Demon’s Childe


by
Creed



Part Nineteen

With Wesley’s limited skill of herbs, he managed to pull together a special poultice to slow Xander’s bleeding.  The Scooby Gang had broken every speed limit coming here the moment they’d gotten the panicked phone call from Cordy.

"Where is he?" Buffy demanded as she stormed in, scowling. She had spent the last several hours alternating between fuming and demanding that Giles drive faster. Now all she wanted to do was get her hands on the ones responsible for hurting Xander. Once that little chore was done then she'd deal with Spike.

Gunn was standing guard in the lobby and pointed a crossbow at her.  “That’s depends on who you are, but by the bitch act, you must be the Slayer.”

"And who the hell are you?" Buffy asked, glaring at the man.

“I’m the man with the crossbow,” Gunn quipped.

"Gunn, put it down," Cordelia told him as she came out from behind the front desk. She was stressed enough without watching these two have a pissing contest.

The rest of the Scooby Gang trickled in behind Buffy, carrying a series of bags and boxes.  “Back off, Buffy,” Giles ordered. “We have work to do.”

"Fine," Buffy said unhappily. "But while they're working on fixing Xander, somebody here is going to explain to me just what the hell happened to him in the first place."

“It will have to be me,” Cordelia announced.  “Spike won’t leave Xander’s side and I don’t want you anywhere near them right now.  Giles, Willow, Tara… they’re in Angel’s room, Wesley will show you where it is.”

"Oh yes, right. Please, follow me," Wesley said as he led the trio away from the lobby.

"Gunn, why don't you check the perimeter or something while Bitchy and I have a little talk," Cordelia suggested. What she had to say to Buffy, she didn't want Gunn around to try and get in the middle of. She knew what that look on the Slayer's face meant. She was just itching to beat the stuffing out of something and if Cordy was right, that current something was Spike.

“Catch, Cordy,” Gunn said with a glower in Buffy’s direction and tossed her a nine inch sheathed bowie knife.  “Use it if you have to, girl.”

"Go. Out. Patrol. Guard. Get ice cream. Just don't come back for a good half hour," Cordy said, unable to keep from grinning at her friend.

Gunn gave her mock salute.  “Yes ma’am!  Gettin’ my sorry butt out the door, Ma’am!”

Cordelia watched him go, waiting until the doors were closed behind him before turning her attention to Buffy. "You want to know what happened?  Fine, I'll fill you in. But none of this is Spike's fault. You need to get that through your head right now."

“Ummm, let’s see,” Buffy started. “Spike was responsible for Xander’s safety and he’s dead… well, nearly more dead.”

"Apparently you're not quite with the program here," Cordelia said, her hands going to her hips as she spoke. "This is my family. That includes Xander and Spike. Now we all appreciate you coming here to help Xander. Xander will even appreciate it when he can think past the pain again. But if you even think about trying anything on Spike, you'd better be ready to go through me to do it. Cause that's what it's gonna take."

“After Willow fixes Xander up, we’re taking him home,” Buffy countered.

"Hah!" Cordy threw back her head. "As if, honey. You're not taking Xander anywhere. He lives here now. Along with whatever the hell you want to call Spike. Lover, mate, husband whatever. Bottom line, he's not leaving."

“Call it what they call it.  Spike is Xander’s Master and Xander is pretty much his slave.  I won’t let my friend live like that.”

"You really don't have a clue, do you? And here I thought that blonde was just out of a bottle. Yeah, Xander calls him Master but he only does it to get Spike hot. Angel, too, for that matter," Cordy added evilly. Buffy had been there less than ten minutes and she was already grating on her nerves.

“What did you just say about Angel?” Buffy bristled.  “That’s a lie.”

"Whatever," Cordelia said, shaking her head. "But you try to make Xander leave with you and you'll see who Angel sticks up for."

“Just tell me what happened before I have to go all Slayer on your ass,” Buffy growled.  “Maybe I'll snap the heels off your Gucci shoes.”

Cordy resisted the urge to tell Buffy just what she could do with said heels and proceeded to fill her in on recent events. The only thing she left out was Xander's parting words to her. She didn't think that was anyone's business but the three vampires.

“So he tried to sacrifice himself for you?  That sounds like something that Xander would do.”

"Yeah. It does. He was always like that. No matter how mean I was to him, he still would have run through fire for me. Actually, he did run through fire for me. He's my friend, Buffy. What he has here is good. Don't try to screw that up for him."

“He belongs with us,” Buffy maintained. “Sunnydale is his home.”

"This is his home now. I'm warning you, Buffy..."

“Buffy, Cordelia,” Tara ran into the lobby. “Willow wants you to come.  I think we did it.”

Both girls turned and followed Tara, dropping their conversation for the time being. Cordelia knew it wasn't over. Buffy was bound and determined to take Xander back with her like he was a little kid or something. That was not going to be allowed to happen.

When they got to the room, Buffy demanded two things.  “Is Xander going to be okay and where’s Angel?”

"He'll recover," Willow said tiredly as she stroked hair out of the now sleeping boy's face.

"Angel stepped out a few minutes ago," Giles informed her. "He said something about taking care of business and not to wait up."

“Oi, you don’t have to worry about our business, blondie. If Angel won’t let me go with him, he won’t let you go,” Spike said. He was laying next to Xander on the bed and trying to keep up his usual gruff act in front of Buffy, even though he was beyond deathly pale.  “Could someone get me some blood now?  I’m hungry.”

"Oh, of course," Cordelia said, quickly hurrying out of the room.

“You’re thinking about eating at a time like this?” Buffy huffed in disbelief.  “What kind of monster are you?”

"The kind that needs to feed his Childe," Cordelia said, elbowing past Buffy as she brought Spike two warm packets of blood. "Try to drink it all. As soon as he wakes up he'll need to feed again. And if her Bitchiness gets to be too much just tell me and I'll drag her out by her bleached blonde roots."

Willow whispered to Buffy, hoping she’d understand once it was explained to her.  “Xander will only drink from Spike.”

Buffy made a face and started to say something but Giles' hand on her shoulder stopped her. She looked up at her Watcher and he shook his head. She frowned but kept her mouth shut. It was obvious that Xander wasn't up to a scene right now, but she was going to have her say whether they liked it or not.

Spike was ravenousness and downed the bags of blood quickly.  Even in his sleep Xander needed Spike close.  He’d refused to let go of Spike’s arm, hugging it close to his body and nuzzling Spike’s wrist as he slept.

"Thanks, luv," Spike said as he handed the empty bags back to Cordelia. "It'll be a couple of hours before he comes round. Why don't you order in some dinner for everyone?"

“You should drink more blood,” Willow said and then gasped a little. “I can’t believe I just said that, but you should.”

"Maybe later," Spike said, smiling softly at the girl. "Just wanna sleep for now. Be a luv and don't let anyone come up but Angel till we wake, okay?"

“Okay,” Willow agreed, already starting to usher Tara and Giles towards the door.  “He’s going to be okay Spike.  The bleeding’s already slowed and with you watching over him… and playing teddy bear, he'll heal.”

"Oi! I'm nobody's bleedin' teddy bear," Spike groused, but there was no heat in his words. "I'll bring him down soon as he comes round. Just give us a few hours."

“Done,” Willow promised.  Tara, Giles and Wesley were already out of the room, now she just had to work on Buffy and Cordelia. “Buffy, why don’t you come with me?  We can order pizza.  You and Cordelia can fight all you want downstairs.”

"I think someone should stay here with Xander," Buffy said stubbornly. "I don't like the idea of him being all alone with fangless."

“Will someone deal with her?” Spike sighed, already cuddling up with Xander.  He was beyond exhaustion and fatigue. “Preferably with a nice pointy stake.”

"Oh, I've got the stake," Buffy said, pulling one out of her pocket and brandishing it at the vampire. "So how about you move back from Xander and let me shove it where it really belongs?"

Without moving or opening his eyes, it was Xander who spoke.  “You'll have to make it through me first.”

"That's enough!" Cordelia said, stepping between Buffy and the two men on the bed. "Get out, right now. And if you threaten anyone in my family again, I will throw you out on your skinny ass."

“Fine,” Buffy huffed, actually stamping her foot. “But when Xander’s better, we’re having a long talk about blood, sex and brainwashing.”

"As if," was all Cordelia said as she shoved Buffy toward the door. Once she had the blonde outside, she closed it behind them. She followed Buffy all the way back to the lobby, making sure she didn't try to double back to the boys.


~*~*~*~*~


Angel crawled in through the sewer access to the Hyperion and strode into the lobby silent and covered in blood.  His clothes were torn and the broad sword he had left with was missing.  “Where are my Childer?” he growled.

"Oh my God!" Buffy gasped when she saw her ex-boyfriend. "Angel, are you alright? What happened?" She rushed over to him, everyone and everything else forgotten.

Angel shrunk away from her, backing into the shadows. “Stay away from me,” he hissed, shifting into game face.

"Angel?" Buffy whispered, stopping a few feet away. "What's wrong?"

“I need to be near my Childer, not you.”

"Buffy, come away," Giles said. "Angel is obviously quite upset. His instincts are screaming at him to see to his Childer."

It was then that Spike stumbled out into the hall.  He was shirtless, wearing only a pair of jeans, but he was also in game face.  He had to use the wall to hold himself up, but he was determined to come to his Sire.  He’d felt Angel’s distress and managed to get up, telling Xander to stay where he was.  “Master?”

"I'm here," Angel said as he hurried toward his Childe. He caught Spike as he sagged on the last step and pulled him in tight. "It's done. He's safe now."

Spike wrapped his arms around Angel’s waist, burying his face against his Sire’s neck.  “He’s safe?”

"Yes," Angel told him, stroking his hair with a blood-streaked hand. "I took care of it. How's he doing? Did the spell work?"

“He’s stopped bleeding, but he’s still weak and almost always hungry.”

"Then let's go feed him." Angel leaned Spike against the wall and walked purposely toward the small refrigerator tucked into the corner. He grabbed several bags of blood before heading back toward his Childe.

“Sire, do you have enough blood to feed me?” Spike asked.  “I won’t make him eat from anyone else.”

"I grabbed enough," Angel said. He slipped his free arm around Spike's waist and began leading him back toward their room. "I won't make him drink from the bag. Do you think he'll object to feeding from me again?"

“He’s being difficult,” Spike confessed quietly.  Spike couldn't tell Xander no at the best of times, but now that he was recovering, Xander was even more dependent.

"Alright, but don't let him drain you too badly," Angel cautioned. He helped Spike into what was considered their room and closed the door behind them. He didn't want prying eyes intruding on something so personal. He thought the others would probably understand. Everyone except Buffy, that was. She would only see it as a sick depravity and turn her nose up at it. He didn't want his Childer to have to put up with that right now.

“At least you didn't make some bloody joke about me being difficult.  You smell,” Spike laughed weakly and started to unbutton Angel’s bloody shirt, making a face at his Sire. “Smell like rotten demon blood.”

"Leave it," Angel said softly, pulling Spike's hands away. He picked up a bag of blood and held it out to Spike. "Drink this and feed your Childe while I shower. When I come out you can feed from me."

“Sounds like a plan, mate,” Spike said and sunk into the bag with his teeth.

Angel waited until Spike had drunk two of the bags and was settling onto the bed before heading to the shower. He kept his ears trained to the other room, letting the quiet sounds of Spike soothing and feeding Xander calm the rage inside him. He didn't like to admit it, but he was also listening in case anyone thought to disturb the pair.

When he came back into the main room he found Spike still feeding Xander.  The boy was slowly sucking on Spike’s wrist, but clutching it within both of his own arms.  Spike was letting him nurse indulgently, petting his head with his free hand.  Angel knew that Xander had drunken his fill and was keeping the wound open just enough so he could be comforted by the act of feeding itself.

"Xander, that's enough now," Angel said, hating to break their connection but worried about Spike. "Spike's weak enough as it is. Let him rest a bit then you can have some more."

Xander whimpered and pulled his fangs out, but continued to kiss and lick Spike’s wrist.  He looked up at Angel over Spike’s wrist with wide, brown eyes.

"How are you feeling?" Angel asked, hoping to stave off the questions he knew were coming. He still had healing welts across his chest and arms, thankfully though, none of them were poisoned. He tried not to think about the carnage he had wrought. Not that the ones he'd slaughtered didn't deserve it. They had hurt his Childe and for that they paid dearly.

Xander gave Spike’s wrist one last noisy kiss and pulled away just enough to talk.  “Better.  Hungry.”

"He'll feed you again soon," Angel said, reaching out and caressing the boy's face. "Are you still in pain?"

Xander smiled up at Angel a little goofily, pushing his face against his Grand Sire’s hand.  “Willow put some pain killers in that herb shit of hers.  Doesn't hurt so much anymore, Gramps.”

"I'm glad. I was worried about you." Angel continued to stroke Xander's face. He wanted to crawl into the bed and spoon up behind Xander so he could wrap the boy in his arms and simply hold him.

“I’m tough,” Xander giggled and managed to nip at Angel’s fingers as they passed his mouth. “Had to do it.”

"Had to do what?" Angel asked, wondering if Xander was still a bit confused by everything.

“Had to give myself up for Cordy,” Xander explained in a whisper. “I knew you were in trouble, too, but I couldn't get out of bed to help.”

"It's alright now," Angel said. "You, me and Spike are going to have a long talk about this later... a very long talk. But for now, just rest and heal."

Xander started to pull at Angel’s wrist insistently with the goofy smile firmly in place.  “Will you sleep next to me?”

Angel looked to Spike and smiled when he nodded minutely. "All you had to do was ask," he said as he dropped the towel from around his waist and slid into bed beside the boy.





Part Twenty

After the long drive from Sunnydale and dealing with the crisis, the Scooby Gang was exhausted.  They ended up crashing in various rooms throughout the old hotel.  It was easy for Buffy to sneak out of her room since nobody wanted to share with her when she was in that mood.  She let her Slayer senses guide her. It wasn't hard to hone in on the sleeping vampires. Their presence shone like a beacon, guiding her to their door. She held up her hand to knock, then stopped. She doubted if they were awake, considering how worn out they all were. As quietly as she could, she turned the knob and slowly pushed the door open.

The room was dark with all the windows blacked, but there was a soft glow coming from the bedside lamp.  She wasn't sure what she was expecting to find, but she didn't think it was going to be all three men twined together in the center of the bed.

She gasped when she realized that Angel was naked. Cordelia's words rang through her heart. This couldn't be. Angel couldn't be with them. This was Spike's doing. Somehow, this was Spike's fault. He'd cast some sort of spell over both Xander and Angel. Well, she knew how to fix that.

She slipped her trusty Mr. Pointy from her back pocket and started to creep towards the bed.  She’d make it quick before either Xander or Angel could wake up.  Everything would work out in the end.  She could take Xander home and maybe, just maybe she could start things over with Angel.

She was a foot away from the bed when she heard the growl. It was low and deep, almost below what a human could hear. It stopped her in her tracks and caused her to scan the room, searching for the source. When her eyes landed on Angel she nearly screamed out loud. He was in full game-face, eyes glowing yellow as he growled menacingly at her.

“Back off or I'll kill you,” Angel growled.  He'd come too close to losing Xander yesterday and now Buffy was trying to take Spike away from him.  Normally, if Xander hadn't been drugged, he would have sensed Buffy coming with his sixth sense for impending danger, but he was out cold, so Angel had been extra vigilant.

"Angel, listen to yourself," Buffy tried to reason. "You just threatened to kill me.  Me. Over Spike. What's he done to you?"

“He’s done nothing to me,” Angel hissed. “He belongs to me!”

"God, Angel, please," Buffy pleaded. "You sound like Angelus.  He belongs to you?  I suppose you own Xander too now."

“Yes! They’re my Childer!” Angel growled again, pulling Xander closer to him.

"Now's not the best time, Slayer," Spike said, his eyes slitting open to glare at Buffy. He saw the stake in her hand and began to growl along with Angel. He moved forward, putting himself between his near comatose Childe and the threat of the Slayer.

“Why not?  I come in here and find out you're fucking my old boyfriend.  Then there’s Xander!  You stole my friend and you’re a cradle robber.  What did you do to them?”

"We're sharing a bed, not shagging," Spike spat. "And I didn't do anything to them. Now get the fuck out of here before your precious Angel rips your heart out!"

“Angel wouldn't do that!” Buffy insisted, even as she stumbled back.  “He still loves me.”

"Get out," Angel hissed. "If you come for my Childer again, you will regret it."

“You have to see that it would be better if you sent Xander home with us?” Buffy decided if she couldn't have Angel, she’d try for Xander.

"Over my dead body," Spike cut in. That bitch wasn't taking his Childe away from him. She'd have to kill him first.

“Wouldn't you like to have your Childe all to yourself again?” she said to Angel.

Angel stared at her for a moment then laughed out loud. Apparently nothing short of downright nastiness was going to get Buffy away from them. "And why would I want that when I can have them both? I mean, look at them. Have you ever seen two more beautiful men? And the best part is, they're all mine."

“He’s right, Bitchy,” Spike said, already starting to rub up against Angel. “He likes to take both of us.  You just weren't man enough to keep him.”

"That's disgusting!" Buffy spat. "And a fucking lie. I'm really going to enjoy dusting you."

“One more word,” Angel used the tone he only used when he was Angelus.  “One more word and I kill you.”

"You know, was it too much to ask for you to mind your own business for one fucking night?" Cordelia snarled as she stormed into the room. She'd woken up and just had a feeling that something wasn't right. Her first instinct had been to check on Xander. She'd been right on the money there.

“You’d better get this cunt outta here,” Spike hissed to Cordelia.  “Angel is doing his best Angelus impression right now.”

"Consider it done," Cordy said as she grabbed Buffy by the arm. "Either come with me now or I start screaming my head off and you can explain to Giles and the others why you're in their room with a stake in your hand."

Buffy followed Cordelia out of the room and stumbled a little when Cordy shoved her into the hall.  Cordy made sure to shut the door behind her, knowing that Angel was beyond upset that his Childer had been threatened yet again.

"What is your malfunction?" Buffy hissed, rounding on Cordelia. "I thought you cared about Xander. How can you just stand by and watch him be used like that? What the hell is wrong with you people?"

“Used?  You mean loved,” Cordelia scoffed.  “He has two of the most powerful vampires in the world wrapped around his little finger.”

"Spike is using him. You know it, I know it. The only one who doesn't know it is Xander," Buffy huffed. "This is sick and perverted and it is going to stop."

“Buffy?” Willow and Tara had come into the hall when the shouting awakened them. “What’s so sick about it?  Do you have a problem because they’re gay?”

"What? Of course not! Wills, you know I don't have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is Spike keeping Xander like some perverted pet. Xander's his puppy!"

Tara peeked out behind Willow and spoke softly, “I don’t think you’re right.  Spike’s devoted to Xander.”

"Then why won't he let Xander feed like any normal vampire?" Buffy demanded. "And why did he feel it so necessary to take him away from Sunnydale in the first place? I mean, we're his family. He should be with us, not that bleach blonde freak."

“Xander’s changed now, Buffy,” Willow said.  It pained her to say this, but it was true.  “He’s not our Xander anymore.”

Buffy started to reply then stopped as Willow's words sank in. Xander wasn't theirs anymore. She wanted to cry, wanted to rage, wanted to stake something. But there was nothing to be done. Their Xander had been lost the night he'd died. This Xander was the only one left and that was the part she couldn't deal with the most.

“And he won’t let Spike feed him like a normal vampire because he isn't a normal vampire,” Cordelia added.  “He isn't a normal fledging.  He’s Spike’s Childe.  Spike’s like his mother in some warped vampire way.  The longer Spike nurses him or feeds him just his blood, the closer they get and the stronger Xander will be.”

"This is wrong," Buffy shook her head, still arguing but most of the fight having gone out of her words. "Spike is keeping him dependent. I know you don't believe me, but it's the truth." With that, Buffy turned and strode angrily to her room. She knew they wouldn't believe her. They didn't see anything except what they wanted to. Just like everyone else.

It was Tara who spoke first.  “Maybe he needs to be dependent on someone for once?”

Buffy's only reply was to slam her door. Loudly


~*~*~*~*~


Xander woke up hungry and for the first time in almost two days, he woke up without serious pain.  Sure he was stiff and sore, but the pain wasn't all encompassing.  He was sandwiched between Angel and Spike with Spike’s neck tantalizingly close.

"Go ahead," Spike murmured sleepily without opening his eyes. He leaned his head back, exposing his neck even more. He could feel Angel starting to stir beside Xander and wanted to get his boy started before his Sire said something to make him back off. Angel meant well but Xander could be incredibly touchy about some things.

Xander whimpered and moved closer, starting to kiss Spike’s neck.  “I shouldn't feed until you have.”

"Go ahead," Angel said, spooning up behind him. "I'll feed him when you're done."

“I’m sorry, I can’t help it… never been this hungry before.”

"Feed, pet," Spike encouraged. "Sire'll take care of me when you're done."

Spike cradled the back of Xander’s head as he started to feed.  He knew Xander was needy when he wanted to feed from Spike’s neck and not his wrist like they usually did.

"Yesss..." Angel hissed, his head resting on Xander's shoulder only inches from where the boy fed. He locked eyes with Spike and stared, letting all his aching want show through. It felt so good to be with them like this, to be a part of them. It was what he needed most after everything that had happened.

Xander pulled away just enough to speak and whispered, “Do you want me, Master?”

"Oh God, yes," Angel replied, his body already responding to the softly spoken words. He ground himself against Xander's backside, relishing the feel of the boy's tight body against his arousal.

Xander went back to feeding slowly, glad he hadn't punctured a major artery, but instead fed at the junction between Spike’s neck and shoulder.  Spike continued to cradle Xander’s head and moaned, “Do it, Master.”

Angel didn't have to be told twice. He reached down and tore the thin pyjama pants Xander had been dressed in away from his body. Spitting on his fingers, he slid one finger inside the boy while reaching for the tube he knew was in the nightstand.

Spike and Xander were already hard and grinding against each other.  “Hurry, Master.  We won’t last long.”

Angel quickly squeezed some of the cool gel onto his equally cool flesh. He spread Xander's cheeks and placed the head of his cock at the boy's hole. One slow push later and he was sheathed inside him to the hilt, his hands gripping the boy's hips hard enough to bruise.

Xander bared his own throat to Spike even as he started to rub against him more frantically.  His body hadn't been raped, but his mind had by the torture he’d survived.  Now the touch of his Sire and Grand-Sire was healing him.

"Yes, that's it," Angel crooned as he began to thrust. "Give yourself to us. You belong to us, Xander. All of you. For all eternity. And no one... no one takes what belongs to us."

Spike knew he couldn't take much blood from Xander, but he had to complete the bond.  He wanted to completely encompass his Childe.  “Drink from him a little, Master,” Spike implored and then bit into Xander’s shoulder blade.

Angel nodded and let his fangs slip into Xander's neck. He took a single sip, knowing the boy couldn't stand to lose any blood at the moment. As he did, he rocked forward hard, rubbing his cock over Xander's prostate as he did so.

Xander bit down hard into Spike and howled as his orgasm overcame him.  The last thing he remembered was a complete sense of belonging and safety.

Slowly, the two master vampires withdrew from the boy. Angel pulled his rapidly softening flesh free of the boy as Spike drew his fangs back out. "He'll probably sleep another couple of hours," Angel said as he got up and headed toward the bathroom to clean up.

“He’s worn out, but he felt happy,” Spike said, even as he lay on the bed and petted an unconscious Xander.  “Oi, I could use a fag.”

"Don't let your Childe hear you say that or he'll get the wrong idea," Angel called out from the bathroom. When he came back to the bed he held a warm washcloth out to Spike. Sliding back into bed, he began to clean Xander up, wiping away the last traces of their joining.

“If I wanted a gay man, I got you, honey,” Spike quipped with a lisp. “What I need is a cigarette.  Haven't had one in days.”

Angel leaned over Xander and kissed his Childe on the mouth. "Mmmm... much better than usual. You should give those things up."

“That’s what the boy says,” Spike sighed. “That’s why I have to sneak out back if I want one.”

"You should quit," Angel said again. "Just think how it would make him feel if you gave that up for him."

“I said it’s been a few days since I had one,” Spike growled.  “He’s been able to change me more in a month than Dru was able to do in a century.  You know he asked me to stop gelling back my hair and let it grow out like the poufy way I used to wear it?”

"I thought it was getting longer," Angel remarked. "It's amazing the things we'll do for the people we love."

“You know, you used to be down right dead sexy when yours was longer,” Spike actually pulled out a pout.

"I suppose I could be persuaded to let it grow out a little," Angel said. "On one condition."

“What’s that, Master?” Spike let the title slip easily.

"Let me handle the Slayer. She won't get near you or your Childe. Not without staking me first. So just let me handle her. Agreed?"

“That’s asking a lot, old man,” Spike growled low.

"I know," Angel nodded. "But it's for the best. If things go badly, I don't want Xander to watch you two trying to kill each other. Besides, if you go at it with her, he'll try to get in the middle of it."

Spike rolled over so that he could look down at Xander who cuddled against him even in his sleep.  “Alright, maybe it's nice to be taken care of for once.”

"Don't worry, boy. I'll take care of you both. Now why don't you have a drink before he wakes up again?" Angel offered his wrist to his Childe. He couldn't offer his neck without bending over Xander and he didn't want to risk waking the boy. They would simply have to make do with this for now.

Spike took Angel’s wrist and licked at his pulse point. “Thanks for protecting us both.”

"Always, Childe. Now feed and grow strong."





Part Twenty-One

“I was hoping you could stay around for Xander’s sake,” Cordelia said to the group gathered in the lounge of the Hyperion, then glared at Buffy, “But I don’t think that’s such a good idea now.”

"What's wrong, Cordelia? Afraid once the others see what I've seen they'll catch a clue?" Buffy asked testily. She had no doubt that if Giles and the others would just listen to her for a moment they'd see what was being done to Xander. Then maybe they could get him away from Spike and back to Sunnydale where he belonged.

“You mean the boys playing vampire dog pile?” Cordelia shot back.  “Yeah, so what if they’re doing the horizontal mambo?”

"As if," Buffy snorted. "I don't know what Angel was doing there but he certainly wasn't doing that with them."

“Hello!” Cordelia huffed with a hair flip. “Were they naked?”

"Shut up!" Buffy practically screamed, rounding on the ex-cheerleader and taking a step in her direction.

Cordelia backed up but shouted, “No, you shut up!  Xander and Spike are Angel’s little love monkeys, so you’d better get used to it.”

"Um, Cordy, I don't really think everyone needed to know that," a still-weak Xander commented as he made his way toward the people clustered in the lobby.

“What? It’s true,” Cordelia huffed. “You’re, like, wearing his shirt right now, aren't you?”

"Whether it's true or not isn't the point," Xander said. He walked over to Cordy and hugged her, something he'd wanted to do since getting back but had been unable to. "Buffy doesn't need that thrown in her face right now. She's tense enough as it is."

“I can’t believe you’re defending that bitch,” Cordelia sighed.  “You care too much, Xander.”

"Yes, I do," Xander said. "I care a great deal about everyone here. So let's try to get along. For me. Okay?"

“She wants to take you away from us and doesn't understand you’re a vampire now,” Cordelia actually pouted at Xander and glared yet again at Buffy.

"No one's taking me anywhere," Xander said firmly, casting a glance toward Buffy as he did. He meant it. He wasn't leaving L.A. This was his home now whether Buffy realized it or not.

“Will you at least visit or let us visit?” Willow piped up.  It was Willow’s way of showing Xander she supported his decision.

"It'll probably be awhile before I go back to Sunnydale, but you're welcome here anytime," Xander said.

Spike had pushed past Angel and was at Xander’s side in the blink of eye.  He wanted to put on a possessive air in front of Buffy and wrapped his arms around Xander’s waist, pulling Xander against his chest. “What my boy wants, my boy gets,” he purred.  “And he always liked your company, Red.”

"Thanks," Willow replied, grinning at the vampire's obvious display. "Maybe next time we come there won't be any like major battles going on. We could do the whole tourist bit."

“Ah, maybe we could… could go on a double date,” Tara suggested, taking Willow’s hand and then she looked at Angel.  “Or is that a triple date?”

"Let's just call it a family outing," Angel said, grinning at the girl. She was a strange one, Willow's mate, but she came through for Xander and that was good enough for him.

“Is everyone gay here?” Buffy half shouted in exasperation.

"I believe the correct term is bi-sexual," Angel said matter-of-factly. "At least where myself, Spike and, I presume, Xander are concerned. Since Willow was with Oz before Tara, that would apply to her, too. I'm afraid I don't know Tara well enough to make that kind of assumption." Angel smiled softly at the girl, doing his best to make her feel like she belonged.

Giles coughed slightly and looked down at the floor.  He turned red and raised his hand.  “Better count me in.”

"Now see, I always knew there was something I liked about you, Watcher," Spike smirked. "Guess you're in the minority, Slayer. The rest of us appear to be into equal opportunity."

“Hey man, if you wanna play for the other team, that’s all well and good, but I’m all about the ladies,” Gunn said.  “Now Wesley, you might as well fess up, too.”

"Ha ha," Wesley said. "I have never played for the other team, as you put it. I prefer the ladies."

“He’s just in touch with his feminine side,” Cordelia said as she walked and patted Wesley’s arm.  “He’s a man’s man.  Oh, I mean a manly man.”

Wesley didn't bother to reply. Instead he swatted Cordelia on the backside as she walked past, earning himself a punch to the shoulder and a loud guffaw from Gunn.

“Breeders,” Xander snorted at their horseplay.

"Hey, it's us breeders that keep you guys in food, I'll have you know," Cordelia shot back playfully.

“No comment.  So,” Xander laughed and then looked between Gunn, Wesley and Cordelia.  “Who’s hooking up with who?  It’s just a matter of time.”

"None of your business," Cordy said quickly. She did, however, take the hands of both Wesley and Gunn, letting her actions speak for themselves.

“Oh d-dear,” Wesley muttered and looked at Gunn.

"Kids these days," Angel said, shaking his head and grinning widely.

“You tell them, Gramps,” Xander laughed and then coughed weakly.

"Hey, you take it easy now, pet," Spike said, immediately directing Xander to the nearest chair. "You've still got a ways to go before you're all healed up."

“I think Xander can stay here and watch cartoons or whatever with his friends,” Angel dictated.  “I know you'll be getting back to Sunnydale soon now that the Purson demons are taken care of.  Wesley, feel free to bond with Giles over your books.  Oh and Buffy?”

"Yes?" Buffy said, slightly dazed by Angel's take-charge attitude with everyone.

“Xander’s staying here and he belongs to Spike and me, just as much as we belong to him.  If you upset either of my Childer in any way or even breathe one word about this again I'll be forced to show how protective a Sire can really be.”

Buffy stared at her former lover, mouth gaping. She couldn't believe Angel had just threatened her. This was not the man she had fallen in love with. She turned to Willow, her eyes filling with tears but found only sadness on her friend's face. Turning to Angel once more, she nodded, the only reply she felt capable of at the moment.

“You'll find someone of your own kind someday,” Angel said.  He didn't want to soften the blow of this warning, but he had loved the girl at one time.  She was just as much a child as the rest of them here.

Buffy nodded again, her eyes huge as she tried to keep the tears pooling in them from spilling down her face. She didn't want to cry in front of Xander. He had enough to contend with as it was and he always hated it when one of "his girls" cried.

“Hey, Buff?  Why don’t you come sit next to me?” Xander offered, indicating the chair next to him.  “We can watch whatever you want.”

Haltingly, Buffy moved toward her friend. She didn't look at Spike and Angel as she moved past them, her eyes fixed on Xander like he was a beacon. She sat beside him then tentatively reached out and took his hand. "I just want you to be safe. Be happy. That's all."

Xander squeezed her hand back and smiled at his old friend.  “I will be.  I just ended up on a different path than you.  I know you were only trying to protect me in your own way.”

"I wish you'd come home... back to Sunnydale... but I know that isn't the place for you right now. I just can't help wishing it was.  I don't want to do this without you."

“That’s the thing, Buffy.  You never needed me to do this.  You were born to do it.  Angel says he needs me here.  He says with my gifts I can help The Powers That Be.”

"I do need you," Buffy said, smiling through her tears. "Maybe not to kill demons and stuff, but I need you to keep me sane. You make me strong, Xander. When things started to look bad, you were always right there no matter how scared you were. You have no idea how that makes me feel, knowing you're scared and still helping me. Look, I'm not trying to make you leave. I know you belong here now. I just wanted you to know."

Xander got out of his chair on shaky legs and pulled Buffy into a hug.  “We'll always be family.  I love you, and I know this sounds cheesy, but I’m in love with Spike… and Angel.”

Buffy stiffened at the mention of Angel but kept her mouth shut. She hugged Xander gently, mindful of both her strength and his recent injuries. She didn't want to let him go, but she knew he'd end up hating her if she tried to keep him by her side. If she truly wanted to keep Xander, then she had to find a way to do this.





Epilogue

Xander was the first to push open the manhole cover and crawl out of the sewers.  He was also the first to complain.  “Ah man, why do demons have to explode?  And what’s with the purple slime?”  He helped Cordelia out after him and tried to brush some of the sticky, smelly slime off of his body.  He just managed to rub it in and scowled.  “You’d think being able to fly would've gotten me outta the way faster, but, oh no…”

"Why couldn't you have a really useful power like turning into a giant shield or something?" Cordelia asked as she wiped her hands on her now ruined outfit.

“Hey, you might have been the one who knew there was a demon down there crawling up through the pipes to people’s toilets, but I was the one who knew he was in our can with that nifty little danger sensing deally.”

"Well next time there's a demon in our toilet, you can deal with it on your own. I don't even want to think about what some of this goop is." Cordelia shuddered and headed toward the bathroom. "At least there're enough showers in this place so nobody has to wait," she called out as she closed the door behind her.

Spike and Angel had already crawled out behind them and Angel was scowling at the gunk covering his leather duster.  Spike just laughed and said, “Pretty boy here is havin’ a fashion crisis.”

"Just hose it off," Xander said, having first hand knowledge of trying to get monster guts out of clothing. "Cordy can take it to the dry cleaner with her stuff in the morning."

“It will always smell,” Angel sniffed and gagged.  “I don’t even know what it smells like.  I'll have to get a new one.”

“You’re such a Prima Donna,” Spike snorted.

"Like you wouldn't do the same thing," Angel shot back. He was actually feeling pretty good, ruined jacket aside. The fight had been hard, but they had won. Xander was getting more and more control over his powers. The boy was fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. Angel was proud of him.

“Yeah, cause he’s a bigger Prima Donna than you are,” Xander quipped.  He leaned his blade against the nearest wall and pulled his own shirt off.  It was his birthday gift from Wesley and now his favourite weapon.

"Ha bloody ha," Spike said as he began to disrobe as well. His eyes lit on his Childe and he grinned as he watched the young one. Xander was growing up fast and getting more beautiful every day. His muscles were filling in nicely, broadening his shoulders and arms even more than they already were. Except for the height difference he was as big as Angel.

“He’s watching my ass again,” Xander sing-songed and wiggled appropriately.

“He always was an arse man,” Spike laughed.  “And never good at hiding it.  Big scary, alpha vamp.”

"You keep wagging that ass around and I'll do more than just watch it," Angel said as he pulled his shirt over his head and threw it on top of his ruined coat. He toed off his shoes next then started on his pants. If his Childer wanted to play, he was more than willing.

“Sure you’re not too tired, old man?” Xander challenged with a snicker.  “I know us young ones were on the front line today.”

"Never too tired for my two favourite Childer," Angel said softly, his voice low and silky as he spoke. "But what about you? You were on the front lines as you said. You sure you can handle us both?"

“I handled you both this morning, didn't I?”

"That you did, pet," Spike laughed. "That you did."




The End




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