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.
Spike and Xander barely had time to glance back at their unconscious Sire and send a blessing that he would be alright, as Connor waved them forward urgently and explained as they ran, “The Rome Master went down this way, he reckons the exit is at in the basement of one of the apartment blocks. They’ll try to get out into the street from there. He’s pulling in a couple of favors, so we should have back up. He suggests taking the roof if we can.” Connor looked pointedly at Xander, “You know, in case they’ve got more than one exit point.”
Xander was easily keeping pace with his vampire but knew scaling a building was not within his abilities. As the rapid fire of an assault rifle rang out ahead of them, he all but shouted, “You two go, I’ll take the low road.”
A split second later he was sprinting down the street alone, all his focus on the increasing noise of a vicious struggle ahead somewhere. He rounded yet another dog leg in the narrow street and was faced with a nightmarish scene.
The Master of Rome was down, a gaping gunshot wound in his leg, and a pile of dust beside him. He only paused for a moment, the old Master managing to growl out, “Subito!” and pointing to several figures running toward a waiting van, three vampires in pursuit. It was obvious that all three were injured in some way but continuing their chase none the less. He sensed rather than saw Connor and Spike advancing faster than he could but not fast enough it seemed.
Three of the Scourge leaders were already in the car, and he was close enough to register one of the rear four turn, reveal a nasty grin on a face only a mother could love (and wasn’t that a strange thought to have at that moment) while leveling an automatic weapon at he and his three compatriots.
The Aurelian Mate had time to notice two dark figures drop from the building above just as he pushed the vampire beside him down and felt the zing of a bullet pass just over his left shoulder as he dove to the ground. Up and running again, he saw Connor grappling with the gunman as Spike hauled someone from the car that was now attempting to accelerate, despite the passenger side door being wide open.
As he and the vampires with him once more sprinted toward the fracas, time seemed to slow. He had retrieved the dagger from his belt in the split second it took to stand and take off running (having lost his short sword in the tunnels) and now threw it full force at the gun wielding foe. The weeks of training with Anton and Spike paid off as the blade found its mark in the chest of the Scourge fighter. Sadly it did not prevent a random spray of a clip of bullets from the gun as he went down. He saw one of the car tires blow out, a several apartment windows shatter and Spike jerk back with a look of surprise as a red stain blossomed on the leg of his trousers and somewhere high on his chest. The individual he was grappling with took the advantage and shoved the blonde back hard, causing him to fall hard against the van.
Fear and adrenalin, and old nightmarish memories flashed through Xander’s mind, creating the perfect storm. At some point he was aware that some growling, furred reinforcements had arrived, but afterward could not recall exactly when or who exactly, until it was recounted for him blow for blow.
Everything was noise and blood and the crunch of bone, until it stopped.
He came back to himself seated on the ground, with an unconscious, bleeding Spike cradled against his chest and a squatting Connor shaking him gently. “Alex. Alex it’s over. We’ve got a ride out of here. Come on. Let me take William, yeah? Can you stand?”
Xander reluctantly released Spike into Connor’s strong embrace and struggled up to follow the pair to a white utility van. He slid onto the floor in the back and accepted Spike’s unconscious form once more. Connor jumped in and settled beside him, looking none the worse for wear but for a very concerned frown that spelt exhaustion and worry for his family. He noted absently, that three other blood-spattered fighters got in after them and settled themselves on the floor opposite.
Xander fussed for a moment, opening his wrist and coaxing the blonde in his arms to drink from him by lightly massaging the too pale throat. When Spike finally latched on weakly and began to suckle, Xander lifted his eyes to his little brother by adoption and, in a voice rough with emotion and fatigue, “Please tell me we got the bastards…”
Connor’s frown turned to a feral grin as he gave the simplest of replies, “Oh yeah. We got ‘em alright.”
Pulling into Anton’s cavernous white garage, he was relieved to note a late model black Mercedes with the Wolfram and Hart logo on the side was already parked to their left, and the door leading inside the house was wide open. His only thought after that was “Sire”, as Connor once again took Spike from his arms, this time leading them all inside.
The ground floor of the house had been set up as a temporary triage. As Xander stumbled behind his smaller relative, he noticed the Master of Rome’s second Childe sitting next to his prone Sire, nursing a myriad of his own injuries but refusing to let go the hand of his unconscious master. Others in makeshift waiting room had varying degrees of damage, but most were walking wounded, brought in by fellow fighters when either severity or proximity had made the destination preferable to returning directly to their own clan base.
Connor stopped momentarily as a young man in medical scrubs quickly assessed the damage to Spike then directed him up to the kitchen area, raising an eyebrow when Connor insisted Xander accompany them. “It may be upsetting, we will need to remove all bullet fragments and clean the wounds. The Scourge were using silver and wood tipped munitions, in some cases even soaked them in holy water.”
“Xander is the Master’s Mate and I his brother. He may need our blood.” At this, the young man gave a curt nod and let them pass.
Almost two hours later, an exhausted brunette was startled awake by a gentle squeeze on his shoulder by a kindly theatre nurse, and stood shakily from his uncomfortable seated position against the wall closest to Spike. “Master Alexander, we have removed all the shrapnel and cleaned the wound. It is well you are Childer of the Immortal, a lesser Master would have succumbed to blood loss and the very nature of the bullets. It is safe to move him now. I would recommend a familial feeding regime for the next couple of days.”
“Oh, yeah, sure. Connor?”
“Master Connor is with your Sire.”
“The Immortal is recovering. We treated him earlier. Now, do you want someone to help you with…?” The young man nodded at a huge male orderly waiting by the door, Xander immediately recognized the individual as a Breagath demon, one of the same clan who had stood with them that night. He smiled gratefully at the rather hirsute man, “Probably a good idea.” As though to emphasize a point his body chose that moment to rebel as a wave of nausea threatened and he had to grab a nearby chair for balance while his stomach calmed.
The nurse looked alarmed but waited until Xander righted himself, “I will send one of the doctors up to check you over once we have finished with the worst of the wounded here. Until then it would be well that you rest also.”
Xander nodded as the Breagath picked up his beloved and headed upstairs.
Before taking the staircase, Xander paused for a moment to view the scene in the main room below and on the landings. There were at least fifty individuals on the ground floor some on chairs, others on makeshift bedding on the floor and any number of medical staff in attendance. The two upper alcoves had been transformed into well-lit surgical units for those still conscious but needing stitching up, or recovering post op.
It was a sobering sight, but the general mood was one of muted triumph and it was apparent that they had won the day. It would be too much to ask that one battle would see an end to the problem, but it was a good start and one that proved the demon community could pull together when needed. A word popped into Xander’s mind unbidden, “Balance.”
Setting his precious cargo down gently on Xander and Spike’s bed, Benny (as the large demon introduced himself) bowed low in reply to Xander’s, “Thanks… really, thank you” and answered in an unexpectedly high voice, quite at odds with the man’s size, “It is an honor to serve you Mate Alexander. Our clan will always stand with the Immortal and his family.”
Finally alone, Xander stripped quickly, belatedly realizing he was rather on the nose, contemplated the inviting bed for a moment, then shook his head and made for the shower. The hot water stung various cuts and abrasions but was welcome none-the-less. It was literally three minutes later that he rejoined his lover, this time groaning with exhaustion as he lay down beside his mate.
His opened his wrist with small fangs and was relieved to feel Spike start to feed, despite not returning to consciousness. He didn’t feel him finish, however, as he let oblivion take him.
Xander woke suddenly as pitiful whimpers signaled Spike struggling back to consciousness amidst some sort of desperate dream. He rolled to his side and then pushed up on one elbow to stroke his lovers handsome features and press a wrist to the game face that Spike was currently sporting.
The bite was more savage than he was used to, but the pain somehow welcome since as soon as his blood washed over the blonde’s tongue, Spike moaned once then stilled and suckled, and finally his eyes fluttered open.
Wrist released and licked to healing, Xander then used the hand to smooth away a frown that was firmly in place on his newly conscious lover, “Hey honey. Shh… you’re safe… Nothing to worry about… we’re all safe.”
Spike tried to find his bearings and push back the dream that had him fighting for his life as he struggled to reach his beloved in the fight of the Black Thorn, or it could have been Sunnydale or Prague or… It was all too confusing and wrong when examined logically. He blinked owlishly for another few seconds then finally found his voice, rough but strong considering the circumstances, “Sire?”
“Connor’s with him.”
“Sprog’s OK then?”
“Destroyer by name and all that, few scrapes and scratches but that’s all.”
“And you?” Sudden panic flooded through the link and Xander did his best to smother his partner’s emotions with a flood of love and joy – for being here, alive and relatively unscathed. But for cuts and bruises and one fairly deep cut on his left shoulder there was minimum damage. He answered Spike’s question truthfully, “Managed to get in the way of a set of claws but he lost them a second later, so all of the good.”
“I take it we won the day.”
“I’m assuming, yes.”
Spike’s frown was back, “Assuming?”
Xander flung himself onto his back with a decent measure of frustration, “Yeah well, yours truly went all postal after you, you know… got hit… S&^% Spike… It’s like there’s a switch in my head and I… I have no recollection of anything until… well you… you were hurt, but not dust… and the next thing, we were kind of just… in a van then here…” Something was niggling Xander’s memory about the van ride. “I think we might have been helped out by some werewolves… I thought I saw… in the van… Anyway…” The relatively uninjured man sat up without jostling his partner and gave a pale hand a squeeze, “I guess I should go downstairs, find out some more and check on Anton. And before you start, you are so not coming with…”
A soft knock on the door interrupted any further discussion and Connor entered looking exhausted but smiling. “Hey guys… I um… Oh… I brought a visitor to, um… You want we should wait?” He looked pointedly at the scene on the bed and Xander belatedly realized that the sheet had slipped and both he and Spike were obviously naked.
“Give us a minute… thanks.” Xander smiled back at his little brother by blood, rose and hitched on some sweat pants, then tucked the bedclothes up and around his vampire until he was the very picture of injured innocence – weak, paler than usual, and wrapped in bandaging over the significant wounds ‘decent’ and most importantly, not dust. He kissed his recovering beloved reverently, then nodded and announced to the half closed door, “Hey… Connor?”
A relieved Connor slipped through the door then widened it for a second individual. A shock of deep blue and black hair on a shorter man was just visible from the bed. As the owner of the hair’s smiling face appeared from behind of the young Aurelian, Xander’s breath hitched, “Oh my Ghod… Oz?”
The werewolf looked more mature but essentially unchanged since Sunnydale, “Xan. So, all good? You were both pretty out of it in the van.”
“Yeah we’re… Wait, that was you? I thought… wow… So with the grr and the fur… sorry just didn’t even… umm… Good to see you, I mean really great, and um, thanks for the rescue. So you and…” Flashes of teeth and fangs that Xander recognized from the end of the fight came back in a rush and his eyes went wide. “You were the backup. The Master of Rome called on you.”
Oz gave a half smile, “Me and pack. Playing at the Roman Fiesta this year, Master’s First called. Pack knew something big was going down. Came as soon as the gig finished.”
Xander looked sideways at his very pale lover who was taking it all in, then ventured, “So you work for the Vampire Court here?”
Xander fancied he saw Oz scowl a little in an atypical show of emotion, “Nah… Just know when we’re in town. Courtesy stuff. Scourge was messin’ with the vibe man, Europe packs all on high alert this summer. Glad to let the wolf out for a good cause, you know the drill.”
“Wow.” The Vampire Mate could tell that was all he was getting from that conversation so switched topic. “So, the band must be doing well, I mean the fiesta is a big deal. Are you still headlining as ‘Dingo Ate My Baby’?”
At this Oz really did grin, “Yeah like the irony. Half the group are Aussi weres. Pack mate is too. Reckon she’s got some dingo in her sometimes. Us on the annual Europe festival circuit then back to Canada for the winter. Base ourselves just outside Montreal. Got us a farm, studio and plenty of open spaces. Pups need that.”
“Wait, you’ve got… kids? Wow Oz, that’s great! But… pups? I mean they’re… um… sorry, I just…?”
Oz was still smiling, obviously a proud father, “Yeah well… Turns out two weres mating on the full moon do that. They don’t know any different. Turn was a bit of a surprise first month, after that we just made sure they were with pack. Most of their friends are the band crew’s so it’s a good mix of norms and pack.” The ex-Sunnydale were looked over to where Xander’s hand was unconsciously caressing Spike’s, “So you two are hitched. And have family. Nice to see. Immortal’s the real deal, man. Good choice.” When Xander didn’t offer a comment just looked quizzical Oz supplied simply, “Helped Molly ‘n me sort some contacts a while back. Touring’s a bit harder with kids in tow.”
Spike ventured a few words, his voice still too quiet for the average human to hear, and much to weak for Xander’s liking. “Good to hear. Sire’s a champ… Speaking of… Connor?”
Oz stepped back with a quick, “Look man, gotta go anyway. Mol will be riled if I don’t show soon. Nice to catch up. We’re in town for the rest of the week, cliché and all. Swing by if you’re up to it. Pack would appreciate it.”
And with that he was gone, leaving Connor to edge his way to the bedside and sit down with a groan. From the closer proximity, Xander and Spike could see the extreme fatigue and worry etched on Connor’s handsome features. With a sideways glance to Spike, who gave an almost imperceptible nod, Xander let his tiny fangs drop and slit his wrist, offering it to the younger Aurelian and was relieved that it was not waved away.
Connor took two long drafts then flopped down on the bed staring at the ceiling for a moment before turning his head to face his two vampire relatives, giving a small snort of tired amusement, “Thanks… you know… My life is just weird, in a good, sometimes violent, often confusing yet strangely… I don’t know… OK… way. I mean, well… It’s been just great to hang with you guys, even better to connect with family, girls included in that… And by the way, Claire totally has the hots for you two, in an “OMG aren’t they so dreamy together” way. She was on and on about…” The next part said in falsetto voice, “William’s so cute and sweet,” (which evoked an indignant “Oi” from said vampire), “… and Alex is *so* gorgeous with that mysterious patch and sad eyes.” And I think Poppie has fallen for Anton, but she won’t do anything about it if I know her. She’s focused on her career, but who knows I guess…”
He trailed off, then suddenly sat bolt upright, jerking the other two from their thoughts, “Oh S#$t, Anton! He… Sorry, he sent me to check on you…”
Spike struggled to sit up at that, “So he’s…?”
“His feet and lower legs are a mess and back is pretty badly burnt, but I… well I gave him a fair bit of my blood and…”
Spike groaned as his wounds protested loudly, particularly the nasty one that marked the bullet path through his chest. Xander tried to push him back down but the vampire would have none of it, fell into game face and growled, “Listen Mate o’ Mine. Sire needs us… needs our blood! Now let me bloody well get up!”
Xander wrestled the pale figure back down and held him fast with a firm hand on each shoulder, then risked the fangs to kiss him into submission. Pulling away he relented, “Alright we’ll go – but I’m carrying you!”
With a minimum of fuss, apart from a bit of a groan as his own muscles protested a night of fighting, he had Spike up in his arms and they were following Connor down the stairs to Anton’s suite.