Through the Eyes of a Child


Part Six

The girls could hear thundering footsteps and griping vamp as they got to the apartment door. Obviously Xander hadn’t started winding down yet. Willow reached up and knocked on the door. “Bleedin’ hell quit banging on the door and hang on a minute. Xander get away from that door you don’t know who’s out there. Could be a beastie couldn’t it? No you can’t climb over that, get down. Xander quit your running, whelp.” When Spike finally opened the door the appearance of the vampire was enough to set the girl’s giggling off again. He was standing there wearing just his faded black jeans, no shirt, his feet bare, his hair was standing on end and he had a wild pleading look in his eyes. “’bout time somebody showed up to help me. Do somthin’ Red, the whelp's making me as crazy as Dru on a bad day.”

Just then Xander looked up and noticed who was at the door. He ran over and began hugging both the girls. “Hi RED. Hi TARA did you come to play with me? I made airplanes and I can fly them really good wanna see? Watch me, they fly really really good and it's fun to go try catch them.” To illustrate his point Xander began to toss the airplanes and chase after them again.

“Spike, Tara and I thought maybe, if you don’t care, we could take Xander with us for awhile and you can rest. There’s a little park not far from here that no one really goes to any more so there shouldn’t be any one around to see us and since it’s afternoon we don’t have to worry too much about you know whats. That way Xander can run around and get rid of some of this energy and you can sleep.” Spike shocked Willow when he grabbed her around the neck and hugged her. “Hey gay here, girlfriend remember. Spike he’s not that bad.” Spike giving her a look that could only mean ‘bad as compared to what’ turned to get Xander.

“Xan-pet, how would you like to go out for awhile with Red and Glinda?”

“Who’s Glinda I thought Red and Tara was here. Where’s glinda? Is Tara going with us? Where are we going? Is it going to be fun? Are you coming too? How long are we gonna be gone? You have to come with us spike and protected me from the beasties.”

“Oh Goddess, I’m sorry I laughed at you Spike, it is that bad. No more Ding Dongs for breakfast and he only gets one at a time and none when he has super sweet cereal and chocolate milk. And whatever you do make sure he doesn’t get any just before bedtime. Xander, Glinda is what Spike calls Tara. Like he calls me Red and you Xan-pet”

Xander’s lip was poked out and he was glaring at Willow like she had just destroyed his life. “But they was good and spike letted me have them. He’s the boss of me.” The look on his face definitely said that Willow was not his boss and that was that as far as Xander was concerned.

“Xander do you want to go to the park? Or would you rather stand in a corner for awhile? Don’t poke that lip out at me mister it doesn’t work.” Willow and Spike both looked at Tara in shock. Xander just stood and stared at her.

“I’ll be good now and I’ll mind. Can we really go to the park?”

“Cor Glinda, didn’t know you had it in ya luv. Well come on then whelp you need to get different clothes on and somethin’ on your feet before you can go.” Xander took off running to the bedroom to get changed, Spike following to help him. When Spike and Xander came back in the living room, Xander had his jeans on and was trying to get his shirt over his head. Spike was carrying his shoes and socks. Spike stopped Xan and gently worked his head into the neck hole and smoothed the shirt down over his boy. “Okay whelp get in the chair and let’s get the shoes on.”

“I can putted my own shoes on spikeIi just need some help tying. I don’t do that so good.” Xander got his socks and shoes on with Spike only having to tell him once that he had them on the wrong feet. Spike knelt down and tied his shoes stopping to walk his finger up Xan’s leg to his waist and tickle him. Willow and Tara were watching the interaction between the two and now knew for sure that Giles had made the right decision about who should care for Xander. Spike obviously cared for their friend. “’k, I’m all ready now can we go.” Xander grabbed Willow’s hand and was tugging her toward the door. Just as they got to the door Xander let go and ran back to Spike, hugged him and gave him a sloppy “little boy” kiss on the check. The vampire looked shocked. “Bye spike be back later. I’ll be good pro-miss.”

Willow and Tara soon learned the same lesson that Spike had learned last night. Keep a good strong grip on Xander’s hand and don’t take your eyes off him. He wanted to see and check out everything. Just as Willow predicted the park was deserted. The equipment was still in pretty good shape though. Willow finally let go of Xander’s hand and he took off running to the swings caught one across his belly and launched into the air swinging wildly. After a few minutes of swinging he was on the run again this time to the merry go round. Yelling as he went, “Will you push me please, wanna go fast as an airplane.” He jumped on the merry go round and sat in the middle. “Push me please, Red would you push me…Tara push please.” Tara and Willow ran over to the toy and started to push it in circles but with one fully-grown Xander sitting on it, it wasn’t easy. Xander was giggling and yelling “Faster, faster”. Willow quit pushing and pulled Tara back for a minute to whisper to her.

“Not too fast, I don’t know about this Xander but my six year old Xander used to yell faster until he hurled.” Tara went back and gave Xander an occasional push but didn’t let it pick up too much speed. As it slowed down Xander jumped off and was gone again. He ran over to the jungle gym and was scrambling over it like a monkey. Willow and Tara stretched out under a tree where they had a good view of the playground so they could watch Xander. He was on top of the monkey bars hanging by his knees and swinging. “Xander don’t stay that way too long all the blood will go to your head and you’ll throw up.”

“Ok I’ll come down.” He went back to the swings and seemed to be content to just swing. The girls were discussing things they had read that might have to do with Xander’s condition and lost track of time. They didn’t realize it had been almost an hour since they sat down. When they looked up the swings were empty and they couldn’t see Xander anywhere.

“XANDER, where are you?” No answer. “XANDER answer me now.” Again nothing. ALEXANDER LAVELLE HARRIS you better answer me now.” Willow knew just what buttons to push with her friend.

“I’m over here. right by the teeter totter. see me?” Willow and Tara were headed over that way when they finally spotted him half way up a tree hanging from a branch. He was beginning to look a little panicky and was starting to cry. “Red I’m stuckted, I can’t get down. Help please.” The branch he was hanging on began to creak and finally snapped “WILLOW help.”

“Oh Goddess, Xander, oh no. Oh, please be okay.” Xander was lying on his back just staring until he noticed the girls run up then he began crying. “Oh Xander sweetheart are you alright? Where does it hurt? Let me check you out, no don’t move until I know you're okay.” While Willow babbled, Tara was checking out legs, arms and his neck.

“Sweetie I think he just got the wind knock out of him. There’s no blood and he can move everything so calm down.” Tara was always a calming presence.

“I knowed you was my willow, I knowed it. Why are you all growed up willow? Yesterday you was only six like me why are you so big Willow?” Xander’s crying was becoming hysterical “I want Spike, where’s Spike? He takes good care of me. I wanna see spike. Willow where’s Spike? Why aren’t you six any more? I don’t want you to be all growed up. Did an evil fairy get you or..or..was it a spaced monster? Spppiikkee.”

“Xander honey you have to quit crying now. We’ll go back to Spike’s in a little while when you calm down.”

“Willow why are you big?”

“Umm well…it..umm…it was magic, yeah magic. A spell..yeah that’s right, a spell and ah..well..” Willow had a tendency to get flustered when under pressure.

“MAGIC?” Xander’s big brown eyes got even bigger “Really magic? But I don’t want you to be growed up who am I gonna play with and..and who’s gonna take care of me when I get hurted? Who’s gonna give me lunches and Band-Aids and let me play with their toys? iiii waaannntt mmy sssppiiikkee.” Xander was crying again.

“Xander shh, honey we’re trying to fix it. We’re trying to find a spell to fix Willow all up again. remember Mr. Giles from last night? Well, he’s a wizard and is going to fix Willow all up. So you two will be the same age again.” Tara looked at Willow and shrugged her shoulders as if to say ‘it was the best I could come up with’.

It was obvious to both girls that Xander was not going to calm down until he got back to Spike. That was something neither witch wanted to face, Spike was probably going to be furious. He really seemed to dote on Xander and acted like a mama bear protecting her cub. Even before he got hurt they had noticed that Spike seemed to be watching out for Xander when they patrolled. It was a much subdued Xander that walked back to the apartment with the witches. When they opened the apartment door Spike was standing in the kitchen. Xander flew across the room and jumped on the vampire, his arms tight around his neck and his legs wrapped around Spike’s hips.

“Here now whelp, what’s the problem?”

Xander was crying again, “I..I..I felled out of a tree and hur..hurted and you wasn’t there and I wanted you. I cried and cried and’s my Wiiilllooww. do somethin’ Spike, my Willow’s gots an evil spell on her and..and..and we gots to help her.” Spike held Xander’s face against his neck. Vampire strength was certainly coming in handy with the way the boy was wrapped around him. He sat down on a chair without loosing his grip on Xander. He started gently rubbing Xan’s back and crooning to the sobbing boy.

“It’s ok luv, shhh everythin’s gonna be fine. You’re not hurt too bad are ya’? You’ll be fine. Now you need to stop the crying now, you’re gonna run outta water pretty soon.” Spike grabbed a napkin and wiped the tears off his boy’s face. “Now what’s this about Red and an evil spell?”

Willow and Tara looked at each other then at Spike. This couldn’t be Spike, he wasn’t mad, he wasn’t yelling and he was holding Xander on his lap. “He guessed that I was Willow when he screamed for me as he fell. I was so scared I didn’t think. So I had to tell him the truth, you know that truth about the evil spell that made me grow up when he’s still a little boy. But we told him that Giles the wizard is going to fix me all up pretty soon. So we’ll both be the same age again soon, I hope.”

“Take a breath Red, I get it. So the great Wizard Rupert is going to fix you up huh? Let’s hope it’s not too long before that happens and you and Xan-pet are back to normal.” Spike was looking over Xander’s head at the witches and there was unspoken understanding in the three sets of eyes.

Part Seven

It had been almost two weeks since the demon had injured Xander, and a solution had yet to be found. There just wasn’t enough known about the demon. Without telling the others, Giles had decided to call for help. He had searched everything he had available but had found next to nothing. Spike was still taking care of the regressed Xander, and never seemed to tire of the job. The girls helped him when they could, even Dawn “babysat” occasionally. Buffy had actually brought him to the Magic Box a few times, and let him play in the training room, after she locked up the weapons of course. She wrestled and played with him which helped to burn off some of his boundless energy. Xander had become their little brother, and the group was determined to protect him. The one time his drunken lout of a father tried to contact him, he was told that Xander was out of town on business for the Magic Box. The gang seemed to be determined to give him some of the things he missed out on as a child. The first time one of them had given him a present really brought it home to the group just how different Xander’s childhood had been compared to theirs.

One week ago….

Buffy was very happy with herself as she walked down the stairs to Xander’s apartment. He would love the Lego’s set she had bought him, a castle with knights and everything. It even had a dragon. She knew he would like it. Xan always was her white knight, even when she forgot sometimes. As she raised her hand to knock on the door, she heard noises coming from inside the apartment.

“Help me, please somebody, help me, monster’s gonna eat me up.” Oh God, it’s Xan, I knew we shouldn’t trust Spike. Buffy burst through the unlocked door, and her blood went cold at the scene being played out before her. Xander was trying to crawl over the arm of the sofa as Spike came in from the kitchen in full game face. Xander’s eyes were huge, and wild looking as he tried to get off the couch and away from the approaching vampire. Before either one even knew she was there, Buffy had dropped the sack, and was over the back of the couch, holding Spike up against the wall with a stake at his chest.

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t just dust you and sweep you out the door.” Buffy snarled.

Before she could do or say anything else Xander had run across the room and had her by the waist. He was trying to pull her away from the vampire. She was reminded that this was still a man when she and Xander both ended up sitting on the floor.

“Aunt Buffy, please don’t hurted Spike, please. We was just playing the grrr game. Honest it was just a game. Please don’t be all mad. Please don’t dusted my Spike.” Xander was still pulling on Buffy while he tried to explain in-between sobs. Buffy dropped her arm around Xander’s shoulders, looked up at Spike with a smirk.

“The grrr game huh?”

“Well, yeah. The sprout likes it, it gives him the giggles don’t it.” Spike reached down and ruffled the dark curls on Xander’s head “You like me to chase you all vamp-like, don’t ya, ya silly git?”

“Yep, it’s really fun Aunt Buffy. First he goes all grr…grrr then he chases and chases me and when he catches me he throws me on the floor and tickles me all over. You wanna play with us?” Xander looked up at her with innocent eyes not noticing the twisted evil little smile on Spike’s face.

“Yeah Auntie Buffy, do you wanna play the grr game with us?” Spike drawled putting all the innuendo he could into the question. The look on Buffy’s face was just the response Spike was hoping for. He began to laugh so hard he couldn’t stay standing and slid down the wall. He was very thankful he really didn’t need to breathe, he was laughing too hard to even try.

“Xander honey, see that sack over by the door? It has something in it for you. Why don’t you go get it, okay? I need to beat u…umm talk to Spike for a few minutes.” Buffy stood up bringing Xander up with her and turned him around, pointing out the sack she had dropped. Xander looked up at her, confusion written all over his face.

“Why’d you buy me som’thin? It's not my birthday or Chris’mis or nothin’. You don’t have to buy me stuff. I only get stuff when I’ve been good and not been bad.” The look on Xander’s face made it very clear that he was not used to being given gifts for no reason, that maybe he was not used to being given gifts at all. The idea seemed to be totally new to him. Spiked had stopped his laughing and just sat on the floor watching his boy try to explain. “My Willow and Jesse gets me som’thin for my birthday sometimes but daddy usually says it’s too fe…fa…fan whats that word?”

“Do you mean fancy, sweetheart?” Buffy asked quietly.

“Yeah that’s it, daddy says sometimes they’re to faaancy and takes ‘em back to the store so I don’t break ‘em. She got me a really neat firetruck once with a ladder and hoses and firemans and a dog, it was so cool but daddy said it was too nice for me to mess up so he tooked it and gave it to my cousin ‘cause he’s older and he oweded his daddy some money.” Spike and Buffy’s eyes met over the top of Xander’s head, the soulless demon and the demon slayer both looking like their hearts were breaking.

“Spike here ta…ta..take him a minute, I, uh need to…uh.. need to…” Spike could see the tears starting to collect and pointed her in the direction of the bathroom. Buffy ran out of the living room barely getting the bathroom door shut before she broke down in heart wrenching sobs. What had that those bastards put her Xander through? How could he have become the loving, sweet boy that had accepted her from her first day in Sunnydale? He had taken everything the hellmouth had thrown at him again and again and he always came back fighting. Why wasn’t he mean and resentful? Buffy knew that she probably would be if she had been treated like that. She was truly beginning to understand just what a strong man her friend was. He had to be strong to survive the hell he grew up in. Maybe in a small way helping her and being a Scoobie had helped him stay strong. That thought made her feel a little better, to know she might have helped in some way. Buffy ran the cold water, soaked a washcloth and laid it on her swollen eyes. It wouldn’t be right to go back in there with red eyes, she didn’t want to do anything that might upset Xander.

Trying to distract his Xan-pet from Buffy’s quick departure, Spike reached down and picked up the bag. He handed it to Xander. “Here whelp, why don’cha go ahead and see what sla…Auntie Buffy bought ya.”

Xander sat in the middle of the floor with his legs spread open with the sack sitting between them. “Look Spike, look it’s legos…a really big thing of legos and it makes a castle and…and look there’s horses and knights with swords and armor and them long pointy things…”

“That would be a lance, sprout.”

“Yeah, a lance thingie and oh wow, look, it’s a for real dragon with wings and everything.” Xander was bouncing up and down in excitement. When he saw Buffy coming back down the hallway, Xander jumped up and ran to her nearly knocking her off her feet when he grabbed her in a hug. “Thankyou, Aunt Buffy, thankyou. I’ll take really good care of it and be really careful and not lose any of it, I pro-miss.”

“Sprout, why don’t you take it over to the table and open the box up. That way you don’t loose any on the floor.” As Xander walked away, Spike pulled some money out of his jean pocket and shoved it at a surprised Buffy. “Slayer, I need you to go get the fanciest fuckin’ firetruck this bleedin’ town has. Make sure it has all those extra bits on it. It’s kinda light out now or I’d do it myself.” Buffy grabbed the startled Spike around the neck and hugged him.

“Xander, I’ve got to go for awhile but I’ll be back later. Maybe Dawnie can come back with me, and we’ll help you with your legos.” As Xander waved at her, she leaned over towards Spike and whispered “We’ll also discuss how come six year old Xander knows you’re a vampire.” Buffy walked out the door laughing at the surprised look on Spike’s face.

“Oh fuckin’ hell…”

Part Eight

”Again with the bangin’ on the door. Don’t you lot have anything better to do then keep coming around here and knocking on the bleedin’ door all the time. A vamp can’t catch a decent nap around here. Whelp’s asleep, but can a poor over worked…” Spike threw the door open in disgust and froze in shock.

“Peaches, what in the hell are you doing here?”

“Are you going to invite me in or do we talk about this in the hallway where everyone in the building can hear us?”

“Yeah, come on in just be quiet, Xan-pet’s asleep finally. I need the peace and quiet. Don’t get much o’ that with a six year old running around. Never saw so much energy in my life.” Yeah, you’re babbling Spike. Sound like a right idiot too. Hell, it’s just Peaches. Yeah, just my pouf of a sire and everything always stays so peaceful when he shows up, don’t it? “Not that it isn’t just lovely to see you Peaches, but what in the hell are you doing here? Thought you left Lovely Sunnyhell for good.”

“Giles called about the problem with Xander. There isn’t too much known about Graz’elktheus demons, and what is known isn’t very helpful. I had a few contacts in LA that had access to some of the more rare books that mention them. Wesley and I brought them to Giles. Hopefully, they’ll find something in them.”

“Oh hell, Watcher junior is here too? Please tell me the flippin’ cheerleader isn’t with you. That’s all the hell we need. I’m tellin’ you right now Angel, if that fluff brained bint does one thing to upset Xan-pet she’s…” Spike didn’t finish. Just what could he do to her? Wasn’t like he could drain her, or hurt her none. Fuckin’ chip, soddin’ soldier boys. When he got rid of the damn thing is his head, there was going to be drained soldiers, from one end of this country to the other. Teach them to mess with William the effin Bloody he would.

“Spike, Cordy’s not here to cause trouble and if you don’t like it, YOU tell her to leave.” Spike had to laugh at the look on Peache's face. He knew too well that no one ordered the cheerleader around. Hell, get that chit on a rampage and she made Angelus look like a tame kitty. Neither vampire had noticed the bedroom door open while they were talking.

“Spike, loud voices waked me…” Angel’s head went up as he caught the scent of the boy in the air. Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t just the clean scent of cinnamon and chocolate mixed with musk that was Xander’s unique scent. It was changed somehow. He drew in a deep breath and suddenly the meaning of the smell clinging to the boy hit him.

“WILLIAM, what have you done?” Angel had taken Spike to the floor, straddled him and was shaking him so hard his head was hitting the floor. Both of them were in game face and snarling. “What did you do, childe? The boy reeks of you. You’ve marked him, haven’t you?” Before Angel could say another word he was attacked from the side. He was so surprised, he let go of Spike and rolled.

“You leave my Spike alone. I’ll hurted you, you don’t touch my Spike.” A fist hitting Angel punctuated each word. Angel curled his body up so that his back took most of the blows. He was not returning any of them or even attempting to fight back. He had been told that Xander thought he was six, but until now he hadn’t really believed it. He could smell the difference in the boy, not just Spike’s mark. “You don’t hitted my Spike stupid, ugly, vampire guy.” Angel was very glad at that moment he was a vampire; Xander could really hit. If he had been human he would have been seriously hurt.

“Come on whelp, that’s enough. Angel wasn’t hurtin’ me any. You calm yourself down now, Xan-pet. XANDER, enough, no more hitting!” Spike had grabbed the boy, and was holding on to him. He picked him up and sat down on the sofa with Xander in his lap trying to calm him down. “Peaches isn’t a bad guy, promise. He’s a friend of Auntie Buffy and Mr. Giles. Me and him are, well kinda related like.”

“ But he hitted you. He shouldn’t hitted you, spike and ..and grr faces weren’t playin’ this time. Spike, why did angel-peaches call you child? You’re not a child, you’re a growed up.” Spike looked at Angel and cocked his eyebrow up.

“Well, Angel-peaches, do you want to answer that one? The whelp is right smart and doesn’t miss anything. It’ll pay you to remember that.” Angel looked sick, either from his new nickname, or the idea of having to explain. Then it struck him, Xander hadn’t been scared of their vamping out, and had called him a vampire guy, actually a stupid, ugly vampire guy.

“He knows?” Angel asked.

“Yeah, guessed he did. Like I said, he don’t miss a thing, my Xan-pet. He figured it out the first day. Remembered watching Dracula and knew the signs. Xan, do you remember how Dracula made other vampires?”

“Yep, he bited them on the neck, and drinked allll their blood, and they went to sleep. When they gotted up, they was vampires too. He bited this lady and she got sick. He wanted to bited her again, but they wouldn’t let him, and and then these men they hit her right here with a wooden thingie. She yelled really loud and died.” Xander was touching himself on the chest to show where the lady got hit.

“That’s how I got to be a vampire, pet. Angel wanted me to be a vampire too, so he bit me right here.” Spike showed Xander the marks on his shoulder. Xander lightly ran his fingers over the mark then looked over at Angel with huge eyes.

“You bited Spike? Did you hurted him?”

“Yes, I bited..umm..bit him, but it was a very long time ago.”

“Why?” Spike hid his smile. He knew his Xander well enough to know he wouldn’t be satisfied with just part of the story.

“Well, I, um..I saw him at a party, and I was with another one of my childer.”

“What’s a childer?”

“That’s what we call someone we make into a strong vampire. They are like our children, so we call them our childer or our childe. Spike is my childe and that makes him one of my childer. I have another childe named Drusilla, and she really liked Spike, but he wasn’t Spike then. He was William. She wanted to make him a vampire so he could live with us, but she wasn’t very strong so I brought him over.”

“If droo…dru…silla is your childe, where is she? Is ‘silla your sister, spike? Why isn’t she strong? Spike’s really strong. I wanted a sister but mommy jus’ kinda laughed. Why did she want spike? How come you was William, Spike? I likes Spike better, it’s cool.” Xander was in full babble mode and didn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. “What’s brought over? Brought over where? Did you have to take him somewhere? and.. and if Spike is your childe…'re Spike’s DADDY?” Spike was right, the boy was smart.

“Only when he’s being annoying. The rest of the time I’m his Sire.”

“What’s a sire?” Angel looked at Spike pleadingly.

“Okay whelp, enough. Back to bed with you, way past your bedtime.”

“Tuck me in? Please…story maybe?” Pleading, melted chocolate, puppy eyes were hard to resist.

Spike rolled his eyes dramatically and sighed deeply. “Well, if I have to. I could probably manage a tuck. But how ‘bout Peaches here doing the story bit?” Angel looked at Spike in horror. Xander saw the look and began to back away again.

“No, s’okay spike. I’ll just go to bed. Angel-peaches don’t have to tell me nothin’. You talk to your daddy and I’ll go sleep. He came to see you, not me.” Xander turned around and was headed back to the bedroom. Spike came up behind him and picked him up, wrapping both arms around him.

“Told you I’d tuck you in, didn’t I? Ya trying to get out of a bedtime tickle, sprout?” Xander was laughing hysterically as Spike tickled his sides while he carried him to the bedroom. Angel followed behind them.

“’nuf spike, no more tickles..Spiikee.” Xander was kicking his legs and shrieking with laughter when Spike threw him onto the bed. “No tickles…let me up, Spike…gots…gotta..” Without another word, Xander jumped up and ran to the bathroom.

“You will tell him a story, Peaches.” Spike’s tone of voice stopped just short of it being an order. “Xan-pet doesn’t think anyone wants him. His bastard parents evidently have beaten him down since he was a baby. You shoulda seen him when Slayer bought him a prezzie. Poor little blighter didn’t know what to do with it, said he didn’t deserve it. He soaks up every little bit of attention he can get. Did you ever notice how much the boy likes to be touched and to touch?” Angel shook his head yes “From what Red says, he never got that when he was little, at least until he met her. There was another one too; a boy named Jesse. The three of them were inseparable and they gave Xan a place to escape to, someplace safe. They were more his family than the other bastards.”

“I don’t remember a Jesse. Why isn’t he around to help now?”

“My bitch of a GrandSire, your sire. Darla changed him right before the Harvest started. The night of that attack on the Bronze, Xander staked him. My boy still has screaming nightmares about it. I try to tell him it wasn’t his friend he killed, but it don’t do any good.”

“You really love him don’t you?”

“He’s my heart, Angel. We were together for awhile before this happened an..and.. if it never changes, I’ll still be here. I’ll be here with him, taking care of him, till he draws his last breath. Even if he still thinks he’s six. He’ll have a happy life this time, won’t be no beating or mistreating. He’ll have what makes him happy. If..if this hadn’t happened, I would have brought him over, sire. We talked about it. He wanted to wait a coupla years. Xan-pet only wanted it if Red could do the soul thing. But not now, not if he never gets better. It would be cruel.” Pale reddish tears dampened Spike’s face as Angel pulled him into his arms, embracing his childe. No matter how hard Angelus had tried, he could never beat the caring out of this childe. William always gave his whole heart to those he loved. They pulled apart when Xander came out of the bathroom. Spike wiped at his face and said, “There you are, sprout. In the bed you go, nice and snug.”

Angel sat on the edge of the bed and gently pushed the dark curls off Xander’s forehead. “You ready for a story Xander? I think I can remember one you might like.” Spike lay down on the other side of the bed and pulled Xander back against him, so they could both listen. Angel grinned, he knew his strong, powerful childe was a sucker for his stories.

“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful, green world called Eire. In this land, the magical folkes lived. There were leprechauns, who were wicked little pranksters and the Sidhe, they that were the beautiful Elven people. The Sidhe lived in a secret realm, hidden from humans. They were tall and graceful with voices soft and sweet as a warm spring rain. They all had greener than green eyes and their ears were pointed up top. They were mighty archers and lived among the trees, always being respectful of them. But that’s not what our story’s about.” Angel smiled at the little groan of disappointment from Xander and Spike. “This story is about the fae folke, the fairies of the land. They were the caretakers of Eire. The fae saw to it that the land was always lovely and green, with glorious flowers of all kinds, each kind of flower having it’s own fairy to see to it. This story is about a human princeling, Uilliam, who was taken from his wee bed by the fairies. The fae often took human babes and left changlings in their place…” As Angel told the story, his rich voice began changing, falling easily into a thick brogue…the sound of his past, the sound of Ireland. Spike smiled at the princeling’s name, he knew it was meant for both of them, William and Liam.

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