Angel and Spike spent the next three months looking for Xander. So far, they hadnít found a trace of him. He had taken a flight to Chicago and once he got off the plane he took a cab to the bank. He asked Giles to wire him some money and once he had the cash, he walked out of the bank and disappeared.
They continued to look though, using Angelís power and influence to get help from other vampire groups. Everyone understood the importance of a claimed one and the other masters were quick to offer their assistance. No one found him.
Angel and Spike kept in contact with Willow, Faith and Giles. They hoped Xander would contact his friends and they would be able to get a new lead on his location. He never called them though.
Giles had sent Xander plenty of money. Although he didnít know all of the details at the time, Xander had never asked for anything and if he needed the money Giles was happy to provide it.
He wasnít so happy when he learned what had happened to Xander in L.A. All of Xanderís friends were struggling to know that them sending him on a busy trip, just to get him out of the way for a while, had caused all of these problems. They had just wanted him to have something to do. None of them dreamed that the simple delivery would end like this.
Although Angel and Spike continued to build their operations in L.A., they werenít fully committed to the development. At first there were a few threats when other groups realized that Angel was distracted, but he was so ruthless when dealing with them that the threats immediately died down. He may not be 100% committed to his operation, but he wasnít going to be distracted from finding his claimed. And if that meant handling all threats quickly and viciously, both he and Spike were up for the task.
Neither vampire knew what they would feel for Xander when they found him but they both knew that they needed to find him, not only because he was their claimed one, but also because they just couldnít believe that all of the feelings they had for him were the result of a spell.
Until they found him though, they wouldnít know for sure. Then there was the issue of his claiming. Xander needed their blood and both vampires hoped he would have come back before now, if only to answer his bodyís need. He should have been back by now. He should have been desperate for their blood. He should have walked back through that door and demanded that they fix him.
But he didnít. Xander was gone and they didnít know how to find him.
Angel didnít know that he and Spike werenít the only ones hoping to find the missing man.
Three months ago, Lucian sent two of his young masters and their minions into Angelís territory to gather information on the new order in L.A. Neither had returned to him. He was able to capture one of the minions now serving Angel. The vampire was tortured into revealing details to his former master.
A missing claimed one was just what Lucian needed to establish authority over Angel and his group. If Lucian could find Xander first, he could force Angelís compliance, holding the life of the claimed one as his insurance. But Lucian wasnít successful either.
It was chance that brought Xander back to Angel and Spike. He was gone for one hundred and seven days, not that they were counting, when he was carried back into the Hyperion by the last person either vampire expected to see.
Oz was touring with his new band, playing at small venues and enjoying his travels. One night, after his show, he was walking around breathing deeply the fresh air of a small Tennessee town, clearing his head from the smoke and alcohol that clogged his advanced senses. He smelled someone familiar and decided to check it out.
He hadnít seen any of his old Sunnydale friends in years. After his final break up with Willow, he didnít see the need to go back. He had learned a lot about what happened to the town though, and knew enough to know that his friends had made it out alive.
He followed the scent to a run down hotel, not far from the dive he played at. He caught sight of the man outside, walking towards a room at the end but didnít recognize him. But the smell was so familiar.
When the man stumbled and fell, Oz rushed over to help and was stunned to find Xander, or someone who smelled like Xander, lying on the sidewalk.
Although Oz knew that this was his old friend, he couldnít believe how badly time had treated Xander. He was grey, so thin that his bones were easily visible and he had a strange smell to him that Oz couldnít identify.
Not that it really mattered. He scooped up his friend and carried him towards the room. Oz balanced Xander against the door and searched through his pockets until he found a key. He opened the door and carried Xander in. Placing his friend on the bed, Oz looked around the room.
He didnít think Xander had been here for long. His bag was packed and sitting on the dresser. There wasnít anything out of place in the room, except for the rumpled bed he had laid Xander on.
Xander was pretty out of it when Oz turned his attention back to his friend. It was then that he noticed the marks on Xanderís neck. He had two scars, one on either side that looked like vampire bites.
Xander started to stir and opened his eyes to find Oz sitting with him. He thought he was imagining things at first; his mind had been playing tricks on him the weaker he became. But no, Oz was real and Xander didnít know what to do.
Oz spoke first. ďHey, Xan. You arenít looking so good. I think I should get you to a hospital.Ē He moved his hand to Xanderís forehead. He was burning up.
ďNo. They wonít be able to help.Ē Oz was confused by the whispered words. It was obvious that Xander was sick. He breathed in deeply, trying to get a sense of whatever illness or disease was affecting his friend but came up with nothing.
ďXan, you really need some help. What can I do?Ē Oz had decided to take him to a hospital anyway but Xander reached up and grabbed his hand.
ďTake me to Angel.Ē With those words, Xander slipped into unconsciousness. Oz realized that the strange scent he had picked up earlier was from the vampire marks. If they were causing Xander to be this sick, maybe their vampire friend could help.
Oz left the room at a run, and headed to the hotel where his band mates were staying. They were shocked when he said he had to go, more so when he said he needed to take his van. He gathered his things and went to the vehicle, unloading their instruments and equipment onto the sidewalk.
When the other band members realized he was serious, they helped him unload and watched as he drove away. He got back to the hotel where Xander was staying and found his friend in the same spot where he had left him.
He loaded up Xander into the back of the van, making him as comfortable as he could. And then he set off for L.A.
Oz drove across the country as quickly as he could. Xander was fading fast and hadnít regained consciousness since they left Tennessee. It took several days to get to L.A. Oz only stopped to get gas and some caffeine for himself.
He arrived at night and headed for the rougher areas. It didnít take long before he cornered a vampire and asked where Angel could be found. Oz was surprised to learn that Angel was back at the Hyperion. He had heard that the vampire had left the hotel and was working for a law firm before some big battle there.
But as he pulled in front of the hotel, Oz could sense that vampires were inside. He hesitated to bring in his weakened friend when he didnít know the situation inside, but Xander was running out of time. If his friend wanted to get to Angel, then Oz would make sure it happened.
He carefully lifted Xander from the back of the van, struck again by how thin and weak he had become. He started for the door to the hotel and growled at the vampire guard who stood there.
ďGet Angel.Ē His voice went deeper than normal and Oz could feel his werewolf starting to emerge. It was defending Xander as pack and Oz let the feelings flow. If this didnít go over so well, he would rather be in wolf form to defend himself and Xander.
He didnít hear anything from inside and grew tired of waiting. It wasnít good for Xander to be outside, exposed like this. He stepped into the lobby and came face to face with Angel and Spike.
Oz knew the moment they realized who he was carrying. They both went crazy and started quickly towards him. Oz growled, and let his fangs show. They werenít getting near Xander until he knew what the hell was going on.
Angel and Spike both switched faces. They were prepared to fight the wolf to get Xander back. Things would have gotten worse if Xanderís breath hadnít chosen that moment to hitch, then slow.
He was dying. Angel and Spike moved forward again and this time Oz didnít stop them. Angel took Xander and placed him on a sofa in the lobby before tearing into his wrist with his own teeth. He pressed the bloody limb to Xanderís mouth and rubbed his throat to force him to swallow.
Spike added his own bloody wrist and the vampires continued to feed Xander their blood. They listened to his breathing, both relieved to hear it picking back up again on its own. Their blood was working to heal him and their claim was reestablished.
Oz was trying not to freak out when he saw Angel and Spike feeding Xander blood. But he could hear his friends breathing evening out and knew that whatever the reason, the blood was working. After a few minutes, Xander was more stable and Angel picked him up again and started up the stairs. Spike followed him and Oz did as well. He wasnít going to leave Xander with them until he knew what was going on.
Angel and Spike into a bedroom upstairs and Oz watched as Xander was placed gently on the center of the bed. Angel and Spike crawled in beside him and Oz watched in shock as they snuggled up to either side of him, like they were used to this kind of thing.
Angel eventually realized that Oz was standing there and raised his head. Oz was surprised to see tears in his eyes when he spoke. ďThank you for bringing him back to us.Ē
Oz realized that he wasnít going to get any information out of them right now. He watched them for another minute before moving to the chaise he spotted in the corner. He stretched himself out on it and fell almost immediately to sleep.
He woke several hours later when he smelled blood in the air. He looked over at the bed to see Angel and Spike giving Xander more of their blood. He still appeared to be unconscious and wasnít responding to their efforts.
They didnít stop though, and gently rubbed his throat and forced him to swallow. After a few minutes they stopped again and settled back down. Now it was time for some answers.
Oz moved over to the side of the bed and climbed up onto the end by Angelís feet. He settled himself in and leaned against the post and waited to be acknowledged. It didnít take Angel long.
ďOz, itís a really long story. Spike and I claimed Xander three months ago. He left though, trying to protect us. Weíve been looking for him.Ē Angel let his words trail off before speaking again. ďWeíll tell you more later. For now, just know that we will keep him safe.Ē
Oz didnít doubt the words. He could see just how affected Angel and Spike were by Xanderís weakened condition. He hoped they would be able to save him.
Xander was unconscious for two days. Neither the vampires or Oz moved from the room in that time. Minions brought blood for Angel and Spike and food for Oz. Angel and Spike continued to hold Xander and Oz kept his place at the end of the bed.
Oz woke up curled around Angelís legs when he heard murmured voices. He lifted his head and could see Xander moving, trying to wake up. Angel and Spike were whispering encouraging words to him, telling him to wake up and that they needed him. Oz was amazed at the devotion of the vampires.
Xander eventually opened his eyes and looked up into Angelís face. He didnít remember how he had got here. It probably wasnít real. He weakly lifted his arm and pressed his hand to Angelís face. Angel nuzzled into his hand and kissed his palm.
ďYouíre okay, Xan. Youíre back at the Hyperion with Spike and me. Oz is here too. He found you and brought you to us. Everything is going to be okay.Ē Angel continued to whisper the words to Xander as he drifted back to sleep. His hand fell away and the three remaining awake looked at each other in relief.
Oz climbed off the bed and stretched before heading to the bathroom. He needed a long hot shower and then he would return to his vigil at Xanderís side. When he was clean, he returned to the room wrapped in a towel and watched Angel and Spike in their spots beside Xander.
He hated to interrupt but he really didnít want to put his dirty clothes back on. He hadnít changed since he found Xander and the funk from his clothes was pretty bad. ďUm, Angel. Do you think one of your guys could get some stuff out of the van for me?Ē Angel looked up and was surprised to see Oz wrapped in one of his towels.
ďSure. Hold on a minute.Ē Angel moved stiffly from the bed. He hadnít moved in the two days it had taken for Xander to regain consciousness and his muscles were protesting. He crossed to the door and was surprised to find several minions and all three KoríChuk demons waiting outside.
After sending a minion to the van for Ozís belongings, he let them know that Xander was going to be okay. He watched the relief on all of their faces, the demons in particular. They were obviously worried about Xander and Angel was pleased that they were dedicated to his wellbeing.
When the vampire returned carrying a couple of bags, Angel took them into the bedroom, pushing the door shut behind him. He handed the bags to Oz and watched as he dropped the towel unselfconsciously and started digging through one of the bags.
Angel forced his eyes away from Ozís lithe form and turned to find Spike smirking at him from the bed. His weakness for thin, muscular bodies wasnít a big secret, especially to the blonde vampire who was the perfect example of his desire for the type.
Angel gestured to Spike and the vampire reluctantly moved from the bed. Angel knew his childe would be just as sore as he was from remaining still for two days and he wanted to make sure Spike was taking care of himself.
After making sure Oz was settled in next to Xander, Angel and Spike headed to the shower. Spike was walking stiffly and Angel knew that a hot shower would help. He wanted to press Spike against the tiles and give him a better reason to be walking funny.
Angelís cock swelled at the thought. He was already half hard from watching Ozís earlier display. Now he was watching Spikeís naked form move into the shower. Angel stepped in behind him and pressed close. He ran his hands across Spikeís tight abdomen, feeling the outline of the firm muscles.
He stood there for several moments, holding Spikeís body to his and caressing the shower-warmed skin. Spike pushed his hips back into Angelís, seeking more contact with his Sireís erection.
Angel obliged and grasped Spikeís hips, holding him tightly and thrusting against him. Spikeís body was so hard, every muscle defined and every part of him fitting perfectly against Angel. Angel pressed his cock against the crease of his ass and Spike flexed the muscles, pulling him further into the split.
Spike bent forward and braced himself against the wall of the shower. Angel spread him apart and pressed forward, easing his erection into the tight hole. Spike moaned as he felt Angel slowly moving into him. His Sire wasnít in a hurry and his thrusts were gentle, stretching Spike slowly. Spike pushed his hips back, demanding more friction and Angel answered his demand with a hard pistoning of his hips.
Their pace became more frantic and Spike pushed his hands against the wall, holding his body steady for Angelís thrusts. He squeezed his muscles, holding Angel tightly inside him, and Angel pushed forward again before exploding inside of Spike. He pulled Spike up, keeping himself inside Spikeís body, and moved his wrist to Spikeís mouth.
Angel bit down on Spikeís neck and grasped his cock, pulling and twisting as he sucked from the bite. Spike bit down on Angelís wrist and the blood of his Sire filled him. He came, shooting against the shower wall, as Angel fed from him. They released each other at the same time and Spike spun around to face Angel.
Angel put his hands on Spikeís face and caressed his defined cheekbones with his thumbs. He kissed his childe gently, thanking him without words. Spike returned the kiss before soaping up the washcloth and cleaning both of their bodies.
They returned to the bedroom, clean and sated, and saw Oz holding Xander to him. Angel wanted to throw the smaller man from the bed but knew that Xander must have initiated the contact: Xander was quite the snuggler in his sleep.
Oz watched Angel, waiting for the explosion that never came. He had been sitting beside Xander when his friend rolled over and latched onto his body. Knowing he needed the contact, Oz hadnít stopped him but settled down next to Xander, holding him.
Spike moved back to his spot on the other side of Xander and Angel moved towards Oz. Angel slid into bed beside him and wrapped an arm across Ozís body to reach Xander. He felt Oz tense up before he relaxed into the embrace.
Angel propped his head up on his other hand and watched the three bodies lying close to him. A werewolf, a human, and a vampire. He was getting quite the collection.
He watched them for hours, alternating between the three of them, but keeping a closer watch on Xander who stirred several times but didnít wake up. Angel checked on his minions and the other demons as well, and made sure the ones holding vigil outside his room were taken care of.
Eventually Xander began to wake and his three guardians petted and talked softly to him as he came around. His eyes fluttered open and he looked around in confusion before seeing the familiar faces around him. Angel bit his wrist and held it to Xanderís mouth and the human latched on before he thought about what he was doing.
He had taken several long pulls before he realized that he was drinking Angelís blood but by that time he was feeling itís affects and wasnít about to stop. After several more swallows, Angel gently pulled his wrist away and Spike replaced it with his own.
The blood helped him come further awake and when Spike moved his wrist away, Xander pulled himself up and propped against the headboard. He had no idea what he was supposed to say or do in this situation.
They all sat there for minutes before Oz finally broke the silence. ďHowíre you feeling, Xander?Ē The words were simple but once the silence was broken, it was easier to start talking.
ďIím okay, I guess. Really weak, though. And kind of hungry.Ē Xander looked self-consciously down at his emaciated form. ďI havenít really been hungry in a while.Ē
Spike looked Xander over carefully. His pet must have lost at least 40 pounds in the months he was gone. His body was no longer the softly muscled form Spike loved to curl into. Now he was little more than skin and bones.
ďWell, pet, letís see if we can round you up something to eat.Ē Spike moved to the door and gave instructions to the demons outside. He immediately returned to Xanderís side.
Oz was very curious about the relationship between Xander and the vampires. Back in Sunnydale, Xander was the last person he ever would have imagined in this position. He was vehement in his dislike for Angel, and Oz remembered his frequent attacks against Buffy for her relationship with him, especially after it ended so tragically.
But now Xander was here, in bed with two vampires, and clearly marked by them. Oz knew enough about vampires to know that the marks were significant, if he didnít really know what they meant. It was obvious that Angel and Spike cared for him.
Xander was lying in the bed thinking similar thoughts. He had left them because their relationship wasnít real. Their bond and claim on him was forced, and now he was back, unable to survive without them. He didnít think that leaving was going to be an option anymore.
But he didnít know what exactly his options were. One thing he knew for sure was that they werenít just going to pick up where they left off, as if nothing happened. Being here, surrounded by them, and now Oz as well, was too much. He cared too much for them still and until they figured out what was real between them and what was the result of the spell, he wouldnít continue their relationship.
Oz noticed immediately when Xander tensed and he watched the painful emotions cross his friendís face. He wanted to talk to him, help him figure out what was going on, but he didnít think it was a conversation they could have in front of Angel and Spike.
There was a knock at the door and at Angelís Ďenterí several minions entered carrying trays. They handed one to Spike, who laid it over Xanderís lap and the other they passed to Angel, who gave his to Oz. Mugs of blood were given to the vampires and the minions departed.
Angel could see that they were pleased to see Xander up and awake. They ate and drank quietly and when Xander weakened, Oz reached for his spoon and helped him with his soup.
Spike didnít know what to make of Oz, but he did know he wasnít going to let the werewolf take his pet away.
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