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.
Xander looked across to his lover again and received a nod. Spike began to answer for them just as the brunette began to send worry bordering on panic through their link.
“No need for the Ripper looks there Rupert. Tell that as is yours to know. Rest is private ‘n you need to respect that, if not for us, then for our Sire ‘n family, yeah?
Spike waited until he received a reluctant nod from the old watcher, and a few more seconds until Andrew and Willow expressed their agreement, saying “Yes” and “Yes, of course, yes.”
“Right. First part’s easy. Was rescued by Connor, Angel’s human son, after the Battle in L.A. Poor bugger came lookin’ for ‘is ol’ Da who was dusted, an’ found me instead.”
Xander felt the raw hurt and grief ever present whenever Spike remembered his Grandsire, so sent all the love and devotion he could muster through their mating link, eliciting the equivalent of a mental pet of gratitude in return. The slight pause in the monologue was assumed to be caused by the horror of the moment, so the audience waited politely until Spike chose to continue.
“Anyway… I was in a really bad way but little brother came through. Got me up an’ about then took me with him then he headed back to San Fran. Funny part was, all the stuff that went down in that alley, I should’ve died along with the rest, instead Powers must ‘ave decided I needed sun-proofing for some reason, an’ possibly a few things besides (yet to explore that fully). So that’s the answer to that question.
“As to the changes for the boy? Nothin’ to go worryin’ about. Been trainin’ with Sire ‘n me ‘n little brother when ‘e came for a visit recently. Our Xan’s a fast study ‘n with a bit of a speed boost from the mating, ‘e’s bloody magnificent! An’ before you flippin’ well ask, ‘is healin’ is accelerated just the same as yours truly.
“Drinkin’ familial blood question? E’s a bloody Master Vampire’s chosen Mate, and the Immortal’s Childe and legal adoptive son. What do you bloody expect? An’ yes ‘e’s got the right equipment for doin’ that, but no ‘e doesn’t feed off the locals. No need.
“You said sommit ‘bout Doc Dio as well, so let’s get that sorted. Boy was havin’ some troubles, dreams, blackouts during battles, that sort of thing. Sire arranged the treatment with Sirona Dio an’ she’s a bloody marvel, best there is o’ course. Got some work to do still but we’re healing, ‘n there’s none better to sort things for an old soul.
“I reckon Red, you ‘n your witchy lot could learn a thing or two from that lady it you were so inclined.”
Giles and Willow’s eyes went very wide for quite different reasons and Willow gasped, “The Lady Healer! But she… Xander that’s wonderful! I… I’ll talk to the covens if you don’t mind me telling them.”
Giles was shaking his head and muttering, “Old soul? But… My lord… Old Soul… I should have seen it!”
Spike ignored them both and carried on speaking, “Lastly, you all need to understand sommat once an’ for all. Much as my Mate has appreciated all you’ve done for him, ‘e’s part of a new family now, a family of unique individuals, with links to light and dark, an’ responsibilities and opportunities foretold, and only now coming together.
“Please trust us, his family, and trust him. Trust him to remain your friend; trust him to follow his heart, to be loyal to family, and as he has always done, loyal to you. And trust him enough to allow him to fulfil his true destiny. I’m gonna be right there, to eternity, with my Xan. His spirit is the true partner to my spirit. He is my Aurelian Mate, my dear heart, my lover, my friend, my fellow warrior and kindred Childe of Anton Athenatos, the Immortal.”
By the time Spike had finished Xander was feeling quite watery-eyed, such was the level of pride, protection and love flowing through the link.
He lifted their joined hands and kissed the back of Spike then turned it over and kissed the pulse point in a very intimate vampiric gesture, a move not lost on Giles.
The old Watcher’s eyes narrowed a little, “Yes, well… The casual way you mention matters of such significance to the both of you, indeed that directly affect the world of demon and human alike it seems, concerns me… But I will insure the Council of Watchers take a measured view as they always have where matters involving the Immortal are concerned. And I will placate Buffy somehow. Her reaction does seem to have been prejudiced by personal feelings.
“I will admit to being sceptical of your motivations Spike, particularly when the Mating seemed to take place so swiftly after you and Xander became… reacquainted, as I still have doubts regards Xander’s long term mental stability. And before you both protest, you may recall that I was the one at the ‘pointy end’, so to speak, when Xander returned from Africa and needed assistance. That being said, I have no doubt of your capacity to care for someone in a fragile state, and now I observe you together I can clearly see the… connection you two share. I do caution you however, it has only four months since Xander was last an inpatient, and though I have no doubt Dr Dio has given you certain guidelines, it is perhaps wise to check in with your regular therapists while in the vicinity.
“Now to more… pressing matters. The prophesy you alluded to, does it have a title? I am aware of several texts, but they read much like predictions of the second coming and have largely been discounted as wishful thinking rather than serious references to future events! I am sure the Council would be most interested to examine their content and validity, as they would in documenting details regards the Immortal, who has remained an enigma for as long as we have records, though I will admit, he has never proved openly hostile to our cause or members directly. On other points of order, I believe we will do our own research and thereby ascertain any threat you might pose, collectively or individually.”
Spike growled at the last statement and Xander squeezed his hand tightly as their combined disappointment at the lack of open support from an old friend became clear. It was Xander who answered this time, though it was perhaps only his lover who noticed the overly civil reply, “It is not up to us to provide details of our Sire’s private business, Giles. As for the other, thanks for the… advice. I do appreciate that you seem to be more accepting of how things are for Spike ‘n I now. Wills?”
He looked over toward his old friend who had narrowed her eyes during the course of the discussion. Like Spike, he had felt the prickle of the wiccan’s strong magic prior to her entering the room, and several twinges since.
“I’d like to talk to Xander alone so we’ll be going to take a walk in the garden, I’m sure you need to discuss the Scourge situation and a certain matter of the Master of London who seems to have taken quite a dislike to the two of you.” With that she stood and swept out with a commanding grace that Xander had not noticed previously.
She led him out to the market garden at the rear of the building, and still had not spoken as she continued on down a narrow pathway that opened onto a grassed area on the banks of a small stream.
Despite the lateness of the hour, the clearing was quite well lit by the twilight. Willow settled on the embankment and indicated the place beside her that Xander duly accepted. He sat staring at the brook for a time, smiling as he reached out his senses to Spike and received a mental caress in return.
Willow gasped as she felt the communication and broke her silence, “The energy of your Mating link is so strong Xander… You… you are no longer fully human, you the Honoured Mate of a Master Vampire William Aurelius and Child of the Immortal Anton Athenatos. You had to leave us to do that, had to leave here, and we… I… ::sigh:: I should have guessed it would be Spike who was the one to… heal you. But I’ve known you pretty much all my life Xan, we’ve seen each other at our worst and our best, and it seems like… I didn’t know how to help, by the time I knew, really knew it was… you were… I haven’t been a good friend have I? Not the last few years I mean. I could have fixed things but I… well we didn’t know really, and then you were… But I can still help, you know… it might take time but I’m sure I can find…”
Xander’s eyes went wide as he felt a swirl of raw power flow from his friend, and a flash of panic fired through the link before he could quash it, “What?! Wills no! I’m not explaining things properly! About before Spike… You were busy and you’ve got all that… well you know, with the whole strongest witch in the world and responsibilities. This isn’t to do with you, or anyone else it’s really not!” Xander looked pleadingly at his old friend, willing her to see the truth, then could not help but continue at pace.
“I was… Wills, I was lost until Spike found… me, I mean he really *saw* me and just accepted me as I was. Until Spike, then after, with Anton and Connor and the Mating and... well, you know… I was so deep in that dark well I had no way up. The very last bit of light had faded from my life, I was afraid to live, didn’t think I had the right, you know? And Spike knew, he was there when I was at my worst and… Ghods Will he was so patient and kind, and he didn’t treat me like a freak or walk on eggshells with me. We didn’t start out to become lovers, it just happened, in the best possible way.”
“And now? I’m not the same, and I’m OK with what happened, the reason for my… problems before, problems plural, have been made clear. I understand more about who I am and my place in the world than I ever thought was possible, that I ever knew existed. I am beginning to understand why things had to happen the way they did. And I’m happy Wills, happier than I’ve ever been, I belong in so many ways, and I have the weirdest, most loving, extended family you can imagine. And the whole not-so-human add ons are OK too… So, no fixing needed OK? Please Wills… can we still be, you know friends, of the non-fixy type… ‘cause that’s important to me too, that we’re OK… Are we? Are you? Can you…?”
There was a long pause, Xander feeling more and more like he did back when they were both sixteen and he had tried to justify his failure to alert Willow to some personal crisis or other. Rather than babbling further, as once he might have, this time he sat quietly, instead, focussing on the calm and love flowing from his Mate.
Willow finally began to speak, choosing her words carefully as she noted the magical signature of her old friend amplify and his aura intensify in the direction of the house and Spike. She wanted this time alone with Xander but knew Spike would be aware of Xander’s emotions and was just as likely to come storming to Xander’s rescue.
“You are my oldest friend, you know that. And I want to believe everything is OK, I want to be all supporto- gal, but I’m kind of struggling to… I promise I won’t… I don’t really understand everything yet, but OK, not with the fixing and definitely friends OK? So long as I get to meet your Sire – oh and be there when your Dad meets Spike for the first time!”
Xander grinned at the redhead, “You drive a hard bargain oh witchy friend of mine!” then leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.
They chatted amicably for a time after, mostly about Willow’s travels, laughed together at Dawn’s enthusiasm for Spike and Xander’s pairing, and generally ‘caught up’ like the old friends they were. No more mention was made of Xander’s new, not-so-human status, or past troubles.
Spike had felt the angst flowing through the link, but was part way through explaining the Scourge threat combined with the mass movement of humans and demons from war torn areas into European territories, so did not respond physically. He hoped that a mental caress was sufficient for the short term anyway, as the jolt had not felt exactly life threatening.
Giles was still sitting rather stiffly as Willow and Xander finally re-entered the meeting room arm in arm. Xander looked quizzically at his lover who gave him a small smile and shook his head almost imperceptibly. Xander released Willow and immediately moved to sit by his lover once again.
“Rupert here was just enlightening me as to Council policy on refugees Pet, least so far as the ones tryin’ for Sovereign Soil of the Queen are concerned. Bit of an old fashioned ‘closed borders’ attitude it seems, but that may change with the UN resolution and demon courts all agreein’ to a cross territory sharing of responsibility for those in strife. Anyway, I’m a bit done in for today. What say we drop in for a bit of a final conflab tomorrow, after we sort and pack up Xan’s bits ‘n bobs? We’re intendin’ findin’ a bit of a spot to park ourselves here on Her Majesty’s soil, at least for part of the year, before we head off to Spain and Xander’s construction project.”
The goodbyes were quick and easy, Back slapping for the men and a kiss for Willow, and then released her hand and returned the smile to join Spike in their car.
As they drove back to their hotel, Spike let Xander sit in silence for a time, then finally asked, “You alright?”
Xander stared out the passenger side window as he answered, “Yeah. They still think I’m f&$%ed up don’t they? I mean, Giles is all with the you should go back to your doctor, and Willow was wanting to ‘fix’ me… I told her no, but I’m pretty sure she thinks you picked me ‘cause you’re good with psychos. I don’t know Spike, I so don’t feel like I did before and I don’t seem to be able to get them to understand.”
He turned to his lover and waited for the blonde to respond. He wasn’t disappointed. The car was directed to a clearing on the side of the road where Spike stopped abruptly. He pulled his Mate around to face him and gave him a searing kiss that seemed to last far longer than most humans could hope to maintain without asphyxiation. Finally pulling back from the dazed brunette, he then pushed Xander’s lips down onto his own neck and bit deep into Xander’s at the same time. His mate responded with a growl and a groan as the former human’s small fangs also dropped and he reciprocated.
Eventually the two highly aroused Aurelians broke apart. Spike smiled and simply said, “There. Truth is in the blood. You know it. I know it. Anton knows and even bloody Connor. No one else matters Luv. They’ll either come around or they won’t. An’ you know from the dreams and such, we don’t need to shy away from our past lives, or regret them. We learn from ‘em and move forward. Now will you stop frettin’ or I’ll have to start callin’ you Peaches an’ spend a fortune on your bloody hair products!”
Xander finally gave a genuinely amused smile, “You were the one with the peroxide fetish!”
“That right? Well maybe I should introduce you to one or two more of me fetishes an’ foibles in the very near future… Take your mind of all this palaver!”
Xander’s grin got wider as the car started and they recommenced their journey. “Sounds like a plan.”