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Part Twenty-One

Once, when he was just a kid, he had visited Aunt Ida. Xander didn’t really remember who’s aunt she was, maybe his mother’s or his grandmother’s. Anyway, she was just Aunt Ida to him even if he rarely saw her because his dad hated her.

She was the kind of old woman that collected things. Her house was stuffed full of weird things and Xander had loved to explore, to find the things that were tucked into corners or behind books.

But the thing he always spent the most time looking at was her collection of crystals. Even though they were rare and a few of them expensive she’d let him hold them. Xander would lift them up, angle them just right so they caught the light and then look thru them.

The world always seemed softer seen thru those crystals, especially the ones that were really just thin slices cut from larger stones. Cut so thin they seemed fragile, even if they could scratch the surface of the old table made of merbau. The hardest kind of wood in the world, his Aunt Ida had said.

So he would sit at that table and look at the world, its edges smoothed by the crystals. Colours soft and blurred. It was a distorted and hazy kind of world where there were no sharp edges and where his mother looked younger, if he peeked at her thru the flat piece of amber.

This, the vagueness of the world around him, reminded him of Aunt Ida. He could see the fluffy pillow in his hands, could feel its smoothness and the warmth seeping from it. He felt the muscles in his arms and hands flex.

Slim fingers ghosted over his. Attempting to move them. He wasn’t sure why he held the pillow, couldn’t really remember, but he was almost certain that this was important.

That he wasn’t suppose to let go.


~*~*~*~*~


Meaura turned the tiny TV off. She could hear someone moving outside in the hallway. The tiny frail old lady slowly pushed the blanket off her legs. Meaura reached for her cane and got out of the chair she had been sitting in. Her back ached, it was those damn hospital chairs.

She hobbled over to the door and opened it a few inches. Dr.Gefühl was rushing down the hallway trying to catch up with two young men.

”Really…there’s no need for you to hurry so.” the good doctor huffed. The tallest of the young men, the one with the glasses, stopped and started talking to the doctor. The other man kept going, leaving the other two men behind. Meaura gasped when she caught a glimpse of his golden eyes and ridged forehead.

She clutched the cane against her chest. Now…maybe they would believe her now…if they saw it with their own eyes…the nurses and doctors that made her take pills and sleep all day because she knew about the vampires. She had tried to warn them but nooooo they just called her crazy and told her she was dehydrated.

The old woman snorted and ripped the door open with her skinny hand. She stepped out into the hallway and pointed her cane at the beast in the leather jacket.


~*~*~*~*~


“Where is ‘e?” Spike demanded to know when he slammed the door behind him. Tim looked up and stepped forward. “I saw him, Tim.” Spike said and pointed at the huge demon. Tim just nodded and was about to say something when a high-pitched squeal made the demon flinch.

Asta pushed past Tim and Spike and ended up giving Dawn a big hug.

“Dawn!” Asta jumped up and down “Look, Tim. It’s Dawn. Dawn’s here!”

“So you’re Dawn.” Tim said dryly and smiled at the young human.

“Wow.” Dawn mumbled “He looks a lot like Sulley from Monsters Inc.” she whispered to Asta.

“Yeah…” Asta said and Tim snorted dismissively “Only he’s brown not blue.”


~*~*~*~*~


His hand hurt. Thru the blur he could see the slim fingers digging into it, the nails leaving deep red welts in the back of his hand. He pushed harder but the pain just got worse and blood started flowing.


~*~*~*~*~


Angel stopped and stared at the small frail woman standing in front of him. She was pointing a wooden cane at him. Waving it slowly back and forth making her look like a cobra ready to pounce.

“Look lady I really…” Angel started.

“Don’t you try to win me over with your sweet talk. I’m not falling for it.” she hissed and poked the air with her cane “Always trying to make me invite you in, telling me how beautiful I am.”

Angel frowned “Look I have no id…”

“But I know just how to handle your kind. Oh yes!” she hobbled a step closer “I know how to kill a vampire…Oh yes.” she nodded frantically.

Angel looked over his shoulder for reinforcements but Wesley was still trying to calm down the doctor. A sudden pain made him turn around and growl at the little old lady “Hey!” he said and rubbed his shoulder.

“Damn it!” she cursed and waved the cane around “If I was younger I would spank you! Naughty boy!” she wailed and disappeared into her room and slammed the door shut.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander felt the blur disappear. His body started feeling more real, heavy and restricted by its weakness. The blood flowing from his hand was turning the white pillowcase crimson.

He turned his head and watched as the door was opened.


~*~*~*~*~


Wesley was telling the doctor lies. He had never lied quite this much or this good. The doctor was nodding his head and making all the right noises. Wesley could faintly hear someone talking about spanking, which made him stutter in his long explanations about Miss Summers and the treatment her family was paying for.

“What kind of treatment?” the doctor asked with interest.

“Oh it’s a…a…homeopathic treatment involving naturopathic and chiropractic…um…philosophies as well as herbal medicine.” Wesley said and hoped that would be enough.

”Well that certainly isn’t the kind of treatment she ne…” Dr. Gefühl was interrupted by raised voices and screaming.


~*~*~*~*~


Tara shook hands with Tim. The demon smiled, showing all his sharp teeth and the blond witch couldn’t help shivering.

”Oh…um…sorry.” Tim mumbled ”Didn’t mean to frighten you.”

”T-t-that’s all right.” she said and followed Willow into the living room.


~*~*~*~*~


Dr. Gefühl just stood there, his mouth open and his eyes big.

One of the young men, the pale one, was wrestling another man on the floor. They were both growling and snarling. The sounds sending shivers down the doctor’s spine.

”Snap out of it, Xander.” the pale man hissed and slammed the other man into the wall.

”Really gentlemen is that…um necessary?” the good doctor attempted. He slowly made his way to Miss Summers’s bed. The man with the glasses was already there trying to calm the young woman down.

A loud yipping made the doctor look up just in time to see the dark-haired young man’s eyes glow green. But that was nothing…nothing at all…compared to the deformed face of the pale man.

”Oh dear God!” Dr. Gefühl mumbled and stumbled into the hallway.





Part Twenty-Two

Spike ran up the stairs. He really didn’t have the patience to stand around waiting for the bloody lift. As the vampire burst thru the door and into the hallway, he immediately caught Xander’s scent. The boy was here, all he had to do was find him.

The smell of fear and blood called to him, and he wasn’t even aware that he was in game face before a little man in a white coat ran headfirst into him. The man gasped and stuttered, pointed a shaking finger at the vampire and made a little weird throaty sound. His eyes rolled back in his head and then the man just passed out.

“Bloody wanker.” Spike mumbled and ran toward the scent of blood.


~*~*~*~*~


Buffy staggered out of the hospital bed with Wesley’s help. The slayer was dizzy and her legs felt numb. The ex-watcher steadied her and they both watched as Angel and Xander fought.

The vampire slammed the human against the wall but only succeeded in making Xander more angry. He snarled at Angel, eyes glowing green, kicked the vampire in the stomach and then turned his attention to Buffy. He was halfway across the room before Angel grabbed him and pushed him to the floor.

Angel had his hands around Xander’s throat. He wasn’t squeezing hard enough to strangle him but just enough to hold Xander down.

“Get the fuck off me.” Xander hissed and arched his back in an attempt to break Angel’s hold on him. Angel growled and tightened his hold a little. “You know…” Xander panted “I’ll get the bitch sooner or later…I’ll just wait around and then I’ll…”

“Oh God.” Buffy sobbed and Wesley held on to her, making sure she wouldn’t fall.

Xander turned his head and looked at the slayer. “You killed Alan, fucking bitch.” Xander’s eyes were the colour of green jade, his pupils dilated so much that they only left a thin glowing ring of green around each one. “I’ll get you!” Xander started struggling harder and Angel’s grip on him wasn’t enough.

“Stay put!” Angel snarled and slammed Xander’s head against the floor.

“You…” Xander spat “You. Aren’t. Pack. I’m pack. The leader.” he hissed and repeatedly hit Angel in the chest. Angel looked him in the eyes and smirked. Xander suddenly stopped fighting back.

“Not for long.” Angel whispered.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike came into the room just in time to see Angel bite Xander in the throat.


~*~*~*~*~


It was an odd sensation. Being bitten. Like his entire sensory system was located in his neck. All his blood seemed to be drawn to the fangs sinking thru his skin. The blurriness retreated. The softness disappearing, leaving only a sense of helplessness.

Angel slowly pulled back, his hands still holding Xander down but the strain was slowly seeping out of them. Xander crawled away from Angel. He could feel blood running down his neck, drops dripping onto his t-shirt.

He sat in the corner facing Angel. Buffy was sobbing and Wesley was still trying to comfort her. Xander’s eyes were drawn to Spike. The blond Master vampire was standing in the doorway. He looked confused…it didn’t last long.


~*~*~*~*~


Angel felt a little dazed. Xander’s blood was flowing thru his veins. Strong blood. He had never tasted anything like it before. It was even better than the blood of a slayer. The blood of the primal carried the sensation of sunshine and warmth, dry dirt and pack.

Xander started whining. His voice strange and high-pitched. Begging. Angel turned and looked at him. Xander seemed to curl up, trying to make himself look smaller. Submissive. Angel was about to reach out for him when Spike grabbed Angel by the lapels of his leather jacket.

“Get the fuck away from him.” Spike growled and pushed Angel toward the ex-watcher. He then turned his attention on Xander. Kneeling in front of the boy, murmuring soothingly, but Xander just pulled away looking at Angel.

“Please.” Xander whispered and yelped when Spike grabbed onto his wrist.

“Let him go.” Angel rumbled warningly and watched as Spike dragged Xander forward, trying to hug the human. Xander resisted fiercely, pulling on his arms in an attempt to get away from Spike. The blond vamp looked dejected and slowly let go of Xander and stood up.

Angel helped the boy up, put his hands on his hips trying to steady him The vampire slowly started walking thru the room, heading for the door, when Xander stopped and looked back at Spike. The blond vampire looked away, not wanting to meet the human’s eyes.

“Please…Angel.” Xander said looking pleadingly at the Master vampire. Angel nodded.

“Come here, Spike.” he said “The boy needs you.” Spike looked up and slowly but surely made his way across the room. When he reached Xander he put his hand around the human’s shoulder and with the help of Angel they managed to steer Xander out of the room.


~*~*~*~*~


Meaura hobbled out into the hallway. Dr. Gefühl was crumbled up on the floor. The old lady shook her head. She kicked him with her pointy shoe and the doctor turned with a groan but didn’t wake up.

Three men came out of the room down the hall. The tall pale one and two others. A blond with a leather duster on and between them a younger man with blood on his neck and down the front of his t-shirt.

Meaura watched them walk past her, toward the elevator and she sniggered when she noticed the tall pale one wincing when she lifted her cane slightly.

Someone else came out of the room down the hall. The tall man with the glasses, carrying a young blond woman. When they all disappeared into the elevator Meaura turned her attention to the passed out doctor.

“See,” she said and poked him hard in the chest with her cane “Told you so!”


~*~*~*~*~


Spike wasn’t taking Xander’s submissive behaviour toward Angel well. The blond Master vampire slammed doors and growled, until Xander retreated to the bedroom with the rest of his pack.

“You had no right!” Spike snarled at Angel when they were left alone in the kitchen “He’s mine. You had no right!” Spike poked Angel in the chest with a shaking finger.

“Spike.” Angel said, attempting to calm the vampire down “I’m not taking him away from you. I…”

“You bit ‘im. Took his place as pack leader…He’ll do whatever you want now.” Spike said and turned his back on his Sire.

“No. Spike, he won’t.” the dark-haired vampire said “He’ll look to me for guidance but I’d never…You know I wouldn’t.” he tried to convince Spike. He realised it wasn’t working and abruptly grabbed the blond vampire’s hand and dragged him up the stairs.

He quietly opened the door to the bedroom and ushered Spike in. Angel closed the door. The two vampires stood for a few minutes and just watched the pack sleep.

Xander, sleeping on the edge of one of the mattress. His arm draped over Asta’s waist. David curled around Asta’s other side. His face nuzzled against her throat. Tim curled up at the bottom of the mattresses. The other pack members warming their feet in the big demon’s fur.

Angel walked around the mattresses and cuddled up to David. The fledge sighed and turned in his sleep, clutching his hands in Angel’s shirt. Spike stood very still until Angel whispered

“You need to sleep, Spike.”

The blond nodded and laid down embracing Xander. Breathing in his scent.


~*~*~*~*~


Buffy listened to Wesley, Giles and Willow discuss Xander.

“I just don’t understand how he could live…” Willow said breathlessly “I saw him die.”

“We saw his body stop functioning.” Wesley said “But I don’t think he really died.”

“Then how…” Willow began.

“The hyena took control when she realised he wouldn’t survive…She healed him…” Giles looked thoughtful “I honestly don’t think we’ll ever be capable of understanding exactly how Xander coexists with the hyena…let’s just be thankful she saved him.”

“And that Angel kept him from hurting anyone.” Wesley pointed out.

“I don’t want him here.” Buffy interrupted. The slayer’s voice was strained and hoarse.

Willow looked at her. “It’s kinda his house, Buffy.” the witch said.

“I wasn’t talking about the house.” the slayer said “If he stays…I won’t promise I’ll let his pack run free in Sunnydale.” she looked at Giles “He almost killed me.”

“Yes.” Giles said and looked away “I…”

“I’ll take him with me to LA.” they all turned and looked at Angel standing by the stairs.

“Well…I…” Giles looked from Buffy to Angel “I think that might be best.”

Buffy stood up, her chair scraping against the naked floorboards “I’m taking Riley with me home…and Dawn too…” she said as she left the room.





Part Twenty-Three

Saying goodbye was awkward. Dawn wouldn’t let go of Xander and when he finally made her calm down, she ended up clinging to Asta. The fledge was snivelling and between hitched breaths and quiet sobs, the two girls promised that they would see each other again soon.

“You could email me every day.” Dawn babbled “Tell me about LA and the hotel…Oh you can go shopping all the time.” Angel groaned and Asta looked down at her feet.

“I can’t.” she said “I don’t have a computer.”

“We’ll buy you one.” Cordy said and glared at Angel. The Master vampire sighed and nodded reluctantly, but the squeals coming from the girls made him smile.


~*~*~*~*~


“So, Peaches.” Spike said as he stood outside the house smoking.

“William.” Angel said and noticed Spike wince.

“Taking the boy with ya ta LA.” Spike still hadn’t looked at his Sire.

“Spike…” Angel began.

“Got yourself a nice deal there.” Spike interrupted “Two boys ta play with.”

Angel grabbed Spike and pushed him against the side of the house. “If you could just shut up for a second…” Angel growled “then you’d know you were welcome to go with us.” Spike looked stunned.

Angel expected him to make some flippant comment but instead the blond vampire said “Really?”

“Yes, Spike. Really.” Angel said and let go of him “And Spike…” the blond vampire looked up at him “I don’t want Xander.”

“Well why the bloody hell not?” Spike started ranting as he followed Angel to the car “He’s a nummy treat ‘e is. All big brown eyes and muscles. Blood sweet as sugar…Ya think ya’r too good for him?…”

“Just get in the car and wait, Spike.” Angel growled.


~*~*~*~*~


“Can’t you stay?” Willow asked, resting her head on Xander’s chest. He shook his head.

“No, Weepy Willow.” he smiled sadly “You know I can’t…Buffy…”

“To hell with Buffy.” Willow mumbled and Xander couldn’t help laughing.

“You don’t mean that.” he said “She’s…” he wrapped his arms around the witch “I tried to kill her…And my pack…” He looked Willow in the eyes “They won’t be safe here.”

“I know.” Willow nodded. Her forehead rubbing against Xander’s collarbone “I know.”


~*~*~*~*~


Angel watched Xander stuff Asta’s clothes in a duffle bag. He zipped it and dumped it on the floor next to the four other bags. The human seemed calmer, more relaxed. Xander looked up and noticed Angel standing in the doorway.

“Ready?” Angel asked.

“Yeah.” Xander said and looked around the room. Nothing left worth taking. He picked up two of the duffle bags. Just as he passed Angel, the vampire reached out and touched Xander’s shoulder. Xander submissively looked down at the floor.

“No.” Angel said and Xander nervously looked up “You look me in the eyes. I’m not…” Angel attempted “I don’t want…Nothing has changed.” the vampire finally said.

“You know that’s not true.” Xander said “I mean…I know that you…it’s the hyena…”

“I’ll need your help with the pack.” Angel interrupted “They’re still yours…you know them…what they need.” Angel squeezed Xander’s shoulder lightly “We’ll have to work together…We’ll figure this out.”

Xander nodded. Angel let go of his shoulder and Xander walked down the hallway. The human turned around and looked back at Angel.

“Thanks.” Xander said.


~*~*~*~*~


Buffy looked at Dawn. The teenage girl had been sulking since Angel had announced that he was taking Xander, Spike and the pack with him to LA. Saying goodbye to them had just made the girl mope even more.

Dawn was glaring at Buffy. Demanding answers. “It’s not safe…with him here.” the slayer said “He tried to kill me, Dawn!”

Dawn looked sheepish and mumbled “Not him, Buffy. The hyena…”

“He is the hyena…” Buffy sighed “Don’t you see?” she shook her head “We can’t be sure when he’ll lose control again…next time…” Buffy forced Dawn to look at her “Next time he might go after you.”

“He’d never…” Dawn yelled “You killed his friend!”

“He was a vampire, Dawn!”

Dawn just turned her back on Buffy and said “Angel told me I’d be welcome anytime, as long as it didn’t interfere with school.” Buffy was about to protest but the girl continued “And I’m going! I’m going to see Asta and Spike and Xander whether you like it or not.” Dawn slammed the door behind her, leaving Buffy alone in her big empty house.


~*~*~*~*~


Giles sat in his study, a drink in his hand. He knew he was suppose to write a report for the Council. He was suppose to sit down and describe the recent events, including his observations of Xander’s behaviour around the pack and also Angel’s new status as pack leader.

He should have tested Xander’s physical strength, should have stopped the boy from leaving Sunnydale. There were a lot of things he should have done. But right now, as he sat in his study surrounded by books on demonology he just couldn’t help smiling.

It was…exhilarating…the knowledge that he had encountered something so special, that it couldn’t be found in any of those books. Something so extraordinary, that no other watcher had experienced it. A human possessed by a primal spirit forming a bond, creating a pack, with a group of vampires and demons.

He looked at the draft, a piece of paper littered with notes about Xander and his pack, picked it up and threw it in the fireplace. Giles watched as the paper curled in on itself and then burst into flames.


~*~*~*~*~


The drive to LA turned out to be worse than all the years Angel had spent in Hell. Nothing Angelus had ever done could require such torment. He was trapped in a car with Xander, Spike, David, Asta and Tim. Why the hell hadn’t he decided to ride in Wesley’s car with the ex-watcher and Cordy?

“Turn up the volume!” Asta shrieked “I just love that song!” Spike looked at Angel and turned the volume up as high as it would go. The bastard just kept smirking at his Sire, when the fledge started singing in a high-pitched voice.

“I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazig ha.”

Xander couldn’t help laughing when Angel, in pure frustration, vamped out.


~*~*~*~*~


Buffy knocked on the door to Riley’s apartment. Someone was shuffling around in there. She heard the lock clicking and she smiled when Riley opened the door.

“Hey.” she said and pushed past him into…the empty apartment?

“Um…Buffy.” Riley started.

“Are you moving?” she asked and looked around. A few boxes in the corner but nothing else.

“Yeah.” he said and looked away.

“Bigger apartment?” Buffy asked hopefully.

“No…Look…” Riley sighed and closed the door “I’m leaving Sunnydale.” he said and looked out the window. Buffy looked confused. She walked further into the living room. Small specks of dust were dancing in the sunbeams shining thru the curtainless windows.

“Oh so…they’re sending you someplace else?” her voice seemed fake, strained.

“No.” Riley finally looked at her “I asked for a transfer.”

“You…asked.” Buffy looked away.

“I’m sorry, Buffy. I just can’t do this…all the lines are blurred.” he stepped closer to her “Can’t you see? I’m starting to doubt everything I’ve ever believed in…If I stay…there’ll be nothing left.”

“So you run away?” Buffy whispered.

“Call it whatever you want…” Riley looked at the bare walls. “I just need to get as far away from Sunnydale as I can.”

“And me.” Buffy said. She looked at him, wanting him to tell her she was wrong, but he wouldn’t meet her eyes. “Okay” she said and walked out of his apartment.


~*~*~*~*~


Angel woke up with David draped across his back. Naked David. Angel rumbled and slowly turned around in the bed, making sure he didn’t wake the fledge. David frowned in his sleep and mumbled “Stop wriggling around, Asta.”

Angel smiled and kissed the fledge’s lips. The frown turned into a smile.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander pushed Spike away.

“Honestly, Spike.” he moaned and stretched “Enough.” he pleaded.

“Not bloody likely.” Spike growled playfully from somewhere under the covers.

“No seriously, Spike.” Xander moaned “Get off.”

“Was planning on it, pet.” the vampire snarled “Would be easier if I didn’t have ta use my mouth ta tell ya to shut up all the bloody time.” Spike proceeded to shut up in quite interesting ways.

“Oh f-f-f-for God’s sake.” Xander squirmed.

“Sta’ ’ut!”

“What?” Xander lifted the covers and looked at Spike.

“I said: Stay put!” Spike snorted and started licking.

Someone knocked on the door.

“What the bloody hell is it now!” Spike bellowed.

“Cordy had a vision,” Tim said from the other side of the door.

“And Angel said…” David giggled, his voice muffled by the thick wooden door “He said that only the two of you could turn a blowjob into an argument.” Tim started laughing as well.

“Go away!” Xander yelled.

“No way!” Asta yelled back. Xander’s eyes grew big and he blushed all over.

“Bloody pack.” Spike grumbled and started getting dressed.

Xander just smiled.




The End




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