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.
Giles and Spike stood immediately she entered the room, as their early training in polite manners dictated, with Xander quickly following suit. Andrew seemed to have missed the memo, smiled and simply said “Hey Willow” from his seated position.
Giles indicated the chair next to the chaise lounge, “Willow, my dear, I trust you slept well?”
Spike caught the look that flashed between Watcher and Witch, the question apparently code for something quite different, but the reply was innocuous enough as the redhead settled into her seat, “Yes, thanks Giles. Some weirdness but that’s to be expected.” Another knowing look confirmed Spike’s suspicions, as the wiccan smoothed her skirts and they all sat once more.
Xander was somewhat hurt by the lack of Willow’s usual enthusiastic hug and babbled greeting, and noted her uncharacteristic stillness but put it down to the oddness of this meeting, so he smiled at the woman, found Spike’s reassuring hand and gave a tentative, “Hey Wills.” Spike added his, “Red.”
After a moment’s pause where Xander felt rather like a bug under a microscope, her demeanor shifted and the Willow of old seemed to emerge and tension in the room dropped as she grinned at the pair, “Well hey you two too… Sorry I’m a bit on the tardy side. Anyways, it’s not about me. Giles?”
The older Watcher stiffened in his chair then turned to the Mated couple, “Well, I do think it is best Xander, Spike, that enlighten you us on your recent sojourn and the, ahem, changes that have occurred as a consequence. It seems you had quite the adventure. Andrew sent through his report of course regards Rome, which I must say, quite contradicted the rather panicked string of messages Buffy sent through. Fortunately I was also able to contact Dawn, who assured me that Andrew’s assessment was fairly accurate.”
Andrew bristled at the “fairly” statement but said nothing and waited to hear the full story with his usual enthusiasm.
Xander looked pleadingly at Spike who gave a minute shake of his head and intertwined their fingers where they were already holding hands. This was Xander’s chance to show his friends that he was perfectly alright and in control of his own life. They had already discussed this, the ‘cliff notes’ version was all he had to supply, so the brunette took a deep fortifying breath and began.
“Firstly, I need you to let me do this without interruption, questions later, OK?” He waited until the required nods were received from the witch and two Watchers, before he added, “And Giles, I know you will want to make some notes so…” The old Watcher acknowledged the permission for what it was and flipped open his notepad.
Xander squeezed his partner’s hand and gave Spike a knowing smile, “Right then. I acknowledge that when I left here I was a mess, and that’s nobody’s fault, not even the Romans’.” Andrew snickered at the Monty Python reference, but quickly suppressed a comment with a stern look from Giles.
“I think Giles knew that Spike was pretty good at looking after crazy people and… anyway he was willing to take me on for a bit. We went to London, ‘cause Spike had some business stuff to take care of, and… I had a couple of bad turns there, but we got through. And a big thanks for the intro to Sahil, Giles, he is a really nice guy. Anyway, after that we had a really great few days in Oxford where we met with some totally cool academic types, including an old professor of Wil…Spike’s.”
A “good Lord” from Giles didn’t slow Xander down, as he deftly avoided as much detail as possible. “After that we were back in London and went to an amazing party at Lady Regina’s, and that’s where we met A… the Immortal. Spike and I kind of made the decision for him to mark me so it would look like I was his Consort, which was fine – before you get angry, because we had already worked out that we were good friends by then, and I really trusted him to keep me safe. Anyway, Spike and the Immortal found out they were both involved in some investment stuff together and he invited us to his place in Florence when the stuff in Zurich was done.”
Xander paused for a moment and allowed the loving calm being sent through the Mating Link flow through him. He could feel Spike’s essence as it intertwined with his own and supplied an internal strength and warmth that few humans could possibly understand. He was tempted to manifest the moment physically, but knew the rest of the story needed to be told and the consequences dealt without interruption or delay.
“We found some trouble in Zurich – wrong place at the wrong time, and of the vampire slash human thug variety, and everyone got pretty hurt but we won the day which was of the good. Anyway, I was… I don’t remember much, but… I was pretty much done for… drained by a bastard minion, and, well, Spike saved me, I mean really did. He had to feed me, and before you ask, *no*, he didn’t turn me or anything. Anyway, we… well, we had already established as Master and Consort but in those few days as I recovered, we Mated completely, unofficially of course, but there you go. I wanted it and Spike wanted it… We sorted things out with Master Marcus and the Court in Zurich, then headed to Florence, at An… the Immortal’s invitation.
“Our stay there was fantastic. We got to know the Immortal, Anton, and went from being business acquaintances to family in pretty quick time. He knew we were... meant to be because…” Spike gave his Mate’s hand a squeeze and when Xander glanced at his lover in response, Spike gave and almost imperceptible shake of the head. The Master’s Mate “… Anyway, that’s when we rang around for wedding invites and sorted out the formal Mating. I even called my Mum and Dad and told them.” The former Scoobie smiled a little at the memory, “They were cool with the idea. I guess the real test will be when they come for a visit sometime next year.”
At this last statement, Willow’s eyes went wide, “Wow… Xan… but that’s great! It is great, isn’t it?”
Xander turned to his old friend, “Yeah Wills… it was… nice to talk… they were happy for us.”
“Anyway, the formal ceremony was witnessed by a number of important people – demon and human – and the Immortal organized it and took the role of our Sire. We were sorry you couldn’t come, I did ring Giles but he… he said you guys were all out of the country so it was kind of tricky. The best bit for Spike, I think, was that Connor made it. So…”
Willow interrupted again, “Wait. Connor? As in Angel’s son? But I thought…”
It was Spike’s turn to provide the answer as a jolt of worry sped through the link, “Lad saved me after it all went down in LA. Only fair he be in on the festivities, ‘specially as ‘e’s family.” Spike smiled at his partner and Xander squeezed the hand he held in gratitude, then continued.
“So that was all of the good. Sire invited Connor’s adoptive family too, and though they couldn’t make it for the festivities, Connor’s sisters came over for a holiday about a week later. That’s why we went travelling, the whole family went together which was really… well it was really nice, fun and kind of ‘normal’ in a weird sort of way, ‘cause you know me and normal… not! Anyway apart from all that, Anton and Spike started to train me, I mean really train my skills as a fighter, and it turns out I’m OK at it.”
Spike interjected quietly, “Try ‘bloody brilliant’, Pet.” Xander smiled sweetly at his Mate and sent adoration and a little embarrassment through the link. Andrew was nodding sagely at this point but Giles still bore a rather skeptical expression.
“Anton decided we should go on a bit of a road trip. We hit some trouble in Tivoli, the Scourge is making trouble in Europe, the Mediterranean in particular, and Anton determined we should head for Rome and let Connor, Pippa and Claire keep on with their tour by themselves after Naples and Pompeii (which was totally cool by the way).
“All the clans in Rome were ultra worried about the Scourge, so Anton called a bipartisan meeting and temporary alliance of all the clans affected. That’s when we met Buffy and Andrew, though we didn’t have much time to catch up as the whole thing was moving pretty fast. Anyway, Buffy said some pretty mean stuff and even tried to stake Spike. She would have too, but Sire stepped in.
“Just before the battle with the Scourge, Connor turned up to help out which was awesome ‘cause he’s family and a great fighter. So… We fought the battle and won, but at a terrible price, and I’m sure Andrew’s already told you about that. For us though, Spike was injured and Sire was horribly hurt. Connor was amazing, but I… that is, I… I kind of lost it, sometime in the battle, like happened in Tivoli. Apparently I kind of went all berserker on the opposition and… look, I can’t tell you any more about those bits ‘cause I genuinely don’t know.
“After that everything sort of settled again. We stayed in Rome, the girls came back, we met with Dawn and… Anton arranged for me to get some help with the panic and blackouts and nightmares. Dr Dio is amazing and the best part is I actually understand why for a lot of things now.
Willow’s eyes went wide with the mention of the good doctor and Giles inhaled heavily, breathing out, “Good Lord.”
“Anyway after that we sorted some business stuff and came back to the UK via Florence and Amsterdam. So there. Done. That’s us, all caught up.” Xander sat back, leaning deliberately against his partner, relieved but aware there would be the inevitable questions, challenges even, but also comfortable in the knowledge that the choices they had made were the right ones and irreversible.
There was a long pause before Giles flipped his notepad back a couple of pages and cleared his throat, “Indeed, though I hardly think we are *all* caught up, entertaining though the chronological version has been. I have a suspicion that there are many details you have chosen to omit.” Giles looked pointedly at Xander then Spike.
“You keep referring to The Immortal as your Sire, but surely that would require an exchange of blood, both ways?! I am also acutely aware of the old feud between the house of Aurelius and said individual so I am very surprised by this development, though I do confess there have been several dealings with The Immortal over the years and he has always proven himself a demon of his word.
“Now despite Andrew’s glowing reports of your actions in Rome, it is apparent that there has been a profound shift in your modus operandi, corresponding to the time your Mating took place. And to top it all off, I had no idea this Connor even existed until Willow enlightened me, and I happen to know that Dr Dio is the stuff of Watcher legend, a dark physician of the demon elite. Oh, and perhaps you would like to enlighten us regards the very *real* changes for both you and Spike… These go well beyond those we know to be a ‘normal’ part of a Mating Bond surely. Just to clarify, Andrew has been most helpful with some CCTV footage, some daytime footage.”
Giles leveled a rather icy look across at the pair as Spike squeezed his lover’s hand, “Mind if I speak for us both Pet?”
Xander did not answer, simply pulled Spike over, nuzzled his neck, then kissed him soundly despite the audience. Pulling back he nodded and said quietly, “Please.”