Author: Part 1 by Thea Zara (aka 50ftqueenie…) then Josie_H (aka rngrdead ) – Ch 2 and beyond
Warnings/Squicks: M/M relations
Summary: Xander comes back from the past with a secret.
Note From Thea Zara: This can stand on its own as a ficlet, but honestly I know there's more to this story. Eventually I might revisit and do my own version….
Context: Xander was taken around half way through Season 4 when Spike was chipped and living in the basement. The time spent in the past correlates directly with the present. Spike did go and get his soul, however, writer’s license dictates that the First is not yet on the scene has had to shift some things including the arrival of the First (later).
Never Time Enough
Xander stepped out of the portal and looked around the room. The lights held a surprising fascination for him. He'd spent a little under three years in the past without a single electric light, or radio, or Twinkie. It was like culture shock to see the girls wearing less than a metric ton of fabric, or hear the low mellow listening station Giles played softly in the store during business hours. The biggest change was Spike himself.
Xander had spent more than two years with a softer Spike, one with playful curls and a shy smile. He rubbed the mark on his neck nervously, without thinking, and his knees nearly gave out when he heard the vampire groan too softly for the others to hear.
Spike was now glaring at Xander suspiciously. With as much force of will as he could manage, Xander opened wide innocent eyes to look back at his mate, even if the vampire didn't recognize that fact yet. Once he did, Xander was certain he'd break the claim, damn the consequences to either of them, not that Xander blamed him. When push had come to shove his brilliant plan had obviously failed spectacularly.
He handed the book to Giles, and then tried to remain calm while the girls fussed over him. They all wanted details. He just wanted to find a quiet place to cry.
"Oye, Red, Glinda, you two gonna undo the memory mojo or what?" Spike asked. His tone was belligerent to the casual observer, but Xander could hear the underlying tension and fear in his voice. Wil hated magic thanks to Dru's lunatic attempts at it. His time on the Hellmouth, and as a sort of Scooby had probably only made him even more opposed, thanks to Willow's magical blunderings.
Tara dropped a blood red crystal onto the table and then calmly pulled a hammer from Xander's tool box and smashed it. A red haze fell across Spike's eyes for a second or two then disappeared. The remaining shards of crystal were now clear quartz. Tara calmly swept the pieces up and poured them into a small jar which she tucked away in her bag.
Spike stood stock still for a minute or two, then his hand slowly crept up his body, until he was touching a spot on his shoulder. He held a look of wonder in his eyes for all of five seconds, then it seeped into pure rage and he hauled off and punched Xander before turning and storming out of the Magic Box and into the night.
The girls were in a righteous tizzy pulling Xander to his feet and checking him over. He let them, his mind swirling in misery and a sense of horrible loss. Buffy suddenly went silent and Xander knew what was coming as surely as he knew his own name.
"His chip must have stopped working." She said quietly.
Xander would almost swear she sounded sad about it. He'd fully expected a raring to go 'slay'em if you got'em' Buffy on his hands, and he felt even worse for thinking so poorly of his friend. She looked infinitely sad, but determined and turned towards the door. She froze, however, when Xander spoke.
"The chip isn't malfunctioning, Buffy. I'm not completely human anymore."
She whirled on him, stake at the ready. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I'm not a full blooded human. I haven't been for two years, my time."
"So wh-what are y-y-ou?" Tara asked.
"I am Alexander Harris, Consort and Mate to William the Bloody, Childe of Drusilla. I guess you could say I got hitched while I was 'away'." He pulled his collar open to show the silvery claim scar.
"What does that mean? Giles what does he mean? Why does that make you not human? Does that mean anyone who survives a bite isn't human?"
"No, Buffy, there's more of a ritual to it than just biting. A little spell, sharing of the blood, and a bit of the wild and nasty. Then you're bonded."
"That's not the entire of it, is it Xander?" Giles said quietly. "You left out the part about both parties needing to truly be in love. Otherwise the vampire in question simply gains a rather obedient minion."
"Yeah there is that part. Not really relevant here, G-man. So very not a minion. I might smell like the ass end of an onion what with the time between hot baths while on the road, but definitely not a minion."
"Funny how Spike doesn't seem to be sharing your intense love at the moment? You know what with the punching and the leaving." Giles said quietly.
"Yeah well you try finding out you're basically married to someone you can't stand, for the second time I might add, and see how well you take it." Xander said forcefully. "He has every right to be pissed at me. I made a promise and I didn't keep it. I tried, but my general loserness apparently strikes again. Only this time it's Wil who got to pay for it."
"Me?" Willow squeaked.
"No, sorry, Spike. He didn't really go by that back then, so I called him Wil." He knew he wouldn't be able to hold back tears any longer. "Look, guys, I love you all, and I really missed you, but I need time right now to deal, ok? I gotta go."
Before anyone could argue, he was out the door and gone. He wandered the streets until he came to the nearest cemetery. He walked along until he found a small stone bench. He sat down and looked up at the stars, trying to organize his jumbled thoughts. Instead, he let the tears fall and thought of his Wil, while he cursed his own incompetence and Dru's interference.
The sky was hazy above him, stars a little obscured by the emissions of arguably the world's most smog plagued city, Los Angeles. And didn’t they have that last bit wrong considering London’s ‘pea soupers’, the combination of fog and industrial revolution coal gas emissions leaving street lights vague balls of light – let alone spotting a star.
They had seen stars on their travels though… Oh how they had seen stars! It mattered little what the circumstance, his Wil always seemed to be able to find the romance, the excitement, the beauty that was life, or unlife, as the case may be.
They had been lying in a quiet, post-coital embrace when a terrifying explosion tore them apart. He awoke on the floor of the Magic Box – a place apparently now owned by an ex librarian Giles and Xander’s former squeeze, the ex vengeance demon Anya.
Initially unable to see, he initially thought himself still in London as some of the smells were familiar, lighting dim and books lined the walls, but alas it was not the case.
Much as he had yearned to return to Sunnydale in the early days of his time in the Aurelian household, it was certainly not the case now. But when Drusilla decided she wanted ‘her Spike’ back, she knew killing the Mate would result in Spike dusting also, so found an alternative. And anyone dubbing her as deranged or incapable needed to rethink right there. Drusilla knew exactly what she wanted to do, and by and large got what she wanted.
Xander ached physically as well as emotionally – and could only imagine how poor Wil was feeling, had felt, did feel… it was all so confusing… He knew that sitting against a headstone in a Sunnydale cemetery late at night was not the smartest idea, but he really could not bring himself to care.
Only minutes later he felt the prickle and knew he was being circled by several fledglings, knowing from their smell and weak signal that they were newly risen and sired by minions not masters. Their sires were no doubt too limited to look after their creations, making them cannon fodder for the Slayer and useful to no one. He stood and let his training take over counting five (or perhaps six?) dusted out of kindness. He didn’t even have too look for the ones coming up behind him, their stealth all that of a five year old stealing from the cookie jar.
Finally he felt the presence of another, not a vampire, a Krathor demon. They would not normally bother vampires, but humans were a different matter, Xander was not quite either so fair game, something Xander realized a little too late. Swept up with powerful arm, he was thrown against a headstone hard, and habits of nearly three years kicked in, his Consort/Mate link firing at the same time as he counter attacked.
Spike felt the call at a visceral level. There was no question of him having to respond – he had not felt anything so strong since… him, then… so long ago…
Despite the animal blood compromising his speed and strength, he arrived in time to see Xander using two curved silver knives as though a part of his own anatomy. Elegant arcs, amazing speed and brilliant parries and counter attacks soon found the demon with no working tendons in its legs and missing several of its talons. The strikes were strategic, however, not aimed to kill, merely deter and then (when that did not work) disable. Spike remembered the first time they had trained with the knives, Xander insisting that he needed ‘something to fight with’!
Xander sensed him… Yearned for him… Grieved with him… But as he raised his chocolate brown gaze to meet crystal blue and the injured, lumbering figure of the Krathor moved off, Xander knew. Spike had endured a hundred plus years after losing first his Mate, then his Angelus… and had been compelled to look after Drusilla alone as a direct result of both, struggling to survive, doting on her, loving her as her carer more than her Childe. And just before Xander had been flung back in time ‘dumped’ by his love of over a hundred years, denied by the vampire who Sired him only to become crippled by an artificial chip.
After his last nearly three years with Wil, Xander knew it for what it was, the cruelest of muzzles. Not only did it cage the demon, it starved it, took away its ability to operate in its own society, and left the being it inhabited so vulnerable, desperate and frightened, that both beast and man fell into depression and despair.
They stood staring at each other for a long moment before Spike became visibly upset mumbled a choked, “I can’t… not again… I… ” then turned and disappeared into the night.
Xander sat back down pulling his knees tight to his chest and resting his chin on the bony platform created. He would have to face Willow again sometime soon – if only to fill in the gaps of what had happened in his absence of thirty three months. But for now it was his time to regroup. His last joyous joining with his Mate Wil had only been, for him, last night just before… a tear escaped and he hugged his knees tighter as he gave in to shock
It had been five months since Spike’s chipping and he had been so very depressed of late – despite discovering his ability to hurt demons. Xander was sick of playing host to the undead bleached wonder, but still did not trust him alone, with or without restraints. So, on that warm spring evening, the then totally human Xander had ushered Spike to Giles’ apartment for some ‘vampire minding’ with the intention of the Xanman meeting up with Willow and new friend Tara for a night at the Bronze.
As Xander tied the last of the knots in the ropes fastening Spike’s legs to the chair, a flash of white stopped him in his tracks. He fell against Spike’s leg for a moment took two deep breaths, and assuming it had passed continued with his task, only to have a blinding pain flash simultaneously through his chest and head. He almost cried out before slumping forward and passing out.
To the observers, Giles (who was returning from the kitchen with a cup of tea, a cocoa and a mug of blood) and Spike, Xander didn’t look in pain exactly, rather he began to convulse and glow so brightly that his form became painful to look at then, after a final flash and scream from the boy, he was gone, the ground where he had been, left scorched and smoldering a little.
Xander had come to kneeling in a foul smelling puddle on cold bluestone cobbles with his head on a pile of rubbish that reeked of old urine and rotting fish. He tried to stand, but was apparently unable to command his own limbs as yet. He wondered what someone had put in his drink at the Bronze, because the entire evening seemed to be a blank, and now with the alleyway… although the cobbles were a strange addition… He was almost ready to go into full denial mode and simply attempt to crawl home when he heard a delighted little girl squeal, and a slow clapping accompanied by a thick Irish brogue, “Well, well, seems you have found your boy there a bit ‘v a playmate. Either that or dinner, or both… Well c’mon Willi…am pick up y’r ‘prize’ and let’s be off – t’will be light soon enough, and I fancy I have some business with my dark plumb here.”
Xander had just enough time to think “Angelus!” before he was heaved apparently effortlessly over an all too thin shoulder and his world went black.
Xander rose reluctantly. He could feel the dawn approaching, hear the birds heralding the sun even before the merest hint of light in the east. He really did belong in the dark now and wondered how Willow would react to his need for blackout blinds and genuine love of reading by candlelight.
He had hoped to sneak into the house unseen, but he had no key and was compelled to ring the doorbell, appallingly loud at 5.15am.
Willow must have been sleeping on the couch, as the door was opened within seconds and a sleepy Tara joined her partner as the exhausted, cold Xander stepped across the threshold of a house he had known since early childhood. Yet now it felt different.
The witches’ signatures screamed magic – especially Tara, who’s marker was not human… and he knew Spike was in the building, the place reeked of his mate!
Before Willow even had the chance to explain the accommodation arrangements Xander said, “Spike is here.”
“Yeah well… umm… after we lost you… umm… Oh Xan! He was so… Something happened. He was… he was… and then with… Oh Xan… we’ve missed you!”
The last statement almost undid him… but he had been through worse, or at least that’s what he thought.
He leveled his most compelling gaze on an old friend and simply said, “What. Happened. While I was away?”
At that moment, in Willow’s basement, a blonde vampire convulsed in his sleep, began to shed bloody tears and dreamt of a lover lost, all those years ago…
He woke again, wrists and ankles bound fast, apparently shackled to a steel ring fixed to a wall. The only light entering the room was courtesy of the base of the door – and that only just enough to see several other humans secured in a similar fashion to himself, some moaning, others like himself only just regaining consciousness, and yet another group of bodies in the corner obviously no longer in pain.
Twice since he came to, one of his fellow prisoners was released from their shackles and taken away only to have their lifeless corpse returned to the growing pile some few hours later. Xander was not sure how many hours or days had passed before rough hands grabbed him. He struggled a little the net result of which was a short sharp blow to the head and blessed black.
He came to arms and legs still chained but now hogtied rather than fixed to a single point. He was on his front but could just make out the date on front page of ‘The Times’ newspaper neatly stuffed in the front of the basket of wood ready to be used to start the parlor fire – January 15, 1891.
His arms and legs screamed their protest, though he was beyond screaming, the large chunk of wood fastened bit and bridle style not only gagging him, but making breathing a strain and, when he struggled, causing a constant stream of drool to drip down his chin, joining his tears on the way. He tried to focus. It was definitely Angelus in the building, the large hands tangling in the human’s hair, wrenching Xander’s head up and forcing his bound body into an impossible position. He was staring at the vampire’s yellow tinged eyes, though the face was still in human guise. Angelus sported a fashionably thin moustache and trim beard, and dropped him after giving the captive a confident, deadly smirk.
“What say you my sweet death?? C’mon eat… This one is well fed for street vermin – and his strange attire spells foreigner… what say you precious... stay for a time? We are only just returned, surely the Master…”
Xander could just make out the annoyed act of a petite blonde, momentarily distracted by the thought that Anya would never forgive him for standing her up at the Bronze tonight – or last night… or the night before…
“The Master and I have a special relationship… Surely you of all people must understand that? Besides, I’ve put up with the ramblings of your deranged Childe for long enough. Typical male – takes the pretty boy away to fool with while I’m left to uphold our position in London and try to babysit your lunatic.”
“You told me to!… I would never…!”
“Angelus! Don’t look so shocked! I approve that you had him to service you, after all Ivanova and Tiernov have quite the talent for the orgy of old… And darling, it was time he was taken in hand. A Childe must be schooled in the pleasuring of the Sire and that stupid girl of yours was hardly the one… besides…I didn’t see you complaining about having to give the lessons…”
Darla sidled up to her boy, teasing him before she pulled away swept around the room, collecting purse, affixing hat, and adding an elegant ladies’ cape with fur ruffle to her attire. “Now - cheer up darling, the devil knows the boy's insane Sire is incapable of finding satisfaction with any but you, though I confess after this last month, I am surprised you haven’t let her dust before now. No matter, your duty is to me and now you will free me for my Sire as tradition has it, so all is well. I will send word when I am to return.” The blonde Grande Dame of the Scourge of Europe plunged a hat pin into her fashionable head piece, affixing it to the carefully coiffed hair before turning to leave.
She paused on her way to the door and almost as an afterthought slapped Xander’s bound head with the back of her glove, all the while looking pointedly at her childe, “She rambled on while you were away. Claimed she had visions, captured stars and found her pathetic boy toy a friend. Who cares what she thinks – give this one,” she hit Xander again – this time hard, “… to ‘her Willie’, and bed the girl, Angelus, hard, fast and often! Service her and train her, or dust her once and for all. Her constant whining and self pleasuring while you were absent was tedious in the extreme – and quite unbecoming in company!”
Xander made out Angelus in game face, but saw him kiss the hand of his Sire then kneel and bare his neck. Darla bit hard and fast, before pulling away dabbing the sides of her mouth with an embroidered kerchief and added, “Oh, and Angelus? I do expect you to have matters in hand when I return. I am sure you would prefer not to have to answer to the Master again for some discipline, as I do know how you so hate to ‘bottom’ for him in front of company.”
With that Darla departed, minions scurrying to open the door carry her last minute needs to the waiting carriage (including a bound young woman – obviously food to go). Angelus had audibly growled his frustration as soon as the Mistress of the house left, smashing an expensive vase, and beating then draining a hapless minion.
Once the dark vampire calmed, Xander quickly established that Angelus and William had just returned from St Petersburg – attending that court at Darla’s insistence! Angelus was livid that he had been given no choice in the most recent turn of events, though did seem pleased to have his ‘dark plum’ close once again.
It was William (or Spike as Xander kept telling himself) that seemed the most hurt by the proceedings, though the human struggled to string the scenario together completely.
Angelus and the young William had enjoyed their time together in all senses of the word. William obviously enamored by the older vampire and visibly put out when he was pushed aside by both Sire and Grandsire with a, “Go find us some food boy, while I see to yer Sire”, as the two older vampires reacquainted themselves.
Xander felt the bile in the back of his throat begging for release as Angelus all but raped Drusilla within inches of his bound form. The Sunnydale boy seeing the blood as her rear passage was abused, inner thigh bitten and Angelus taking her time and time again.
Xander had panicked, as Spike… William, passed him to do as instructed by his Grandsire… unsure as to whether he was to be the food or the entertainment or both! Then he really did begin to retch behind his gag horrified by his own self interest – he was apparently safe, for now, while four – or was it five, humans (including two young children) were dragged in by minions and drained by the sated ‘lovers’ and a rather subdued William.
“Now boy, I note you’ve not taken what is yours to enjoy!!! Come, come! This is your Sire’s gift - she told us so!...” Xander was shoved hard by a leather boot that smelled of the street, and fell onto his side as his trussed form failed to correct his balance. He knew he was dangerously close to the now lit fire but could barely wriggle more than a few inches before focusing back on the room.
Angelus relaxed back onto the couch, tugged Drusilla around the waist forcing her onto his lap again after their meal and levelled his gaze at William, “Now boy… You’ve had me to yourself for the last month, and proven quite the student. Tis time t' take y’r place again, let your elders enjoy what is theirs by right…” His hand was obviously finding Drusilla’s still wet and willing core, "Oh now, now!! William! No pouting... Let me pleasure my dark princess… and look you! Your Sire’s present seems ripe for the picking… look you, the boy is all a fluster… Have you learned nothin’ on our travels?! Give him a nip then let the minions clean him and put him in yer rooms. And fer the devil’s sake William… take him for sport if naught else, I fer one know ye could still use the practice!”
Xander saw the momentary hurt on the face of his soon to be assailant, then braced himself as the young vampire, most definitely William not a hardened Master the pre-chipped Spike, did as instructed, knelt down, bared his fangs and sniffed the human’s neck. Long blonde curls fell across Xander’s face as the vampire appeared to savor the smell of fear coming in waves from the trussed human. Xander wriggled a little but stopped immediately as he heard the growled, “Be still or they will kill you.” The vampire bit and drew but two or three mouthfuls before he stood and ordered the minions to clean up the human ready for ‘dinner and a show’.
Xander was unceremoniously tossed over a large vampire’s shoulder only to be carried outside to a cold tub of water, where his legs were released and wrists attached to an over head hook. He was then washed down by a coarse brush made all the worse by the freezing temperature of the water.
By the time the final bucket of water was tipped over his head, Xander was shaking uncontrollably, teeth chattering so hard that there was no thought of rebellion, simply a desperate wish to get warm… somehow.
Unable to support his own weight with legs too cold to move from their semi bent position, he was carried into the house and upstairs – apparently to William’s quarters. There was no care taken as the near frozen human was dumped on the floor in a shivering heap.
Xander’s head throbbed with the cold, his hands and feet were numb, and all he managed to do was whimper a little as he heard the door click shut and a slight growl come from the direction of the bay window.
“… What the hell do they think they’re playing at… Stupid idiots! You’re positively blue!”
Xander wasn’t sure if he was being spoken to or there were others in the room so simply remained curled on the floor desperately trying to get his core temperature above hypothermic levels.
He didn’t hear the young vampire move, other than to register a book dropping to the floor, before he felt himself covered in a heavy, rather coarse blanket of some description. He then had his naked form forcibly maneuvered until straight, only to be wrapped tight, mummy style, lifted and draped across a slim lap head resting on a young man’s shoulder, preternaturally strong arms surrounding him as a blazing fire heated the blanket and its contents until toasty. He could not help himself, finally warm and being fed a mug of … sweet milky tea (?!), he gave in to his body’s most primal needs, drank willingly, snuggled a little, then fell asleep in strong arms and to crooning baritone of his…
There was no way of telling the hour, and the bed was unfamiliar, as was the body… the male body, spooning him. He momentarily tried to remember if it had been a party or the Bronze or both the night before, nothing would come. A door was opened, heavy curtains were pulled heaved back to reveal the moonlight, and a quiet voice beseeched ‘Master’ to wake. Xander’s state of rest and warmth was now a cause for confusion not comfort, and he wondered vaguely, given he realized he was held tight in the arms of a deadly vampire, if it was now or later that he would die.
The face that had been nuzzling his neck – admittedly affectionately not the expected threatening fashion – turned toward the intrusion and simply growled “Grrrr out! ‘S early!” The statement was followed by a whimper, a nasty flesh on flesh thump, scrambling noises and a door slamming. Minutes later, he registered the body behind him move a little just before an excruciating sting and pull of blood from his neck, and a ‘morning’ erection rubbing against the soft cleft of his backside preempted his world going black.
And oh how he yearned for that very feeling as he walked toward the two women seated so calmly in the lounge room of Willow’s house. He was conscious that the sun would be peeping through their curtains any moment and almost flinched as he stilled.
He needed to know the truth of what had happened while he had been… there, At very least whether the Wil he knew, had come to love, still resided in Spike… somewhere.
Spike had heard the door click and listened, the memories all but overwhelming him… the yearning driving him from his camp bed to take on physical discomfort, focusing on the stale musty basement smell of discarded household items, his gnawing hunger after almost two days without food, and ache of lying on cold concrete. The quiet dialogue washed into the background as thoughts of Angelus and the years after his Grandsire’s abandonment, Dru’s final rejection, the chip, and all that came after… the time since his return with soul, the madness and Willow’s spell… and now a flood of memories that had apparently been blocked out, memories that at the time made no sense yet now made all the sense in the world…
He was truly in Hell. He could feel him. Spike’s demon remembered as though the hundred plus years simply melted away… it *screamed* to claim his Mate once more, giving and taking blood and seed, marking again and declaring their partnership to the world. And William the man yearned for his gentle touches, his kind words and comfort, his amorous enthusiasm and easy company.
His boy was back, after so many years… their time together so cruelly cut short yet now the strength of the Mating link was so intense that he was unable to throw off his game face, nor stem the bloodied tears.
He curled up on the hard floor, let the cold permeate his being and bit his own wrist for a little comfort. He wondered if Xander had blocked the link – wondered why he had waited so long, whether he felt Spike’s pain.
Xander sat quietly, far too quietly, at Willow and Tara’s feet.
He had been away and had changed… so had they. The timeline had changed, forever but none of the ‘players’ in the room understood the implications nor the experiences of the ‘other’.
Surprisingly it was Xander who began with the request for specific answers, and with a forthright attitude that was nothing to do with the young ‘loser’ Xander that had been taken from them some three or so years previously.
There was a stillness to the Vampire Mate that Tara and particularly Willow noticed. Quiet questions that were not only calm, but calculated, succinct, and non judgemental.
Xander learned in passing that Anya had been present but moved on when Xander departed – apparently ‘involved’ with a string of men in the town though finally accepted back into the vengeance fold and had recently taken up with a rather wealthy demon who specialized in producing musicals for ‘private viewings’.
The returned Scoobie was visibly pleased to learn of the final take down of the Initiative, unsurprised by the stupidity of the whole ‘government conspiracy’ and expressed his disappointment that he had not been a part of it (privately wishing he had been able to wreck vengeance on his Wil’s behalf).
Tara noted his hurt and sadness at the stories of Joyce’s death, Spike’s loyalty and all that ensued with Glory. Xander was horrified to learn of Buffy’s death and the months leading to her supernatural resurrection but completely unsurprised by Spike’s loyalty to Dawn.
Willow could see the tears tracking down Xander’s still youthful face and saw the look of resignation as she ‘skimmed over’ the disastrous liaison between Buffy and Spike that followed. Xander knew why it might have occurred but still grieved for his tender, loyal, William… so very lost, so very giving… and then to seek out the demon trials and a soul!?!!
Eventually sitting at Willow’s feet he placed a cheek against Willows slender leg in a position so familiar with his Wil and wished the hand stroking through his rather long curls was a cool male one rather than the small female one that now pulled through the silky mop in an effort to calm and reassure. Willow understood the pain of losing a partner, if Tara had not been returned to her, the consequences would have destroyed… everything. Yet her childhood friend, had gained and lost through no fault of his own, a part of his very being. To be mated in the vampire sense was… she looked at him hard.
Her kind, jovial Xander shaped friend was present… but his pallor – grey; behaviour subdued; appetite – apparently none; and life energy – waning.
But they had left one question unanswered.
Spike’s consciousness returned just as he heard the beloved voice a storey above query, “What happened to Wil in the Magic Box? Why…? I can feel him Willow. Here, now! Just like always… And he is mine to feel, just as I am his… so… You know what Giles… What did you… Why Willow? Just… Oh Ghhh why!!?...”
Willow pulled the man up between them, neither missed the fact that he was still only wearing breaches from the late nineteen hundreds, nor that there was an elegant silver choker around his neck, just above a claiming mark.
Tara knew that the stage was Willow’s. She patted Xander lightly as she rose to make a cup of tea, leaving the two for a private chat
“We lost you… then we had to… oh Sweetie, for his sake, we had to!” Willow took the weeping man’s face in her hands and forced him to look at her. “After you disappeared we searched for you… everywhere… for months, we really did!! And Spike was helping us – but there was Adam and the Initiative… and even after that all… well finished, there was really nothing to go on… And Spike was with Giles but then started acting strangely… well more than strange. At first we thought it was the chip but he stopped eating and kept trying to… He was suicidal Xan… He kept saying he couldn’t live without you… that you were… well obviously now you were… but he was desperate and more than a little dangerous… it was like his memories were being altered as we were watching… like he was connected to what was happening in his own past… and it was all changing...”
Xander was openly crying giving no heed to the friend of old. The grief was too bright, the idea that his dear one had endured so long without him… or in an odd way, worse… had his history rewritten progressively, or suddenly as the spell was lifted…
“Oh sweetie, we had to… It was Giles’ idea, the memory block… we just… well we wiped anything to do with you… gone until we could find you… it was the kindest thing… At least that’s what we thought… He was so frantic Xan, hurting himself!” Willow was about to add more but noticed Xander physically jolt and flew to catch her friend as his eyes rolled and Xander curled up in agony, clutching his head, the desperate pain flowing across the link from Spike suddenly so acute that it took his breath away and caused his stomach to rebel. He threw up a tiny amount of bile on her skirt but in too much pain to care, letting his cheek rest in the foul liquid, and giving in to the internal pain.
In the basement Spike was similarly afflicted, feeling the full force of the connection and giving in to his grief and the agony of Xander’s sense of remorse, despite being guiltless of any abandonment or desire to leave his lover all those years ago.
Despite her friend’s distress, Willow took strength from Tara as her blonde partner returned with some ‘spicy Chai and a bikkie’ (quite the habit since the coven and England apparently). The red head quietly conveyed more details of the happenings of the last couple of years - Dawn’s creation, Spike’s heroism, and the circumstances of Buffy’s death. Buffy had been pulled from her eternal rest, and had taken out her frustrations on Spike, what he thought to be love at first was, truth be known, abuse. Xander knew why. His Wil craved touch and willingly gave all of himself to please a lover even if it meant physical pain.
Tara’s death by the hand of the deranged Warren and the supernatural intervention that returned her to save Willow and the earth from destruction sounded all too fanciful, but when the blonde lifted her shirt to show Xander the enormous scar marking the exit wound of a hollow tipped bullet, he knew it to be true. It was further confirmed when she pulled back her hair to reveal pointed ears and allowed her eyes to turn from their human form to the natural fully blue – the whites completely gone and the pupils now vertical as those of a cat.
Willow was on the floor next to Xander, arms wrapped around her friend of old by the time they were explaining Tara’s ‘semi human, mostly fae’ status after the Powers’ intervention, and tried to summarize the consequences, including that she and Willow were destined to be together for all time – eventually as magical energy – compelled to assist others as the price for staying together. Tara took Willow’s hand and squeezed it tight as then described Spike’s ‘melt down’ after Buffy and his drastic act… “He was so… confused and hurting… so he went and fought to get it back! He… he got his soul back, Xan.”
The sun was high in the sky when the wiccan’s finally finished updating their newly returned friend on the happenings since he had been away. Xander finally raised himself into a chair opposite the couch apologized weakly to the kind women, then proceeded to stare out the window in silence. What was there to say?
His life had been so different, admittedly terrifying and confusing at first… but Wil… poor Wil… Xander could feel him hurting even now, kept trying to send love through the link but the pain seemed to overwhelm it. Tara felt the magical ripple first, Willow saw the hurt in her old friend but allowed him his space as he gave in utterly to grief and loss.
In the basement Spike writhed in pain as his Mate all but screamed for him through the newly awakened link.
Xander was eventually too exhausted to cry any more. Curled in a fetal position on the chair, he hiccupped occasionally, but as the two witches moved to get on with the matters of the day, he managed to whisper, “Oh Gh@# Willow, none of you have any idea how strong he is… how intelligent, caring, loving… And I can’t… I can’t live without him Wills!!! And now he’s lived over a hundred years without me… me! His Mated human consort! Willow please find a way to fix this… us!!! I love him Willow… I love him so much. Send me back Wills… maybe just… I wish… can’t you send me back?”
Eventually too spent and distressed to move, he gave in to semi slumber and remembered the first few weeks as ‘plaything’ to William the young vampire.
By the third night as captive ‘bed warmer’ for the young vampire William, Xander woke still shackled and now blindfolded only to feel a pair of large, steely strong cold hands hauling him up and buckling a thick leather collar around his neck. A vicious slap to the backside and grunt from the young William was followed by, “You’ve been remiss boy! If twas but a bed-warmer ya wanted would a bought you a dog… so here! At least now he’s collared. I’d break him in for ye too but that your Sire is quite insatiable.”
A second incredibly hard smack of Angelus’ hand across Xander’s backside all but drew blood. “There now all tenderized for ye, so… take him like I showed you with that annoying manservant last month… Surely you’ve not forgotten!?”
The answer was subdued, “No Sire, thank you Sire.” After which Xander felt his backside tugged to the edge of the four poster bed, his legs dangling over and backside exposed. He tensed as a set of soft cool fingers began to gently massage his back and down into the slit of his behind. He tensed a little but then realized that William was trying his best to be considerate despite Angelus’ scrutiny.
“Stop you dilly dally and get on with it boy! I quite fancy a show before breakfast.”
Xander felt the sting of a bite on his buttocks, but rather than drinking the crimson flow was allowed to track down the channel dividing his pretty behind. Mere seconds later he grunted around his gag as one two then three fingers repeatedly breached and stretched his virgin pucker.
“Ahh now see there Willie, he’s ripe for it. ‘N don’t forget ta mark ‘im proper afore you finish or you’ll find a minion or three helpin’ themselves to sloppy seconds.”
Months later Xander would appreciate how gentle and considerate William was as a lover, but that first time was so unknown that all he could do was try not to tense up too much, and desperately pretend he was anywhere but on the edge of a vampire’s bed trussed, lubed, and about to be breached.
Angelus was obviously still in the room as William entered the human for the first time, and seemed to be waiting for confirmation that the younger vampire was able to complete his task.
Eventually a tearful, listless Xander lay on the edge of the bed, neck bitten deeply just above his new collar, backside oozing his vampire Master’s seed, and shoulder blades and hair sticky with a rapidly drying second spending, marking him for all to smell not just see.
It all should have been too terrible to contemplate, but that Will was eventually the one who cleaned Xander, rearranged his limbs and rubbed his now sore behind with sweetly scented oil before putting a small butt plug inside with quiet words of encouragement and the explanation that “It really does help.”
Angelus left them alone and apart from the occasional move to relieve himself in the chamber pot, he had spent virtually the entire first three weeks lying in Spike’s bed. He was bound and blindfolded at first, but eventually just had a lead from his collar to one of the uprights. He hated the butt plug intensely though did acknowledge that it eased William’s way to the point where now the intrusion of a larger undead member was no longer painful – indeed had begun to feel rather wonderful.
The times when he was left alone were the worst. Hours of silence, of nothing to do, of worry; of hearing Dru’s screams as ‘Daddy’ whipped then repeatedly, violently took her; of listening to the muffled cries from the ‘pantry’ downstairs or worse, the thud as yet another dead body was dumped on the floor.
Xander came to yearn for the company of his blonde ‘owner’. When William was there he was attentive to a fault, read to him from the classics, quoted poetry and informed the brunette of matters of the day as though the human was merely an invalid in need of entertaining, rather than a captive waiting for the next time he was compelled to service his master. And finally, after just over a month in the Aurelian household, he was allowed to follow his master downstairs, the short leash ensuring he walked barely inches behind William as they entered the parlor.
Xander was dressed only in one of Wil’s night shirts and was aware of how cold the house was after being ensconced in a fluffy bed for the past (to his knowledge) five weeks. He was far thinner than when he arrived and felt like the invalid family pet as he struggled to keep close to Wil as he was led down the flight of highly polished wooden stairs, the hallway complete with ornate banister and overly fussy wall paper.
The house was certainly a fine example of upper middle class living in the last decade of the nineteenth century, though Xander noted, in his rather dazed state, that the woman scurried past in a parlor maid’s prim uniform, was very pale and had the distinctive bite mark of a minion on her neck, her status confirmed when she leveled yellow eyes at the young Master William’s plaything, earning a growl from the Aurelian Childe.
In contrast to the vaulted ceilings and open elegance of the entrance hall, the parlor was warm, overly stuffed with furniture and had almost every inch of the wall covered in paintings. The fire was blazing and Angelus seated smoking and reading aloud an exaggerated newspaper account of the latest ‘murder spree in the West End’ whilst having his feet massaged enthusiastically (though a little ineptly) by a rather disheveled looking Drusilla.
He appeared to pause for dramatic effect then dropped the paper and leaned forward to cup the chin of his dark Childe. “Look you my darlin’, your boy has brought his plaything down to entertain us at last.”
William seemed at once contrite and not a little tense, “Grandsire, you called for me to attend you before your evening hunt. I merely understood…” Xander was pushed down to kneeling at Spike’s feet but felt so dizzy from blood loss and the walk downstairs that he lost balance a little and ended up leaning against William’s leg.
At the nervous declaration, Angelus pushed his vampire masseur onto her backside, stood and strode over to his Grandchilde barefoot, large cigar still in hand and tieless shirt untucked. “Yes, I did. I did at that. Your dotty Sire here is startin’ t’ get on me nerves, and I fancied ye may hap’ schooled yer toy in some skills as might serve for an evenin’ o’ interest?”
Xander was already feeling ill, but had come to understand his captor Wil rather well over the last few weeks. There was a fight or flight response building in the well toned slim legs, Xander could feel it, as his leash had become taut. Despite the weeks of ‘new life’ as boy toy keeping ‘young Wil’ distracted, it was Xander of Sunnydale coupled with (what he now realized was) a genuine liking of his blonde protector/owner that interpreted the scene. He did not trust Angelus further than he could throw him, which, even without his current weakness, would be a dismal effort at best. He was in no state to run let alone assist but tried to convey his willingness to do his best for his new keeper nevertheless by squeezing the blonde vampire’s ankle and trying to push up a little.
The standoff was but seconds long, however, as Dru giggled from her position on the floor, crawled over to the kneeling human, sat as if to study him, then scored the midline of his forehead and nose with the razor-sharp nail of her forefinger and licked off the resulting blood.
Xander vaguely wondered if this was to be his end but took strength from William’s touch and remained still. He silently stemmed a shiver as Dru turned with a pout to her Sire, “He’s all a disappointment Daddy. Doesn’t like my girlie parts at all! Blood just singing for our Willie… and poor Daddy, Mummy’s bustle still a flutter for the Master… poor Daddy.”
Angelus frowned momentarily as Drusilla cocked her head and stared vaguely at the potted parlor palm in the corner before turning to her Sire and changing mood as though a switch had been thrown. “Ooooohhh the stars are so bright tonight, it’s sure to be jam and cream for tea. Miss Edith will be ever so pleased!” Dru clapped gleefully then stood and began to sway, raised her arms above her head and began to chant, sing song fashion, punctuating each strange statement with a hip wiggle. “And. Daddy’s. Going to. Tie me up. All shackles and moss, ‘cause I’ve been ever so good, I’m always so good… And Willie’s got kitty, ‘cause he’s been ever so good, ever so good!”
Angelus had apparently had enough. The dark Master of the house growled a warning moments before moving with speed not traceable by the human eye and knocking Drusilla out with a single punch. He then flung the unconscious mad vampire unceremoniously onto the chaise lounge in the corner, growling as he made his way to the tray sporting crystal carafe of brandy and matching glasses. “Pay her no mind. I’ll have her restrained later needs be.”
Xander felt a calming, familiar hand in his hair and without realizing it, responded to the comfort, subtly pushing into it and giving away his true feelings with a slowing heart beat and hint of arousal.
Angelus didn’t miss the change, “You’ve trained your pet well, boy…” The older vampire dropped into game face but made no move toward the human. Xander sensed that his protector was being tested and wracked his brain for some of the lessons from Giles’ books. In the end he dropped his head to the side away from Wil’s leg, exposing his neck and the scabbed mark where William had bitten him at least daily since his arrival.
William did not move, even when Angelus stood as though to take the offer, but as Xander waited, the surprised blonde vampire was kissed on the cheek and the hapless human ignored. “Oh, I *am* impressed m’ boy. Seems my dark princess was right to find you such a plaything. But tonight I would have your company, ‘tis more than time you and I enjoy a hunt without female encumberances… I fancy sport of the male variety.”
Xander must have passed out shortly after, waking briefly to the smells and comfort of William’s bed but also aware that he was alone. He leaned over to the small side table and sat up just enough to lift the beaded linen cover from the water pitcher and pour himself a drink, before collapsing back again and sleeping on.
The next week or so had a similar timetable, though after a few days of better food he was feeling decidedly more energetic. After Angelus approved of the pet, he had taken Wil to a demon friend of his to ‘give the Childe advice regards his human bleeder companion’ and consequently each evening, Xander was presented with a platter near overflowing with a variety of cold meats, pickles, cheese, fresh fruit and bread. Wil would not let him out of bed until it was finished and he had washed down the meal with a bottle of increasingly more pink, satisfying, though rather tasteless ‘juice’.
Unexpectedly his role in the parlor became one of hairdresser to the mad dark ‘princess’.
He was initially encouraged to brush her long brunette locks as a means of calming her but soon took to braiding the tresses just as he had Willow’s when they were youngsters. And with nothing better to do and no right to speak when in the presence of Wil’s deadly elders, Xander spent increasing lengths of time weaving intricate patterns in the vampire’s hair using flowers, various ribbons and even jewels. Drusilla’s obvious delight was strangely comforting to the captive Scoobie as he saw Wil congratulated on the human’s behavior and reaped the benefit of Wil’s happiness at his Sire’s approval, via loving touches and increasingly more amorous sessions in their shared bed.
But in Xander’s fourth month in the household everything changed. Darla sent word. She was to return within the fortnight.
Xander woke to the realization that someone had covered him with a blanket during the night and that he had missed the smell of Willow’s freshly baked cookies.
He rose rather stiffly, judging it to be around midday by the sun alone. He could feel it now, the ache in his chest that made swallowing hurtful and his hands shake. He knew it was coming but there was no point worrying his friends. Giles probably already knew and the others would find out soon enough if …
He focused on the daylight of Southern California, all too bright and so different to even the summers in England and Europe. He found himself wishing for the grey, the rain, the cold… instead of cheery sunlight and a note on the mantelpiece that read, “Didn’t want 2 wake U. No.s for Scoobies r by phone. Help yourself 2 food etc… T + W home by 6 XXOO P.S. Giles called - back 2 UK Sat.”
Xander stared at the message for a moment too long then registered the smell coming from the kitchen that made his stomach growl – Willow had baked cookies that morning. It should have been familiar, but instead felt like a reminder of things lost.
Wandering into the bright room with its bowl of fruit on the table and cooling rack piled high with chocolate chip treats, he opened the fridge. The act itself felt… worrying. ‘Help yourself’, the note had said, but bags marked ‘beef blood’ in the fridge reminded him…
He took one, snipped it and found the large red soup mug with the message ‘I like it hot’ on the sink drainer. He emptied the contents into the mug and used a microwave again for the first time in close to three years. The knife he had used to slice open the bag was still in his hand as he reclaimed the now warm mug and found his way to the door of the basement.
The basement reeked of blood, fresh blood, Spike’s.
Rather than turning on the light, Xander let his changed status emerge and yellow eyes seek out he who was so precious… and now so broken.
What he saw made him positively ill. Spike, his Wil, was on the floor curled in a ball. He had apparently torn through clothing and bitten himself repeatedly, leaving open wounds to bleed out. Xander understood the feeling, the knife in his hand would have done the same had he not been so focused on finding Wil. Now he did use it for the preferred purpose.
He slid down to sitting on the cold floor and lifted his Mate’s head, turning the all too light body until the vampire was lying, head tilted back and in a position where his semi open mouth might drink… then Xander slit his own wrist crosswise.
The vampire coughed a little as the first few drops fell against the back of his throat, then latched on. After several seconds, the vampire’s mate felt the familiar speeding of a heart being starved of the fluid that drove it. Timing was everything and Xander knew from experience that he could supplement his own offering with a far greater volume of (in this case) animal blood dribbled past the wrist and into the waiting mouth. A few days earlier, it would have been Sire’s blood or fresh human that was offered to restore and preserve the blonde.
The groan, pull, and final lapping of the wound was familiar. The silent tears, rocking and comfort purring were rarities – only occurring in their other life when Wil had been most in distress.
Xander gently eased Spike onto the bed again, spooning him and warming him in a way that caused the damaged vampire to cry all the more and accept the offered wrist, not to feed but just suckle as a child might a pacifier. All the while the human whispered phrases of endearment that the poor chipped and ensouled vampire had missed for over a century as he tasted the ambrosia that was his mated human’s blood and recalled a hundred plus years of confused memories. His own mental state since the return of his soul had been confused in the extreme – and of late – since the memory ‘restoration’, it was pushing to levels of contradiction and confusion worthy of the effects of the worst psychedelic drugs of the sixties.
And so the survivor of Angelus, Darla and Dru, escapee of Nazis and Initiative, killer of two Slayers and lover of one now found himself sobbing shamelessly, desperately, longingly, into the arms of… him. There could be no more exquisite torture. Spike could taste him, smell him, feel his arms and legs and body… but it was all impossible… Xander was… here. Spike gave in to the insanity and finally snuggled and cried himself to sleep.
Xander held the cool body as his wrist healed and… remembered, his own recall changed by freakish circumstances, and experiences of bygone years