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.
It was almost five am before food was ordered and as a consequence an early breakfast was decided upon. The two were seated on their tiny balcony watching the changing colors of the mountains, lake and city as the sun emerged for the day. Spike quietly smoked and watched Xander, while Xander stared out at the vista before them for many minutes.
Without physically moving in any way, the brunette tuned in to the Mating link fully and received a jolt of love and concern (with a side serve of lust) in return. It was thrilling and reassuring all at once, and felt so very right that it registered as perfectly normal… which was in itself… odd. He smiled to himself and thought of the man behind him as he mentally caressed his lover through the link.
Spike audibly stubbed out his cigarette and growled, “Too much of that an’ you’ll end up in bed all day again – only this time I guarantee it won’t be for rest or recovery! Anyway luv… Better get our day started proper. Got some people to see an’ jobs to do.”
Xander’s face fell a little, “What people? I thought you said I don’t have to go back and see the surgeon, given the… well that is my… you know what I’m saying! That I’m healed and yes the bite mark is still there, but it’s not the same and…”
Spike cut him off with a swift kiss then took his hand and led him inside to the small table where the vampire’s laptop lay open. “Not about the surgeon, pet, although we will still get you checked out an’ the all clear – wouldn’t want ol’ Rupert to get wind of you bein’ injured an’ me not lookin’ after you proper. Nahh, this is about meetin’ that wanker Master Marcus, our trip to Anton’s in a few days, and my… our… Aurelian accounts and what’s in that vault I went to inspect yeah? So… Gonna show you somethin’ pet, seein’s how you ‘n I come as a pair from now on... Think of it as family business, an’ you’re a part of that now.”
The ensuing hour was spent sitting side by side at the desk, Xander initially nervous about being included in what could be described as a quick ‘once over’ regarding the Aurelian accounts. He already had some inkling that Spike’s business acumen was better than average, but had no idea the extent or complexity of the Aurelian holdings, and to take charge of it all, and manage it as Spike obviously had was, to use one of one of the vampire’s own phrases, “Bloody extraordinary!”
They had looked at the overview of interests in the UK and the continent, and Spike flicked through a number of pages of figures that outlined shares in companies across the globe. Investments were largely long term, though Spike was quick to note that Monty had been careful to push money into new technologies and some annuities that gave better returns when appropriate.
Xander must have zoned out a little somewhere during the vampire’s obviously learned, quite enthusiastic explanation of current trends in the Chinese and Indian markets, and reasoned his considered caution regards funding ventures there, beyond those already established. He realized his blonde Mate had stopped talking and felt worry through the link, “I’m sorry luv… This is too much for you right now, inn’t it? Do you need to lie down again? Should have realized!”
Spike was part way through pushing his chair back and closing his computer when a warm hand landed on his arm. “No Spike! No… I’m just… It’s a lot to take in all at once that’s all. And I’m kind of still reeling from the whole ‘I’m married to some sort of billionaire and didn’t even know it’. And why didn’t I know Spike? I mean… this… all this… I mean, you must have had it way back in Sunnyhell… S#$t Spike?! You had enough money to do anything you wanted, live anywhere, I don’t know… do anything! So how come you ended up staying in a crypt, or worse, stuck with me? And then with Angel after… you know…”
Spike tugged his lover to standing and led them back through the bedroom doors to sit on the unmade bed, not relinquishing his mate’s hand. “Number of reasons pet. Business wise, just made sense to leave things tickin’ over when Dru ‘n I left ol’ Blighty, never intended stayin’ beyond gettin’ her healed on the Hellmouth, besides ‘s good commercial sense never to touch your assets or investments if can really help it. ‘N better to spend other people’s money if you can get it, ‘specially on the every day things.”
Xander was looking surprised but still managed to interject, “But you could have starved! What were you thinking?”
Spike looked at the floor as he replied in a voice that seemed distant and devoid of feeing, “Don’t reckon I was thinkin’ all that straight really, leastways not after the Initiative fiasco. With Buffy in the mix and my daft demon naggin’ me to either bed ‘er or off ‘er, well… Then the whole soul ‘n the First, burnin’ to a crisp, arrivin’ back with the Grandsire, and we all know how that turned out… So… not really up for focusing on finance ‘til recently.
“Apart from anything else, ‘Gelus was back on the scene, granted he was Angel for most of the time, but technically he had to have a say if’n I’d gone ahead and dipped into the funds with him around. As Angel, he thought it was all ill-gotten gains from back in the day, wouldn’t touch it, bog trottin’, ignorant, penny pincher. I was always the one who bothered to sort investments and keep an eye on the market – even if I had to do most of it on the sly so Grand Bitch Darla didn’t get her hands on it back in the day! Anyway…
“Monty’s been a right champ, kept things tickin’ over whilst I spent the decade with you colonials – only a tiny blip in time for him, and he gets a tidy sum for his trouble… He heard about me burnin’ in Sunnyhell o’ course, but Angel (ponce that he was) didn’t return his calls. Monty is no slouch, even when he hadn’t heard back from Grandsire, he kept his ear to the ground, must’ve reckoned I was harder to get rid of that most folks thought. Reckon he was first to know after Connor when I made it through the Black Thorn take-down. Not sure his sources, an’ really don’t want to know, just know he’s on the ball and rarely wrong, and a bloody nice bloke to boot.
Spike continued to stare for a moment then flicked his gaze out the window as though contemplating lost years. Xander focused his attention fully on his quiet lover. The vampire looked tired, Xander belatedly realizing that the vampiric sleep patterns were well out of the norm. He leaned over and kissed Spike on the cheek then sought out the neck and tracing the mark his teeth had made on the alabaster skin with a gentle tongue. “Let’s have a nanna nap… You look done in, and it’s still early.”
“You sure pet? It looks to be a nice day, don’t want to waste it if you’re keen to get out and about.”
“I’m good…” Xander caught the hint of a smirk from his lover, and half expected the purr of a reply as he effortlessly pushed the vampire onto his back and lay down beside him, “Hmmm, not that good I hope…”
They slept dreamlessly, bodies entwined, until early afternoon, waking to sunshine streaming into their bedchamber. Both men lay in silence for a time, aware of the consciousness of their other half, and allowing thoughts and feelings ebb and flow through a wide open mating link. Xander felt utterly complete, content, calm for the first time in… well since he could really remember, and realized with some surprise that the sentiments were being reflected and augmented by the same sensations coming from his partner
The sound of their phone ringing broke through their quiet contemplation, Spike reached over Xander to grab the receiver and answered whilst managing to drape himself strategically over the man’s torso, his upper thigh finding a resting place over Xander’s crotch. “Yes? Thank you I’ll hold…” As there was no distress apparent Xander simply lay back and enjoyed, whilst listening for clues as to the person on the other end of the line. The majority of the brief conversation was in English, with a good smattering of German and French thrown in for good measure.
Finally Spike hung up and Xander waited, “Thought you might like a bit of a feed an’ a swim pet?”
Xander had felt annoyance and heightened worry at a gut level and realized it was not his but Spike’s, and instinctively sent calm and a mental caress in return. He stared at his mate with a sense of wonder, not registering the words at all, merely whispering, “I can feel you… in here.” He pointed to his own chest then stood and stepped forward until they were almost touching and reached to caress Spike’s temple, as though to brush away the worry lines that temporarily marred the handsome features.
Spike’s eyes widened as he too registered the full depth of their connection. “Oh… Ghod… Xan… I…” He said nothing more as his lips were claimed in a passionate kiss, as fierce and possessive, as it was open and yielding.
Many minutes later the two were again lying side by side, nude and relaxed on a bed now devoid of coverings, having kicked the tangled heap onto the floor at some point. Xander was staring at the ceiling idly tracing small patterns down the blonde’s torso with his right hand while Spike’s left gently kneaded the thigh closest to him. Content, it was the only was the only word that seemed to fit the feeling… just quietly whole and content. It was new for both of them, but also felt perfectly normal, as though it had always been thus.
Neither was really willing move or break the mood, but finally Xander groaned and rolled slightly to face his lover, “We should get up I guess.”
“That we should.” Spike rolled also and gave his partner a chaste kiss on the lips before pulling back and smiling, “Fancy a swim in the lake? It bein’ a nice day an’ all. Hear it’s quite the done thing ‘round here.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Xander sat up with a start and moved to find some swimming shorts in the wardrobe, stopping momentarily as he made to put them on having noted that Spike had done little but sit up to enjoy the view. “Well? It’s your idea… Come on. Did you even bring anything to swim in?”
“Not bloody likely pet. Got an aversion to water me.”
Xander’s face fell, “Oh… well we could do something else.”
“Nahh… wanna see my Adonis of a boyfriend do a few laps then exit the drink all drippin’ ‘n handsome. Come on pet it’ll be fun. But I might be convinced to put my toe in if you ask very nicely.”
Xander continued to dress at pace adding, “Ask nicely, check… I can do that,” as he entered the bathroom to retrieve a towel each.
The afternoon was a delight. Bright sunshine, a clear blue sky and slight breeze through a stand of old trees was the backdrop to the sloping grassed sunbaking and sitting area that lead down to the sandy stretch that was Mythenquai Beach. Spike waved Xander in and watched as the brunette effortlessly launched himself into the deeper water and swam out toward the diving towers. The sunproof vampire stayed to watch for a time, reluctantly paddling near the edge until a group of squealing youngsters began splashing enthusiastically in the shallows a little to close for comfort. He checked his mate’s progress one last time before retreating to the comfort of their towels on the grass and a book he had thought to bring.
And that was how Xander found him, comfortably semi reclined and engrossed in Suetonius’ ‘The Twelve Emperors’, wire rimmed reading glasses (what?!) perched on his nose and pale legs all but glowing white in the sunshine. The brunette could not resist, with a grin he stood close bent down and shook his wet hair like a dog after a swim, sprinkling cold droplets of water all over the sun-warmed skin below.
The book was abandoned and Spike shot up to sitting with momentarily flashing his gameface, “Oi!!! You right ponce!” only to have Xander flop down on the grass beside him and kiss the fanged mouth.
“Umm… Oops.” The broad grin and sparkling chocolate eye showed no sign of remorse and the link was filled with mirth. Spike tried to grumble his displeasure but failed miserably, instead tugged off the glasses and returned the kiss properly. “Give a bloke some warning next time.”
“Nahh, more fun this way.” Xander’s unrepentant grin was answered by a feral licking of Spike’s lips and wicked smile. “I’ll give you fun just as soon as I can give you what for. Tempted to tan that wet backside of yours right here an’ now.”
Xander leaned in close whispering, “Dare you.” At which he jumped up and sprinted across the grass and sand and back into water. The ensuing a high-speed chase, great deal of splashing and a very wet wrestle in the shallows of the lake, concluded only when the two men were laughing too hard to continue. Sitting, panting, side by side on the wet sand, water lapping gently at their feet, Spike became aware that they were the object of some amusement for the small audience of young children present, so stood and held out his hand to his partner. “Come on luv, let’s get home. Got a certain Master Marcus to meet at eight.”
Xander allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. They washed off the last of the sand, walked up to retrieve their towels and possessions, and made their way back to the hotel.
As they entered the lobby the chirpy receptionist handed Spike a large box that had been delivered while they were out, Spike instantly recognizing the writing on the note as Hattie’s. With a quick nod and acknowledgement and “Thank you, we had a lovely swim,” they returned to their suite to prepare for the evening and meeting with Master of Zurich.