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.
Senora Paccio must have guessed that the threesome needed a relaxed night, so wheeled a trolley of what she termed her “pasto speciale di famiglia Paccio” into the lounge a polite half hour after the three settled with their pre dinner drinks. Anton smiled brightly at his lovely cook and stood too assist.
They all helped themselves, Anton almost choking on a mouthful of pasta as he laughed observing the minor tussle over yet another forkful of food Spike managed to ‘steal’ from his Mate’s plate, amidst obligatory protests of “Get your own!” and suggestive, growled replies “But tastes much nicer when it’s yours…”
After dinner there was a relaxed evening watching a soccer match, Xander only mildly distracted by the occasional naughty touching from his vampire. The end of the evening did prove a little different, however.
As the Mated pair made a move to retire Anton looked rather longingly at his companions, Spike caught the glance before it was masked by Anton’s usual pleasant smile. He squeezed his brunette’s hand and nodded subtly in the Immortal’s direction. Xander and he had talked about the habits accompanying healthy familial relationships within a vampire clan and took Spike’s lead.
The blonde moved swiftly to kneel at Anton’s feet and bared his neck, and Xander dropped to the same position beside him. It was Spike who spoke in a very formal tone, “Take of us Sire, that you may rest well this evening.”
A now rather stunned Anton replied as he touched first Spike then Xander over claiming marks, “I thank you, my Childer.” Then sank to the floor and allowed canines to extend, gently sliding them into first the blonde vampire then the Mate’s jugular and drank a long draft from each. He then opened both wrists and allowed his own blood to be taken in return, all three men groaning at the blissful experience. When they finally pulled back, Anton’s a single tear tracked down his handsome left cheek and grateful eyes held back more. The whispered, “I never dared hope I might have this again… thank you.”
The three stayed just touching gently for many minutes, until Xander finally sat back and struggled to his feet, breaking the mood with a snorted, “Geez, numb knees for the human! Spike you may have to carry me to bed.”
To which came the reply, “Be my pleasure Luv.” And in a move worth of his vampire state, Spike swept up his now giggling, protesting partner and whisked him to their room.
The week flew by, always at the back of their minds was the impending Mating Ceremony but other parts of their lives were starting to converge and settle into something like normality. After an inevitable late start each day, Spike and Anton spent time dealing with respective business concerns, often consulting the other for an opinion on this or that investment. Advice from Anton assisted particularly with regards to the sale of some of the antiques and artwork from the Aurelian safe in Zurich with several interested private buyers contacted and offers accepted.
Xander felt a little like a third wheel, not through any fault of his lovely companions, until the Wednesday prior to their nuptials. Spike noticed his Mate looking a little down and with Anton’s prompting, took him aside and almost apologetically requested he look over a collection of proposals from a construction consortium who were reputed to have the most successful ‘plan to completion’ record in Spain. The direct investment would be a joint one by Anton and Spike, and their first foray into the world of large-scale real estate development, so risky for that reason alone, and an important new direction if it were to succeed.
Suddenly Xander found himself in his element. He had loved his construction job in Sunnydale and risen quickly to overseer then project manager on a number of builds. Yet post Sunnydale, had seemingly lost his passion for that line of work, perhaps a given since everything he had worked on was now down a giant sink hole and the company he worked for equally obliterated in the ‘natural’ disaster.
After Sunnydale he was still in shock and grieving when he tried to move on with his life but simply could not seem to stay focused on a ‘normal’ building career. So he had left something he was talented at, instead accepting a role as Watcher assisting in the retrieval of young Potentials in Africa, a role in which he had utilized all his innate survival skills and everything else besides just to keep himself and those entrusted to him alive. Thrust into situations out of his control, in countries where he was a foreigner in every respect, he had done his best, but never felt that it was enough, that he was ‘enough’.
Now, as he sat in comfortable surroundings, with all the resources he really needed, and assessing something he was relatively familiar with – even if the scale of the project was so much larger, he felt surprisingly at ease.
He reviewed the material carefully, jotted down any points of contention, and researched other similar projects for comparison purposes. His ability to not only assess the various complexities of the build but also to realistically review the company concerned was obvious, and Spike saw, perhaps for the first time, the intelligence and practical ability of his human when it came to matters of construction and management. With Anton’s assistance translating, he consulted with a number of owners of previous projects and investigated business practices of the consortium they proposed to invest in. And after two days and nights of concentrated work on the matter, a smiling Xander presented his assessment. There were still a few queries to be answered but the investment of some fifteen million pounds sterling seemed astute.
They were seated on the sunny portico, slight breeze relieving the heat of the day, as Anton and Spike carefully read over his notes. Xander looked on a little nervously but need not have worried as the blonde vampire looked up and gave his mate a blindingly beautiful smile. The sudden sensation of immense admiration and pride flowing directly through the link took his breath away, and honestly not knowing how to deal with the feeling, blushed crimson and broke eye contact.
It was Anton who spoke first, with a measure of awe and reverence in his voice, “Xander this is wonderful. I should have expected as much. But this is… Spike would you agree that we should embark on this venture? And perhaps, Xander, you might take the role of advising us and managing all such investments in the future. I would feel so much happier having family on the board of directors, or at very least, as visiting consultant come project manager. What say you Xander?”
“What, me be sort of… I don’t know… I mean it’s your money. I mean you and Spike are going into it together and what if I, I don’t know, screw up or something? I mean… Are you sure?” Xander looked from Spike to Anton and back again.
Spike “Luv, you make you’re mind up as you wish… alright – and just to be clear, it’s not a manual labor job on offer – it’s simply an investin’ company keepin’ an eye on things. And anyway Pet, three things that Anton and I want you to accept once and for all. One – you are my Mate and as such share everything with me – body, demon, soul and Aurelian fortune, the lot; two – you are experienced and good at this construction caper – seen you back in Sunnyhell and I’m not just talkin’ fixin’ bloody Casa de Summers’ disaster area repairs, but you all fast tracked to supervisor ‘n such; and three – you’re a street smart, dashingly handsome, thirty somethin’ who has a way with people and the practical knowhow that gets respect and results whatever you choose to take on. So come on Pet, what do you say – will you do this for us? For family?”
Xander blushed, and Spike could feel embarrassment mix with just an inkling of pleasure via the link, at the quite justifiable compliments. Eventually the brunette cleared his throat and answered, “You know I will. But I need you to promise to let me know if I’m getting of track in any way – and I’d really like to learn some Italian and brush up on my Spanish if I’m going to be dealing with builders and architects for this project at least.”
Anton beamed, “Excellent – it is settled. I will let Monty know in the morning and our terms will include a position on the board, or at very least a consultancy.” Xander smiled back for a moment but was then hijacked by an enthusiastic kiss on the mouth from his Mate. Hands wandered and things looked as though they might get a little heated, but instead, a still smiling Anton cleared his throat, “I think it is best you save that for later. I believe we have your sibling to pick up at the airport in under an hour.”
Connor’s arrival at the Florence airport was only fractionally delayed, as the Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt had been slightly late departing, but he exited the customs doors smiling and scanning the crowd for Spike.
Xander took the trolley that seemed to be carrying far more than one person would need for a couple of weeks in Europe. Connor smiled apologetically and rolled his eyes, “Sorry man. Mom insisted on sending a present for you guys, and some things for William, and my sisters have given me an extra bag so they can carry stuff back from their trip.”
After greeting Connor with a hand shake and accepting a good ‘manly’ hug and backslap, Spike moved to slide an arm around Xander’s waist in a show of possessive pride, “Like you to meet my Mate, Alexander Harris, your soon to be brother-in-law and Lore. Xander – Connor Reilly ne Aurelius, my full blood vampire brother, Angel’s son.”
Xander shook the sandy haired, young man’s warm hand, trying hard to reconcile what he had imagined, or rather, struggled to contemplate, Angel’s son would be like, with the twenty something slender, well tanned male. “Great to meet you at last. Good flight?”
“Helps a lot flying business! Really loved the full bed, I slept pretty much all the way to Frankfurt. So much for taking advantage of all the extras… Anyway. Your… um that is… Anton…”
Xander began to push the trolley toward the exit as Spike replied, “Is waiting in the car. Hang on a tick and I’ll give him a call, he’ll bring the car around to us – just easier that way.”
The trip from the airport was an easy one, Anton navigating the Florence nighttime traffic easily with promises to pay the town a proper visit the following day. The conversation was largely Spike catching up with news of Connor’s sisters, Connor’s Masters’ studies and his parents’ comings and goings. All very friendly and familiar, and Xander felt an unexpected sense of ease and rightness about the presence of the human, to the point he had to consciously remind himself of Connor’s origins and the real reason for his visit.
Settled swiftly in to his quarters in the villa, Connor joined them in the lounge for supper and quiet drink before retiring. And only then did Xander truly see the difference between this individual and every other graduate degree student he’d met. Around the same build as Spike and just shy of the same height, he had the same larger than life presence when in the room. Something about the young man exuded power and a sense of ‘other worldly’ belying his origins and certainly carried a magical prickle that identified him as Aurelian and vampire.
His formal address of Anton as “Esteemed Immortal” and “Sire” once they were alone made clear his knowledge of all things vampire, though the elder statesman smiled and insisted, “Please, do call me Anton when we are alone.” The three men quickly brought Connor up to speed as to the proposed guest list for the Mating Ceremony and a broad outline of what would occur two evenings hence, then matters turned to business and a candid discussion of Connor’s part of the Aurelian fortune. As it transpired, he was well versed in money markets, both state-side and more generally, globally, and though very willing to offer opinions and garner support if appropriate, was more inclined to let Spike continue to manage the funds as he had been doing. Their off shore companies and Swiss accounts proving the prudence and good management of Spike over a very long period of time. Indeed, as Connor had apparently been left a generous trust courtesy of Angel, he spoke of shifting a good measure of his own funds across to take advantage of the European up turn and new ventures ‘in the pipeline’ for the Immortal/Aurelian alliance.
It was Xander who yawned first, and the pseudo business meeting was adjourned to the next day in favor of a reasonably early night.
Xander and Spike retreated to their room hand in hand and as soon as inside the door, Spike pinned his taller partner to the wall and all but stripped him where he stood. There was little said as clothes were torn off and the pair shuffled over, mouths connected and hands wandering frantically, until they tumbled nude onto the bed. Spike seemed almost feral in his need, yellow eyes and game face beaming as he growled, “Ready for me Luv?”, before simultaneously sinking his fangs into Xander’s neck and plunging a slicked erection deep into his lover.
Xander reciprocated with a growl and hard bite of his own, aware once more of the advantages of his status when his body easily accepted Spike in, and his own small canines broke the blonde’s skin. Blood and orgasm erupted and mixed on both sides, and as they both relaxed, still entwined, all was well in their world.
The following two days leading up to the evening of the lunar eclipse were frantically busy, particularly for Anton’s wonderful PA and the staff at the villa. The ceremony was to take place in the chapel on site just at the time the earth’s shadow began to progress across the face of the full moon.
At first the venue seemed an odd choice, given general vampiric avoidance of Christian iconography, but Anton assured his guests that the Holy water and crucifix issue was rather a ‘new thing’ (circa 12th C), and the result of a very deliberate curse proffered by the Vatican leaders wishing to protect their Christian flock, particularly in the public spaces that was the church. It seemed the Pope had friends in high places and they weren’t at all averse to turning to the dark arts to enact the blanket curse on all vampires, thereby ingratiating themselves with the Holy Father and preventing their own persecution for witchcraft.
The Immortal with all his connections, roots in antiquity and exploration of spirituality over the centuries, was immune to the curse, and since Spike’s fight for his soul, restoration after Sunnydale, and survival via the Old One Illyria of the battle with the Black Thorn, he too seemed unaffected. Xander and Connor gave the issue little thought after being assured that the honored observers of the formal Mating would be precisely seated so as to avoid any discomfort.
On the day of the ceremony both Xander and Spike were on edge, so much so that shortly after a very late luncheon (partly due to some three hours of very desperate lovemaking on the part of the Mated Pair), Anton ordered Xander to go for a long swim, and Spike to the dojo where the Immortal and Connor tag teamed sparring with the agitated blonde. By the time Xander came up the hill to observe, all three preternaturally strong and fast beings were seated on the steps of the dojo in the waning sun of late afternoon, looking suitably exhausted.
“Did I miss all the action? Darn! Wanted to see Connor give his big brother a bit of a ‘wooping’.”
Spike smiled and Xander noted several already healing bruises on his chin, arms and thighs, “Oh there was woopin’ alright on all sides, and some. You done paddlin’? ‘Cause Anton here reckons we’ve only got an hour or so before the guests start arriving and the real show starts.”
Xander sobered, “Anton?”
“We will all need to wash and feed prior to the event. Xander, I advise that you and Spike refrain from… ahem… any celebratory activities until after the ceremony as the blood exchange involved will take its own toll. But before we all adjourn I want to give you this.” With that Anton allowed his extremely long, slender canines to descend sliced both wrists and held them out to Xander and Spike, who took one draft before they were withdrawn. Anton then licked one closed and opened the other again, this time to a very surprised Connor who did as the others had before sitting back a little dazed.
Xander and Spike both offered their own wrists up, but they were waved away by Anton with a quiet, “Time for that will come later, for now simply know that I am with you now as I will be always. Family.”
The group stood and made their way to their respective suites to ready for the ceremony as a line of guests’ cars began to wind their way up the mountain road toward the villa.