Leather and Lace


by
Josie_H



Part Eleven

Spike fed and pleasured Xander three more times before the young vampire came to full awareness around midday the following day. He had left his Childe sleeping, sated once more and moved to yet again replenish his own blood levels. He had just finished a second feeding glove full when he heard a rather tentative voice. “Spike? Where…? Holy s*%&!! Spike? Please I need... um… Oh…”

Spike flew to his side and pulled him up into a tight, reassuring embrace, “Sssshhh Luv, no need for panic.” Spike stroked Xander’s hair rhythmically and began to purr. Xander’s demon responded instantly and he calmed.

“Oh Spike… I didn’t mean to fight with you that day, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry… and you still came for me. It was you, wasn’t it? ‘Cause it … well it was all so muddled, and there was so much pain and I thought… Oh Spike!!” Xander buried his face in Spike’s neck and without thought began to lick over the healing wound he found there. It was an instinctive and comforting act, as Spike’s quiet baritone rumbled through his chest, soothing him almost as much as the purring had while he listened to the account of his rescue.

When Spike came to the part about Jaquin and the removal of the newly hatched spiders, Xander began to shake violently. Had it not been for Spike’s strong embrace, he would have given in to the urge to scream and sob with the remembered pain and fear.

Spike was on the edge of tears himself as he continued in a soft, what he hoped loving tone. “But it was too late Xan – even with The Powers and Illyria, we were still too late. I’m so sorry sweetheart… I was so weak… so we were too late. But I couldn’t lose you, never you… then they promised… and they said you’d keep your soul, so I um… Oh Xan… I um…”

Xander stilled instantly, pulled out of the embrace enough to give a wide eyed stare of realization into Spike’s rather tearful azure gaze, before whispering, “You…turned me?” It was not so much a question as a statement. Spike simply nodded and allowed single tear to track down his cheek.

Xander said “Oh.” before returning to the hug to contemplate what that meant, how he felt about it. His felt his demon, quiet and content as the fledgling sat wrapped in his Sire’s arms. His soul was anchored, he knew that too somehow. But he was still a vampire, still one of the undead. They had never spoken about his wounded charge turning him, but what else could Spike have done? What would he have done if their roles had been reversed? And the Powers that Be had all but forced Spike’s hand with the promise of the soul. He had already been effectively dead, now he had Spike until they were both dust… Sire until they were both dust … and he realized his demon instincts had corrected the name for him… He was in the arms of Sire…

Spike worried as the tense silence extended, but then he felt Xander beginning to nuzzle at his neck again in full gameface. Spike felt the sting, then the pull and let him take a mouthful before allowing his own face shift and reciprocating – completing the blood circle and letting Xander feel the truth of family through the red liquid.

Both vampires groaned and began to sense their mutual arousal. Spike almost came as Xander pulled off his neck and lovingly sighed “Sire” into Spike’s right ear. He too finished drawing blood, and claimed Xander’s mouth in a kiss that began fiercely possessive, and ended many minutes later with a passion that saw them both completing without touching their nether regions. Spike in his jeans and the nude Xander in the sheets that were still tangled around his lower half.

Coming down from their mutual high, Xander whispered, “I love you Sire”, and received “And I you Childe” in return.

They lay down together feeling sated and relaxed, and continued gently stroking each other, while they began to contemplate their unlife together.

“Guess I’ll have to give up that dream of being that well tanned professional life guard huh…” Xander turned to Spike and grinned.

“Dunno Pet, all those night surfers need protecting too… be a whole new dimension to the service… course I guess you’d have to be officially called an ‘unlife guard’.” Spike flashed Xander a wicked smirk then became quite serious. “Bloody hell, Pet, we’ll have to sort some funding – I’d bet my last rahzou that the bastards in that law firm have declared you deceased and frozen your assets.”

The loud buzzing of the phone interrupted the conversation as the panicked voice of Jason began to leave a message. Spike all but flew to the phone and picked up.


~*~*~*~*~


Jaquin had set the trap in the wee hours of the following day.

Wendy Malkowitz arrived for work early as usual, kicked off her shoes and started up her computer ready to check Emails and review Ms Morgan’s schedule. She had learned the hard way that being under prepared for Ms Morgan meant serious consequences under anesthetic.

Lilah waltzed into the building around an hour and a half later. She had requested no meetings be scheduled for that day and was quietly confident that her stupid little PA would have made certain that her instructions were followed to the letter – especially after her permanent reminder of the consequences a fortnight or so ago. Lilah mused smugly for a moment. The doctors in the lab were becoming more and more expert at the limb transfers. It was lucky she could find them so many ‘volunteers’. Without a doubt the money made from selling the extra parts and performing the human transplants direct was a masterstroke when trying to cover the expense of the more innovative experiments in the Special Projects division.

Lilah hardly even looked at her secretary, but noted that the girl’s shoes were off, so dispensed with greetings and simply commented in a haughty tone that dripped venom, “If you need to flaunt your new extremities, I will assign you to a place in the building you can display your assets fully for the viewer’s pleasure.”

Wendy gulped, swiftly shoved her paws into the uncomfortable shoes.

She dropped her eyes as she handed Lilah the mail for the day. It was a neat pile already categorized and color coded with a confirmation note on the front to say that there were no meetings scheduled. Her only reward was a “Humpf.” Wendy hoped that it would be good enough to get her out of being one of the 'features exhibits' at the demon strip club provided for some particular clients in Basement 3 of the building.

The young PA was so tired of being frightened every day, that, when a call came from someone in the Filing and Data Entry division to say she was being moved – effective immediately - she simply cleared her desk into small storage box resignedly, and struggled into the lift, pushing the button for floor B1.


~*~*~*~*~


Rodney had struggled into the office looking decidedly drained. Stacy had had a very bad night.

The new structure of her back and legs was simply not designed to carry the upper body of a human, so he had, yet again, spent most of the night administering painkillers, massaging the cramping muscles, and holding her while she cried. They needed new furniture at home, he had decided.

She was unable to sit on the lounge suite unless on the very edge or even lie comfortably unless facing the back. He had spent some time on the bus to work designing something that would bring her both relief and comfort… a seat not a perch. He was sure that a good part of her current distress was due to having to stand all day.

He had kissed her tenderly, then rung in sick for her. It was the third time in the past month – soon she would be risking her job due to absence – and then what?!

His own legs were less problematic, and though his joints ached, often, at least they were designed for a larger animal, not a bird.

He looked at the pile of memos on his desk and sighed then noted the top one.

“Transfer of staff:

Who: Wendy Malkowitz from Lilah Morgan’s office to Filing and Data Processing
When: Effective immediately
Action: Make Ms Malkowitz comfortable and assign tasks as appropriate
Special Note: She has been part of the Special Projects’ volunteer program so may need a modified work station.

Regards
T Jaquin
HR Dept”

Rodney had no idea who the particular HR person was, but knew enough that the poor girl had suffered as his darling Stacy had done. He fisted the paper in anger, then had to straighten it out again. He was determined, ‘Wendy Malkowitz’ would be made felt very welcome and appreciated by their division.

He hurried out to arrange an office space for her on the floor.

Two hours later, the girl in question struggled from the lift and was met by friendly greetings and kind words.

She noticed that a number of the individuals had ‘altered’ forms. Apparently her now former boss had more than one grudge to satisfy. So when Rod finished the introductions, showed her to her desk, then gave her an encouraging, “We all really do know what you are going through.” She almost burst into tears, but instead, smiled and kicked off her shoes. She knew for a fact that no one in this division at least, would mind!


~*~*~*~*~


There was noone in the corridor as Jaquin ‘did his rounds’. It seemed that the executives in the other offices on the floor were all extremely busy.

The structure of the floor meant that Lilah had almost an entire side of the building to herself. She had her enormous office, a large meeting room plus two smaller ones for negotiations, bathroom and food preparation area, storage room and her PA’s diminutive office.

The old one walked into the PA’s office. He knew that the camera for that corridor would show him entering the office of the young assistant, but also that he could disable the camera from a panel in the office itself. He did so swiftly, and held it disabled for around a minute before replacing it. Anyone watching would merely assume a ‘glitch’ and that he had spent his designated ten or so seconds then left via the the unmonitored emergency exit as was his custom. At the same time he pushed the ‘Record Only’ button for the cameras in Lilah’s rooms. It was a precautionary measure installed to protect some of her less ‘savory’ characters from the eyes of underlings. Unless Lilah hit the ‘Save’, the video images taken would not be preserved. And even then it was password access only, for her, the CEO, and the Senior Partners.

He knocked quietly on Lilah’s door then let himself in without invitation.

“What?!” Lilah didn’t even bother turning her chair to face the door, instead simply snarled, “I have told you, so this better be good Wendy, or it’s tails-r-us for you, got it?!”

Lilah turned just in time to see the form of the security guard split down the centre and unfold, much as a mature cocoon might, revealing an enormous pray mantis. Initially too stunned to move, she missed the opportunity to alert other security staff as she was plucked from her seat by the lightening strike of front attacking arms, the a speed and accuracy typical of his species – even his tiny cousins on earth.

She was suspended by barbed legs that held her arms fast and surrounded her torso completely. Her feet were no longer touching the ground and she faced the visage of a vicious insect predator whose feelers were bent over against the ceiling, despite the particularly high architecture. Though she was held fast she refused to scream. There was no point, all the offices were sound proofed. Her only hope was the cameras.

Lilah quelled her natural terror and began to use her most seductive voice, despite an initial waver, “I’m very … ahh pleased to make your acquaintance…. But I’m sorry, my PA must have missed noting our appointment… and you would be?”

Jaquin mustered his best his best ‘human’ voice, at least one that might be heard. He understood the current language, it was primitive and simplistic, so he translated his message in the same terms. “You have hurt an Old One’s Pet, and violated a former champion of the Powers. It is also evident that you are disrespectful of the beings that are your co-workers, loyal to a fault to the Senior Partners until your decisions to ‘alter’ them. The Senior Partners are complicit in this venture as they too work to find balance in this realm, something you seem determined to destroy for your own advancement, by manipulation or viciousness. You have chosen to violate the balance. I am the deliverer of their retribution…"

Lilah attempted to spit her answer out, before being permanently beheaded by the mantis, but Jaquin did not do as expected. Instead he delicately nipped off her hands and feet, then scalped her, dropped her bleeding form and consumed the parts, as she watched. She passed out by the time a second appendage, her own left foot, was crushed and consumed by the deadly jaws.

She came to, but had no idea of when. Despite her disorientation, she registered his almost subsonic voice.

“Your agenda has not served the purpose of the Senior Partners, or the Powers. We have all worked so hard to seek balance. We old ones have slept for over many hundreds of millennia, and yet it is in the last few that we are most disappointed, and in the last decade that that disappointment has evolved into a power struggle.

"The human race is flawed, strident, unreasonably confident and mercenary. It truly is the ooze that eats itself.

"And to prey on, and violate, so many creatures, so exquisite in the making and so fair in their form? Exactly how long did you expect that to last? And now you combine species against their will – or at least the physical manifestation thereof – or feed one to another as humans so gleefully do with their ‘pets’… because you can?...”

"You are an amateur, about to be reprimanded for your arrogance, dear lady, and, before your care to mention? The Senior Partners do endorse your ‘service to date' but are... tired of your antics."

Lilah already bore the evidence of a beheading from years ago, but this was different. That the Senior Partners might abandon her had never been considered. She was the favorite!!

It was apparent that her status had slipped, and she was aware enough to register the large being carrying her to somewhere in the bowels of her own building, along a corridor she recognized with a measure of dread, then into… She passed out again.

She came too, plastered, nude, against the sticky web that had been the final fate of so many ‘uncooperative’ clients of hers, and a few employees, just for her good measure!

She was light headed, though a little puzzled that her attacker seemed to have tended her wounds and certainly stemmed the blood flow. The realization as to why was merely seconds in coming. Her body reacted instinctively and she released her waste just before she was swiftly wrapped by the enormous spider that she was so happy to feed others to.

But Jaquin was not finished.

He communicated with the magnificent arachnid.

She and her still to hatch - babies were to be transported back to his insect realm to live their lives, revered and in safety, provided she disposed of Lilah slowly.

The spider merely nodded at the suggestion. And before Jaquin called up the portal she had agreed and swiftly grabbed the wrapped prize and then deposited a full lay of eggs inside the abdomen of the body, the bound, appendage free and scalped, Lilah.

The former Wolfram and Hart pariah was aware for the first part of the impregnation, but would no doubt be more concerned as she awoke. She would have been even more concerned, two days later, to feel the movement of small bodies, and powerless to stop the consumption of her internal organs. In the mean time, she was conscious enough to know that the large spider was lifting her precious load, Lilah, the feed body, into the portal. She knew she was doomed.

Jaquin was done with the realm of the human. The Wolf, the Ram and the Hart were working on an agenda that was ageless, but sometimes their agenda’s did, indeed, need questioning. His gracious, other dimensional nod to the Higher Powers did not go without notice.

His reign would be long and fruitful, just not on Earth.

Jaquin tore the heads off two hapless Wolfram and Hart clients consuming the bodies swiftly as he exited the building. His transition to his own nether world was to be an easy one.

He was a day early, but looked forward to greeting his spider friend into his own realm, as promised. The human husk that traveled with them was irrelevant – and his friend’s babies would be admirable assassins! The Powers acknowledged his right and honored their pact.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike answered the phone with trepidation.

“Hi… Hi …. Hang on … There you go!... Sorry Jas… um… Yeah found Xan… and oh Ghahhh Jas... thanks for the time but… um… Are you free tonight? Cause I’d really like to … We’d... I guess like to… Ahhh geez … Just come if you can OK??”

“Is he OK? C’mon Will??? What’s the deal? OKOKOK!!!! We’ll be there, what time?”

“Just come over around seven … and Jas?”

“Yeah?”

“You’re a bloody gem mate… and so’s that boy of yours!”

“Ummmm? Yeah yeah ... Glad you found him OK... Just... see you soon, alright?”

Spike rang off.

His ‘Spider sense’ told him that Jaquin had finished his task.

His new Childe slept on, and he hoped that their friends would endure, even after their soon to be revelation.





Part Twelve

Spike woke his Childe as the sun went down.

Xander blinked to consciousness as an open wrist, and an adoring, familiar smile greeted him, though was puzzled by the surprisingly formal words.

“We are to have guests this evening, Childe. You must be here with your Sire. It will be a difficult meeting as it is your first time with humans.”

Xander blinked slowly in confusion then replied, “Um wha??...Hmmpf… morning?” Instantly, his instinct told him that formal words required a formal response, and swiftly corrected his error. He struggled to sit up and added, “Umm… Please excuse me Sire. I was not yet awake.” Xander dropped his gaze in an indication of his submission, and the fledgling was caught under the chin by a caring hand as he did so.

“You are forgiven of course! You are only newly made Pet, and we have many lessons ahead. All you need do now is follow your instincts and your heart. I’m here. Sire will be here… always… just like you were for me. ‘S my turn to be strong, innit.” Spike stroked Xander’s hair gently then leant down and kissed him on the lips, claiming the fledge’s mouth with all the possessiveness that came with his new role of Sire.

Xander allowed the invading tongue in with a sigh of joy and relief. The former human felt truly… happy - definitely dead, he knew - but blessed by the presence of, and claiming by, the only being he had ever truly loved, Spike, and now his Sire.

Spike enjoyed the moment, feeling his own strength increase by the minute and wondered if that came with the new role, or whether it was simply a function of the tender care Xander had given in the past weeks along the added boost from his Mistress Illyria. It mattered little.

They were about to face a challenge – one his newly risen Childe was hardly ready for.

Noting the still rather bewildered look on his fledge’s face, he inquired, “Xan, Luv? Childe… Are you with me?”

“Hmmm? Oh… Yes Sire.” Xander stiffened then realized that he remained in Spike’s embrace, and relaxed a little, though tried to be more attentive.

“We have to meet our old friends tonight, Jason and Mark. You must remain in your human guise… do you understand?”

“Yes Sire.” Xander’s soul shuddered at the thought of meeting the men who had been so helpful with Spike, but his demon responded instinctively with the answer and was rewarded by the invitation to nuzzle again.

Spike knew that the evening was going to be difficult for the young fledge with a newly awakened demon fighting the soul, so pushed the issue, “You must wait until we are alone again to feed, then you will have my blood… Do you understand? You must not allow the demon out unless I give you permission.”

“Yes Sire… ” Xander pouted a little and the act earned him an immediate bite.

Spike was acutely aware of the unpredictable nature of a Childe barely a day old, soul or no soul, and was unwilling to risk his friends’ lives. His decision was swift and pragmatic. He needed his fledge compliant, so sank his fangs into a willing neck, and drained Xander yet again to the point of semi-consciousness, then lay him gently on the couch.

He returned just enough of the precious liquid from his own wrist, to have Xander awake, his young Childe’s dear soul at the surface while the demon sharing the body so sated and willingly submissive that it was beyond any independent act, so there would be no risk of attack. The newly risen demon was simply too drained to assert itself in his Sire’s presence, even if humans were in attendance.


~*~*~*~*~


Jason and Mark were to arrive at seven.

Spike prepared a platter of finger food for the guests and drank as much blood as he could manage while Xander snoozed lightly on the couch.

Their friends were punctual as always.

Mark held his tense partner’s hand tightly as the door was answered, and both bore near frantic expressions as the door opened. Whatever they expected, Spike knew… nothing could prepare them for what their friends had to divulge. The vampire took an unnecessary breath before greeting them.

Jason pulled Spike into a hug, but looked over the slim shoulder to spot a deathly pale and very thin Xander lying on the lounge suite. Jason gave Spike a last squeeze before racing to their lost friend’s side. “Ghoddd!!! Xan?!! What… where have you been…?”

Xander blinked awake, still lethargic after his Sire’s decision to half-drain him. He registered the known voice, a human, and friend from his … life. He felt an absolute level of fatigue and knew he was hungry as he heard the heartbeat. But Sire had told him, no feeding. And his soul knew this man was… Jason… Friend. Friend!

Despite Jason’s kind attention, the young fledge looked to his Sire for direction, noting that Spike was welcoming Mark with a quick hug and kiss on both cheeks. He began to worry more. He thought he had been asked to be by his Sire’s side, but was now struggling even lift his own hand… Xander let a tear fall, he wasn’t sure why, but he thought he had failed Sire. He looked for Sire, his panic almost palpable and sent the same through the familial link.

Mark looked a little puzzled at the greeting. William seemed… changed, confident, strident even. Certainly there was an urgency to his actions, but it was hardly the behavior of the near catatonic invalid they had seen carried from their apartment but a week or two ago.

It was mere seconds before Spike felt the distress of his young one, and let Mark find his own way in, as he sped to the rescue of his young Childe who was starting to breathe quickly. Spike knew that despite all good intentions, Xander was likely to fall into game face without the physical contact of his maker.

He moved swiftly to his Childe’s side, then pulled him closer, “You OK luv?”

Mark joined his partner and did not fail to note as Spike had gathered Xander onto his lap, or that the taller man had all but plastered himself to their friend William, the brunette’s face cradled against William’s neck.

Jason was aware that something had fundamentally changed and approached with caution. “Xan?? Hey… Buddy?”

Xander pulled tighter into his Sire and refused to look at their friend.

Human spelt food… or danger, he wasn’t sure. There was conflicting knowledge spinning through his mind uncontrolled. Their heartbeats certainly spelt food, all temptation and condemnation embodied. Still the newborn fledge held his human features for his Sire. And his Sire felt his struggle, and kissed him soundly for his show of strength. He visibly sighed and relaxed against Spike and chose a defensive semi-slumber, cradled in his Sire’s arms.

The two friends settled onto the opposite couch, and Spike, holding tightly to Xander’s hand, addressed them, “Obviously Xan is back… but uhhhhm”

Mark had already guessed. The emaciated and almost submissive form of their friend spelt torture. He squeezed his beloved’s hand and received the same back. To have a partner abducted and tortured was their own worst nightmare embodied.

Both remained silent for a few seconds. What should one ask, when their dear friend sat with his partner showing a deathly pallor?

Spike adjusted Xander’s position so the brunette might lie on the couch comfortably. He lovingly covered the form with a throw rug, ensuring Xander’s head was cradled in his own (the Sire’s) lap. “I am sad to report that we have held something from you… Was happy to leave you blokes in the dark regards my own status… But things have changed a bit.”

Jason looked not so much worried as resignedly sad, then said, “Were you, you know, um… ahem… doing drugs or tricks or something? And did Xan you know… did he get caught up in that too… you know… even the whole HIV pos? Please Spike?… Whatever this is… we’re friends?”

Spike looked utterly confused, “What? No! Um… No… Bloody Hell! Nothin’ to do with any of that!”

Spike took an unnecessary breath. “Um… it’s just… He was so injured… beyond recovery…dyin’ when he was given back… I mean really dying… so the Fate’s have dealt us both a bit of a different hand…”

The two friends looked even more confused and concerned but Spike continued quickly, “Figure it’s time for you blokes to suspend disbelief for a moment, ‘cause I’m afraid we’ve got something to show you.” Spike’s voice dropped to a low growl, “You believe in the other?”

Jason and Mark were both looking very puzzled.

“I’d hoped we might still be friends after this, but understand if you can’t. And if you can’t, I’ll take the boy here and you won’t need to see us again. This is… I guess a little bigger than… ah bugger... how about you to see me as I truly am…”

Both Jason and Mark looked puzzled, then utterly shocked, as Spike shifted to game face and bit his own wrist savagely, his Childe waking to the scent, and latching onto the wrist automatically after also shifting to full game face. He growled his approval, a sound that would have made a full grown lion pause.

Spike could hear the two hearts racing and smelt extreme fear, so fell back into his human form as his Childe continued to feed, and he addressed their friends, “The boy here and I didn’t think we needed to let you know what I really was… least not when I was under the weather. Ensouled you see, us both now. You lads were right kindly, and I do thank you for that. Will always thank you.”

Xander fell off the wrist, shifted back to his normal features and snuggled down on the couch again. It seemed as though, like any newborn, feeding and sleeping occupied most of each day.

Mark was incredulous, genuinely questioning his own eyes. “But that’s… you can’t be serious!? How did you??”

Spike continued, “Give us a moment pet. Xan here had no chance of survival but in the unlife. He was dying, bleeding out, so damaged that none could have saved him… and… I couldn’t lose him… couldn’t… he saved me… now it’s my turn.” Spike ignored his guests for a moment in preference to burying his face into his partner’s neck, softly licking his own mark, and letting a tear fall.

Jason was utterly speechless but Mark interrupted again. “This is insane… How?? You can’t expect us to believe this … Ooookay… Where’s the hidden camera… Great joke now… come on William!”

“No camera mate.” Mark and Jason’s heartbeat sped as their friend remained sincere. “Got the soul of William, but sorry, not human, and now… neither is Xan.” Spike shifted into game face, dropped his ‘mockney accent’, then added in a very low tone – as though to frightened children, “You need to know. I am a vampire, we both are, I’m an older one, but the boy here is new.”

Xander had been staring rather dazedly but suddenly registered his Sire’s stress and tilted his own head to allow his Sire to drink again, but Spike merely kissed his lovely fledge in gratitude.

Mark and Jason were beside themselves. Mark in particular. There was nothing in his past that could possibly have prepared him for this. When his patient’s had described ‘the other’, he had prescribed medication. Now he was witnessing… something?! He would have blamed it on a drugged drink – but had yet to have anything orally.

He wondered at his own perception, but seeing Jason’s face, realized that this was a shared experience and therefore very difficult to question.

Spike did the only thing he could think of. He left his lovely friend to sleep and moved with vampiric speed to kneel in front of their two friends, grasping a hand of each in his.

“Please just…”

Jason gasped at the speed, and Spike heard his heart rate step up even more, “G#%!! But you could hardly… and the illness was …”

“Real Pet. The illness was very real. Xan saved me from dust. My turn now to help him innit? Even if his status is… changed.”

Spike continued to speak quietly, “Most humans are able to go through life oblivious of ‘the other’. Xan here is a child of the Hellmouth – grew up with our kind and fought the good fight for years… and now you know too. The other have been here forever.

“Boy here has been part of that for his whole life. Me? Part of that realm for over a century… And frankly don’t care if you can’t believe or don’t want to, ‘s your choice. Regardless, we both thank you and consider you friends. You were so kind when others were not.”

Mark finally shook himself from his shock and asked, “So… you’re, um… what are you?” Then fell back as Spike fell into gameface again and faced him directly. “I’m an ensouled vampire mate.”

It was a worried looking Jason’s turn to speak, “So… the hospital runs… It was about human blood wasn’t it?! That’s what Xan was doing – getting human blood. But… no biting? What’s with that? And … oh geez… How old are you?”

Spike smiled and leaned forward to squeeze his friend’s hand. He noted the lack of pulling away so answered the question truthfully. “No biting pet, and… I was born in the eighteen fifty four, pushin’ a hundred and fifty.”

Mark stood, “What?? That’s impossible!!”

Spike leaned over in his human guise and kissed his reseated friend gently, “You believe what you need to believe, but this is our existence now. If you can remain friends, we would like that, but if you can’t, I will help Xander to understand.”

Jason was musing to himself, “I never did see you go out in the day – figured it was the meds or something… and with the languages and…” Jason suddenly looked up accusatorially, “ Wait a second! What’s with the food knowledge and the cups of tea and… and… f#$% Will… How are we supposed to understand all this!?”

Spike spoke very quietly as though to a spooked animal, “You’re not pet, it’s fine… been alive for a long time is all – learned a lot and enjoyed the best and now just have a different status is all. To you still consider us the same old friends, just a different physical status, yeah? Only ask that if you can’t accept, that you don’t report us – as a courtesy, of if you’re going to, at least give us a chance to get out of town!”

Jason was incredulous, “ What?? Of course we wouldn’t!! Geez!! What did you?? No!! You’re safe with us of course!!”

Mark was still shaking his head and Spike knew the medico was struggling, so lifted his arm up and offered his wrist, stating simple, “Test it yourself.” Mark felt for a pulse. There was nothing. He then felt for Spike’s carotid, still nothing. He stood in frustration and went to Xander, Spike moving with him in case the fledge became panicked.

Testing for the pulse on their friend, Mark simultaneously noted that there was no movement of the chest at all, he felt the cold skin and saw the pallor. He had almost convinced himself that it was a terrible dream, that Xander was in fact dead, and that the previous conversation was a figment of his shocked psyche. But then Xander rolled onto his side, moaned “Sire?” and shifted into gameface as soon as he smelt his maker’s presence.

Mark scrambled back to where Jason was sitting, and wide eyed, they sat side by side, watching in disbelief as their friend William opened his wrist and allowed Xander to drink a few pulls before drifting back to sleep.

Mark stared in wonder as Spike’s wrist literally knitted itself back together as they watched in the few seconds it took to sit down opposite them and begin the conversation again.

Spike gave his wrist a cursory lick then leveled blue eyes at the pair, “Boy had been tortured to the point of certain death. I made a choice. Powers backed it. Know the lad would like to keep your friendship, so would I. Think you can?”

Jason looked thoughtful “I, um… Do we have to mention it? I mean I didn’t know but, um, it didn’t matter then did it?! And it’s not like you’re anything different, except, well, umm, a whole lot not one hundred percent human but um…” Jason looked up embarrassed then dropped his tone, “I mean you seem stonger and… look healthier, so that’s all good right?” Mark was still tense but Spike heard his heart slowing to a more healthy pace so Spike simply smiled at the two and began to hope all might indeed be well.

“Yeah, part of the package I guess – thanks for sayin’ it though.”

They all sat for a while in silence before Spike spoke up again, “So you guys up for a drink? Figure couple of shots of the good stuff ‘d be in order?” He stood, pulled three tumblers from the cupboard, some ice from the fridge, and retrieved a bottle of Jack Daniels from the bedroom.

Mark was still shaking his head a little, trying to take it all in but took the glass all the same.

Two hours later the television was on, Chinese food had been ordered, and the friends, though still rattled, were well on the way back to their previous comfortable status.





Part Thirteen

As Xander returned to full consciousness with an infusion of his Sire’s blood and participated in the evening for an hour or so, Mark and Jason found it easier to adapt to their friend’s (or rather friends’) revised status. Jason was apparently faster to accept the ‘other’ than Mark, but the medico eventually gave in to it all by ignoring the ‘special status’ of his friends, and simply treating them as he had always done. It proved surprisingly easy. Over the ensuing weeks ‘life’ went back to normal and two dinner parties later – plus an outing to the opera, ‘Turandot’ – Mark had all but forgotten that Will and Xander were anything but some of their ‘inner circle’ of good friends.

Hamish was informed of Xander’s demise by Wolfram and Hart barely ten days after his disappearance. Hamish had immediately, and very privately, sent money to his employee’s landlord – enough to keep Xander’s apartment for two months, and to give his family a little extra time to settle with his estate. It was a generous gesture, though one Hamish felt somehow still, inadequate. He knew that he had been lucky to escape such a fate working for W&H, and worried for his own family.

For Xander and Spike, the rest of their financial issues were yet to be dealt with.

A few months on and Spike knew that Wolfram and Hart must have had access to his partner’s funds, so pulled in some favors. Clem’s cousin at the hospital knew the new Files and Data Processing second in charge Rodney. Apparently, though still working in the ‘belly of the beast’, this Rodney was sympathetic to those suffering the violations that were part of W&H’s usual procedures. Within a day of contacting Rod, Spike was confident that they would not be destitute.


~*~*~*~*~


Rod was sympathetic to handsome young man who arrived on behalf of the estate of one ‘prospective employee’, one Alexander Lavelle Harris, had been officially declared missing after attending a meeting at Wolfram and Hart, and had within a fortnight, been declared deceased. The family representative, Jason, had all the correct papers proving the claim of a young relative William and had all the relevant legal material ready to process immediately.

When Rod did a minimum of internal investigating, he realized that the deceased young man had been one of the ‘Morgan Disappearances’, and the physically altered Rod felt grateful that he only had a couple of altered extremities. He swiftly found the documentation and was able to sign off on the release of nearly eighty percent of the funds to the dear young cousin William within days. A week later, an enormous bunch of flowers arrived at his office, along with a beautifully penned card thanking him on behalf of Alexander’s family. Rod was touched and took the flowers home to the soon to be mother of his own brood.

Seven months on from Xander’s turning Rod was promoted, again. Now officially the Chief Officer of the whole division, and studying part time for his MBA in the fall – at the company’s expense, his greatest joy was that Stacy, now his wife, was very pregnant and a week into maternity leave.

It was a relief. She was having twins. Her altered back and legs had simply not been able to support her burgeoning belly, and she had been forced to use a specially designed wheelchair for close to four months. More recently, entering her eighth month carrying the children, her blood pressure and chronic back ache were indications that there were other issues. Her tail had all but lost its feathers, and her formerly curly hair had gone suddenly limp and straight, and of late, begun falling out in clumps. Her body was struggling, but they both rejoiced yet another scan revealed that all was well with the children. They were both eager to welcome their babies (fully human twin girls) into the world within the month.

Wendy had not yet met the man of her dreams – yet along the way, had become staunch friend and supporter of Rod and his pretty wife. Wendy, though only a new friend, had the honor of being witness at their marriage and was known as Aunty Wendy for many years by two small girls who continued to delight in lifting whichever elegant pair of pants she happened to be wearing, and cheekily pet the furred paws beneath (her habit of kicking off shoes never quite broken).

The file of Alexander Harris along with that of Spike aka William the Bloody strangely disappeared from the W&H files without a trace.


~*~*~*~*~


For reasons other than money the next months still proved challenging. Xander’s life was now his unlife. Determining what that meant was an extraordinary experience.

His Sire was kind and attentive, but still insisted on discipline. Years on, Xander would adore his Sire (by then Mate) for it, but at the time, it was a combination of exhilaration, unequivocal fear of failure and unexpected triumphs. His soul and demon warred daily, but his Sire was there and knew his dilemma and the slow solution… Xander had the unconditional love and devotion of his maker, and the strength of commitment of a partner that he had always craved… and it was to be until they were both dust. At times he was chained up for his disciplining, but the punishment metered out was always light in comparison to any Spike had endured. More often any reprimands involved isolation and drainings rather than beatings. The soul and the demon eventually found an accord, and unlife began to make sense.

Xander’s demon’s submission to his Sire was not that of a beaten and broken fledge, but willingly given as one of a favorite Childe, willingly bending to his Sire’s wishes and proud to stand by him in any situation. His status meant that more often than not, he fed directly from his Sire, guaranteeing strength and speed well beyond his years.

Xander was a surprisingly quick study and rejoiced in his new abilities - speed, night-sight, hearing, and smell, all were explored under strict supervision and with kind coaching. He reveled in the hunt, practiced on the less savory human characters of the night, and became expert at seducing and ‘skimming’. It was an art form long practiced. A pint or so taken from the willing, leaving them unharmed and satisfied - usually happening in nightclubs or bars where a quick kiss in the dark lent itself to a short, sharp, fluid exchange.

Spike led his fledge through the night with a well practiced confidence. They were a beautiful pair, always dressed to kill but killing few, though strangely, satisfying many. Some humans even returning to the place of their ‘donation’ specifically in the hope that they might meet their seductive night biter just one more time…

Their gym sessions became sparring bouts, Xander gradually learning to control his newfound speed and use the enhanced senses. Being under the direct tutelage of a Master, and taking his blood daily, meant that Xander was no ordinary fledge. Already battle hardened as a human, he was also a quick study and determined to make his Sire proud. With aught else to do but train, feed and sleep, with an occasional hunting excursion, Xander swiftly became a vampire to be reckoned with in his own right. A Master or Slayer might take him down, but few others could.

By the end of Xander’s sixth month, Spike stood back and admired. His boy was a fine hunter. Brutal and swift if it was called for, but also an expert in seduction, and with an apparent natural ability to thrall that rivaled Spike’s dark princess Dru.

For Spike, he was a blessing. A beloved friend, devoted lover, and had developed into a formidable adversary for any demon who crossed their path. He would be a Claimed Mate as soon as it could be arranged, sadly the lack of Spike’s own Sire or even Grandsire made it difficult as the approval of a Senior of the Clan was needed before the ceremony could be performed.

Xander’s great joy was that now, the feeding and fighting always ending with he and his Sire tumbling into bed, where their lovemaking more often than not, took on a feral quality. Both parties willingly gave in to their demonic natures as they explored Xander’s new strengths and desires.

He also had the joy of spending the daylight hours with limbs tangled in his Sire’s arms. If Xander was restless, they would talk for a time - Vampire Law, Spike’s own memories of running with Angelus, their collective memories of Sunnydale and everything between… or they would make love.

The consequences of his new status were a surprise to the former human.

Xander missed the sun, and what it had meant… a job that he was highly skilled at; the ability to venture out in the day; and a set of friends that preferred the living. But he gained strength and speed, the ability to see in near darkness, smell more accurately than any bloodhound, and hear a heartbeat at a hundred paces… Plus had what seemed like an instantaneous recovery time, and several new erogenous zones – including his turning mark, which, if sucked by his Sire, had the effect of him climaxing instantly. Sire had kindly provided a binding to help him with his rather insatiable desire to spend, then trained him to withhold until instructed – the rewards for which, saw him in sated sleep more than he could ever count.


~*~*~*~*~


Mark’s fascination with their ‘condition’ did not wane, unlike Jason who simply accepted. He regularly grilled Spike for details in the weeks following their initial ‘revelation’.

A month or two on, it was not so much testing, rather, he seemed to be trying to build his own understanding. Finally, in the sixth month, it extended to a blood test – by mouth – Spike’s blood given willingly to Mark’s mouth, then a little of Mark’s given nervously, and gently taken from the volunteered wrist. The surprise was that the result was instantaneous… a ‘convert’.

It seemed that Mark had what he needed, and for the first time in years, he felt sure of something. He felt blissful as the strong elixir flowed over his tongue and down his throat. Through the blood of one of the oldest Master vampires on the planet, he was gifted with a little insight into the world of his two friends. He was initially puzzled by the powerful effects then eyes widened as he truly understood the unique knowledge of ‘the other’ he had been given. He was humbled and honored. Years later he would still refuse to speak of the experience despite it, in truth, being a life changing event.


~*~*~*~*~


Almost a year from Xander’s turning, a portal emerged in the bedroom of two slumbering, ensouled vampires – Sire and Childe.

The Sire woke immediately and growled “Stay” to his half conscious, very sated, charge.

The Master Vampire always slept nude but did not hesitate to prostrate himself in front of the figure. Fred/Illyria had promised to return and she had not forgotten him.

“Mistress Illyria.”

“My Pet…” Illyria’s arms morphed partially into her true form. She lifted him effortlessly, carried him into the lounge room of their small abode and sat on the couch, cradling Spike like a small child. Spike groaned as she began to stroke him adoringly, focusing on all the erotic regions she knew so well. “I have missed you my dear Pet. Is your Childe well?”

Spike found the rhythmic touch of the fronds utterly distracting. “Mistress, you have given me…. He was my friend and my savior, and now, is my greatest joy! Your magnanimous act… was…” For the first time in a year, Spike was truly struggling for words, instead he fell back on his training, and simply added, “Thank you Mistress. Your benevolent attention is overwhelming.”

Illyria simply nodded and took his erection in one frond whilst allowing a little further shift to her true form. Six octopus-like arms emerged from her body. She began to touch and caress him determinedly, delving gently into every orifice, dipping into his ears, navel and the slit of his painfully aroused sex. Another frond insinuated itself into his tight rear entrance, exuding small amounts of her fluid to ease its way. It searched for his prostate where it remained and pulsed in time with her stroking. Spike was sending such bliss through the link with his Childe that the sleeping Xander came without being touched, then hardened again immediately.

Even after all this time apart, Illyria knew her Pet’s responsiveness and felt the approach of his climax. She pushed a feeding frond into the mouth of her most treasured, herself so aroused that it took but two pulls on the appendage before she filled her former charge with her seed, both his mouth and his rear. In response, Spike immediately released his own cool stream in pulse after pulse across his pale torso, then passed out.

He vaguely felt her withdrawal from his body at both ends, and reached for the frond that he had been suckling. He kissed it tenderly as she shifted back to her blue human visage.

Illyria was surprisingly moved by the act. She stared with impossibly wide blue eyes for a moment, then cocked her head to the side.

“You still surprise me half breed. I was right to choose you, but find myself confused. Why do you continue to show affection after I unintentionally threatened your existence?”

“Not that complicated Pet. Liked Fred, and not so bad yourself, Highness. And can’t say as I was badly treated by you, can I? Besides you gave me to Xan, then helped when those bastards...” Illyria saw the pained expression as her Pet remembered, so shushed him and stroked his face as a concerned parent might. She was graced with a shy grin and look of such gratitude from William the Bloody, that she no longer questioned her desire for the half breed’s health and happiness. Benevolence, it seemed, had its rewards.

They sat for many minutes as Spike came down from the effects of her fluids and the intensity of his release, but finally she allowed the reclining figure to stand. She then followed him to the bedroom and watched as her Pet settled his new Childe for the next few minutes. The finish of their act had obviously disturbed the sleep of the young fledge, though Spike left cleaning him up until the morning.

In the gentle touches and loving kisses, Illyria remembered her own efforts to comfort, and her concern for her favorite pet as he became weak. She understood the need to protect and to pamper. It was something of an epiphany. It had not just been her time in the shell of Fred, or the loss of Wesley that had allowed her to feel. It was the connection to this lovely being and his willingness to accept her attentions, even now, that had encouraged her to feel for her subjects’ various difficulties and attend more carefully to resolving them, and to act with the ruthlessness needed to protect them from outside threats.

She had communed with the Higher Powers willingly and completely for the first time in more than ten millennia to correct a wrong. Spike and Xander were under the protection of both unearthly forces, and now Illyria had been guaranteed the right to visit her lovely Pet from time to time. The Powers accepted the rather unconventional arrangement. She was the only old one they would allow to visit the earthly dimension freely. It was a courtesy and she had no desire to annex it, no need to.


Spike completed his task and turned to her, dropping to a kneel as he did so. “Why did you come Highness?”

“You were in distress at your lack of a Sire, an Elder. You wish to take your Childe as Mate did you not? It is required to be granted permission from your Sire according to Vampire traditions. You are my treasured Pet, and I grant you that permission in the stead of your true Sire.”

Spike looked stunned. When he had raged into the night at not being able to truly claim Xander, he never imagined this would be the result. He folded down to a fully prostrated position again then rose once more and lifted tear filled eyes, “I am unable to thank you enough, Highness. I…”

Illyria cut him off, “You will take him in the traditional way, and when I return, he will also be mine as is my right. I will feed and pleasure you both. I will also study your responses to my attentions when you are coupling. I think that will amuse me.”

Spike was shocked by his body’s instant arousal at the thought, but bowed his head and simply said, “You are most kind.” But Illyria hardly heard the words as she opened a swirling portal behind her.

“I will see you again soon my Pet. Here is a parting gift. I believe these are valued here on Earth – they may come in useful to you.” She handed Spike a small pouch then stepped into the portal.

Spike and Xander had been living frugally for a year – trying to eek out Xander’s meager investments. As Spike peered into the bag he gasped. There were at least a hundred large, polished precious stones inside.

Illyria shifted to her true form as she entered the swirling hole. Spike was deeply moved to see her again in all her glory. His expression and emotion was not lost on the departing deity. She would tolerate his freedom in his own realm but there was an odd twinge of longing to lie at her feet once more and enjoy her constant attentions. He quickly shook off the thought.

Spike returned to his lovely charge and began to make love to the slumbering figure. He had a Mate to claim and could not wait to tell his dear Childe the news.

The young fledge rolled onto his back and groaned as Spike’s hand found his hardness and the older vampire began the formal words and act required to complete the Claiming.

What followed was the Childe opening and offering himself body and neck, an act of such wanton submission and adoration that Illyria’s pet mated fully and formally with the other half breed he loved so much. Even across dimensions Illyria knew her pet was happy and that as such would endure for longer. She had affection for the hardy blonde, and wished to visit him from time to time. Now he had a Mate, he was more likely to live long, despite the limitations of his Earthly dimension. She was satisfied.

Spike had marked his Childe, now Claimed, deep and long, the spoken words ensured that the mark would endure for all time. The two consummated their mating over a week of blood exchange and partnering. Illyria felt their joy through the dimensions and was pleased, as were the Powers.

The Powers would wait a time before demanding that the two ensouled vampires step up to their roles as champions some time in the future. The Powers were timeless… ergo, very patient and their ally Illyria had requested a respite for the two. Until their contribution was demanded again the pair would be left to enjoy a peaceful development of their new relationship. Sometime in the near future, the Mated pair would be the most powerful vampires on the planet and useful, but for now they could simply enjoy being and each other.




The End




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