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.
Three days later found the mated pair standing in the Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow, Spike’s intermittent grumbles that Anton was quite capable of getting himself to their temporary accommodation increasing in proportion to the time in the waiting area.
Finally a smiling Immortal stepped through the Green Doors chatting amicably to an elderly woman as he pushed what they assumed was her trolley.
Xander stepped up as he approached and offered to take over the role of porter, but was waved off as another gent in a driver’s uniform did the same. Anton paused to introduce them. “William, Alexander may I present Lady Beatrice Armitage.”
Spike stepped forward and took the lady’s bejeweled hand, kissing it politely, then Xander did likewise (though with less practiced ease), both giving the expected “Lady Armitage” greeting. They were graced with a delighted smile and cooed “Oh, such lovely manners! But then I would expect nothing less from *your* boys, my dear. Now, Rogers can take the luggage from here. Don’t forget what we talked about now will you!”
Anton laughed and kissed her on both cheeks, then took his travel bag from the front of the trolley and gave a friendly wave as the matron disappeared into the crowd. He finally turned to his boys, “Well, shall we adjourn? I am not a fan of commercial flights usually, thank goodness for business class and pleasant, familiar company.”
“So you knew her before?”
“Strictly speaking, her family, but I do remember her as a youngster – she was a beauty at fourteen and hasn’t changed her delight in life… And before I forget, we have all been invited to the ballet with Beatrice next Sunday at Sadlers Wells. We simply must go, I’m sure you will love it, Swan Lake is playing!”
Spike rolled his eyes, but reached for his partner’s hand to squeeze it reassuringly when slight panic came through the mating link, “Just a bunch of girls in stiff tutus on point, Pet. Least you’ll know the music.”
Anton grinned knowingly, “Oh, I think you will be pleasantly shocked and surprised. It’s a Matthew Bourne production.”
Spike shrugged and the three made their way to find the car.
The trip to Woodchester Lodge in the South Cotswolds was done in light traffic courtesy of the lateness of the hour and a turn off the M4 at Swindon to take the back way, in accordance with proprietor Anne’s instructions, and consequently took just over ninety minutes. The time was occupied catching up with the ongoing refugee situation in Italy and the southern nations of Europe, business dialogue, and news of Xander’s meeting with Giles and co. Anton growling at the level of mistrust of the brunette displayed by his so called friends.
The house itself was a pretty Victorian home set in a large domestic garden, and though Xander thought it would be perfect for their week of house hunting, he was concerned it was a little small compared to what Anton was used to. But of course his concern was unfounded as the three were warmly welcomed by the genteel Anne and shown to their well-appointed rooms.
Anton was in the blue room and the mated pair took the green. Anne wore a very satisfied smile after both Anton and Spike complimented her on the lovely décor, “Now I’m sure you’ve had a long day so I’ve put some of our home grown fruit in a bowl in each room and I’ll pop up with a pot of tea in a few minutes if you like. Breakfast is from seven until half ten and the rest we can sort out tomorrow. Is there anything else you would like for now?”
Anton graced the petite Anne with a dazzling smile, “No, dear lady. Your promise of fine tea is wonderfully welcome, thank you.” And with that their hostess bustled off to fetch said beverage.
As soon as she departed the three inspected their respective rooms and met once again in Anton’s just as Anne returned with the tray of tea complete with small plate of sliced date loaf. The dear lady excused herself with a flourish and the men were left alone once more.
Spike served the tea while Anton pinned Xander with a concerned look, “You mentioned in the car that you had been to see your doctors here. Is all well with you?”
Xander looked at his hands and Spike could feel the tension rise for a moment, then intense calm he had come to know as Anton’s influence on them both as his mate replied, “My psych Doc McNaulty actually, and although it took a bit of convincing him, it was the mention of Dr Dio that made the difference. It kind of let him know I was not simply ignoring the last year or so, and was continuing to seek help. I’m not sure what Giles had told him or the hospital, but realistically it doesn’t matter now I guess… I kind of just thanked him and said that I had… well that I had connected with my real family… and found my soul mate who was… well just… perfect… for me you know… anyway he seemed that was all of the good and… well… I guess he was just happy to see the back of me… I mean, I really was a lot of trouble.”
“Rubbish, Pet! He was happy you’ve found your feet is all and will count you as one of their success stories so long as you don’t show up on their doorstep again, which is going to happen exactly the day after never, I might add!”
Anton carefully placed his cup and saucer down on the side table and gave Xander a look that spelt love and understanding. “It is well then. And Mr Giles? Have you reconciled with him? I note that you were rather reticent to discuss the current standing of the relationship with your old mentor.”
Xander looked to Spike who answered simply, “Watcher is still bein’ a bit of a prat, but that’s to be expected. Sod gave us the second degree ‘bout the matin’ ‘n such. Took some convincing that it was Xan’s choice. We didn’t mention more ‘n what was necessary. ‘E mentioned somethin’ about some tenuous truce between the Council ‘n you from before his time. No doubt ‘is opinion was swayed a bit to the negative ‘bout us by some bitching from a certain old Slayer girlfriend of yours, but Andrew was there to counter a lot of that rot, an’ that seemed to help… well as much as that annoyin’ nit ever could help anyway.
“Bottom line really? We’re stayin’ in contact only as much as totally necessary, and Xan here has agreed to meet up with the High Mistress Willow again before we head for Spain.”
Anton sat back looking markedly relieved. “I am glad. Alexander, and you William, need to feel accepted, and if possible, supported by those important to you. But if all else fails there *is* always family. Now come and share that thought through a proper greeting. I have missed you boys a great deal, despite it only being a matter of a few short weeks since we were together.”
With that the three stood, hugged and exchanged blood three ways, reassured and reconnected in a familiar and timeless act that was so full of love that all three collapsed onto Anton’s bed afterward to simply lie, reassuringly touching for many silent minutes.
Finally Spike sat up carefully trying not to disturb Xander, who was all but asleep in the center of the familial heap, and whispered to his Sire, “We’d better leave you in peace. I c’n carry the boy to bed.”
Anton shook his head and directed a rather hopeful look to his blonde Childe, “Would you stay just for tonight?”
“Of course Sire. Lemme just get his lordship here out of ‘is clobber an’ I’ll tuck you both in.”
Without rising, Anton divested himself of his clothes down to nothing and shifted the covers until they were free to pull over the group, while Spike disrobed his now snoozing and utterly pliant partner. He then stripped himself and rejoined the two in the bed. A dual sigh of contentment was all that was heard after that.
The following morning was a very different scene. Xander and Spike returned to their room to shower and dress for the morning managing but a few amorous moments in the bathroom before the lateness of the hour compelled them to stop with the promise to “finish this when we get home Pet.”
A spectacular breakfast of home grown fruit, eggs, salmon and herbs with freshly baked bread was thoroughly appreciated and the three on the road to meet with a real estate agent who was to show them a number of chosen properties in the Gloucestershire area.
Neville Flint reminded Xander of Andrew, all dressed up for his role and enthusiastic to the point of annoying, nevertheless, he was obviously chosen for his special knowledge of demons and their hierarchies, if his near faint when introduced to the Immortal was any indication. Whilst half bowing and spluttering he managed, “I… Oh… It’s um… that is to say I never imagined I would have the privilege… Sir Montague told me… but I had no idea, Sirs, that your Sire would be here! Your Highness… Is that right? To call you that? Or should it be Your Lordship? I um…”
Spike looked at a grinning Anton and decided to rescue the thirty something, (assumed) human, “Settle Neville. Reckon we c’n dispense with titles for now or we’ll be here all bloody day. Sire’s here to give us his valued opinion since we’ll be usin’ the house as our UK base for the family business.”
It still took the man several minutes to calm enough to present the shortlisted homes Xander and Spike had expressed an interest in from the file he had sent them previously.
Two days later they were sitting mulling over the plans and photos of the two properties that had caught their attention the most. One was a new architect designed ‘show piece’ home complete with Grade II listed castellated tower and underground contemporary house attached. It had been the first house they viewed and Xander had liked the modernity of it, the size of the property, and the area around Cirencester. The second was Crestow House in Fosseway. It was pretty, classic in style but with seven bedrooms in the house and two more in the newly converted barn. Both had swimming pools and separate accommodation if live-in staff were needed for any reason.
In the end they latter was the choice, the idea of the subterranean section of the tower house being a little too much for two individuals who had had to work so hard to “escape bloody basement livin’!” Anton also pointed out that Crestow House had a certain charm and familiarity, plus historical significance, since the main part of the home had been constructed around 1860 when William was a little lad.
The next day, after confirming a formal offer, and having the final figure and ownership transfer agreed upon and signed by the owners, Spike rang Monty, who was thrilled at the decision and promising to sort the financials immediately. They were to take over occupancy in six weeks’ time, perfect.
They celebrated that night with dinner at the B&B accompanied by several good bottles of wine and toasts with their hosts. As a consequence their departure the next day was mid-afternoon rather than morning for the trip back to London where Anton had booked them rooms at the Savoy. Spike smirking as they were greeted at the Reception desk with all the deference due the “Most esteemed guest the Immortal and his family.”
There were already messages at the desk for them, one a lovely hand written reminder regards the ballet, and another from the Lady Regina who was throwing a party in their honor the evening after that. It seemed the next week or two would be busy, if only with social outings.
Crestow House: http://search.knightfrank.co.uk/cir110027?carousel=true
The Tower Cirencester property: http://www.primelocation.com/for-sale/details/38075799?search_identifier=e76901a8e61699202a05f4e9f98e8f3c#yr2lREUAKiv1hrJ3.97