Keep it in the Family


by
Skargasm



Part Eleven

They were obviously waiting for someone important. There could be no other reason for them leaving him alone – no teasing, taunting, no threats. He'd checked the back of his head for gaps in his hair but couldn't find any which he guessed meant no chip – yet. Wouldn't it be typical luck for them to get Spike's chip out only for him to be chipped instead? That is if he survived whatever they had planned. He had no illusions – as a fledging he probably held very little interest to the sickos that ran this place. Unless this had something to do with the hyena? Curling up in a corner, he wrapped his arms around himself and tried to imagine he was home with Spike and Angel. But that didn't help because all he could picture was the two of them lying still as corpses when he had been taken – what if Spike never woke up? And what if they thought he had left of his own free will? Or the absolute worst – what if they just didn't care? They were back together – they had no need of him anymore. Rocking backwards and forwards on his heels, he didn't realise that the sad keening noise was coming from him.


~*~*~*~*~


The headache from hell kept him lying still on the bed, waiting for the elephants dancing around in his skull to take a bow and leave the stage before attempting to sit up. He turned and realised part of the noise was external – Peaches always did snore when he was sleeping on his back. Giving him a nudge with his elbow, Spike pushed himself into a sitting position against the head of the bed, trying to wake himself up. He felt like he'd been laid out with a sledgehammer, and his brain was definitely not firing on all cylinders.

“Gwhr – whzuzzp” Angel muttered, rolling towards Spike and throwing his arm over his waist. Smirking at what a cuddler the big lunk had turned into, Spike stretched his arms over his head yawning. He looked around the room, then tilted his head but he couldn't hear Xander anywhere.

“Oi. OI Peaches, wake up!”

“Get off, Spike, you have sharp elbows!” Grimacing, Angel tried to roll over the other way but Spike shook him by the shoulder.

“Where's Xander?”

“Whu?! Erm – think he went for some blood five minutes ago.”

“Think it's been longer than that, mate, can't smell him at all.” Scrubbing at his eyes, Angel sat up scowling at Spike. His words finally sinking in, Angel looked around the room and realised that he had slept the day through. So where was Xander?

“How you feeling?” Turning to Spike, he gave him a quick once over. Apart from some pallor, he looked none the worse for wear – in fact, with the large amount of Sire's blood in him, Spike was actually looking better than he had in some time.

“'m good, yeah. Feel fine. Dunno if it's worked – ya ain't got a human stashed away for me to eat have ya?”

“Ha ha!” Shoving the sheets off, Angel turned and got up from the bed. He struggled into a pair of jeans, only slowly realising that the black denim he was trying to pull up his legs were definitely not his size.

“Oi!! You're stretching them out – they'll never fit properly now!”

“They never fit properly in the first place – I'm sure spray-painted went out decades ago Spike.” Shoving the too-tight jeans off, he picked up another pair from the chair, checking they were his before pulling them on, jumping up and down twice to shake himself into them comfortably.

“Says the man with no fashion sense at all. So where is he? Couldn't be arsed to stick around to see if I was alright?” Following Angel's example, Spike got to his feet and pulled on his jeans, scowling as he realised that Angel had indeed managed to stretch them. Fine, the Pouf would just have to get him a new pair – no way was he wearing baggy denim, he'd look worse than Xander.

“I don't know. The last thing I remember is telling him to get some food and then I must have fallen asleep. He was really concerned, very aggravated. Maybe he went for a walk to clear his head?” Scratching his chest, Angel walked to the kitchen and opened the fridge. Noting there was only one packet of blood in there, he remembered vaguely that there were some upstairs. Xander had left his bloody mug on the side and hadn't washed it out – he'd have to have a word with him about it, there was no way he was living with two of them acting like pigs. “I'm going up to get some blood.” Walking slowly up the stairs, he stretched. As he got to the top of the stairs, an unfamiliar scent reached him. Sniffing, he tried to identify it but was having no luck. Shifting to his vampire face, he inhaled deeply. There was something familiar about it but he couldn't quite figure it out.

There was no sign of Xander in the foyer, and he walked behind the reception desk where he had stacked the cooler. For a moment his eyes didn't register what he was seeing, then he shouted down the stairs: “Spike!! Get up here.” The cooler of blood was tipped over on it's side, packets lying in disarray on the floor. Regardless of how messy he might be, Xander wouldn't have left it like this.

He sniffed around the kitchen, picking up a myriad of scents that didn't belong.

“Wot?!” Stomping up the stairs, Spike turned into the foyer. “What the fuck?! Angel – can you smell that? It's – it – it smells like gun oil!”

“Gun oil, sweat and an electric discharge.”

“Oh fuck! I've smelt this before.” Walking over to Angel, Spike had gone pale with fright. “The last time I smelt something like this was back in Sunnydale at the Watchers. It was when that Finn bloke, the Slayer's boyfriend was around.”

“Oh my God, do you think Buffy took him?”


~*~*~*~*~


“Hey Will, what did you need me for?” Buffy was feeling slightly grumpy – Riley had said he was coming over to help her patrol but that he couldn't stay afterwards because he had to attend some thing at HQ. Sighing, she looked around the empty shop. She'd been surprised to receive the phone call from Willow asking her to come to the Magic Box – when did she get hold of keys anyhow? - but had contacted Riley and told him to meet her there. It was as good a place as any to start patrol from, and Giles had a couple of new weapons that she wanted to try out that he was being very tight about letting her use. “Oh! You made me jump!”

Willow came out of the kitchen, smiling.

“Sorry, Buff, didn't mean to scare you. Yeah, I wanted your help with some researching if you don't mind. I was looking up a few things – you know we were talking about the truth spell for Xander? And I kinda need a test subject and was hoping you wouldn't mind.”

“You're not gonna ask me any difficult questions are you – you know, like about outfits and stuff? Because we have very different tastes and just because I don't always like what you're wearing doesn't mean it doesn't look good you know?”

“It's okay, no questions like that – promise! Now take a seat, I just need to heat this up a little while longer. And yeah me, I've added it to hot chocolate so it'll taste good too!”

Smiling, Buffy got comfortable at the research table, glad that on this occasion research was going to be confined to drinking hot chocolate – now why couldn't Giles do more research sessions like that? Willow came back bearing a mug that was steaming, and the gorgeous aroma of hot chocolate permeated the room. Accepting the hot drink, she rested it on the table as Willow took the seat opposite her.

“Hey Wills, when did you get keys to here? Or have you heard from Giles?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah Giles lent them to me – no big. Drink up – I don't know if the taste will degenerate if we wait too long.”

“Ok, calm down.” Blowing over the top of the mug, she leaned over, looking at Willow over the top of her drink. “Will – are you alright? I mean, is there any point in doing this if Xander is moving out of Sunnydale?” Whoa!! Willow could give evil looks with the best of them when she wanted to! Avoiding her gaze, Buffy looked around the shop and wondered absently when Giles would be coming back. It was strange going on patrol and not reporting in and she missed him. About to take a sip of her hot chocolate, the phone ringing stopped her, and smiling apologetically at Willow she got up from the table and walked over to the office to pick it up. It was probably Riley...

“Buffy, it's Angel.”

“Oh, hey Angel. What do you want?”

“Ask her what the fuck she think's she's pla - “


“Alright, I know what I'm doing. Sorry, Buffy. I just wondered if you had heard from or seen Xander?”

“Why would you be interested in whether or not I've heard from Xander?? But no, as it happens, he's doing some bigwig thing for his construction company and he hasn't been home for nearly a week. Why?”

“She's fuckin' lying through her teeth...”

“SPIKE!! Will you calm down?”

“Give me the friggin' phone!”

"No - your driving is bad enough as it is!! Buffy, look, I know this might sound very strange, but we think something's happened to him."

"We?? Who's we?"

"Spike."

"Spike's with you? What the heck is going on? And why would you have the bleached menace with you?"

"Look, it's a long story and there isn't time to go into it now. We're on the outskirts of Sunnydale - we tried Revello Drive and your dormitory first. Can you hang on til we get there?"

"Yeah, sure - I guess so. But - "

"Good. See you soon." She looked at the phone, realising that Angel had hung up on her. Now that was just strange, and even bigger wiggins he was with Spike voluntarily?!

"Buffy, what was all that about? Did I hear you mention Xander?" Standing by the door, Willow looked at Buffy questioningly. She wanted Buffy to drink the potion but something involving Xander took precedence, especially if it meant he was coming back to Sunnydale. Maybe she wouldn't have to use the control potion after all.....

"I don't know Will. That was Angel - he's with Spike?!! And they're on their way to Sunnydale."

"What? I don't understand - "

"Nope, me neither. But he and Spike are coming here and it's something to do with Xander." Striding back and forth, Buffy felt agitated. "Look, Willow, I'm going to go work off some of steam - call me when they get here."

"But Buffy, you were going to - "

"Sorry, Will - I'm just not in the mood for truth or dare tonight. Another time ok?" Head down, Buffy walked through to the training room and pulled on some gloves before attacking the punching bag. Seeing Angel always threw her, especially since his rejection of her and going off to LA.

"Dammit" Scowling, Willow stomped back over to the research table, picking up the mug and headed back towards the kitchen. As she turned back the bell over the door rang, and Riley walked in.

"Hey Willow! Is Buffy here?"

"Hi Riley. Yes, she's out back. Listen, Riley - " The bell over the door rang again, and Angel and Spike strode through the door.

"ANGEL!" Riley gasped, going pale. If Angelus was here, then who did they have in a cell at the Initiative, waiting to be unveiled to Maggie tonight?





Part Twelve

“You fuckin' bastard!” The words flew from Spike's mouth as he dived at Riley, knocking the man back into a shelf and choking him. “What the hell have ya done to him?” Banging Riley's head against the wall, he punched the man several times, taking absolutely no notice of the furore around him.

“What the hell – SPIKE!”

“Spike, get off him!”

A blur of movement and only Angel's vampire speed stopped the stake that Buffy was about to thrust into Spike's back.

“What the - !! Angel, let me go – his chip's stopped working!”

“I know.”

“You - “ Frozen in his grasp, Buffy looked at Angel, aghast at this new betrayal.

“SEPARO!” Giles' voice broke into the noise, as he walked through the door and with a single hand gesture separated Spike and Riley forcibly. “Enough!!! Now get back, all of you – we are going to sort this thing out calmly.” Snarling in game-face, Spike allowed Angel to push him towards the research table, crowding him backwards until he was as far away from the others as he could get but with a clear exit to the training room. He didn't want them trapped here if things went badly.

Staggering to his feet with Buffy's help, Riley wiped at the blood dripping sluggishly from the back of his head. He sat down, wincing at the continuing glare from Spike. And he was afraid. He had grudgingly accepted Hostile 17 being around, had not been 'kind' towards it, but now that it was no longer chipped he was remembering all of the insults and put-downs of the last few months. But bigger than that was the fact that to Hos – SPIKE, he was the face of the Initiative and Riley was very afraid that vengeance was on the vampire's mind.

“Now would someone like to tell me what the hell is going on? And Willow, I would prefer it if you didn't throw that drink away – I would like to examine the contents if you don't mind.”

“What?! Giles, I don't understand – why would you - “ Muttering under her breath, she uttered the incantation to the geas.

“Forget it Willow, that no longer works. But believe me, once this latest catastrophe has been dealt with, you are very much next on my list.”

“Giles, what do you mean? Willow, what is Giles going on about?” Standing behind Riley and checking the wound on his head, Buffy looked at Willow in confusion. None of this was making any sense and why did Giles want to examine the drink that Willow had made for her?

“Giles is referring to Willow's predeliction for casting spells on people without their permission. Frankly, I don't give a shit – we just want Xander back and Captain Cardboard over there is going to sort it for us, aren't ya mate?” Spike's voice was heavily sarcastic but the sarcasm did little hide his concern. Lighting a cigarette, he leaned against the counter.

“Riley, what is he talking about?” Stepping back from her boyfriend, Buffy turned and looked at Spike and Angel, and finally Giles. “Giles, I don't understand what's going on here.”

“Willow cast a large number of spells on Xander without his knowledge or permission. And Xander has gone missing and we have good reason to believe the Initiative have taken him.” Angel tried to remain calm, fully aware that Spike was on the verge of violence. It was difficult – there was a large part of him that wanted to commit some pretty hefty violence himself if it meant he got his Childe back sooner.

“But why would the Initiative be interested in Xander? Unless it's about the Hyena possession but why would they be interested in that – that was over years ago. And who would have – no, Riley, please, tell me you didn't tell Professor Walsh about Xander being possessed by the hyena?”

“No, of course I didn't. And I have no idea what these two hostiles are talking about. The unit wouldn't have taken Xander – they don't make mistakes like that.”

“What unit?”

“Are ya fuckin' listening at all Slayer? Your toy soldiers have taken the boy and we want him back. Is that simple enough for ya?”

“Riley – what unit? This isn't making any sense at all.”

“Look, Buffy, things have been difficult with Maggie for some time. She was extremely distressed by the situation with Hostile 17 and the fact that you refused to return him. I – we – look, we thought it might calm things down if we brought her someone else, someone unique.”

“And you thought Xander was a suitable alternative?”

“Oh my fucking God!! They weren't there for the boy – Peaches, they took him thinking it was you!”

Willow stalked over to Spike and shrieked at him: “Why would they think Xander was Angel? What was Xander doing with Angel?”

“Get out of my face before I make you – no chip protecting you now you stupid bitch! All of this shit can wait – we've got to get him and your man Finn is going to help us.”

“I don't understand. My unit called in – CityOp successfully captured a Hostile, a vampire – they've put him in the cells. We're taking Maggie to see it later – we – look, this makes no sense at all.”

“You sent the Initiative after Angel?! Riley, what the hell – I don't understand what is wrong with you. What the hell made you think it would be alright to send soldiers after Angel?”

“Buffy, FOCUS!!! Why would Riley's unit have taken Xander thinking he was Angel? It makes no sense.”

“It makes perfect sense. Xander is a vampire.”


~*~*~*~*~


Once the inevitable Slayer reaction to everything had been dealt with, things calmed down slightly. Buffy was on the floor where Angel had thrown her after she tried to stake Spike for killing Xander. Willow was frozen to the spot, initially horrified to think that Xander had been turned. In the back of her mind, she was trying to think if the re-soulling spell would work on him.

Despite Spike's insistence that they go and get Xander out NOW, the six of them were finally sat around the research table. Angel had explained the circumstances behind Xander's turning, and also that he had arranged for Spike's chip to be deactivated. In a furious whispered conversation, Riley tried to explain to Buffy why he had wanted to get Angel for Professor Walsh – firstly for experimental purposes as the only souled vampire in existence, and secondly because he was jealous and fed up of Buffy always comparing him to Angel.

“I'm sorry Riley, I really am but you shouldn't have done this. It's wrong on so many different levels that I can barely explain it to you.”

“We have to get him out of there – we can't let her experiment on him. I can re-soul him, he can come home – nothing needs to change.” Wringing her hands, Willow was almost speaking to herself.

“You will keep the fuck away from him - ” Spike growled at her at the same time as Angel said “I think you've done more than enough to Xander.”

It was Giles' voice that overrode everyone else's. “The last person who should be trusted with magic is you Willow.”

“What do you mean Giles?” Utterly confused, Buffy turned away from Riley, deliberately moving so that she couldn't even see him. Once more, Willow tried to do the geas incantation, and Giles winced before replying.

“I mean that Willow has been using magic against me, against Xander and I think probably you for a good number of years, all without appropriate supervision or permission, and it needs to stop. And there really is no point in trying that spell again Willow – I have had protection shields cast and you won't be able to make me forget or ignore things ever again.”

“It's not what you think – I was doing it to keep us strong and together.”

“Enough Willow. We will deal with you later. We only have the rest of the night to rescue Xander and he is the priority now.”


~*~*~*~*~


He knew the blood was drugged but he had to hope that all of the Sire's blood he had drank, and the bags just before being taken were enough to counteract any effects. For the longest time he'd been in a very dark place – convinced that he would die here in this cold, surgical environment. But slowly, so slowly that he barely realised it was happening, a sense of well-being overtook him. He felt stronger, more capable. And he realised what it was. He could feel his Sire was closer, that Angel (and that meant Spike) had come for him. Regardless of the locked doors, he was determined that when his Sire and his lover came for him, he would not be cowering in a corner. It was time these Initiative clowns realised that you didn't mess with the House of Aurelius.





Part Thirteen

The feel of Angel as he pushed himself in deep made Xander moan, the sound rumbling through his chest as he shifted his face restlessly on the pillow. There were no words to describe how he was feeling, knees on the bed, ass in the air with only a pillow to muffle his cries: the sparks behind his eyes each time Angel brushed against his prostate, the harsh hands holding his hips in place , leaving bruises as he pumped himself in and out of Xander. Pushing his hips back in encouragement, Xander cried out as Spike shuffled down the bed in front of him, taking his leaking cock into his mouth and sucking strongly. Too many sensations at once, bombarding his system so that he could barely think – pushing back into the feel of Angel pressing deep and hard, forward into the wet, tight tunnel of Spike in front – he was going mad with the pleasure.

”It's interesting the initial lack of response to stimuli – almost as though it's divorced itself from the pain. That is if you believe all that crap about them being able to feel. Finn did well arranging for this one to be brought in. I wonder if Professor Walsh will want to dissect - “

Tossing his head back, he tilted it to one side, silently encouraging Angel to sink his fangs into his turning scar and sip the rich taste of Childe's blood. The pop of skin bursting under the points, the slice as those razor sharp teeth pressed in, and then glorious suction making him light-headed. Balancing carefully one one arm, he reached down....

”It doesn't seem that old though. I thought Finn said this one was over 200 years old?”


….and grasped Spike's head, thrusting his hips forward so that he was fucking that pouting pink mouth. A scream was yanked from him as Spike rolled his eyes up to look directly into his gaze, then changed into his vampiric guise and slid his fangs into the base of his cock. It was enough, more than enough, to roll his eyes back in his head, the rhythm of his hips stuttering brokenly as the wave of pleasure broke over him and he screamed out loud again and again.

”I don't think it's that old – the older ones don't scream as easily as this one”

”You call this easy? God, Rogers, we've peeled half the skin from it's back – I think old or not, that would make me scream!”

“Yeah, but you're human. This is a demon. You'd expect it to be hardier than this somehow. Come on, let's get these samples over to the lab.”

“What should we do with this?”

“A couple of the 'minions' are due shortly – they can take it back to it's cell.”

“Hee hee – minions, good one!!”



~*~*~*~*~


For a plan put together so quickly, it was actually quite workable. Riley was due back to the Initiative anyway, and Buffy's access hadn't been revoked as yet. Angel and Spike were to go in as captives which would hopefully enable them to head straight for the inner sanctum – everyone knew how much Walsh wanted Hostile 17 returned, and an additional Master Vampire was always good for research. Giles and Willow were staying in the vehicle and using the laptop to generate a diversion. They didn't need any schematics to the underground research facility or details as to where the cells were – Riley's passwords had pretty high access, and they should be high enough to get them to where Xander was being held.

Willow had suggested a locator spell but a cutting look from Giles was enough to shut her up, and even Buffy had scowled at her before stating clearly: “Willow, we know where he is generally – it's where he is specifically that would help us now.” Nodding, Willow ducked her head and returned to the laptop, avoiding the disappointed gazes of Buffy and Riley, and the coldly furious looks from Angel, Giles and Spike. None of them seemed to understand that she had been acting in all of their best interests, that she hadn't done any of it for selfish reasons. The thought of her Xander being a vampire kept catching her off guard, and her eyes were red and swollen from crying. The tears flowed faster when she considered where he was now – who knew what those evil soldiers were doing to him.

Very aware that the night-time hours were passing them by, the drive to the campus was accomplished in a determined silence: the tension between Buffy and Riley was palpable, Giles was giving Angel a run for his money in the brooding department whilst Willow sat quietly in the back of the car. Angel and Spike had driven themselves and their disgust with the entire situation was obvious. Angel had kept himself in between Spike and Riley as much as possible, aware as they all were that now he was unleashed Spike had the capability to put Riley in his place - only his role in the plan to rescue Xander keeping him alive, or at least safe from attempted murder.

Gathered outside the concealed entrance, Giles turned to each of them.

“No heroics. In, get Xander and get out. Are we clear?” They each nodded agreement and then Angel and Spike moved ahead of Buffy and Riley and disappeared into the Initiative. Willow gulped and looked at Giles. “Back to the car Willow, let's make sure they have all of the diversion they need. And perhaps, yes perhaps it might be time for that little chat...”


~*~*~*~*~


They hadn't returned his clothes when they threw him back into his cell, and wincing with the pain from his back Xander sat against the wall, knees drawn up to his chest. He was happy in his head, refusing to let them see him or touch him. They had made him scream with the physical pain but that was nothing really – he was used to physical pain: from his father's fists, from his patrols in the early days. Mentally, he was strong. They wouldn't break him – he wouldn't give them the satisfaction. Rubbing the tears from his eyes with the palms of his hands, he tried to tune back into that place in his head. But something kept getting in the way – like some weird tingling of his skin, a prickling sensation that made him feel itchy. Nerd-wise he would describe it as his spidey sense tingling, but fat lot of good that had done him since he still got tasered by the Initiative. What the hell.....

….the noise from the other cells was escalating - something was going on out there. Dragging himself to his feet, Xander walked towards the front of his cell. And realised why his skin was tingling and he felt itchy. Striding down the corridor like they owned the place were Spike and Angel with their trademark billowing dusters and arrogant struts. In spite of the pain of his back, the fear that he had worked so hard to push away and refused to acknowledge, tears of relief pricked his eyes. Because they had come for him.


~*~*~*~*~


“If you're leading us on a wild goose chase, boy, there is nowhere on this earth that will keep you safe from me!”

“Give it a rest Spike!” Buffy growled at him, although part of her did wonder if she trusted Riley to do what he said he would do – lead them in and out safely. What if – No, she refused to even consider it.

“'kin hell Slayer, can you believe some of the demons they got in here? Even you know half of this lot ain't dangerous. So what does that tell ya about your precious army boys? That maybe they're not in this just to keep the world safe for puppies and kittens and happy meals?”

“If you don't shut your mouth - “

“Spike!” Angel growled at him under his breath, even though part of him thought Spike was only saying out loud what he had been thinking. Buffy could be so incredibly blind when it suited her, and blinkered about so many things. But surely even she could see that she was going to have to do something about the Initiative and he didn't mean sign up for full membership.

“How much further Riley?”

“Not far. You know, you guys could at least pretend to be my prisoners – you know, maintain the illusion. If there are any cameras on us at all, they're going to pick up on that pretty quickly.”

“Never gonna be your prisoner again Capt'n Cardboard. And we all know why there ain't no cameras down here don't we?? Don't look, don't tell right? Some of your lot probably decided to try out the demon merchandise and no one wants that on camera do they?” Almost snarling in Riley's face, Spike backed him up until his back hit one of the glass doors. Wincing at Spike's perceptiveness, because even though he had never taken part in it Riley knew those sorts of things had happened down here, he turned away.

“Have Giles and Willow checked in yet?” Sniffing disdainfully at Riley changing the subject so blatantly, Spike sneered and walked back beside Angel. The sooner they got their boy and got out of there, the better as far as he was concerned. This place made his skin crawl.

“No, hang on.” Walking off to one side and trying to avoid seeing some of the pitiful looking demons in the glass cages, Buffy clicked the two-way radio in the pre-arranged signal.

“ - rely hear you, over.” Willow's voice came over around static, but they had been worried their cheap radios wouldn't work at all so it was a relief.

“Hadn't said anything yet Will. Not far – are you ready with our diversion? Over.”

“Have you found him? Oh thank god!! Is it ok – well apart from being a vampire and everything of course. But they haven't hurt him too muc -” There was the sounds of scuffles and Buffy could clearly hear Giles say to Willow : ”Give me that!” before she heard her Watcher over the line.

“Buffy, we're ready when you are. Click three times when you have reached Xander's cell – we're ready with a diversion and Willow believes she can unlock specific cage doors remotely if Riley's access no longer works.”

“Right – thanks Giles.” She looked over at the other three. “Ready whenever we are.”

Nodding, Angel and Spike continued down the corridor, concentrating solely on reaching Xander. Riley, Willow, Buffy – they could all go to hell, or at least wait until they knew he was safe.

“He's down here.” Head raised, Angel's eyes bled to gold as he caught the sense of his Childe. At the same time, Spike shifted and it was obvious he too had somehow locked onto Xander. Buffy and Riley were running to keep up as the two vampires headed off down the corridor swiftly, trusting in and following their connection. As the four of them ran, some of the inhabitants of the cells woke up and got agitated and soon there was a cacophony of noise as they battered on the cell doors, begging to be set free. Until Spike and Angel reached a cell and froze hands reaching out and touching the glass. Finally catching up with them, Buffy and Riley stopped dead in their tracks as they watched. Inside the cell, a naked Xander had his hands pressed to the glass, one to each vampire. Eyes a dark gold, ridges and fangs to the fore, even they could see he presented a feral but attractive image. A viewpoint that was obviously shared by both Angel and Spike as they pressed themselves against the cell, crooning and purring encouragement and love to the quietly weeping vampire.

As they moved closer they could see some of the damage that had been done to him: the marks of skin having been peeled from his back, bruises on his face, neck and arms showed the signs of rough-handling and they could see raw wounds around his wrists and ankles clearly showing where he had been bound tightly. Tears springing to her eyes, Buffy turned away, hiding her face in Riley's chest. Riley was struck dumb, for the first time truly seeing what the Initiative did was wrong – this was his friend, regardless of the fangs and the ridges. Another souled vampire, who loved and cared and experienced all the same emotion as he had a week previously. And worse still, he saw Spike and Angel, saw the depth of their pain as well as (part of) the height of their joy at seeing Xander alive again and he realised he could never view demons the same away again.

“Don't just stand there – get 'im the fuck outta there!”





Part Fourteen

“My damn codes won't work!” Panicking, Riley entered the door code again, very conscious of the two vampires growling next to him.

“For fuck's sake – if you're playing - ”

“I'm not, believe me!! I want him out just as much as you do!! I don't know why it isn't working..”

Buffy pulled out the radio, and clicked it three times. There wasn't time to figure out why Riley's codes weren't working – they needed to get Xander out now. She was so weirded out – not by his nakedness (she was trying very hard not to look below the waist) but by his vampire face. The one time they had seen Vamp!Xander he hadn't been like this – he hadn't been their Xander. But without a doubt, the vampire standing behind the strengthened glass, keening quietly, was their Xander. For a few moments, there was nothing, then she heard Giles' voice over the radio.

“Stand back from the doors.”

“Giles says we need to stand back – Angel, Spike, come on, pull back. Xander, we need you to move back ok? Please, honey, just take a few steps back – we're not leaving you, I promise.” Inwardly she felt shaken – since when was she the responsible, reassuring one – but she didn't let that show, ushering Spike and Angel back from the door. There was a buzzing noise and the air was charged, then the sound of doors clicking. Doors plural. “Oh my God, she's opened all of them!”

“What?” Stunned Riley checked down the corridor – Buffy was right, every single door was slowly moving open. They had definitely run out of time. Angel and Spike moved swiftly into Xander's cell, Angel whipping off his coat and helping the man into it, wincing at the sight of the ruin that was his back.

“Come on, Pet – let's go home yeah? We'll take care of ya – promise.” Angel and Spike took a side each, draping Xander's arms around their shoulders and helping him out of the cell.

“Knew you'd come.” The words were slurred, Xander's head drooping to one side. He felt exhausted everything catching up with him now that he was no longer alone.

“Of course we've come for you Xander – once we knew what had happened – Oh!” Buffy realised he wasn't talking to her – he was speaking to Spike and Angel. But why? Apart from the vamp thing, why would Xander expect them to come for him and not Buffy? Shaking her head – refusing to think about that now, she turned to Riley. “We need to go – we don't have much daylight left, and who knows what's going to happen when the inmates realise that the cage doors are open?” Nodding, Riley led the way down the corridor, warily looking from left to right at the inmates of various cells. So far, none of them seemed to have realised the doors were unlocked, but it wouldn't be long.

Moving as quickly as they could, they retraced their steps heading out. Riley so didn't want to run into any of his men or Walsh – there was no way he could explain what was happening. So far, they had been incredibly lucky – if what had happened to Xander could be seen as lucky – but who knew how long that would hold. He turned a few times to be sure the others were keeping up, his gaze trapped by the care Spike and Angel were taking as they all but carried Xander with them. How long before Buffy realised the bond between the three of them wasn't just that of vampires but of lovers? Please, God, let it happen after they had got out of there.

“FINN! What the fuck?!” Forest appeared in front of Riley, shock all over his face. Without thinking, Riley hauled off and punched him in the face, dropping him in his tracks. There wasn't time for explanations, but there was no way he was leaving his comrade behind. Heaving Forest up, he pulled him over his shoulder and kept moving. One quick glance behind showed the inmates had realised the cells were open, heads peeking out of cells to check whether it was a trap or not. Double-time needed now. He broke into a trot, sweating slightly beneath Forest's weight. They reached a cross-way, and he realised he had a choice to make. He could either go left with Buffy and the vampires, get them to safety or he could go right, warn his unit that the cells were open and hopefully get them out before things went even more wrong. He hesitated, looking both ways.

“S'okay mate – we'll take it from here. You go warn your friends.” Shocked, Riley looked into Spike's face. He had never expected the vampire to understand his dilemma, had envisioned he would be threatened with his life if he didn't get them out. “Whatever I think of 'em, they're your family. We've got our boy – we're out of here.” Nodding at Riley once, Spike turned with Angel and moved to the left picking up the pace until they were almost sprinting. Stunned, Riley looked after them.

“Riley. RILEY!! Look I – there isn't time to – dammit! Look, let me know you get out alright please? And maybe – after we can talk, ok?” Looking down at Buffy, he nodded. It was more than he had expected, more than he deserved.

“Thank you. Stay safe.” Unsure, they looked at each other – both wishing the other would make a move, neither wanting to risk rejection. The moment passed, and Buffy turned to look after the quickly disappearing vampires.

“I better go. Good luck.” She took off at a run, blonde hair flying behind her, and shaking his head once more to try to clear it, Riley turned to the right and started moving. He needed to get up to command central and get everyone out – if Willow really had opened every single door there would be a bloodbath if they didn't get all of the doctors and soldiers out quick-smart.


~*~*~*~*~


“Get him in the car.”

“He's coming with us Slayer.”

“What the - “

“Buffy!! Angel, Spike – please bring Xander to my flat. I have some supplies of blood there, and you won't make it back to LA before sunrise. Please – I promise you, he won't come to harm.” Giles voice was calm, and the three of them nodded almost automatically – it made sense.

“Giles – what's wrong with Willow?” Worried, Buffy looked into the back of Giles' car where Willow was slumped over, completely unconscious.

“It took a lot out of her, doing that spell – she's just sleeping it off.” She nodded, but there was something about the way Giles' avoided her gaze that made her wonder. “Let's make a move.”

Climbing into the back of Angel's car, Spike accepted the burden of Xander's limp body, the man having given in to exhaustion and basically passed out.

“We really going to the Watcher's place?” Angel sighed as he put the key into the ignition, then turned to Spike.

“I think it would be a good idea. Get this over and done with so we can go home and not have to worry about them coming and upsetting him. God, I can't imagine how he felt in there.”

“I can.” Voice subdued, Spike leaned over Xander, stroking his hair back from his face gently.

“God, Spike, I'm sorry! I didn't even ask if you were ok going in there – I wasn't thinking straight, I - “

“There was no way I wasn't gonna help get him out. 'Sides, you gave me back my bite – not scared of them anymore.” Smiling sweetly, Angel turned back round and got moving – he got the feeling it wasn't going to be restful at Giles' house but there was stuff that needed to be said, once and for all.





Part Fifteen

“He's asleep.” Sitting down wearily, Angel looked at Buffy, Giles and Willow who were all looking at him expectantly. “Spike's staying with him – in case of nightmares.” Giles nodded understandingly and passed Angel a mug of heated blood. Sipping at it, Angel sighed again, appreciating the warmth that flowed through him.

“I don't understand any of this and I think I've been really really patient, but would someone please tell me what the hell is going on? Giles – you disappeared and came back all Ripper-like; Angel – you and Spike are all over Xander like a rash when I know for a fact you hated him and he hates vampires. And Willow – I just don't get it, what is everyone going on about with spells and stuff?” Jumping to her feet, Buffy paced up and down in an agitated fashion.

“Right, well where would you like me to begin? I believe – and please correct me if I'm wrong here – that Xander no longer hates vampires. I'd go so far as to say he hasn't hated them in quite some time and we have been slightly blinded by our own feelings towards Spike and as such have missed how he feels about him. I also think that these er, feelings, have grown to include Angel. Would that be a correct estimation?” Eyes wide, Angel nodded – he hadn't expected Giles to be so understanding or so intuitive, and the Watcher went up in his estimation.

“Huh?” Brow wrinkled, Buffy remained clueless. Sighing, Angel realised it was going to take bluntness.

“Xander, Spike and I are in a relationship. Together. All of us.” For several moments, nothing, then her face wrinkled and he could have mouthed along with her when she said: “Ewwwww!!! I mean, oh my God!”

“Which part would be particularly eww Buffy? The fact that Xander is either gay or bisexual, or his relationship with Angel and Spike?” Giles' voice was stern, and once more Angel looked at the man. It would seem that his Ripper past included more that they had all realised.

“It's just – I mean, Xander's not gay for a start. And Spike – that's huge with the ewwwing. And then the three of you is just – I mean, Angel, you're not gay. Well you weren't. Or oh my God, was I some sort of camouflage?”

“Buffy, for a grown woman you can be incredibly childish on occasion. Spike and I do not subscribe to human labels – gay, straight – there is simply attraction. And there's nothing wrong with Spike.”

“Willow – back me up here will ya?” Willow raised her head, her dazed facial expression assuring Buffy that she would be no help whatsoever. “Just – GOD!!! What is going on?”

“Physically – how is he? I saw some of the damage that they did to him. Am I right that blood will heal most of that? Did they manage to install a chip or anything?” Turning once more to Giles, relieved to not have to face Buffy's prejudices, Angel happily changed the subject.

“”Physically it would appear that what we saw was the extent of what they did to him. It was merely preliminary testing that they did – from what Xander recalls Walsh was due to see him later and then things would have got a lot heavier. No chip, thank God. Mentally, I don't know – mentally he seems quite withdrawn, and even through the Sire/Childe link I'm finding it difficult to communicate with him.”

They all sat in silence, letting the potential long-term consequences of Xander's suffering sink in. Unwilling to let it go, Buffy turned once more to her friend.

“Willow – did you know Xander was gay?”

“Yes. OH!” Shocked at what had come out of her mouth, Willow looked at the three of them.

“What's wrong?”

“I didn't mean to say that.”

“Why not?”

“Because I stopped him. Oh my God, what is going on?” Slapping her hands over her mouth, Willow looked frantically around.

“Ah, I see it's taken effect.” Giles sat in the nearby armchair, steadily gazing at Willow.

“What's taken effect?”

“I put a truth geas on Willow after she did the spell at the Initiative. It's taken this long to take effect.”

“What the hell? Giles – why would you do something like that?”

“Because I think it's the only way we're going to get the truth out of Willow about all of the magic she's done on people without their consent.”


~*~*~*~*~


Wrapped around the larger body, carding his hands through the shaggy dark hair, Spike purred. Xander was limp in his embrace but he knew he wasn't asleep.

“Ya gonna talk to me?”

“Hmm?”

“I said, are ya gonna talk to me? 'Tis obvious that there's something going on in that brain o'yours. Wanna share?” Sighing heavily, Xander rolled out of Spike's embrace, wincing as the fresh skin on his back was tugged by his movements. He blinked silently in the darkness, aware of Spike's patient gaze.

“You came for me.” His voice was low

“Yes.”

“You came for me.”

“Er, yeah, thought we'd established that.”

“You had each other – you didn't need me anymore. But you came for me – risked being captured again, risked everything and you came for me.” Stunned, Spike realised that Xander hadn't expected them to bother.

“Don't ya know how we feel about you??” Sitting up, Spike ran his hands through his hair. Of course Xander didn't know – when had there been time to tell him? “Xander – we love you, yeah? Angel wasn't messing with ya – he wants us, the three of us, to be together. There was no way in hell we weren't coming for you. We love you. I love you.” Looking up at Spike, Xander finally accepted that it really was true. Spike and Angel loved him. They really did. A single tear slid down his cheek, and cursing Spike slid down the bed again and pulled him into his arms. Laying kisses all over his face, he stroked his hair back. “I love you. Every single irritating inch of ya – belongs to me, belongs to the Pouf. You're ours – for now, for always, yeah? Gonna love you for always. What's it gonna take for you to believe that?”

“I don't know – I – I, no-one's ever really loved me before.” Sniffling, Xander pushed his head into Spike's chest in an attempt to hide. Refusing to let him do so, Spike tugged at his hair until his head came back, then looked him dead in the eye.

“Well I do. And when I love someone it's for keeps. I don't leave – ever. If I have to fuck you every day of the next decade to get it through to you, then that's what I'll do.” Snorting through his tears, Xander smiled. Trust Spike to bring it to that level – want to show you love someone but can't do the eviscerating thing? Sex would do it.

“Well – I guess that might convince me.” Peering up at Spike through his lashes, he watched as lust took over the sharp, even features.

“Want me to start now?” Blushing, Xander couldn't prevent the instinctive jerk his body made towards Spike's, arousal racing through him as his mind started to accept that he was alive, out of the Initiative and he was loved. By this gorgeous looking vampire who held him in his arms – loved and wanted.

“We can't – they'll hear us.”

“You'll just have to try and keep quiet then won't you?” Leaning forward, Spike took Xander's mouth in a deep kiss, tugging his body closer and throwing his leg over Xander's hip. Xander moaned and pressed himself closer, suddenly desperately in need of this – life-affirming, love affirming – he wanted to be as close to Spike as he could get. “Ssshhh, can't moan too loud – don't want them all to hear us do you?” His hips jerked at the thought of Giles, Buffy and Willow hearing him and Spike making love, a hitherto unknown kink unravelling as he wondered how much they would be able to hear. “Oooh, like that idea do you?? Want me to see how loud I can make you moan?”

“Oh fuck, Spike!” There were suddenly cool hands reaching into the back of his boxer shorts, squeezing his ass and pulling him closer, long fingers slipping between his cheeks and sliding/pressing over the tight pucker of his ass. Undulating his hips, Spike pulled him closer as he wriggled one finger into the tight hole, pushing in forcefully and pulling a grunt from Xander as he pressed steadily against the walls. Taking his mouth again, Spike pulled him closer with arms and legs, another finger digging in and twisting around.

“Want me to make you scream Pet? Let the world know you're alive and kicking, that they didn't beat ya? Know how ya feel – know how scary it is in there. Want me to remind you that you made it out in one piece? Push and dig and force my way in so you can feel it deep in your guts, know that I'm with ya, that you're not alone?”

“Oh fuck, yeah, God please please please.” Lost in Spike's voice, realising that Spike truly knew how he felt about the Initiative, about being left behind, being unloved, he relaxed and let himself go, trusting that Spike would keep him safe, now and always. Nodding, Spike rolled him over onto his stomach, pressing down on him and covering his body with his own. Opening his legs, moaning at the feel of Spike's hardness digging into his ass as he thrust his hips backwards, Xander gave himself over to his lover.


~*~*~*~*~


The loud moan from upstairs distracted them momentarily, but the three of them chose to ignore it as they continued to question Willow. Every question they had asked, she had answered. Unwillingly but truthfully. Spells on her parents to keep them out of her way, although they were hardly needed as the Rosenberg's were happier away from Sunnydale. The geas on Giles to stop him interfering in her learning what she wanted to learn. Her first spells on Xander – basic cosmetic spells that grew until she was able to cast the spell on him to adjust his sexual orientation.

“Oh God, Willow, how could you?!” Up until that point, Buffy had remained quiet, although she got paler and paler the more questions Willow answered.

“I did it for him! Do you have any idea what his father would have done if he found out Xander was gay? He was already hitting him – Oh God, I swore to him I would never tell anyone that and now you've made me!”

“You did it for him? You evil - “

“Angel – she cannot lie. Willow, was it just for Xander?” Flushing deeply, she shook her head.

“No. I – part of it honestly was to protect him from his father. But part of it was because I didn't want him and Jesse to partner off and leave me. And I thought I was a bit in love with Xander and it broke my heart to think I would never have a chance with him. But I swear, I didn't realise it was still working – well not really, cos I kinda stopped thinking about it.”

“Willow – Willow look at me. You've put spells on Xander and, God I hate to believe it but you've put spells on Giles. What about me - what spells have you put on me? And what was in that mug of chocolate you made me earlier?”




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