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.
The morning of their guests’ arrival produced the first of the autumn’s frosts, promising sun to emphasize the changing colours of the trees. Neil had been engaged again, this time to bring the family of his favourite clients to the Cotswolds home of the generous young men.
The sign “Athenatos & Reilly” seemed almost unnecessary as William’s description, “Just look for the bloke with a woman on each arm, pretty siblings trailin’…” proved all too accurate.
Neil was amazed by the grace with which the dark man kissed the giggling women on the hand, relinquishing them to the crowd as he greeted their driver by name.
“You must be Neil. William told us we would be in good hands.”
Their passage through the crowd and to the waiting car was swift and without incident, likewise the trip away from London. Neil kept up a polite commentary of significant landmarks as they whizzed by when told that it was the siblings’ first time in England. Once in the countryside, however he fell silent and let his tired passengers doze.
Pulling up in front of the house, the young driver was thanked with a generous tip from the enigmatic Anton and busied himself with the luggage while the family greeted each other warmly.
Pippa giggled with embarrassment as William genteely kissed her hand, then squealed as he swept her up in a hearty hug. Xander and Connor met with a warm hug and manly back slap, while Anton was hugged lovingly and held by his Childer in turn before all five retreated indoors.
Xander made a point of hanging back to catch Neil, “Thanks for driving for us again, you’re welcome to stay if you need to.”
“Thank you Sir… Alexander… but I have an early start in London tomorrow. If you do need someone during your family’s stay, however, you can always ask for me. The car almost knows its way here by itself now. How’s Jag by the way?”
After a quick rundown of the joys of the new car, Neil departed with assurances that he would indeed have work from the Aurelians in the very near future.
Wandering inside, Spike gave his lover a pointed look at which Xander offered to show Connor and Pippa their rooms. This left Anton and his childe alone.
Spike indicated toward the wide double doors that led to the back garden and Anton followed him outside. They walked in silence, around the pretty pool and to the rear where the newly planted orchard and flowerbeds with architectural feature plants were just beginning to flourish. They were both leaning on the rear garden fence looking out toward a pretty field an copse of trees beyond when it was Spike who spoke first.
“I assume she knows who we are Sire. But does she know what we are? What she’ll be dealing with? Just that Xan an’ I… We don’t want to drag her into a world she’s no idea about…”
Anton turned to face his childe, his demeanor calm but serious, “Connor has told her a little, but I don’t believe it is anything beyond the fact that he was adopted and has some ‘unusual abilities’ because of his heritage. I do agree that full disclosure must be made, but felt it best we do that as a family, answer any questions in a loving environment, and support any consequent decision on her part accordingly. I am of the opinion that Pippa is an old soul, there is something oddly familiar about her presence, we must trust in her innate nature. As to her ability to work with you and Alexander as you require, I have no doubt she will be as invaluable to you as my dear Natalia is to me, should she agree to stay.”
The Immortal pulled the blonde toward him, Spike baring his neck as he did so. They exchanged a reassuring mouthful of blood as a wrist found Spike’s fangs, then returned to the house Anton’s arm slung companionably over the other man’s shoulders.
Dinner was had (catering courtesy of various local artisan produce shops in the village) and the five were relaxing in the rather lovely lounge with its eclectic mix of William’s antique sideboard and period occasional tables, and the plush new white luxury lounge suite, various glass art pieces and trendy lamps. The blonde vampire was seated on a thick lambskin rug leaning back between Xander’s legs as he sat in a generous lounge chair, while the others took up places on the large lounge, all with after dinner drinks in hand.
The conversation had ranged from parental health, to study and home life, then to the project in Spain and Connor’s excitement to be joining Anton for the winter in Italy and the prospect of a longer stay, when finally the matter of Pippa’s role in Spike and Xander’s household needed to be broached. What concerned the pair the most was the revelation of their true nature and Pippa’s possible reaction to that and their prospective futures.
At a lull in the conversation Spike looked to Anton, then his little brother, and finally to Xander who gave him a somewhat tight smile and sent deep love and loyalty through their shared link. They all knew that they all had a great deal to lose if Pippa could not accept the true nature of the Aurelian-Athenatos’ household.
Pippa picked up on the discomfort but also knew her brother’s natural difficulty in expressing anything of a ‘delicate’ nature, and it seemed to be a familial trait! “OK guys, something is up. Look, if you’ve changed your mind about me working for you, just give it a trial period and we can…”
Spike had no choice but to interrupt with a veherment, “No! Nothing like that… Just that… well, we need to show you first who, or rather what you’ll be workin’ with.” Poppie was about to protest that she had done her research and considered her choices of career path carefully, when a side-glance and strangely guilty look from her little brother gave her pause.
“Look Pet, thing is… well the thing that makes us… Ah hell… ‘m a vampire luv, or technically an immortal far as I c’n tell. Alex ‘n me come as a Mated Pair an’ our adoptive Sire is Anton who is the original Immortal. I’m related to your little brother through his real folks, my Sire is his father, and related to ‘is real Mum too I s’pose, though we’ll leave that for now. So we deal not only with humans but also the demon world, some of which is not as different or frightenin’ as it might seem an’ I’m not into eatin’ people, well not any more, and Xa..Alex never has an’… well… reckon you needed to know before you make a decision to take us on so to speak…”
It all came out in such a rush, accompanied by a look that was at once apologetic and hopeful, that Xander had to stifle a snort. Who knew Spike could babble with the best!
There was silence for a long few seconds while Pippa looked at the floor and digested the information. The other four, with their preternatural hearing, focused on any changes in her heartrate and breathing as they waited for some sort of response.
Lifting her gaze she looked from concerned face to concerned face then all but whispered, “I was going to ask whose idea the joke was, but it’s not is it?” She paused and stared hard at Spike who had moved to squat down in front of her, “You’re serious aren’t you?!… but… You guys all look normal! OK rich and handsome as all heck, and there’s the whole gay thing with you Will and Alex (which is cool FYI) but… The whole Twighlight-Bram Stoker-Demons thing, you really have to be kidding right? Beyond the fact that my little adopted brother is weird which I kind of knew anyway… You never gave off the creepy vibe – none of you. I… um… Can you… I don’t know… show me or something?”
At that Spike looked back at his lover for a moment, and received a highly erotic image of bloodplay while lovemaking in return. It had the right effect as the blonde growled low and immediately fell into gameface, promptly sprang onto his laughing lover with vampiric speed and nuzzled his neck. Xander’s tiny fangs decended as he reciprocated nuzzling, and a simple mutual nip and kiss was delivered before the vampire returned to his pretty human face and the floor in front of an astonished Pippa.
“Do you think you can accept workin’ for us, knowin’ what I am… what we are?”
Instead of answering Pippa turned eyes that held love, sadness and more than a little annoyance to focus on Connor. “When were you going to tell me Mr? I mean I knew some of it. I’ve always assumed that there was more to the world than just bog standard humans, and that line you fed Mum and Dad about extra strength blahh blahh, just didn’t make much sense. But you could have told me?! I’m your sister, OK by adoption but still… And William is your brother, sort of…” At this point she snorted a laugh then turned back to Spike.
“Will I be in danger? From you, from what you do? I mean, I’m assuming you’re not part of some underground drug ring or some plot to rule the world or something? ‘Cause I’m not… you know…”
It was Xander’s turn to laugh, “Sp..William? Rule the world? I’m thinking big ixnay on that one. Can you see him as an evil overlord? Heck he can’t even control me most of the time. Besides we have enough trouble sorting out our own little corner of earth, and hopefully with your help we’ll get better at that!”
At this point all present relaxed considerably, Spike moving back to his lover’s side muttering, “I’ll bet I can find some way of controllin’ you good an’ proper pet, just you wait.” Xander shivered, grinned, then gave his vampire a quick peck on the cheek, whispering, “Counting on it lover.” This elicited a low growl easily audible for the other two preternatural being present.
“Well I’m relieved, and… I mean it’s not like the vampire thing is catching. It’s not is it? Catching I mean…”
“No pet. We’ll keep you safe from all that. We need a bloody good PA not a minion!”
The remainder of the evening was spent discussing various projects that were pressing, others pending and the most urgent of all, the inevitable meet and greet party it seemed Spike and Xander were apparently obliged to throw in honor of their permanent move to England, formal introduction of full blood Aurelian Connor, and official celebration of the Mated Couple being taken by Anton as Childer.
Connor was the first to yawn and shortly after, he and Pippa were shown to what would be her new home, the newly renovated, self-contained annex (former barn) to the left of the main house.
It left the Immortal and his adoptive Childer alone for the first time since the group had arrived. Xander and Spike both bared their necks for their Sire’s pleasure. Anton merely nicked the skin of each neck with one fang, licked the drop of blood from the surface and kissed the spot as the scratch healed, and at the same time, the reciprocal act was being performed on his wrist.
Reassured, the three alighted the stairs, “William I think it is best you, Alexander and I meet with Mr Giles at the Coven and invite Buffy along as a courtesy. There are enough international issues, particularly to do with large-scale migration, for the meeting to be seen as quite timely given the my presence in England and the new status of you two (as far as the Watchers are concerned).”
“Think Buffy will be a problem still?”
“I believe we need her onside – or at least not interfering. Her calling may cause a lack of sympathy when it comes to the needs of demon refugees, but we need the Watchers and the Covens, and any other help we can get. Let us hope she sees reason. But that is a problem for tomorrow.”
At the door of Anton’s bedroom there was a three way hug and as the family broke to go to bed, Xander said “’Night Sire.” Spike whispered, “Glad you’re here Sire.” And just before the Immortal’s door clicked closed they both heard “Glad I’m here too.”