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All I Need

Tisienne Blue

Part Thirty-One

~From: Fran-tastic
~To: Clever Childe
~Subject: Blood

Dear Spike,

Hello, gent. And give a warm hello to Xander, as well.

Look, I’ve been checking into a few things with Giles, like I told you before,and he’s entirely gone off his rocker. I thought I should warn you, just in case he decides to e-mail or call you.

There’s a chance—a chance, mind you, and nothing like a certainty—that your habit of drinking solely from Xander could have effects you’re unaware of.

He heals as quickly and completely as he does because of the Morah demon’s blood, which has regenerative properties. (Yes, I know. Obviously, right? And stop rolling your eyes. You’re still a vampire and I’m still a Slayer, got it? lol)

Basically, Spike, Giles is flipping out because there is a possibility that drinking Xander regularly might cause changes within your body. That could mean anything from… healing faster yourself, to—worst case scenario—becoming human, with all the discomforts associated with that state.

I actually have no idea of what that would do to your demon. Or to your soul, now that I think about it. It might be truly interesting to find out, though. Of course, not with you, but… hmm. I’ll have to suggest a little experiment to Giles. Perhaps I could capture a vampire, rather than dust it… do a series of tests with varied exposure to Morah blood, and…

Sorry, mate. Went off on a bit of a tangent there.

Like I said, it’s unlikely that feeding exclusively on your claimed? Mate? Whatever. Xander.

It’s not likely that feeding only on Xander will do much to you. If it were going to, I’d think you would have seen signs of it by now, right? It’s been… well over a month, hasn’t it?

In any case, I just wanted to warn you that Giles has lost his bloody mind and things are probably not anywhere near as bad as he thinks.

I suppose I could be wrong, of course, but it happens so rarely that I doubt this is one of those times. lol

Right, then. And it’s back to bloody ‘training’ for me. As if I’ve forgotten how to use a bloody sword in the last week.

My best to you and Xander.


* * * * * *

~To: Clever Childe
~From: Watcher Man
~Subject: Stop!


You must stop feeding on Xander immediately! It could make you human and while that may be a state you aspire to, I’m afraid it would be terrible for your relationship! Xander is effectively immortal from all accounts and I don’t believe you wish him to suddenly be caring for a dying lover and while I know you would likely have at least fifty years considering the age at which you were turned, I am not convinced that it would be enough.

Please, Spike, think of my boy and his heart. It would destroy him to find that his vampire lover was suddenly human and that it was the fault of his own blood which I’m sure he gives you out of love!

I will do everything in my power to discover some method of avoiding your fate, but until then, you must stop feeding on him!

I will alert you as soon as I have any more information. Or Fran will as she is the only one I’ve taken into my confidence regarding this matter.

I realize that she is quite young. Far too young, most might think, but she is a remarkably mature girl—more so than many other women twice her age, as I think you probably noticed when you met her. She is also in possession of a brilliant mind. One which is quite capable of handling whatever this situation calls for.

You can trust her as you would me.

Right, then. No feeding on my son and one of us will contact you.


* * * * *

“Well,” Spike murmured, fingers slowly running through the dense dark silk of his Xan’s hair, “What do ya make of it, pet?”

Xander frowned slightly, eyes shifting quickly as he re-read Giles’ e-mail, then went back to look over Fran’s again. “I… I don’t know, baby,” he finally answered. “I never thought about my blood hurting you, but if they’re right, then maybe…”

The vampire growled, pulling the brunette out of the chair and against him roughly. “No!” he snarled, glaring the scant inch or so up into wide greenish-brown eyes, “Not stoppin’, luv! Luv ya, an’… ya taste too bloody good! My Primal! ‘s my right ta drink ya whenever ya let me!”

The convoluted logic-that-wasn’t almost made him laugh, but his own concerns over his love’s wellbeing stopped him. His arms wrapped tightly around the more slender form and he growled back, the beast within him just as unhappy with the idea of ‘theirs’ not feeding from them as the vampire was.

“Spike,” he started, only to realize the blond wasn’t listening. “Spike!” he said again, snapping the name this time and going on only when the stunned gold-flecked blue eyes showed that he had his vampire’s attention, “We’ve been pretty much equals in this relationship right from the start and that means I get to make some decisions here, too. I’m not saying that I don’t want you drinking me anymore, okay?”

Spike’s relief exited on a sigh as he stared even deeper into the forceful gaze, wondering why he’d ever thought he was in charge. It had to be spending so much time around Peaches, he decided, what with the older vampire’s anal-retentive ‘I’m the Sire, you’re the Childe, we’re vampires and anything that falls under the influence of our Order is ours to command’ thing. He’d actually forgotten that part of what had made him love his Xan was that the bloke was just as strong, just as in control as any vampire he’d ever known—and that included his acting Sire.

“Right, then,” he finally rumbled, the growl subdued but still there. “What are ya sayin’, pet?”

Xander frowned again, thoughtfully this time. “I… fuck, baby, I love it when you bite me. Love feeling you drink. It… goes straight through me, you know? Like being stabbed in the gut but so much better. I mean, I feel it like that. Sudden, deep… overwhelmingly intense. So, no. I don’t want that to stop. But” he added quickly, wanting Spike to understand, “If Giles is so worried about it, then maybe… maybe we should cut back a little, okay? Still drink me but don’t always feed on me. Not until we know what’s actually gonna happen.”

The vampire growled again. Go back to bagged blood? Or worse yet, animal, since the great poof had that whole bizarre ‘no human’ policy in place? Have to make do with pig’s blood or cow, when right there in his arms was the most amazing, wonderful blood in the entire world and it was all his? His… mate-to-be’s?

“Don’t know if I can do that, Xan,” he admitted slowly, “After close ta a month of havin’ just ya, I don’t… bloody hell, don’t know if I could even keep soddin’ human blood down, not ta mention cow’s blood.”

Even as a Primal, Xander couldn’t help the disgusted look on his face. He didn’t drink blood himself, but both he and his hyena understood the difference between live, steaming, fresh food and what Angel allowed his employees to consume. But even so…

He forced his eyes to harden, still holding his love’s stare intently. “You’re gonna have to, Spike. Because if they’re right, then I’ll be looking at a fucking long eternity all alone. I want my forever to be with you, baby. And that means you as a snarky, hyperactive, irritable, brilliant, amazing, sexy as all hell vampire! Got it?”

And when his bloke put it like that, he couldn’t do anything but sigh and nod. “Yah, luv… want that ‘forever’ too, don’t I? But…”

His eyes softened, the green receding just a bit as Xander leaned in, pressing his lips roughly to the soft, full, pale pink of Spike’s mouth. “We’ll work it out, love,” he murmured, pulling back just enough to speak. “And I don’t care what Deadboy says. We’re gonna get you some human blood. You’re a vampire. Not a vampire bat. If he has a problem with it? I’ll just put him out like you said. I am technically the Master of the Order now, right?”

It was his Xan’s entirely wicked wink that had Spike laughing. “Bloody hell. You should do it anyway, luv. Just ta see th’ look on th’ prancy git’s face before ya let him back in. Runnin’ th’ Order, not ta mention Wolfram an’ bloody Hart, wouldn’t leave us near enough time ta shag.”

‘Feed ourssss…?’ he felt the hyena almost begging in the back of his head, and as much as he wanted to do just that, he couldn’t. Not with knowing what could happen. ‘No… we could hurt ours…’

‘Never hurt ourssss… love ourssss…’ it answered, the silent tone confused.

‘Feed ours later,’ Xander allowed, relieved when the still disgruntled animal spirit curled up iside him to mope.

He blinked a few times, finally catching up with what Spike had been saying.

“This is very true,” he agreed, hands roaming slowly up and down his vampire’s spine. “Besides, the cars are cool but I got enough of paperwork when I was still with the Council. Let Broodsome handle all that. It’s not like he has anything better to do, right? You know, other than ‘ponce around’ frowning disapprovingly at us.”

“Don’t forget his wolf-bint, pet,” Spike added with a smirk, “Does her on a fairly regular basis. While she’s in her human phase, one would bloody well hope…”

Xander laughed, even as one hand slid down to Spike’s denim clad rear and landed a hard swat on one toned cheek. “I so didn’t need that mental image, babe. Now, come on. It’s almost midnight and we need to find you a blood supply before morning.”

The vampire sighed. “Hoped ya’d forget about that, luv. Leastwise til mornin’…” He gave his Primal his best begging pout. “What do ya say, Xan? One more night of your blissful flavor before ya put your poor luv on a soddin’ tasteless diet? Promise ta make it worth your while, I do…”

The former human groaned, even as he nodded and pulled the blond towards their bedroom, and if Spike managed to hear the small whispered ‘Oh, God, I am so whipped’ that escaped him, the vampire never told.

They’d get back to Giles and Fran… later.

Part Thirty-Two

“I need you to get some of your people on this Spike thing as soon as possible, Deadboy,” Xander snapped as he stalked into Angel’s office. “I know you think it’s funny, but I can’t take it anymore!”

The vampire tried not to chuckle and managed it somehow, even while he finished signing the document before him.

He put down his pen slowly then let his gaze meet the deeply green brown eyes. “I don’t know what you think has changed in the last few days, Harris, but I can’t just…”

“You can and you will,” the man snarled, crossing his arms and glaring intently into that so-innocent stare. “He’s barely managing to hold on, and I know it even if you don’t! Hell, Angel, this is worse than when he had that damned chip in his head! At least then, he knew he didn’t have a choice! But between you not letting him hunt and me not wanting to risk him, he’s all…” He snarled again, wordlessly this time as he flung himself into one of the surprisingly comfortable chairs in front of Angel’s desk.

“I know what he’s feeling, Deadboy, and if there’s even a little tiny part of Angelus left inside you, then he knows, too!” His fingers clamped hard on the arms of the chair and he breathed deeply—once, twice, then once again before continuing.

“If this goes on much longer, Angel… Spike’s gonna lose it. He’s a demon, and okay, a demon with a soul, but… Christ, he needs to… fuck, I don’t know. Be himself, maybe! And he can’t do that when he can’t even feed from me, can he? And no, I don’t count the occasional nip and suck… and that came out so wrong, but you know what I mean!”

Strangely enough, Angel did know what the former Scooby meant. Spike—his Childe—had grown accustomed to hot, fresh, powerful blood. Addicted to it, maybe. And now… more or less cut off from his drug of choice, the boy was becoming obsessed, not to mention depressed.

Yeah, much as he hated to admit it, Harris had a point.

‘Damn right ‘he has a point’, you little bitch,’ Angelus snarled inside him, ‘You may like living on swine and bovine… Hell, you made us eat rats, for fuck’s sake! But this is Spike we’re talking about! Our Childe! And you’ve been just sitting there laughing at him while he’s gotten more and more desperate! What are you planning to do when he gets so fucking irrational he drains Xander? It won’t kill the guy, but what if that much of his blood does make our boy human again? Ever think of that, you self-righteous prig? Our family! Lost!’

If Angel had been able to see himself, he would have noticed his own gobsmacked expression right away. As it was, though, he had no idea that his reaction to his demon’s words was so obvious. Still, “I… I’ll get someone on it, Harris. Now.” was all he said.

He barely noticed the relieved look on the other man’s face as he reached for the phone. He was too busy listening to Angelus’ continued harangue, which was acquainting him very unhappily with some hard truths.

Angel was so distracted, in fact, that he didn’t even realize his demon had call the once-human ‘Xander’ rather than ‘boy’, ‘kid’, or even ‘Harris’.

* * * * *

Sixteen days of only small, shallow bites to his Xan’s fragrant flesh and Spike was well on his way to becoming a raging psychopath.

It didn’t help any that bloody Angel was acting entirely too amused by the whole situation, although Xander had managed to get the great brooding prat to turn a blind eye to the near-daily deliveries from the blood bank ‘round the way.

He supposed the human blood was better than nothing, but even if it had been fresh from the tap, so to speak, it still wouldn’t have come close to what he was being denied.

Hell, he was almost to the point of saying ‘sod all’ and taking his chances with turning human some day.

Unfortunately, his Xan was a stubborn git and he’d gotten it into his head that Fran and Ripper were right… or at least not necessarily wrong about the ‘possible repurcussions’.

All in all, it had been a bloody miserable couple of weeks, Spike groused silently, trying to distract himself from his thoughts—which he’d never call brooding, no matter what his enormous pile of shit GrandSire said—with the incredibly violent video game he was playing. It was mildly amusing and hadn’t even hit the market yet, simply because the game manufacturers didn’t have a strong enough rating for it… yet. Still, Angel had a few decent contacts and the game had been something of an olive branch, extended by way of apology for his constant sniggering at his Childe’s obvious discomfort.

“As if th’ great prat would have any idea of how this feels,” he grumbled, maneuvering his whore to inject her pimp with a lethal dose of high-grade heroin before cutting him open and stringing his entrails around the seedy-looking hotel room. He smirked just a little as he used the buttons and joystick to make the digital woman squat over the almost 3-D dead man and urinate on his face.

“ ‘Course he doesn’t,” he told himself quickly, “Because there’s never been another like my bloke, an’ even if there was, he or she wouldn’t care ta waste their time with a great neanderthal-browed wanker like my bleedin’ Sire!”

He supposed he should be glad that his love still bit him when they were going at each other, but as much as he enjoyed it—as good as it felt—it was starting to make him feel… left out, almost. His Xander could drink him down, swallow great shuddering mouthfuls of his essence, but all Spike could have was a few bloody drops? It wasn’t bleeding fair!

He tossed the controller away with a snarl, not even noticing when it shattered the ashtray on the table, spilling gray and black bits and dead cigarette butts across the glass.

“Right. This is through. Don’t care what happens ta me. Need ta… need ta…” and he couldn’t, so there was only one thing left to do.

* * * * *

He could taste the anger and confusion from a good fifty feet down the hall and it sped his steps quickly, though he didn’t want to run. He and Spike had enough speculation about their relationship already, considering they were still living in the Wolfram & Hart building and they’d obviously not even claimed yet.

Sure, their rooms weren’t on a general-access floor, but still, word somehow got around.

It was the loud, anguished and despairing cry his heightened hearing caught that made him run after all, though.

Feet pounded carpeting, covering the remaining twenty or so feet in mere seconds and Xander fumbled with his key for a moment before finally managing to unlock the door.

“Spike! Spike, what’s wrong?” he cried out, slamming the door behind him, his eyes darting wildly around the living room and finding nothing out of the ordinary aside from the broken ashtray and accompanying mess. “Spike!” he said again, demanding an answer this time.

The reply, when it came, was a whimpering growl rather than words, and Xander followed it swiftly, pausing for just a moment in the bedroom doorway.

He swallowed hard, eyes closing for just a moment as though hoping they’d open on a different scene—anything other than his vampire throwing clothes randomly into a large duffle bag.

“Spike?” he said softly, finding the view unchanged, “What are you doing, baby…?”

Golden eyes tried their best not to dart towards the beloved voice, but there was no helping it. Spike groaned softly, then pulled his gaze away, grabbing yet another pair of jeans from the drawer and tossing them into the bag, followed by a small stack of black t-shirts.

“Packing,” he finally allowed, his voice gruff and strained. “Need ta… get away from here, pet.”

Oh… was that all? Xander couldn’t help smiling. He hadn’t been thrilled with staying at the office building to begin with but it was the place his vamp called ‘home’, so he’d dealt. Now, though…

“That’s fine, baby,” he answered happily, “Just let me grab a few things and we can…” His voice trailed off at the shaking of the blond’s head, the hyena within suddenly snarling. “I… what… what’s happening here, Spike…?” he nearly whispered, hoping to put off his beast. Spike couldn’t be saying what it sounded like he was saying… He just couldn’t!

“Can’t drink ya, can’t do more than taste ya… smell ya all th’ time, ‘s like you’re right beside me with a vein open even when you’re not in th’ room… Bloody fuckin’ hell, luv, know why ya won’t let me; understand it, don’t I? But th’ demon, an’… an’ I can feel your blood just pumpin’ away, an’ I…” Spike growled, sharp teeth gnashing at the air. “If’n I don’t get th’ fuck away from ya, I… Bloody hell, Xan, I’ll just take ya! Drink ya down til there’s nothin’ left, til I’m full ta burstin’ with ya, an’…”

OURSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!’ the hyena shrieked furiously. ‘Oursssss thinksssss he can leave?! Thinkssss we will lettttt him leave…?’

That inner voice was so strong, so loud, so angry that all Xander could do was gasp, the surprise joining the sudden pain of understanding that his love meant to… “No,” he growled, his vision suddenly fuzzy around the edges, as though he was seeing through prisms of green fire, “Jussssssst… NO.”

The demon answered the growl without any intent on Spike’s part. “Protecting you,” he heard himself snarling as his eyes locked onto the Primal’s and some part of Spike—the soul, most likely—shuddered at the depth of the emerald sheen completely eradicating the usual brown. “Can’t have you!” he hollered.

“Can’t leave usssssss,” Xander and the hyena hissed, leaping across the six or so feet to tackle their mate onto the bed, the duffle bag hitting the floor as the mattress bounced it almost to the dresser.

Strong, tanned fingers dug deep into soft white-blond hair and pulled hard, holding Spike’s head in place as rough, blunt teeth dove harshly at and then into pale, soft skin, breaking through the first ever bite and breaking the scar wide open.

He came within moments, his cock going from soft to hard to spurting in perhaps five seconds, and still Spike couldn’t manage to make a sound. He was pinned there, the desperate bite holding him still just as much as Xander’s heavy, toned body was.

* * * * *

When he thought about it later—and he did—Xander had no memory of literally ripping the cotton and denim from his vampire’s body. He also had no recollection of the long, pale fingers tearing his own leather and silk from him. He would only know it had happened because of the shredded fabrics scattered about the room and the long, red marks on his own skin that remained for close to a day.

But that would be later.

* * * * *

The hyena was entirely too pleased with itself, was the first thing Xander thought as he swam up from his own depths and groaned. His ass was on fire, burning hotter and hotter as the wicked but still somehow loving snarls echoed through him in time with the vicious pounding his anus was receiving. “J-j-j-j…”

The demon was crowing, Spike knew, even as they slammed harder, faster, deeper into their mate’s bloody opening. Then again, so was he. It had been… too long since the last time he’d fucked his lover this way. Sixteen days, to be precise, and even then, he hadn’t been this out of control.

“Nnnnnnnghhhhhh…” he ordered, words beyond him for the moment, just as they seemed to be beyond his love.

Claw-like fingers scraped repeatedly up and down Xander’s ribs as Spike’s chest held him down. He could feel the trickles of thick, swiftly cooling blood flow down the backs of his thighs, and… God, he didn’t care! He needed this, and his hyena had known it even if he hadn’t, and…

His hands grabbed roughly at the silken comforter beneath him as he pushed up, taking the next desperate thrust even deeper than the last.

Over two weeks of soft, sweet love-making, and it had been amazing, but not everything he’d needed, and obviously not everything Spike had needed either, and when had he become such a fucking moron that he’d denied both his own animal spirit and his lover’s demon just because of the feeding issues?

Not that it mattered now, he realized, because there was no way his Spike wasn’t going to drink him long and hard… and soon. ‘God, yessss… soon,’ he thought, still unable to form words outside of his own mind.

‘Goin’ ta bite ya, Xan… drink ya… can’t not, an’… don’t care what happens… worth it, luv… worth it ta feel ya flowing through me, fillin’ me up with everythin’ ya are, an’…’ he was counting his inability to speak as a good thing, considering the babble that was running through his mind. His hips moved faster, harder still, and if he hadn’t known his Xan would heal up in nearly no time at all, he would have been worried about the amount of blood slicking his way.

‘Love him,’ he heard from the demon part of him, ‘Won’t hurt him too much…’

And ‘Love him… need to taste him… belong to him, with him…’ from the soul.

He ignored the small sense of ‘soft soddin’ prat’ the demon sent the soul-- mostly because he was busy, but also because it felt like teasing—and lifted his chest from his bloke’s back, hips moving harder yet again as the new angle let him slam repeatedly into that spongy nub inside Xander’s ass.

“G-g-g-g-g…” he barely managed to straighten his arms, lifting his torso from the mattress as the already violent pounding became more so. Still, he found himself slamming back into each thrust, something inside him that was both the hyena and not… needing this. His cock was throbbing, pulsing, and all he needed was…

He rocked back again, hard, his head tilting, offering the strongly defined cords in his neck to the souled demon plundering him, and when he felt the first prick of those teeth against his skin, he shouted incomprehensibly, letting loose streams of babble and hot, thick seed into the air, the latter splashing repeatedly onto the bed.

‘Drinkin’ ya, drinkin’ ya, oh bloody fuck, I’m drinkin’ ya, tastin’ ya for more than a moment and bloody fuckin’ hell, ya taste even better than I remembered and I can’t stop… God, help me stop, can’t hurt ya, won’t hurt ya, don’t want that… just want ya…!’ And the internal babble wasn’t gone yet, Spike realized, but then he smelled the unmistakable scent of his love’s release and…

He shuddered, shook, teeth driving a bit deeper as he slammed roughly into his bloke’s welcoming anus… and as a fresh burst of thick, rich blood filled his mouth, he emptied himself wildly and deeply within his beloved, unable to stop swallowing him down.

Part Thirty-Three

His head was pounding when he woke. Then again, so was his ass, and it was that second throbbing that had him groaning as the memories of the previous night flooded back to him.

He’d tried to leave. Tried to leave his Xander!

And while it hadn’t worked out that way, he still couldn’t believe that he’d really intended to just… go.

Still he had meant to do just that, although Spike truly doubted that he would have gotten far.

No… judging from the man’s reaction to the idea alone, if Spike had actually managed to leave the building with a bag, his Xan would have been after him within hours if not minutes, and… and he would have found himself right back here in their rooms anyway. After he’d been shagged bloody wherever his love found him, of course, which he was in the end, anyway, and hadn’t that been sodding intense?

Then again, he reminded himself with a smirk before the swift change of expression pulled a moan from him, his bloke had been on the receiving end of being literally shagged bloody, too.

It had been… perfect, the vampire admitted silently, but… bloody hell, how could he have even thought of leaving, much less have packed?

He wasn’t sure, honestly, but thought it might have something to do with how… dejected he’d felt then.

He wasn’t feeling that way anymore, though. In fact, he was nearly vibrating with pure contentment, aching ass and throbbing head not withstanding.

He stretched slowly, feeling the vertebrae in his spine popping softly and he moaned again, this time happily as the action relieved the tension in his back.

Xander chuckled silently, watching his vampire’s pale skin as it moved, slid smoothly over muscle and bone. “Morning, baby,” he murmured, shifting closer to press himself tightly to Spike’s back, “Feeling better…?”

He chuckled again, aloud this time, as the sensation of his hardened shaft pressing into the cleft of the blond’s ass earned him a soft hiss. “Still a little tender, huh?” he whispered, lips against one white ear as his hands stroked defined abs slowly.

“Bloody hell, Xan…” Spike groaned, one hand sliding behind him to grip tightly at a warm hip, “Soddin’ sore is what I am, luv… think ya broke me, mate.”

Brown eyes crinkled at the corners as Xander gently slid one hand up, skimming over ribs before finding a small, flat nipple. His fingers pinched softly, working the tiny point into a tight peak as he pressed his hips closer still, his other hand slipping down to cup lightly haired balls.

“Mmmm… broke you, baby?” he breathed, nipping almost roughly at the lobe of Spike’s ear, “I don’t think so. Maybe bent you a little, but you had it coming, didn’t you? You tried to leave me, Spike. I couldn’t let you do that. The hyena couldn’t let you do that.”

His lips slid down, teeth scraping harshly over the vampire’s long, pale neck. “Hell, love. You’re lucky we didn’t just chain you to the bed and fuck you unconscious, over and over, for a week or two.”

And bloody hell, the thought alone was enough to have Spike’s cock surging to full mast. “I… bloody… fuck, Xan! Sorry, aren’t I? W-wasn’t rightly… myself, was I…?” he moaned, his neck arching wickedly against the blunt teeth.

Xander nodded slightly, teeth fastened on the fragrant flesh as his tongue laved the bit of skin between his lips before he released it and pressed himself harder between the toned, tense cheeks. “I know, love,” he said, a slight tinge of sorrow in his voice, “And that’s my fault. I was so busy trying to keep you safe, I didn’t even notice that I was denying you what you need.” He sighed and bit softly at the blond’s shoulder once more. “Believe me, baby… I won’t let it happen again. I’m so sorry, Spike… so sorry, love… Didn’t mean to hurt you… never want to hurt you…”

It was the obvious sincerity in the man’s tone that had Spike’s fingers tightening on that hip, even as he raised his top leg slightly, his knee bending to rest his ankle on his Xan’s lower thigh. “D-didn’t… hurt me, luv… was scared, ‘s all…” He gasped, face flicking quickly to true at the sharp, rough burn of the thick, hot shaft pressing against his abused and aching anus. “F-felt like I was… l-losin’ ya… an’ didn’t know how ta… s-stop it…”

“Shhhh… shhhh, baby… never gonna lose me, Spike… not ever…” he murmured, pulling the arm around his vampire’s chest higher, holding his wrist to sharp, jagged teeth. “Drink, baby. Taste me… right here, here with you…” And as those teeth slipped slowly into the offered flesh, Xander pressed forward, biting his lip as he felt just the seeping tip of him push through the tight, resistant ring at his Spike’s opening. “God, love…”

Bloody fucking hell, that hurt! But it felt good, too, and as his Xander went deeper, opening him wider, filling him to breaking, the good far outweighed the pain. “B-bloody… fuck, luv… just… yah, pet…” he moaned against the skin pressed to his lips, his hips rocking back into the slow, gentle thrusts. “D-don’t stop…”

“Never stopping, baby. Never gonna let you forget how much you’re mine… how much I’m yours…” the brunette whispered, teasing his vampire’s other nipple for a few moments before sliding his fingers slowly down the arching torso to ghost lightly over Spike’s straining shaft. “Shouldn’t have listened to them about the blood, Spike… ‘cause you drank me, baby… drank me nearly dry… and you’re fine, aren’t you? Sore, even, and tighter than usual… God, Spike… Fuck, love… gonna slide in and out of you for hours, keep you so close and never let you cross that line…”

He chuckled low and deep, sucking the pale lobe into his mouth again and biting down hard enough to pull a whimpered hiss from his lover. “And when I can’t take it anymore… when the blood-sex-seminal-mine scent is about to make me crazy, Spike…”

The vampire groaned and forced his lips from the bleeding wrist, trying to shift his hips faster as his blokes words filled his mind, senses swimming with the sensation of being exactly where he was meant to be. “Y-yah, pet…? What th-then…?” his spine curled forward then back as the big, warm hand on his cock slid effortlessly over smooth, silken skin with the slick aid of his own fluids.

Xander came as close to purring as the hyena spirit could manage as he pressed himself deep again, hips rolling slowly in small, tight circles within the blissful sheath of Spike. “Then I’m gonna cum, baby… cum so long and deep in you, love, that you’ll be able to taste me… fill you so full, Spike… never be able to get my scent out of you.” His lips moved from the sleek curve of his blond’s ear, finding the crook of the man’s neck after a slow, leisurely lap down the sinfully soft skin between. “Gonna stroke you, milk you, baby… and by then, Spike…? You’ll be so ready, so desperate to cum… it’s gonna feel like your entire body’s exploding.”

“S-sounds messy, luv…” he somehow managed to say, eyes closing tightly as those blunt teeth pinched his skin hard, then harder still, and when he felt them break skin, felt his Xander’s tongue lapping at the slow, thick blood, it was all he could do not to shout. “P-pet, Xan, luv, mine… bloody hell Xander, yes! D-drink me, pet… need this, need this, need you, need… b-bloody…” And the healing wound on his bloke’s wrist called to him, pulling sharp fangs back to reopen it tenderly.

His growl was possessive, Xander knew, even muffled by the blood filling him. Still that was as it should be, he figured. He was possessive, and… his fingers closed tightly around the base of his vampire’s seeping shaft, deliberately staving off his love’s imminent orgasm. He fully intended to keep his word to Spike, after all, and… then again, let his vampire cum. Let him cum again and again, until the blond despaired of ever feeling him cum.

Yeah, he thought, eyes flashing wicked green as he slowed his steady swallows of his love’s essence. His vampire deserved a bit of punishment for trying to leave him, and if that punishment was enjoyable for the both of them, then so much the better.

* * * * *

The girl was driving him insane. There was no question about that. She was driving him completely, inarguably barmy, and Giles had rather more than a sneaking suspicion that she was doing it on purpose.

There was nothing he could point to and tell himself ‘ah-hah! There’s the proof!’. Of course there wasn’t. Fran was far too smart for that. She was smart enough, actually, that if it weren’t for the fact that he knew she was doing it deliberately, he would think he was imagining it.

First there were the endless hours she’d taken to spending in his library-cum-office—far more time than she’d habitually spent there although she had the handy excuse of researching Morah demons and using the computer to generate a ‘genetic blueprint’ as she called it of what might be the effects of a Primal carrying that blood… and another set of ‘blueprints’ of the various possible outcomes should a vampire feed on that Primal. Entirely theoretical, of course, she said, but still…

Secondly, of course, was the way she’d been flaunting herself during those hours.

Not that she’d changed her mode of dress in the slightest, because she hadn’t. In fact, she’d made no effort to draw attention to her young, strong body… she never even wore skirts to show off her long, toned legs. And she also hadn’t changed her minimal make-up or done anything different with her long, dark hair. It had always shone rather silkily, he admitted in his less lustful moments.

Third, fourth and fifth on his list were a slew of other things she wasn’t doing even remotely differently, but damn it, she had to be doing something! There could be no other reason he’d be so bloody hyper-aware of her every movement, could there?

No, of course not, Giles answered himself, trying desperately to keep his eyes on the page in front of him rather than Fran’s soft, red lips as they nibbled so delicately at the end of her pen.

The girl was deliberately driving him bug-shagging-nuts-- as Spike had once phrased the degree of instability he was feeling after he’d gotten his soul, and how bloody sad was it that he only understood the phrase now?

Yes, it must be Fran’s doing. He’d never found himself attracted to one of his young charges before, and the girl was only seventeen! That was… sick on a level that Giles had never even imagined he could sink to.

Maybe the young Slayer was a witch, he thought, brow smoothing a bit at the thought. And if she was… no, she would have to be entirely untrained, so there was every chance that whatever she was doing was entirely subconscious in nature and not intentional, as he’d suspected for the last several weeks.

That had to be it, he told himself with a relieved smile. Fran was far too kind of a girl to inflict this sort of torment knowingly. Perhaps he should send he to Willow; allow the Premiere Wiccan to train her so that this sort of thing would never happen again. After all, it wasn’t every older yet distinguished gentleman who would have the strength to deny the pull of her unintended spell.

Yes… that would be for the best. It was rare for a Slayer with other powers to be Called, but not entirely unheard of. Willow would certainly be able to help Fran learn some control.

His smile faded just a bit as the ‘Ripper’ portion of his psyche flashed images of the slender redhead ‘controlling’ Fran through his mind but he pushed them away. Fran was obviously not gay; the witch would respect that.

Of course, Willow hadn’t been gay, once upon a time, either…

No, maybe he wouldn’t send the dark-haired young woman to Brazil after all. The coven in Essex would surely be able to assist the poor girl well enough.

They would have to.

* * * * *

~From: Fran-tastic
~To: Two Eyed Terror
~Subject: Off his bloody rocker AGAIN!

Dear Xander,

Your bloody father figure has lost his bloody mind! He seems to believe that I’m a witch of all things! As if being a Slayer isn’t trouble enough!

Bloody… God, Xander, okay. Let me start at the beginning, then.

You know Giles and I have been researching the question of what your blood and your blood only—meaning your blood as his sole nutrition—might do to Spike, yes?

Well in the three weeks we’ve been focusing on that, Giles had gone entirely barmy. He’s been… twitchy around me, looking at me as though I’m likely to bite him out of nowhere or kiss him again, and now…

Bloody hell, Xander, now he’s decided that I’m a witch! He wants to send me to Essex to study with the coven there!

If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was trying to get rid of me, but that can’t be it. Giles and I have always gotten along quite well. You know, in that ‘I somewhat scare and impress him with the way my mind works and he’s not quite sure of whether to thank me or spank me for it’ way.

I understand that attitude, honestly. It’s familiar, isn’t it? My whole life I’ve been treated in much the same manner by those in charge of me, starting with my parents and ending with Giles.

What I don’t understand is his recent change towards me and that’s why I’m writing to you now.

You know him better than most anyone, I think, so is there any way you can possibly find out what the bloody fuck his problem is? You’re his ‘son’. He might tell you and then you can tell me and I can find some way to fix things!

I do not want to go to Essex, Xander! There’s nothing there for me!

I’m smart, yes. And a Slayer, granted. But the truth is, I have no supernatural powers.

No other supernatural powers, I mean.

Besides, if I let Giles send me away, who’s going to look after him? The cook? Don’t make me laugh. She’s got anywhere between forty and sixty people to look after on a daily basis. She doesn’t even notice when Giles isn’t eating properly, and even though she does live within the House, she’s in bed by ten each night. How would she know if he was staying up all night with his bloody books and needed a bit of a nibble to keep his strength up?

You see, Xander? Giles needs me, even if he is too stubborn of a git to admit it! I shudder to think of how his health would degenerate if I were gone for two bloody years learning to control powers I don’t even have!

Please, Xander. Be a mate and talk to him? Bad enough that he’s treating me like some sort of dangerous animal, but if this doesn’t stop it’s going to drive me barmy, as well!

Thanks, bloke…


* * * * *

~From: Two Eyed Terror
~To: Fran-tastic
~Subject: Re: Off his bloody rocker AGAIN!

Hey, Fran. I’d ask how it’s going but I think I know. LOL

I don’t know what to tell you, though. I mean, I called him and everything was fine but as soon as I brought up your name he got all stuttery.

And did you say ‘kiss him again’? When did you kiss Giles? And… why?

Gah. Okay, now I’m all creeped out. Um, unless it was your birthday and he gave you some sort of really cool Slayer type gift. I bet that’s it, right? You were just excited and weren’t thinking. Yeah.

Okay. Still having a wiggins here, so moving on.

I guess I should have told you this before, but it’s only been a few days, so I guess now is as good a time as any.

I tried to be the responsible guy, okay? I mean, somebody had to and I think you know Spike well enough to know that the phrase ‘poor impulse control’ was probably created just for him, right? LOL

Well, anyway, I didn’t let him feed on me at all for a couple weeks. I made sure he had human, though, so don’t worry about his health, okay?

To make a long story really, really short, uh… made him kinda crazy, he drank me again, and it didn’t really do anything to him other than make him not crazy. Or as not crazy as he ever was, anyway. LOL

I’ve been looking through some of Wesley’s old books, though—and I know, SO not the research-guy, right? But I guess I never really had a good enough reason to actually try before. Believe me when I say Spike is definitely a good enough reason for the ass-numbing hours I’ve been reading lately.

My point—and I do have one LOL—is that maybe my blood’s not dangerous to Spike because I’ve been drinking him, too. Does that make any sense?

I mean, I’m not healing any slower or anything, but maybe the vampire blood in me makes my blood safer for him?

I’m not sure yet, but I think that might be it.

And before you ask, No, I can’t send you the books I’ve been reading. They’re attached to Wolfram and Hart. Apparently trying to take them out of the building makes them scream really loud. Like... louder than a jet engine and don’t ask me how I know because I’m not telling.

Anyway, don’t worry. I’m not letting Spike drink only me anymore even if I do think it’s safe. He’s still on the bags of human. We just mix a little of mine in with it and when he does drink me, it’s only a few swallows and it’s while we’re… busy.

Okay, and how weird is it that I’m telling that to a seventeen year old girl? I could possibly go to jail for that, right? LOL

Oh, well. I guess Giles was right. You’re way more mature than your age.

All I can really say about Giles acting strange is… stick it out. I’m sure whatever’s bugging him will work itself out.

It might not be soon, though. He can be like a dog with a bone sometimes.

Good luck, Fran. And if you don’t want to go to Essex, don’t go. Or maybe get someone from the coven to come there and check you for magic or whatever it is they do. Willow would know, but I’m no Willow, which is a good thing because as much as I like women, I really don’t want to be a lesbian, and okay, that made NO sense so I’m going now. LOL

Take care of yourself. And Giles. No matter what he says, you’re right. He really does need someone to watch out for him. It might as well be someone he trusts, right?


* * * * *

~From: Clever Childe
~To: Fran-tastic
~Subject: Crazy Watcher-man

Hey, pet.

Yeah, it’s me, and I’m guessing you’ve figured out I read Xan’s mail from the subject line, right?

Look, luv, don’t know what my bloke told you to do about your little problem with Rupert, but seeing as I’ve been around for a good bit longer than either of them, thought I’d give you my tuppence worth.

Go to Essex, Franny.

Know you’re not a witch, alright? That’s not the bloody point.

Sounds like old Rupes needs some space, pet, and I’m not saying you’re crowding him, but speaking as a bloke myself, sometimes a man needs room to think.

And who’s to say Essex wouldn’t be a right good time? Probably don’t have a Slayer there, considering there’s a coven, right? Might be able to get some solo Slaying in, yeah? Or even get the witches to help you with that little ‘experiment’ you mentioned a while back.

Speaking of that, if you should happen to run into a vampire bloke name of Vlad, go for it. The bloody bastard still owes me, after all. Might be nice to get a bit of my own back through you. With adequate interest, of course. He’d be a right good subject for you; especially since he made my Xan eat bugs that time.

Do it, pet. Vlad would be perfect for your experiment. I’m sure of it.

And yeah, I’m smirking, luv.

So go, Franny. To Essex. And have fun, yeah?

I’m not saying you should go for the two bloody years he’s taking about, but I’d be right surprised if you went and he wasn’t asking them to send you back inside a month.

Bloke might feel like you’re crowding him at the moment, pet, but a few weeks without you around to listen to his god-awful rambling monologues and he’ll be begging you to come home.

Just my opinion, of course, but mine is better than most.

Oh, and don’t worry ‘bout me and my bloke. Think we’ve got the blood thing figured out.

Part Thirty-Four

It had been just as easy as she’d expected, Fran thought with a smug grin as she crept from the restroom in the rear of the Council’s private plane.

Step one: Announce to the very distracted and oddly skittish Giles that she was, in fact, going to Essex to learn all about her ‘new powers’.

Step two: Insert her need for Spike and Xander’s address ‘I’ve come across some documents that may help them, Giles… I don’t particularly care to keep that information to myself; do you? But it would be best to send them the copies via FedEx. Never know who might intercept a fax, right?’.

Step three: Contact Dawn in Italy and convince her to visit London before her scheduled visit to Los Angeles.

Step four: Slip into the ‘Rare Documents’ vault with the key she’d ‘borrowed’ from Giles’s desk and do a little private research, and wouldn’t the Chief Watcher be bloody well pissed if he ever found out?

Step five: Carefully copy the information she’d found there before replacing the originals just as carefully and returning the key during yet another bout of stammering lens-cleaning on Giles’s part and

Step six—easily the simplest of them all: Pack her things, bid Giles farewell and slip off in a cab, allegedly to catch a train but in actuality to Heathrow.

From there, it had taken no effort at all to find her way to the tarmac where the Council’s jet was waiting for Dawn and she’d slipped aboard.

Granted, enduring take-off and a good hour and a half in the cramped confines of aft loo hadn’t been terribly pleasant, but Fran had always been willing to do whatever was necessary, hadn’t she?

Even when what had been necessary was for her to leave her home, her family, her few close friends, and fly halfway ‘round the world because some bloke in far too much tweed said she’d been Called, she’d done it.

Even when she’d been asked to suspend everything she’d ever believed about the world around her and accept that there were demons, werewolves, witches, and—most importantly, considering her Slayerness—vampires, she’d managed it with the appearance of grace, although it had taken her a good few months to believe the Watchers weren’t just having her on.

So, yes. She was definitely a ‘do what I have to do and worry about it later’ sort of girl.

Of course, Giles would most likely be extremely unhappy with her when he discovered the truth of her whereabouts, but there wasn’t really an awful lot he’d be able to do from London, would there?

She was a Slayer, Fran told herself again, pushing the worry about Giles’s anger away. And sometimes a Slayer had to act on instinct.

Well, her instincts were telling her that she needed to be in Los Angeles.

Her instincts and the few words she’d been able to translate from the books she’d found, anyway.

She fully expected that the vampire and his Primal would be shocked to see her. She also expected that Dawn would be rather greatly surprised to see her emerge from the restroom.

Unfortunately, she was due for a bit of a shock herself when she finally opened the door and found the older girl nearly bouncing just outside it.

“It’s about time, Fran!” Dawn squeaked. “I’m about to explode, here!” And with that, Dawn Summers—former mystical key and current sister to THE Slayer—yanked the young woman out through the door and shut herself inside, nearly tripping over the duffle bag wedged beside the small sink.

* * * * *

“You are foolish and lacking in thought and intellect,” the blue haired woman said stonily, standing as stiffly as she always did. “The… human… is of less importance than even my pet half-breed. Let it live or die on the whim of whatever creature might choose to tame it.”

‘Oh, yeah, she’s real helpful, you big girl!’ Angelus grumbled silently. ‘Let’s ask Illyria what she’s come up with,’ he mimicked insultingly, ‘And we see just what that is, don’t we, soulboy? A big fucking load of nothing!’

Angel sighed. He’d been doing that a lot more often than usual, he noticed, and somehow he had a feeling that trend wasn’t going to end until they had a solution to the whole Xander Harris problem.

“If you don’t want to help, just say so. Fred would have helped.”

Illyria’s oddly expressionless face remained so as she cocked her head mechanically. “Yes. This shell would have been pleasured to assist in your efforts. It held affection for my pet. I, however, do not, beyond finding him amusing-- and he has ceased to be so since the human arrived here. I believe the removal of that pathetic being will return my pet to his former self and that is why I do not find myself inclined to participate in your ridiculous attempts to assimilate it.”

And how did he explain to the woman-like creature that losing Harris wouldn’t do anything but cause them all to lose Spike for good?

‘Fuck, let me do it, shit for brains!’ the demon demanded. ‘Talking about Fred isn’t gonna get it done. Hell, Illyria’s still fighting the parts of Fred that are left inside her ‘shell’, and you think she’s gonna help us because you’re appealing to something she’s afraid of? Besides, she seems to think we’re the fucking Borg or something. ‘Assimilate it’. Right.’

And maybe Angelus had a point, Angel told himself. ‘Fine,’ he sighed, ‘but I’m not setting you free, got it? Just… loosening the leash enough for you to talk outside of my head.’

‘Whatever, soulboy… let’s just get it done. Spike and Xander seem to be okay for now, but you know as well as I do that that could change at any minute. Especially if they keep leaving the fucking building!’

That was true enough, too, Angel admitted. Good old ‘demon-magnet Harris’ was even more appealing to certain types now that he had that Primal spirit inside him along with the Morah blood. Hell, he wasn’t even sure a Claiming would be enough to ward of other demons anymore. It was probably going to have to be a full Mating for his Childe and Harris, and that made it even more imperative that they get Illyria’s help; at least with the research portion of things, if not more.

The God within Fred’s form had been around forever, more or less. If it wanted to, it could help them even more than Wes could have, had he still been alive.

Angel nodded slowly and with one more deep, rough sigh he relaxed the chains holding his demon in that small corner of his mind.

* * * * *

Spike was growling, even as they returned to the Wolfram and Hart building, and the fact that his Xander was laughing at the sound didn’t help matters any. “ ‘s not funny,” he grunted, wiping one blob of thick, gelatinous goo from his arm with a disgusted snarl. “Right there beside me, holdin’ my bloody hand and that soddin’ Kithnesten thought ya’d go off with it? An’ slimed me for tellin’ it no?”

“What can I say, baby,” Xander said smugly, “It’s not like you didn’t know I’m a nummy treat, right?”

And that only made him growl louder as he shoved his bloke into the elevator and pressed him hard against the back wall. “You’re still a bloody demon magnet, git. But you’re my demon magnet an’ th’ rest need ta just stay th’ bloody fuck away from ya!”

Xander sighed softly, well aware of the fact that if he’d just scar already, the scent of his mate would be locked into his skin and there wouldn’t be any more incidents like the one earlier. And it was his own fault, although he’d never planned on being made immortal by having that Morah bleed out into him.

He nodded, responding to Spike’s words, then slammed his lips hard against his vampire’s cooler ones. “We’ll figure it out, baby… promise. And soon! I… shit, Spike, I want them all to know I’m taken too, don’t I?” he demanded after pulling a scant inch away from the too-tempting lips.

And there wasn’t much Spike could say to that. Of course his bloke wanted to be open about being wrapped up in him. He knew his Xan’s heart, after all. And yet there was a small part of him—mostly the demon—that was convinced Xander could have managed it somehow.

Bloody hell, he hated his demon sometimes. “Y-yah… right, then. Just need ta shag ya more, I’m guessin’. Make sure ya never smell of anythin’ but me… an’ we need ta never leave th’ bloody buildin’, either.”

It was a serious question regarding which of them was dragging the other when the elevator finally stopped. They somehow made it down the hallway, though, and just about literally fell through the door to Spike’s rooms.

Xander managed to kick the door closed as the met the floor, and it was a good thing, as they didn’t make it any further right at first.

They were too caught up in tearing the clothes from each others’ bodies and greeting bared flesh with lips and hands, fingers and tongues, to worry about walking—or crawling—to their bed.

Then again, it wasn’t the first time; nor would it be the last.

* * * * *

“Harder,” Spike snarled, fingers digging deep into tanned skin as his love rode him. “Faster,” he demanded, the demon wanting nothing more than to cum and cum deep, leave his scent in his Primal’s body, then leave it again on his skin… and there’d be no showering after; especially not if they were going to be leaving their rooms. Some of the other employees had been giving his bloke the eye, too, he was sure, and… best they know by scent as well as words that Xander was his.

Xander couldn’t help the sly smirk that crossed his lips at the commands, although he somehow managed to hold in the deeply amused chuckle as he obeyed.

His body moved harder, faster, just as ordered, and his hands rested, splayed, on Spike’s chest, fingers open to clutch and knead as much pale flesh as was possible, nails scraping erratically over the tight nubs of his vampire’s nipples. “Like this, baby?” he growled, green-tinged eyes meeting wide gold, “Want it like this? Want me to scream for you? I will, Spike… I’ll scream loud enough that even the sound-proofing wards Deadboy put around your rooms won’t hold… everyone in a mile radius will hear me shouting your name… hollering that nobody but Spike can make me feel this way, make me feel so whole…” He groaned softly, then louder as he lifted himself and slammed back down with a twist of his hips. “Is that… what… you w-want, b-baby…?”

The vampire howled, his body arching, bowed up against the mattress as one nail slid down his chest, drawing blood in a fiery line of shivering pleasure. “YES!” he nearly pleaded, and when his bloke shifted again, doing something he’d never even imagined with his hips, he felt himself tensing more than ever before and sitting up; found his jagged teeth buried deep in Xander’s throat even as the blunt, still-human teeth pierced his own flesh, and somehow…

Somehow, he had no doubt that at the very least, everyone in the building could hear their completion, even if he didn’t know how it could have happened with the wards.

* * * * *

It had taken most of the cab ride from the airport for Fran to understand that Dawn had not only been expecting her to stow away on the plane but had no intention of turning her in to Giles for it.

In fact, if the slightly older young woman was to be believed, she’d expected Fran because the Powers had told her she’d be there.

Of course, Fran wasn’t entirely sure she bought that herself. After all, what difference did it make to the Powers if one of the many, many Slayers in Training decided to skip out? And why would they care, especially since she’d run away in order to help a vampire and a… whatever Xander was now?

When she’d asked Dawn exactly that, however, the girl had simply laughed, rolled her eyes, then snorted once before responding.

“You really think the PTBs don’t have some kind of stake in what happens to one of the original Scoobies and the only vampire with a soul who chose to have one? Puh-leeze.” Dawn said with a very ‘I’m older and wiser’ glance. “Besides, they’re the ones who told me to listen when you asked me to visit on the way to L.A.”

And for the first time, Fran felt entirely good about what she’d sneaked off to do.

It might make Giles angry when he found out, but odds were, she wouldn’t care by then.

The dead didn’t care about much, she figured, and… she was a Slayer. She’d been born with a limited shelf-life, after all.

If she chose to use it to help the two blokes who’d been friends to her even when they’d had no reason—and when most other people, even the other SITs, had treated her like something they tolerated but were afraid of—then that was her right. Her life. Her choice.

She’d never expected to live forever, anyway. Not even before she’s been Called.

Nothing in her expression reflected those thoughts, of course, because if nothing else, Fran was a master of revealing nothing unless she chose to. And in this case, she chose not.

“”I’ll be counting on you to explain to Giles that I was doing as the Powers wished, then,” she finally said with a cheeky grin. “You know… when he discovers I’ve gone somewhere other than Essex.”

Her smile became even more snug and self-satisfied at the deep groan Dawn released.

She didn’t mention that it was going to be Dawn’s job due to the simple fact that Fran expected to be dead by the time Giles found out. She hadn’t really processed that part until just before they’d landed, after all. Still, nobody lived forever, and she figured it was better to go out helping her friends than by falling in love with Death as so many of her sister Slayers had done.

Yes, far better.

She wouldn’t go out while facing some halfwit demon, just because she’d grown weary of fighting the entropy that surrounded her… she wouldn’t die to no purpose, to no reason other than her own ennui.

And the world would keep turning once she was gone.

Her parents would be fine. She was already unknown to them; she hadn’t spoken to them in close to three years. News of her death would sadden them, granted… until they got the next invitation to whatever event was happening at the Sydney Opera House.

Her brother would likely grieve for a good few months, of course, although he’d probably do it in whatever bar was likely to get him the greatest number of sympathy-shags… once he finally heard, in any case.

Hell, of her family, her brother was the one who would miss her most and light a candle for her on her birthday every year. He gave a good show of being uncaring, but it was more like… he always expected things to remain the same behind him, no matter how much they changed in front of him, and… she’d write him a note, she figured. Spike and Xander would find some way of getting it to him.

As for the rest of the people she loved, well…

Giles would find another protégé, after all, and maybe this time from amongst the slowly increasing group of fledgling Watchers, and…

“It’ll be fine, Dawn,” Fran added softly. “I’m a Slayer, after all. Not a Watcher. Giles knows better than to become too… attached.”

Dawn’s eyes rolled once again and she echoed her earlier snort almost perfectly. As though she hadn’t heard the naked want in Giles’s voice when he’d spoken to—and of, in a private moment—Fran.

“Right… he’ll only fit one of the rooms at the Watcher House out as a dungeon and keep you there until you see the error of your ways… PTBs or not.” She chuckled. “Then again, that’ll be fun to see, so I guess I’m in. In on whatever it is you’re really up to, I mean. Because I gotta tell you, Fran… so not buying the whole ‘I’m running away to L.A. to teach Giles a lesson about ordering me around’ thing.”

And that was honestly that last thing Fran had been expecting to hear from Dawn so she found herself blinking at the other brunette. “I… you… but that’s not what I…” She swallowed hard. “What do you mean?”

“You’ve found some way around Xander’s Morah blood, right?” Dawn said smugly, congratulating herself as the stunned look in Fran’s eyes deepened. “Well, whatever it is, I’m in. I… look. I love Xander. He’s like… the older brother I never had, okay? And I still need to kill him for letting me think he was dead for like… six months, but that’s a whole other thing and he will be explaining himself; trust me on that! He has no resistance to the pout-of-doom.” She demonstrated.

“And Spike!” Dawn blushed slightly. “I remember sitting in his crypt back in Sunnydale. I… used to go there after school, back when he was chipped. And he was so…” she sighed happily, “So Spike! I mean, how could I not have fallen just a little bit in love with him? It’s not like he was a regular vampire, right?”

Fran laughed and shook her head, not entirely sure of how he could have been anything but a ‘regular vampire’ when he’d had a chip and no soul but willing to believe it of Spike. After all, any other vamp who’d just… been souled without preparation… would have likely spent decades moaning and crying, and that was not Spike.

“So what did you do with the bloke after classes, then?” she asked, waggling a brow playfully. “Can’t say as I blame you, whatever it was. He’s a looker, alright…”

“Ewww… okay, just ewww. Um, and ewww again, Fran! I was like… fifteen!” Dawn announced, making small gagging noises in her throat. Then she blinked and looked at the younger girl. “And… God, I hate to say this, but when I was fifteen I wasn’t… well, I have a feeling that you at fifteen is a totally different thing. You… you’re an old soul, Fran. And even worse… when I was fifteen? I was really like… one. You know, with the whole… ‘created from a blob of energy’ thing.”

Fran shrugged. She’d known Dawn’s history ever since she’d been taken to London, after all, and as far as she was concerned it didn’t matter a bit. The younger Summers sister remembered growing up. Buffy remembered Dawn growing up. Hell, everyone who’d been there remembered it, and…

It was memories that shaped a person, that made them what they were.

Dawn remembered growing up, remembered her life. And if she’d also been a bloody KEY, then that was fine. It was like… spending much of your life believing you were white and then finding out at fifteen or sixteen that you were part black.

It didn’t change the person who existed inside your skin; it didn’t change your appearance. It just changed your perception of who you wanted to be; the possibilities became broader.

Fran said as much and found herself laughing as Dawn detailed the stories the blond vampire had told her back then… and almost peed herself laughing even harder when she heard about the story Buffy had interrupted and Spike’s ‘nice save’ of an ending.

Both girls looked up as their taxi slowed and they exchanged determined looks.

Nobody was going to thwart them in their goals—for Dawn, to spend time with Spike and Xander and help Fran with her plot… and for Fran, to enact the rituals she’s uncovered, which only she could do, and… die.

Both of them found their brows furrowing in matching curiosity and concern, however, when they entered the building and heard twin howls reverberating through the lobby, seemingly from nowhere. It was only the annoyed but unworried sighs the desk guards were letting out that had them convinced there wasn’t anything bad in the offing.

“Bossman needs to up the strength on those wards,” one said to the other as the girls approached.

The other guard shook his head and reached for the visitors list. “He’s already got an entire team on it. Hell help us all.”

Part Thirty-Five

It was only pure luck that Fran’s initial stake missed its mark.

Luck and the sudden although somehow still hesitant slim hand that darted out and caught it a mere three inches or so from its target.

“What the..? Fran!” Dawn yelped, stepping quickly in front of the girl and staring at her, wide-eyed, “That’s Angel! We don’t… stake him! He’s… Giles would be so pissed at you! Not to mention… Buffy? Pffft! Kill you dead.”

The young Slayer shook her head stubbornly, pushing the taller brunette out of her way and reaching for another stake, this one in her jacket pocket. “You didn’t hear what he was saying when we walked in, Dawn. I agree that he appears to be the Angel we’ve all heard of,” ‘been warned of’, she added silently, “but I don’t really think a vampire with a soul would be discussing the best methods of… raping Xander. And certainly not with… whatever the hell she is.”

Illyria cocked her head, giving the newly arrived girls a dispassionate stare. “You stink of death,” she said calmly to the shorter of the two. “Death and resignation. I do not like this stench. It is offensive and you will stop. Now.”

Her stony gaze moved to the other female and a small frown creased her brow. “Old One. I did not believe it was time. But you are here and that would imply that the time is indeed at hand. I will assist you in whatever manner you deem necessary, although my abilities are limited as long as I am trapped within this shell.”

“Uh… Angel?” Dawn nearly squeaked, the woman’s intent stare sending small, purely imaginary spiders skittering up and down her spine, “Make her stop?”

Angelus growled as he felt the soul swarming up, taking control again. “Fuck!” he managed to snarl, even as he was yanked back, his leash tied again to the wall of his immaterial prison.

“Angel blinked slowly then took one shuddering breath, his eyes finding the stake in Illyria’s hand. “Shit,” he muttered, “that bastard almost got me killed!”

For her part, Fran was confused at the suddenly less imperative need to slay the big, roughly-hewn vampire. He’d obviously been a threat when she and Dawn had first entered. She’d felt it bone-deep and even on her skin. But now… it was as though he’d somehow pulled an insulating layer of… something… over himself. Her ‘Slayer-sense’, as the other SiTs called it, was barely twinging at all. “No,” she muttered after a moment, “Your… was that your demon? Your demon almost got you killed.” ‘And still could,’ she vowed mentally. There was something worrisome in the strength of the pure evil she’d sensed within the vampire at first.

“I must inform you of my intention to leave this place, Angel,” Illyria said bluntly, still staring at the taller of the young women. “I will be needed in the coming redemption. The Old One will see to it that I am returned to my former glory and removed from this pitiful existence.”

“Angel!” Dawn yelped again, “Please! Make her stop! It’s… creepy. And weird!”

And while Angel had never grown as attached to Dawn as Spike had done, he couldn’t resist that hopeful and somewhat helpless tone in her voice… not to mention the disturbed pout she was throwing his way.

“Fine,” he said, answering the Hell God in Fred’s form, “You can start the leaving by getting out of my office and letting me talk to the… Old One. Why don’t you start packing for wherever it is you think you’re going?”

He still couldn’t believe Angelus and Illyria had been talking about raping Spike’s… Harris. The submission only counted if it was willing, just as he’d reminded his Childe of not so long ago. Then again, it was Angelus he was talking—thinking—about. Hell, his demon would do it just because they wanted the man. Assuming, of course, the demon could find some way to keep Spike from finding out, and…

“What? Sorry, I was…”

“Being incredibly useless and not even saying hi?” Dawn offered quickly, “Yeah. Kinda got that part.” She smiled, relieved when the scary blue-tinged woman stalked towards the door.

“Hold it,” Fran ordered, stepping in front of the… whatever she was… and holding out one hand. “I’d like my stake back, if you don’t mind.” She smiled slightly and tilted her head just a bit. “Actually, I’d like it back even if you do mind. It’s rather necessary if I’m going to protect Dawn. I mean, ‘the Old One’.”

Empty blue eyes met lively but hard brown and Illyria nodded sharply before slapping the item in question into the open palm. “”You still reek of death,” she stated coldly, “but as you act as the Old One’s protector, that is reasonable.” It was the most approval she’d shown to a human since… ever.

“Interesting people you’ve got around here… Angel,” Fran said softly, meeting depressed brown eyes. “Of course, in this case, I’m using the word ‘people’ rather loosely.”

Dawn’s eyes rolled at both vampire and Slayer. “Okay, can I just once take a vacation and not have it end up being all… freaky? Who was that and what was all that ‘Old One’ stuff? I mean, I’m twenty, for fuck’s sake, and you’re like…” She looked at Angel. “Two hundred and fifty-something? How am I the ‘Old One’?”

Angel couldn’t help laughing at the offended look on the girl’s face, although he was a good bit surprised when the unknown Slayer joined in with him.

“You know, Dawn,” he heard himself saying as he gave the girl a highly amused grin, “I remember when you wanted people to think you were older.”

Fran slowly slipped her stakes back into their usual spots, giving the vampire an appraising stare. “You know, Dawn,” she said consideringly, not bothering to lower her voice since the vamp would hear her anyway, “when he’s laughing like this, I can almost understand what your sister saw in him.”

And that was sobering for Angel, though Angelus was admiring the girl’s streak of cruelty and appreciating the fact that she was yet another dark-haired beauty… much like Xander Harris.

* * * * *

~From: Watcher Man
~To: Dark Avenger
~Subject: Research


I’m sorry to inform you that I haven’t had any luck in finding information regarding your problem, although I have made a bit more headway with regards to searching since a… distraction has been removed.

Bloody hell.

Alright, I am trying to be professional, Angel, but you must understand that this is difficult for me.

I truly don’t trust you, and frankly, I don’t particularly care for you, but you know that, and I believe you understand the reasons behind it.

They say that as one grows older, they experience a desire to give and receive forgiveness, but I haven’t found that to be the case.

In fact, as the years go by, sometimes flying and sometimes creeping so slowly that I’m amazed not to grow younger, I find myself wondering what could have been.

Where would I be now, Angel, if you hadn’t killed Jenny?

Would I be happily married, dandling a child or two on my knee? Would I be waking with the dawn, excited to discover what the new day might bring for myself and my family?


And perhaps not.

But I’ll never know, will I?

I’ll never know what might have happened, never know whether what I was feeling for her was truly love or merely… infatuation and appreciation.

We were so different, she and I, and yet… there was something there. Something… rich and bright and beautiful.

And I’ll never know what it was. Never know what it could have been.

And that’s because of you, Angel. Angelus.


I’m simply glad that you never managed to destroy any of my children, though it was not for lack of trying and you came close with Buffy. You almost ruined her heart and for a Slayer, that would have been fatal.

And yet I know you loved her.

You knew she would likely die young, and still you gave yourself—your heart—into her keeping.

I need to ask, Angel. How did you do it?

How did you look at her—so young and beautiful and innocent and doomed—and decide that it was alright? That the pain and heartache you’d feel when she died wasn’t something to avoid?

How did you see her and know she was far too young for you… and still let yourself want her?

Did… did you ever feel like a perverted old man, Angel? Like there was something wrong and filthy and just… bad in you when you looked at her and wanted to touch her?

Bloody hell.

Did you ever ask yourself whether loving her was wrong? Or did you console yourself with the notion that as a Slayer, she was likely to die young anyway, and… if you loved her—in every sense of the word—then at least she’d have known what it was to be loved? Evem though she was a child, compared to you?

Oddly enough, I’m not asking any of this to hurt you. I know it seems unlikely, but I truly am not. I… have my reasons, alright?

Sorry. I seem to have gone off on a tangent. Back to the topic at hand.

I’ll see whether I can find anything in the rare documents vault that might help with your problem, Angel.

I will update you on whatever I find in the next few days but as it is nearly five in the morning here, I believe I’ll be going.

Good night.


* * * * *

Giles groaned, dragging his glasses down his nose and frowning when one of the arms caught in his nostril.

“Bloody stupid… glasses,” he muttered, frowning at himself when placing them on the desk somehow knocked the nearly empty fifth of whiskey onto the floor. “Bloody… stupid… bottle…” he mumbled, the words slurring together even as his head dropped to the desk, his cheek hitting the ‘enter’ key as he passed out, the phrase ‘I don’t miss her, I don’t miss her’ running in a loop through his mind.

* * * * *

Spike chuckled as the banging on his door continued, even after he’d hollered out that he’d be right there.

He squirmed again, finally managing to get himself out of his Primal’s tight grip, meeting Xander’s annoyed but still amused growl with a grin.

“Sorry, luv. Can’t keep th’ Bit waitin’, can I?”

Xander blinked, then quickly rolled from the bed and snatched a pair of jeans from the floor, struggling to pull them on before realizing they were Spike’s. “Shit!” he groaned, fighting to get them off again as his vampire smoothly finished dressing and blew him a kiss before striding out of the bedroom to answer the increasingly violent knocks.

“Damned graceful vampire,” he muttered affectionately as he untangled his feet from the too-small pants and pulled some sweats from a drawer, tugging them on along with a t-shirt before following after the blond.

Fortunately for Spike and Dawn, the vampire had been expecting to be bowled over as soon as he opened the door; thus he was braced for the tall, slender—but curvy, Gods help him—missile that launched itself at him and they didn’t end up on the floor.

Instead, he caught the girl, swinging her around wildly as he heard his love come out of the bedroom, presumably dressed, although Spike wouldn’t have cared much if Dawn had seen his Xan naked… Xander was his, after all, and the girl knew it just as much as his bloke did.

“Nibblet!” he answered her shrieking, excited greeting, “Bloody hell, luv, you’ve grown!”

Fran rolled her eyes and stepped through the doorway, carefully avoiding the whirligig of blond and brunette. “Imagine that,” she muttered. “A human girl growing in two years. How… unusual.”

Xander laughed and shook his head at the sight of his love and Dawn. “I know,” he said with a grin, waving the Slayer over for their own less energetic greeting, although there was still a tight hug involved. “Maybe she’s a demon?” he chuckled playfully.

“What are you doing here, Fran?” he said after a moment, releasing the girl enough to straighten and meet her eyes. “Last I heard, you were… not going to Essex?”

Fran arched a brow at him and shook her head, mouthing ‘later’ while she nodded at the still giddy vampire and human girl.

Xander nodded in return, more than willing to put off what seemed like a sore subject. For a while, anyway. Until after his vampire had calmed a bit, though that might take a good amount of time, considering Spike had just been reunited with the girl he’d thought of as his own sister for years, now.


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