talk to you ever again if you don’t call me… Gahhh now you’ve got me saying all stupid stuff… Just call OK? Or come visit… Please?” …Beeep…
“Hello Spike? Xander? This is Giles. I’m just checking in, as it were. I know you are due to travel in a few days and you did promise to ring me beforehand. I think it important you forward your itinerary at some point – email will do… Xander, I am rather concerned that you look after your health as you were rather… fragile… when I left you with Spike, and I feel it is only fair you contact your doctor prior to departure as you will be missing your monthly appointment. Could you contact me as soon as is convenient, please. Best Wishes.” …Beeep…
“Hey… Willow again. Where are you Mr? I tried your mobile but it’s not on or something. Is everything OK? I’ll try again in the morning.” …Beeep…
“Hi, um Spike? This is Buffy. Look I know you probably don’t want to talk but Dawn’s all upset that I kind of knew about you being back and all… from Anton a while back. And then we heard… so I really didn’t think you… ‘cause they said Angel… and you… Spike? Please… I need to know… Just… Bye.” …Beeep…
“Hello Spike? Rupert Giles here. I heard some rather disturbing reports late this evening regards an event you and Xander attended. I would appreciate you contacting me at your earliest convenience.” …Beeep…
“Hey Spike? Little brother here. Man, I hope this is the right number. Anyways, you’ve got my cell, just got the info you wanted and it’s better that I don’t put it in an email. Everyone’s good here. Family says hi. I’ll fill you in on the latest when you get a chance. Later…” …Beeep…
Xander looked over to Spike who was standing stock still in the middle of the lounge, mug of blood half way to his mouth. He finished his drink in one gulp, moved over to the phone, placed the empty cup very deliberately on the side table and pushed stop.
“It can wait, luv. We’ll sort all that in the mornin’ yeah?”
“No buts pet. Better to tackle things after a good night’s sleep. Come on drink your juice and then I’ll give you a proper seein’ to. Nothin’ like a good snog to send you off to sleep in style, yeah?”
The ‘seeing to’ did not take long for either party, and less than a half an hour later they were lying in a relaxed sated tangle. Spike was staring at the ceiling stroking rhythmically down Xander’s back from shoulder to rump and back again when he detected Xander’s heartbeat rise markedly. He pulled back and looked hard at his charge whose face he could see perfectly clearly in the near blackness of their shared bed.
“Alright luv, spit it out. What’s got your knickers in a twist now? I thought I’d all but done you in for the evenin’. Must be losin’ my touch…”
“Is it really that obvious to everyone?”
“Lost me, pet. What exactly would that ‘it’ be?”
“Me. That I’m damaged. You know… how did Neville find out I’m… you know… I’ve been… That I’m a headcase!”
Spike growled openly and leveled eyes that flashed gold in Xander’s direction, “Did that bastard say as much? If he did I have a personal appointment with his entrails later today!”
Xander sought reassurance but also wanted to avoid a confrontation, so pressed on, “Not as such, and please don’t be pissed at me, but you heard what he said. Do you think he knows? I mean he would just have to ring around a few hospitals and the whole story would come out.”
Spike sighed and went back to his petting, “Oh luv… ‘e was talkin’ ‘bout your eye, not any internal workin’s! Ol’ Neville always was an innings behind when it comes to info. Worst bloody judge of people to boot. What I can’t work out is how the bastard got an invite in the first place. But no matter… You’re my Consort to any who ask, and got scars or two to prove it. Now stop yer worryin’ and get some shut eye… or do you need me to go another round?”