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 woke from his slumber just as the first birds began to herald the dawn, and was immediately aware of the absence of his usual limpit of a partner, ever the cuddler, Spike.
He gently probed their mating link and found, not exactly sadness, but a hint of contemplative melancholy.
Pushing aside the generous down douve to join his lover, he realized their room was freezing, so grabbed some sweat pants and donned the thick, deep blue robe Spike had insisted he bring. Xander scanned their suite for the blonde but found nothing, so resorted to the bond once more.
Their link called to him from downstairs, the sense of affection marking Spike’s awareness that he was being sought. The open patio door leading to the pretty rear garden was open, and the dark silhouette and curling whisp of cigarette smoke unmistakable. He sidled up behind his lover, slid his arms around the narrow hips, enveloped his mate with his larger form, and kissed the back of the unruly blonde curls with familiar ease before whispering, “You OK?”
“Yeah Pet. Just felt like seein’ the dawn for a change. Used to be a might concerned this time of day, what with impending sunlight ‘n all. Now it’s… the colors are somethin’ aren’t they? Better out here without all the city noise ‘n air pollution. Seein’ the last of the stars overwhelmed by the light of the sun. Special that… Like to see it someday in a place where I c’n see the whole sky at once as the sun rises – seen pictures o’ course, ‘n before you start, not some bloody beach or middle of Africa or godforsaken tundra. Like it to be somewhere they speak the Queen’s English an’ c’n serve a decent cuppa. Not many spots on the globe left like that.”
Xander pondered for a moment before it occurred, “Oz. He invited us to Australia in their summer. We could do that, I mean. Anton might like to as well and… Haven’t we invested in something there, mining or mineral exploration? And I’m sure they’ve got demons down there too. We could make it a study tour or… I don’t know… Forget I said anything. It’s a stupid idea.”
Spike leaned back into the embrace a little more at that, “Hey Luv, not stupid at all! ‘N I thought we agreed, no one puts you down – not even you. We’ll have a chat to family after the hilarious war room conference with the coven. ‘Course we’ve got a certain house warmin’ ‘n a few business bits to sort, but I’m sure we c’n work a trip downunder somehow.”
The vampire gave his lover’s hand a squeeze then continued, with feigned concern, “Mind you, they’ve got all sorts of nasties waitin’ for you in the bush down there, ‘n I’m not talkin’ demons. Heard there’s spiders that’ll chew off an arm, kangaroos fightin’ in the streets, crocs in the swimmin’ pools ‘n wild koalas in all the trees.”
Xander paused for a moment then gave a snort of laughter, “Don’t forget the sharks, snakes and man-eating frogs…”
Spike grinned as he turned until chest to chest with his mate, kissing him soundly before adding, “Always did fall for the daft ones.”
“And don’t you forget it. Come on, since you’re up…” Xander looked down between them where mutual interest could be felt through their garments, “Can I interest you in a pre breakfast ‘shag’?”
“Thought you’d never ask pet… Come on.” With that they all but ran inside, hampered only by the urgency of dual erections and intermittent kisses.
The drive to the coven was quiet, but surprisingly less tense than the previous day, a mutual sharing of blood prior to leaving laying open the familial link and calming all four men.
The mood at the coven was somber but hopeful and the absence of Buffy noted as the four entered. All in the room seemed somewhat fatigued, a symptom of long hours in research and discussion after the previous evening’s meeting. Despite the decision to recommence talks a week after the previous day, all attending members had been contacted with haste following the secondary discussion post Buffy, and agreed that the following day was suitable for the vast majority and would be advisable given the urgency of matters.
Giles shook hands with Anton and gave the other three reassuring smiles. There were a number of demons and several humans (with magical ‘prickles’ as Xander later noted) present who had not been in attendance at the previous gathering but without exception deferred to the High Mistress and to Anton, indicating a friendly respect for both.
This time proceedings merely touched on the dialogue of the previous day and moved quickly to solutions to the refugee crisis as it pertained to their magical and demon bretheren. Old networks were suggested - escape routes and safe houses that had been utilized in times past when similar forced movements of populations had occurred. New transport methods were discussed and difficulties due to newer methods of surveillance mulled over. Changes to underground networks were reviewed and and alternatives to traditional (now prohibitively difficult) border crossings also discussed, but in the end, it was the tacit agreement that an amnesty would be signed and held sacred by all utilizing the network. A no killing policy was not enough, it had to extend to no violence and a very deliberate embracing of all half breeds and human relatives/partners of those seeking sanctuary.
Anton promised to use all his (the Athenatos) historical contacts to find other regional leaders in the world who were prepared and able to either reunite traditional families and clans, or integrate new ones into their territories. For some less populated but rich areas it was less of a problem and would be managed on the quiet (as far as the human population were concerned). For poorer regions where a long standing respect and accommodation of mystical creatures, ‘the other’, was a cultural given, it was simply a matter of quiet words, promise of ongoing global support, and organizational infrastructure within the mystical community. In some cases, old tribal areas would be repopulated, something that may well have very beneficial outcomes as pointed out by one of the wiccans present.
The issue of the Scourge came up toward the end but was treated with the same set of suggested tactics as were to be put in place for any other extremist group active, conserted elimination of leaders and cells of activists as the need arose, and constant information gathering regards movements and intentions of those same groups. Groups of slayers were to be included in the first responders to the Scourge threat in areas where humans and half-breeds were caught in the firing line, but other demon groups were keen to act in areas where their territory was at risk, and promised communication and action as needed.
There was little more to be discussed and much to do following the meeting and since this was the second dialogue in two days there was little reason to reconvene again in a week, rather a date a month hence was set, with promises to have regular contact in the interim to convey progress on all fronts.
The meeting had been long and arduous – but all parties agreed, well worth their time. A way forward was established, at least for now, and there was a sense of real hope as the group moved to their respective transport.
Just before the Immortal’s party departed, Anton was taken aside by the Coven High Mistress, a small favor needed regards smoothing over a slight misunderstanding with the High Mistress of the Prague Coven apparently. He smiled at his Childer and waved them on to the car.
Giles caught Xander’s eye, indicating he needed to talk semi privately. The former Scoobie touched his mate on the arm and conveyed his intention to hold back for a moment, so Spike walked ahead with Connor.
Xander smiled as he stood waiting for Giles to speak, then decided to play an old card, “S’up G’man.”
Giles simply smiled back, “Nice to see your humor has not completely been subsumed by your newly found demeanor. I simply wanted to express my support of all you and your… family is doing. And to warn you that Buffy continues to be opposed to your relationship with Spike, and the Immortal, and you must be careful as I am afraid she is… somewhat irrational when it comes to matters of past lovers. She also does not seem to accept that you could recover from your bout of depression, something I am genuinely chuffed about, I do confess. Just take care dear boy, who knows what she might do in such an agitated state.”
Xander frowned, “Is Willow OK with… you know… us? Because I really think we can handle a Slayer, but if Willow plays the magic card… well we’ll all be in trouble. I know Sire would not stand for that.”
Anton had finished his conversation and came toward them smiling, so Xander quickly changed the conversation, “Anyway we would love you to come to the housewarming party next weekend, now that the convening of court leaders is a month away we can go ahead as planned. All welcome and the house will be open to all invited from around 6pm. Oh and bring your bathing suit if you fancy a spa or a swim.”
“Thank you, I most certainly will attend, but I fear my swim suit was retired some years ago, perhaps a guitar would be welcome however?”
Anton placed a kind hand on the old watcher’s shoulder, “Splendid idea! Every party needs live music in my opinion. Now come Xander, time we returned to said house. I have some urgent calls to make and I am sure Pippa and Natalia will be wondering where we are by now.”
With that the four departed, the next few days would be busy, but the prospect of a party was a source of genuine excitement.