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.
The freshly showered and casually attired pair descended the lift hand in hand, Spike only relinquishing Xander’s grip after a quick kiss as the doors opened to the ground floor. They found the Terrace restaurant and were directed outside to where a young, smartly dressed male was seated at a table nearest the greenery of the courtyard, tablet computer in front of him and trendy leather folder open.
He smiled and stood as they approached, addressing them in perfect English, “Good afternoon Master Aurelius, I am Daniel Groenwald, your personal banker here in Zurich, I trust you had a good flight?”
Spike took the proffered hand and shook with a polite, “Please call me William. And this is my partner, Alexander Harris.”
Xander too, shook Daniel’s hand and the three sat down, ordered a round of drinks and proceeded to dispense with the pleasantries necessary in the context.
In the short lull in the conversation as drinks are delivered by the polite waiter, Spike looks hard at the young man and appears to recognize something, as evidenced by his next statement, “So you follow your father into the banking business?”
Daniel appears a little shocked by the question, but smiles and answers, “My uncle and grandfather actually, my father is in Law. Commercial and property specialist.”
Spike suppresses a growl while considering the reply for a moment, “He work for one of the big firms?”
Daniel seems unphased by the line of questioning, “Oh no, Bär & Karrer, Credit Suisse is their client.” Daniel laughs and adds ironically, “We keep it in the family – at least six generations of the men were and are all lawyers or bankers. Ultimately I guess you could say we all work for Credit Suisse in some capacity.”
“And the women?”
“Oh they are artists, art dealers or into the world of antiques. Actually my grandfather talked a great deal of your family, particularly as he approached his demise. Strange really, he had dementia at the end, but could remember every detail of his encounters with your family.”
Spike’s eyes narrowed a little, “That right? Not one for dredgin’ up the past myself, but… good dealings I hope.”
Daniel felt a jolt of alarm and add hurriedly, “Yes, absolutely, but please be assured, he never revealed the exact nature of the dealings, only that they were very special clientele with an extraordinarily long history of investments with us. It is for that reason I feel most honored to be assigned your account.”
Spike gave a small grunt of approval, “Well then… let’s to business then shall we?”
The young banker looked somewhat relieved, his poor Grandfather’s senile ravings concerning ancient evil, supernatural creatures and the otherworldly nature of the Aurelians were definitely something he would rather not mention. “Absolutely. Sir Montague contacted me and I have all your requested paperwork here with me today. I thought you might like to look it over before you come in to the Bank tomorrow. There are quite a number of documents to consider, mostly the establishment of new accounts, transferring of funds, and new signatories, that sort of thing. I think you will find it all in order.”
Spike looked down at the rather thick folder of papers that had been thrust across the table in his direction. He took it and gave it a cursory flick through and pushed it deliberately to the side. “All good mate. Now, about tomorrow - I’m wanting to access the family vaults while here, key was left at the bank some years back. That going to be a problem?”
“Not in the least. I will arrange for the key to be at the ready when you come in. As you know, once inside you are welcome to stay as long as you wish.”
“Will be wanting to arrange some secure transport for some of the items at a later date, and wouldn’t mind a valuation or two pieces – art mostly – that possible?”
“We can authorize a limited number of individuals to enter the vaults at your invitation. Alternatively we have secure private viewing rooms within the complex if that would better serve your purpose, indeed for art works it is the option I would recommend. If I may be so bold, my aunt works for Christie’s here in Zurich, I am sure she would be happy to recommend an appraisal expert who would be most discrete, once you have an idea of the items you wish valued.”
“Appreciated. So shall we say one tomorrow afternoon.”
The young man smiled, “Of course, and I will make myself available for the rest of the day, should you need any further assistance.”
The meeting ended shortly after with Daniel taking his leave while Spike and Xander remained on the terrace to enjoy the afternoon sunshine.
They sat in silence for a while and Xander ran a finger down the length of his glass, tracking the condensation and looked across at Spike who was focused on some point in the distance. The dappled light of the afternoon sun through the huge ash trees of the courtyard threw light and shade across his face. It was as though the celestial body had deliberately set out to emphasize the shift of muscles under his tight shirt, his sculpted cheekbones, blonde tipped hair, perfect smile, and sparkling blue eyes framed by thick black lashes. Xander’s breath hitched and he felt his chest tighten with almost overwhelming emotion. This was William, his Spike, the Master to his Consort, and was, by any measure, simply… beautiful.
Spike was pulled from his distant thoughts by the feeling that he was being watched. He heard Xander’s strong heartbeat rising and turned to his consort with a lazy smile. “Somethin’ on your mind, pet?”
Xander’s eye widened impossibly as he struggled out a whispered answer, “You… I… just you.”
Spike swung his legs off the lounge and sat up facing the brunette, “All good I hope?”
Xander felt a twinge of embarrassment, but decided to admit the truth and hang the consequences, “I was just thinking how beautiful you look… and… well how damned gorgeous you are in the sun, and the shade, and everything in between. Ghod Spike! How did you ever end up stuck with me? I mean, not that I’m complaining. This is me… so not with the complaining… I just… S%#t now I’m all with the no words to describe behavior and you’re all Mr Cool and… See that’s the thing. I’m yours, so totally it’s not funny… and you’re mine, which is just unbelievable and wonderful and now I’m all with the babbling and that’s probably not what you asked was it…” He paused and looked apologetically at his compatriot, “Spike?”
Spike stood silently and held out a hand to the seated man, “Come up here luv.”
He pulled Xander up until they were standing chest to chest, “Feel the same ‘bout you Xan… Never had a consort before… never chose nor been chosen that way. I know it’s early days, and things are still muddled but I’m sure of one thing. I, William Aurelius (nee Cavendish), am in love - deep, inescapable, thrilling and terrifying all at once love – with you Alexander Harris. Xander Harris with the history and the bravery, and the triumphs and failings. With every part of my being I am in love with all that you are.”
He pulled away for a moment and stared hard into Xander’s good eye, searching for something and apparently finding it as he tugged the human back into a hard embrace, “Now give us a proper kiss then let’s go for a wander around this fair city, tomorrow we’ve got work to do.”
They wandered the old city in the warm twilight of late afternoon, admiring architecture and occasionally stopping to look in the windows of souvenir shops with their obligatory displays of cuckoo clocks, cow bells and Lederhosen. Spike flat out banning Xander from contemplating any purchase of the same, and Xander whining a complaint for the benefit of any overhearing the exchange, “But Uncle Spike… you never let me buy anything!”
In the end Xander did manage to purchase a carved wooden walking cane and pair of sturdy, chocolate colored hiking boots. As he emerged from the shop, Xander pushed a small package into Spike’s hand and kissed him on the cheek, “Don’t know when your birthday is but here.”
The object was heavy for its size and the wrapping was opened to reveal a black Swiss army knife. The vampire carefully opened each attachment, scissors, two knives, corkscrew, spike, bottle opener… it was perfect. Spike folded each back into place and stood in silence, caressing its sleek lines, to the point that Xander began to worry.
“Is it OK? I mean, I can take it back if you don’t like it… I just thought…”
Spike looked up in horror at the suggestion of returning the item, “No takin’ it back! ‘S just that it’s… well ‘s lovely pet. Never had me one of these… ‘n it’s from you. Thank you.” With that, the knife was slipped into the pocket of his jeans, and they continued on to find Xander some chocolate.
A decent stock of fine chocolate procured, some eaten and the rest stashed in Xander’s backpack for later, after which they wandered toward the ferry docks as the light waned. They eventually located the address suggested by the intrepid Sahil as their contact for Spike’s liquid sustenance in a rather non descript back street that seemed to be flanked by small warehouses and wholesale outlets, shuttered and all obviously closed for the day.
Spike double checked the number on the door, then shrugged and knocked loudly. They heard some heavy banging, snuffling and the noise of someone making their way to the entrance, followed by a gruff, “Wer sind Sie?!” through the thick steel door.
“William der Blutige und Gemahl. Sahil schickte uns.”
The door was flung wide and they were greeted quite literally with open arms. The squat, rotund, rather hirsute individual greeted Spike like a long lost friend then shook Xander’s hand with great gusto after apparently asking permission of the Master vampire. He then began shouting excitedly toward the back of the crowded warehouse, then took the lead as they wove through the maze of boxes and crates stacked to the ceiling, en route joined by four others who must have been family, judging by stature and appearance.
They were ushered through a partition at the rear and into rather messy office area where couches and mismatched chairs were cleared for all present as their host continued to speak in rapid German and gesticulate wildly. Within moments the two guests were seated side by side drinks in hand, Spike with a tall glass of O-pos and Xander a glass of lemonade (at his request).
Spike waited for a moment as the room calmed, taking a long, grateful draft of his beverage for effect. “Also… Konnen wir Englisch sprechen? Mein Gemahl nicht fliessend Deutch.”
A younger individual stepped forward and smiled at Spike and answered in English with a slight American accent “But of course Master Spike. I am Leopold and my father here is Franz of the Lanowitz Clan. Forgive us for our unorthodox welcome, we were prepared for trouble, you see, so are thrilled it is you and your Consort.”
Spike cocked a scarred eyebrow at the mention of trouble and placed his drink down, “Trouble? Human or demon? Lemme guess, protection racket or some such… somethin’ ‘bout your specialist supplies I’ll reckon.”
The young man frowned as his father again began speaking at pace. He quelled the older man’s rant with a raised hand and firm statement in his own tongue, turning to Spike again as Franz looked on expectantly. “I am sorry but my father is worried that they are due within the hour and he does not want any trouble to befall you. They have been coming by every week demanding blood, which would not be a problem except that they refuse to pay, and demand money if we have too few supplies for their liking.”
“And so… Who are ‘they’?”
At this Franz stiffened and Xander was sure he saw thin purple spines erupting from base of the older man’s hairline. His son put a calming hand over the older gent’s, “They mostly vampires and say they represent the Master of Zurich, but we know this to be a lie. Master Marcus has always had a peaceable relationship with the broader demon community, and particularly with my father as we have supplied his court in leaner times, or as a particular need arose. We sent word to the court, only to learn that Master Marcus and his Childer are attending a meeting of the Swiss Canton leaders in Basel and are not to return for another week at least.”
“So these bozos are a bunch of minions playin’ up whilst the Master is away then.”
“It’s more than that. It seems they have enlisted the help of a group of humans who are members of the PNOS (Partei National Orientierter Schweizer) who are perhaps even more of a threat as they do not follow any vampire code and we are reluctant to go to the police.”
Xander looked at Spike in confusion as the vampire growled audibly, causing their hosts to shiver a little, “PNOS? Spike?”
“Bloody neo-Nazi skinheads if I’m not mistaken. White supremacists an’ all that rot. Think Klu Klux Klan only with bald heads, docs ‘n bomber jackets. Load o’ wankers the lot of ‘em. You’ve got it from me, blood tastes the same no matter what colour the skin.”
Spike turned to Leopold and was about to offer his assistance, but was interrupted by a loud banging on the shop’s metal door, followed by a volley of shots and the noise of the door being forced open.