From Out of Nowhere


by
Sukiblue



Part 5
The Devil You Know


Xander stared wide eyed at his lover.  It never failed to amaze him how quickly things deteriorated from “Oooh, that can’t be good.” to drop dead, out of control, seriously grim.

“Missing? What do you mean missing? How can Angel be missing?” Xander’s tone had turned high pitched and panicked.

“I don’t bloody know!” Spike snapped.

Xander lower his eyes to the floor and took a step back, a flash of hurt and dejection streaking across his face.

“Luv.” Spike pulled Xander back towards him and placed a chaste kiss onto his temple.  He ran his fingers through his hair and lifted his chin.  “Sorry, didn’t mean to snap...”

“It’s okay.  I’m sorry too.  I’m just freaking out.”

“Yeah,” Spike agreed. “Me too.”

Giles straightened his glasses. “What’s happened, Spike?”

“Cordy said that Angel left five days ago, he was due to meet a Puggli demon down in Timberton. He should have been back a couple of nights ago. He never showed. He’s not bloody called or nothing.”

“Gods!” cried Willow. “That’s not like him at all!”

“What are we going to do?” Xander asked..

“I’m gonna go look for him.”

Xander opened his mouth to speak but found that it was too difficult with so many different things that were aching to leak from his brain and spill from his lips.  He didn’t want Spike to go.  He was worried about this so called man that was coming for them in less than seven hours, but he was worried for Angel too.  

Xander resigned himself to the fact that Spike needed to do whatever he could to find his Sire. Maybe he would let him tag along. Xander opened his mouth again.

“Spike…?”

Spike had heard Xander’s brain whirling and he knew his lover well enough to be able to guess what was on his mind.

“I’m going Timberton. Cordelia gave me Angel’s motel details.  I can be there and back in a couple of hours and no, you can’t come.” He turned to face the rest of the room. “None of you can.  I wanna go by myself. Buffy? I want you to stay with Xan. The rest of you can bugger off and get some sleep.  Be back here at two in case our unknown visitor makes an appearance.”

Everybody nodded their agreement.  Spike was tightly wound and any debate was likely to send him into fiery rage.

“You will be back soon?” Xander asked

“Course, luv, before you know it. Don’t worry, pet, Gonna find Angel and together we’re gonna come back and tell this mysterious bloke to fuck the hell off. Ain’t no-one gonna hurt us.”

Xander sighed.  He had the feeling that tonight would be an extremely long night. He leant in and gave his lover a goodbye kiss that he hoped would bring him back quicker.

“Be careful.”

“When am I ever not?

“Shall I answer that?”

Spike pretended to think about it. “Naah, best not.” He gave his lover a jokey smile that held so much more than just humour. “See you in a couple of hours.  Stay here and stay safe.” He turned to Buffy. “You’d better keep him safe, Slayer, or you and me are gonna fall out.”

“Aww, don’t want that, blondie.  Consider it done. And Spike?…Please bring back Angel.”

“Angel will be here before you know it. I promise.”

With a swish of his duster, Spike was gone.


~*~*~*~*~


The highway was long, straight and deserted and Spike hurtled along it at a speed that he would not have dared if Xander had been in the car with him.  He gripped tightly at the steering wheel and let his mind drift to places elsewhere.  

This should not be happening.  This was not how things should be.  They were family, him, Xander and Angel.  How could Angel have been missing for two nights without his family knowing?  Spike growled, he had only just found his Sire again after such a long separation and there was no way that he was going to lose him again now.  When things were back to normal, and they would be, the three of them were going to sit down and have a little chat about what being a family really meant.

Spike glared at the open road and he frowned as the coloured lights of a motel came into view. The Sleepy Rider. As Spike pulled into the tiny car park, he wondered what an earth had possessed his Sire to rough it in such a sleazy, piece of shit place.

Spike stepped out of the car and unscrewed a piece of paper from his pocket.  Room 12.  He looked around at the chalets lined up in front of him and spotted the room number easily.  He didn’t try the door to see if it was locked; instead he gave it one hard kick, and slammed it open.  Stalking straight in, he faltered slightly at the sight of the demolished room. It had been turned upside down. Angel’s belongings were shredded and scattered everywhere. But Spike had no time to even comprehend what could have possibly happened here as he felt a sharp blow to the back of his head and his world abruptly fell into darkness.


~*~*~*~*~


“What time is it now?”

“Nearly two am.  That would be only two minutes later than the last time you asked.”

“Buffy! Can you drop the playful sarcasm? Spike should have been back hours ago and also? The seven hours is just about up, the guy the Trable Muckers told us about? Well, he’s probably due to drop by anytime now and I doubt very much that they were just talking about the pizza delivery guy!”

“Xander, calm down.  Think about it.  It’s probably good that Spike’s not back, it means he’s on to something.  He’s probably on his way back with Angel as we speak. And as for this other dude? Well, even if he actually does exist and the Pixies weren’t playing a mischievous and cruel little joke, then he’s got to come through me.  Not an easy task Xan-man, as I’m sure you are aware.”

Xander felt himself relax slightly at Buffy’s confident words.

“Look, you go make some coffee, I’m going to put on a DVD and together we'll watch it and not think about Spike, Angel or any nasties, yeah?

“Yeah, okay.” Xander sighed and went into the kitchen to make the coffee.  He tried desperately to close his mind to the any number of things that could have happened to his lover or to his…Xander paused with a spoon of sugar hovering over one of the mugs.  What was Angel to him? Sure Angel was Spike’s Sire, but what about him?  Xander was bound by blood to older vampire, surely that should have some sort of title? He nodded inwardly.  He would remember to ask Angel when he next saw him.  Xander’s breath hitched and he exhaled a slow shaky breath.  What if he never got the chance to see Angel again?

Xander was pulled from his dark fears by the sound of a quiet thud coming from the other room and he walked cautiously into the living room to check it out. What had that klutz of a Slayer dropped now?

“Buffy? Where’d you go? Buffster?”

Xander looked down at the DVD player; the tray was left open and the movie they were going to watch sat half in and half out of its box. Out of the corner of his eye, Xander saw a tall dark figure walk silently in from the hall. He spun around to face it and his heart raced as he recognised the man that was now leaning against the door frame.  The man held his arms open in a wide welcoming gesture and Xander ran straight into them, hugging tightly at the hard cold hard body. He nuzzled into the man’s chest, breathing in his scent, before pulling away slightly and staring into eyes that were as dark as his own.

“Angel.”

The vampire gripped the tops of Xander’s arms and Xander drew in a sharp breath at the burning pain of the strong, icy fingertips.

The man shifted into his gameface and slowly shook his head. “Try again, boy.”

Xander paled and he felt like he wanted to vomit. “Angelus,” he whispered.

“Very good. And they say you’re not a bright boy.  Well, don’t they just have egg on their faces.”

“Angelus, what are you…?”

Angelus placed a single finger over Xander’s lips. “Hush, child.  We are going to sit down and wait for your lover to come back. Then, the fun will begin.”


~*~*~*~*~


The room spun around in dramatic circles and Spike squinted and tried to remember where he was.  He seemed to be on the floor staring up at a dancing ceiling.  So wherever he was, it couldn’t be good.

He was grabbed and hauled to his feet and the room continued to dance at a different angle.  Spike finally managed to focus and was appalled to find that he had been clobbered and knocked out by a Puggli demon.

“What the fuck?” Spike asked.

“S-Silence, vampire.  W-we a-ask the questions.”

Spike quirked an eyebrow. “Is that right? What do you want to ask, hmm?”

The huge pink, spotty demons tensed at the vampire’s cool calm words.  Perhaps they could smell their own death somewhere in the very near future “Where is Angel?” one asked, cautiously.

Spike calmly lit a slightly bent cigarette and blew out a long stream of smoke before he answered. “Funny, that. I was just about to ask the same thing.  I’m guessing he came here to meet you.  Am I right?”

“Yes.  We had a business deal to discuss with him.”

“Business? Now, what sort of business could a couple of ugly, lumpy lowlifes like you, offer my Sire?”

Sire? Ooops. The taller Puggli stepped back.  In truth, neither of the demons felt quite so cocky now that Spike was no longer blacked out on the floor.  Damn vamps and their quick recovery time.

“We have some tomes that Angel is interested in.  Tomes that were long ago lost and thought to be gone forever. We wanted to arrange a trade.”

“For what?” Spike growled.

“In thanks for us giving him the tomes, we only asked that Angel retrieve an artefact for us.”

“What artefact?”

“T-That is none of your business, vampire.”

Spike snatched at the Puggli.  He pulled it closer and head-butted the creature in the face, smiling at the sickening crunch of bones. The other demon bore in on him and swung a powerful arm at his head.  Spike ducked and avoided the blow easily, laughing all the while at the Puggli’s feeble fighting skills. He quickly flipped up the heal of his palm with graceful precision and struck the demon’s chin, snapping its head backwards with surprising force.  

Both creatures started to climb to their feet and Spike stopped them with a firm hand in the air.

“No, no, boys. Don’t get up, not on account of me.” Spike reached down to the floor and picked up his cigarette, dusting off tiny pieces of fluff.

“Now, where was we? Oh yeah, you were about to tell me about an artefact.”

The two demons looked at each other. “We were?”

Spike nodded, calmness completely restored.

“Oh yeah! Of course we were!”

“We wanted Angel to get us the eye of Caldra.”

Spike laughed. “You must be bloody joking! Angel would never agree to that!”

The demon lowered its eyes and cringed in preparation for the death that they were about to know.  “We know…But Angelus would.”

Spike narrowed his eyes and crunched up his cigarette in his hand. “You lured him here and took away his soul.” It was not a question.

“Yes, Angelus is the only one that can help us retrieve the eye.”

“Why?”

“Because it was Angel that hid it.”

“And what happened here?”

“Angelus, he refused to help us still.  He said that he had better things to do now that he was feeling more like his old self.  He was laughing and then he took off, he didn’t even take the books….”

The other Puggli placed a plump hand onto its friend's shoulder to get his attention. “Err, he’s gone.”

The babbling demon looked up and sighed out his relief. “Larry, we can only thank the gods that these vamps don’t say proper goodbyes.”


~*~*~*~*~


“What have you done with Buffy?” Xander asked, straining to keep his voice steady.

“Oh she’s in the hall.  Don’t worry, she’s just sleeping. Actually that reminds me, I’d best put her outside; don’t want her waking up and spoiling all the fun.”

Xander was almost too afraid to ask. “You’re not going to kill her?”

He shivered as Angel stroked a surprisingly gentle hand down his cheek.

“No, not just now. Why don’t we call it a gift? A gift from me to you, for being such a good boy. Now go and sit on the couch while I take your friend outside.”

Angelus moved towards the hall to move Buffy’s unconscious body.  He turned around once to face Xander who was still standing in exactly the same place.

“I thought I told you to sit.” His voice was cold and devoid of any detectable emotion. “Shall I take back my gift?”

Xander immediately started to walk backwards towards the couch. “No! please.  I’m sorry.  I’m going!”

Angelus turned back around and approached Buffy’s body.  As he lifted her up, the Slayer groaned.  Angelus quickly heaved her up and opened the front door.

“Godess! What’s happened to Buffy? Is Xander okay? Did someone come already? Who was it, Angel?”

“DEAR LORD!” Angelus shouted with some amount of amusement in his voice. “Do you people ever stop babbling?”

“Angel? What’s the matter? What’s happened?”

Angelus frowned. “Clearly not,” he said, still referring to the babbling. “Okay, Scoobies here’s the deal. I got rid of my pesky soul again. I knocked out Buffy and was just about to dump her body in the street.  And Xander is fine. Does that cover it? Or have I missed something out?”

Giles stepped forwards “I demand to know where Spike and Xander are.”

“Do you, Watcher? Well, as I’m in a generous mood, I’ll share. Spike, it seems, has disappeared on a mission to find me, and Xander is inside patiently waiting.”

Angel threw Buffy’s limp body into the arms of her friends. “If you want Xander to stay alive, stay out of this house, and don’t try anything.” Angelus half closed the door before speaking again with a smile that was almost pleasant. “Oh and if you do happen to see Spike on your travels, please send him in.”


~*~*~*~*~


The drive back to Sunnydale was the longest drive of Spike’s un-life. The speedometer hit one ten, but to Spike it felt like forty.

Spike muttered to himself, going over and over the different scenarios that he could be facing when he arrived back home.  Would Angelus even be there? Maybe the he’d gone on to pastures new, perhaps to find a new Childe? Or maybe he had gone to find Drusilla?  But Spike knew that he was kidding himself.  He knew Angelus well enough to know that he would be waiting in Sunnydale for him.  He was probably sat waiting for him in his house.  This last thought make Spike feel sick to the bottom of his stomach.  Did Angelus have Xander? Or had his lover gotten away in time? Spike doubted it.  It was Angelus’ style to just walk in bold as anything.   And knowing Xander, he would have just flung himself into the arms of the vampire that he thought was his friend.

Spike tasted bile building up in his throat and as he swallowed it back down he realised that he was now driving like the clappers down his own road.  He spotted his house and abruptly applied the brakes.  The car screeched to halt and Spike bolted towards the house, not even bothering to close to car door behind him. Seemingly from out of nowhere, Buffy stepped in front of him and blocked his path.

“Slayer! What the fuck are you doing? You’re supposed to be with Xan.” Spike took a moment to look around him and finally spotted the rest of the Scooby gang, minus Xander.

“Spike, I don’t quite know how to tell you this, but, Angel...he’s…”

“Yeah, I know, Giles.  He’s Angelus again.” Spike spoke with obvious impatience in his voice. “Where’s Xander?”

Willow stepped forward and Spike frowned at her.  Her face was streaked with red tear tracks.  A thousand thoughts flew through Spike’s brain and he grabbed Willow none too gently and shook her.

“WHERE IS HE?” he screamed.

“He’s in the house, he’s alive, Angelus has him. He said he would kill Xander if we came near.  But he said you’re to go in.”

Spike let go of Willow and stared at the house.  Out of all the scenarios that had played out in his head, this one had been most prominent.  Angelus had come to collect what was his, his childe, his family.  He just hoped that Angelus had put Xander in that category.  If not then there was a good chance that he was about to walk into his house and find his lover’s lifeless body laid out in a token gesture of Angelus’ power and will.

Spike turned to Giles. “Stay away from us. Find a way to restore Angel’s soul. But stay away until then.  I don’t wanna risk that Angelus will hurt Xander.”

“We quite understand.  We’ll see if we can find a spell to…”

“Track down the Puggli demons that did this.  They might be able to reverse it.” Spike handed Giles the crumpled up piece of paper that had Angel’s motel details on it. “Try here, that’s where I saw them last.  They’re not a particularly clever breed, so they’re probably still there trying to work out where the hell Angel went to.”

“Why did they do this?” Tara asked.

“S’not important.  Just find what kind of mojo they used and bloody well reverse it.”

Spike went to walk away but Buffy stopped him. “Wait! What about Angelus?”

“Wot about ‘im?”

“We can’t just leave you and Xander.  He could kill you!”

“Yeah, he might, but then again he might not. But if you interfere with whatever he’s got planned, he’ll definitely kill Xander.” If he’s not dead already

“So what are you going to do?”

“I’m gonna play along until your lot can give him his soul back.  You know that saying? Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Look, just go and do your thing, and please don’t come near us unless you can re-soul Angel”

“Okay. But please be careful. And take care of Xan.”

Spike wasn’t listening; he was too busy storming towards his house.  The gang let him go. Of course he would be careful. Of course he would take care of Xander. There was no doubt. Or was there?


~*~*~*~*~


As Spike approached the house, he hoped to god that the Scooby gang would do as he had asked and stay away.  Not only was he terrified that his Angelus would hurt or even kill Xander if they came to close, it would be better all round if Buffy and the others stayed away until they could really do something to help.  As much as it pained him to admit it, he didn’t want to lose any of them.  Still, he would keep that little revelation very much to himself.

Spike opened the door to his house and he sagged slightly with relief when he heard Xander’s heartbeat, strong and healthy, coming from the next room.   He lit up a cigarette and forced a calm and sensible persona to rise to the surface.

Walking into the living room, Spike took a moment to check his surroundings. Xander was sat, curled up at the far end of couch.  He looked frightened, but he didn’t seem to be hurt. There were no broken furnishings and there was no smell of blood. Spike assumed that this meant Xander had been nothing but compliant.  That was good. Calm was good.  There was not much that was worse than when Angelus lost his temper.

“Ahh, Spike.  Good of you to finally join us.”

Xander suddenly looked up; he had not heard Spike enter the room.

“Yeah, well, I would have been here a lot bloody sooner if it hadn’t been for those sodding Puggli demons.  One of them clocked me good and proper.”

Angelus laughed. “Spike, Spike.  You always did have the worst luck.”

Spike approached his Sire cautiously.  Angelus was sat on the arm of the couch, on the opposite side from Xander.

“Let’s drop the chit chat just for a second here.  What’s going on?”

“You know what’s going on here, Spike.  I’m back.”

“I know that.  But what do you want with us?”

“Oh, Spike, how can you even ask?  I’ve come to get you.”

“Yeah, and?”

“We are going to leave Sunnydale together and be a real family again.  I have a good feeling that I know where Dru is.  She’s not far. We will travel the world, Spike.  It will be just like old times.” Angelus had stood and was waving his arms in the air in a dramatic gesture.

“One thing, Angelus.” Spike moved to block the direct path between his lover and his Sire. “What about Xander? Where does he fit in? He’s part of this family too now.”

“I am aware of that, Spike.  His blood runs though my veins and mine through his.”

Angelus walked around his Childe and squatted down in front of Xander. “He is one of us.  Although you really should turn him.  I can’t say that I completely approve of his human status.”

“No,” Spike said, firmly. “I will not turn him.”

Angelus shrugged and continued to try and catch Xander’s eye.  It amused him that Xander would not look directly at him. “Well, it’s your choice.  He’s your consort.  I can certainly see the benefits of having a young warm body to fuck.  Of course, he won’t be young forever.  What will you do when he’s dead?”

“Shut. The fuck. Up.”

Angelus stood up and turned to face his Childe. “Watch how you speak to me, Childe. I will not tolerate your rudeness.”

“Then don’t speak about my consort like that.”

Angelus roared and lifted Spike in the air by his neck. “He maybe your consort, but you are my Childe and I will speak to both of you however I like...”

A sharp blow to the side of Angelus’ head caused him to drop his victim. Angelus clutched at the bloody wound and staggered sideways. He growled and turned slowly to face the source of the sudden attack. Xander stood just a few feet away, holding onto a brass candlestick and wearing an expression of surprised innocence.

“You should not have done that, boy.”

Angelus struck so quickly that all Xander saw was an angry blur. Angelus rushed forward and backhanded him painfully across his cheek. The force of the blow knocked Xander face down into the couch and he scrabbled to turn back around before Angelus could take advantage of his vulnerable position. Angelus dragged him forward by his legs and raised his hand to strike him again.

“NO! Angelus! Please don’t hurt him!”

Angelus paused to grin at Spike before deliberately landing another blow across Xander’s face.

Releasing Xander from his clutches, Angelus stood and regarded his Childe. “Your consort needs some serious disciplining. I should flog him for what he just did.”

“He was only trying to protect me.”

“And that is the only reason that he can still walk. You will teach your consort to show me some respect.  Discipline him, Spike. It will be kinder in the long run.”

Angelus stepped aside and allowed Spike to tend to his consort.  “I’ll just be in the kitchen.  I notice you have some kind of weird yoghurt in the fridge, think I’ll give it a go. Oh, and don’t even think of making a run for it, Spike. I'll catch you both and break every bone in your consort’s body.” Angelus smiled and disappeared into the kitchen.

Spike sat on the couch and took his lover into his arms. “Xan, pet.  Please don’t ever do anything like that again, okay?”

Xander pulled back and fixed Spike with his kicked puppy dog eyes. “But he had you by the neck!  I had to do it!” he protested.

“You’re forgetting, pet, I’m a vampire.  What could kill you can barely even scratch me.  I would have been okay.  Angelus won’t kill either of us if we just play along, so you’ve just got to be patient and not rock the boat, yeah?”

Xander nodded. “Yeah, okay. Sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry, luv. Just be sensible. Now, let’s have a look at the damage, shall we?”

Spike ran his fingers lightly over the darkening bruise over Xander’s cheek bone. “Nothin’ broken there. Although it’s gonna swell if we’re not careful.” Spike then traced his fingers across the small cut on Xander’s lip. “Anything hurt in there? Loose teeth and what-not?”

“No loose teeth. I bit my tongue, though.  That kinda hurts.”

“Yeah I thought you might have.  I can smell the blood from here.” Spike pulled a tissue out of his pocket. “’ere ‘ar, pet. Spit into that while I go get some ice.”


~*~*~*~*~


Spike smashed the ice cubes into tiny pieces and wrapped them carefully in a cloth.

“Did you speak with him?” Angelus asked

“Yes.  He won’t be doing anything like that again.”

“Glad to hear it.  Now, if you two would like to get your things together, we can make a move. Sunrise is in just over an hour.”

“Where are we going?”

“Oh, not far, a little place just outside of town. I just think I would sleep better knowing that those fucking do-gooders outside aren’t lurking about.”

Spike paused and turned to face his Sire. “Why haven’t you killed them yet?”

Angelus raised an eyebrow. “Is that what you want?”

“No. It just seems strange that you would come all the way back here and not bother to even try and kill them.”

“I’m not stupid, Spike. I came here to get you and Xander.  And I plan on leaving with the minimum of fuss.  Xander would be very unsettled if I were to start slaughtering all of his friends.  He may try to leave us. I don’t want that.  I would have to punish him severely.  I would rather break the boy in gently.  Get him slowly used to our ways.  I don’t want him to fight me.  It could get very unpleasant.”

Spike nodded.  He was surprised that Angelus was being so logical

“Now, time is short. Give the ice to your consort and then go and pack only what you need and we’ll be on our way.”


~*~*~*~*~


The two vampires re-entered the living room and Spike carried the ice pack over to his lover and carefully placed it against his face. Xander winced at the cold ice against his burning cheek.

“Sorry, luv.”

“Its okay, it’s just cold.”

Spike stroked his other hand through Xander’s hair. “I gotta go upstairs and pack some stuff for us.  I’ll be two minutes, tops. You gonna be okay here for a sec?”

Xander chanced a quick glance over to Angelus then back to his lover. “He won’t hit me again, will he?”

“Not as long as you stay still, stay quiet and do whatever he says. Don’t worry, luv, I’ll only be gone a sec. Here, hold on to this.” Spike replaced his hand with Xander’s on the ice pack.  He kissed his lover’s forehead and walked out of the room and up the stairs.

Xander slumped against the back of the couch and stayed as still as a statue.

“Tut, tut,” Angelus said.  He leant forward in his chair and threaded his hands together in front of him. “You had been such a good boy.  But obviously you needed a small demonstration of what happens if you cross me. But I’m sure you have learnt your lesson now, yes?”

“Yes.” Xander’s voice was nearly a whisper.

Angelus stood and stretched. “Good.” He walked over to the couch and grasped Xander’s arm yanking him to his feet.  Xander dropped the ice pack and stared wide eyed with sudden fear.

“Don’t panic,” Angelus almost soothed. “I hear Spike on the stairs.  It’s time we were all leaving.”

Angelus tugged Xander into the hall and met with Spike on the way. “All packed?”

Spike nodded.

“Good, then I think its time that we weren’t here.”  Angelus released Xander’s arm and pulled out a large knife.  He grabbed at Xander again and crushed his back against his chest, positioning the knife carefully at Xander’s vulnerable throat.

“Oi!”

“Oh, don’t get worked up, Spike.  I’m not going to hurt him. But I can smell the others outside.  I want to be sure that they won’t try anything. Now, open the door, there’s a good lad.  You can go first.”

The three of them stepped out of the house and edged their way to the car that was still parked in the middle of the street.  From the shadows the Scooby gang began to emerge.  Spike pointed at Buffy.

“Back off, Slayer.  Just let us go.  He’s got Xander and he’ll cut his throat if you come near us.”

Buffy nodded and called to Willow, Tara and Giles. “Back off, guys! Let them go!”

Willow and Tara retreated and Spike glared at Buffy, sending out a silent question. Why haven’t you gone to find the Puggli yet? Get bloody going!

When they reached the car, Angelus shoved Xander into the back while he got into the driver's seat next to Spike. “Pathetic,” he spat as he started the SUV. “Okay! Are we happy campers?”

Spike and Xander mumbled their yes’s and Angelus drove the car out of the street.

Xander looked out of the back window and watched his friends disappear. He had only one thought. Please hurry, PLEASE


~*~*~*~*~


The SUV arrived outside an old abandoned warehouse and Spike huffed as he helped his slightly battered lover out of the backseat. “Bleedin’ hell, does it always have to be a sodding abandoned warehouse?”

Angelus laughed. “Yes, it is rather cheesy.  What do you think, Xander?”

“Um, yeah.  Big with the cheese. And maybe a little of the mac to go with it,” Xander said, his meek voice defying the playful wit.

Angelus laughed again and ruffled Xander’s hair on his way into the dark building.  Xander looked at Spike, a confused expression slowly crossing his bruised face.

Spike explained. “He’s a bit Jekyll and Hyde. Just be glad he’s Jekyll at the moment.  C’mon, pet. We should go inside, get settled for the day.”

Xander nodded and they both followed Angelus into the warehouse.

“Um, Spike?”

“Yeah, luv, you okay?”

“Erm, kinda.  I can’t really see anything.”

“Oh, sorry pet.  Here, take my arm.”  Spike nudged his arm gently into his lover’s side and Xander latched both hands onto it.

Spike followed his Sire’s scent into the back of the warehouse where he found Angelus sorting through a pile of blankets.

“Looks like you’ve been here earlier,” Spike noted, taking in the candles and other assorted items that were scattered about.

“Yes, well, you know me.  I like be prepared.” He threw one of the blankets at Spike. “Come on children, bed down.  We will all need our strength for tonight. Oh, and do I need to remind you? No running away.  You know what a light sleeper I am.”

“Yeah, yeah.  We know.  Don’t worry, we ain’t going nowhere.” Spike led his lover to a spot that was well away from the other vampire. Pulling Xander down to the cold floor, he wrapped the blanket around them both. He held his lover tightly and tried to sooth the trembling youth with gentle hands on his back.  It was obvious that Xander’s shaking was not just due to the freezing temperature in the warehouse. “Try to sleep, luv”

“I’ll try, but…”

“Sssh, I know. Don’t fret, baby. I’m here.  Gonna look after each other, yeah? This will be over soon and we can go back to normal”

“What if it’s never over? What will we do?”

“Don’t think like that.  It will be over. Trust me, my love. Trust me.”


~*~*~*~*~


The night came around slowly and Spike was positive that Xander had not slept a wink, he was too on edge.  Spike himself, had managed to drop off a few times, but each time he woke he could hear Xander’s rapid heartbeat and his unsteady breathing, proving that his consort was well and truly wide awake.

Spike glanced over to where Angelus had been sleeping and he noted that his Sire was gone.

Spike curled around his lover and placed soft kisses across his face. “C’mon, pet.  Time to get up.”

“Where are we going?” Xander asked with not a trace of sleep in his voice.

“Dunno exactly.  Maybe to find Drusilla.”

Xander closed his eyes and swallowed hard.  Dru.  How would Spike’s dark princess react to the news that her former lover was technically hitched to a white hat?

Spike read his mind. “I won’t let her near you.”

“Aww, not even for a small taste.”

Xander sprang to a sitting position, he had not heard Angelus returning.

“Sorry. Did I startle you?” Angelus asked innocently.

Spike was indignant “You know you bloody did, you git!”

“Now, now, Spike, mind your manners.”

Spike nearly choked in an attempt to swallow a batch of insults that would have turned Ozzy Osborne pink with embarrassment.  He gritted his teeth and forced himself to look directly at his Sire. “Sorry Angelus.

“That’s quite alright, Childe.  I remember how grumpy you are first thing in the evening.” Angelus clapped his hands together and was pleased at the flinch that it raised from Xander.  Fear was the route to obedience.  Smirking, he spoke again. “Well, now that we are all wide awake, shall we get going?”

Spike stood and helped his lover to his feet. “And where exactly are we going?”

“Well, first I think we had better pop into town for a bite to eat and then we can go get Dru.”

“A bite to eat?” Xander asked.

Angelus was beside him in flash, purring into his ear.  Xander would have jumped a mile if it hadn’t been for Angelus’ hands holding him in a crushing grip. “Oh yes, I’m starving and if I don’t find a nice tasty human soon, I’ll have to resort to something a little more home made.

Xander closed his eyes again and tried to wish Angelus away.

“Hey! There are rules, you know! You can’t snack on my consort without my permission and you bloody well know it!”

Angelus released Xander and walked away. “Grumpy, grumpy.  Relax, Spike, I was only teasing.” He turned back and winked. “Be a good boy, Xander and bring the blankets.”

Spike gathered up the said blankets and gave them to Xander. “There you go, luv.  You had better take them.  We don’t to give him any reason to flip.”

Xander took them without a word.

“Hey, c’mon. The others are working on how to re-soul him.  He’ll be back to normal before we know it and all this will be over.”

“And until then?”

“And until then, we just play it cool. I know it’s hard, pet, but try not to show your fear; it’ll only make things worse.  Angelus thrives on it.  He really is teasing you and it’s because he knows you’re scared.”

Xander looked at Spike helplessly. “Vicious circle, come chase me round and round.”

“Look, Angelus may be many things, but he’s always valued his family. And you are part of that now. He might tease you, he might hit you, he might even say things that make your heart break, but he won’t kill you.  So just keep quiet, try not to show how scared you are and we will ride this through together.”

Xander tried to smile. “I guess it’s not forever, right?”


~*~*~*~*~


The black SUV pulled up unnoticed outside MacDonald’s and the vehicle’s three occupants sat in silence for several minutes while Angelus decided what he wanted to eat.

“Hmm, I’m not sure.  I’m just so indecisive these days.  Xander? We had better get yours first. What would you like?”

“Dunno.  Nothing,” Xander replied, somewhat sadly.  He knew what was coming

Spike turned around from the front seat and sighed at his lover. “C’mon, luv. You’ve got to eat sommit.”

“I’m not hungry.”

Spike knew his lover was lying.  Never was there a moment when Xander Harris wasn’t hungry. “Pet, you’ve got to keep your strength up.  Please eat something. For me.”

Xander lifted his head and opened his mouth to remind his lover that, as a week had not nearly passed yet, Spike was not allowed to use the do it for me trick. But a look that shone in Spike’s eyes told him that he really did need Xander to eat and keep his strength up.

Spike would need to feed soon and if he was to avoid feasting on the population, then his only choice would be to feed from his consort.

“Xaaanderr,” Angelus drummed his fingers impatiently on the steering wheel. “Do you want something to eat or not?”

Xander locked eyes with his lover one more time.  The message on Spike’s face was clear. Say yes

“Um, you’re buying, right?”

Angelus smiled. The boy was quite sweet really, in a sickeningly human sort of way. “Of course.  What would you like?”

“Um, I’ll have a Big Mac with large fries, six chicken nuggets and onion rings.”

Angelus nodded and pulled over to the drive thru window. A muffled voice asked them for their order. Angelus repeated it and the voice asked them if they wanted a drink as well.  Xander lent forward. “Uh, yeah, large milkshake please. Strawberry.”

Angelus waited for the voice to repeat the order back and then he drove to the other window and collected and paid for the order.  For those few moments it almost felt like they had the old Angel back and Xander could finally see what Spike had been saying.  In his own unique way, Angelus would look after them.

Angelus turned the car around and pulled it into a parking space in front of the main part of the restaurant.  He gazed at the seated patrons through the large windows and turned to Spike.

“What about you? See any thing you want?”

“Not really hungry.”

“Is that so,” Angelus said with a touch of irritation in his voice.

“Look, you know I haven’t been feeding from humans.  Just give me some time to adjust back to the idea.”

This answer seemed to satisfy. “As you wish, Childe. Just don’t come complaining to me when your stomach starts grumbling.  Ahh, there’s a nice one.” As Angelus started to climb out of the car, he was stopped by a large belch coming from the back seat.  Angelus’ face lit up and he roared with genuine laughter. He turned to look at Xander and his laughter increased in volume at the sight of the half drunk milkshake, the empty boxes of nuggets, onion rings and fries and the half eaten Big Mac that was being held protectively by the wide-eyed boy.

“Sorry, it just slipped out.”

“That’s okay, Xander. I admire a man that loves his food.  You must really have been hungry.”

“Kinda,” Xander said, suddenly embarrassed by his piggishness.

Angelus frowned. “Hm, well say something next time. No one in my family ever goes hungry.”

“Okay, I will” Xander forced a slightly confused smile. Spike was right. Angelus was a real Jekyll and Hyde character. One minute he was trying to smack his brains out through his ears and next he was being all fatherly. Of course Xander didn’t really know what fatherly behaviour felt like, but he could hazard a pretty good guess.

“Good.  Now it’s time for my food.  Spike, are you sure you won’t join me?”

“Not this time, Sire, but thank you anyway.”

“You are most welcome, Childe.”

Angelus stepped out of the car and walked towards the restaurant. Time for some fun.  He morphed into his game face and roared at the passing patrons.

When Xander heard the screams begin he forced down the last of his burger, knowing that he would not have much of an appetite once Angelus came back reeking of blood.

Spike watched Angelus feasting on the population of Macdonald’s and to his surprise he found himself feeling nothing but disgust for the blood sport that he had himself played for more than a hundred years. How had he lived like this? And why the fuck did it make him feel sick now?  Was it the consort blood that flowed through his veins? Or was it just being in such close proximity with such a wonderful, warm human like Xander that was bringing Spike’s own humanity to the surface?

The car rocked and a lifeless body was flung onto the bonnet and unceremoniously dragged off again. Spike heard a small whimpering sound coming from the backseat and he turned to face his lover.  Xander’s head was bent down, his eyes were screwed shut and he had clamped his hands tightly over his ears.  Spike climbed into to back seat and held his consort. “S’okay, luv. It’ll be over in a sec.”

“How can we do this?”

“How can we do what?” Spike asked

“Let him hurt and kill those people?!”

“We don’t have a choice.  He’ll do these things regardless.  All we’ll get out of interfering is a bloody good hiding. Like I said, just play along until your friends can re-soul him.”

“But what about Angel? How is he going to feel when he gets his soul back and realises what he’s done?”

“I don’t know, pet. We’ll cross that slippery bridge when we come to it. What ever happens after, we’ll all get each other through it.”

A burst of gunfire resounded around the car park and Xander snapped his head up to look out of the window. “Shit! Initiative!” Without even thinking, Xander opened the car door and called out to Angelus. “ANGELUS! THAT’S THE INITIATIVE! GET BACK IN THE CAR. WE GOTTA GO!”

“Fuck, Xan. Get back in here and shut that fucking door!” Spike growled, pulling his consort back inside and jumping over to the front seat.  He kicked opened the passenger door and frantically started the engine.  A second later an overexcited Angelus flung himself inside.

“Wooo! Happy meals with guns! What will they think of next?!”

Spike slammed his foot on the accelerator and ripped the vehicle through the car park and onto the road.  They tore down the main street and headed towards the route that would take them out of town.  The Initiative vehicle followed right behind them every inch of the way and in an attempt to stop them it accelerated suddenly and struck the back of the SUV.

“Faster, Spike!” Xander screamed.

“Going as fast as I can. Which way?”

“Take the next right, head towards the woods!”

At the junction, Spike ignored the red light, swung the car in a sharp arc and raced the car down the right hand turning. The Initiative’s jeep attempted to copy the precise move but was forced to stop by the crossing traffic.

Xander whipped his head around and glanced out of the back window. “They’ve stopped. This is our chance.  Put your foot down, Spike!”

“It’s down as far as it’s gonna go, babe.”

The SUV flew down the middle of the road, dodging traffic on either side.

“Where now?” Spike asked

Xander thought about it, what was the best way to the woods? “Um, that way.”

“Huh? What way?”

“That way! Oh sorry, left, go left.”

Spike swung the car left and within minutes they were leaving the not so bright lights of the town and heading into a narrow road surrounded by shrubs and trees.

Xander turned again in his seat to look out of the back window.  “Oh god, Spike, they’re back!” he cried.

Spike glanced in the rear view mirror and swore when he spotted the dark jeep following at break neck speed behind them.

“What are we gonna do!” Xander was becoming hysterical.

“Calm down, pet. Not a problem.  We’ll just lose them.”

“Lose them? Are you crazy? Their vehicle is easily as fast as ours, if not, faster!”

“Kid’s got a point,” Angelus said, calmly. “What say we just pull over and tear their throats out?”

Spike was adamant “No fucking way.  We have no idea how many guys are in that jeep and while you and I can take a little gunfire, Xander can’t and there is no fucking way in hell that I’m gonna risk him.”

“Okay, okay, another fair point. Any other ideas, folks?”

“Um, maybe.”

“Go on, pet” Spike said, a little louder than was really necessary.

“It’s kinda far fetched and ridiculously stupid.”

“That’s okay, luv. Getting desperate, here. Looking for any ideas, any!”

“Okay, well if we can find a way of slowing them down, just for a sec at the right moment. Just so that we can get ahead for a little bit, then we could turn out the headlights and turn into Devils Dike. We could shut the engine off and just roll down. These guys aren’t local.  I bet they don’t know the area as well as they think they do. They’ll never work out where we’ve gone.”

“Okay, sounding good, pet.  I like it so far.  Just one tiny thing though.”

“Yeah?”

“What the fuck is Devils Dike?”

“It’s an old track that leads right down into the woods. It’s real steep.  Bikers use it to race down. The entrance is near enough hidden by the trees ‘n stuff, you wouldn’t know it was there unless you actually knew it was there.”

Angelus nodded. “Sounds like a good plan. Spike?”

“Yeah, sounds good. Pet? Where’s the entrance?”

“Um, shit! It’s coming right up! Put your seatbelts on, I have another I idea.”

“Bloody hell, luv.  Those ideas are coming thick and fast tonight.”

“Yeah, well, I perform better under pressure these days. Okay, now when I say turn, then turn, and I mean turn, real sharp, the whole ninety degrees to the left and don’t hesitate or you’ll drive us straight into a tree.  Oh and switch the headlights out first.”

“Okay, got it, luv.”

Xander wound the window down and waited for the correct moment.  When he felt that the time was right he quickly lent out of the window and threw his half drunk strawberry milkshake onto the car behind, splattering it over the windshield.  Xander shimmied back in, quickly put his seatbelt on and started to wind the window back up.

“TURN!” he shouted, fearing that they may have just missed the entrance.  He closed his eyes and waited. When there was no immediate crashing, wrapping around a tree or death, he opened his eyes again. But it was pointless, the headlights were out and the thick mass of trees around them blocked out the moonlight.  He couldn’t see anything.

The car rolled effortlessly down the steep dyke, picking up speed every second. It was a rocky descent and Xander felt much like rag doll as his limbs flayed about in the darkness.  Thank Christ for the invention of the seatbelt.

“FUCK!” Spike suddenly screamed. His vampire eyesight had picked up an obstruction on the steep track. A tree had collapsed across the dirt floor

Spike forced himself not to panic, but it wasn’t easy.  He only had seconds to decide what to do before they collided with the fallen tree.  They were going to fast to break and stop without the vehicle jack-knifing or tipping. And rolling down a hill this steep could ultimately kill them all.

There was no way they could avoid the tree. Spike’s mind flashed.  He needed to prevent the car from rolling but also keep any impact to the right side of the car, furthest away from his lover. Angelus had a significantly better chance of surviving such a brutal collision.  

Spike thought quickly.  He needed to turn the car and slam the side of it into the tree at the last moment to prevent it from rolling.  He had to wait, the timing needed to be perfect.  Split seconds exploded passed but Spike felt like he was waiting an eternity for the right moment to arrive.  When it finally came, he slammed his foot on the break, yanked on the hand-break and turned the wheel sharply to the left.  The car skidded around in a vicious whirl and Spike sent out a silent prayer that it wouldn’t flip over. It didn’t. As the vehicle careered round, the right side collided with the tree and the air was filled with a thunderous crash followed by an empty deathly silence.

The silence went on and on and on…


~*~*~*~*~


The Initiative jeep hurtled along the dark road.

“Bump them again, from the side.”

“No! If they’re forced off the road at this speed it could kill them.”

“Leave it out, Graham.  It’s no great loss.” Forrest laughed. “Well, not for me. For you maybe. You’ll be losing the chance of a good fuck with your brown eyed beauty, unless you are into necrophilia, that is.”

Forest was irritated.  He and Graham had spotted Xander with yet another hostile, and it pissed him off that his friend was still unwilling to admit that this boy was a barrel full of trouble that needed to be rolled off the side of a ship and sunk.

“Can it.” Graham forced down anger that he only really felt for himself.  Forrest was too close to the truth. The soldier cursed himself. Why was he so infatuated with a boy he had only met once? “If they crash, then we lose the hostile.  He looked like a good specimen, perfect for the new Alpha project...”

“JESUS!”

Thick pink liquid splattered over the windscreen and the vehicle swerved dramatically in the road.

“What the hell is this pink stuff?!”

“I don’t know. Can you even see out the window?!”

“Nope, not a damn thing.”

“Fucking hell. For god sake BREAK THEN!”

The jeep screeched to a halt and the two soldiers sat panting.  Forrest shook his head and started to laugh. “Fuck, man. That was fucking wild.”

“Err, sure, Whatever, man”

The men spent several minutes cleaning the milkshake off the windscreen before they got into back into the vehicle.  They drove for a good couple of miles before Forrest announced that they should give up and go back to the base.  Graham agreed.  As much as he wanted to capture the hostile, now was not the time, not with Forrest with him.  He didn’t want to risk the boy being harmed.  They began the drive back to base and Graham re-affirmed his silent promise to release Xander from the vampire hell he had somehow been drawn into.


~*~*~*~*~


Clear blue eyes snapped open. “Fuck!” Spike grasped the back of his neck and cracked a couple of bones back into position. He regarded Angelus for only a moment; with relief he observed that his Sire was not a pile dust so he turned his attention to the mortal in the back. Spike climbed over the back seat and gently tilted his lover’s head towards him.

“Xander?”

He  didn’t wake and Spike worriedly placed his hand over Xander’s heart, seeking to feel reassured by a pulse against his palm. But the throbbing of Xander’s heartbeat was too slow and felt very sluggish. Distressed, Spike whimpered and nuzzled his cheek into Xander’s neck.

“Xan, wake up.  Please wake up.  Don’t leave me, luv.  Please Can’t live without you, won’t live without you. Love you, baby”

“Mrugh, love…you, too”

Spike’s head shot up and watched with awe as his lover’s long black lashes lifted and fluttered.

“Luv…?”

“Owww.”

Spike stroked his fingers lightly over Xander’s face. “Sssh, pet. Don’t move for a sec.”

“Mmmm, hurts.”

“What hurts, baby?”

“Um…most things.”

Spike released the seatbelt and ran his hands over Xander’s body.

“Oww.”

“Sorry.”

“Oww!”                  

“Sorry.”

“Ahh! Spike!”

“I’m sorry, babe. I gotta check.”

“I know, just…check... more gently.”

“Done now.  You’re okay, pet. ‘cept for a bump on the head and this wrist.”

Spike lifted the said wrist and examined it again.

“OWW! Jeez!”

“Yep, definitely sprained.  That’s gonna smart for a while.”

“Great.”

“C’mon, luv, could have been a hell of a lot worse.” Spike lowered his voice and Xander had to strain to hear him. “Thought I was gonna loose you.”

Xander softened his voice and brought his good hand up to Spike’s face. “Not… getting rid of me that easily.”

Spike looked into his lover’s smiling face and he felt himself fall hopelessly further into that deep hellish pit called love.  “Glad to hear it, pet.  Now let's get you outa this heap of a car.”

“What about...Angelus?  Is…is he okay?”

“He’s alive. So let me get you out so I can see to him, yeah?”

“…Okay.”

Spike shoved open the car door and climbed over his lover and onto the ground outside. He crouched down slightly and eased Xander’s body towards him. “Put your good arm round my neck and hang on tight.”

Xander complied and Spike slowly lifted him out of the car. Xander winced and drew in a sharp breath between gritted teeth.

“You okay there, pet?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

Spike lent him against the battered car and Xander closed his eyes and tried to force himself to breath normally. “Spike? Feel dizzy.”

Spike slid his lover down the car and settled him on the ground. “Better, luv?”

Xander nodded slowly. “Much. Just…need a minute.  Go see to Angelus.  I’ll be fine”

“Ok, pet, but don’t try and move ‘til I get back, else I’ll sprain your other wrist to match. Got it?”

“Yup. Got it. No movement here. See? Not moving.”

Satisfied, Spike stood and yanked open the driver’s door. He climbed inside and shuffled over to his Sire. “Angelus?” Spike unbuckled the seatbelt and tried again. “Angelus? Sire?” There was no response.  Spike looked down and was shocked to see a gaping wound in Angelus’ side. “Bloody hell.” Spike grasped his Sire’s body and hauled him out of the vehicle, laying him on his back on the ground.

“Is he gonna be, okay?” Xander asked.

“If we can get some blood into him, yeah. He’s lost a lot.”

“But…we don’t have any blood….do we?”

Spike huffed. “No.”

“What are we…going to do? We can’t leave him like this.”

“I’ll have to walk back to town. There’s plenty blood in our fridge.”

“No, Spike! It’s too far! You’ll never make it back here before sunrise!”

Spike tried to keep his cool. “What else can I do?”

“Can we carry him back?”

“Can’t risk it.  It’d take too sodding long.  Bloody lump. And your not exactly gonna be at your quickest.  If the sun comes up then we’ll both fry.”

“I could help...”

“With a buggered wrist? I don’t think so.  You mustn’t put any weight...”

“No, I didn’t mean that.”

Spike regarded his lover with suspicion “Then wot?”

“I could give him some of my blood.”

“No way.  No bloody way.”

“Spike...”

“First rule, pet. Never feed a starved vampire. He’ll drain you dry without even knowing it.”

“He’s not starved, he just fed.”

“Yeah, but it’s all leaked out, innit? The answers still no.  I won’t have it. It’s a bad idea, pet”

“Spike, think about it.  We really don’t have much of a choice. What else are we going to do? Let him feed from me, just a bit. You can pull him off if he tries to take too much.”

“Xan...”

Please we can’t leave him like this.  It’s Angel, remember?” Xander smiled, a cheeky glint forming in his eyes. “Do it for me?”

Spike sighed “You’re a brat, you know that, right?”

“Uh-huh. Is that a yes?”

“Yeah, alright.”

“Thank you”

“You can save that.  You might not feel like thanking me in a minute…….You sure about this?”

“Absolutely.  Let’s do this already”

“Right then. Jacket off.”

Spike helped his lover out of his jacket and Xander looked confused for a second. “Um, how do we do this?”

“We cut your arm and you hold it to Angel’s…Angelus’ mouth.”

“Okay, you cut though.  I don’t think I can.”

Spike pulled a knife from his boot. “Give us your bad arm, pet. Better just one out of action rather than two.”

Xander willingly held his out his arm and Spike cut a fairly deep gash into the plump flesh of Xander’s forearm.

“Okay, pet?”

“I guess, just do it before I change my mind.”

Spike nodded and held Xander’s arm over the other vampire, aiming the flowing red nectar over Angelus’ mouth.  The vampire’s lips twitched at the first drop of blood and Spike lowered his lover’s arm until it rested completely on Angelus’ mouth. Xander’s blood flowed freely and as the first drop entered Angelus’ mouth, the vampire’s eyes flew open and he grabbed Xander’s arm, sinking sharp fangs deep into the warm flesh.

Xander gasped and flinched at the sudden attack and he turned his frightened eyes on Spike.

“Still okay, pet? I can stop it”

“I’m alright, Spike. H-He just made me jump.”

Spike knew that was a lie. Xander was scared as hell.

The mere fact that Xander was willing to do this, even though he was terrified, amazed Spike. If he ever needed proof of Xander’s love for him and for his new family, then this was it.

Xander groaned in pain.  Angelus was holding too tightly to his injured wrist and he was barely able to stifle a pained cry.  Spike tried to remove his Sire’s hand but his efforts were greeted with a low warning growl.

“It’s o-ok, S-Spike. Leave it. I-I’m okay.”

Xander swayed and his eyes rolled into the back of his head.

“You’re bloody not okay!”

Spike grabbed his lover’s arm and tried to wrench it away from his Sire. Angelus growled again and gripped Xander’s arm tighter, sucking ferociously at the now ragged wound.

“Fucking hell. Angelus! You have to stop.” Spike continued to pull at Xander’s arm, ignoring the loud snarls from Angelus. “Sire! Release my consort.”

That did it. Angelus immediately let go and Xander fell backwards into the arms of his lover.

“Pet? PET? Speak to me, please! Say something!”

Xander groaned “Mrgh, something.”

Spike released a breath that was never there. “He didn’t suck out your bad sense of humour then?” he joked. Life without playful banter with Xander? Don’t even go there.

“Uhh, be…nice”

Spike pulled his lover away from Angelus and laid him down a few feet away. He stroked his fingers just once through Xander’s hair. “Lie still for a while, pet, yeah? Gonna check on Angelus”

Xander murmured something that resembled a yes and Spike went to his Sire. Angelus was sitting up and inspecting the rapidly healing wound in his side.  He licked his lips and smiled at his Childe.

“Mmm, forgot how good he tastes.”

Spike was not amused. “Could show a little gratitude, you know. Xander has most probably saved your rotten un-life.”

Angelus stood and staggered slightly to the side, his legs still wobbly from the recent blood lost.

“I am grateful, Childe.” Angelus glanced over at the semi-unconscious boy and spoke seriously.

“He has been a good boy.  Loyal to his family.  It will not be forgotten.”

Spike nodded, a feeling of pride for his lover filling his chest.

“Get him on his feet, Spike. It’s time we weren’t here.”

Spike knelt in front of his lover and cut a deep gash across his own wrist with the knife, offering it the sleepy human.

“Mmm, Spike…no...you’ve not fed”

“S’okay, pet.  You only need a little.”

Xander didn’t really feel like an argument, so he took the offered wrist and suckled gently at the small wound. After only two mouthfuls he began to feel better and he pushed the wrist away.

“Had enough, pet? Feel better?”

Xander slowly nodded and pushed himself to a sitting position with one arm.

“Much.” He looked over at Angelus standing by the car, tapping his foot. “He looks keen to go. Help me up?”

“Do better than that.” Spike bent over and scooped Xander into his arms.

“Eeek, Spike!”

“S’okay, luv.  Ain’t gonna drop you.”

“I’m alright, Spike.  I can walk,” Xander protested.

“You will be. But for now I’m gonna carry you. Get there a lot faster.”

“Mmm, ‘kay. Where’s there?”

Spike turned to Angelus for the answer.

“We’ll have to head back into town, get another vehicle.  We’ll stick to the woods though. It might take a little longer, but we don’t want to risk being seen.”

Spike grunted. “Pity you didn’t have that kind of thinking before you chowed down on the population of MacDonald’s.”

“Childe,” Angelus warned.

“Alright, alright.  Let’s just get going.  Which way?”

Angelus pointed and Spike led the way with his consort cradled gently in his arms.


~*~*~*~*~


Amazingly Xander had actually managed to drop off and when he finally woke he found himself laid out on the ground.  The sound of arguing forced him to open his eyes and he found that his surroundings were much the same.  They were still in the woods.

“What you shouting at me for? You were the one that bloody said to walk this way!”

Angelus snarled and punched a tree, splintering pieces of bark all over himself. “Damn it!”

“Oooh, what a temper. Welcome home Daddy.”

Three heads whipped around at the sound of the familiar voice.

“The stars whispered to me. They said my Daddy was whole again.”

“The stars were right, baby”

Angelus rushed over to the vampire in the shadows.  He picked her up and twirled her around. “Dru.”

“Angelus”

Drusilla untangled herself from Angelus’ embrace and gracefully glided over to her former lover, her deep purple dress flowing endlessly along the ground behind her.

“Oh, Spike.  You’ve been a very bad boy.”

“I ain’t!”

“Oh, but you have.” Drusilla whimpered and she wandered her shaking hands over her chest. “It’s broken.”

“What’s broken?” Spike asked with touch of curiosity.

“My ‘eart. Torn to shreds. Broken it, you ‘ave.”

Spike was nervous.  Drusilla was unpredictable at the best of times and Spike had no idea how she was going to react to the news that he had hooked up with one of their mortal enemies.

Drusilla suddenly smiled and giggled. She turned around to face Xander and walked over to him in an exaggerated tiptoe.

“Hello,” she said, sweetly

Xander scrabbled to his feet and stood unsteadily. “Um, hello?” He really didn’t know what else to say.

“You are him.”

“Um, I am? Who’s him?”

“You,” she suddenly sneered.

Xander edged backwards and he caught sight of Spike stalking warily towards them in the distance.

Drusilla’s mood changed dramatically and yet again and she became upset.

“You did this. It was you. You took my Spike away,” she sobbed

Xander suddenly felt his own jealousy coursing thought his veins. This was Dru.  Spike’s dark princess.  His ripe plum. How could he ever compare to this woman? How could he have taken Spike away? It was not possible. It was her.  She had driven him away, got off with a chaos demon and left him. That was the only reason that he had possession of the vampire now. Not that it really mattered, Spike was his and he wasn’t letting go.

Xander growled, his eyes flashing a brilliant, dangerous gold. “HE’S NOT YOUR SPIKE.  HE’S MINE!”

Drusilla snarled and bared her teeth. “Halfling!” Like a viper she struck, lashing at Xander with vicious clawed up hands.

Surprisingly, Angelus got there first and lifted the incensed vampire away. “Easy there, Dru.  Don’t attack the nice human or Spike will get in a huff.”

By the time Spike reached his lover, Xander had fallen to his knees and was shaking violently. He looked up at Spike with wide frightened eyes that were now their normal perfect shade of chocolate brown.

“S-Spike? What…?”

“Sssh, it’s okay…”

“It’s not okay.  It’s not okay! What just happened to me?”

“It’s the bond, luv. Remember how I told you it would make you a little different?”

Xander nodded, every part of him still shaking.

“This is part of it, well actually it's part of me.”

“You?”

“Yeah, you get a bit of me and I get a bit of you.”

“Am I gonna turn?”

Spike grasped both sides of Xander’s face. “No, baby, no. It’s a little part of me that might rise to the surface now and again.  It’s nothing to worry about. You won’t turn and you won’t go lusting after the blood of the living...even if you skip breakfast.”

Spike's voice had hit a lighter tone and Xander felt himself relax. He was living and breathing Spike. His lover was flowing through his body and he was flowing through Spike’s.  There was no need for jealousy. Dru never belonged to Spike. But he did.

“Xan? Luv? Everything alright in there?”

“Yeah. I’m okay. It was just a bit of a shock.  Will I get fangs too?” That was a nice thought. Their sex life didn’t need any spicing up, but fangs could certainly make things very interesting.

Spike was obviously thinking the same thing and he smiled and winked at his lover.

“Maybe...little ones.”

“Ahem.  When you two are quite finished, I think we need to get moving, the sun will be coming up soon.”

“I’m not going anywhere with Dru in tow.”

Drusilla sobbed and sank to her knees. “Oh the flowers have wilted. My Spike hates me.”

Spike looked at his lover and Xander nodded at him, giving permission for Spike to tend to his former love.

“Dru.  I don’t hate you. It’s just that you tried to rip out my consort’s throat.  How do I know that you won’t try that again?”

Drusilla’s eyes widened. “Consort?  You’ve claimed him.”

“Yeah.”

Dru stood and slowly walked back towards Xander.  She reached out one hand to him, as if she wanted to touch something wondrous.

“Careful, Dru,”  Spike warned.

“I see it now.  Your heat beats once again, Spike.”

Drusilla continued her journey towards Xander and he walked backwards until his back hit a tree.

“I hear it, beating inside this human. You are one together. He…”

Dru collapsed back to her knees and she held her head as though in pain. “OH, OH, OH!”

Xander looked at Spike. “Is she okay?”

Spike was slightly taken aback by the concern in his lover’s voice. “Yeah, she’s alright, just give her a minute.”

“What’s wrong with her?” Xander asked.

“Vision.”

“SPIKE! I see terrible things. Teeth so sharp. A power forgotten. Another that will never let go...You must kill him, Spike. It must be you, for your lover can never.”

“Bloody hell, Dru. What else do you see?”

Drusilla stood. “The flower has closed now.  I see no more.”

“Well can you explain more?”

“No. Only that it will come.  Not now.  But one day.  You cannot stop it from passing but you can make it end. Safe again after so long in danger and pain.”

“Fantastic, another cryptic clue.  Don’t you just love them?” Xander said, sarcastically.

Angelus looked up at the sky and frowned. “The sun is coming up,” he growled.

Drusilla smiled, almost shyly. “Don’t worry.  Follow me and we will be safe.  And Spike? I will not harm your consort.  Under my wings for him, to save your beating heart.”

Drusilla walked away and the others followed.

“Is she always this confusing?”

“Only on a Thursday, pet.”


~*~*~*~*~


Drusilla led her family to the far side of the woods.  Hidden amongst the trees was an opening to what seemed to be a small cave. It was pitch black inside and Xander had to grip Spike’s arm for guidance in the dark lair.  The small burrow seemed impossibly long and as the tunnel descended and opened out into a large space, Xander began to wonder how a place like this had stayed so secret.  It was a perfect hiding place for any vampire coven and it surprised him that Drusilla had managed to find such a prime location and keep it all to herself.  Drusilla seemed to read his thoughts.

“There were many of my kind here, but they were annoying and so very tiresome.” She stopped and let Xander catch up to her. “I killed them all,” she whispered with a giggle.

Angelus wandered around the large room. “This will certainly do us until the sun goes down again.”

Spike ignored him and pulled his lover into a corner. “C’mon, pet. We should try and get some rest.”

“Spike? I really don’t think I can sleep.  Drusilla…”

“Drusilla won’t hurt you, I promise.  I won’t let her.”

“It isn’t just that.  There’s so much going round in my head.”

Spike chucked. “Yeah, I heard the whirling.”

“Spike! I’m serious.  What are we going to do?  What if the others can’t get Angel’s soul back?  What if Drusilla wants to hang around us now?  What if we can never go back to our house? What if the Initiative finds us? What if...”

“Hey, baby. Sssh.  Everything will work out...”

“You don’t know that!”

“I do know that.”

“How?!”  Xander was fast becoming hysterical again.”

“Don’t know, pet” Spike said in a careful, calm voice. “Don’t know. I just know that it has to.”

Xander spoke quietly. “Yeah. Spike?”

“Yeah?”

“Will you hold me?”

“Course, luv. Come ‘ere.”

Xander shuffled over to Spike and curled into him. “You’re right, Spike.  Everything will be alright.”

“Told you.  Why you so suddenly convinced?”

“’Cos you’re here, cos we have each other.” Xander lifted his head and softly kissed his lover.

“Mmm, warm, pet.” Spike whispered into the kiss.

Spike ran his hands tenderly down his consort’s back and Xander found himself arching into Spike’s body.  He pulled back slightly and stared into Spike’s cool blue eyes. “Wish we were alone. Want you.”

Spike glanced around the room and smiled at his lover. “We are alone.”

Xander double checked. “What if they come back?”

“They won’t come back.”

“But…”

Spike gently clasped Xander’s face between his hands. “Do you trust me?”  he asked seriously.

“I trust you with all that I am.”

The words hit Spike with the full force of their meaning. Xander trusted him like no other and it deeply moved Spike to hear him say it out loud. No-one had ever trusted or loved him like Xander did. A bolt of happiness sent a shiver through Spike body.  

“They won’t come back,” he repeated.

Xander placed his lips back over Spike’s mouth and they kissed slowly and deeply, enjoying the contrasting sensations of warm and cold tongues sliding tenderly over each other.

Xander at last broke the kiss and sat back to watch Spike take off his clothes. He tried to look at every part of Spike’s body all at one and he wished that he more than just the two eyes.  Spike was truly beautiful, his body all tight muscles and sharp angles. The light from the burning candles had cast an unearthly glow over Spike’s slim form, and it made him look so much more demon and a lot less human.  Many months ago Xander may have found this disturbing, but now he found it beautiful.

“Your turn, luv”

Spike laid himself back on the ground and he watched with hungry eyes as Xander copied the ritual. When he was done he knelt back down.

“You’re beautiful, Spike”

“You too, baby. Kiss me again.”

Xander shook his head. “Not yet.  Got something to give you first.”

Xander slowly stretched out alongside Spike’s body and kissed a leisurely path towards Spike’s taught, slender stomach.  A small satisfied sigh was released from his lover and Xander smiled happily into his tender kisses.  It still amazed him that he, the doughnut boy, could bring such pleasure to another just with a few chaste kisses. Xander moved lower and Spike moaned loudly with excited anticipation.

“Ssspike.  Love to hear you,” he whispered between more kisses and a few well timed nips.

“Mmm, yeah. So good, pet. So…mmm, beautiful.”

Xander closed his eyes and listened intently to Spike’s pleasured voice.  It was so soft, so smooth and so deadly.  It was the voice of a kitten that could suddenly turn, unleash deadly claws and strike at any moment.  Except that he knew that Spike would never strike at him, would never hurt him, but that did not make Xander feel any less turned on.  He was, after all, still lying in the arms of a deadly predator. A forbidden creature of the night.  A vampire.  His vampire.  His one.

Spike moaned again and twisted his body upwards in a pleasured arc. Xander felt himself throb with an almost painful hardness as he followed Spike’s encouraging movements and neared ever closer to his lover groin. He felt his own excitement for contact grow and he had to push back the urge to just jump on Spike’s cock and ride for his country.  He wanted this to be slow.  He wanted to lavish Spike’s body with loving kisses and strokes.  He needed to show Spike just how much he worshipped and adored him.

Xander traced his fingers lightly over a raised ivory thigh, and he slid his mouth down to claim it with sharp nips and apologetic, healing licks.  Spike growled. Not a warning growl threatening approaching violence, but a growl of claiming and of territory.  The feral sound was telling the floor, the ceiling and the walls that this was his human.

Without warning, Xander turned his attentions on to Spike’s expectant cock. He moved his mouth up and gently licked along the long ivory shaft squeezing out a surprised moan from the recipient.

“Ahhh, pet, again.”

Xander shook his head and smiled mischievously at his lover. “Wanna try something else” He bent down again and this time he lapped carefully at the swollen head, teasing his tongue into the damp slit.

“Mmm, good. Don’t stop. Fuck, yeah”

“Want more?”

“Yesss, so good.”

Xander locked eyes with his lover and made sure that he had his full attention as he slowly engulfed Spike’s leaking shaft.

Spike moaned loudly and battled furiously with the temptation to thrust hard into his lover’s mouth.

Xander sucked and moved his mouth slowly up and down, pausing every so often to tease his lover with no movement at all.  He couldn’t get enough, Spike tasted so good and every drop of pre-come that dropped from the pulsing shaft sent shivers of delight down his spine. Xander moaned and the noise hummed and vibrated up and down Spike’s cock.

“Oh, luv! So good. No, don’t stop.  Where you going?”

Xander fished around the pockets of Spike’s duster. “To get this. Want you now. Want you in me” He said, holding up the small tube.

Spike smiled. “Think you might need a hand with that.”

“Definitely.”

Spike turned his lover around and carefully prepared him with long lingering fingers.

“Wanna be inside you, pet. Gotta feel you around me.”

“Please,” Xander begged.

Spike placed the head of his cock at Xander’s opening and slowly eased himself in, making time for his lover to enjoy the sensation of being stretched and filled. When Spike was all the way in, he wrapped his arms around Xander’s waist, gripped his thick warm cock and began to rock steadily and gently against him. He didn’t want to rush this; he wanted it to last forever.

Xander tipped his head to the side and offered himself.  Even though Angelus had taken a great deal of his blood, just a few drops of Spike’s had seemed to replace it, so he felt that he could easily afford to feed his lover.

Spike shifted to his vampire visage and gently sunk his fangs into Xander’s neck.

Xander groaned.  He had a deadly vampire wrapped around him, buried inside him, pumping his cock, and drinking his blood, but never had he felt so safe, so content, and so complete. He and Spike were one. Two pieces of the same puzzle locked together in an embrace that was pure heaven.

The lovers rocked together for an endless time and Xander’s brain tuned out all outside thoughts.  All that existed was himself and the vampire that had melded into his body. Memories of Spike’s touches, kisses and caresses melted into the present and Xander found himself filled to the brim with love, comfort and Spike.  Spike was everything to him now and the thought of life without him threatened to send Xander to the dark side of his brain. He made the decision then.  It did not matter if Angel never got his soul back.  It did not matter if he was forced to live his life watching the pain and horror of his fellow human beings being ripped to pieces and used as fast food.  He would stay with Spike, embrace this new life with open, if cautious, arms and learn to live with it. Because the alternative was too horrendous to even contemplate.  He would die without Spike.  The world he knew would sink into a fathomless and empty grey fog and living alone without his vampire would become an endless tiresome chore.

Xander squeezed the unhappy thoughts away and concentrated on the smooth hand on his cock and the hard skilful length in his body.  Suddenly he needed more.  He needed the vampire to pump hard against his body and shoot his cum into his ass. God, he wanted Spike to fill him up and stamp him again with his salty essence.

“More, Spike. God, yes. Fuck me. Fill me. Do it. Do me. Fill me now.”

Spike kept drinking steadily from his lover’s neck, but sped up his rocking to a furious pace, sliding his long shaft nearly all the way out and slamming back in with an almost violent force.

Xander gasped and moaned as Spike’s cock fucked him hard and fast and he thought his body was going to literally explode when Spike’s hand fisted him in time with the furios thrusting.

“Oh god!” Xander came with a shout, coating his lover’s hand with warm seed.  His body shuddered and he ground back hard against Spike cock.

Spike continued to thrust, every part of him now desperate for release. He had felt his lover’s fulfilment, but he noticed with curiosity that Xander’s cock was still rock hard. Spike played along and continued to pump at Xander’s shaft. He heard his lover cry out again and he realised that Xander had come for a second time.  Spike was thrilled. Those consort abilities were growing by the second and this particular ability was one that Spike was particularly pleased about. He was definitely going to pencil a date into his diary to experiment with this new found talent.

Spike listened intensely to his lover gasping and panting with the effort of coming twice and he thrust himself ever deeper and ever faster to join his lover in his exhausted glow.

“Fuck…Xan…coming…Xan…GOD!”

Spike came, his orgasm shooting from his cock like a bolt of lightening, striking into the mortal in his arms. He ran his hands all over Xander’s body, marvelling at every inch of his sweating skin. This was no ordinary Xander Harris, he never had been.  He was special in every single way. His lover. His human. His one.

“Love you, Xan, so fucking much.”

“Spike, Spike, Spike, love you, love you, too.”

Spike pulled out of his consort and turned him around. “Gonna be okay. Got each other, pet.” He tumbled them both back to the floor and they curled around each other. Xander’s eyes drifted closed and he mumbled sleepily. “Wish I’d found you sooner.”

“So do I. Sssh now, luv.  Time to rest.”

Xander was already asleep.


~*~*~*~*~


“So what’s the plan?” Xander asked, a little nervously.

Angelus smiled evilly, he loved it when he made Xander nervous. “We find another vehicle then we get out of Sunnydale…for good”

“What about Drusilla?”

“She’s coming with us, of course.” Angelus said in a tone that was very matter of fact.

Xander drew in a long breath. He wasn’t sure how to feel about this.  He didn’t trust Drusilla one little bit and who wanted their lover’s ex hanging about anyway?  Spike came up behind him and spoke softly.

“Don’t worry.”

“Ah! Spike! What have I told you about creeping up on me?”

“Sorry, luv.”

“Jumpy much, Xander?” Said Angelus

“No,” Xander lied

“How about when I do this?” Angelus morphed into gameface and lunged at Xander in a mock attack.

Xander jumped back several feet and ended up behind his lover.  He cursed himself when Angelus began laughing. What am I like? Such a fucking baby, hiding behind my boyfriend.

“You know what, Angelus?” he said, suddenly, walking back round his lover. “You can be a real prick sometimes.  No wonder you always end up alone.”

Angelus roared and attacked Xander for real, grabbing at his body with huge powerful hands.

“You are going to regret that, little boy.”

Xander kicked and punched, but he refused to scream.  He wasn’t going to give the ex-brooding one the satisfaction.

“Oi! Bloody let him go!” Spike struggled with the urge to tear Angelus a new orifice, but he knew that retaliating would only end up making things worse for himself and for his lover.

Angelus ignored his Childe and lifted Xander in the air by his throat. Xander struggled for breath and his kicking and punching became considerable weaker as he started to run out of air.

Spike readied himself to pounce and tear off Angelus’ head.  He just couldn’t watch this.  No-one touched his consort, not like that, not even his Sire. But before he could act, Angelus dropped Xander to the floor and clutched the back of his head. “Ow! What the fuck was that for?” Angelus turned around and faced Drusilla.

“Tut, Tut. Be nice to the human or you will regret it,” she said.

“I will not tolerate threats, Drusilla,” Angelus warned.

“Auww, My little Angel.  It was not a threat.  It was the truth. I see it, in my ‘ead”

Angelus walked away and in huff and Spike rolled his eyes and helped Xander to his feet.

“You alright, pet?”

Xander clutched his throat “Yeah. Gonna need some cough drops, though.”

“For Christ sakes, luv,” Spike cried, seeing that apart from a nasty bruise on his throat, Xander was near enough unhurt. “What the buggery bollocks did you think you were doing?”

“I’m just sick of taking his shit,” Xander complained “We saved him! And is he grateful? No…”

“Pet.  That’s just Angelus. He’s always been like that.  He’s an ungrateful sod.”

“Oh, well, that’s okay, then.” Xander said, sarcastically.

“Look, just hold out for a bit longer.  I’m sure the others have come up with a plan and are following it through as we speak.”


~*~*~*~*~


“This is ridiculous, Giles! We have no idea how to restore Angel’s soul! We need a plan!”

“I am quite aware of this fact, Buffy. I am trying you know.  The Puggli were completely useless and were no help whatsoever. What else can I do?”

Buffy stamped her feet “I don’t know,” she whined.

Tara raised her hand.

“Err Tara? You have a question? Please, feel free to speak.”

Buffy interrupted. “Yes, please speak, give us an idea, cos really? We got NOTHIN’!”

“Um, well I really don’t have any ideas on curing Angel, but I do think that while we try and figure it out…we need to consider Xander.”

“In what way?” Giles asked.

“We need to get him away from Angelus.”

Willow nodded.  “Yeah, we should have done that at the start...”

Giles interrupted. “Hang on just a minute, Spike said that we shouldn’t go anywhere near them.”

Willow protested “He did. But that was then. Spike was doing what he thought was best at the time.  But every second that Angel is without a soul is another second that he could kill Xander.”

Giles agreed. “You’re right, yes of course. While I am sure that Spike will be relatively safe as Angel’s Childe, Xander has no such bond. I can only think that Angelus came for Xander, only to lure Spike back to him. Yes, we must make every effort to find Xander, he is in great danger.”

Buffy threw her arms up. “At last, some sense! And a plan. Willow? Can you and Tara do something kind of locator spell to find Xander?”

“Sure, Buff.  Just give us a couple of minutes.”

“Great, I’ll get some weapons.  C’mon Giles, we’ve got a friend to get back.”


~*~*~*~*~


“Spike? Please tell me that he isn’t gonna go postal again.”

“I can tell you that if you want, but I’m not sure that I’d be telling the truth.”

The lovers walked along the sidewalk, careful to keep a safe distance from the two vampires in front.

“Can’t they just pick one? There are loads of cars parked on this street.”

“I have a feeling that Angelus is looking for something special.” Spike pointed to the Mercedes dealership that stood on the corner of the street.

Xander groaned. “Jeez, there’s gonna be people in there”

“I know.  But whatever he does, please stay out of it.”

“I can’t let him kill more people, Spike. I have to do something. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try.”

“I know, pet. That’s why I’m gonna do something. You are gonna stay back though, and I don’t want no bloody arguments. You are not to get involved.  I’m not budging on that.”

Xander smiled. “Okay, you got yourself a deal. Thank you.”

“S’alright, pet.  Anything for you.”


~*~*~*~*~


“Can I help you fellas?”

Angelus let the evil grin spread across his face. “Yes. Yes you can. Me and my friends here are in the market for something…tasty.”

Xander felt himself being pushed back by Spike.

“Get back, pet.  Go wait out by the cars, yeah?”

“Okay, but don’t get your ass kicked or I’m coming right back in.”

Spike ushered him out the door and turned to face the portly car dealer.

“Well, you’re in luck tonight my fine friends.  We just got delivery of the new saloon and I can tell you, it’s very tasty indeed.”

The car dealer went to lead them outside and Spike’s heart nearly lurched.  Not near Xander.

Thankfully Angelus grabbed the man’s elbow and pulled him back to where he originally stood. “Actually…” Angelus lent into the human and read his name tag. “...Sam that’s not really what we had in mind.”

The car dealer had a sudden feeling of badness. He knew that working nights would be his undoing and something in his gut told him that tonight he would be coming completely undone.

“Erm, what did you have in mind?” the man asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.

Drusilla stepped in and enlightened him. “We are hungry. ‘specially, Spike, here.”

“And?” The man started to back away. “Money? You want money?...I could…”

“Oh, silly, silly man. If I wasn’t about to rip your throat out, I would roll on the ground with laughter.”

Drusilla shot forward but was snared by Spike.

“Spike! What are you doing, my love?”

“I’m stopping you from killing this man.  And I’m not your love.  Not anymore.”

Angelus laughed. “Hello? Spike? Anyone in there? You. Evil. Vampire. What’s the problem?”

Spike threw Drusilla to the side and frowned. “I’m not Evil.”

Angelus raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure?”

“Okay, I’m not that Evil.”

“Spike, c’mon, Childe. You don’t have the chip.  I don’t see what’s holding you back.”

“I see,” Drusilla said “He wants to keep the fat human alive to please his consort.”

“Is this true, Spike?”

Spike shifted uncomfortably.  He really didn’t want to tell the whole truth, that he couldn’t just willy nilly kill any passing human anymore.  Spike didn’t have an actual soul, but somewhere along the line he had grown some sort conscience. A small one admittedly, but it was there nonetheless. If he was to tell this to Angelus and Drusilla all this then he could be sure that consequences would be pretty dire.

“Yeah, Xander’s human, don’t forget that. Killing don’t sit well with him.”

Angelus turned an angry glare over his Childe. “You see, this is what happens when you take up with a human.  Well, we had better give him some intensive training, yes? He’ll soon get used to it.  We’ll start now. Go and get him, Spike.”

Spike hesitated. “No, I won’t.”

Angelus growled through gritted teeth. “Childe, bring your consort to me, now

Spike stood firm “No. I don’t want him to see this.  I won’t let him.”

“You have no choice, Spike.  Your consort needs to harden to our ways and you need to feed.”

Spike tried a different tactic. “I’m not feeding of this wanker anyway.  Find me someone else.  This bloke looks grubby.”

Angelus studied the shaking man and noticed that at some point the man had pissed himself.

“Yes, Childe. I do believe you're right.  We will move on. Find someone a little more…suitable.” Angelus threw the man against the wall.

“That silver off-roader right at the front, where are the keys?”

The man pointed to his desk. “The M class? In there. Second drawer down on the left. Number seven.  Just take it”

“I intend to, you idiotic human!” Angelus opened the drawer and pulled out a key that was attached to a large round blue key fob that had the number seven written on it. He turned back the face the man on the floor.

“Be thankful that you pissed yourself.  It saved your life. Spike…?”

Angelus turned his head to say something sarcastic to his Childe and noticed that the he was hurriedly disappearing through the door.

“Now, where does he think he’s going in such a hurry?”

Drusilla looked out of the window.

“I see trouble Angelus. They come to tear our family apart.” Drusilla sobbed for a moment before her face shifted into her vampire visage and she stared angrily out the window. “They will hurt the consort.”

Angelus’ demon rose to the surface. “Then we kill them.”


~*~*~*~*~


Xander lent against one of the cars and was careful to not so much as glance at the showroom.  He wasn’t sure that Spike would actually be able to save the man and he wasn’t exactly keen to accidentally catch a glimpse of what they would do to the man if Spike failed.  

A car began to pull into the lot and Xander could see that the vehicle contained a family.  He ran quickly over to it and blocked the vehicle’s path.

“No! Go back! They’re closed. And, um, the cars are crap quality anyway. Suspension? Don’t even go there!  And the manager? Rumour has it that he touches up children.”

Xander was well aware that he was sounding like a crazy person, but it didn’t matter.  The family backed out of the lot and went on their way. Xander sighed in relief and went back to leaning on his chosen car.

Xander lent his head back onto the roof of the car and stared up at the dark sky.  He sent out a silent plea to his friends. Please do something! Anything! And do it soon.  No sooner than he had thought it, he saw the familiar van approaching in the distance.  The Scoobies.  The vehicle pulled in and his friends hopped out.

“Buffy?”

“Xan! Oh god, you’re okay! We were so worried.”

Willow approached her best friend and gently touched his face. “You’re hurt.”

“It’s okay, Wills.  It’s nothing.”

Buffy interrupted. “It’s not okay.  C’mon, we’re leaving and you’re coming with us.”

“Hang on, can you restore Angel’s soul?”

“No, not yet, but we are working on it.”

“Then I can’t go with you…”

“Are you crazy?! You’ve got to get away from him before he kills you!”

“No! He won’t kill me…”

Giles stepped in. “Buffy is right.  He will kill you.  I don’t even really understand why he’s kept you alive this long.”

That stung and Xander stepped back.

Giles obliviously continued. “Perhaps it is to make sure that Spike stays with him.  But whatever the reason, he will not keep you alive forever. We must get you away while we can.  The restoration could take some time yet to perfect.”

Xander wanted to explain that Angelus would not kill him, he was family and however crazed the vampire was, family meant something. But how could he communicate this to his friends without them realising that he was bonded by blood to Spike and Angel?  As proud as he was, he did not want to reveal the secret without a proper discussion with his lover. If his friends knew that he had been claimed, then it would not take much for them to figure out that Spike’s chip was not working.

“I can’t go,” Xander pleaded. “I-I can’t leave Spike.”

Buffy stepped closer. “We thought you might say that. You are probably going to hate me later for this, but it’s for your own good.”

“What? What’s for my own….?”

Xander never got to finish his question and he never saw the blow coming.  Buffy threw a good hard punch and landed it squarely on the side of his face. Xander fell backwards and landed heavily on the tarmac.

Willow crouched beside her unconscious friend. “Oh Buffy! Couldn’t you have just let me mojo him?”

Giles bent down and struggled to heave Xander’s limp body over his shoulder.

“No, Willow. I would rather you didn’t cast spells on any of us. At least this way we know that he will wake up again.”

Willow looked irritably to Tara. Giles still didn’t trust them and that hurt. She could have put Xander to sleep quickly and painlessly and she could have woken him up at any time without the pain of one of Buffy’s mean right hooks.


~*~*~*~*~


The woman at the wheel looked at her friend.  “There they are!”

“What are they doing?” the man asked

“Oh god! Buffy just hit Xander!”

“What? Why?”

The woman bounced in her seat. “They’re saving him! Look they’re putting him in the van.”

“No! They can’t do that!”

“Are you kidding? They need to save him from Angelus before he kills him.”

“He won’t kill him! We can’t let them take him.”

“Okaay, Why and why?”

“Just trust me, I know.  If they take him, Angelus will slaughter everyone that gets in his way until he gets him back.  We have to stop them.”

“Alright, I’ll go with you on this one, but only because I don’t know any better. But I still don’t understand why Angelus would be so interested in Xander.”

The man frowned and stared back out the window. “Because he’s family.”


~*~*~*~*~


Giles bundled Xander’s unconscious body into the van and stepped in with him.

“Oi! What the fuck are you doing?”

Buffy held up a hand. “We are taking him some place safe. Don’t worry, its just until we can restore Angel’s soul, then you can have him back.”

“Unacceptable, Slayer.  I told you to back the fuck off until you could figure this out.”

“And we will figure it out, but until then, we are taking Xander away. Look Spike this has nothing to do with you…”

“The fuck it doesn’t! You don’t think I can take care of my own lover!”

“That’s not it at all.  Angelus will kill…”

“No! He won’t.”

“He will!”

“He won’t!”

“He will, Spike!”

Spike glanced behind him and spotted Drusilla and his Sire charging towards them.

“For fuck's sake, for once in your stupid ditsy life, listen and trust me! Angelus won’t kill him, but he has to stay with me, or your ex is gonna go fucking ballistic!”

Buffy stared at Spike with part stubbornness and part sympathy. “I’m Sorry,” she said “He comes with us.”

Angelus howled in anger and charged at the group. Willow and Tara quickly got in the back of the van and Giles made his way to the front.  Everything was happening way too fast and Spike felt something snap inside him and he lunged at the van in full gameface. Buffy stopped him from reaching it.

“No! You can’t take him, he’s mine! You can’t do this, Buffy!”

Buffy grabbed Spike by his duster and shoved him back. “I can. Deal with it!”

Angelus rushed forward passed his Childe and faced off Buffy.

“He won’t have to deal with it, because you will not be taking Xander anywhere.”

Angelus slapped Buffy and sent her flying sideways. In an action that was pure reflex, she pulled a stake from her jacket and spun a flying kick into Angelus’ face. As Angelus reeled, Buffy charged forward and punched him in the stomach. Angelus fell to his knees and Buffy plunged the stake into the back of his neck and kicked him over.

Buffy didn’t check the damage that she had inflicted. Angelus had not dusted and that was good enough.  She couldn’t bear to look at what she had just done, instead she climbed into the side of the van.

“Stop!”

Buffy turned to face a young dark haired man.

“Who the hell are you?”

“A friend. You are making a big mistake.  You cannot take that boy.  Leave him here. You have no idea what you’re doing.”

“I don’t know you and I don’t care about your opinions.” She slammed the van door shut and the vehicle screeched away.

Spike let go of a struggling Drusilla and she immediately tended to her Sire, opening a vein in her wrist to feed him. Spike was staring after the van, a stricken expression looming over his face.

The man glanced worriedly at Angelus before speaking. “Angelus will follow, but you know that already.  It might be an idea to get there first, make sure your lover is out of harms way.  Course, you might piss Angelus off further by fucking off without him.  If it helps, though, I know how to do the restoration spell.  One way or another, this will be over tonight.”

Spike looked at the man, suspiciously. “Who are you?”

“The name’s Doyle. I’m Angel’s…I’m a friend of Angel.”

Spike gestured to the cabriolet parked across the street. “That yours?”

“It certainly is.”

“Right then. Don’t mind giving me a lift do you. Being a friend of Angel’s an’ all?”

“You sure?  He will follow. And mate, he’s gonna be right pissed off with just about all of you.”

“I’m sure. Gotta follow my boy.”

Doyle nodded and led Spike over to the car. Spike got in and nearly leapt back out.

“Cordy! Blimey, didn’t expect to see you.”

“Good to see you, too, I’m sure. I take it that we are going to go get Xander back?  Where will they take him?”

Doyle got in the vehicle and spoke. “Follow that van!” he declared

“Erm, the van has gone, Doyle. How am I meant to follow it?”

Doyle looked to Spike. “You wouldn’t happen to know where they would go, would you?”

Spike sighed. “That lot are sadly predictable. My money’s on The Magic Box.” He glanced over to the car lot. Drusilla was now helping an unsteady Angelus to his feet. “C’mon, let’s get into gear people. Angelus is on the move.”

Cordelia slammed her foot on the accelerator and the car tore down the street.


~*~*~*~*~


“Quick, get him inside,” Willow cried.

Xander turned his head to the side and groaned.  Giles looked down at his unconscious friend and noticed that he was starting to come around.  He decided it would be best to check on Xander’s current state of health inside the shop, so with a mighty heave, he lifted the groggy boy back over his shoulder and raced inside.

When everyone was safely inside, Buffy locked the door and dragged the shelf over to block it.

“That should keep them out for a while,” she said, brushing herself down. “Tara? Would you check the basement entrance, make sure it’s all locked up?”

Tara obeyed and her lover wondered over to where Giles had propped her friend up in a sitting position against the counter.

“Are you okay?” She asked in a concerned tone.

“Oh yeah, sure.” Xander said rubbing at his jaw. He opened his eyes and stared about the room, trying to get his bearings. Realising where he was, he snapped his head to face the man that was crouched at his other side. “Oh my god. Please just tell me that you have restored Angel.”

Giles stammered. “Err, um, err w-well…”

Xander closed his eyes again. “Jesus,” he muttered. He opened his eyes again and stood on slightly shaky legs. “Do you have any idea what you’ve done?”

“Xander, I know that you want to be with Spike at a time like this, but really, this is for the best.  It’s for your own good. Angelus used you to lure in his Childe, now that he has him, he would have most probably killed you.”

Xander repressed a strange urge to growl at the Watcher. “You don’t know anything! I’m leaving,” he snapped, moving towards the door.

Giles snared his arm.

“Xander,” Giles said, firmly. “You will stay here.”

Xander snatched his arm back. “I won’t.”

“Not matter how much you want to, you cannot be with Spike while he is with Angelus. It’s just too dangerous. Let Spike lead his Sire away, it will buy us some time.”

As Xander was about to shout a reply filled with obscene words that no young man should know, the shop window shattered and an incensed Spike near enough flew through it.

Xander breathed a sigh of relief. “Spike…”

Giles again, gripped the top of Xander’s arm and prevented him from greeting his lover.

Spike snarled. “Back off, Watcher. He needs to come with me.”

“Spike, please be sensible. We can keep Xander safe here, Angelus won’t…”

Spike didn’t let him finish. “He will. He will come for me and Xander and he will kill anyone that gets in his way. Actually he will probably kill you all anyway for daring to take what’s his.”

Spike glanced at everyone in the room in turn. “This is for your protection.  I’m taking Xander.”

Spike’s demon struggled to rise to the surface. It was mad as hell that his mate had been forcibly taken from him.  The situation was totally unacceptable and his demon was determined to have none of it. He would not be leaving without his consort.  The demon combined with the bond he shared with Xander was not going to allow it.  Spike locked eyes with his lover and he could suddenly feel the bond throbbing between them, keeping them together. Spike knew his mate was feeling the same.  They would not be split apart.

Spike frowned as a warm swirly feeling passed through his brain. Shit, we’re gonna have to tell them about our bond.

Xander blinked, tilted his head and looked confusedly as his lover. Spike? I think I just read your thoughts. Right back at you, pet!

Whoa!

Yeah, weird innit? Look, pet we don’t have much time, I can sense Angelus, and he’s close. We gotta go find him before he finds your little friends

They’re not gonna let me go without a fight.

That’s why we gotta tell ‘em about us

The claiming? God, Spike, I don’t think it’s gonna go down too well


Tough, pet. We just gotta tell ‘em the deal and get the fuck out. They can yell and scream about it later

Okay, Spike. But I’ll do the talking and you stay back. I rather not leave this shop with you scooped up and put in my pocket

(chuckles) You got it, pet. Give it to ‘em

Buffy stepped between the two lovers. “Right, well when you two have finished gazing into each others eyes, would one of you tell me what’s going on. Why does Angelus think Xander is his?”

Xander forced himself to meet Buffy’s questioning glare and he spoke calmly but firmly.

“Angelus will come for me because I’m family.  Spike claimed me, and Angel performed the ritual. I’m bound to both of them. We are both part of Angelus’ family and if you keep either of us here, he will tear you all apart trying to get us back.”

Giles stared in disbelief. “Good lord, Xander. Do you know what you’ve done? What this means?”

“Yes, actually I do. But can we argue later, kinda on a tight schedule here?”

“Oh my, yes of course, you must go…immediately!” Giles ushered them out the window and turned to the others.

“What does this mean?” Willow asked.

“It means that we’d better hurry up with the restoration.”

A figure appeared at the window and climbed in. “I think I might be able to help you out there.”

Buffy stepped forward. “Someone please block that damn window! Who the hell are you?”

“Doyle. Friend of Angel’s. I have a spell that I think will work but I don’t have all the ingredients.” He looked around the shop. “Well what do ya you know! A whole shop full of ingredients!” He turned around and helped Cordelia through the Window.

“Hey guys!” Cordelia chirped, suddenly looking at the broken glass beneath her feet.

“Don’t you lot ever clean up?”


~*~*~*~*~


Spike and Xander ran down the middle of the road, trying to put as much distance between themselves and The Magic Box as possible.

Spike suddenly reached out and grabbed his consort, pulling him to a stop. “Hang on a mo, pet. I think that’s them.”

Spike pointed to the approaching car and Xander stared at it, unsure weather to be relieved or terrified.

The jet black car skidded to a halt in a style that was consistent with Angelus’ cocky show off style. It was Drusilla that hopped out first.

“Oh my loves.  I thought they had taken you far, far away from me.”

“What? To another galaxy?”

She draped her body around Xander and hugged him a little too tightly. Xander began to wheeze and Spike pulled her away.

“Come ‘ere Dru, darlin’.  That’s one member of our family that actually needs to breathe.”

Angelus stepped around the car to join them. “Well, it looks like we have one more stop, before we leave town.”

Spike eyed his Sire suspiciously, knowing already what he was suggesting. “You sure, Sire? Innit better that we just skip while we’re all still in one piece?”

Angelus slowly shook his head. “They tried to take one of our own.  And for that we make them pay.”

“No! Angelus, please!”

“Xander, this has to be done.  Don’t fight me on this.  I don’t want to have to punish you, too.”

“But they’re my friends.  I can’t…”

Drusilla approached Xander again and lightly scraped her long fingernails down his cheek. Xander wasn’t sure whether the gesture was meant to be threatening or comforting.

“Sweet, sweet, boy. Daddy won’t make you play if you don’t want to. Just enjoy the show. I will paint a picture in their blood for you. A beautiful picture, decorate it with eyes, I will. Just for you, to welcome you into our little family.”

Drusilla’s eyes glazed over as she thought of all the wonderful things she would do to the treacherous humans. She giggled and quickly covered her mouth with her hand, removing it for just second to whisper a single word. “Entrails.” She giggled again.

Xander stepped back and looked desperately at Spike. Please, stop them

Don’t know about that, babe, I’ll try an’ slow them down, though. That Irish bloke reckons he can do the restoration. He needs about an hour

An hour? How can we stall them for that long?

An army jeep appeared in the distance and Spike mentally cheered and swore at the same time. Heads up, pet. Initiative are here.  They should provide a not so nice distraction

Again, Xander’s emotions were torn. These were Initiative soldiers heading toward them. These were the bastards that had hurt Spike, stuck that chip in his head and tortured him. So why did he feel sick at the thought of them falling foul to his family. Two reasons, he decided. Firstly, it was likely to be a painful and vengeful death for the soldiers, something that no being, human or otherwise should have to go through. The second reason filled Xander with guilt. If it hadn’t been for the Initiative experimenting with his lover’s brain, then Spike and him would never had met properly, never become friends and certainly never become lovers. Even in a moment as dire as this one, Xander had never felt so complete, so content and so loved.  He was happier than he had ever been in his life and he had the Initiative to thank for that.

The vehicle pulled up and four men stepped out and pointed their weapons. Spike recognised two of the men as the two that had pestered his lover at The Bronze not too long ago. He stepped in front of his consort and whispered to him over his shoulder.

“First opportunity, pet, get in the car and stay low.”

Xander didn’t need to answer. He knew he wasn’t going to run and hide and Spike knew his consort was definitely going to disobey him on this occasion.

“Get on the floor, all of you, NOW!”

Nobody moved.

“Three seconds, boys and girls, three seconds and we fire.  Now get down on the floor!”

Spike cleared his throat and slowly edged forward. “Uh, you know we’re vampires right? Your poxy guns are useless, mate.”

Forrest kept his aim steady. “Not normal guns, shit head. This baby’s gonna zap you ‘til you drop, then fry your faggot boyfriend ‘til his eyes bleed.”

Angelus pondered, rubbing his hand over his chin. “I have to admit, I think you would make a fine vampire,” he said, addressing Forrest. “Unfortunately, I will never have the chance to find out if that is a correct assumption,” Angelus sighed. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to kill you now.  You have threatened my family and that, I cannot allow.”

The situation was becoming tenser by the second and Xander wished that everyone could just get on and do what they needed to do so that everyone would stop with the big talk. The two groups stared at each other in silence for endless moments until another soldier spoke.

“Let's all just calm down.”

Xander recognised this man as the one who had been nice to him at The Bronze. Graham.

“Xander? Is that you?”

Yup, recognition was clearly working both ways.

Xander stayed silent and simply stared at the soldier.

Graham tried again. “Xander. I’m gonna help you. Just circle round them and walk towards me.”

Xander frowned, confusion fogging his brain. “Huh?”

“I can get you away from them, I promise you.” Graham lowered his gun and held his hand out instead. “I won’t let them hurt you anymore”

Xander felt kindness radiating from this man. He wasn’t there to capture him, hell, he probably wasn’t even there to hurt or capture Spike. The man was trying to help him. Clearly the soldier did not realise that he was in a willing and loving relationship. Xander found himself hoping that Graham wasn’t going to feel Angelus’ or Spike’s wrath.

“Xander…”

“ENOUGH!” Angelus bellowed. “Who gave you permission to speak to my Childe’s Consort?”

Spike shot a look of death by a million sunbeams at his Sire. “Thanks for that. Was trying to keep the Consort thing a little more quiet.”

Angelus dismissed him. “It doesn’t matter. They won’t be able talk when I cut their tongues out.”

Drusilla danced. “Chatter, chatter. Can I keep their tongues, Daddy?”

“Urhg, fuck this,” said Forrest. “Graham, this kid is clearly in league with them. Let’s just follow our orders and bring them in”

He pointed his gun at Xander and addressed Spike. “How about it, Billy you gonna give yourself up like a good boy or shall I cook your boyfriend? Extra crispy do you?”

Not that Spike got the chance to answer.  Drusilla began to scream. It started like the sound of a woman screaming for her life and as she charged at the soldiers the scream morphed into a high pitched scream of a woman intent on violent bloody murder.

Everything happened at once and Xander felt like he was in a dream like state, observing a terrible bloody nightmare from an unconscious body.

Drusilla coiled around one of the soldiers.  He discharged his weapon but it missed her by a mile as she struck him with absolute precision and speed. Blood, almost black, sprayed from the soldier’s neck and his cry of alarm morphed into a sickening gurgle of despair and death.

Xander flicked his troubled gaze to Angelus. The older vampire snatched at another soldier’s gun, pulling and twisting it out of the man’s hands. Angelus threw the weapon to the side and it flew gracefully through the air, landing just a few feet away from Xander. Angelus’ fangs were bared and they twinkled under the moonlight. Xander couldn’t help but gaze at them, long, white, magnificent and deadly.

The nightmare began to play in slow motion and Xander continued to stare, mesmerized by the grace that was a vampire going in for the kill. Angelus’ jaws clamped tightly onto the human’s neck and Xander found himself wondering how long it would take to drain an average human dry.

Two soldiers left standing. One wearing a mask of anger, newly promised revenge and a general desire to kill, maim and destroy and the other wearing a mask of disgust and fear. Forest and Graham.

Graham was lying on his front, obviously having been tossed aside by Spike. The soldier had twisted his head up, palms flat on the road beneath him.  He watched his two comrades die with an expression of horror.

Forrest stood, seemingly unnoticed by anyone else. He raised his weapon and took aim. Xander watched in a voyeuristic paralysis, as the weapon discharged and hit Spike square in the chest.

Spike screamed and dropped to the floor.

“SPIKE!”

Xander ran and threw himself to his knees. He pressed firm controlling hands onto Spike’s shoulders and tried to still the vampire’s violent spasms. “Oh god…Spike?” Xander paled further and he watched with growing horror as Spike’s eyes rolled up into his head. “Spike!” he pleaded “You better not be thinking of leaving me here...”

Xander suddenly felt their bond flex and tighten. The spasms ceased and Spike’s eyes righted themselves. “Ain’t never leavin’ you,” he growled stubbornly.

“How touching!” Forrest spat “You can leave together. My parting gift to you.” Forrest took aim again.

Spike reached to his lover and gripped both his hands. He was too weak to move and his lover would never be able to close the distance between them and the soldier before the man fired his weapon. Xander stared deeply into his lover’s eyes, as if he was trying to burn the memory of them into his brain before he died and moved on to his next life. Spike stared back with the same intense look.  After a few moments their stares became puzzled. It was Spike that spoke.

“Quiet innit?”

“Mmm,” Xander agreed.

They both chanced a quick look up and realised that Forrest had been tackled and his weapon was resting harmlessly on the ground. Xander helped his lover to sit up and he glanced around at the carnage around him.

Hang on

Drusilla feeding.

Angelus feeding.

Spike on the ground.  

So who the hell was fighting Forrest? Both Spike and Xander gaped.  It was Graham. The lovers listened to the argument that was playing out between blows.

“Have…you gone out of…your mind?” Forrest asked as he slammed his fist into his comrade’s ribs.

“I won’t let you kill him!” Graham shouted, returning the blow with equal force.

“Give it up, Graham. You not gonna get anywhere with that demon’s whore, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

Graham struggled in Forrest’s grip and he head-butted the man and staggered back.

“He’s human. We don’t kill humans. Or had you forgotten?”

Spike noted from a distance that Graham had not denied Forrest’s accusation.

Forrest swung a powerful right hook, but Graham nimbly ducked under it.

“Human? He’s fucking a damn vampire!  That makes him fair game in my book!”

Forrest charged and knocked his friend onto the ground, landing heavily on top.

“What about our orders, Forrest?” Graham choked out.  It was hard to speak when you had two hands wrapped around your neck.

“What? Bring them in? Mind if I don’t?”

“Dr Price…”

“Can go fuck himself.”

A third voice joined the argument. “No, you go fuck yourself.”

There was a small click and a rising hum as the sound of a weapon charging filled the air.

The two men looked up and Forrest stood quickly.

“Hey, you’re far too young to be playing this game.  That’s a big boy’s toy.” His tone was lurid and dirty. “Why don’t you just hand it over?”

Something in that voice made Xander more determined. “Not a fucking chance in hell,” he said calmly, stealing one of Spike’s favourite lines.

Xander gestured with his head to a point behind the two soldiers. “They’re nearly done and you have no weapon,” he stated.

Forrest looked behind him and he heaved slightly at the bloody mess that had been his comrades.  The kid had a point.

“Well? Go on. Get your skinny ass’s outa here. I’m willing to let you go because I’m human. You’ll get no such graces with those two.” He said gesturing behind them again.

Forrest raised his hands and backed quickly towards the jeep. “Going,” he announced, pulling Graham with him. “C’mon, Gray, we can fight about all this later.”

Xander followed them towards the jeep, careful to keep his aim steady and accurate just in case. He chanced a small glance at Graham as Forrest climbed into the driver’s seat. He let his eyes do the talking. Thank you.


~*~*~*~*~


“Spike? Are you okay?” Xander knelt back down beside his lover and hovered his hands over the blackened wound.

“Will be, pet.” Spike studied his smoking chest. “Don’t think I can say the same for my t-shirt, though.”

“Xaaandeerr.”

Xander looked up and spotted Angelus’ looking at him disapprovingly. The vampire waggled his index finger at him in a “come here” gesture.

Xander muttered under his breath “Oh shit.”

Xander helped Spike to his feet and lent him against the car before he walked over to the simmering vampire. He stepped over a mangled corpse and he struggled keep his breath from hitching at the grotesque sight. He slipped on something squelchy and he would have fell face down in a puddle of blood if it hadn’t been for Drusilla. She shot forward in a movement that could have been mistaken for part of a ballet dance and held him from behind by the tops of his arms.

“Ooops. Clumsy cuckoo. Come with me, sweet boy.  I have been practising my painting.”

“Drusilla,” Angelus chided. “Go and play with the bodies. Xander and I need to have a little chat about the family rules” Angelus ground out the last words angrily.

“Um…”

Angelus held a finger to his lips to hush him. He turned him round and pointed to the two bodies in turn. “Now that one was mine and that one was Dru’s” He pointed into the distance. “And those two driving insanely into the distance? Well one was Spike’s and one was yours. Now, Spike here has an excuse, he was having his ribs barbecued.  But you? I’m just not understanding. I think you’d better tell me what your excuse is.”

“I-I couldn’t….”

“Kill them?”

Xander nodded and Angelus put a supportive arm around him. “My dear little boy. If you felt like you weren’t ready for your first kill, then you should have just said. You could have watched while I gave you a little bit of tuition. There was no need to let them get away.”

Xander played along. “I’m sorry, Angelus. I was frightened a-and I just wanted them away. You and Drusilla were…busy. And Spike was turned into a southern fried drumstick. I needed him to protect me and I knew he couldn’t.”

Angelus bought the lie.

Xander hadn’t wanted anyone else to suffer and it was he that needed to protect Spike.

“I see. Reasonable, I suppose.” He waggled a digit into the boy’s face and spoke in a tone that betrayed his playful expression “Just don’t let it happen again.”

“No, sir.” Shit, where had that come from? Sir? He hadn’t called anyone Sir since high school.  He thought again.  No.  Not since then. Since the last time he had seen his father.  He was disgusted that he was feeling that same rolling shit-gut feeling of borderline terror that he felt around his father. The feeling that the slightest little thing was going to earn him a good kicking or worse.  Even if the restoration worked, was he ever going to able to feel completely comfortable around Angel again?  Sure, he loved Angelus and Angel.  They were family.  But fear was a funny thing and as much as he felt for Angel, he still feared him, he always had, just a bit.

Still, Angelus seemed pacified by the title. He stroked Xander’s hair like he would a puppy. (Except that if he had been a puppy, he would have been nailed to a tree by now.)

“Good boy. Well, now that we understand each other, I suggest that we hurry along and finish our business in this skanky little shit hole of a town and move on.”

Xander thought quickly and played the Spike card. “Um, could we wait for a while? Spike’s really hurt. I need to take care of him.”

Angelus steamrolled over to his Childe, suddenly concerned.

Hook, line, and sinker.

“Spike? Are you alright?”

Spike looked at his Sire and caught his lover hovering in the distance.

Milk it, Spike

“Urgh, got me pretty bad. Gonna take a while to heal, I reckon.”

Angelus tried to lift tight black t-shirt, but found that I was stuck. “Hm, I think you’re right. We’ll go somewhere a little more private and you can feed from your consort. Of course, you wouldn’t be in quite such a mess, if you had fed properly in the first place.”

Angelus walked back to car.

Spike whispered to his consort. “Good thinking, pet. This will definitely buy us some time.”

“I just hope it’s enough.”

“Just remember to do everything slowly. C’mon, we’ll start with a nice slow hobble to the car.”

Xander put an arm around Spike’s waist and the vampire held on tightly to his lover’s shoulders, leaning most of his weight into the human.

“Spike? How are you really?”

“Don’t fret, luv. Yeah, it bloody hurts now, but you’ll fix me, an’ I’ll be good as new.”

“Yeah, I’ll fix you. But ‘til then, make some ouchy noises.  We want them to think you are worse than you are.”

“Not a problem.”

The lovers made their way to the car at snail speed and Spike made sure to make plenty of oouch, ouch, owie and gosh that smarts noises.

Drusilla finished her finger painting and joined them, bouncing into the front seat. “Are we going to gobble the slayer now?” She asked her Sire.

“Soon, my love. First we need to find a nice private place for Spike to feed.”

Drusilla spun in her seat. “Poor, poor Spikey,” she whimpered. “Let me take care of you…”

“No! He’s mine! I’ll take care of him!” Xander cried defensively

Drusilla smiled and giggled. “Crafty little me. Just checking.”

Xander shook his head. Drusilla was weirder than his Aunt Betsy. “Uh, where exactly are we going?”


~*~*~*~*~


Somewhere private actually turned out to be Spike’s old crypt.  With unneeded help from Angelus and Drusilla, Xander had managed to get Spike up onto the sarcophagus. He had then promptly sent the other two away so that he could have “Private Consort time” with Spike.

“They’re actually quite easy to control, once you know what buttons to push and what strings to pull.”

“Maybe, pet. Just don’t let them hear you say that. And watch out for the strings or you’ll end up hanging yourself”

“Huh?”

“I mean, don’t push your luck.”

“I won’t,” Xander muttered as he tried to lift Spike’s t-shirt. “Jeez, this looks really bad, Spike. It’s all stuck.”

Spike tried to sound brave. “No matter.  Just rip it off, pet.”

“No way. It’ll take off half your skin. Pity there’s no running water, this really needs to be soaked off.”

Spike pointed to the corner. Used to keep bottled water down there.”

Xander hurried to the other side of the room and picked up one of the bottles. He quirked an eyebrow at his lover. “Sparkling mineral water?”

Spike squirmed. “Err, yeah, err. Hangover cure. Number one rule. Drink plenty of fluids.”

Xander hid a smirk. He approached his lover and poured the water over the t-shirt. “That should do it.” Xander gently began easing the material from the wound, stopping every time Spike hissed under his breath. When the t-shirt was finally pulled free he stared in revulsion at the frazzled wound. “Gods…”

“I know, pet. It looks bad, but I’ve taken worse. Better me than you though, eh?”

Spike’s attempt at making Xander feel better never got off the starting block. “I would rather it had been me. I can’t stand seeing you in so much pain…”

“No,” Spike said fiercely. “You would never have survived it.”

“I might. If I had just been quicker...”

“No,” Spike repeated. “Don’t ever do it. I don’t want you putting yourself at risk. I’m tough as old boots, me.”

“But, Spike, you always seem to be saving my sorry ass. When do I get to save you?”

Spike sat up and pulled him onto the sarcophagus. He took Xander’s chin in his hands and tilted his head up. “Look at me, pet. You save me every day. Every time I open my eyes and I see you lying next to me in bed, you save me. Every time I hear your sweet heartbeat, you save me. Every time I catch your scent, you save me. I’m nothing without you. I don’t need no heroic gestures, in fact, I’d rather you didn’t! Shatters my nerves, thinking about you in danger. To think that in a single moment, I could lose you. Kills me it does. Wanna wrap you up an’ keep you in a cupboard.”

Xander laughed “I’d rather you chain me to the bed.”

Spike pondered “Yeah, haven’t tried that yet, have we?”

“We will, when this is over”

“Yup, no problem. Already made a mental note.”

Xander looked serious again “Spike? Can I ask you a question? A real deep and meaningful one?”

“You can say or ask me anything, anytime.  You know that.”

Xander took a deep breath. “What happens when I get old?”

“Well, you get all wrinkly, buy tartan, zip up slippers, dribble…”

“No! I mean...”

“I know what you meant. Gonna look after you, even when you’re old, wrinkly and smelling of antiseptic.”

“It doesn’t seem fair. On you, I mean. Not much fun...watching me die”

“Luv, please don’t say things like that…”

“And then what? I die and you get left alone. Spike, I can’t bear the thought.”

“Not alone. We’ll still be together. When…when...oh shit...when you’re gone, babe, that’s it for me. I’ll be coming to join you.”

Spike hushed Xander when he looked like he was going to protest. “I mean it.  No arguments. Not going on without you.  I couldn’t. Gonna take you into the open and hold you ‘til the sun comes up...hey, none of that.”

Spike wiped away a tear from Xander’s cheek.

“Sorry...”

“Don’t.  Nothing to be sorry for.  Got a long time before that happens. And now you’re my Consort, we’ll have even longer.”

Xander kept a tight hold of the rest of his tears that threatened to fall. “Really? How much longer?”

“Dunno. Ten years, maybe twenty.  I’m not sure exactly.  Point is, I intend to bloody well enjoy every one of those years, with you by my side.”

Xander nodded “Yeah, me too. Sorry, my brain has a habit of skipping forward a bit.”

“S’okay, pet. It’s one of reasons why I luv you.  That an’ your smoking body.”

Spike gave his lover a humongous smile and he received one back in return.

“Now, we gonna yap all night or are you gonna feed me?”

“And that’s one of the reasons that I love you. My big, sarcastic, impatient bad.”

Xander lent over Spike’s body and pressed his mouth gently over his soft, cool lips. He pulled back slightly and bared his neck.

Spike fought with the urge to just sink his fangs deep into the offered throat and drink greedily. Jesus, he was hungry.  Instead he left a trail of soft kisses up Xander’s neck, whispering soft words between each kiss. “So beautiful, pet.  All mine.  Want.  Need.”

“Take,” Xander whispered

Spike complied and gently lowered razor sharp fangs into his consort’s skin. The taste and scent of Xander’s blood was almost overwhelming, a bouquet of sunshine and darkness, pain and happiness. Spike wondered if perhaps it would be possible to drown in the intoxicating blend.  He drew a final mouthful and pulled reluctantly away, feeling the loss of the intimate contact like a stake through the heart.

“Mmm.” Xander swayed, a dreamy expressing swirling over his face.

“You alright, luv? Didn’t take too much did I?”

Xander shook his head slowly and looked at Spike’s wound. “That will never stop being the number one source of fascination for me,” he said, staring intently at the rapidly healing wound.”

Spike shrugged “It’ll get boring soon enough.”

Xander shook his head again. “No, it won’t.” He brushed his fingers lightly over skin that was now smooth and unblemished. “I did that. I fixed you.”

“Yeah, you certainly did, pet. Now, c’mere and let me show how grateful I am.”

Spike lowered himself until he was lying on his back and he pulled Xander down with him, draping the warm body over his own and kissing him deeply.

Xander lifted his head when the need to breath became too great. “Love you.”

“Love you, too. All mine.”

“Right back atcha.”

The lovers smiled at each other until Xander glanced worriedly at the door.

“S’alright, pet. Just wanna hold you, kiss you. They’ll be coming in soon to hurry us along. Don’t wanna start sommit I can’t finish.”

Xander relaxed again and resumed the kiss. Spike purred contentedly and Xander touched his hand lightly to the vampire’s chest, enjoying the rumbling sensation that vibrated through his fingertips.  

Spike trailed his fingers around his consort’s throat and he rested his hand on the back of Xander’s neck. He tenderly stroked two fingers just under Xander’s hairline and he was rewarded with pleasured wiggle and a small moan.  

Spike broke the kiss.

“Ahh, think I just found a sensitive spot. Lemme try that again.” Spike repeated the stroking action and Xander immediately closed his eyes.  Xander tried to press closer to his lover and lean back into the touch at the same time. Spike eyes widened at the sight. Xander, flushed and writhing against his body.  It was nearly too much for a vampire to take.

And clearly too much for a human too.

Xander’s hands dived down to the fastenings on Spike’s Jeans and he had them undone, and Spike’s eager shaft in his hands in less than three seconds

“Spike, touch me. Want you.”

Spike arched his back, unable to control the reflex brought on by the warm, strong hand that had begun to stroke him expectantly.

“Yeah, oh fuck, Xan...what about?”
“I don’t care about them. I just need you to touch me.” Xander was panting heavily, his arousal intensified by the electric blue eyes that gazed powerfully at him.

Spike reached for his lover and began to release him from his aroused torment.

Xander cried out. “God, Spike. Yes. I love you. Yes.”

Spike stroked his lover faster and faster in a desperate race to bring his lover to complete fulfilment before they were interrupted. Not that even a bomb going off was going to stop his lover now. Xander knew what he wanted and he was determined to get it.

Spike arched again and Xander could hold back no more. He pumped at Spike’s length as fast as he could and pushed his hips forward, urging Spike to perform the same kindness for him, wanting them both to come together.

“Mm, pet. Yes, god, fuck. Xan. Xan? Take. Drink.”

Spike bared his neck and Xander did not hesitate. He kept his grip tight and fast on Spike’s cock, while he sprung forward and bit into alabaster flesh with strong, blunt teeth. The spurt of blood splashed at the back of his throat and the room swam and blurred as the power of a Master Vampire’s blood hit him with full force.

Xander heard Spike cry his completion and he realised that he was also crying out his own climax. He had released the offered flesh from his jaws and he was howling a mighty signal of satisfaction.

Xander lent back over his vampire and panted heavily, unable to speak.

“You okay there, pet.?” Spike said with a mixture of mild concern, amusement and lingering arousal.

“Mmm.”

“I’ll take that as Xan-language for yes.”

Xander only grinned, a lock of hair, falling into his eyes.  Spike absentmindedly pushed it back. “You know, before you, I never realised that just wanking off each other could be so fucking satisfying.”

Xander looked like he was considering it for a moment. “You know, you would think that a comment like that would completely kill the afterglow, but you know, it really doesn’t. Just reminds that that I got my very own big bad. It’s remarks like that, that make me love you even more.”

Spike nodded, pleased with his lover’s observation. “C’mon, pet.  Let’s tuck you away. I think I hear ‘em coming”

“They're having sex!?”

“No.  Well, they may have. I mean, I hear ‘em outside.”

Spike was right. No sooner than he had put Xander away, the door burst open and Angelus strolled right in. He smirked at his Childe. “If you two are quite finished, its time we were on our way. Murder and mayhem awaits us,” Angelus said lightly.

Angelus watched hungrily while Spike tucked himself away. His voice became suddenly serious. “Call me next time.  I want to watch.”

Xander looked like he was about to say something that would earn him a damn good thrashing and Spike silenced him with a warning glare.

“Yes, Sire.”

Angelus nodded approvingly. “Right, let’s go.  No delays.”

“Shit, Spike. What do we do now?”

“Delay him.”


~*~*~*~*~


“Um…Angelus”

Angelus growled. “Yes.”

“Uh…” Xander thought back to something that Angelus had said earlier. “Angelus, I’m sooo hungry.”

Angelus continued growling. “We can stop somewhere once we are out of town.”

Xander tried out his drama skills and lent weakly into his lover. “But I feel sick.  My stomach feels like it's burning and...and… I feel sort of dizzy.”

“Okay, okay, you can wait in the car while we kill your friends. We’ll stop right after, I promise.”

Xander looked to Spike for help. And Spike did his best to try and sound pissed off, which wasn’t hard considering the circumstances. “My consort needs to eat.  I will not have him suffer, not when he has just given me his life blood.”

“Oh, for gods sake, how long will it take?”

Xander jumped at the question. “Not long, look, there's a fast food place just there, I’ll just go queue and I’ll eat it on the way.”

“Fine.” Angelus swung to the car into the parking lot and harshly applied the breaks. “Don’t be long.”

Xander went to get out of the car but Angelus turned sharply in his seat and caught hold of his arm. “And don’t even think of trying anything. Get your food and come straight back, because we will be killing your friends tonight

Xander nodded and winced with pain as Angelus’ steel fingers dug painfully into his arm.

“You have five minutes. Any longer and I will come in there and drag you out by your hair.”

Xander nodded again and struggled to keep his voice steady. “Yes, sir. I’ll come straight back.  I won’t be long, I promise.”

Angelus released him and turned back to stare out of the windscreen without another word.

Xander hurried towards the restaurant. Shit, Shit, Shit. Ok so this wasn’t going to buy them much time, barely five minutes. Xander hoped to god that it was all that they needed.

Xander rocked on the balls of his feet and glanced nervously at his watch. Fuck Only two minutes left and he wasn’t even halfway down the queue. Angelus wouldn’t come in, he decided.  It was just a warning for him to be quick and not to play any games.  

Xander shivered when he thought about Angelus. He had developed a weird sort of respect for the vampire. Still, it didn’t mean that he wanted to follow him around for the rest of his life. Xander shivered again. The consequences of what would happen if his friends were unable to restore Angel’s soul were terrifying. Angelus would never let him or Spike go, so where did that leave them? Sure they could follow Angelus wherever he went, but that would surely mean that he and Spike would have to kill, they couldn’t put it off forever like they were doing now. And what if they defied him? The answer was simple, they would have to kill him. What killing his Sire would do to Spike was not worth thinking is about. But Xander was certain that Spike would do it.  Spike would do anything to prevent him from witnessing and participating in such horrific violence.  Spike knew all to well what it could do to person, how it could change them.  Xander would be willing to embrace this new life for his lover’s sake, but he knew that Spike would have none of it.  Spike would kill his Sire.

Xander looked to the font of queue.  A fat lady and her three annoying kids were arguing with a spotty kid behind the counter.  Something about the burgers being too floppy. Xander sighed.  Why do people continue the think that their meal is going to look like the picture?  Never gonna happen, people.  He glanced at his watch. Fuck Seven minutes, he’d been seven minutes! How the hell had that happened? He looked at the counter, no way was this queue going to move anytime soon.  He decided that he would just head back to the car, tell Angelus about the long queue and suggest that they find another place on their way out of town. Hopefully Angelus wouldn’t be too annoyed about the time he had just wasted.

A door slammed behind him and the room was filled with the deafening sound of shattering glass and numerous shocked gasps. Oh fuck.

Xander spun around.  

Angelus stood fuming at the entrance.  He had slammed the door so hard in his fury, he had broken every pane of glass that surrounded the restaurant. Angelus steamrolled towards his Childe’s Consort and Xander found himself backing sharply away, instinct telling him that he should be anywhere but here. He suddenly found that he was babbling.

“Hey, Angelus, what’s up? I was just on my way out.  The queue was real long. I thought maybe we could stop again somewhere, you know, when we’re out of town.  I think I lost my appetite...”

Somewhere amongst his nervous chatter, he saw it coming.  A large pale hand cutting threw the air like a sword slicing through a body.  Xander didn’t even bother to flinch, like it would do him any good, it was going to hit him anyway.  

Crack!

The sound of flesh striking flesh was surprisingly loud and the room was filled with more shocked gasps.  Xander’s head was snapped violently to the side and he would have tumbled halfway across the room if it was for another powerful hand that had grabbed at his hair and kept him upright. The room rotated a couple of times and Xander concentrated hard on keeping his attention focused on the vampire that held him so painfully.

Angelus snarled into Xander’s face and tightened his grip in his hair “What had I told you?”

Xander winced slightly but tried to answer quickly. “Five minutes. You said only five minutes.”

“That’s right.  So do you know why I’m so pissed at you?”

Xander couldn’t help it, it was built in.  There was no way he have stopped it. “Because I hadn’t offered to buy you a happy meal? Well, that was only because it’s got the same toy as last week…”

The moment his hair was released he knew another blow was coming.  And it was probably going to be worse than the first one.

Crack!

Yup, that one hit the spot. Fire danced in front of his closed eyes and a harsh burning, sensation lashed at one side of his face. This time he fell all the way to the floor, landing awkwardly on his bad arm. More gasps filled the air and Xander just wished these stupid people would fuck off and find something else to gawp at.  Clearly no-one was going to help him. Not that he really wanted them to.  He didn’t want to be responsible for someone’s insides ending up on the outside.

He took a moment to asses the damage and he felt around his bloody mouth with his tongue.  Marvellous, two loose teeth.  One more blow and he would definitely be swallowing those for dinner, or would that bebreakfast? Maybe someone needed to invent a new name for a meal that that you had in the early hours of the morning? Or was there one already?

“Get.  Up.”

Who me? What am I thinking, of course he means me. Anyone else got their sorry backside pasted over the floor?

“I said, get.  Up.”

Xander got to his feet as quickly as he could, which obviously wasn’t quick enough because he found himself being yanked the rest of the way up by his hair.

“No more stalling, no more games, we are leaving.  We will find your white hat friends and you will watch while I string up their bodies and spill their guts over the floor. And maybe we’ll have time to let Dru do some of that painting she's been promising you.”

“O-okay, I’m sorry, w-we can go now.”

“Are you telling me?”

“N-no, I-I’m sorry…”

“Shut your pathetic mouth and go get in the fucking car NOW”!

Angelus released his hair and Xander staggered slightly before he found exactly where his feet were and worked out the correct procedure to make them operate within acceptable parameters.

Angelus watched Xander walk unsteadily out of the restaurant and he looked disgustedly at the people that stood around him. Worthless piles of shit. Humanity? Fucking overrated. These humans had stood by while he slapped the shit out an innocent boy And not one of them had made a move to intervene and stop him.  Hell, he hadn’t even been in gameface.  As far as this audience knew, he was an ordinary human being and if that had really been the case, it would have only taken a couple of the guys here to pull him away from Xander and restrain him.  But nobody had moved, nobody wanted to get involved, nobody cared.  They didn’t know this boy, so therefore he didn’t matter.  Xander could get the shit kicked out of him and no-one would help him because they were too frightened about their own pathetic lives.  Angelus felt a sudden surge of anger at these pathetic losers and he wondered if he had time to tug out a couple of jugulars.

Angelus cursed himself.  He didn’t really want to hurt Xander, he was family after all.  But he needed to be disciplined and it was clear that his Childe was not going to do it.  Fuck, it would be so much easier if Spike would just turn the damn kid and then there would be no issue.

Angelus brushed the feelings aside and walked towards the door. He had more important things to do.  When he reached the broken restaurant door he turned around, morphed into his gameface and roared.  He  laughed hysterically at the screaming little humans for just a few moments before he strolled back to the car humming a happy little tune. He had work to do.


~*~*~*~*~


They all sat in silence and Spike got the distinct impression that Xander was sulking with him.

“Pet?” he whispered.

Xander glared and went back to staring out the window.

“You angry with me?”

Another glare.

“C’mon, luv.  Don’t get all quiet on me.  How am I supposed to fix it if I don’t know what it is?”

Xander snapped. “There wouldn’t be an it if you had been there for me.” Xander straightened up and turned to fully face his lover. “Why didn’t you come in? Why didn’t you help me?”

“I can hear you, you know.” Angelus announced from the front seat, an amused tone playing on his lips.

“Well, I am speaking aloud, so unless you’ve suddenly gone completely deaf, then yeah I guess you can hear me.”

“Pet, please.  Not now.  Just stay calm...”

“Calm? CALM? For fuck's sake, I don’t understand what’s going on here! He really hurt me and where the hell were you?  You must have known what he was going to do, surely?”

The car stopped and Xander automatically got out.  Spike joined him and they continued their conversation.

“Course I knew.  And you have no idea how hard it was for me to sit in that bloody car and do nothing.  Nearly bleedin’ killed me, it did.”

“So why didn’t you just come in? You could have calmed him down.”

Spike shook his head “You honestly think that my presence would have calmed things down?”

“Maybe,” Xander mumbled, knowing that Spike had quite a good point. They continued to blindly follow Angelus and Drusilla to wherever they were going.

“Pet, I can’t stand the thought of someone hurting you, but I knew that Angelus was only gonna slap you about a bit.  If I’d gone in there and seen it though, I would have fucking gone for him.  There’s no way I could have watched that again.  There would have been bloody murder and if I know you like I think I do, and pet, I do, then you would have thrown yourself into the thick of it and Angelus could’ve really hurt you.”

Xander slid an apologetic arm around Spike’s waist.  “Sorry. I know you’re only trying to do what’s best. I'm just kinda sick of all this.”

“S’alright, pet. I’m sick of it too. Got boring, eh?”

Xander squeezed his lover a little tighter. “Yep, my attention span drifted several hours ago.”

Spike stopped them and took Xander’s face in his hands. “You’re gonna be entirely black and blue soon, pet. Not gonna be any pink left at all.”

“That’s okay. I’m not really that pink at the moment anyway, more of a ghostly shade of white.”

Spike looked concerned “You okay? I mean, do you feel sick or anything?”

“Um, I do feel a little queasy, but that comes from having your head used for swingball practice. Apart from that I’m okay...oh! And two of my teeth are...”

Xander felt around his mouth with his tongue and was surprised to find that all his teeth were firm and fixed solidly into his gums.

“…not wobbly.”

Spike stared “Okaaay. That’s...good...Right?”

“Yeah, but they were really loose earlier. I thought I was going to have to go to the dentist! I hate dentists.”

“Yeah, me too, dentists are really mean.  They cause loads of pain and then they expect you to bloody pay for it! Wankers. There was this one dentist in San Diego, tried to charge me three hundred bucks for a treatment! Bloody cheek, so I grabbed him by his...”

“Hang on, hang on, vampire’s need dentists?”

Spike shrugged. “Yeah. Everyone needs a little scale and polish now and again.  Oral hygiene is very important to a vampire.”

“Oh, I guess that does make sense.  So my teeth.  Is that a consort thing?”

“Uh-huh. And I noticed while you were jacking me off earlier that your wrist seems a lot better”

“Oh, yeah.  I hadn’t even noticed.  I fell on it just now.  I guess that should have hurt a lot more than it did.”

“I’d say, pet.  And the bruises an’ stuff on your face, they’ll heal quicker too.”

“Yay for me,” Xander said playfully

“And that’s yay for me too. I can kiss you good and proper when that fat lip has gone.”

“You mean you can’t kiss me now?”

Spike smiled. “Course I can, just need to find a suitable spot.” Spike traced a finger over a battered face until he found an uninjured spot just bellow Xander’s jaw. He lent in and placed a tender kiss on it.

“Stop it! You’ll have plenty of time for that sort of thing later. We have work to do now.”

The lovers separated at Angelus’ command and for the first time they realised exactly where they were. The Magic Box.

“Let’s begin.” Angelus smiled in a way that made Xander’s spine feel like taking a vacation somewhere hot.

Angelus kicked open the door and led Drusilla inside.

Spike fixed Xander with a look that told him that he was about to say something very important “This is it, pet.  This is where we fight back.”


~*~*~*~*~


Inside the training room, Tara, Willow and Giles stood holding hands. Their chants filled the room and Cordelia wafted pungent smelling incense around the sacred circle.  

The ritual had commenced five minutes earlier and Buffy and Doyle now stood on guard at the training room door, watching down into the shop itself for any attack.

“You think this is going to work?” Buffy asked.  Her voice trembled slightly and Doyle realised that she was looking for reassurance, not the truth.  

The truth was that while Doyle hoped with all his heart and soul that the ritual would work, he still had doubts.  What if he had translated the spell incorrectly? What if they had used the wrong ingredients? What if the witches or the watcher performed the spell wrong? What if…?  Doyle forced himself to stop.  He had to believe that this was going to work.  There was no way he was going to accept that he may have to live his life without Angel.

“Course it’s going to work.  Your friends are doing a great job out there.  We’ll have Angel back in a flash. Speaking of which…” Doyle pointed at Angelus.  He was storming down the shop towards them.

“Get ready chosen one. Here he comes.”

“Damn it!”

“Told you that you shouldn’t have taken that kid.  Angelus looks real hacked off.”

“Yeah, well, he’s not the only one that’s pissed.  I’m going to show him what happens when he messes with my friends.”

“Defence only Buffy, its Angel remember.”

A look of pain crossed her face before it was quickly covered up with anger.  “I’ll see what I can do.  But if it comes down to one of us or him, then I take him down.”

Buffy moved away from the door and stomped down the shop towards Angelus.

“Ahh, the once love of my life and my one and only true mistake in my entire existence,” Angelus said nastily.

“Ditto,” Buffy replied

Angelus laughed. “Always the intellectual. Anyway…” he waved away his own comment with a flick of his hand. “I didn’t come here to trade insults, I came here to kill you.  You see, you interfered with my family.  You tried to take one of them away.  I’m afraid that I cannot overlook that.”

Family? Buffy presumed that this must have something to do with this Contort thing, or was that Compost? Carrot? She just knew it began with a “C”.  

The ritual continued out of Angelus’ view.  She just needed to keep him talking for just a few more minutes.

“C’mon, man, they didn’t know Xander was part of your family. Look I’m sure that if you...”

“Doyle, Doyle, Doyle.  This really does not concern you.” Angelus lent in close and whispered. “So why don’t you just take your pretty little ass outside and we’ll talk later.”

Doyle stood firm. “No.”

“No?”

“No.  I won’t let you hurt these people.”

“Neither will I.”

Angelus growled at the sound of his Childe’s voice.

“Excuse me?”

“You bloody heard.”

“Yes, I believe I did.  I’m just not sure what the fuck you think you're doing. Are you trying to aggravate me?”

“Is it working?”

“Yes.”

“Then yes.”

“Spike, this is no time for one of your silly games.”

“Not a silly game. I ain’t gonna let you slaughter all of Xan’s friends.  It would kill ‘im, fuck, it would kill me.  They’re my friends, too.”

“I’m not sure I’m hearing this. Did I slip on a banana? Am I unconscious and having some kind of twisted nightmare? Where is my Spike? Where is the murder and mayhem?”

“You know I haven’t been like that for a long time.”

“Hmm, true, the chip did slow you down for a while.  But I always assumed that if it ever stopped working, then you would go back to your old ways.  And well…” Angelus stopped for a dramatic pause. “Now it has stopped working, this is your chance to get back into things.”

“Not gonna happen.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“You’re never going to bite anyone? Drink their blood?”

“No.”

“Not even Xander’s?”

Spike stayed silent and Buffy looked at him with wide shocked eyes.

“You are telling me that you have never raised a fang to your little boyfriend?” Angelus smirked, obviously knowing the answer already. “So tell me, how did you make him your Consort if you didn’t bite him?”

Xander stepped through the door and Buffy’s breath caught in her throat.  Her friend was even more beaten up than he had been just a short time ago.

“Shut your fucking mouth!”

“Don’t speak to me like that, Xander. I don’t want to have to discipline you again.  Perhaps that flogging would be in order after all.”

It was that which did it.  Spike was tired of the threats, tired of being pushed around, and tired of constantly waiting for the moment that Angelus would snap. He launched himself forward and shoved his Sire into the wall, causing it to crack and shower them with plaster.

“You. Will. Never. Touch. My. Consort. Again.”

“Are you sure?” Angelus spat “You didn’t seem to mind me touching him when I had a soul.  That really was a wonderful evening, Spike.  He was so willing. We didn’t have to force him once.”

Buffy didn’t want to hear anymore. She didn’t understand the consort thing, Angelus was implying that Spike had no chip, Xander was somehow involved with her ex-honey and by the sound of it Spike had been getting all fangy with one of her best friends.  But these were things that she could deal with later, right now she just needed to make Angelus shut up. From somewhere behind her she heard Xander cry out.

“Spike!”

Spike rolled passed her and crashed into a shelf, bringing it crashing down on top of him. Xander ran to him and started to heave the shelf off.

“Oh shit, Spike...”

Buffy did not hear the rest.  She launched her self at Angelus and pummelled him with angry fists. Angelus grabbed at one of her arms and twisted it. A crack of bone sounded and Buffy fell to the floor screaming.  

Angelus towered over the fallen Slayer.  He pulled a long blade from his jacket and plunged it towards her.

Doyle flew towards the vampire and landed squarely on his back, causing Angelus to stagger forward and fall over Buffy. The three of them landed in a pile on the floor. There was a mad scramble with lot of arms and legs in the air but it was Angelus that seemed to be gaining the upper hand. He threw Doyle back from the scrum and started to strangle Buffy.

Buffy began to turn blue, she scrabbled at her ex with her one good arm and tried to kick him in where it could really hurt. Angelus pressed down harder and spoke with a truly evil snarl.

“Xander was a much better fuck than you.  You are a worthless sack of spuds. You couldn’t…” Angelus spotted something out of the corner of his eye and he released Buffy’s neck briefly to backhand the something out of this way.

Xander felt a slight sting on his face, but rather than feeling the intense pain that the back of Angelus’ hand must have caused, he felt indignation and irritation. How many times does a person have to get slapped in the face?  This was becoming ridiculous, nuts, and totally stupid. If he hadn’t been bordering on near unconsciousness, he really would have laughed.

Spike crawled the rest of the way out from under the self and shot to his feet.  “Right. That is the last bloody time you do that.”

He ripped off a chunk of wood from the broken shelf, walked four long paces and clouted Angelus across the back of his head.  Angelus looked dazed for only a second before he grinned manically at his Childe and sprung to his feet.

Spike hit him again.

The third time that Angelus fell to the floor, a little closer to him every time, Xander thought it was time to move. He got to his knees and shuffled over to the unconscious man that he was sure had an Irish accent. Or was that welsh? Scottish? Nope, he was sure it was Irish.

“Hey, err…you. Hey, c’mon, wake up.”

“Fmrgh.”

“Err, yeah, whatever.”

Xander didn’t wait for the man to wake up, instead he grabbed him by his legs and slid him out the way. He looked up at his lover and winced as Spike landed another brutal blow to Angelus’ head.  Xander wasn’t too worried about him. While the blows would be fatal to a human, to a vampire it was just like smacking your head on a low beam or piece of scaffolding.  It bloody hurt, but after a small amount of cursing, and a quick rub of the head you could continue on your way.

In the training room, the chanting reached a high point and Willow was throwing a bright orange powder into the air. As the powder descended it ignited with a loud bang, and the two witches and Giles suddenly nodded at each other and turned to look expectantly into the shop.

Xander heard the chanting and the loud bang.  He turned his head and spotted Willow warily peeking her head through the door.  Xander realised that must have been the end of the ritual.  He turned to his lover and watched as Spike raised the chunk of wood for an extra powerful blow.

“NOOO, SPIKE! WAIT!”

Spike lowered the wood and stepped back, turning quickly towards his lover with questioning eyes.

Xander pointed. “Angel.”

Spike turned back just as Angelus sank back down to his knees. A flash of white light burst from his chest and Angelus screamed.

The horrific, painful howling roused Doyle from his forced slumber. He sat up in alarm.

“Sweet Jesus. Angel.”

Xander placed a comforting hand onto the man’s shoulder.  He didn’t know what to say to this stranger, but he hoped that his presence would be enough.

Angelus finally stopped screaming and he collapsed onto his front. Doyle tried to rush over to him, but he was stopped by Xander’s strong grip on his shoulder. “Wait, what if…”

“No, s’okay, pet. He’s definitely Angel again. I can tell.”

Xander released his grip and Doyle ran to Angel’s side. “Angel?...Angel? Can you hear me? It’s me, Doyle. Angel?”

Angel groaned and opened one eye.  He felt himself being helped into a sitting position by a pair of warm pair of hands and he glanced around the room in confusion. Many pairs of eyes were staring at him with concern and fear. He noticed Buffy sitting on the floor cradling an arm that was clearly broken.  He turned to the  man that was crouched so close to him.

“Doyle? What happened?”

“You don’t remember?”

Angel shook his head.  He couldn’t exactly remember, but he had an awful tugging feeling in the pit of his stomach that told him that he had done something really bad.  He was almost certain that Angelus had made an appearance. His fears were near enough confirmed by Spike and Xander. Angel watched as Spike repeatedly failed to look directly at him, then he observed his Childe hurrying over to his lover and touching the boy’s face with concern and tenderness. He heard Xander speak.

“It’s over…Right?”

“Yeah, pet. All done.”

Angel continued to watch as Spike pulled Xander into a reassuring embrace. His Childe shot him a look that held many emotions. Anger, worry, irritation, relief and a faint flicker of love. So whatever he had done, Spike didn’t completely hate him. He wasn’t so sure about Xander.  The boy had not even looked at him once.  That could be a good thing though, at least Xander wasn’t shooting death glares at him. But then again, maybe  he just couldn’t look at him. Xander looked pretty fucked up. His face was a mass of bruises and cuts. Angel felt his un-dead heart splinter slightly and he turned to Doyle.

“Xander and Buffy. Did I do that?”

Doyle nodded and wiped away a small stream of tears from Angel’s face. “Yeah. But it wasn’t your fault...”

Angel shook his head and looked at his feet.

“Angel?”

The voice wasn’t Doyle’s.  Angel looked up and found himself staring into deep brown eyes that were brimming with trust and forgiveness.

“Xander? Are you…okay?  Gods, what did I do you?”

“Um, surprisingly little actually.”

Angel looked confused so Xander continued. Angel was going to feel guilty as hell, when he finally remembered what had happened.

“Look, don’t get all down about it.  I’m okay, everyone is okay. Come back to our place. Stay for a while. Spike and I will take care of you.”

Doyle looked slightly affronted.

“You wanna come too? Err...?”

Doyle shuffled a little closer and took Angel in his arms in a manner that was somewhat territorial.

“Doyle. My name is Doyle. And yes please, if that’s okay. I can take care of Angel, but a place to stay would be real helpful?”

Xander sat back. Ahhhh. So this is Angel’s secret boyfriend. Not quite what I expected. Actually, what did I expect? Hey! This guy is giving me the evil eye. What’s that all about?

“C’mon, pet. Let’s get Peaches ‘ere back home.”

Xander stood and nodded at his lover.  “’kay.”

The shop was quiet, almost eerily so. So many issues had flared to the surface in such a short time and no-one really wanted to tackle them now.

The Chip

The Consort

The killing

The next few days were going to be a barrel full of fun.

“Err, pet? Where the fuck is Dru?”

Xander pointed to the corner. “Oh, she’s over there. I think she found the voodoo dolls. There seems to be some kind of tea party affair going on”

Spike started walking over to the woman that he once thought was everything. This really was an awkward situation. What the bloody hell were they going to do with her?  It was not going to take long for the Slayer to stop whining about her broken arm and start with the staking. Spike was well aware that he could well be somewhere on the “top ten things to stake” list now that everyone knew about the chip. And when Buffy got her brain into gear and worked out what a Consort actually was and how they are made, he was going to go straight to the number one position, closely followed by Angel coming in at number two.  Spike decided he could worry about that later (although not too much later). Right now he had to somehow convince his once beloved Drusilla to up sticks and get the hell out of town.

“Dru…”

“Oh, Spike, come and join us, we are having a little party. Bring your prince and we will drink to his health.”

“Uh, Dru…”

Drusilla’s face dropped. “Daddy’s gone. Now my Spike must go.” She looked thoughtful for a moment before her face brightened. “I’ll go and wait.” Drusilla put a finger to her lips and shushed Spike even though he had not attempted to speak. “You’ll need me one day. I will be close. I will be here. I will be gone. I will be watching.” She suddenly held up the strange dolls she had been playing with. “Can I keep these?”

“Course you can, pet. Take ‘em and take care.”

“Oh, don’t worry about me, Spike. I have fairies to find.” Drusilla lowered her voice to a whisper. “Dancing, dancing. The lights will show me.”

Drusilla scooped up her dolls and glided out of the shop without another word.

“Right then.”


~*~*~*~*~


“Ow.”

“Sorry.”

“Ow.”

“Sorry.”

“OW!”

“Again, real sorry…dejavu.”

“Day jar who?”

“Never mind.  Oi, sit bloody still!”

“Sorry.”

Xander stilled and let Spike continue cleaning and tending to the cuts and bruises on his face. Although, Spike’s fiddling was a little painful, he strangely wished that this moment could go on forever. Here he was, in his own home, at last feeling safe and secure again. His lover was on his knees in front of him and that pale angled face was oh so close to his. Spike was here, he was here, Spike was caring for him and Spike was fussing.

Tomorrow was going to be tough day.  Angel would wake and probably remember everything that he had done. And no doubt that Giles would be marching over and pounding on the door until they let him in and explained themselves about the chip and the claiming. And as for Buffy? Xander just hoped that it was her staking arm that had broken.

“You’re whirling,” Spike accused

“You’re beautiful,” Xander accused back

“Eh…?”

Spike never got to finish his question. Soft lips suddenly claimed his own and he found himself being gently tugged towards a warm and needy body. He let himself sink into the kiss. It had felt like an eternity since he had last been able to caress and hold Xander, when in truth it had only been a couple of hours.  

This moment was not about sex or pleasuring.   It was about togetherness. It was a reassurance to them both that they were still alive and kicking.  And no matter what was about to happen next, no matter what life threw at them, they would be able to deal with it and carry on.

Because they had each other.




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