Title: An Aurelian Court
Author: T. K. Benjamin
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Slash, First Time, Paranormal/Supernatural
Relationship(s): Angel/Xander Harris/Spike
Content Rating: NC17
Warnings: Canon Level Violence, Vampires
Author Notes: I hadn’t planned on writing this. I had planned on something completely different, then Xander stuck his metaphorical hand up and told me he had stuff to fix. Massive and major thanks to my cover artist. Thank you so much.Mizu Sage, thank you so much. You’re truly talented.
Word Count: 51,400(ish)
Summary: When Xander gets the chance to make something right he grabs it and runs. Straight to LA.
Artist: MIZU SAGE
It had taken almost four weeks but the Vampires had been true to their word, the troops Casey had brought with him were barely recognisable. Now they moved with quiet unconscious grace. They practically oozed from a one place to another. They walked quietly and confidently. Their fighting abilities had become second only to their trainers. Xander knew he and Gunn could hold their own, but the soldiers had been turned into a well oiled fighting machine by now. Xander grinned at some of them or waved to others as they acknowledged him as he walked through the lobby and into the kitchen where most of his family seemed to congregate most of the time. He stopped in the doorway when he saw Angel and Spike just staring at each other. With a sigh he walked in and shut the door behind him. “What’s going on?” He demanded. “It can’t be the soldiers, they’re doing great. So what’s up?”
Spike shrugged and Angel finally nodded, they turned to Xander and Angel pulled him into his lap.
“It is true, rúnsearc, beloved, they have been doing very well, however William and I are not comfortable leaving our family’s safety in the hands of those that have no loyalty to us.”
Xander sighed, he knew things were troubling Angel when he started speaking Irish to him and sorta formal like. He’d picked up a few things over the course of their relationship after all.
He rubbed his face in Angel’s shirt front. “Yeah, okay, I get that. So what were you planning?”
“Sire and I have sent out a call to the family. They should start arriving soon, the ones that can and want to, anyway,” Spike told him.
Xander stiffened in Angel’s lap. He felt Angel hold him closer. “Who? Who will be coming?”
Angel kissed his temple while Spike reached over and took his hand, slowly rubbing his fingers over Xander’s palm.
“I can already feel Penn, he is very close, and I think Sam and Theresa are just a few hours behind him. But Penn is coming in hard and fast. He’ll reach us before the day is out. Before sunset even. Drusilla is fading in and out of our connection so I’m not sure how far away she is but she’s not far out either. Spike?”
Spike drew himself up, a faraway look on his face, “I can feel three incoming. The strongest of mine. I’m not sure about any others though, I lost touch with most of mine when Dru got really sick.”
Angel nodded. “I’m lucky to still be able to differentiate between this many of mine. Lucky they haven’t perished. I neglected my responsibilities for far too long.”
“So, does that mean you’re forming the Clan officially? The Court even?” Xander asked quietly?
Angel hummed for a second. “I have something precious to protect,” he said. “The Clan can help me to protect it,” he finally said, voice matter of fact.
Xander nodded. “Well okay then, I can’t really argue with that, I suppose, and we’re expecting family to get here very soon too, so…hmm. I guess I’d better let Cordelia know we’re going to need a few more rooms. It’s a good thing the army guys have been helping me renovate the third floor in their down time. Looks like we might need it. I just have one more set of block out shutters to install and then I’m done,” he said thoughtfully. He made to get up from Angel’s lap but the Master Vampire held him closer.
“Are ye’ upset with us fer not telling ye’ sooner, rúnsearc?” Angel whispered.
Xander thought for a few seconds. “Upset? Not really. Just, well, these new guys don’t know me. Might not like me. Hell Drusilla and I weren’t exactly buddies either, you know? They might think I’m not good enough, you know. You know, I’m like Zeppo, doughnut boy, and well, yeah that too…” Xander trialled off when Angel wrapped him up carefully into his arms and tucked him in close under his chin. Then he felt Spike plaster himself along his back.
“You’re ours, Pet. And Angelus and me, we will keep you safe. We’d dust anyone that would try to hurt you,” Spike whispered, nuzzling his face into the back of Xander’s neck. Xander sighed and relaxed into their hold.
“Is that understood?” Angel’s question was directed above Xander’s head in so hard a voice that Xander instantly tensed, thinking he’d somehow done something to upset the older vampire.
“Understood, Sire,” said a new voice.
Xander startled, ready to turn around, but Spike kept him still. He kept his own back to the new comer, while Angel had on his full Vampiric face looked over both of their shoulders, easily showing who they each belonged to.
“You’re allowing Sire to protect you William?” The new guy asked.
“As is Sire’s will and right, Penn,” Spike replied in picture perfect English.
“I remember a time you would fight your own battles, William, and come crawling into my bed,” Penn said, and Xander heard him pull out a chair and sit down at the table with them. He felt Spike and Angel tense. He felt the low growl in Angel’s throat every time this Penn dude called Spike, William. He also knew that he really didn’t want to have to clean up the kitchen today.
Xander tapped Spike’s knee as it lay by his leg and felt both Angel and Spike relax their grip on him, so he was being given permission to do something. What? No idea, but he’d know what, just after he did it, as usual.
“Nothing to say William?”
And Xander just sighed. He angled his head to look at the new comer. “Dude, really? Are you that eager to get dusted? Cause I gotta say that’s where this conversion is headed. Either Angel or Spike are gonna get sick of those words dropping out of your mouth, or someone else will, cause dude, you, are, a, douche. Oh and stop calling him William, he hates that and only Angel has the right to call him that nowadays.” Xander carefully got himself out of Angel’s lap and stood. He looked the new guy up and down. “Well he’s pretty I guess, great hair too. Let me give you some advice, Penn, don’t piss anyone here off. If Spike and Angel decide you need to be dust, then you’ll be dust, but Angel didn’t call you here to dust you, so really, don’t piss anyone off anymore. I get you’re upset about a lot of things, I really do, but Angel wouldn’t have called you without a reason, so pay attention. Now I’m off to find Cordelia, we have some rooms to make up.” He looked shrewdly at his Vampires. “No breaking the furniture. I like this table and the chairs are good too. If you’re going to dust him, don’t do it in the kitchen.
“Yes Xander,” was chorused sweetly from two voices and Xander casually strolled out of the kitchen. As he let the door shut behind him, he leaned against the jamb and breathed slowly. A litany of fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckityfuckfuckfuuuuck, screaming through his brain. He pressed his hands to his chest, expecting to feel his heart pounding. Instead he felt it slightly elevated but not seriously pounding. He analysed that for a minute. He knew he should be freaking out and besides the mental fuckery, he felt sort of normal. He did not feel in any danger. Did not feel unsafe. He was minorly pissed off, because really Penn seemed like a multi chambered douchebag. But no fear. Only mild annoyance. And if one of those knuckleheads did manage to break either of his two men he’d skin them all alive, or dead whatever. And he fucking loved that table. He and Cordy had found it at an old thrift store, but it was solid mahogany, seated a dozen and was heavy enough that Spike had given them the side eye when they had gone to pick it up after sundown.
He straightened up, ready to leave. Voices started behind him. “He does not frighten easily,” said Penn’s voice.
“He grew up on a Hellmouth,” Spike returned, voice flat.
“He smells human, how did he survive a Hellmouth?” Penn asked, sounding almost impressed.
“He is human,” came from Angel. “Grew up fighting beside the Slayer. Do not underestimate him. Do not irritate him. And do not upset or endanger him.”
“And if I do?” Penn challenged quietly.
“Ye’ll find yerself staked out n’ waitin’ fer sunrise,” came an Irish purr that sent shivers of dread down Xander’s spine.
“He is more important to you then your own Childer, Sire?”
“He is the reason I called my Childer to me. He is the reason I called my Clan. He is the reason I will reform our Court. Not for the reason you think however. I don’t do it simply to protect him. He brought William home to me. He brought family back to me. I realised I wanted my family with me. As much of it as I can lay claim to at least. If it wasn’t for Xander, I would not have considered it. Not considered myself strong enough.” Angel finished so softly Xander wanted to turn around and go comfort his lover.
“Understood, Sire. He’ll not come to harm from me. Are you willing to share him?”
“No!” Was yelled from two voices simultaneously.
Penn laughed. “Understood, I’ll find my own pleasures elsewhere then. I smell many humans here, perhaps I’ll try one or two of them,” Penn mused.
“They are out of the question and basically permanently off the menu,” this time it was Spike’s voice. Xander shook his head and straightened up. He left them to it and headed off to find Cordelia.
Their next training session could only be described as wild. As usual it was Gunn and him against Spike and Angel in some form or format. Spike had already run the soldiers through their paces, so most of them were only hanging around to watch the show. Xander had noticed Penn roaming the room, but ignored him. Angel had introduced his Childe then left the whole thing alone. It had been Spike that told them all to play nice with no indiscriminate dusting and or feeding allowed, especially without invitation or permission.
“So, I can taste and nibble if invited?” Penn had asked.
“Only if truly invited. No using your Thrall or hypnosis,” Angel said quietly.
Penn had nodded. “I’ve rarely resorted to either with humans Sire. I’m rather pretty enough,” Penn answered then grinned around at the snorts and nods thrown in his direction.
Almost an hour later and Penn’s prowling had gone from random to purposeful. Xander just caught the Vampire’s reflection in the eye of a soldier. He shoved Gunn away from him and ran full tilt at Spike. He jumped up using his blonde lover as a springboard, changed direction in mid air, rolled himself tightly into a ball and hit the floor at a roll, taking Penn’s legs out from under him, all in the space of a second. He quickly righted himself and straddled the new Vampire, setting the wooden stake he always kept in his ankle holder, over Penn’s heart.
He was panting but his grip was strong and steady. “Say, Uncle,” he said.
Penn swallowed, eyes narrowed. Then he grinned and went lax under Xander. “Uncle,” he said.
Xander moved off him and held out a hand. Penn took hold and Xander pulled him to his feet. Penn gave him a nod then walked over to Angel and Spike. He dropped to one knee in front of them. “I understand. Your Consort shall have my full protection and that of my Childer. Do you wish me to bring them now or after we deal with your little problem?”
Angel ran his fingers through Penn’s hair then gripped it viciously and pulled his head back. His teeth were set at Penn’s throat and everyone saw as the canines penetrated. He pulled back after a second, blood dripping from the wounds he had created. “After,” he said shortly. “And you can count yourself lucky you still have your unlife. If you ever think to attack Xander again nor allow any other to attack him, your nights would end very painfully. Understood?”
“Aye Sire. Understood,” Penn panted.
Angel used the grip he maintained on Penn’s hair to angle his neck again. Then he step slowly around to Penn’s back, wrapping a hand around the younger Vampire’s throat carefully. Xander’s gaze was locked to the scene in front of them. From his periphery he could see the three Vampires were the center of attention. The training room quiet. Perfectly still but for Angel’s staking his claim like the apex predator he was.
Finally Angel stood still again, he looked at Spike. “William,” he whispered and everyone heard the intake of shocked, sharp and unneeded breath coming from Spike and Penn. Then Spike sank to his knees, carded his fingers into Penn’s hair, linking them with Angel’s and carefully fit his own canines where Angel’s had been. He drank from Penn, eyes closed. Angel moved a hand from around Penn’s throat and into Spike’s hair. He just held his two Childer together for long quiet minutes. Xander finally heard the almost subvocal purr Angel was making. It ran through him from the soles of his feet, up his legs and settled deep in his bones. Angel was content. Angel had family, Court, Coven, Clan.
The scene broke when both kneeling Vampires were released and Angel stepped back helping Spike and Penn to their feet. A throat cleared. “I don-don’t understand.” The voice was hesitant but husky and everyone turned to Colonel Casey as he cleared it forcefully.
“Daddy’s just making things clear to us,” came a feminine singsong voice as Drusilla strolled in through the assembled soldiers. “Penn challenged the puppy. The puppy bit back. Daddy let Penn know that sweet William is higher in the Court than Daddy’s first Childe.”
“Its Vampire and Court politics, GI Joe, you don’t need to know.” Xander turned to look at the speaker. He was young, maybe in his early twenties when turned, a dark blonde, and pretty. He sighed and stepped forward to where his Vampires were waiting for him. “Well, you do like them pretty,” he said and watched as Spike bit his lip before he could laugh out loud.
Angel didn’t have any such compunction, he chuckled than rubbed his cheek along Xander’s jaw line, allowing his fangs to just scrape the tender skin beneath. Xander shivered and leaned into the caress, loving the feel of fangs and ridges that Angel’s demon showed the group around them. He felt arms snake around him and then he was released into Spike’s embrace while Angel looked at the new Vampires assessing them. Xander leaned back into Spike and watched. He noticed Penn touch Angel’s hand then look between his Sire and Spike. Spike nodded once and Penn went to Gunn and took his wrist. He waited the few seconds it took for Cordelia to walk to them, then with a quick glance to Spike again, led the two humans to stand with Colonel Casey, placing himself as barrier between the three humans and the Vampires.
“Huh?” Xander queried softly.
“Shush,” Spike whispered into his ear, and Xander relaxed again. He’d get the explanation eventually.
It was Drusilla who spoke then, a small grin on her face. “Penn is Daddy’s original Childe. He should outrank all of us, William included. Penn challenged the Puppy, but the Puppy is stronger than he looks and put Penn down. Then Daddy drank from Penn. Not a lot. Just a bit to show dominance. But Daddy let Sweet William drink from Penn, from his own marks. that puts William above Penn in the Order, second only to Sire.” She strolled as she spoke, hands outstretched and fingers trialling through the air, occasionally flitting over the human chest or shoulder of a soldier. Not trying for more, she just kept talking and strolling. The soldiers themselves didn’t flinch once, just set their feet and held themselves ready for anything. Xander noticed and knew both Angel and Spike did too. These were not the same soldiers that had come to them weeks ago. Those soldiers would have balked at the crazy. These took it in stride but not for granted.
The new male hissed at her, showing fang and face. “The human does not deserve to kno-” before he finished Drusilla was at his throat. She had flown across the room and put him on his knees. Neck stretched out, head back, long nails at his jugular. She bent over him like the monster she was. Then her face morphed back to human and turned to look at Angel. “Can I play with him, Daddy?” She crooned.
Angel smirked and sauntered over to the two. He trailed his fingers through Drusilla’s raven locks then ran the same hand over the males blonde hair. He crouched down, taking the male’s face in hand. “Sam, meet your older sister, Drusilla. The deadliest of my creations. That is Penn, the eldest of my Childer. You know William of coarse. In the doorway is Theresa, she looks young and is young, behind her is Sheila, she’s one of Spike’s. The only one here so far.” He stood again, pulling Sam with him. “Childer, soldiers,” he began, the Irish accent dripping from his lips. “Ye know me as Sire and Master. Ye’ll all know and acknowledge William as our Hand of Justice, as Second, as my Voice. Xander is and always shall be our Right Hand. Mine and William’s and any disrespect ye show him will end with yer head rolling around the floor. The humans in my Court are strong, powerful, coveted and shall be protected. At all costs. These soldiers are adjuncts to the Court, for now, and Colonel Casey and they are under my protection. William will explain what we are doing here. Soon we battle. Make sure ye want to be here. Make sure ye’ want to be a part o’my Court. Learn m’ rules and abide by them. If ye canna work along humans and take orders from ‘em, ye have just hours t’leave an’ live.” With that he turned back to Xander and Spike, strode forward and took Xander’s hand from Spike, leading him away from everyone.
As they exited the room he heard Spike start. “Right yer lot…”
“Angel?” Xander asked soft!y.
“It’s William’s place to exert order and hierarchy. It would demean him if I stayed. Its assumed I’ve already told him how I want it to be. Now it’s his job to get it done. I dinna want to undermine him,” Angel told him, slipping in and out of accent.
“You’re upset,” Xander whispered, leaning in and rubbing his face on Angel’s bicep.
Angel sighed and pulled him in closer. “Not so much upset as…” he trailed off. His steps not faltering he led Xander to the kitchen. Where Xander watched him build a sandwich as thick as Xander’s hand was wide. Then he placed the thing on a plate, pulled a cold soda out of the fridge and set them in front of Xander. He tapped the plate twice with his finger then turned back to the fridge.
Xander watched Angel for a few seconds as the Vampire pulled a blood bag out of the fridge for himself, poured it into a mug and set it in the microwave to warm. Then Xander turned his attention to his plate. He cocked his head from left to right before stealing himself and wrapping his fingers around it. He picked it up, opened his mouth wide and attacked it like a caveman. He chewed and swallowed, took another mouthful before he heard the microwave ding and then Angel was sitting down across from him.
Xander looked up but kept eating. He raised an eyebrow however and watched as Angel gave a wry grin before taking a sip from his blood. The he shook his head and set the mug down. “I’m not upset. It’s a little overwhelming I suppose. Feeling all these Vampires around me, in my lair, my den, my safe haven where the most vulnerable part of me is, where I’m at my strongest, yet weakest, its putting me on edge.” He took another sip from his mug, sighed and leaned back in his chair. “My demon will settle as soon as the Childer know their place. I don’t envy William the power struggles. None of them will challenge me, but a few of them might challenge his position.”
Xander swallowed his mouthful and cracked open his soda, swigging a swallow of it quickly. “Who would challenge Spike?”
“Penn, Drusilla, Sam. Sam feels he has a lot to prove. If any are foolish enough to challenge William, and challenge him properly they’ll be dust on the floor before they can blink.”
“Is Spike really that much stronger than any of them? And what if they attack him all at once?”
“Please, Spike would wipe the floor with all of them in a second,” Cordelia scoffed from the doorway. She strolled casually into the room, followed by Gunn and Wesley. She sat at the table even as Gunn and Wesley went to the refrigerator and cabinets respectively. Soon there was a tray with sandwich makings and plates on the table and the three humans helped themselves.
“Unlike the other Childer,” Wesley began, “Spike has a lot to fight for. This is his base of operations. His turf, if you will. His power base and raison d’être are here. The others are still on shaky ground here. But if they are going to challenge, they have to do it soon. So, whether they like it or not, Spike has the upper hand.”
“But what if-?” Xander cut himself off and looked back at Angel.
Angel reached over the table and took Xander’s hand in his. “William is strong and powerful. Stronger than he has ever been. You are, in Vampiric terms, our Heart’s Blood. Our strength and reason. We feed from you every day, multiple times a day. That gives William and I strength and power. I have never been more powerful. Never been stronger than I am currently. Not even when I fed from humans exclusively in the Scourge of Europe days. Even if they all attacked at once, they won’t be a patch on William’s abilities. Now finish your sandwich and soda. By the time you’re finished I think William will be done and we should be able to coax him into a bath with us.”
Xander sighed and took up his sandwich again. “This is really good. Someone who doesn’t eat should not be able to make a sandwich that tastes this good. It’s really not fair.” Xander said here taking another bite and chewing happily. He still wasn’t very copacetic about anyone challenging Spike, but there didn’t seem like there was much he could do about it, not yet anyway. But he’d keep his eyes open and his stakes sharp. And if any of them even looked at Spike sideways, well they’d end up floating on the breeze, just see if they didn’t.
“I’m assuming you and Spike don’t really need to drink bagged blood any more?” Gunn asked.
“It’s not some we need any longer. Xander’s blood is more than sufficient but the act of heating blood and drop drinking it at the table from a cup or mug is comforting to the human memory of self we still have.” Angel answered his gaze always on Xander while he ate his sandwich.
Xander was watching. He watched each and every Vampire in the Hyperion he could not lay claim to. So he noticed things. Noticed how each of them acted. He new when they fed. Could even tell now if they drank fresh human or the bagged blood Angel had made available to all of them at the hotel. For most of them, Xander figured drinking bagged blood was a new experience. The blood itself was human, but it wasn’t live. Xander noticed a vibrancy in Vampires when they fed from fresh, living humans that was missing from them when they fed from the bags for more than a day or so.
He’d been working under Cordelia’s reception desk for about an hour. Fixing the wobble Cordy insisted was there. It had taken him a half hour to find it. He’d been sure she was imagining things when he’d first agreed to take a look, and would have told her so too, but he was smart enough to know that one did not argue with Queen C and expect to escape balls intact. So he’d gathered his tools and gamely climbed under he thing. A half hour of swearing, grumbling and pointing his trusty flashlight everywhere he’d finally found the problem. A split in the wood that ran vertically up one leg. Shaking his head he’d gotten to work. A few dowels, carpenters glue and clamps later and one split leg was whole again. He carefully checked for others for splits or problems and he slid out from under the desk, ready for food.
Walking through the kitchen door he almost stopped, then forced himself forward. Colonel Casey sat at the table, finishing a sandwich. There was nothing unusual about that. Most of the military personnel treated the hotel like home by now. No what made Xander hesitate was that Casey wasn’t alone. Also sitting at the table was Penn. A mug in hand.
“Hey guys. How’s it hangin’?” He asked dropping his tool bag and belt on the counter.
Casey chuckled. “Slightly to the right kid, you?”
Xander smiled back and did a little full body wiggle. “Me too. Anything left in the refrigerator?”
“Yeah Xan. I made up a few sandwiches while I was making mine. Help yourself. I’m going to go and settle the bill with the market soon, Miss Chase has already given me the shopping list for the next delivery. I’ll drop it off while I’m there. Do you want anything?”
“Something not healthy. Cordy wants to turn me into a rabbit with all the salad she keeps feeding me. Every time I turn around she hands me lettuce. If Spike didn’t keep chocolate in our rooms I’d have forgotten what it tasted like,” Xander said walking to the refrigerator and taking out the plate with a huge sandwich on it. He sat it on the table and pulled out a chair.
Casey chuckled and wiped his mouth with a paper napkin. “No one would ever guess Spike was such a romantic. He regularly kicks our asses in training. A complete badass. Romantic is not a word I’d ever use to describe Spike. Either now or the Vampire he was in the past.”
“Oh no John, you’d be very wrong there. Wil-Spike has the very soul of a poet. One of the things we used to use to torture him as a newly turned Childe. Unfortunately. His poetry was all about love and loss. Sire, Drusilla and I used that romance against him, turned it into a love of blood and torture. We turned that beautiful angel into a beautiful and macabre killer. A scourge and a terror. He was a revelation as he hunted and killed. His angelic and cherubic face would lure his victim in, then he would shift and show his very demon. His glorious demon…” Penn trailed off.
Xander took a large bite of his sandwich and watched both men in front of him carefully. Penn still looked reminiscent, but his face was quickly changing to one of question and a little concern. Colonel Casey was watching Penn closely.
Penn turned to smile sweetly at Casey. “Yes John, even Vampires understand romance. We can be gruesomely romantic with others of our kind, however humans are different. Romancing a human can mean anything from roses to favourite foods kept on hand, or as in this case, in a small refrigerator in your rooms. Now gentlemen if you’ll excuse me, there is something I need to do.” And Penn got up and left the kitchen.
“So Colonel Casey, what’s romantic for you?” Xander asked, wiggling his eyebrows.
“Stop calling me Colonel Casey, kid. It makes me feel like a cartoon or something,” he grinned at Xander who smiled back. “Romantic for me? Well I usually go with giving a woman flowers, or cooking a great dinner-”
“No, no, that’s not what I meant.” Xander interrupted, then swallowed quickly. “I mean, what would you want for you. What do you find romantic when it’s for you? You know?”
Casey made a face then shrugged. “Never been the receiver, but I suppose, good food and a movie is always a good idea. But you know what? I really love just driving around at night. Nothing more than that. Just driving around in the dark with someone I care for and who cares for me, maybe even stop somewhere dark and quiet and get some old-fashioned necking done. Just someone making me feel special. Yeah, that’s romantic, for me anyway. Okay kid, I gotta hit the market. See ya later.” Casey stood from the table and left the kitchen through the back.
Xander grinned slowly to himself and kept eating his sandwich. He turned his head when he heard the door behind him open and Spike came into the kitchen. He smiled at Xander and ran a hand through his hair before sitting in the table beside him.
“Penn still out there?” Xander asked his softly.
“Was, left when I came in. Was just leaning beside the door. Looked like he was listening in. What was happening in here?” Spike asked.
“Tell you in second. First I gotta ask you a question. Your accent, you know your cockney English accent. You hardly use it with me and Angel anymore, like just now. But it still comes out with everyone else. What’s going on?”
“William isn’t afraid of showing his true self to us, Xander. He doesn’t have to put on a show. Not with us. Isn’t that right William?” Angel asked walking into the kitchen from the back door. He walked up to them both and ran his hands over their hair. Xander watched Spike push his head into Angel’s hand and knew he was doing the same. They both loved Angel’s loving touches.
Spike let his shoulders drop and relaxed where he sat. “I’m safe with you two. I can be Spike or William here. Out there I’m William the Bloody. With you I’m just me. Now explain Penn.”
Xander swallowed the last of his sandwich, then giggled a little. “I notice things you know. Things like, Penn. He hasn’t hunted since the first week he got here. He’s been drinking bagged blood, and, he keeps watching Casey. I mean all, the, time. If you ever need to find Casey, ask Penn. Anyway, Casey and I were talking about what he finds romantic, you know, in here? I asked him what he would, like, chocolates? Movies? Stuff like that? Anyway Casey was telling me what he likes, what he’d find romantic. I figured Penn would be listening at the door.”
“You think Penn is interested in the Colonel?” Angel asked slowly, pulling Xander out of his chair and sitting in it himself. He carefully sat Xander on his lap. Xander grinned as he watched Spike reposition himself so that Xander was sandwiched between his lovers.
“Penn and a human? Are you sure pet? I don’t think Penn has seen humans as anything more than a meal since he was turned.” Spike commented.
“Still with the Pet, huh?” Xander scoffed.
“You’ll always be Pet to me, Pet,” Spike smiled, swooping in for a kiss.
Xander smiled throughout the kiss, enjoying just now sweet Spike could be. He pulled back with a sigh then watched Angel crook his finger and claim a kiss of his own from his Childe.
“Now a ghrá geal, my bright love, explain about my eldest Childe and our Colonel Jonathan Casey.” Angel purred into his neck.
Xander settled back in his very comfortable and favorite chair and sighed. “Penn watches Casey, but it’s not like he’s hunting him or anything. He’s around him as much as possible too. All I can say is if Penn takes Casey out for maybe dinner and then takes him out for a long night time drive…” he shrugged and left it hanging.
“Hmm, this could bear watching.” Angel mused. Then his attention went to Spike. “How are our troops? How long before they are ready. Sunnydale is still an issue.”
“They’re ready, Sire. We could set out tomorrow. We’re still not sure what’s going on but we won’t know anymore until we get there.” Spike said.
“Hmm, very well then. I’ll speak with the Colonel when I see him again, tell him we’re ready. We could be in Sunnydale in a few days time. Xander, did you have any homework for classes you need to get done or hand in before we leave? You can stay home if you need to get some work done.” Angel said, sounding hopeful to Xander’s ears.
Xander turned just enough to smack Angel in the shoulder. “I’m all up to date with my coursework, and I am going to Sunnydale with you.”
“All right, all right.” Angel chuckled, taking hold of the hand that was lifting to smack him again and kissing it gently. “I know you’re coming with us, my own. I just would rather you stay here and be safe. If I could I’d leave you and William here. Gunn, Wesley and Cordelia too, but I know that it’s not about to happen, so I’ll just accept it and ask you to keep yourself safe and follow the plan William and I will lay out for everyone tomorrow.”
Angel pulled Xander around and pushed him back until Xander could feel Spike’s legs behind him. Xander sighed when he felt Spike’s fingers in his hair and sighed softly. “I know you two are worried. But Spike has spent a lot of time training me, a lot of time teaching me how to be sort of a bad ass. And even though I’m not some Superman or combat genius, I’m not an idiot either. If I think I’m out of my league, I’ll find somewhere safe and hole up until one of you can come and get me.”
Angel let his shoulders drop, his face resigned, but be smiled gently. Then he looked up at Spike who pulled Xander’s head back enough to look at his face upside down.
Spike’s eyes narrowed. “You just make sure you don’t get hurt, understand?”
“Are ye’ sure?” Angel purred, one finger on his chin pulling Xander’s attention back to himself.
“Yes, Sire,” Xander breathed and then gasped as Angel reacted. He sprang into action and Xander found himself on the table between Spike and Angel, his jeans being pushed off his hips even as his cock was swallowed by Angel’s hungry mouth. Xander gasped and bucked into that wet cavern. His hands were grabbed and pulled up over his head, while Spike’s legs wrapped around his own, keeping him exactly where his Vampires wanted him. Fingers pushed into him, somehow slick fingers that opened him easily. He didn’t understand how, he could barely understand how to breathe at that point, but somehow a hard large cock was carefully pushed into his slick and open passage.
At first he thought it was Angel. He thought Angel was fucking him, but Angel was still hungrily sucking him off. The groan in his ear let him know the cock filling him was Spike’s. Angel had gotten them both ready and then pushed Spike’s cock into him. Those thoughts flew through his brain at lightning speed. His breathing was fast and rough. His body hot and straining. He pulled against the iron bars holding him in place and relished the strength that kept him wherever they wanted him.
“I do-don’t understand-” he gasped.
“Y’called him Sire. Drove him crazy. Showed him how much you respect him. Showed him you trust him. Showed him he has power over y’” Spike gasped into his ear, then bucked up into Xander, hitting Xander’s prostate, making him moan and shiver in pleasure.
Xander wanted to buck, to thrust, to move. But he couldn’t. He was held still so everything doubled on him. Every sensation from Angel’s sucking mouth, his lips smoothly gliding up and down Xander’s now achingly hard shaft was increasing pleasure upon increasing pleasure. Every short and hard thrust from Spike just pushed him closer and closer to the cliff edge of surrender.
“Ang-Angel, Sire. Sire. I. I. I need to cum. Ppplease. I nnneed-”
Angel didn’t pull off, didn’t say anything. He pushed himself over Xander’s cock until his lips met Xander’s pelvic bone and growled in the back of his throat. The vibration hit Xander like a bus and somehow Spike had tagged his prostate just right at the same time and kept his cock there, keeping pressure on that button of ecstasy. Then Xander was straining and moaning and cumming hard and fast. And Angel was swallowing. Greedily swallowing everything Xander had. Spike was shaking under him, his hips stuttering as he pumped himself dry inside of Xander. Xander went limp and sought for breath. Spike still under him, cock just starting to slip out while Angel slowly released Xander’s cock from his mouth.
Angel nosed at the small patch of pubic hair before hovering over Xander. His face transformed into Vampire visage. Xander adored every sexy ridge. “In a minute, I’m taking you both upstairs and then I’m going to fuck you both mute. Understand?”
Xander nodded and felt Spike do the same.
“Not before you disinfect that table!” Cordelia yelled through the door before they heard her heels tapping away.
“If I had a working heart that bint would give me a heart attack,” Spike growled as he hurried out of the car to chase down Cordelia Chase.
“What does bint mean?” Xander asked Angel as they casually got out of the car after him.
“Always means girl or woman, used in the old days by the English. Probably came around after the crusades. Bint means daughter in Arabic, I think it does anyway. Was never too interested in it to research it though. Come on, let’s go save him from Cordelia,” Angel said around a grin.
“Right behind you. I not getting into her line of sight without a big strong Master Vampire to hide behind,” Xander told him, motioning Angel ahead of him.
Shaking his head Angel stepped forward. “She’s tapping her foot at him, maybe we should get Casey’s squad between us.”
“Huh, not even my people are that stupid. That woman has terrified everyone of them over the past month or so. They’re more afraid of her than they are of your Childer, and that’s saying something since most of your kids are kinda crazy creepy.” Colonel Casey said from behind them.
Xander was still grinning when they reached Spike and Cordelia. They had stopped saying anything, were just staring at each other, Cordelia’s foot tapping, Spike, his fists opening and closing. Xander didn’t stop, he walked on past them and knocked on Rupert Giles door. He had Vampires and humans at his back in less than a second. He grinned hearing both of his Vampires grumbling behind him.
The door opened and Xander prepared to call his greeting. It died in his throat. Giles did open the door, but his face was almost unrecognizable behind his bruises. Behind him an almost equally bruised Buffy Summers. “Giles, Buffy, what the hell happened?” Xander exclaimed pushing his way into the townhouse. “Everyone get your asses in here! Giles make some invitations, now!” He called over his shoulder. He heard the English man spluttering something and promptly ignored him as two Master Vampires and random others trooped into his living room.
“Are Joyce and Dawn okay? Willow?” Xander demanded relaxing a little when Buffy nodded her head wearily.
“They’re all fine. We just didn’t want to worry them, so, yeah. Anyway what are you doing here? We have a sort of an issue here, so, it’s,, ahh, not a great time for a social visit.” Buffy told them evasively.
“Not too mention I really do not appreciate any more military men in my presence,” Giles added.
Xander looked at Spike. “Call Joyce. Take some of Casey’s people and bring them here.”
Spike nodded and after a glance to Angel pulled out a black cell phone and flipped it open. He was out the door a minute later. And Xander turned back to his friend and her Watcher. “What’s going on?”
“Wow Xander, you’ve really changed,” Buffy said softly, sinking wearily onto the sofa, Giles following.
They looked at each other before Buffy huffed out a huge breath. “Something is going on with the Initiative. That’s. these-”
“We know all about the Initiative, mam. I’m Colonel Casey. Please tell us what has been happening.”
Buffy gave Casey a narrow eyed look. Xander knew that look well and stepped in. ”Casey’s a good guy Buff. You can trust him. I trust him.” Xander told her.
“That’s hardly a commendation nor a heartening character reference Xander, judging by who you are currently keep company with.” Giles muttered.
Xander glanced at Angel then with a sigh he elbowed him. Angel reluctantly let the wolfish grin fade. Looking around he walked to the armchair and sat down. Stretching slightly he snagged Xander’s open flannel shirt and pulled him into his lap. He snapped a finger and Penn was standing beside them, on guard duty apparently. What surprised Xander though was Casey who set himself on Angel’s other side, opposite Penn.
Xander shook his head at the antics. “Ignore the pantomime going on around here, and tell us what’s going on,” he said, waving his hand at whatever the Vampire Stooges were up to. He leaned back into Angel’s chest and wrapped the strong arms around himself. Then just waited.
Buffy and Giles were obviously troubled, looking to each other then at Xander for a few seconds. Buffy finally threw her arms up and flopped into the back on the sofa. “Well you sure have changed. You’re all sitting quietly and waiting, in Angel’s lap waiting. And Cordelia hasn’t said anything either. And my gut says you’ve picked up more vampires.”
“If my research is to be believed, that vampire there is Penn, one of Angelus’s firsts. As cold blooded a killer as Angelus and Spike,” Giles muttered as he carefully cleaned his glasses.
Angel inclined his head. “Indeed, this is Penn. Outside are Drusilla and Sam, and some other, younger Childer, but no less deadly. They are here under my claim. As representatives of Aurelius. They will fight for me, with me. I’ve already told them they can not hunt. Be grateful for that and be thankful. Do nea ask for more ‘en that.” Angel’s voice was soft and quiet, deadly cold even.
“The GI Joes and Janes are with the Colonel,” Xander spoke quickly, trying to diffuse the already volatile situation.
“Interesting accent you have there…” Giles trailed off but looked directly at Angel who shrugged.
“Yeah, the Irish is strong with this one, sometimes,” Xander quipped, smiling when Buffy choked on a laugh. Then she put both hands over her mouth and mimicked Darth Vader’s breathing for a few seconds. Finally Xander watched her as she deflated, growing smaller and younger before his eyes.
“It started a few weeks ago I guess. The Initiative were starting to give me the wiggins. No one would answer any questions. They were sending us after demons that were harmless, you know the ones, like Clem type harmless. Then if I questioned them they clam up or send me out with faulty equipment. Finally a couple of days ago I told them I quit. I wouldn’t be their hit girl anymore. And while they were at it, they could just pack up their crap and get off my turf, because really, right, the Hellmouth is my responsibility and they were trespassing on it.
“Well they didn’t take it well but they didn’t say or do anything. Not until yesterday. Riley-“ her voice broke a little in the name. “Riley was leaving with me. Quitting. Yesterday, yesterday we were out on patrol, in the west cemetery. We’d just sent off a group of fledges. We were heading back. Finn, Giles, Willow, Tara and me. They jumped us. A real military ambush, just like the movies. Two full squads. They hit us with tasers and electric weapons. Then when they had us down they started to get physical. We fought. All of us fought so hard. Willow and Tara hit out with magic, but eventually we were all overwhelmed, and, Riley, they took him.
“They left me a message. Either I do what they want or they torture him. They’re holding him hostage. The Initiative is keeping Riley as a hostage to get me to be a hit girl for them. And I don’t, we don’t know what to do. Xander, I don’t know what to do.” Buffy hiccuped and covered her face in her hands, shoulders shaking as she cried silently.
Giles carefully wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. Xander looked up at Casey and Penn. He knew Angel was tense, could feel the tightness in the body he leant on. Casey’s face however was stony. Stony, tense and furious. All to be expected. Penn however, his face was a revelation. His eyes were half lidded. He watched Casey carefully now. The Slayer, whom he should have been watching, sat forgotten, his attention only for John Casey.
Penn finally cleared his throat and spoke. “This upsets you John, why does what has transpired here upset you so much?”
Casey purposefully rolled his shoulders to release some of his tension. “Finn and those men have dedicated years of their lives to the forces. It doesn’t matter which arm of the forces, it’s all the same in the end. We dedicate years of our lives, knowing our lives can be forfeit at any time. But we expect our lives forfeit to an enemy. Not our own. Finn was taken hostage by our own. That’s wrong. That’s a complete betrayal. That’s why I’m upset Penn, at the betrayal. Do you understand?”
“I understand. I’ll endeavor to never betray you,” Penn said softly.
Casey cracked a tiny smile and shook his head ruefully. “Right then, we need a plan. A plan of recovery and destruction.”
“Why are you here, Angel?” Giles asked.
“We got word the Initiative were a problem. SecDef gave me the Colonel and his people to come here to fix the problem. When William gets back with Joyce and Dawn, we’ll put them and anyone else that’s a soft target under protection. Then go through our plan and get the job done. In other words Watcher, the US Government have asked me and mine to come in and fix your little army problems,” Angel said smugly.
Xander groaned and dug his fingers into Angel’s thigh. “Stop sounding so happy about it. None of this is actually Giles or Buffy’s fault. Yes they should have done something about the Initiative when it all started, but you can’t blame them without blaming me too, I mean I was here then. So no pointing the finger at anyone. Get rid of the boxers of blame and get productive.”
Angel pulled Xander tightly in, his lips quickly finding Xander’s ear. “I’ll rid me self and ye of our boxers in t’blink of an eye,” he purred, then gave Xander’s lobe a lick. “But I think that might be a shock for our Watcher and his Slayer.”
“Yeah, they’re already looking a bit wigged out. Penn and Casey are fine about it though.”
“William and I are sure that Penn and Casey would enjoy watching the three of us.”
“What? Really?” Xander asked looking around shocked.
“Anytime kid, anytime,” Casey answered with a wink.
“Well, ah, okay, that made me suddenly very self conscious.” Xander said squirming in Angel’s lap.
“Don’t worry about it, a stor, my treasure, William and I are very selfish. No one sees you naked but us.”
Xander was saved from answering by the door opening and Spike ushering in Joyce and Dawn. Joyce stopped mid speech when she saw her eldest daughter. Then it was concern and demands for explanations and everyone else sat back and waited as the Summers’ women took center stage.
Spike came and sat on the arm of Angel’s chair and Penn moved around to stand by Casey.
“Someone is moving upstairs, Sire,” Penn whispered.
“I know. Willow and another young woman. A lover, I think judging by the kissing and concern.” Angel whispered.
Xander looked at him, eyes wide. Lover he mouthed, then blinked in stunned surprise at Angel’s nod. Spike had his head cocked to the side, the he grinned and nodded too. Wow, Xander mouthed back. Then all attention returned to the squabbling Summers’ females and they waited it out.
A few minutes later two women came downstairs. Both bruised but determined. Xander was out of Angel’s lap and hugging Willow in a second, checking she was fine and introducing himself to the young woman holding her hand. Then he pulled them over to where the Aurelian Court sat. He introduced Willow to Casey and Penn then waited for her to make introductions. Xander looked behind him when he started hearing silence.
Buffy, Joyce, Dawn and Giles were finally sitting quietly, watching the other side of the room. “I think they’re ready to talk tactics.” He said, then sat back in Angels lap and waved his arm imperiously. Hanging around with Cordelia had been useful after all.
“You making tea and coffee?” Xander asked Cordelia and Wesley in the kitchen.
Cordelia nodded. “Are they still arguing?”
Xander nodded back. “Giles and Buffy won’t admit that Angel is in charge here and his plan is the only plan. If they don’t admit it quick smart I’ll tell them a few home truths to shut them up. We don’t have all the time in the world to do this. We have stuff to get back to in L.A. The hotel, school, you know life in general. I’m going to push Angel and Spike into our caravan soon, dawn is coming fast and we all need our rest before we hit the Initiative tonight.”
She nodded and handed Xander a cup and cookie. He took a sip without looking, swallowing the warm liquid. He looked into his cup. The liquid was golden brown and smelled faintly floral, “What is this?” He asked.
“Earl Grey tea,” Wesley answered.
Xander shrugged and took another sip. “Nice,” he said and kept drinking.
“Alright Wesley, load the tray. I’m going to take it outside and Queen C at them until they fall into line. We’re all tired and need to get some rest, and we can’t until they all put on some big girl panties. Not. A. Word.” She threatened, pointing a lethal finger at Xander. Xander quickly held up his hands in surrender, shoving the last of his cookie in his mouth, just in case.
Cordelia squared her shoulders and picked up the laden tea tray. She walked through to the living area where everyone was still yelling threats and insults at each other. Xander and Wesley two steps behind her. She needed to get through to the coffee table. Currently however it was completely surrounded. Spike stood directly in front of her. Xander really wanted to see how she handled that. He needn’t have wandered. She just walked right up to Spike’s back and used one high heeled foot to tap his ankle rather sharply.
Spike whirled around. If Cordelia hadn’t trained almost as much as Xander or Gunn, there would have been tea, cups and cookies everywhere. But she had stepped back as soon as she delivered her taps. Xander elbowed Wesley, nodding his head at Giles’s narrowed eyes. “Giles thinks Spike’s gonna smack down Cordy,” Xander snorted with a whisper.
“Spike is not an idiot,” Wesley whispered back.
Silence fell as the Sunnydale crew looked between Cordelia and a vicious Master Vampire. With one perfectly manicured and lifted eyebrow Cordelia held out the tray. Spike took it from her politely. “Thank you, Cordelia,” he said, voice and accent proper English upper crust. Turning, he placed the tray on the coffee table and without speaking anymore to anyone poured enough cups for every human in the room and added differing amounts of milk and sugar to each one. Just as silently Penn stepped forward and one cup at a time started to delivery cups of tea, with a small cookie on each saucer nestled right beside the cup.
Xander took his when it was offered and tasting it found it was exactly like he took his tea, when he drank tea, at home. He hid a slight smile in his teacup. If he knew Spike, and he did know Spike, then every cup would be exactly how each person drank their tea. And Penn had been delivering the cups to each person, neither Vampire speaking a word.
During the entire time they had been here arguing Angel had kept quiet. Spike, Penn, Casey even Xander had yelled and argued. Angel had just sat there, hands steepled and watching like the King of the castle. Now, as every human sipped from a cup in hand he sat forward and spoke quietly. He looked to Cordelia who gave him a sharp nod and raised her brow to everyone else she thought an idiot. 99% of them apparently. “Thank you, Cordelia.”
She smirked and kept eyeing the Sunnydale crew triumphantly. Xander didn’t quite understand what had happened but wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Angel snapped his fingers and Spike and Penn returned to flank him. To Xander’s shock both Vampires sank to their knees and Angel ran his fingers through their hair caressingly. Then he offered each a wrist and as one they sank their fangs into him and drank a few sips of Sire’s blood.
“Let’s get a few things straight.” Angel purred. “We don’t need you or your help here. We’re only telling you, or asking you any questions, because we have a shared past, and mainly because Xander would pout at us if we walked all over you to get the job done. I don’t give a damn about your boyfriend, soldier boy. He helped chip my William. So, whether he is alive or dead is of no consequence to me. He works for an entity that hurt was is mine. However, letting Riley die would upset Xander and also Colonel Casey. An upset Casey would lead to an upset Penn and I never want Xander upset because of me or my decisions. So here is what is going to happen.
“Tomorrow night, my people and I will enter the Initiative facilities. We will find and rescue your Riley Finn and get him out. We will give anyone who wants to, the chance to surrender to Colonel Casey. I know the Government would like us to not annihilate everyone in there. However, I will show no mercy to anyone that fights me and neither will anyone else with me. Right Colonel?” He asked not even looking at John Casey.
“Right. Sire,” Colonel John Casey answered voice hard as stone.
“By sunrise tomorrow the Initiative will be razed to the ground. Finished. Once that’s done we’ll get out of your hair and go back to L.A. So I suggest we all get some rest. Whether you come with us or not is your decision. If you do come you will do what William tells you to do. He is my Second.” Angel stood gracefully to his feet. He wasn’t about to hide what he was here. Spike and Penn followed his lead. Angel held out a hand to Xander who quickly handed his empty cup to Wesley and took Angel’s hand, noticing his wrist was mark free. Angel pulled him in and buried his face in Xander’s hair. Spike stepped in behind him and rested his forehead on Xander’s shoulder.
“Umm, Xander?” The timid voice was Willow’s.
“Yeah Will?” Xander asked back, quite content to stay as he was.
“Umm Xander. Are Angel and Spike snuggling with you?”
“Yeah Will they are,” Xander replied casual as you like.
“Umm. Okay…” Willow trailed off.
“Ah, Xander? I think what Willow is trying to ask is why are Angel and Spike snuggling with you?” Tara’s quiet voice asked shyly but with some determination.
Xander turned in his lovers embrace. Leaning himself into Angel’s strong chest. “I’m pretty sure we’re snuggling for the same reason you and Willow snuggle, Tara. Same reason Buffy and Riley do to.”
“It’s what lovers do, Witch,” Spike said stepping back from Xander and Angel.
With nothing else to be said into the stunned silence Xander waved goodnight over his shoulder as he was pulled out of the building and into one of the waiting RVs.
Gunn sat in the driver’s seats and started the vehicle as soon as they were on board. The vans had been his idea months before. His argument sound. If Angel and Spike needed to
travel for any reason, then waiting for sunset could be a problem. A couple of well modified RVs had solved that problem. Now the vampires travelled safely and in style. Maybe not at great speed, but at least in comfort and the blacked out windows kept the interior sun free during daylight hours.
Stepping into The Mansion, Xander looked around them. “Well it’s cleaner than it used to be,” he said looking at Casey. “Your people did great in the past few hours John.”
“Yep, they’re too terrified of Ms. Chase to do a half assed job. If she ever needs a change of career I’ll try and recruit her. We’d swing her up the chain of command until she was installed in the White House. One lift of her eyebrow and any President would think twice about doing anything stupid,” the Colonel said.
For her part Cordelia flashed him a bright and evil grin then walked off to inspect just how clean and livable the soldiers had made The Mansion in just a few hours.
Xander chuckled then yawned. He slapped a hand over his mouth and muttered an apology around it, feeling his cheeks go pink. “God sorry. I didn’t expect that to happen.”
“You’re tired. No big deal.” John grinned, throwing an arm around Xander’s shoulders. “We’re all tired.”
“Yeah. But. I didn’t really do anything. Just sat around. Mainly in Angel’s lap. Damn that can be so embarrassing when I think about it afterward, but at the time it feels kinda right. And seeing Buffy, Will and Giles’s eyes pop out was too good to pass up. But, yeah sitting and a bit of talking. I didn’t even do any training or cleaning like your guys did. I don’t feel like I have the right to be tired, you know?” Xander finished, shaking his head.
“You’re tired. No ifs or buts about it. You have every right to be tired. You’ve been training as hard as any of us. The trip here wasn’t that long but it wasn’t fifteen minutes either. There is a lot of stress on you right now. This is your hometown here, somewhere you grew up, so there’s bound to be emotions involved. Cut yourself some slack kid. If you weren’t tired, one way or another I’d think you were a sociopath or something.”
Xander blinked at the Colonel for a few seconds, then ducked his head and grinned. “Huh, alright then. I’m tired and that’s okay.”
“It is, Pet. Now it’s time for bed. Come on. You too Peaches-” Spike stopped mid stride, one arm around Xander’s waist as he pulled him toward the majestic staircase. His eyes round as saucers.
Xander snickered at Spike’s predicament. “Peaches? Oh boy. I think you’re just asking for a spanking.”
“You’d be right there, boyo,” Angel purred as he stalked over to them from an open doorway. “William,” he whispered into Spike’s ear. “Run.”
Xander couldn’t stop grinning as Spike tore out of the foyer and up the grand staircase. He doubted Spike would even slow down before he got to their bedroom. Angel smiled broadly at Xander who !eaned into the arm he was offered. “So spanking?” He asked his dark haired Vampire lover.
“Hmmm,” Angel answered. “William hates being punished, but he adores being spanked and I haven’t done that to him in far too long. Come along my love, I’m sure we’ll all enjoy the show to come.”
Xander was all smiles as he was led away. Behind him he heard John asking someone a question. Then Penn’s laughter floated over to them before his voice answering. “It just depends on how it’s done. I might show you one day. Perhaps you’ll even ask me to.”
John Casey didn’t make another sound beyond a splutter.
Xander wasn’t sure what to expect when Angel pushed open the door to what would be their bedroom whenever they were in Sunnydale, but a buck ass naked Spike standing beside their bed should not have been a surprise. Angel walked into the room on Xander’s heels. With a hand on Xander’s lower back Angel maneuvered him into the armchair before walking to stand in front of Spike.
“What did ye’ call me William?” Angel purred, his accent all soft and Gaelic.
“I called ye’ Peaches, Sire,” Spike answered quietly.
“And should ye’ have called me Peaches?”
“So, what should I do about your dis-courtesy, William?”
“Punish me Sire? I think you need to punish me.”
“Yes, I think so too. Come here, boyo,” and Angel sat on the side of the bed, pulling Spike over his lap. Then to Xander’s surprise Angel offered Spike his wrist and told him to drink. Before Spike had taken half a sip, Angel’s free hand started to rain short, sharp smacks onto Spike’s upturned ass. Xander was shocked at first. The smacks weren’t soft. They were obviously meant to be felt, and why was Angel letting himself be fed on even just for a bit while he was punishing Spike.
Xander didn’t like the idea of being spanked. Had been on receiving end of many a spanking session as a kid and all the way through high school, so he knew what spanking was all about. Or at least he though he did.
But Spike didn’t react the way he knew would have. No Spike fisted one hand in the covers beside him and one hand around Angel’s ankle, all the while he drank from Angel’s wrist until Angel gently took his wrist back. Then Spike just let his forehead rest on the bed, panting and moaning, his ass raised high in the air and rising higher with every strike.
Xander gaped, he’d never seen anything like it before. Spike moaned, his ass rising to meet each smack before giving a shallow thrust into the V of Angel’s legs. Curiously Xander looked down, he could easily see Spike’s hard cock. Yes, his bleached blonde lover was definitely happy with the proceedings. Xander looked Spike over carefully, his body was relaxed. His face almost blissed out. His ass nicely red, probably because of the blood Angel had given him and his cock hard and proud. And suddenly Xander’s mouth watered. He looked away from Spike and found Angel watching him.
Angel lifted his free hand and crooked a finger. Xander scrambled up over to his lovers on the big bed. Angel looped a hand behind Xander’s neck and pulled him in for a hungry kiss. It was fast and fierce, leaving Xander breathless, even though it lasted only seconds. Then Angel pointed to the floor and Xander understood the order. With a grin he went to his knees and angled himself between Angel’s legs. In a perfect position to receive Spike’s cock into his waiting mouth.
Spike must not have been paying any attention to what was happening around him because the second Xander’s hot, wet mouth closed around him he howled.
“That’s right. Just like that,” Angel whispered. “Just keep going.”
Xander didn’t know if he was speaking to both of them or just one of them, but it didn’t matter. He sucked Spike into his mouth greedily while the blonde Vampire thrust into his mouth and rose to receive each smack from Angel’s hand. In short order Spike was shaking apart and coming into Xander’s waiting mouth. He waited then carefully licked his lover clean before crawling out and taking Angel’s proffered hand and climbing to his feet.
Angel was running a hand up and down Spike’s back as he lay there over his lap. A subvocal purr rumbling through Sire to Childe and back again. Xander reached a hand out and ran it through Spike’s blonde hair, feeling him push gently into his touch. A few minutes of this attention and Spike slowly stretched under their hands and smiled at them both, his face as relaxed as his body. With their help he climbed off Angel’s lap and into his feet, one arm automatically going around Xander’s waist and into his space to nuzzle at his neck.
Xander leaned in to enjoy the attention. Just arching this way and that feeling like a cat. He was smiling and melting happily. “I wasn’t sure sex was on the agenda tonight,” he whispered. “Not after all the stuff with Buffy and Giles.”
“Can you think of a better way to relieve stress?” Spike asked pushing Xander closer to Angel.
Angel’s hand swiftly undid Xander’s jeans and with a good tug had them around Xander’s ankles. Spike stepped on them and with tiny urgings Xander stepped out of them. He felt Spike’s hands roaming over his chest, under his shirt and t-shirt before they were pushed up and over his head and soon they were dropped to the floor. His briefs were tugged off gently, being carefully pulled over his jutting erection, before he felt them slither down his legs and pool at his feet. He stepped out of them too. He’d kept his eyes closed, enjoying the feel of Spike’s hand and lips playing on his skin. Relishing the feel of Angel’s gentle fingers skimming over his skin. Then he was being urged forward. He opened his eyes lazily. Angel was sitting in front of him, naked and waiting. A soft smile on his lips and love shining in his eyes. He must have stripped himself while Xander’s attention was otherwise thoroughly occupied. One more tiny push from Spike and Xander climbed into Angel’s lap. Knees one either side of Angel’s hips. Cool, slick fingers found his entrance and pushed in carefully while Angel held him steady, strong hands curled around his hips.
Xander arched into the differing touches. Pushing against both lovers in turn. Push onto Spike’s fingers and then into the body holding him steady. He was moaning before he knew it and panting. He felt Spike press into his back, giving him a strong body to lean on. His lovers didn’t rush him, they never did. They might push and strain at each other yet were content to go at his own pace with him. Xander adored them for it and felt adored in return.
With a happily little sigh he lowered himself to Angel’s waiting erection, hitching a breath when he felt himself breached. After a half a second he pushed onwards, slowly inch by careful inch until he was seated in Angel’s lap. He opened his eyes to find the Master Vampire’s eyes closed and bottom lip being bitten, fangs peeking out from under his top lip. Angel was obviously straining for control.
Xander leaned forward and licked at the lip still visible. Angel’s eyes sprang open. They were fluctuating between demon yellow and Angel’s own brown. “The demon doesn’t scare me Angel and you don’t have to fight for control. You can take what you need. You won’t hurt me.” Xander whispered.
“But I could. And sometimes I don’t know if could stop myself, if I let go. Not with you.” Angel told him, voice like rough gravel.
“We have Spike here. Trust him to stop you if you can’t trust yourself.” Xander said, smiling over his shoulder at Spike and running his fingers into Angel’s dark hair.
“Boy’s right. I’ll not let things ever go too far, Sire.” Spike told them, voice sure and confident.
“Do ye’ really think you’d be able to stop me William?” Angel purred dangerously.
“Stop you, Sire? Probably not. But I know I could slow you down enough until you came to your senses.” Spike answered, voice respectful but strong nonetheless.
Angel stopped and thought about it for a few seconds. Then, mind made up he nodded. He lifted Xander off him until just the head of Angel’s cock was still inside of Xander. Spike’s hands were still on Xander, keeping him safe and steady. Then suddenly Angel moved. He thrust up and into Xander. Angel thrust up and in, time and again, his hands strong on Xander’s hips, his grip not wavering once. Spike was still behind him and Xander leaned backwards loving how the movement changed their angle slightly, making it impossible for Angel to miss his prostate. The extra stimulus made Xander keen. The sound seemed to drive Angel onwards. His hips practically pistoned in and out of Xander, pushing him closer and closer to the edge. Then somehow Angel pushed up pressing himself into Xander’s channel completely, while pulling Xander into his arms. Xander arched and moaned. Two sharp point of pain at each side if his neck made him gasp, the he moaned louder. He felt himself spilling over Angel’s lap. Felt his lovers drink from his life’s blood. Then he was collapsing and they were pulling away from him gently. A little bit of floating and cool covering sheets and the darkness of sleep came for him. He curled into the pillow and the two bodies surrounding him. A smile on his lips and he was soon sound asleep.
After all the arguing the night before, Xander had expected the mission into the Initiative to be close to a Military sized and shaped clusterfuck with shades of Scooby thrown in. As a result, the actual mission was almost anti-climactic.
They had walked in under Colonel Casey’s credentials. As a whole, military grunts didn’t ask questions of superior officers. So, when Casey had given them orders they had obeyed. They had Riley Finn freed in very short order and the, so called doctors and medical personnel under guard in less than an hour.
The higher ranks and experiments were another matter. Xander was horrified at what had happened to Forrest. He’d never liked the man, but no one deserved to become half man half god knew what. Forrest hadn’t backed down either and Angel had had no choice but to rip off his head. It was a gruesome way to die. Forrest had left a trail of wounded behind him, both from ostensibly what were people under or from his command and from Angel’s group. Casey had even emptied a full clip into him, but the half man half killing machine had just kept coming. Finally, Angel had jumped on him to bring him down and before anyone understood what would happen had ripped off his head, tossing it across the corridor just in case.
Once Angel had relaxed a little, Xander, Cordelia and Casey himself had rushed past the now headless corpse to check on the men and women left behind in his wake. Broken bodies and bloody gashes had met them, but with good medical treatment they should survive and Cordelia had run off to organize the help needed.
Buffy was supporting Finn. The soldier was hurt, hungry and bloody from the treatment from his own unit, but had refused to leave without seeing what was to happen. He staggered over to his friend’s dead body and collapsed to his knees beside him. “We went through basic together, you know. He kept pulling my ass out of the fire. Even here. We were friends. Soldiers and buddies. He was a good man. They did this to him. Made him into this monster. I had known him for years, trusted him with everything I had, for years. But now? Now there was nothing left of the man I knew. They killed him. Not you Angel. It was them. With their experiments. With their thirst for power and knowledge. They did this. They need to be stopped.” Finn was sobbing by the end.
Spike nodded once. He suddenly lifted his nose high, then looked at Angel and Penn. Drusilla floated down the hallway, headless doll in hand. “Something doesn’t smell right,” she sang, the fingers of her free hand waggling in the direction the other vampires were smelling at. “Even the stars are scared Daddy. Something wrong is coming…”
Angel turned to her, his face transformed and eyes shining yellow. “Protect the humans Childe. All Childer of Aurelius are to protect the humans. Tell them that is my command.”
“Yes Daddy,” she said meekly and took up a stance between the humans and Angel. Spike and Penn soon joined him and, in a blur, they shot off down the hallway. Xander made to follow, Drusilla blocked his way. That was when he noticed the other Vampires there and surrounding them. “Daddy told us to keep you safe. We’ll keep you safe.” Drusilla said. It was that simple for her. Do what Sire said.
Buffy harrumphed and tried to push through. Xander stood in front of her. “Xander? Let me through.” She pushed at his shoulder.
“Buff, Angel wants us here.”
“Well I don’t care what Angel wants. He’s not my, Sire,” she said sarcastically and pushed a little harder.
“He’s not your Sire, no,” Sam said quietly. He was standing just behind Xander and Xander squeaked but stood his ground. With a tight little grin Sam poked Xander in the ribs presumably for his squeak, before turning his attention back to Buffy. “But he is ours and he’d skin us alive if we let you, any of you, get hurt when he told us to keep you safe. So, if you don’t mind, just stay here.”
“Now you listen to me. I am the Slayer. You are-” her building rant was cut off abruptly when Xander physically turned her around to look a Riley Finn as he still knelt by the body of what had been his best friend.
“Maybe you should let someone else fight this battle. You have bigger battles to win.” Xander whispered. Buffy seemed to deflate as she went to kneel by her boyfriend.
“Blondie isn’t as dumb as she seems,” Theresa whispered to him.
“She’s not dumb. She’s got a lot on her plate is all.” Xander said back. He understood Buffy. The duty of the Slayer and all that crap. There was a lot on her shoulders. Not to mentions crate loads of guilt for everything she had no control over and even more built in for what she could control. No, once he’d wanted to be like her. Wanted to be special like that. Thank god he’d grown out of it. And look at how well he was rewarded for that.
Theresa sidled up to Xander. He gave her the side eye until she huffed at him. “I met her mom earlier, you know. And I’ve got a really great sense of smell. Yeah?”
Xander just shrugged and shook his head at her, confused at the turn of conversation.
“Well it’s just that she sort of smelled weird to me. Not bad weird. Sick weird.” She finished.
Casey came over to join them quickly. “Mrs. Summers, Joyce smelled sick?” He demanded.
“Hey! The almighty Penn might have set his feathers for you, and let’s you talk to him like that. But you do not make any demands of me, human,” Theresa bristled.
Xander was suddenly very tired of Childer posturing games and flicked her on the temple with his finger, ducking quickly behind Sam as he did so. She turned, face vamped out to glare at him. Sam held her at bay with an indulgent look on his face and a flat hand on her shoulder. “Just calm yourself and explain Theresa,” he said softly.
She took several unnecessary deep breaths before she continued. “She smells sick. I don’t know what it means or what she has. She just smells sick. That is all.” She said finally.
Xander looked at Casey who had pulled out a radio. “Houston. Make sure Mrs. Summers is taken to the nearest base for medical tests. Take no nonsense. From anyone. It’s an order. She goes just as soon as we are done here. Understood?”
A tinny “Sir, yes Sir.” Came over the radio. Casey put it away again and came face to face with a concerned and demanding Buffy.
Xander was about to get her attention when Angel, Spike and Penn came back. They each had torn clothing and blood on them. They looked the worse for wear but completely elated. “You three look like you went and conquered,” he said to them.
Spike threw him a crazy grin and a sly wink. “We did, Pet. We did. We stormed the castle, and came away victorious.”
Angel chuckled then looked at the Colonel. “We’re done here. Time to get everyone out and shut this place down. Have all the prisoners, humans and demons been taken out of the facility?” He asked. Casey nodded once. “Good, then its time to bury the place. Get it done Colonel,” Angel said, taking Xander’s hand and leading them out of there.
With little fanfare the small group was bundled into a waiting vehicle. Their driver shot out of there like a bat out of hell. Xander craned his neck trying to see if he could see the flashing lights of a police car. “Ah Angel, last thing we need is a cop stopping us for speeding and asking some really uncomfortable questions.”
“Taylor?” Angel questioned.
“I have our emergency lights on, Sire. The police have been asked to leave all military vehicles alone as we are conducting a training drill. And Colonel Casey wants all of you safe at the Mansion before clean up gets here.” The soldier driving answered.
Angel hummed a thank you and looked at Xander. “It looks like the good Colonel is looking after us.”
“He is that type of man,” Penn said, his voice sounding almost far away, like he was deep in thought.
“Speaking of the Colonel. What was he saying about my mom?” Buffy now demanded from a seat behind Xander.
Xander spun in his seat, not having realised that Buffy, Giles, Finn, Willow and Tara were all in the vehicle with them. He himself sat between Angel and Spike. Penn sat beside the driver and he assumed the other vampires sat behind the Scoobies.
“Ah, I’m not really sure, but I think Theresa said she smelt something weird about Joyce ah, your mom, and John, that’s the Colonel wants her taken to some base or other for testing.” Xander answered.
“If Theresa says she smelt somethin’ wrong, then there’s somethin’ wrong to smell. She always had a good nose. Even in the young days. Could always smell prey before she even was close to it.” Spike told them.
“But, at, what, how? I-I-” Buffy cut off when Finn struggled out of her arms and pulled her into his own, kissing her temple gently.
“If the Colonel has ordered her tested then we’ll find out what’s going on. He’s a good man. I’ve heard about him before. He’s got the power to make things happen. Just let him do it. Maybe I can suggest we pick up Mrs. Summers and Dawn on the way to where we’re going?”
Angel nodded. “Taylor, you heard the Major?”
“Yes Sire, heading to the Summers residence as we speak.”
Xander snickered at Angel’s look of confusion. He knew, hell they all knew Angel did not have one clue why everyone and their dog from the LA group kept calling him Sire. Really it had been Penn’s idea. A few days before heading over to Sunnydale Penn had come looking for Xander with Spike and John Casey in tow.
Apparently, he and Spike had been discussing the intricacies of the Sunnydale Scoobies and wanted to throw them off their game. So Penn’s idea was to call Angel, Sire, as much as possible in their hearing and from Vampire and human alike. Putting everyone on an even keel with Angel above them all. A power play. Xander has seen first-hand how well it had worked the previous night. Between the Sire this and Sire that and all the kneeling The Sunnydale Scoobies has been left reeling, shocked enough and of kilter so things, important things could get done.
The whole thing would keep going until they were all back in LA. Then they’d see where they went from there. Xander had to admit, even if only to himself he liked the reaction he got from Angel whenever he called him Sire. This mouth-watering look of possessiveness just rolled all over Angel and flowed right into Xander’s heart. He patted Angel’s knee lightly. “Tell ya later,” he whispered when Angel turned to look at him.
Somewhat mollified Angel sank back in his seat. The drive to the mansion took around twenty minutes. Even with the detour to pick up Joyce and Dawn. Twenty minutes of complete silence. Xander had never known Willow and Buffy could be quiet for that length of time. He looked over his shoulder at them as they slowed down to enter the Mansion’s front gate. They were fast asleep. All of them except Giles and Finn. And whereas Finn looked tired and a little worried, but ultimately okay with it all. Giles looked peaked and pinched. As far as Xander could tell it looked like Giles had swallowed a lemon.
“You can relax G man,” Xander whispered.
Giles eyebrow lifted sharply. The ‘Are you serious?’ unsaid but loud and clear.
“We don’t bite,” Drusilla sighed in the back seat. “More’s the pity. But Daddy said no biting without invitation.” She pouted.
“If you want invitations, little one, make some friends willing to trust you and share.” Angel told her. “It’s not hard. Just ask Penn.”
“I-I haven’t, Sire. I promise.” Penn protested.
Angel smiled and looked at his oldest Childe. “I like this Penn. He reminds me of the young man, before I turned him. I’m glad I didn’t break him completely all that time ago.”
“You tried, Sire. Somehow, he hid from us both. Only now is he surfacing. I think I’ve missed him all this time.” Penn’s voice was quiet and reminiscent.
Xander stumbled into the kitchen stifling a yawn. He went to the refrigerator and pulled out the orange juice debating on whether to swig the drink straight from the carton or find a glass. Looking at his hands he saw the rose and decided a glass was the way to go. Taking the few steps needed he pulled down two glasses from the cupboard. Filling one with water and the other with orange juice he put one to his lips. Grimacing at the glass when he tasted water. With a sigh he put the water glass down, dropped the rose into it and drank from the orange juice instead. “Far out, didn’t realise I was that tired,” he mumbled to himself.
“It was a long night,” a voice said with a sigh.
Spinning around Xander found Buffy and Willow sitting at the kitchen table. They were hunched over, hands wrapped around chunky mugs. “Hi guys,” he squeaked, quickly checking he wasn’t in the kitchen in his shorts, or less, that had happened before, but he didn’t want to think about that, no no no. “You guys are up already. Couldn’t sleep? Anything wrong?”
They shook their heads before Willow answered. “New place, you know?”
“And I got, you know, memories of this place,” Buffy added, waving her hand over her head to encompass the Mansion. “But it was never fixed up this nicely. When did this happen? Why didn’t I know about it?”
Xander shrugged. “Angel ordered the place ready when we realised we’d be coming here for a while. Didn’t want to take a risk with where we’d stay. So he got Cordelia to organise it. I’m not sure how or who but I don’t think you keep an eye out for construction crews, or maid service or you know the, I think she calls it domestic something or other. Some of the army guys finished getting things ready the night we got here. They’ve been helping out at the hotel in LA, so they knew what her expectations are.”
“Glad it meets with Cordelia’s standards then,” Buffy said flatly.
Xander ignored it, he knew Buffy and Cordelia would never see eye to eye. They were just too alike and too strong to allow the other any slack. So he sat at the table and looked at their mugs. “Hey, are those empty?” he asked.
Willow nodded. “We wanted hot chocolate but didn’t see any and we were worried about looking through the cupboards. We took these off the shelf but then were too tired to put them back.”
“So you were pretending they had hot chocolate?” Xander grinned at the nods.
He stood back up and went back to the refrigerator, taking the mugs with him. This time he took out the milk. The kitchen was very similar to the one at the Hyperion, so he knew the cupboard beside the microwave held the tea, coffee station, hopefully it also held hot chocolate. Pouring milk into mugs he set them to heat in the microwave. About two minutes later he set down two mugs of hot chocolate with a few dozen tiny marshmallows floating on top. He gave them over grinning when eager hands were wrapped around them.
“Yummy, thank you,” Willow smiled. “Nice flower, where do you get it?”
Xander looked at the flower in the glass on the table, beside his now empty glass of juice. He traced a petal with a gentle finger. “Angel, he gives me a rose every morning. Always red. Sometimes dark, sometimes light red. But always a red. Sometimes long stem, sometimes a short one,” he said pointing at the one in the glass which had a stem maybe a finger long. “This one’s from the gardens here, but sometimes they’re from florists or those women that sell them from baskets in restaurants, they even come from neighborhood gardens. In the morning I always find a red rose somewhere in our bedroom.”
“That’s so romantic,” Willow gushed.
Xander shrugged with a soft smile and poured himself some more juice.
Buffy blew out loud breath. Xander sighed and looked at her. “Say it,” he said with resignation.
“Don’t you find it all like weird?” She finally blurted out.
“Do I find what weird?” Xander questioned back.
She waved her arms around, then pointed at him and let her hands drop looking confused.
“So, you mean Angel? Or Spike? Or me? Or all of us? Or the Clan?” Xander questioned sarcastically.
She nodded enthusiastically, not noticing Xander was not as relaxed as he had been. Willow did notice however and scrunched up her face, her eyes begging for his patience.
Xander sat back in his chair. “No Buffy I don’t find anything weird about any of it. Us. You know Angel gets me flowers every day, has since the first night. Spike makes sure he keeps snacks for me in our rooms all the time, whoopie pies, hohos, twinkies, soda, chocolate, sweet stuff, salty stuff. If I want it, he gets it. Angel listens to me all the time. Anything I want to talk about, he’ll listen to. If I’m curious about something, Spike will bend over backwards to find the information for me. No one in my life has ever cared so much about me. Not my folks. No one. They make sure I always feel special. Feel safe. Even when I know I’m not safe, like last night. I still felt safe. They spoil me Buff. Do you know how incredible that feels, how incredible that makes me feel? They’re always there for me. It’s like I’m something amazing to the both of them, not like I’m something on the bottom of their shoe. And Angel could have just taken Spike in when I took him to LA, kept him. Instead he wanted to keep us both, not like pets or anything but like we were precious. And forming the Clan back up, that’s all about keeping the humans around them safe, me, Cordy, Wes, Gunn. I think they even consider Casey, Colonel John Casey, I mean, I think he’s Clan too now. Look I know this doesn’t make that much sense but I can’t explain any better…” he trailed off with a frustrated sound.
Buffy and Willow glanced at each other then as one reached for his hands. They each covered one and smiled. “We get it Xan,” Buffy said.
“Yeah Xander, they love you and you love them. It’s all to the good. As long as you’re happy, we’re happy for you.” Willow told him.
He chuckled and shrugged. “Happy here.”
“One thing does bug me though,” Buffy began then stopped to take a sip of her hot chocolate. “The accent thing. The only time I remembered Angel talking like that was when he was Angelus.”
“Yeah, I know,” Xander nodded. “It started pretty much the day after, ah you know, he’d swing through the accents. It was really strong for a while, now it sorta cycles. Sometimes it’s all Irish like all the time and sometimes it’s just things like Gaelic for sweetheart, things like that. I figure it cause Demons are scared of Angel, but they are terrified of Angelus, so he pulls out the Angelus playing card when he wants the enemy to piss themselves. They usually do from what I’ve seen. Angel has a lot to protect now so he’ll do what he has to, to keep his clan safe.”
“I suppose, I suppose it makes sense, it’s just that sometimes the other night like, it was really hard to tell…” Buffy took another sip, her gaze far away.
“So, what’s next on your agenda?” Willow asked, all wide-eyed girl, making Xander grin.
“Well we’ll probably stick around until Angel is happy with the state of the non function on the Initiative front, then we head back to LA. We’ll probably have to say goodbye to our military crew, Penn will brood about losing Casey and Spike will tease him about it. I get back to my construction coarse work and life gets back to normal, or as normal as it gets anyway. You guys?”
“Back to school and coarse work I suppose, for all of us.” Willow said, but she didn’t seem too enthusiastic about it. She blushed at Xander’s lifted eyebrows. “I miss my best friend okay? You’re not here anymore and we’re not in the same school or anything. I can’t just grab you and complain about how unfair my professor is.” She grumbled.
Xander burst out laughing. “Who says. Just pick up the phone and call me. Complain all you want. I want to hear about it, not just the weekly phone calls we’ve been having that are so obviously fake, and if that was Giles idea so I wouldn’t worry or feel guilty or whatever then shut that train of thought down right now. I want to know. All of it. You two are still my best friends and just because I’m a couple of hours away that does not change. Got it?” He demanded.
“Got it!” They answered in unison holding up their chocolate mugs in salute.
“Great now that’s out of the way, how are Riley and Tara? Giles? Your mom Buffy?”
Buffy shrugged. “Riley, Tara and Giles are still sleeping. Mom was taken to the base for tests, Dawn went with her. Mom didn’t want either of us to go but settled for Dawn going so she wouldn’t bug me. Mom said I looked like I needed the rest. I think she just didn’t want me there to worry. Your Colonel and a few others went with them, Casey said they’d keep Dawnny occupied.”
The door opened and Drusilla floated through the room. “Hello little puppies. Can you hear the voices? They keep singing about Glory. I should tell Daddy. Yes I’ll tell Daddy about Glory. Glory wants a little girl, her blood is special, a sunrise, yes a sunrise. A sunrise bleeding to open a gateway to hell,” she sang as she left the room.
A shiver ran down Xander’s spine. “That can’t be good.” He muttered. He looked at Buffy and Willow finding them both pale.
“What,” Buffy cleared her throat. “What do you think she meant?”
“Who knows, most of the time she could mean anything, you know? I can’t listen to her much, it makes my brain hurt, but Angelus did turn her for a reason. Before he sent her wackadoodle, she was like physic. She saw stuff. Yeah even saw Angelus, just couldn’t do anything about him. Spike said she’s not as nutso as she used to be. Thought it was because she was part of a stable Court again and she’s close to her Sire. Doesn’t mean she’s got all her marbles though, you know?”
The door opened again, Penn stepped in with Angel and Spike.
“I’m glad you’re still up, Slayer. John has just called, your presence is requested at the base,” Penn said formally. No one would accuse the Vampire if being comfortable in the presence of the Slayer.
Buffy stood abruptly from the table. Her face worried.
“Here.” Spike said and threw her a bag as soon as she looked at him. “Clothes, you can’t go out looking like that. Looks like you’ve just gotten in a fight, yeah.”
She nodded once as she looked at the bag she was clutching.
“There’s some stuff in there for you too, Red,” Spike said casually coming to stand behind Xander while Angel and Penn made for the refrigerator. Angel pulled out a container, opened it and handed out three opaque bags. Spike took one and open a corner before upending it into his mouth.
Xander knew the bags contained blood. Horse blood currently, spiced with lashings of chilli and vodka. The spice made drinking cold blood palatable and the vodka added some much needed zing. This current batch came from a horse racing trainer friend and the exceptional racehorses who donated a few liters a week were incredibly healthy.
Angel smacked his lips a few times then looked at the bag in his hand. “Xander, can you call Russell and tell him Wild Jack is coming down with an infection. It’s still mild. If he’s lucky they can catch it early before the horse needs too much treatment.”
“Sure Angel, I’ll call him now. Perks of donating blood to a Vampire. Early medical interventions.” Xander grinned. Standing up he went to the phone on the wall. Dialing from memory he was quickly answered by the answering machine. He left the message and hung up.
Buffy was still standing where he had left her. Her eyes focused on the far wall and thoughts far away. Willow stood at her elbow uncertainly. Making up his mind Xander walked over and took her elbow. “Time to get dressed Buff. Willow and I are gonna come with. Let’s all go get dressed. One of the military guys can drive us over. Angel? Can you guys come over after sunset? It shouldn’t be too long till then yeah?”
“Not long a chroí, not long. That’s a good idea.” Angel said.
Nodding Xander started to take Buffy out of the kitchen and headed to the staircase.
Casey was waiting for them when they pulled up to the front gate station of the base. He looked worried, but put together. Xander had never seen the man flustered, except by Penn. He quickly walked over to the driver’s side and opened the door. The driver got out and Casey got in waiting just long enough for the other driver to get in the back.
“What can you tell us Casey?” Xander asked.
“Not much,” he sighed “I’m not authorized to know. I know they’re waiting for you, Ms. Summers before she has surgery.”
Buffy whimpered and shoved her knuckles into her mouth. Tears streaming down her face. “She, she has been having headaches lately. Is it her brain? Cancer? Tumor?” She asked, her voice breaking.
“They haven’t told me mam, but I haven’t been told they were bringing in a neurosurgeon either. I guess we’ll see soon enough.”
And he wasn’t wrong because in seconds he had pulled up in front of a building and got out. They quickly followed him and entered the building at his heels. The squeal of “Buffy!” had them bracing for impact and in a second Dawn had thrown herself at her older sister.
Xander heard her blubbering and sobbing, telling Buffy something but couldn’t make out any of the words. He looked away from them when a woman in a lab coat came over. She looked serious but not overly worried and some grey could be seen in her brown hair. She waited until Buffy got Dawn to calm down then held her hand out. “I’m Dr. Pierce, Mandy to my friends and Colonel to most people around here.
“I’m going to be conducting your mother’s surgery. She’s not in any real danger at the moment but it could have gotten to be a problem if we hadn’t found it so early. Actually it’s a miracle it was found this early. I’ve never heard of anyone ever getting checked before showing symptoms. Your mother has the beginnings of a twisted bowel. We’ll perform the surgery required and remove the damaged area. It was found early so hopefully not a large portion of it will have been affected. We didn’t want to start before you were here for your sister. Corman Johnson will show you all to the waiting area just as soon as you’ve spoken to your mother. She’s right through that door,” she finished and pointed to the door to her right.
Buffy and Dawn ran through the doorway in a second. Xander held out his arm and Willow fit herself under it. He hugged her close, then without thinking about it he pulled Casey to them and just leaned on the older man, letting his strength keep them up. Casey was stiff for a second then with a sigh he relaxed and wrapped both arms around Xander and Willow. “She’s a great doctor. A great surgeon and runs this base with an iron will. Mrs. Summers, Joyce, will be fine.”
“She’s more our mom than our real moms you know?” Willow sniffled.
“Yeah, I know,” Casey chuckled. “She made quite an impact on some of my people when we first met in LA. Don’t be surprised if half the squad turns up here eventually. By the way , is someone going to skin me alive for holding you two?”
Xander huffed a laugh. “Maybe Tara. As far as Angel and Spike are concerned, you’re already family, clan, whatever. And getting comfort from clan is always allowed. Now shut up and hold us.”
Casey chuckled once more then stilled and stayed quiet until Buffy and Dawn came out holding each other and Johnston led them to the waiting room.
Casey had been right of coarse. The waiting room had filled up to overflowing just after sunset. First had come in Angel, Spike and Penn. Followed closely by Tara, Giles and Finn and then it seemed like everyone else from their group was there. From somewhere food had been procured and what felt like days later but could only have been a matter of hours, Dr. Pierce was back with them, a smile on her face.
“She’ll be fine. She’s in recovery. Surgery went really well. We only needed to remove a tiny amount because the damage was minimal. Infection was just beginning to set in and we’re treating that as well. You can see her but only three at a time.”
Xander pushed Buffy and Dawn at the woman and leaned into Spike. “So what’s on the agenda tonight?” Xander asked facetiously.
Angel leaned around Spike and kissed him gently. “We were thinking sleep and rest, some quiet us time. Just the Clan. Tomorrow is soon enough to go looking for trouble. We’ll head home once we know Joyce is fine. Give Buffy a hand while we’re here and figure out what Dru is hearing.”
They headed home a few days later. Xander never did figure out what all the things Drusilla had been talking about meant. But the night before they drove home, all the vampires had gone out with Spike and Angel. They had come back bruised, bloody and in high spirits. Xander didn’t ask and they hadn’t told. Angel and Spike had wrapped themselves round Xander and the three had kept themselves very well entertained. And judging by the very dazed and happy look on Casey’s face it seemed that Penn had finally made a move on the Army man. How that was going to go Xander had no idea, but he hoped it went well. Penn had grown on him and he’d always liked Casey.
So now they trooped in the Hyperion and back to normal. Or as normal as things got. Cordelia made a beeline for her desk, muttering about how much she’d have to fix after her little jaunt home.
Spike stood in the middle of the foyer. “You lot!” He yelled and everyone military stopped what they were doing and went to attention. “Every last one of you. You all did good. Made Sire n’me proud. Don’t get cocky ‘bout it. Stow your gear and head down to the training room. You got minutes. Move yer sorry arses!” With that he turned and headed off to the training room himself.
Xander looked at Angel, eyes questioning.
“They did well. Better than expected even, but they’re still on a high, even the Childer. We don’t want any incidents. Spike will run them through their paces before letting them go for the night. Have you got things that need doing tomorrow around the hotel?”
Xander nodded. “I want to start on the third floor back rooms. Knock them into real suites. Why?”
“We’ll get the truly hyper ones to help you tomorrow. Just point them at a wall and say destroy.” Angel told him.
Xander laughed. “That would be hilarious.” He said. Then swallowed when Angel didn’t even crack a grin. “You are joking. Aren’t you?” Xander asked, jogging to catch up with Angel who was almost halfway up the stairs by now, a very evil chuckle floating behind him.
“Not even a little,” he whispered.
Xander tripped up the next couple of steps and fell into Angel’s back. His Vampire turned sharply and lifted him into the air when he should have fallen face first onto the step above him. “Thanks,” he gasped out. “That would have hurt.”
“More than hurt, a ghrá no chroi, ye’ could have broken your teeth on that step. Made yourself bleed. Only William and I should ever do that,” Angel whispered into his ear as he held him close to his body. “Make you bleed.”
Xander shivered and realizing he was held above the floor, squeaked and his legs around Angels waist and arms around his neck. “Maybe you should just take me to bed before I hurt myself then,” he suggested.
Angel sucked in a deep breath and with a growl against Xander’s neck headed for their bedroom.
“Ye’ll be the death of me,” Angel declared as he threw Xander on to their bed before ripping off his clothes.
Xander shimmied out of his own clothing stopping only long enough to taunt his lover. “Are you saying you’re too old to keep up with me? Should I call for Spike to help you?”
“I’ll show you too old,” Angel growled as he pounced and Xander found himself covered from head to foot by aroused Vampire.
He sighed and went lax under Angel, spreading his legs lazily as far as he could and turning his head to the side so Angel could drink if he wanted to. The pleasure pain of Angel sinking his fangs into his neck was amazing, then a few minutes later Xander felt Angel push into his body. He was shocked at the lack of preparation, expecting pain. But in only seconds he knew his body had already relaxed. It seemed that his body now equated the bite with mind shattering sex and did what was needed accordingly. Angel’s lubed fingers were perfunctory before his cock replaced them and Xander was fucked almost brutally hard and fast. Neither Spike nor Angel had ever been this unrestrained with him and he found he loved it as much as he loved everything else they did together. That’s not to say they weren’t rough with each other, Angel and Spike’s lovemaking was often rough and ready, fast, hard, dominating and brutal. They would push, pull and rip into each other relentlessly. Pushing themselves and the other to completion with honed and harsh focus.
Xander’s orgasm didn’t sneak up on him. Angel tore it out of him leaving Xander gasping and flailing. His brain floundering to catch up with his body. His breathing ragged and his body feeling gloriously used. His heart pounded in his chest leaving him sure he was on the cusp of a heart attack and not caring. Angel was softly kissing the area above the straining organ, one tiny kiss at a time and Xander’s heart slowly started to match the rhythm of the kisses bestowed on it.
“That was wild,” Xander whispered. Still not having the capacity for more.
“Not too much?” Angel asked sounding worried.
Xander wrapped him tightly in his arms and legs. “Not too much,” he answered reassuringly.
Angel sighed and flipped them over so Xander was on top, he pulled a blanket around them and kissed the top of Xander’s head. “Good. Now sleep for a bit. I’ll be right here.”
Xander nodded, feeling sleepy already. He wiggled to get a little more comfortable, finally noticing that Angel was still hard between them. “You ah…” he trailed off giving another wiggle of his hips.
Angel groaned and chuckled. “I’ll maintain. It’ll be good for me. Beside William will need some attention sooner or later. Sleep, my heart. This has been a trying and tiring time for you. So sleep.”
And Xander did.
He woke to the bed shifting slowly and rhythmically. He shifted his head to his right and lazily opened his eyes. He smiled seeing Angel beside him. His neck arched, arms over his head, gripping the headboard, he lay on his back and was panting unneeded breathes. It took Xander a few minutes to recognize what was happening. He often woke to find his lovers in a similar position. Usually Angel laying back while Spike rode him like a rodeo bull rider. This time however was different. Spike wasn’t riding Angel, he was making love to him. That was the only way he could describe it. The two Vampires constantly made love to Xander, fucking him slowly for hours. And that was exactly what Spike was doing, moving in and out of Angel, arms and body stretched out over the older Master to blanket him completely. Hands and fingers entwined on the headboard.
“Wanna give our Master a hand, Pet?” Spike asked Xander softly, he didn’t change his motions or rhythm, just turned his head and looked at Xander.
Xander looked to Spike’s eyes. The pupils were dilated. He looked as flushed as a Vampire ever got, his usually slicked hair was tousled and a glorious mess of tight blonde curls. Xander’s gaze swept over Spike’s all too pretty face, to Angel’s chest and finally landed on Angel’s hard and straining cock laying between them. Without thinking twice he reached out his hand, Spike shifted enough to give him room. He wrapped his hand around Angel’s cock and gave a couple of careful tugs. He was shocked at how soon Angel pulsed all over his hand and Spike moaned, falling on top of Angel and trapping Xander’s hand between them.
They just faced each other quietly for the next few minutes, two Vampires gazing at their human, one human gazing back at his Vampires. Xander finally cleared his throat, smiling gently and Spike snorted and in a second had rolled off Angel, over Xander and onto the other side of the bed, squashing Xander in short order in between. His hands automatically finding all the tickle spots he could while Angel held Xander still and laughed. Xander gasped and giggled. Kicked and bucked in helpless response, all the while squealing his head off, but he knew he had no chance. He was trapped between a proverbial rock and a hard place, had nowhere to go and loved every second of it. Spike eventually wound down when Xander thought he’d pass out from lack of oxygen and they curled around and on top of each other calmly.
“We don’t usually do this,” Xander whispered. “Not that I’m complaining or anything,” he added quickly.
“We’ve had a stressful time recently,” Angel began with a contented sigh, pulling Xander and thus Spike further into his arms. “The worry about someone coming for William. The training of the soldiers. The Childer coming home. Facing down The Slayer and then taking down the Initiative. It has been a hard road, but now, now it’s done. The danger to William is currently gone, at least from the Initiative. Other dangers will come up, but that one is gone. I have a Carte Blanche from the Government and immunity to deal with the supernatural here in LA as I please. I have my Childer and it seems they are happy to be here. And I have the two most important people in my life right here safe and sound in my arms. This feels like we’re winding down.”
“Yeah and great sex I’d say is the best way to wind down. Sex and a fag. But I couldn’t smoke in here so I could only get the sex. And before ya’ go askin’ why it was all soft n’ gentle like, it’s because, it’s because, oh hell,” Spike exclaimed and buried his face in Xander’s shoulder. “It’s because I wanted to show Angel how important he is to me. And I wanted to make love to you, Sire to show you what I feel for you, and how grateful I am for everything you’ve done for me since our boy brought me here you.” Spike said it all quickly and with his face hidden from Xander and Angel and into the meat of Xander’s shoulder as if he was embarrassed to show so much emotion.
Xander reached back and ran his fingers into soft blonde curls. “We love you too Spike,” he whispered gently.
Angel’s hand joined Xander’s in the petting. “Yes William we love you as well. I, love, you. Yer very important to me. Your safety and happiness. And I’ll do everything in my power to ensure you are safe and happy for as long as you wish it. For both of you. You’re my reasons for existence, my reasons for sanity. So thank you Xander. Thank you for bringing William to me. Thank you for your offer and your trust. Thank you for your willingness to accept me, us, and share yourself with us. None of this would have happened without you. If you hadn’t brought Williams here, I’d still be here in this hotel probably with Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn trying to covertly stop demons and other things from killing and general mayhem. At least until I chased the humans away with my self-flagellation and, what Cordelia calls, my tall dark and broody, when she thinks no one can hear her.”
Spike had pulled his head out as Angel spoke. “Tall, dark and broody, huh? Sounds like her highness. Okay, enough with the namby-pamby emotion crap. What’s next on the agenda?”
“Depends on the time,” Xander piped up.
“Oh?” Angel questioned.
“Well yeah. Depending on what time it is means we can order a butt load of pizza and get it delivered. It means dinner food, breakfast food or lunch food. That’s not to say pizza isn’t and all day food, but not everyone agrees with that.” Xander said enthusiastically.
Angel laughed softly then harder when they heard Xander’s stomach growl. Spike rolled over to grab the clock off the nightstand, then he reached again to grab the phone and in quick order had their usual ordered from their favorite pizzeria.
Spike strolled into the kitchen and Xander looked up. His eyes narrowed at the slightly smug look on Spike’s face. “Well that doesn’t, what’s the word, oh yeah, bode well for someone,” he remarked, grinning as Spike straddled the chair beside him.
Spike shrugged and pointed his finger at the books in front of Xander. “Watch’s doing?”
“Oh the good and ever glorious plumbing calculations. We’re up to plumbing at school. So math, math and more math. And they said you’d never need to use math again once you finished high school. They lied. Dirty rotten liars I tell you, dirty rotten liars,” Xander exaggerated then threw his pen on the desk just for emphasis.
Spike raised an eyebrow. And Xander giggled. He sighed when Spike wrapped an arm around his shoulders and rested his head where Spike laid it. “There, there. Spike will get rid of the big bad math monster,” Spike crooned, making Xander huff a chuckle and cuddle in closer.
“The big bad math monster won’t know what hit it once my big bad gets it,” Xander said sweetly into Spike’s shoulder.
“Exactly.” Spike told him, voice satisfied.
“This is nice. I haven’t seen you or Angel in a few hours, what are you up to?”
“Sire is plannin’ to heist some slumlord demon that’s hoarding gold but letting the places he owns run to wreck and ruin.” Spike rumbled.
“What is Angel planning?”
“Take the blighter and make him sign over the properties.”
“Then what?” Xander asked.
“Then, we have this construction guy we know that needs projects to help him pass his coursework.” Spike said.
“What, you mean, Angel is doing all this so I have buildings to practice on?”
“Not quite,” Angel said striding into the kitchen. “You need projects, but this guy needs to learn not to be an ass. He’s bad news. Demons have been complaining about his standover tactics for years. But I was never powerful enough to stop him. Now I am. Taking over his business and taking his money is a definite bonus. Plus, the buildings themselves are beautiful and I thought you’d like to bring them back.”
“Ah, okay. If you’re sure. I’m not qualified yet you know. But if they are anything like the Hyperion, I’d love to get my hands on them.”
“Classic old buildings. Some great architecture. It’s a pity they’ve been let go, but we can fix that.” Angel grinned.
“Okay, but that still doesn’t explain the smug look on your face when you walked into the kitchen Mister.” Xander said, poking Spike in the shoulder. “What were you smirking about?”
Spike snickered like the twelve year old he secretly was sometimes. “I heard a conversation is all. Our Colonel was on the phone. Seems he’s got new orders. He’s being pulled out. Sounds like most of his people will be staying, but they are pulling him to help in some CIA thing. Sending him in undercover as a sort of protection detail. Great for his career, you know. Inter departmental co operation or some shite.”
“So why were you snickering?” Xander asked confused.
Angel huffed a sigh and leaned back in his seat. “He’s behaving like a child because he knows how Penn is going to react. And I thought you two had gotten over your rivalries. Obviously not. You see when Penn gets in a strop it’s downright depressing. I’d send him out to ravage whole towns back in the day. Now I’ll probably have to send him to a psychiatrist, just to get him out from under foot. And the moping will be unbearable.”
“So Spike is happy because Penn is going to be miserable? Spike! How could you? How wrong is that, Spike? It’s all sorts of wrong.”
Spike just shrugged and looked a little belligerent. “Penn was never nice to me when I was first turned. Always made fun an’ such. I’m sorry we’ll be losing Casey, he’s good people. Good man. Good soldier. Good fighter. Penn is going to have to learn about the commitments of his human and not interference. I mean, don’t be surprised if he don’t come to you Sire and asked you to keep Casey here with us.”
Angel nodded. “Unfortunately I can’t demand anyone of Casey’s rank or training remain here with us. They’ll hand over the grunts, but a lot has gone into training Casey. Both time and money. He is valuable to the US Army. Well just have to help Penn along. Maybe have him head the team going after our Demon slumlord.”
Spike crossed his arms over his chest, face set hard.
Angel reached over and practically pulled him out of his chair and into Angel’s space. “I’m not showing Penn favor and I’m not about to. Yer mine William. Yer the only Childe I invite into bed. Into our bed. Penn was m’ first and ‘i’ll always be special, but you and Xander are my choice. My reason. M’sanity and life. I’ll not change any of that.” Angel said, Irish brogue lilting stronger and stronger with every word.
Finally Spike nodded and rubbed his face into the front of Angel’s teal silk shirt.
Xander watched them.
Xander had a thing. He could tile without really thinking about it. Sure he had to watch his cuts and lines, but otherwise it was akin to meditation for him. So as he looked over the bathroom splash back and shower he had just finished tiling with a critical eye he knew he’d done well, even if he barely remembered doing it. He thought the river pebble effect that ran from the base up the wall in one strip looked good and classic, even if it as the new thing in decor. Anyway he like it and more importantly it was what Cordelia wanted so he’d stay on her good side.
As he’d worked however his brain had been ticking on something. Something he really didn’t want to think about. Something he’d been trying to avoid for all the months he’d been here in LA. In a relationship with both Angel and Spike. Problem was, you can only run away and avoid your problems for as long as it takes for them to catch you. And this one had caught him. Had tried to catch him in Sunnydale, but had completely caught him now, here in LA at the Hyperion.
Buffy and Willow had asked about it and he’d explained it all away, but he wasn’t really sure he was right. He somehow half stifled a sigh and grabbed the bucket of tile adhesive, or as they called it in the trade, mud, and took it and small stack of tiles to the middle of the bathroom. Setting his burden down he returned to the bedroom and grabbed some more tiles. They were a random almost Moroccan pattern that did not have to be laid in any particular order. The colors were all in the shades of the river stone he’d already laid, so as Cordelia said they were all in the same family, with the odd pop of light teal blue gray here and there.
He set tiles from the middle always making sure he left an opening for himself while he noodled around his problem, poking at it here and there. Before he knew he was backing out the door and found himself standing in the bedroom. Standing slowly he stretched his legs, rubbed his aching knees and bent every way he could think of to ease his protesting lower back.
“Well ain’t that a sight,” a very familiar voice purred behind him and a pair of arms wrapped around his waist securely. Xander leaned back against a strong body and snuggled into the hold. He sighed and let his head fall to the side, shivering when teeth cut into the skin of his neck and a tongue lapped at the blood that welled forth.
“What’s the matter, Pet?” Spike whispered into his ear and Xander wrapped his arms tighter over Spike’s, making the Vampire tighten his arms reflexively. On instinct Xander turned and buried his face in Spike’s neck and held on. He knew he was shivering but couldn’t stop himself. He just clung on when Spike bundled him up in his arms and carried him over to the bed, currently covered in a painter’s drop sheet, and sat down, Xander cradled in his arms.
“Do you want Angel?” Spike whispered.
Xander shrugged “Yes, no, I don’t know?” He didn’t know. Suddenly it all was all too much and he felt lost. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” he finally sighed, but clung tighter.
He felt the bed dip and looked up to see Angel. “How did you?”
Angel gave him a sad little smile. “I tend to always have an ear on you Xander. I let Spike come see why you were sighing so much. When he asked if you wanted me, I came over. What’s wrong a chroí? You’ve not been yourself today.”
Xander pushed at Spike’s arms and pulled himself out of his lap. There was no way he could have this conversation while sitting in either if their laps.instead he paced. From one side of the room to the other, hands alternately in his pockets, then out again in w second. Rubbing through his hair or pulling at it as he thought and tried to force his scrambled brain to get some sort of cohesion. Finally he just starting rambling and hoped it made some sense.
“Angel, in the Sunnydale days, you never had an accent. Always spoke, you know, normal. Buffy and Willow noticed and brought up how you speak with an accent a lot now. You know, like just before. All the ‘a chroí’ and ‘a ghrá’. You were never like that back then. Not even when you and Buffy dated. But with me it’s all the time, not that I’m complaining, because god, I’m not. I love it. I love that someone thinks enough of me to call me those things, thinks I’m important enough in their life. I’m not just Xander, or Zeppo or Doughnut boy to you. I’m more, so much more.”
“And that’s a problem?” Angel cut in.
“No it’s not a problem. I love it and don’t interrupt,” Xander told him, huffing at the indulgent look exchanged by his Vampires. “Gah, you’re gonna drive me nuts. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I am nuts. Or maybe I’m dreaming. I always had great sex in my dreams,” he muttered, giving his ass an experimental wiggle.
“Oi!” Spike exclaimed, eyes narrowed and Xander shrugged and grinned remembering what they’d gotten up to the night before. His ass still a little tender from the exercise.
“Maybe not,” Xander grinned and blushed. “Some sort of make Xander’s dreams come true spell or pocket demon dimension? You know like the all singing all dancin…” he trailed of when he saw the serious look on Angel’s face as he stood up from where he had been sitting next to Spike and walked over to him.
Angel stopped right in front of Xander and carefully took his face in both hands, giving him a gentle kiss on his forehead. “Whatever it is Xander, just say it,” Angel said and went back to his seat. He reached over and took Spike’s hand in his.
“It’s just the accent, you know. Angel in Sunnydale, didn’t have one. Angel in LA when we got here, didn’t have one. Angelus in Sunnydale did have one. Angel in Sunnydale never wore leather pants. Angel in LA wears leather pants. Angelus in Sunnydale wore leather pants. Cordelia said you only started wearing leather pants after we, Spike and me, came to LA.
“When Buffy and Willow asked about it the other week, I told them it’s because, while demons and the assorted creepies in LA are scared of Angel, they are terrified of Angelus. But well it got me thinking. And now I’ve got to ask and I don’t want to ask because I don’t want to wreck everything and I’m going to-” he was cut off by the hand over his mouth and the arm around his waist.
Another hand came up and wiped at his face with a, was that a tissue? Then Xander noticed the box of them on the bedside table and Spike standing in front of him with one of them in his hand. That left Angel holding him close with his lips in Xander’s hair. Xander went limp and waited. Spike wiped more tears as they fell and Xander waited and slowly calmed.
An age later Angel pulled him over to sit on the bed between himself and Spike and Xander sat there quietly. Angel eventually straightened his shoulders. “You’re not wrong Xander, but you’re not right either. I’m still Angel.”
Xander sighed in relief.
“But I’m also Angelus.”
“Before y’ go off half cocked, Pet. Think about it. Has Sire hurt you or anyone else? Has he let people die, tortured anyone? No? Well then, give Peaches a chance to explain, yeah?”
Xander turned to face Spike. “Did you know?” He asked. He wilted at the nod, not knowing whether to feel irrationally betrayed by Spike or really stupid for not noticing. “Am I just an idiot? For not noticing I mean? I-how-why…”
Angel pulled him into his arms tighter. “You’re not an idiot. William knows because there is no way he would not know. He can feel it. His demon is a part of mine, so he’d feel when my demon isn’t as leashed as it was. It’s the same with Penn and the rest of my Childer. They know it. They feel it. That’s why they’ve come back to me. They came back to Angelus, but, that doesn’t mean I’m not still Angel. Angelus isn’t an idiot. He knows what will happen if Angel is in full control. He doesn’t like the leash. So we’ve come to and understanding, neither of us are in charge. We share. We share a body. We share the responsibilities. The good and the bad. Do you understand?”
Xander shrugged and pulled away a little, enough to look at Angel directly. “So, you’re not the great good goof and you’re not the evil bastard? Is that what you mean. You’re not one or the other you’re sorta both? All the time?”
Angel nodded. “Both good and evil. Both trying to atone and trying to take over the world, but I’m trying to keep the megalomaniacal tendencies down to a minimum. You see, Angelus was always about family and pride, so yeah he’s still about that. His family, his clan mean status. His Childer and reputation mean respect. Angelus is all about respect. So everything we’ve done so far has brought him respect, so he’s content to go along for the ride. He sticks his head up every once in a while and takes the reins if need be, otherwise he sits back and enjoys the show.” Angel explained.
“What show?” Xander had to ask.
Spike leaned over. “The twenty four hour naked Xander channel if I had my ways about it,” he whispered suggestively.
Angel barked a laugh. “Yeah, well the three of us are in agreement there,” Angel leered at Xander comically.
Xander huffed and stifled a chuckle. “As if you don’t get that enough. God, you have me naked plenty, daily even, hourly if I didn’t have things to do or places to be. I’m not even sure having other people around would stop you from getting at my ass most of the time. Is that like a Vampire thing or just a you guys thing.’
“Vampire do like a bit of exhibition, don’t we Sire?”
“I remember exhibiting you at Court quite often back when Darla wanted to make nice with Hienrich. So yes exhibition is a thing we enjoy. It shows power and dominance and we get to shove how fantastic we are in other Vampires faces. It’s like saying look at how pretty how perfect my Childe, minion, whatever is. Don’t you wish you had something this perfect. But you can’t have it it’s mine. No one ever said Vampires were adult about anything.” Angel huffed and shrugged.
“Sounds like a Gothic version of high school,” Xander remarked.
Angel laughed. “I think I saw more adults in your old high school than in all my years at Court.”
“So why build a Court? Are they all spoiled like and jealous?” Xander asked.
“A Court, Clan whatever you want to call it, it gives Vampires stability. Gives Angelus stability. He feels he has a rightful place and doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. He’s the head of the Clan. That satisfies him. If he’s satisfied he won’t fight me for control. And between us I feel more complete. All these years with the curse I’ve felt halved. Now I don’t feel that anymore. I’m full, whole. And I have love and acceptance too. I never thought I’d be able to have that.
“As a soulless vampire, I didn’t care. It was all about the battle and blood, fighting and pillaging. Take what I wanted and to hell with the rest. With the curse it was all about self-flagellation, punishing myself. I hated me and everything I was. It was wrong and the more I hated myself, the more I blamed Angelus. I didn’t take responsibility for any of my actions, it was all Angelus. But of course, Angelus was me. I’m the one that followed Darla and allowed myself to be changed. Me, so placing everything on Angelus, while making me feel better was a fallacy, because he is me and I am him. Different aspects of the whole.
“Now though I can’t blame anyone and I have to take responsibility for my actions. I may hate what I’ve done and who I’ve been, but I can not regret being whole again. I can’t regret any of this. I’m pretty sure I don’t deserve another chance, don’t deserve you or William, or to have any of my Childer back, but I’m not about to turn my back on anything. I did that before and it hurt more than I ever knew it would or could, so I won’t be doing that any more, not again.
“Now, now I’m going to accept my faults and failings. Strengthen the areas I know need shoring up and be as good of a Master as I can, as good a Sire as possible, better than any examples other Vampires set for me. I have reason to make myself better than I was. Did any of that make sense Xander?”
Xander nodded slowly, trying to take it all in. “Let me get this straight. You said you know you were an ass in the past. You want to do better and you will. Is that what you’re basically saying?” Xander asked. He was feeling a lot more comfortable about it all now. He wiggled out of Angel’s arms and threw himself backwards on the bed. “I don’t really know why I was so worried you know. I mean even after all this time, you haven’t really changed that much. You’re still like the sweet goof I fell in love with. You’ve never hurt me, or the people I care about. You look after me and basically mother-hen everyone around the place. You went to Sunnydale and only killed when you had to. Hell you didn’t even challenge the Slayer and I bet that grates with the vengeance of the seven hell’s. So okay it might be a bit creepy thinking there are two of you in there, so I won’t think of it that way. You are not Angel and Angelus, you’re just you. Like most people you have a good food side and a selfish one. In your case the selfish one could wipe out LA if it wanted to, but Mr. Selfishness has put himself in the backseat and as long as he feels respected and well treated and free-ish like he won’t make an issue. Meanwhile goody goof ball goes about the day to day, or I should say night to night of being your friendly neighborhood blood sucking superhero, out to save little old ladies and puppies. Am I right?”
Angel looked completely confused and looked to Spike for explanations. “William?“ he croaked.
“Boys just sayin’ he figures it’s business as usual is all. He’s not scared you’ll go off the deep end and murder everyone with the raspberry jam. You’re not crazy Angelus or Saint Angel. You’re a mix of both. And that’s where the fun starts. If y’ ask me, having the both of you is the better way. Peaches could be a right stick in the mud and Angelus liked pain too much. The way you are now means you know how to have fun and do it.” Spike said calmly, the fingers of one hand running over Xander’s T-shirt clad chest to hook lightly into his jeans’ waistband.
Angel grinned then his fingers joined Spike’s and they tugged gently.
“Does that mean you think it’s naked time again? Cause I gotta tell you, Cordy has told me this room has to be finished by tomorrow. Now I’ve laid the tiles, but I still have to grout the bathroom. And then I have to paint the walls and ceilings in the bathroom and this bedroom so she can get it furnished by tomorrow or the next day. And I know none of us could survive a pissed off Cordy out for our blood.”
Angel shivered. “Not even Angelus wants to go up against her. Infact he wants to be out of the country if she ever decides to be turned.”
Xander chuckled and clambered off the bed. “Yep that’s our Cordy. Terrifying in all the right ways. The boogeyman ain’t got nothing on her. She can scare the pants off any adolescent boy, a full-grown man or a Master Vampire. She really is something else. Now you two vamoose. I got things to do.” He made shooing motions and his Vampires stood to go. He let them get to the door before he snagged the backs of their shirts and pulled them back to him. “Where’re my kisses?” His voice was innocent, his grin was not. both Vampires were laughing as they showered his face with teeny tiny kisses. He smiled happily and pulled Angel into his arms. “I love you. No matter what happens, I love you and I’m pretty sure I always will.” Then he pushed Angel away and shucked Spike under his chin. “And I love you too, my bleached blonde avenger. You’ve been my rock and I’m grateful for your strength in everything. You’ve taught me I’m stronger than I thought I was and can handle anything.” He pulled back to see two stunned faces looking back at him. With a whistle and grinning he turned his back on them and headed back into the bathroom, he had tiles to grout.
“What’s up with Penn, he looks like someone stole his puppy.” Xander remarked to Angel a few days later. They were curled up together on one of the loveseats.
“It’s because Casey left. This is what William was gloating about the other day. Penn’s going to be like this for a while. Thank you for organizing the farewell get together for Casey, by the way. We all enjoyed it.”
“John’s a great guy. I’m gonna miss him too. Can’t you ask for him back?”
“I already have. The Pentagon knows he has an open invitation here. That doesn’t mean we’ll get him back though,” Angel sighed.
“I hope we do get him back. For Penn’s sake if nothing else.” Xander mumbled, his gaze following the pacing Vampire. Penn’s shoulders were drooped, his face long and sad. His steps were shuffled. He barely reacted to anyone, not to Spike’s taunts or Drusilla’s teasing. No, for days, nights now he’d been like this. Withdrawn from the Clan and ignoring the world. It couldn’t be good, for anyone. “So, what do we know about his mission?”
“Not much. A type of protection detail. Undercover with a small team. Working under the FBI or CIA, I can’t remember which.” Angel said.
“Does he have back up? Does he need help?” Xander asked, sounding worried.
“I’m sure he’s fine. And I’m sure whichever alphabet agency he’s working with will have set up contingencies and back up in case its needed,” Angel answered him rubbing his soothingly over Xander’s wrist for a few seconds.
“One can only hope,” Penn’s voice wafted over from the opposite side of the lobby. “Because if anything happens to John, I will go hunting.” His gaze lasered in on Angel as if gauging his reaction to the hunting part of the statement.
Angel shrugged. “Just make sure your captures are clean and they’re guilty of something at least. And invite William to go with you. You were always a beautiful pair when out hunting. Having the both of you will bring the hunt under the authority of the Clan too. It will offer some protection from hunters.”
Penn nodded, a tiny smile lifting the corners of his mouth and resumed his pacing. Xander tugged at Angel’s sleeve getting his attention again and motioned for him to follow. Angel’s eyes practically glittered with mischief and Xander sighed shaking his head. “One track mind,” he huffed making Angel chuckle and made a grab for him which Xander easily dodged with a twist and somehow ended up wrapped in Spike’s arms as the blonde wonder miraculously materialized right where he hadn’t been a second before. Xander giggled and twisted. He’d seen this move from Spike and Angel in training and in battle. Angel would feint at an opponent, when the guy, demon, whatever would dodge, just like Xander had, he’d end up squirming on Spike’s sword or get his neck broken. Plain and simple.
So Xander knew he shouldn’t have fallen for it but here he was wrapped very securely in Spike’s arms with Angel now plastered to his front. “Cut-cut it out, I wanted to talk,” he gasped out, still grinning madly and enjoying himself regardless. It was always good to feel these men’s arms around him. He sighed and gave up. Fisting his hands into Angel’s white shirt he pulled him in and let Angel claim his lips, quickly getting lost in the sensation of lust and love, ownership and devotion. It always amazed him how the Master Vampire could make him feel he was something that was priceless. When Angel pulled away, his chin was tilted back and Spike’s lips replaced Angel’s. His kiss sharper and wilder but dripping devotion into Xander’s very heart. Finally fighting for breath Spike let his lips go and Xander sagged between his lovers. “No matter how old I get I’m never ever gonna be able to take this for granted,” he whispered making his lovers smile happily. “Now some privacy please because I want to ask you something.” And he stomped his foot for emphasis, yes it made him feel like a child but the resultant chuckles were worth it.
He was carried into a back office that looked like it was in the middle of remodeling, funny thing was Xander wasn’t the one remodeling it. He looked around curiously.
“You like it?” Angel asked apprehensively.
Xander looked around carefully. It was old world but with modern touches. Dark blues and greys. Very masculine but not heavy. He smiled. “Yeah I like it. What’s it for?”
“We figured you’d need a place to work that wasn’t the kitchen table, Pet. So, we’ve been fixing you an office.” Spike answered and let him go.
Bewildered Xander walked around the space. It was big. Not massive but big enough. Now he looked he saw a drafting table in the corner, still wrapped in shiny plastic. The desk had to be antique mahogany. The carpet was plush but what looked like Persian rugs sat here and there. Leather armchairs and a seriously comfortable looking manager’s chair sat around the desk. “Its fantastic. I love it.” Xander threw himself at his Xampires and pulled them into a three-way hug.
When they let him go he was grinning. Spike picked him up and hitched him onto his new antique desk. Looking very suggestive. Xander swatted his chest. “No. We are not about to Christen my new desk. Get your mind out of the gutter. My office is a sex free zone.”
“Well that just dares him doesn’t it,” Angel muttered, smirking. Then he sighed and put a hand on Spike’s shoulder and the blonde started to look serious. “ What’s on your mind Xander?”
Xander hunched in. “Its Penn. I’m worried about him. This can’t be good for him. He’s still finding his feet here. All the new rules. Having you guys. He really had a thing for Casey. Everyone saw it. Now Casey is gone and Penn just looks lost and sad. If I lost either of you I’d lose it. I just want to know if he’s gonna be okay,” Xander finished, voice tiny.
Angel didn’t answer. Neither did Spike. Angel did however walk to the door they had closed and pulled it open. Penn leaned in the doorway. Hands in pockets and a resigned look in his face. “Your Consort is far too observant Master.” He sighed then looked at Xander. He walked into the room and took Xander’s lax hands in his. His cold fingers gripping Xander’s tightly. “I can’t promise anything Xander, but if I feel like I’m losing control I’ll speak to my Master and his Right Hand. I promise. Yes, I do miss John. But it won’t be too long before he comes back. At least that’s what I tell myself. I’m sure Angel or Spike will let me know if I’m about to become a danger to anyone and stop me. Sire knows me well enough. But thank you for caring Xander. It means a lot.” Then he surprised Xander by kissing his knuckles and walking out proudly.
“Umm, ahh, well…” Xander trailed off at the smiles on Angel and Spike’s faces. He ran his fingers through his hair feeling unaccountably ruffled. Then he shrugged and let it go. “So, I’m gonna need some more furniture.”
“Yes you are. William help Xander. I have some phone calls to make and maybe a Clan member to bring home.” Angel said, turned and left.
Xander watched as Drusilla, Theresa and four of Casey’s grunts, two women and two men sparred in the lobby, using furniture as barricades and obstacles. It had been Spike’s idea to spar outside of their training room and it was quite an exhibition. Dru fought like a cat. In and out, slash and turn. Hiss and strike. There and gone before you knew it. She had a female and male opponent. The woman quick and sure the man strong and stable. They worked as a pair against her each shoring the others weakness. They faced much the same. They were all rather evenly matched. Xander knew of course that neither of the Vampires was fighting to kill. It was sparring and releasing energy. It was like a game for them. He’d seen these particular groupings before. Each vampire had their favorites he supposed.
Penn stood in a corner watching, as did Sam. Sam actually leaned on Cordelia’s desk, a hand idly running through her hair. It made Xander blink. He hadn’t seen that coming. But then it appeared Sam liked having someone else in charge in all things, and Cordy was and would always be Queen C. His attention had shifted back to Penn when he stiffened and looked to the front door. Angel let out a low growl and everyone stopped. The front door opened quietly and two men entered. One familiar. One a stranger. And Penn flew from his position to wrapped himself around a familiar body dressed in an army uniform.
Angel relaxed and Xander sagged into him. “You knew? You were waiting?”
Angel shook his head. “I was hoping,” he said.
Eventually Xander and Cordelia corralled everyone. Into the kitchen. Once seated, humans drinking soda and Vampires tucked in close, Casey told them what was happening.
“This dunderhead is Chuck. He got whammied by a computer program. Literally he absorbed the damned thing. Now he’s part computer for all I get it. Anyway, he’s a government asset and everyone wants him. He wasn’t safe where he was. He’s not really safe anywhere. I was on protection detail with a CIA task force but it appeared we were about to be infiltrated so the powers that be needed a safe place to stash him for a while. Someone figured a Vampire Clan would be the safest place. So here we are.”
Chuck had gone from strained to pale to sickly as Casey’s words kept going. Now he looked like he was about to pass out. Xander reached a hand over the table and patted the other man’s tightly clenched fist. Chuck looked up into his eyes. Shock and fear pinwheeling head over heels in their depths.
“Don’t worry Chuck. You’re safe here. Trust me,” Xander told him.
Chuck shook his head like he was trying to clear it. He opened his mouth but he shut it again quickly. He tried but again nothing came out.
Casey appeared to notice and ruffled then younger man’s shaggy brown hair. “Stop worrying about it kid. You’re safe here, like Xander said. These guys don’t drink human .”
“What they’re vegetarian vampires? And did I just say vampires?” Chuck squeaked.
It was Penn that laughed first and loudest. He was happy again after weeks of misery and didn’t mind showing it. “No Chuck, we’re hardly vegetarians, but we also don’t bite without invitation. That’s one of the rules in Sire’s Court and we all follow those rules on pain of death. I’m Penn. Casey are you going to make introductions?” Penn nudged the Colonel gently and Casey chuckled.
“Sure babe. Okay everyone this is Chuck. Chuck this is everyone, well almost everyone.” Casey grinned around at the table looking very pleased. Penn huffed and Casey started to laugh. “Just kidding. Alright that over there is Angel, Sire and Master of the Clan or Court. Yes, he is a Vampire, a Master Vampire. The human next to him is Xander. He’s Angel’s Consort, boyfriend, the blonde is Spike, Angel’s enforcer and lover. Yeah, they are a threesome. This guy plastered to me is Penn. I guess I can call you my boyfriend, Penn?”
Penn sighed and nodded once.
“Great, good. That dark haired beautiful Vampiress is Drusilla, she’d kill ya before you knew it. Never underestimate any of them. They are walking death if they want to be. Therese is beside Drusilla and we have a couple of fangers missing but we’ll introduce them later. Now you would think all the Vampires were the ones to watch out for, but nope that would be wrong. See that gorgeous lady over there, her name is Cordelia Chase and she’s the most dangerous one here. Never ever cross Queen C. And she’s completely human.”
Cordelia grinned and waggled her manicured nails at them.
“Like Penn said,” Angel spoke up now. “None of my Vampires would bite without invitation. If you invite the attention you would not be denied, but it’s your choice. Spike and I drink exclusively from Xander and occasionally we drink bagged, more for the comfort of holding a warmed mug in our hands. Penn is pretty much faithful to Casey. Dru and Theresa have a few donors and supplement with bagged when they feel like it. The ladies in my Court like to vary their menu I believe.”
Drusilla smirked at them and ran a talon like nail over the table smugly.
Angel laughed softly. “Cordelia, Sam?”
“In the library with Wesley and Gunn, research. Sam is on human exclusive now. But I’m worried. He doesn’t take much,” she said running a finger over two faint marks on her neck.
“Is he drinking from you, Wes and Gunn?” Spike asked.
“That’s why,” Theresa spoke up. “Male blood is more filling than female. He’d drink his fill from your men and leave your blood as a treat or dessert. You smell sweeter. Wesley’s blood smells almost light but Gunn smells like a full banquet. I could feel jealous of what Sam is getting, but he needs as much strength as he can get. When Sire made him he didn’t have time to pour as much strength and attention into him as he should have. That makes a difference. Sire’s blood and attention makes a strong Childe.”
“We were in a sinking submarine at the time,” Angel explained. “Things had to be done quickly. But then I abandoned him with William. That didn’t help him. But he is still stronger than many Childer. Don’t ever mistake him for weak.”
“Of course not Sire. He is a Childe of Aurelius after all,” Drusilla said her eyes going unfocussed as she looked at Chuck. “Numbers float around the human puppy. Little little glowy numbers, ones and zeroes. Dots and dashes. So pretty, so pretty,” she said then stood and wandered out of the room.
The watched her go. Xander shrugged at Chuck when the young man looked at him. “She’s not nuts, but, well she’s not really here either. Angelus turned her because she is a Seer. But well he did a number on her and she’s a little cuckoo. Dangerous but definitely cuckoo. Oh, we’ll explain the Angelus thing later. You don’t have to worry about that for now.”
“Wait, did she say numbers?” Cordelia spoke up. “Like computers?”
Chuck shrugged. “Maybe?”
She strode forward to lean over him on the table, almost bowling him over with her chest. Penn pulled him back slightly, annoyed gaze darting to Cordelia. She huffed then ignored everyone except Chuck. “Do you or do you not understand computers?”
“Good. You’re hired!” She exclaimed. Fingers wiggling excitedly.
“What?” Multiple voices asked.
“Chuck can earn his keep around here by bringing this old place into this century. Xander can fix it, I can run it, but neither of us can bring it forward in time properly. So, for as long as Chuck is here, he can get to work and keep busy. I don’t know what he’s going to need but he can make lists I guess.”
“Cordelia Chase, explain.” Angel demanded.
She huffed and with a few prods pushed Chuck out of his chair and somehow into Penn’s lap. Xander bit his lip to not laugh at the surprised look on both of their faces and the indulgence on Casey’s. This situation would bear watching apparently. He turned his attention back to Cordelia.
“The Hyperion is a great old hotel, and with us all living here it’s a great home, but it is a hotel and I’ve had people want to book rooms here. Not just human people, demons, monsters and everything in between. They want to stay in the Aurelean Court. Give tribute and tithe, whatever that means. Anyway, I keep saying no, because were not equipped yet. We have the rooms ready. Xander has done great. Especially when Casey’s people helped him. So we have the rooms already. But that’s it. We are so back in the dark ages I’m surprised we even have television and telephone. Chuck can fix that for us and I can stop turning away guests and money.” She explained. “This place does not pay for itself and we do have bills.”
Angel nodded his understanding. Then looked at Spike and Xander. Xander shrugged. Spike nodded once. “Chuck can you do what Cordelia wants? Do you want to?” Angel asked him.
Chucked shrugged and nodded carefully. “Probably? I have to look at what you have but, yeah I think I could. And I really don’t want to be bored and in the way. So yes? Yes, I probably could to it.”
“Fabulous,” Cordelia grinned triumphant. “We’ll work out the details later. Now I suppose you’ll need rooms. And since Casey is your protection, they should be close to his. And since his things are in Penn’s suite, you should probably take the second bedroom in the suite. That right with you Penn? John?”
“I have no objections,“ Penn said.
“Cool by me,” Casey answered. He stood. “Come on Chuck. Penn and I will show you the way. Grab your gear.”
Xander watched the three leave the kitchen. Then Therese huffed and with a chuckle shoved Cordelia’s shoulder and left the kitchen, just behind the trio.
Xander raised his eyebrows at Cordelia’s smug look.
“Penn moped around so much when John was gone that he was a distraction. He needs someone else to occupy his time in case John has to go somewhere else. Or else if Chuck has to go,” she said while examining her nails intently.
“You tryin’ t’ set ‘em up?” Spike drawled and she shrugged.
“A poly relationship seems to work for Vampires.” Was all she said. Then she stood up and left them alone in the kitchen.
Angel chuckled and pulled Xander into his lap, nuzzling at his neck happily. Spike moved over and went to work on Angel’s ear. “She’s not wrong,” Angel sighed.
Xander pulled away and ran his fingers through dark and blonde hair. “Looks like we’re all going to be alright? Between us and the Clan?”
Angel nodded. “The Aurelius Clan is strong and will get stronger. The Government thinks we are an asset and will do what they can for us. We have each other and are building strong emotional connections. We have Angelus and his experiences to draw on. Between us we are strong and smart. We’ll be fine.”
“Better than fine,” Spike piped up. “We’re Clan.”
Xander grinned. Clan. That was all that needed to be said.