Demon’s Childe


Part Ten

“You live in a moth balled hotel?  Figures,” Spike scoffed, as they walked into the lobby.  “You always had a flare for the dramatic, Peaches.”

"It's roomy and I like it," Angel replied, refusing to rise to the bait. It had taken most of the drive for him to put Buffy out of his mind. He wasn't about to let Spike start pissing him off now.

“Touché,” Spike said, raising his hands.  “Didn't say it wasn't nice.  Just wondering about the thickness of the walls, is all.”

"Don't worry, they're thick enough," Cordelia said as she came out from behind the front desk. She walked straight to Xander and threw her arms around him. "How are you holding up?"

“They told you?” Xander squeaked.

"Giles called. He thought it might be easier if you didn't have to go through the whole thing all over again. That and he didn't want to take a chance on me or Wes staking Spike."

So Xander owed Giles another thank you.  It really was easier this way.  He didn't like the idea of having to live through another tense explanation.  “Yep, so now you have two souled up vamps on your hands, not to mention another cranky one.”

"Yeah, well, considering what Spike's done, he can be as cranky as he wants and I won't say a word," Cordelia replied. "I know things didn't work out so great between us but that doesn't mean I don't care about you."

Spike made a light growl at the mention of their past relationship and Xander stepped away.  “He’s just cranky because Angel wouldn't let him drive and Gramps is even worse because he had to put up with us.  He kept threatening to pull over and make us ride the rest of the way in the trunk.”

Cordelia laughed at the image of Angel trying to drive with these two in the car with him. She almost wished she could have been there. Almost. Right now, though, she had something she wanted to do before she lost her nerve. Smiling once more at Xander, she quickly walked over to Spike and pulled him into a fierce hug. "Thank you," she whispered into his ear.

“Ack!  What’s with birds hugging me,” Spike grumbled.  “First Red, now you!”

"Consider it pay back for trying to kill us so many times," Cordelia laughed. "I won't forget what you did for him. Not ever, Spike. I just want you to know that."

“Okay… okay,” Spike said quickly, still stiff in the hug.  “Xander, a little help?”

"Cut him a break, Cordy," Xander laughed. "He's not used to affectionate humans yet."

“He’s got you, doesn't he?” Cordelia shot back, making sure to give Spike one last squeeze before letting him go.

"Yes, but number one, I'm not a girl and number two, I'm not exactly human anymore," Xander replied.

“Either way, it'll be nice to have you around here,” Cordelia shrugged it off.  “We can go shopping together now that you’re gay.”

"Cordy!" Xander gasped, choking a bit. "Don't say things like that out loud! I'm still adjusting to the whole in love with a guy thing."

“Uh huh, sure you are, Xander,” Cordelia dismissed it in the distracted way she was prone to dismiss serious issues.  “I should have known you were gay when you gave up a catch like me.  It makes perfect sense now.”

"Cord, honey, I would have sold my soul to get you to forgive me back then," Xander said. "I never, never, meant to hurt you."

“You just called me honey,” Cordelia giggled.  “You are so gay it hurts.  Almost as gay as the two leather boys over there.”

"Hey!" Spike and Angel said in unison, making the others laugh.

"Leather boys?" Xander giggled. "Now that's something I would pay to see."

"Well, Xander, there are quite a few stores in town that cater to that sort of thing. I'm sure when you and Cordelia go shopping you could stop in and pick up a few things for Angel and Spike," Wesley put in helpfully. He was enjoying seeing his boss squirm a bit.

“I wouldn't laugh too hard, Wes,” Cordelia gave him a pointed look.  “Do I have to remind you of your leather butch-wanna-be outfit?”

"Here now, I looked rather fetching in that outfit," Wesley defended.

“You looked gay,” Cordelia laughed.  “But that’s okay, so do Angel and Spike.”

"You know, Xander, I'm liking your cheerleader less and less," Spike pouted. "The Big Bad does not look gay."

“I don’t know,” Cordelia said, walking over and looking carefully over Spike and then Angel.  “I would say it’s a tie.  Spike has the whole dyed hair bad boy Brit thing with an oral fixation on cigarettes, but then Angel… well, his name is Angel.  Some of the demons think it’s a little fruity.”

"Hah! Always been that way. You should hear some of 'em," Spike laughed. Maybe this Cordelia bint wasn't so bad after all.

“What?  I’m an avenging angel,” Angel protested.  “You know, like hell’s angels.”

"Good Lord save us all," Wesley muttered, disappearing back behind the front desk.

Cordelia sighed heavily.  “Like I said, not a straight man in the bunch.”

"I heard that, Cordelia," Wesley called out. "And just for the record, vampires are neither straight nor bent. To put it bluntly, if it's shagable, they'll shag it."

“Oh Wesley, while you're behind the desk, could you be a dear and look for my nail file?” she asked, having absolutely no fear and not even a clue that there was anything wrong with teasing these particular vampires.

"Okay, I don't know about you two, but I'm beat. How about we heat up some dinner then hit the sack?" Xander said before either vampire could respond. The last thing he wanted was for a real fight to break out. Not when he was finally starting to feel good about coming here.

“We knew you were coming so we have nice fresh pig’s blood in the fridge for you,” Cordelia supplied helpfully.  She was already distracted by filing her nails with the nail file that Wesley’s hand had placed on the desk, only to disappear back into hiding.

"Pig's blood?" Spike repeated. "You've got to be kidding."

“Cordy, we need a supply of human blood,” Xander said.  He could tell by Angel’s broody look that he was already ashamed and guilty for having indulged in human blood while he’d been in Sunnydale.

"But Angel only drinks this stuff," Cordelia said. She looked over at her boss then back at Xander. "I see. You know, Angel, if you needed human blood you should have said something. I'm afraid the pig will have to do for tonight but Wes and I'll get some human blood in first thing in the morning."

“I can go back on pig easily enough,” Angel mumbled.  “Just get enough to feed Spike and Xander.”

"I don't think so, mister," Cordelia replied. "Like I said, we'll get some here first thing in the morning. We can keep the extra pig on ice in case of emergency."

“It’s better for him this way,” Xander tried to rationalize it.  “He’s stronger.”

Cordelia turned to glare at Angel again. "Stronger? Human blood makes you stronger? And why has this never been mentioned? We fight the forces of evil, Angel. We need you as strong as you can get."

“It’s also a temptation,” Angel mumbled.  It was also a reminder of the monster he’d been, no matter how good it tasted.

"A temptation to what? Raid the local blood bank? See if anyone wants to make an extra Red Cross donation? Get real. Drinking a little human blood isn't going to make Angelus come popping out and it's not going to make you suddenly realize what tasty snacks Wesley and I would make."

“Don’t worry, princess,” Spike smiled evilly.  “We'll make sure Peaches here takes his medicine like a good little boy.”  He leaned over and whispered in Angel’s ear, “Even if you have to nurse from my wrist with Xander.”

Angel went completely still at Spike's words. The erotic image they painted sent a wave of arousal through him. He glanced at Xander, but the boy appeared as relaxed as ever. He wasn't quite sure what game his Childe was playing but he was going to find out. "Um, Cordelia, why don't you and Wesley head out? You can pick up the blood in the morning on your way in, okay?"

“Yeah, sure thing boss,” Cordelia agreed happily. She kicked Wesley under the desk as she gathered up her purse and jacket.  “It'll be nice having someone my own age around.  Not that vampires over a century old and English bookworms aren't a blast. C’mon, Wesley, you can give me a ride home.”

They watched as the two humans left, Cordelia making sure to lock the doors on their way out. Once they were gone, Xander looked to Spike and Angel. He'd heard his Sire's whispered words but had chosen not to react in front of Cordelia. Now, however, he was free to do what he wanted. "So, Master, can I watch while you feed him?"

“You heard that?” Angel groaned.  He didn't like the look on the boy’s face.  It reminded him far too much of Spike.

"Yeah," Xander grinned. "Gave me all sorts of naughty ideas. Please, Master, let me watch. I promise that's all I'll do... this time."

Spike shivered when he heard Xander call him Master.  He was powerless when his Childe and Consort used that name, but he didn't want Xander to know that.  He was the Sire, he was supposed to be in control.  “I was just saying that to rile up Angel.  I didn't get a chance to say if he has problems with feeding, then he could feed from me cause then he wouldn't really be drinking human blood… cause it’d be a technicality…” Spike stopped when he realized he was sounding flustered.  A fledgling shouldn't make him flustered.

"I want to watch," Xander said purposefully. "I want to watch him on his knees drinking from your wrist. I want to watch you filling him up with your blood the way you do me."

Both of the elder vampires groaned in tandem.  They'd forgotten that one of the more pleasant side effects for a new fledgling was the tendency to be over sexed.   This one just happened to be armed with a soulful set of big, brown eyes that neither one could really resist.  “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Angel said, breathing heavily.

"Why not?" Xander asked. "Give me one good reason why you shouldn't do this."

“Because I’m his Sire,” Angel supplied.

"Not good enough," Xander replied. "You've fed from him before. I know, I watched. So try again."

“Because it’s not good for you,” Angel tried again.

"How is it not good for me?" Xander said, smiling widely. Angel thought he was going to feel threatened or jealous. Well, he probably would feel a little jealous but only in a good way. He'd gotten over feeling threatened by it the first time it had happened. They were Sire and Childe. They were supposed to take comfort in each other.

Angel backed up as Xander moved a little closer.  “Because you’re so young.  I don’t want you to think I’m taking your Sire away.”

Xander threw back his head and laughed. "I forget sometimes how much like Buffy you can be. The world really doesn't revolve around you. You couldn't take him away if you tried. I know that and I think you do, too. So try again."

“Ummm, the look on your face for one,” Angel muttered, finding that he was back against the wall.

"Oh? What look would that be?" Xander asked. He stopped right in front of Angel, their bodies barely in inch apart. His own desire was in high gear. Personally, he wanted Angel naked and on his knees feeding from his Sire, but he really didn't think they'd go for that.

“You looked like Spike,” Angel groaned.

"And how is that of the bad?" Xander asked.

“You’re both brats…”

"Like Sire, like Childe," Xander said. "But you still haven't given me a good reason. Don't you want to feed from him? Don't you want to take his wrist to your mouth and feel his blood flow down your throat?"

Angel banged his head against the wall in frustration.  The imagery Xander’s erotic words created in his mind was making him hard.  “Spike, control your Childe,” he pleaded, his voice tinged with desperation.

"Maybe later," Spike snorted. "I quite like the way he's handling you right now. He's got you so hot you can barely stand it. I'm surprised you've held out this long."

“You’re both torturing me,” Angel complained.

"Nah," Xander said, motioning for Spike to come closer. "That comes later. But only if you ask real nice." He leaned up against Angel then, using his body weight to pin the older vampire to the wall. He knew Angel could get away if he wanted to but Xander didn't think he would. He was enjoying this as much as they were, he just didn't want to admit it.

“Two against one isn't fair,” Angel huffed, even as he watched Spike moving closer.  His Childe was pulling off his jacket, letting it drop to the floor.  Spike nipped at his wrist lightly and offered the blood droplet to Xander, who carefully licked the wound clean.

"Mmmmm... tastes good. You sure you don't want some?" Xander taunted Angel, pushing against him so that Angel could feel his erection.

Angel flashed into game face, his eyes sparkling gold.  “I could take want I wanted,” he threatened with a growl.

"But you won't," Xander said softly. "I know you.  You'd never take what wasn't freely offered so stop putting up a fight already."

“Tell me what you want," Angel whispered, his resistance melting.

Xander stepped back, putting some space between himself and Angel. "Get on your knees," he said. This was what he wanted to see. He wanted Angel on his knees feeding from Spike as if their places had been reversed.

Angel’s lips twitched over his fangs in a scowl.  His demon half roared that a Master would never humiliate himself like this, but the other half told him he wanted this.  He wanted to show Spike he was sorry for all the times he’d humiliated him.  He wanted to show Spike that he trusted his Childe now.

Spike waited, a bit worried about what Xander was trying to do. It was never good for a Childe to try to dominate his Sire, and even worse to try it with his Grand-Sire. Angelus would have ripped the boy's heart out for it, but Angel... there was no way to tell how Angel would react.

Angel reached out and cupped Xander’s face, tracing along his cheekbone with his thumb.  “So much more like William than you'll ever know.  Such a pretty, wilful Childe,” he whispered, with more of a trace of Angelus than ever before.

Spike froze at Angel's words. He could clearly hear Angelus in the tone and it chilled him to think of that one touching his Childe. "Sire?" Spike said, trying to draw attention away from the boy.

But the eyes that looked back at Spike were the eyes of Angel.  Spike was one of the few that understood that the line between Angel and Angelus was only the matter of a conscience.  It wasn't like he’d suddenly become another person the day he’d gotten his soul back, it only meant he could feel again.  It was his Sire who pushed away from Xander and gracefully fell to his knees.

Spike held out his wrist wordlessly. He felt Angel take it in his hands then bring it to his mouth. A single kiss was placed there, then fangs sank into the tender flesh, sending an exquisite jolt of pleasure/pain through him as his Sire began to feed.

Neither Angelus nor Angel had ever fed from him like this.  Xander was watching carefully, his eyes drifting from Angel feeding to Spike’s other wrist.  It was obvious what he wanted, but he was too afraid to ask for it.

Angel reached up and grabbed Xander by the arm. Without looking up from Spike's wrist he jerked the boy to his knees beside him. Finally he pulled away and licked the blood from his lips. "Feed," he ordered, thrusting Spike's wrist at the boy.

Xander groaned and happily sunk his teeth into Spike’s flesh.  He watched as next to him Angel moved up Spike’s arm and bit into a new area.

"Oh yeah," Spike groaned. He used his free hand to touch first his Childe's head then his Sire's. He could feel both of them feeding from him, pulling the very blood from his veins. What little he had left was heading straight for his cock, making him start to sway on his feet as the light-headedness hit him.

As he swayed, it was Angel who caught him before he could hit the floor.  It was also Angel who whispered something into his ear that made him groan.  “We’re going to have so much fun filling you up again…”

Part Eleven

Spike groaned as consciousness returned. He could feel the soft bed beneath him and knew that Angel and Xander must have placed him there after he collapsed. He should have known better than to try and feed both of them on less than a full stomach. He was lucky they hadn't accidentally drained him for good. Cracking an eye open, he was surprised to find his Sire sitting patiently by his bed.

“I know you’re awake,” Angel said without moving.

"Where's my boy?" Spike asked, not seeing Xander. He was surprised. He'd thought for sure the boy would have been here waiting on pins and needles to make sure he was okay. He knew he would have been if he'd been in his place.

“Getting some blood for you,” Angel said matter-of-factly.  “You’re lucky you didn't wake up to find him between my legs with that cat-in-heat act he was pulling.”

"Excuse me?" Spike said. He tried to sit up a bit but the room shifted alarmingly so he laid back down and settled for glaring at his Sire.

“He was acting like a slut.  You should have seen him after you passed out… so hard and needy…”

"You didn't," Spike gasped. He tried to tell himself Angel wouldn't have but after all the pushing Xander had done it would have been well within his rights to simply take the boy then and there. And Xander would have been so high from his blood that he would have gone along with it, too.

“What, you can’t tell me the image of him sucking me off doesn't turn you on?” Angel purred, shifting closer to Spike.

"He's mine," Spike told him.

Angel reached out and grabbed Spike by his dyed blonde hair, demanding to know, “Are you jealous?”

"You bloody well know I am," Spike said. "You told me you gave up your claim to Sire's rights. You taking 'em back now?"

“Do you feel longing and hurt?” Angel continued his questioning.  “Does your heart feel empty?”

"Yes," Spike said softly. "He's all I have. He's been all I've had for a while now. Please, Sire, don't take him away."

Angel sighed in defeat now that his point had been made and let Spike go.  “Now you know how I feel.  I won’t touch him.”

"Sire?" Spike said, seeing the pain in Angel's eyes. "I... I didn't mean I never wanted you to touch him."

“Do you know why I keep saying he reminds me of you?” Angel asked, but didn't wait for an answer.  “Because he does.  That uncertainty and vulnerability mixed with playfulness.  The way he looks at you… you used to look at me like that… with complete adoration and trust.”

"He could again if you give him time," Xander said from the doorway. He'd been listening to their conversation from the kitchen. He was fast finding out how useful vampire hearing could be. "We've all got some trust issues to work through but I think we can if we're willing to try."

“You’re too young and innocent to understand the things I did to him,” Angel said in a soft tone.  “And he didn't leave me, I left him.  I abandoned my own Childe before he was ready to face the world.  Spike was the kind of Childe who needed to be close to his Sire.  He was so dependent…”

"You can't undo what you've done, Angel. Believe me, I know that. But you can make up for it.  Isn't that why you're back?  To atone for what you did?  So atone. You'll find that Spike can be surprisingly forgiving once he realizes he can trust you."

“I can’t risk getting too close to anyone.”

"Oh please, like you're gonna find perfect happiness with me around," Xander scoffed. "Or Cordelia. Trust me, Angel, we were there when it happened before. We're not about to let it happen again. 'Cause, you see, I know what you'd do to him and I'll die before I let that happen."

“And what do you think I’d do to him?” Angel challenged.

"You'd destroy him," Xander said simply. "You'd probably start by killing me. Or maybe just torturing me. Then you'd start on him. He hasn't told me much but from what he's said I gather Angelus wasn't exactly a tender Master."

“I am Angelus.”

"Yeah," Xander smiled sadly. "I get that, too. Buffy might not, but I do."

“It took me decades to fight what I am… to face what I’m capable of,” Angel continued, looking down at his hands.

"But you have fought it. You fight it every day and every person you save inches you closer to redemption. Personally, considering everything you've done, I don't know if you'll ever make it but I know you have to try. Just give Spike a little time and you'll see. He wants to trust you again. I think he needs to. I couldn't imagine being in his position... having my Sire and not having him all at the same time."

“You were the only one I could really turn to with the protection of my Xander,” Spike added.  “I knew that even after all that shit we've been through, you’d protect me when I really needed you.”

"Always," Angel vowed without hesitation. "I protect my Childer. And my Childer's Childer, as well."

“I think that’s a start… Master,” Spike barely whispered the last word.  It was something he hadn't called Angel since the day he’d left them.

"Spike..." Angel gasped in warning. He was still partially aroused from feeding earlier and it didn't take much to set it off again.

"I think it's time for some food," Xander put in, hoping to slow things down a bit. Angel looked ready to pounce on Spike and fuck him through the mattress.

Spike was licking his own lips nervously and took the hot mug of blood from Xander.  He sipped it carefully, watching Angel do the same over the rim.  He knew he shouldn't have called Angel Master, but there was no other word that expressed how he felt quite like that one.

"It'll be okay," Xander whispered as he sat down beside Spike and stroked his face. "You'll see. It'll be good here. You can be with your Sire and we can be together without any pesky Slayers getting into our business."

“Just have to point us in the direction of our own flat,” Spike said uncertainly.  Angel had been so very close since he came to Sunnydale, even sleeping in the same bed.  But now they were on Angel’s turf and he didn't want to push his Sire.

"I don't think so," Angel said. "We're family. Family sticks together. It's safest that way for all of us. You can have a separate room for the two of you, if you prefer, but I'd like you to stay here."

“You might not appreciate us doing the horizontal mambo on your mattress,” Spike pointed out.

"Do I get to watch?" Angel quipped, trying to lighten the mood. The truth was, he wanted them to stay. In the hotel and in his rooms as well. That, however, might not be what Spike wanted.

“What, again?” Spike snorted.  “Didn't know you were such a voyeur, Peaches.”

"I'll take what I can get," Angel said. "I want you to stay, if you want. In my room or a room of your own, whatever you're more comfortable with."

“How about we take it day by day,” Spike offered.  He knew how much they could get on each others nerves and it was only a matter of time before Angel would want his space.  “Today, we'll stay with you.”

"Alright," Angel said. He looked to Xander then, watching as the young man continued to stroke and pet Spike's face. "Xander, are you okay with this?"

“That depends on who gets to be in the middle?” Xander actually flashed both Master vampires a huge leer.  “And whether or not your hands wander again.”

"From the way you were acting downstairs, I'd think you wanted them to wander," Angel shot back. "You don't know how close I came to fucking you in the lobby, boy."

Xander’s smile faltered, cringing back a little.  “I was going to say I didn't mind.  I’m sorry…”

"Don't, Xander," Angel said softly, reaching out and touching the boy's arm. "I didn't mean to scare you. I wouldn't have, you know. I gave up the right. Ask Spike if you don't believe me."

“I don’t mean to piss you off,” Xander continued to apologize, flinching almost as if he expected Angel to hit him with the sudden movement of his hand.  Angel was big and intimidating enough to remind him of his father.

"You didn't," Angel said. "And even if you did, I would never hurt you. You spoke of trust earlier, Xander. Trust me. I won't hurt you."

“I know that,” Xander said quickly.  “Old habits die hard when you’re a cowering wuss.”

"Hah, talk about cowering wuss," Spike said, trying to make his Childe feel better. "I couldn't even defend myself from the bleeding cheerleader if I needed to."

“That isn't your fault,” Xander said, moving closer to Spike so that he was almost sitting in the other man’s lap.

"Maybe not, ducks, but that doesn't change anything," Spike said. "I still can't defend myself or my Childe. Not from humans, anyway."

Xander buried his head against Spike’s neck and mumbled, “I don’t care.”

"We'll find a way to get that chip out, Spike," Angel promised. "I don't know how, but we'll find a way. I won't let them leave you defenceless like this."

Xander still clutched at Spike, but turned a stubborn look on Angel.  “You’re going to teach me how to protect him, right?”

"We both will," Angel said. "Spike knows more about fighting dirty than anyone I've ever known. What I can't teach you, he can."

“We'll start when we wake up then,” Xander decided.  He was already pushing Spike back onto the bed and cuddling with him.  Then he remembered how drained Spike really was, but he was already so comfortable.  He turned big puppy dog eyes on Angel and asked, “You'll get your poor starving Childe some more blood, right, Gramps?”

Angel let out a longsuffering sigh but got up and headed to the kitchen. He quickly heated another package of blood for Spike. He'd be glad when they didn't have to drink this pig shit anymore. He hated it and knew his Childe did, too. He walked back into the bedroom and found Xander already had Spike propped up waiting for his meal. The sight made him both happy and sad at the same time. At least his Childe had managed to find someone to spend his eternity with.

Angel ended up feeding Spike two full bags of blood that night until Spike actually fended him off complaining that if he drank another ounce he’d explode.  Angel even went so far as to call Xander and Spike cute when they were curled up together.  He'd been a bit self-conscious about joining them in the bed after his earlier goof with Xander but the young man had simply pulled back the blankets and scooted his Sire over to the center of the bed. Once he'd laid down, Spike and Xander had both pulled him close until he was pressing up against his Childe's side with his arms holding both of them.

All three of them slept more soundly that day than they had in a long time.  It felt so much safer now that they were away from Sunnydale.  They barely moved at all during the day and as the sun set, making way for the night sky, someone came looking for them.

Cordelia pushed open the door and carefully entered the room. She knew better than to go sneaking up on sleeping vamps, no matter how tame they might seem. "Angel?" she called out softly as she stepped into the bedroom. The sight that greeted her made her stop in her tracks. All three of them were curled up in the bed like some great tangle of vampiric puppies. She giggled when she caught sight of where Angel's hand currently was. It was resting on Xander's ass, gripping it tightly.

“Angel,” Cordelia called out again.  Most people would have fled or left the vamps to their own devices, but she couldn't pass up this opportunity.

Angel cracked an eye open and saw the smiling face of Cordelia.  He groaned and buried his head against Spike’s hair.  “Not now, Cordelia.”

"You do realize that I am never going to let you live this down, right?" Cordelia asked, smiling broadly. She could picture years of teasing ahead and that made her grin even more.

Angel tightened his grip on Xander’s ass.  It was time to teach this girl a lesson.  “You think I have something to be embarrassed about?”

"Like I care who you're getting groiny with," Cordelia continued to grin. "I think it's kinda nice actually. But I know you, soul-boy. I'll be able to tease you about this for months."

“Tease me all you like, but leave the boys alone,” Angel warned.  He didn't really catch that he’d called Spike a boy, but he would always be one to Angel.

"Oh please. Xander's not gonna freak if I tease him a little. He's stronger than you think, Angel. Now, are you boys going to get up and try out the nice fresh blood Wesley and I got you or not?"

“I'll say yes to the blood,” Angel said.  “But I've already warned you once.  Don’t tease my boys about this.”  He was glad they were both still asleep.  Spike had told him Xander wasn't a “morning” person and Spike was still wiped from their blood games.  He didn't want anything, even Cordelia’s teasing, to jeopardize the bonds he’d begun to build.

"Hey, you need to get something straight right now, mister," Cordelia said, her eyes flashing and her hands on her hips. "I would never do anything to hurt him. I would die for him. So don't you lay there and threaten me. Not where Xander's concerned." With that she turned on her heel and stalked from the room. She refrained from slamming the door, not wanting to wake Xander and Spike. It was definitely time for a shopping trip. Anything to put a little distance between herself and a certain souled vamp.

She might not have slammed the door, but it was enough to wake Spike.  He was still groggy from too much blood and the emotions from last night’s discussion were still dancing in his subconscious.  The smell of his Sire so close brought up memories of his past. He snuffled lightly, nuzzling against Angel’s neck and whispered, “Master?”

"Shhh... it's alright, Childe," Angel said, pulling Spike in tight. "Go back to sleep. It's still early."

Spike whimpered, suckling briefly on Angel’s neck before drifting back to sleep.  He reminded Angel so much of the boy he had been when he had been turned.  Angel ran his hand through Spike’s hair and smiled when the curls began to reappear.  Maybe it was time to try and convince Spike to change his looks.  With a little gentle persuasion, maybe he could convince his Childe to let his natural curls return and maybe, just maybe Spike would grow his hair out.

"You really shouldn't piss Cordy off like that," Xander whispered, his eyes still closed. "She does know where you sleep, after all."

“I didn't know you were awake,” Angel said softly, still playing with Spike’s hair.

"Yeah, I figured that," Xander replied, still speaking softly to keep from waking Spike. "Me and Cordy, we've had our ups and downs but by the end we were friends again. She might not have much tact but she doesn't mean any harm. Most of the time."

“I’m not willing to risk upsetting either of you,” Angel returned and then sighed, happy that Spike was still asleep.  “I've been accused of being over possessive before and having William like this… so sweet and close… his hair curling… it brings up old needs.”

"Old needs," Xander repeated. "You still love him. I know he still has feelings for you. You, uh, you want me to leave so you guys can be alone for a bit?  I can go downstairs, see if I can placate Cordy so she doesn't lace your blood with arsenic or anything."

“Don’t,” Angel commanded.  “Yes, I do love him, more now actually because it’s not tainted with the madness of the demon, but the old needs I was talking about, it’s more like my need to protect him.”

"Don't lie to me, Angel. Not ever. Not if you want me to trust you," Xander said seriously. "The need to protect may be there, but that's not the only need you've got where my Sire's concerned. You want him. I can smell it on you."

Instead of pushing Spike away, Angel held his Childe closer.  “I want to protect him from me.  So I will ignore my baser needs.”

"Considering how much my Sire wants you, that'd be pretty cruel, don't you think?" Xander said. He was trying to reason with Angel but it was hard. This was Spike they were discussing. His Sire. In truth, he didn't want his Sire touching anyone but him. In reality, he knew that wasn't likely to happen. Like he'd just told Angel, that would be cruel.

“I’m content with what we have,” Angel said stiffly.  “Watching and blood is enough.”

"Bullshit. I told you not to lie to me." With that Xander rose from the bed, ignoring Angel's attempt to stop him. He grabbed his pants and slipped them on then went in search of Cordelia. Maybe she'd have some insight into how to get Angel to quit playing the fucking martyr.

Xander’s hasty escape was enough to pull Spike out of his deep sleep, but he came around slowly.  Again he whispered silkily, “Master?”

"Here, Childe," Angel replied, turning his attention from the empty doorway to the man lying in his arms. "Did you rest well?"

Spike continued to nuzzle against Angel’s neck.  “Like the dead.”

Angel chuckled at the lame joke and turned his head to expose his neck. "Feed, if you like. There's fresh blood downstairs when we're ready."

“Just a bit,” Spike mumbled and drank slowly, licking the wound when he was done.

"Mmmmm... I'd almost forgotten how good that felt," Angel said. "I'm so glad you're back, Will. I've missed you."

“I missed you, too,” Spike returned the affection with a quick kiss.  “Now where’s my pet?”

"He, uh, he went after Cordelia," Angel said worriedly. "I managed to piss them both off enough to go storming out of the room."

Spike shook off his grogginess, moving swiftly until he had Angel pinned under him.  “What did you do?”

"I told Cordy she could tease me all she wanted but to leave you two alone. She seemed to take offence at the implication that she'd do anything to hurt Xander," Angel hedged.

“And what else?  I know you, Angel.  That’s not it.”

"I might have implied a threat or two," Angel admitted, now thoroughly embarrassed by how he'd acted. "Xander was awake the whole time. We talked. He told me not to lie to him."

“Spill it all,” Spike demanded, poking Angel in the chest with his finger.

"I said I felt the old needs coming back," Angel explained. "Xander took that to mean sex. I told him it was just my protective urges but he didn't believe me. He stormed off after Cordelia when I told him I was content with what I have now."

“No wonder he thought you were a liar,” Spike snorted.  “You are, you big ponce.”

"I just didn't want him to feel threatened," Angel said in his defence. "He's your Childe. He wants you all to himself. Can't say that I blame him there really."

Spike ground his groin against Angel.  “He’s a fledgling.  Volatile, confused and vulnerable… that doesn't mean he’s stupid.”

"No, I guess not. Spike, this really is enough for me. It's more than I ever thought I'd have and I can live with just this. I don't want to make things any harder on Xander than they already are."

“It’s enough… for now,” Spike agreed.  “My Childe is too new to understand yet, no matter what he says.  But that won’t always be the way it is, Peaches.”

"I don't want to come between you. It was bad enough the way I toyed with the bond between you and Drusilla. I won't do that again," Angel vowed.

Spike shift closer until his mouth was even with Angel’s ear.  “He’s my equal.  My Dark Prince.”

"I always thought you were my light. All pale, like the moonlight. Oh, Childe." Angel pulled Spike to him tightly and nuzzled his neck. A variety of feelings were coursing through him and he was having a difficult time sorting them all out. At the moment, he wanted nothing more than to hear his Childe call him Master again as he buried himself inside him. That, he knew, could not be allowed to happen.

“I love him,” Spike whispered.  “He’s my only Consort and Childe.  Do you understand what that means for us, Master?”

"Yes," Angel said, shivering at the sound of that title falling from Spike's lips. "I wish... never mind."

“I want you to tell me what you wish for, but first I want to tell you what it means to me,” Spike said.  “It means I can never be completely yours.  I know you want that.  That means you couldn't be completely happy… do you see now?”

"I know. Don't take this wrong, Spike, but I could never be completely happy with you. There's too much darkness between us. I've done too many despicable things to you to ever forget. I could love you until the end of time and I'd always remember how much I've hurt you."

This caused a big smile to cross Spike’s face and reached down to plant a sloppy kiss on Angel’s lips.  “Bloody terrific, ain’t it, mate?”

"I suppose that's one way to look at it," Angel said, unable to keep from smiling at the look on Spike's face. "No worries about Angelus' personality taking over at least."

“You can be happy with us, Angel, if you let yourself,” Spike said.  “You’re family.  It'll just take time with the boy, but it’s not like we don’t have plenty of that.  You know he was a virgin, right?”

"I figured as much. Xander never struck me as the type to be into experimentation. I know he was with Cordy but I don't know how far things went."

Spike snorted.  “Oh, he’s been with birds, just never even kissed a bloke.  Gotta give him time.”

"Well, he seems pretty okay with it. I mean, that display he put on earlier was enough to nearly push me over the edge. You really are lucky you didn't wake up to find him on his knees between my legs."

Spike growled in warning.  “Don’t get any ideas.  He just doesn't have any idea how sexy he is, that’s all.”

Angel tensed and expertly flipped them over so Spike was now beneath him. "I won't, but you might want to tell him to tone down the teasing a bit. You know what it's like when the bloodlust is high. We could both end up hurting him and neither of us wants that."

“I won’t punish him,” Spike spat. “He’s always been a cocktease.  I don’t wanna change that.”

"I'm not asking you to. Just warn him a bit. He thinks just because I've got my soul that I won't touch him. I've got limits just like any man. Don't scare him, though. I don't want him afraid of me on top of being pissed off."

“He’s twenty, you’re over two hundred.  You should have more control than him,” Spike said.  “He was a walking hard on before I turned him and now’s he’s just dead sexy piled on top of that.  He’s just starting to get a little confidence back, I won’t take that away from him.”

"Then don't get worried if I try to keep a little distance. It's been a long time since I've had anyone, Spike. My control isn't exactly up to par."

“Your control was never up to par,” Spike quipped. “And you can’t keep your distance.  He'll take it the wrong way.  If you haven’t noticed, the boys a little sensitive.  This is the first time anyone’s ever shown him any sort of affection.  Might be why he doesn't know the difference between affection and shagging yet.”

"Yeah, I kinda got that. He seems to think that if I'm nice to him it means I want to fuck him. Or that he has to let me. What the hell did those people do to him?"

“I don’t wanna know,” Spike whispered truthfully. “You see now why I need help with him?”

"Yes," Angel agreed. Spike did need help with his Childe and even if he didn't want to know what those beings had done to Xander, Angel was going to find out. He had a feeling he would need to know if he was going to help the young man overcome his upbringing.

Spike wiggled under Angel’s body, testing his Sire’s strength unconsciously.  “So just don’t cut the whelp off from affection, okay?  If he starts something… well then, he should have the right to finish it if he wants.  Sowing his wild oats and all.”

"So if he starts acting like a little slut again I should just let him?" Angel asked, testing his Childe. He ground his pelvis down against Spike as he spoke, pushing their erections together hard.

“Don’t call him that!” Spike hissed, although he was pushing up against Angel.  “What if he heard you?”

"I'm not going to coddle the boy, Spike," Angel said as he continued to grind against the other man. "I'll make allowances for his circumstances but if he acts like a cat in heat he'd better be ready to pay the consequences."

Xander had been coming back to tell Spike he was going out with Cordelia.  He didn't want to interrupt what he sure was already a passionate union, but he didn't want to worry Spike by just taking off.  Part of him said that they were probably just talking, but then he had taken in the scene of Angel humping Spike under him.  A moment later he’d heard Angel call him a slut and the bag he was carrying fell to the floor.  He was bringing a heated bag of blood that Cordelia said was only a matter of hours old as a peace offering.  The bag burst and the blood pooled around his feet.

"What the..." Spike exclaimed as the smell of fresh, hot blood filled the room. His head jerked to the side and he saw Xander standing in the doorway, staring at them with a look on his face that made Spike want to curl up and die. "Xander... pet... it's not what you think."

“I… I just came to tell you I’m going out with Cordy, Master,” Xander said in the tone he used when he didn't want to piss his father off.  He made sure to use Spike’s proper title.  “I'll be good.  I… I have to go… I'll clean up my mess when I get back.”

"Xander... wait!" Spike called out, trying to shift Angel off of him before his Childe could get out the door.

But the only thing left in Xander’s wake was a few bloody footprints.  Xander hadn't even changed into his shoes yet before coming down to try and appease Angel.  Now he’d used his new speed to hightail it out of there.

"Damn," Spike muttered, ceasing his struggles once the outer door slammed shut. His Childe had gone. Spike wanted to run after him but he knew Angel would never allow it.

“Maybe this is a lesson he needs to learn,” Angel said quietly.

"What lesson is that? That his Sire can act like a cat in heat just as much as he can?" Spike asked. There was no real heat in his words, only resignation and worry. He didn't like the thought of Xander wandering around LA with just the cheerleader as backup.

“He does need to toughen up,” Angel reasoned, still pinning Spike to the bed. “You've been coddling him too much.”

"Yeah, well, he deserves a little coddling," Spike argued. "His own bloody father helped beat him to death. His mum knew all about it and didn't lift so much as a finger to warn him. Everyone he's ever loved has dumped on him. I don't want to be lumped in with that lot."

“He’s a vampire now,” Angel continued his argument.  “You have to treat him like one.  Not like some teenager.”

"He might be a vampire but he's still just a boy. He hasn't learned how to be a man yet. Nobody ever took the time to show him. The Watcher's the only real father figure he's ever had but he had his hands so full with the Slayer he couldn't give the boy much time. I know I'm coddling him, alright, but I don't want him to ever worry that I'll leave him."

Finally Angel sighed and pushed himself off of Spike.  “He'll get over it eventually.  I doubt he heard anything, just got an eyeful and he pretty much pushed you on me.  What did he expect to happen?”

"Probably expects me to have his bags all packed by the time he gets back, knowing Xander," Spike said. "And just where do you think you're going, anyway?"

“Downstairs.  I have a business to run,” Angel said, already looking for pants that would hide an erection.  Of course he still needed to shower and eat, but there was nothing like paperwork to kill a good erection.

"I don't think so, Peaches," Spike said. "You got me all hot and bothered. Even managed to chase my boy away for probably the better part of the night. You're not gonna just leave me like this."

“What happened to waiting until the boy was ready?” Angel said, repeating Spike’s earlier argument in a mocking tone.  “What happened to all the time in the world to broaden his horizons?  Well, we certainly broadened his horizons.  Bet he liked what he saw.”

"I bet he did, too," Spike said smugly. "Or he will once he gets over the shock and quits worrying that I'm gonna dump him for you. But that's got nothing to do with this.  I want my Sire back."

“You have your Sire back,” Angel said.  “But the answer is no, William.”

"You don't want me," Spike said, his own insecurities surging forward. Angel had never refused him like this before. It was the worst insult a Master could give to their Childe, telling them they were no longer desired.

Angel groaned inwardly, calling for patience.  Maybe he was going about this the wrong way.  Half the time he thought of Spike as his Childe, the other half time as a Master vampire.  But that was not the plea of a Master vampire.  That was the wounded plea of his insecure Childe… of his William.  Maybe if he’d been strong and treated both Spike and Xander like the Childer they were, they wouldn't be in this situation.  Maybe, it was time he started acting like the Master vampire he was.

"I always want you, Will," Angel admitted. "But it wouldn't do for Xander to return and catch us in the act. Or even come back and smell it in the room. He'd know and that would undermine what small amount of self-confidence the boy does possess. I'm afraid you'll just have to live with it until your Childe decides to come back."

That answer did not please Spike at all.  He grabbed a pillow and hurled it at Angel.  “Then get the hell outta here so I can wank off,” Spike growled.  “Maybe when my boy comes back, we'll just jet outta here.” It really was an empty threat.  He didn't have any other safe place he could take his Childe right now, but that didn't mean he wasn't pissed off royally.  In truth, he was a little confused.  He was a Master in his own right, but now he was trapped between that and the role of a Childe with the natural desire to become his Sire’s favourite again.

"Change the sheets when you're done," Angel said calmly. He finished dressing and left the room as quickly as he could without appearing to rush. He knew by the time Xander returned that Spike would be calm again. That was good. They were going to need that calm once Xander and Cordelia got back.

Part Twelve

“So are you gonna tell me what happened now?” Cordelia pressed.  Xander had come to her quiet and shaking, literally dragging her out of the building.  He’d quickly covered that with the ‘Geeky Xander Puppy’ mask, but Cordelia could see through it.  No matter how much he complained as he followed her around the stores, he was hurting badly inside.  And she just knew those two vamp blockheads had something to do with it.

"Nothing really," Xander shrugged. "Nothing I shouldn't have expected, anyway. I walked in on them. No big, right? I mean, Sire and Childe... that's what they do. And they've been really good about not pushing me and stuff. Of course, Angel thinks I've been acting like a slut."

“Slut?” Cordelia squeaked, almost dropping her parcels.  “He called you a slut?”

"Not to my face or anything," Xander said quickly. "He was talking to Spike. He told Spike to tell me to quit acting like a slut or something like that. That's when I walked in and saw them together. I mean, I knew it was going to happen. Spike almost said as much. It just... hurt. Guess I know what it felt like for you now, huh?"

“You and Willow were only kissing,” Cordelia dismissed it.  She’d gotten over that a long time ago.  “So your man was cheating on you already.  Well, there’s only one thing to do about that.”

"Um, Cordy, I don't think it's actually considered cheating. Angel is his Sire. They have a bond. And if it makes Spike happy, and I really can't believe I'm saying this, I want them to be together." A wild mix of emotions coursed through Xander at his admission. Jealousy, love, understanding, anger... they all made a debut, swirling one into the other inside his head. The bottom line, however, was that he wanted Spike to be happy. If that meant he had to spend eternity sharing him with Angel, then he'd learn to live with it. Somehow.

“You make Spike happy,” Cordelia said.  “Which brings me back to my solution.  Shopping.  I’m taking you shopping.  If they think you’re a slut, then you’d better dress the part.  Nothing like a little jealousy to make a man take a second look.”

"Um, kinda like the way you dressed your first day back at school?" Xander asked, remembering vividly the red leather outfit Cordelia had sported that day. It had been enough to make certain parts of his body sit up and take notice no matter how he tried to fight it.

“Bingo!” Cordelia brightened up.  “I know just the store!”

Xander tried to protest as Cordelia grabbed his hand and literally dragged him toward a store. He had a feeling Angel was getting the bill for this little shopping trip and he wasn't sure how the older vampire would take it. He was already in hot water with both his Sire and Grand-Sire over his actions. This would only make things worse.


Xander didn't want to go back into the hotel.  He felt like an idiot and he just knew he’d be blushing if he had enough blood in his system.  He hadn't fed at all yet this evening and his hunger was gnawing at him.  He was dressed head to toe in leather and silk.  He still remembered the male shop clerk groping at him and leering an offer, even going so far as to slip him his phone number.  The only difference between this outfit and the ones he'd seen Spike and even Angel in was that Cordelia had insisted he wear butter soft chocolate brown leather.  She said it matched his eyes.

"You look great," Cordelia told him for the fifth time. "So great in fact that those two idiots are probably gonna hurt themselves when they see you. Now quit stalling and get up there. And remember what I said. Play it cool, like nothing ever happened this morning. Make them come to you."

“I have to go to them eventually,” Xander mumbled, running his hands nervously over the skin-tight pants.  He was most unsure about the lace up fly drawing attention to this package.  “I have to eat.”

"So go up and start rummaging through the fridge like you're looking for something to eat," Cordelia instructed. "You said you only eat from Spike, right? That should get both of them jumping."

“You’re trying to teach me how to be manipulative,” Xander accused.

"As if," Cordelia grinned. "You spent how many years with Her Buffyness and you still don't know how to be manipulative? I'm just coaching you on how to make an entrance."

“Make an entrance,” Xander repeated.  He wanted to keep Spike at all costs.  “No matter how I dress, I can’t compete with Angel.”

"Really? Then why was Spike in Sunnydale with you rather than here with Angel? I mean, it's obvious Angel would have taken him in. But he stayed there with you," Cordelia said. "Don't get me wrong, there're some serious feelings between those two, but they're nothing compared to what Spike feels for you."

“Thank you, Cordy,” Xander said and gave her a quick hug. “I can do this.  I can do this.”

"I know you can. You're Xander Harris and there's never been a challenge you couldn't meet head on. Not when it comes to vampires."

Xander left Cordelia going through the bags of her own purchases.  He headed to their room repeating, “I can do this,” over and over to himself.  He silently opened the door, headed to the fridge and started to root around, making sure to reach in the very back to showcase certain assets.

Xander could feel two sets of eyes on him and did his best to ignore them. He rooted around for a few more seconds, even going so far as to give a little wiggle before pulling out a blood pack and raising up.

“What do you think you’re doing, pet?” he heard Spike’s distinctive growl from behind him.  Much closer than before.

"Getting something to eat," Xander said as non-committally as possible. "Shopping with Cordelia can really take it out of a guy. I'm starving."

“You haven’t eaten yet,” Spike said flatly.  The poor boy must be starving and that raised a whole new level of guilt in Spike.  “Warming the bag up for me?”

Xander considered saying no, that he was in fact warming the bag up for him. One look at his Sire's face and he simply nodded and turned toward the microwave. He would not lie to his Sire. Not directly and not about something so obviously important to Spike.

“It’s a nice new outfit,” Spike said, taking in Xander head to toe.  It was a little awkward between them, but the sight still brought a smile to him.  So his Childe was trying to seduce him.

"Cordy picked it out. She said she always wanted to see me in leather," Xander shrugged.

“Rather tight isn't it?”

Xander shrugged again and quickly thought of how Cordelia would handle a situation like this. "Cordy seemed to like it," he said then turned around so Spike couldn't see the smile on his face.

“Does that bint still have a thing for you?” Spike demanded.  He didn't like the idea of Xander’s ex ogling and fondling him in that outfit.

"Nah, Cordy's way over me. Don't know how I ever thought I could be enough for a girl like her." The microwave went off before Xander could say any more and he quickly went about pouring the blood into mugs before it could cool.

Spike came up behind Xander and started to run his hands over Xander’s thighs and stomach.  “We need to have a little talk, pet.”

"Your blood's ready, Master," Xander said, ignoring Spike as best he could. He turned and placed a mug of blood in his Sire's hand then brushed past him to carry the remaining mug to Angel.

Spike took a large swig of the blood as he watched Xander carefully.  This wasn't quite the reaction he’d been expecting.  He’d been expecting Xander to come back begging and broken.  This was a new mask that he hadn't seen before as a coping mechanism.

Xander knelt before Angel and held out the mug. "Your blood, Grand-Sire," he said formally. Spike had told him that Childer were supposed to be respectful toward their Grand-Sires. Well, he could play the dutiful Childe and let them try to figure out what was going on in his head.

Angel took the mug and then took in Xander’s outfit.  “Get out of that getup, boy,” he said tersely.

Xander thought about protesting but didn't. Instead, he decided to do exactly as Angel had said. Standing up, he began to strip, his movements short and economical as if he were merely undressing for bed. There was no teasing involved, just a simple removal of the offending outfit as his Grand-Sire had requested.

“I didn't mean it like that,” Angel growled, averting his eyes.  “Go change into something else.”

Xander gathered up the shirt he'd removed and carried it to the closet. He carefully hung it up before pulling out a sweater. The longer sweater covered more of the leather pants but Xander didn't mind. He knew he'd made an impact because he could feel the two men's eyes on him. If they wanted an obedient little puppy, then that's what they would get. At least this way he wouldn't get accused of being a slut again.

“Angel, lay off of him,” Spike spat.  “I really liked your outfit, Xander.  You can wear it anytime you like.”

"Thank you, Master," Xander replied. He wasn't sure what else to do so he sat down in the chair closest to the bed. He would have sat on the bed itself but didn't want to give anybody any ideas. It would be up to them to make the first move.

Spike was lost looking at Xander.  His own eyes dropped to the floor and then he noticed a crumpled piece of paper.  He bent down to pick it up and found out it was a receipt from a leather store with a hefty price tag.  It made him smile until he turned it over and saw a phone number written on the back with a tag, ‘Call me gorgeous and maybe I can get you out of your new pants.  Kisses, Justin.’  Spike held up the paper and demanded, “What’s this?”

"The receipt," Xander said, knowing full well what Spike was talking about.

“Who’s Justin?” Spike demanded.  “Did this bloke try and pick you up?”

"Huh? Oh, he was the sales clerk at the store. I think Cordy said something about me having a boyfriend so he wrote his phone number on the back. I would have thrown it out if it hadn't been on the receipt," Xander explained.

“Take the pullover off and leave the pants on,” Spike ordered suddenly.  “Get your pretty ass over here.”

Xander did as he was ordered, throwing the sweater onto the floor and walking over to stand in front of his Sire. He stared down at Spike's boots. "I'm sorry I behaved like a slut, Master. It won't happen again."

Spike grabbed the back of Xander’s hair, pulling his head back.  He put his wrist in front of Xander’s mouth and growled, “Drink and remember who you belong to.”

Xander sank his teeth in and drank, but only a little. He took a few mouthfuls, feeling the hunger swell inside him then he pulled back, licking the wound to seal it. He didn't understand why he suddenly felt so uncertain, but he did. It was as if he didn't know what his place was now.

“I said drink,” Spike said more powerfully.  “Don’t make me force feed you to re-establish my claim.”

"I drank, Sire," Xander said, backing away slightly. "I'm not really hungry anymore."

“You haven’t fed since yesterday,” Spike said, his visage changing into game face.  “Unless you drank from someone else.  Did you drink from that mortal?”

"No," Xander shook his head. "I told you I won't. I'm just not hungry anymore."

“I know you’re hungry.  Are you that angry with me that you’re willing to starve yourself?”

"I'm not angry with you, Sire. I'm just having a few problems... adjusting... to things," Xander tried to explain. It had all seemed so much easier when he was out with Cordy. Now, all he wanted to do was fall to his knees and beg Spike not to cast him aside in favour of Angel.

“Tell me how you think things are now?” Spike pressed.  He kept his grip on Xander’s hair tight, making sure his Childe had to look him in the eye.

"You and Angel. I saw you," Xander said. "I know you want to be with him. I mean, he's your Sire, you're supposed to want to be close to him. I just... I want you to be happy and if that means that I have to share you with Angel then I guess that's what it means and I'll get used to it, I promise I will but it's hard, you know, because no one's ever wanted just me except for you and now you don't even want that."

Spike’s response was to let go of Xander’s hair and wrap his arms around the babbling boy’s waist.  He drew him over to the bed and told Angel briskly, “Get out.”

"No!" Xander said frantically. "He's your Sire. He belongs here. I'm sorry, Master. I don't mean to be like this. Everything's so confused in my head right now. Please don't be mad."

Spike used his strength to manoeuvre Xander easily onto the bed until he was sitting on Xander’s lap and leaning over him.  “Here’s how it’s gonna go.  Angel is gonna leave us alone and we’re gonna have a nice long talk after you feed.  You can take as long as you want, doing all that slow, sweet suckling you do, but you will feed.”

"Yes, Master," Xander replied, his eyes never leaving Spike's.

Spike reached out and pushed Xander’s hair away from his forehead.  Using a soft tone he said, “And I'll show you how much I love and need you.”

Xander closed his eyes as he sank his fangs into Spike's wrist again. This time he drank deeply, not suckling as he normally did, but feasting on his Master's blood. His hunger flared then slowly began to abate as he filled his belly. Finally, he could sense that Spike was weakening and he pulled his mouth away, carefully licking the wound closed as he did.

“Feel better, pet?” Spike whispered, continuously touching Xander’s face and hair.  He was much more comfortable now that he had re-staked his claim.

Xander nodded, licking the last of Spike's essence from his lips. He knew Spike wanted to talk now and he wished they could just skip it. He knew the score. Spike loved him, he'd said as much, but his tie to his Sire was strong. Xander would simply have to adjust if he wanted his Sire to be happy.

“Tell me what’s going on in that pretty head of yours,” Spike whispered again as he gently grabbed Xander’s chin so their eyes were forced to meet.

"Nothing really," Xander said. "Just making a few mental adjustments."

“Wanna tell me what they are?”

"You and Angel. I know he's your Sire and I understand how strong that tie can be now. I didn't mean to act like a whore. I just wanted him to loosen up a bit. I'm sorry if I embarrassed you."

Spike’s fingers tightened on Xander’s chin.  “Don’t you ever call yourself that.  You understand me?”

"I didn't mean to act that way, Master. I swear, I didn't," Xander said softly, his voice breaking on the words. "I just wanted him to join us. Guess I got what I wanted, huh?"

Spike had to bite the inside of his mouth until it bled to keep from loosing his temper.  He’d always been patient with Dru, but he’d been able to take out his aggression when they got violent.  He couldn't be violent with Xander.  Angel was the talented one at handling unsteady fledglings.  He could see the desires of a vampire were confusing the old morals that were still bonded with Xander’s soul.  No fledgling should have to deal with the guilt of their mortal constraints, even Angel hadn't been put through that emotional torture.  By the time he’d gotten his soul back, he’d had no sexual hang-ups left.

“Do you even know exactly what you want, pet?” Spike asked gently.  “Does part of you want one thing and another part think it's wrong?”

"N-no," Xander replied. "He's just so much more than me. How can I compete with him? I don't want to lose you, Sire. I don't think I could stand it. I don't mind you being with Angel as long as you still want me some, too."

“Shit,” Spike hissed.  So the boy thought Angel was replacing him.  He had to fix this.  “What you and I have, it’s already stronger than anything Angelus and I ever had.  The only thing I have tying me to Angel is the blood bond between Sire and Childe.  I knew and feared Angelus, but I don’t know Angel.”

"But you want to. I know you do. I can see it in your eyes. You want your Sire back and I can't say I blame you. Especially since he wants you back just as badly. The bottom line is, I want you to be happy. If Angel makes you happy then I'll deal."

“I think it’s time for a history lesson for both of you,” Angel's quiet voice broke into their awareness.  He’d been standing there the whole time and now he moved closer to the bed.

"Angel!" Xander gasped, shrinking back on the bed. He knew he'd made the older vampire angry with his displays. The demon in him was howling for him to get on his knees and make this right with his Grand-Sire. It was the way things were done, and while he wasn't sure how he knew that particular fact, he still knew it to be true.

Spike grabbed Xander around the waist, hauling him against his chest as Xander cowered.  “I thought I told you to get outta here!” Spike growled.

"No, Sire, don't," Xander said, his arms going around Spike and holding on tight. "Don't push him away because of me. I need to talk to him anyway."

“You both need a lesson about the meaning of family,” Angel said in an eerily calm voice.

"I'm sorry, Grand-Sire," Xander said. "I never meant to act like that. I won't do it again."

Angel looked at Xander and realized the boy was absolutely terrified.  “You know I’m not going to hurt you, right?”

"I kn-know," Xander said. He really did trust Angel, but part of him was wary. He knew a few things about how Sires, Angelus in particular, disciplined their wayward Childer. The thing that worried him the most, though, was the thought of Spike trying to get between them.

Angel moved a little closer.  “Your father used to hit your mother in front of you, didn't he?  He used to hit you, too.”  He used the tone that always used to calm Childer.  It pained him to think of the times he’d talked Dru or William from a dark corner with the same tone, only to betray their trust with torture once he got hold of them.

"Sometimes," Xander shrugged. There was no use denying it. They all knew the things his father had done to him.

“Did your father cheat on your mother?” Angel continued with this seemingly strange line of questioning.

"Yeah. Bastard even brought someone home once," Xander said bitterly. "Mom went out of town to visit her sister. When she came back he had a woman there. She didn't say anything, just went on like she hadn't just walked in on him getting a blowjob in her own living room."

“That’s not the way human families are meant to be and you thought you were human,” Angel said, knowing the recent revelation that he was of mixed demon heritage could be a sore point.  “Spike never learned what it was like to live in a proper vampire family.  With Angelus… with me, I didn't appreciate my Childer.  I know he tried to build one with Dru, but the girl was never there.”

"I don't want to screw things up," Xander said softly. "I never could do anything right at home. I don't want that here. Just tell me what to do and I'll do it."

“You’re going to do just what you've been doing,” Angel said, inching closer to the pair huddled together.  “You’re going to continue to care for your Sire.  Every family needs one pair to hold them together, to be the center of the family.  That’s why Sire’s play favourites among their Childer.  There’s no equality for us.  You have to learn that.”

"But what about you? I thought you and Spike... that you guys would be the center."

Angel smiled sadly.  “I could never have that.  I could never be as happy or love as much as you do, it’s too dangerous.  I’d be privileged just to live on the periphery.”

"No," Xander said. He felt calmer now and pushed away from Spike a bit. "You shouldn't have to be on the outside looking in. I know what that feels like and trust me when I say it sucks. Royally."

Angel sighed and scratched at his temples.  “It’s the way things have to be, Childe.  You’re young, you'll understand as you grow older.  Just take comfort in the fact that I’m not taking your Sire away from you.  I’m just here to protect both of you and give him the support you can’t.”

Xander reached out a tentative hand and placed it on Angel's arm. "What about you? I know you can't ever have the perfect happiness thing but that doesn't mean you can't have some. I told Spike all I wanted was for him to be happy. I meant that."

“I don’t do happy well,” Angel said.  He didn't move away from Xander’s touch, remembering Spike’s lecture on not pulling away from the boy.  “Nothing happened between us before, I wouldn't let it.”

"Because of me. It was stupid of me to run out like that. You just caught me by surprise," Xander said. He paused, thinking about what Angel had just told him. "You really didn't do anything?"

He didn't say that it wasn't for lack of Spike’s trying, but that wasn't his Childe’s fault.  When around their Sires, Childer had little control over their sexual need to please their maker.  “No, nothing too serious happened.  Pants stayed on.”

"You really did that for me?" Xander asked, bewildered that the two vampires had denied themselves what they obviously wanted just for him. It was completely opposite to how things normally happened in his life.

“If anything happens… whatever happens, you’re not ready for it yet,” Angel nodded.  He reached his own hand over and briefly rested it on Xander’s.

"Maybe not, but I know it's what you both want. Tell me something, Angel, back when you were a Childe if there was something your Sire wanted what would you have done?"

That made Angel smile.  “As long as Darla is still alive, I'll always be a Childe.  When I was a fledgling, I would have done anything for her.  I would have done anything for her until I got my soul.  Even now, I still love her.”

"Then you understand. Spike wants you. Like I told him, I'll deal."

“What does William want though?” Angel asked.  His Childe had been quiet while they talked, merely watching the interaction with intense blue eyes.

"I want you, you know I do," Spike said. "But I won't hurt him. He's been hurt too many times by the people he trusted.  I won't have him look at me with betrayal burning in his eyes."

“Then why don’t we take this slowly,” Angel suggested.  “It’s not like we don’t have time.”

"Will you lay down with us at least?" Xander asked shyly. He knew he wasn't playing fair but it was obvious that neither his Sire nor his Grand-Sire was going to make the first move. It would be up to him to try and get them together. He would just have to remember not to come on so strong. He didn't ever want to give Angel a reason to call him a whore again.

“Did you sleep enough during the day?” Angel asked immediately, his protective instincts of the younger vampire coming forward.

"Not really. Cordy and I talked. A lot. You might want to, ah, avoid her for a little while. She was kinda pissed," Xander said, grimacing slightly.

Angel looked nervously at the door.  He moved avoiding Cordelia to the top of his priorities list.  “It has been a long evening.”

"Lay with us, Sire," Spike said, sliding himself and his Childe over to make room.

“This two against one stuff isn't fair,” Angel grumbled even as he moved onto the bed.

"Funny, I used to remember you liking that sort of thing," Spike smiled, teasing his Sire.

Angel groaned again.  “Be nice, Willy.”  He held back the smile knowing how much Spike had always hated that nickname.

"Oi. Don't call me that. You know how much I hate it," Spike groused.

Angel settled next to Xander, his hand already itching to rest on those luscious cheeks.  “That’s why I do it.  It’s cute when you complain.”

"Ha ha," Spike said. "Go to sleep. My boy needs his rest."

“I’m not a boy,” Xander piped up. “I'll be twenty-one in a few weeks.  Now go to sleep, old man.”

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