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 concierge met the vampire at the door of the hotel, “Sir, I did order you a taxi, but if I may suggest, Paradeplatz, the location of Credit Suisse Headquarters, is only four hundred meters from here. On the foot you turn to your left and to walk down Talaker, and right at Bleicherweg, then you will see Credit Suisse. You would still wish the taxi?”
Spike knew he had time, glanced out at the bright sunny day and shrugged. He smiled at the middle aged gent, “No, think I’ll take your advice, thanks. And Nicholas?”
“Alex is resting for now, but I may be some time. I’d appreciate someone looking in on him if I am not back by three. You have my contact number – and can always call the bank.”
“Of course, Mr Aurelius, consider it done.”
Spike stopped at the entrance to the hotel and paused to turn his face toward the sun, enjoying its warmth for a long moment before continuing on according to Nicholas’ directions. The walk was indeed a short one, and the headquarters of Credit Suisse an imposing, grey building constructed just before the turn of the 20th century, dominated the whole northern side of the Paradeplatz.
Spike wandered across the imposing marble entrance atrium to the information counter and was greeted politely by a smartly dressed young woman who pointed him toward the elevators with the promise to ring forward to Mr Goenwald.
The lift opened onto an elegant modern office space where Daniel was waiting to greet him. “William, welcome. If you will come this way please.”
Twenty minutes later, after some consultation regards his current investment portfolio and a discussion around some options already flagged by Montague, Spike had handed over signed documents to fast track the establishment of Swiss accounts for Xander, Connor and the other Reilly family members (i.e. Connor’s sisters and his parents), and shifted funds accordingly.
There would still be the need for the Reillys to identify themselves to the San Francisco branch of Credit Suisse in person, but for Xander it was simply a matter of visiting Daniel as soon as he was well enough. In Xander and Connor’s cases, there would be further negotiations required, as Spike stressed his determination that they would both be more involved in the corporate side of the Aurelian investments in future, but for now that could wait.
Daniel then guided Spike down to the vaults, taking the lift to one of the many levels well below the level of Lake Zurich. Daniel produced his key and handed the Aurelian key to Spike then led him through the huge circular door and into a huge pristine room lined with the safe deposit vaults – only one room of many as Spike well knew.
The Aurelian vault was off to the right of the main door. It was not the largest available but as Spike remembered, was still big enough to walk into despite the quantity of boxes and artifacts held within. Daniel released his side of the mechanism, waited until Spike’s had clicked and the door handle turned successfully, then took his leave, announcing as he departed, “You are welcome to stay for as long as you wish and simply lock your side as you depart. If there are any items you wish to take out for viewing or valuing in a secure but more appropriate venue (specifically, the art you mentioned yesterday), I am happy to make the arrangements. I am in my office for the remainder of this afternoon, so at your service.”
Spike was a little distracted as the vault door had begun to swing back to reveal the contents, “Hmm? Oh, apologies. Thanks, um… I, well I probably won’t be that long today. Tell you what, I’ll be up in an hour or so with a list of a few items for valuing, but there’s no real rush. Looks like we’re in town for a little longer than I anticipated.”
The vampire was then left alone with the vault’s contents and the myriad of memories that accompanied them. He took out his phone and began to methodically take photos of each of the pieces of art. Some paintings and a few select pieces of furniture predated his birth and turning. The haul of fine jewelry and smaller antiques were easy enough for him to remember – though some of the fine china bowls and figurines still required pictures for identification.
He pocketed a few rings and a couple of thick gold chains and brushed his hand lovingly over the fine silk of the half dozen or so sumptuous women’s dresses that had been stored in a travel trunk, and then he saw it. A rather plain but well constructed mahogany chest with brass fittings sat proud in the corner. He approached it as though it were alive, since for all intents and purposes, it may as well have been.
Lifting the lid with caution, his senses were assaulted by familiar smells, of Darla, of Dru, and unmistakably of Angelus. He sat heavily on the ground and began to look through the contents as memories flooded in - challenging, exhilarating, wonderful and devastating, all but overwhelming - and yet he continued the process, knowing that if he stopped he would never be able to restart.
Xander had relaxed back onto his pillow and closed his good eye to listen as Spike made his preparations to leave. He felt the kiss on his forehead but chose not to respond in case the vampire changed his mind. He had meant it when he said he would sleep, and had the feeling that there were things in the familial vault that Spike needed to view alone.
He sighed as the door clicked shut and spent a few lucid moments trying to worry about the previous night and his brush with death, about Spike’s feeding him and… drifted into a healing sleep in the process.
The dreams began with the sensation of floating slightly above the ground through a series of snow-covered, darkened streets he did not recognize but somehow felt entirely familiar. He had the distinct impression that he was with a group of others, like he belonged, yet not completely comfortable, like he still had to prove himself to be worthy… or something.
He drifted up to a branch of a tree where he perched with no effort and watched as violence erupted in the street below. He fancied he saw Buffy and perhaps the back of Willow, but then she was talking to him – or communicating somehow from her position on the ground many meters away.
“I kind of wish you hadn’t gone up there, but we understand. It’s your choice after all. You do know you can’t come back down, don’t you, so we can’t have you here. You’re up too high and don’t fit any more. I’m going. Your drinks are getting cold. The bicycle is over there. You can go along the coast for some of it but the rest is hilly. It’s worth the view and the houses on the cliff top are amazing. You’re strong. You’ll make it up. Just follow the road. Hurry, Spike is waiting. His is the fine china cup. He takes milk and sugar by the way.”
Bizarrely Xander found himself riding along a tropical coastal road balancing two teacups and wondering how he was not falling off. The next image was of Giles’ old apartment courtyard where he carefully placed one of the full cups. Then he began up an impossibly steep climb, having to get off the bike, worrying that he may have spilled some of Spike’s drink, and that it was getting cold (what the??)
Scenery passed by, familiar and unfamiliar hilly roads, freeways, back streets, buildings… He couldn’t seem to find the right address, and lost some of the contents of the cup into the saucer. By the top of the hill, he was frustrated and confused. There was only one option. He drank the contents of the cup and drained the saucer, tucked them in his waist band and sped off down the hill. He had the notion that Spike would understand his actions, but he an urgency to find him remained.
The dream changed to a dingy hut, someone was banging on the door demanding that he get ready, apparently his work detail was late. Spike was huddled in a corner dressed in rags and looked up tearfully. “You shouldn’t have come here. This is my world, my punishment… I’m so sorry, pet. Look I’ll go. I’ll tell them you are too tired or something. You can escape out that way… tell them it was a mistake… tell them I made you do it. They already hate me… I’ll take the whip… I love you… but I don’t want you hurt.”
The door burst open and soon there were more familiar faces, Angelus, Dru, Buffy, Giles, Darla, Principal Snyder, bullies from his school days, disappointed relatives and a number of unknown thugs, some condemning he and Spike verbally, other figures wielding instruments of torture. He struggled out of reach of his assailants, grabbed the vampire’s hand and they burst through the side of the shack and ran, and all the time he kept repeating, “We’ve got each other. I’m not leaving you. We can make it.”
And then the scene changed again. He knew they had run to the top of a bluff facing the ocean and an enormous wave was approaching. Xander knew it would take them both, but somehow knew that if they could just stay on its crest and surf it, they might survive. He could feel his own adrenalin pumping as he looked across to Spike who was nude like himself. The vampire nodded grimly as the enormous crest lifted them, then they were off.
Side by side, holding as strong as possible, body surfing the wave that was at least five stories high as it engulfed the very coastline Xander had just ridden down. The power of the wave was insane and swept them along with no option to stop, rather Xander felt the need to kick to stay on power face and angled right so that the crest crashed beyond them, at the same time seeing Spike doing the same. And just as suddenly as they had been swept up the wave seemed to gentle and peter out, leaving them standing on a wet sandy track amongst tropical trees beside the beach.
Several unknown people stood looking at them in wonder as Xander blinked the water away as Spike smiled at him ruefully then took his hand. “Well, I reckon we’re at least five miles from home luv. It’s a bit of a walk. You up for it?”
And that’s where the dream ended with a jolt as he woke with a start and looked around for Spike, but he was alone in the hotel room. He looked at the time, two hours… it felt like days. The dream had been ridiculous and disjointed, confusing and exhausting. In fact it was difficult to believe it was not real, his heart was racing, mouth dry and throat sore. He rolled to his side and reached for the glass of juice Spike had left within reach and at that moment Spike burst through the door.
“Xan… Xan! Are you alright?” The vampire was instantly on the bed with him then, forgetting the man’s injuries, pulled him into a tight hug against his chest, cradling and rocking him back and forth like a small child. He gave a muffled cry of relief and relaxed a little as the rocking continued.
Eventually Spike too calmed. “What happened pet? Are you hurt? Where are you hurting?”
Xander pulled back a little and reached up to stroke the fine features of his lover, his Master. “I just had a dream… a very vivid, kind of crazy, very specific kind of dream. I don’t know Spike… but I know we got through it together. We had to get through it together…”
“Want to be more specific pet? Dreams have a nasty way of containing truths and sometimes predictions? What was it you dreamt pet?”
Xander did his best to describe the images and events as accurately as he was able, all the while being petted and comforted by the strong arms enfolding him.
He concluded by smiling rather sheepishly, “But you’re here and we’re together and… well I think that was kind of the point of it don’t you?”
“Don’t rightly know pet. Just know I could feel your distress so clear it near knocked me on my back. Seems the Consort link is stronger than I ever gave it credit for. I knew I had to come back here. No choice… Just knew. We can do the analysis later, so long as you try to keep it fresh in your memory.” Spike frowned a little and shifted their position until Xander was again lying back on the pillows. “Mind if I check your injuries luv? Don’t want you to have burst some of the stitching during this thing, do we?”
Xander smiled up, “Go ahead Florence Nightingvamp.”
Spike smiled and reached for the dressing, “Cheeky bugger!” As soon as the tape was peeled away and gauze was lifted, however, his demeanor changed altogether.
Xander became increasingly concerned, as the vampire continued to stare at the injury site, “Is something wrong?”
“’s bloody well near healed, pet. Bruising is all pale and skin’s knitted!... Bloody hell, ‘s not even a whole day an’ it’s near healed!”
“But that’s a good thing, right? It just means that vamp didn’t bite as deep as we all thought… That’s all right?”
“Means you’re healin’ as fast as a vamp in top condition is what it means. Means the Consort thing is that an’ more, usually takes years, but… ‘s my fault… all the blood I fed you… not tellin’ what else… don’t rightly know how an’ can’t exactly ask anyone… least not today. I’m so sorry pet… Should’ve…”
Xander felt the jolt of panic through their emotional link and grabbed Spike’s hands, holding on, sending love and acceptance back, and when that didn’t work, sat up and did something he never dreamed of. He grabbed an unresisting Spike and apparently on instinct, bit down at the juncture of Spike’s neck and shoulder hard enough to break the skin and began to swallow the sluggish blood.
Spike was so surprised that his game face came to the fore and his did as his demon demanded, biting down on Xander’s Consort mark, completing the circle.
Minutes later the two released and the consort fell back onto his pillows, licking the last of the blood from his lips. “F#$%! What’s happening Spike? I’m so sorry if I hurt you… I just sort of needed… And I feel… Oh Ghod Spike, I really didn’t mean to hurt you!”
Spike shook his head, “No hurt here, just love. Can you feel it Xan?… Try to reach out with your heart, your mind, your soul. I can feel you… Can you feel me?”
Xander paused and concentrated hard for a moment, and it was there. A warm sensation, like a wash of love and energy, as though his inner self was wrapped in a hug with Spike’s, giving and receiving in equal measure. It was amazing, and frightening, and wonderful all at once.
“I can… I feel you Spike, like you’re part of me now, and I you. Really part, not just a little, all. All of me with all of you… Ghod Spike it’s… it’s… you’re… we’re… it’s right. The whole of us… it’s all just right.”
Spike smiled and reached over to brush down Xander’s face gently with the back of his hand, and smiled, “That it is pet. Don’t rightly know what it all means, but it is right.”
The both contemplated ceiling for a long minute, wondering at the full implications and what else might eventuate, but eventually Spike sat up and gave a wicked grin. “Right well… You’re on the mend, and I’m horny, so how’s about that sponge bath?”
Xander gave a fake groan then opened his arms wide and lay still, “I’m all yours Master. Bathe me!”