The motorcycle slowed to a crawl when it passed the sign that read "Welcome to Sunnydale." It's rider glanced at the sign as he drove by, but when he was past it the bike picked up speed again and streaked down the highway. Running full throttle it ate the road like a thing starved, and the leather clad figure on it's back leaned and shifted with an ease that spoke of long practice and great skill. Though it looked like your average kick-ass black bike, a closer inspection would reveal just how unique it really was. There was no other like it in the world.
A gift to it's rider, the bike was handmade...literally. It's top speed was nearly 180 mph, and it had never failed it's master. It's loyalty and skill in battle had earned it the name Bane. No other of it's race had a name, no other of it's race were allowed to think and act on their own. Only it's master gave such freedom, and in return it gave absolute devotion.
Elementals are powerful creatures, harnessed by only the most powerful to serve as familiars, when the Great Master had given it as a gift to the Master it had been sure this new one would misuse it. But the Master was not like any other of his kind either. Because he was different, he made it different. And now it had a name and a purpose...and a friend. It had it's Master. What more did an elemental geas bound to the service of a not quite mortal need?
Buffy Summers walked along the paths that lead from one building to another on the U.C. Sunnydale campus. The night was calm, the vamps were still recovering from the last time she and the remaining Scooby-gang had defeated them. Of the original Slayerettes only Willow and Giles remained. Cordelia was in L.A. along with Angel, Oz had returned for the second and final time a few months ago. And even then he had no interest in them. He'd returned for Devon. Neither the werewolf nor the singer had been heard from since Riley spotted them heading out of town in Oz's old van. And Xander...
Two weeks after defeating the initiative and destroying Adam, Xander had been killed. His father had gone into a drunken rage and shot both Xander and his mother. When he sobered up in his jail cell, he hung himself with the belt that the arresting officers forgot to take. Three hours after Xander's body was delivered to Sunnydale's morgue, it disappeared. For weeks afterward Willow, Giles, and Spike tried to find the boy. Terrified and half convinced that he was a vampire, Willow had even prepared the spell to restore his soul.
For her part, Buffy kept her eye out to make sure he got staked if she spotted him on a patrol. The boy had always been their weaklink, and she'd known since the beginning that eventually she would have to kill him. Xander attracted trouble like honey drew flies.
But time passed and no Xander. The reality of him slipped away into a kind of dream memory for the Slayerettes. And he was all but forgotten. Surprisingly, it was not Willow who came everynight to the empty grave with his name on it. Shortly after the stone marker was set, Spike took up residency in a crypt only a few feet away.
Angel had paid for the grave and the stone that bore Xander's name. He, Cordelia, Doyle, and Wesley had come to Sunnydale for the memorial service. When the words had been said and everyone else had long since gone on, it was Angel who returned just before sunrise to lead his silent childe into the safety of the crypt.
That was the first time in decades he had truly been able to be a Sire to his childe. He didn't understand why Xander's death tore Spike apart, he only knew that he was needed. He held his son while he screamed out his pain and honored his wish to have a gravestone put up for the boy. It was a simple gray marble stone with Xadner's name, birthdate, and the day he died carved into it. At Spike's request, one word had been added at the bottom in small letters...Friend.
Spike tended the grave everynight. Weeds were removed, the stone was cleaned, and a single tiger lily was left...everynight. In one of the many all day/ all night conversations they'd shared, Xander had told the vampire that the lily was his favorite flower. He'd also confessed that the only thing he feared about death was being alone. So Spike stayed with him.
The brunette had been something the vampire had never had before and most likely would not have again. He'd been a friend. Even now, he was uncertain how they'd come to be friends, but they had. And the only thing that Spike could do for his friend now was care for his grave, talk to his ghost (just in case it was around), and protect the friends Xander had risked his life again and again for. Spike's existence was simple now, take care of Xander and help the Slayer. There was nothing else left to do.
Bane felt the brush of it's Master's mind. Obeying the silent command, it stopped in front of an old house. Boarded up and abandoned for a long time, and still the place stank of death and pain. Someone had suffered for a long time in that house. Opening it's senses wider, Bane caught a familiar aura from the place. The Master had suffered in this place. The house was bad. It would have to be destroyed, and the one who had hurt the Master would have to killed. No one was allowed to harm Bane's master.
A wave of pleased affection and calming assurance washed into it's mind. The Master was not upset. The one who hurt him was already dead. Good. Another brush against it's mind sent the bike rocketing down the street toward another part of town, closer to the thing that was making Bane grumpy.
It didn't like this town. There was too much power here. And no one was even trying to control it. And the shadows, the shadows oozed with the lost ones. Little better then animals, most of them would have been locked up with the berserkers. But here they ran loose, endangering everyone by calling attention to their existence. Sloppy fools.
The Tribes would never allow such stupidity. Again a touch from it's master's mind. He agreed with Bane. These savages were a danger to their kind. The two of them would have to be very careful here. Here the humans knew their kind existed. There would be no hunting and no letting the beast slip loose. If they were discovered here they would have to kill any who saw them. And deaths attracted attention. They would have to be very careful here.
Spike slammed into the wall. The demon that threw him charged the slayer and sent her into the opposite wall. The blonde vampire shifted to gameface and attacked. It didn't take long to get the thing down. Ripping it's throat out was even easier. Then other demons in it's pack attacked.
Slimy gray critters swarmed them. The witch was chanting for all she was worth. The slayer fought hard, but she was too busying doing showy kicks and flips to do any damage that counted. Spike just shredded anything that got in his way. He should have known this was gonna be a mess when the Watcher had come to help.
Since Ethan Raine had returned to Giles' life the slayer and the witch had kept their distance from him. It was perfectly acceptable for Buffy to go back to Angel after he tried to kill them all, but when Giles took Ethan back into his life the two girls treated him like he was diseased. Spike didn't see the problem. Giles and Ethan loved each other. Nothing else should matter in the face of that. He'd been alone long enough to know how important love was.
A demon hit him in the lower back and he went down. Three of them were on him then, and the slayer didn't
even try to help. A clawed hand on his throat convinced him that he was about to spend his last night on earth, but then the creatures were gone. Something had ripped them off of him like they were made out of paper.
The vampire sat up to watch his savior. A figure dressed in head to toe black leather slung demons around the clearing like wet rags. Blood and eviscerated gray corpses littered the ground, and the slayer was too busy flipping through the air to notice. But the watcher and his lover weren't.
When the dust settled Ethan Raine walked to the dark figure and kneeled at his feet. Touching the index finger of his left hand to his tongue, his forehead, and then his heart; the older man was the figure of supplication. Leather clad hands brushed his shoulders, and then Ethan moved back to stand beside Giles. The helmet came off slowly and Spike couldn't hold in the gasp when he saw the face inside it.
And then he was hugging him. Xander was alive and here and hugging him back. And nothing in the world mattered more then the arms around him. Not even the fact that there was no pulse in the throat his lips were pressed against. And then his head was being tipped back, and a cool mouth was against his. And it was wonderful to be standing here kissing Xander, while cool hands caressed his back. Too soon that longed for mouth pulled away. And then that wonderful voice was whispering to him. Words meant only for him.
"I told you I was a nummy treat."
"Hello Wilow. How's Tara?"
"Gone. We broke up. Are you a vampire?"
"What are you?"
"Cut the crap. You're a demon. Xander's dead and you're gonna be."
Buffy rush him and swung a powerful round house punch. It would've broken his jaw and knocked him cold if he'd been human. Or if it had connected. By the time the slayer realized what was happening she was dangling two feet off the ground, being held in place by the iron grip on her fist. She was shaken like a ragdoll and dropped on her backside at Xander's feet.
"Enough. I have no patience for stupidity and even less tolerance for willful ignorance. Warlock."
Ethan Raine stepped forward and bowed his head. He kept his eyes fixed on the chest of the dark clad figure he stood in front of. He was not about to offend this person, and he certainly wasn't going to display any behavior that could be taken as a challenge. He wanted to live.
"Yes my lord."
"Explain it to them. Make sure they understand. I will return tomorrow night. All of them should wait for me at your mate's home."
"Yes my lord."
Ethan repeated the gesture with his index finger, and then backed away to stand next to Giles. From his positon beside his lover he observed the others. Willow looked like she didn't know whether to laugh or cry, shifting from foot to foot, she was holding back her need to hug her long lost friend by the force of her will alone. Buffy was on her ass in the dirt. The perfect place for her as far as he was concerned. She was gritting her teeth and scrunching her brow, and her face had turned purple from the strain of not bursting into tears of frustration. All in all, she looked badly constipated.
As if his thoughts had been heard, which they might of been, the leather clad figure chuckled softly and kissed the vampire still in his arms. A low rumble signalled the arrival of a beautiul and riderless motorcycle. All black, the leather seat and the metal of the bike itself, it stopped in front of Xander and waited. The dark haired man whispered into the ear of the blonde and they ogt on the bike. As soon as Xander's hands touched the handlebars the bike roared to life and all but disappeared.
Ethan breathed a sigh of relief and was immediately pulled into his lover's arms. Warm hands skimmed his shoulders, checking for injuries from the brunette's touch. When none were found he was kissed. Soft and sweet, it was his favorite kind of kiss now. It was the kiss that was both Giles and Ripper. The one that said "I love you," "I will always love you," "You're safe with me." It was the type of kiss he'd waited a lifetime for from this man. And now he got them whenever he wanted. Life had certainly just gottne more complicated, but it was still nearly perfect. Now, if they could just get Buffy a personality transplant...
They arrived at the cemetary in what seemed like seonds. Spike was reluctant to lose his hold on Xander's waist, but the younger man climbing off the bike gave him no choice. They were in front of the boy's grave and Spike watched in silence as the brunette observed his own final resting place.
His hands traced the word at the bottom of the stone and then carried the flower back to Spike. One look into those eyes gave all his secrets to the boy. A soft, shy smile that was completely Xander lit his face, and Spike found himself holding the man in his arms and brushing kisses over the lips pressed against his.
"You remembered this."
"I remember everything. Even that we've never kissed before."
"Wanted to. Wanted to kiss you every time you got close. Every time we fell asleep on my bed talking. Wanted to do more then kiss you the night Anya left."
Another kiss. Deep, powerful. A cool tongue tasting every inch of his mouth. Cool hands in his hair, holding his head in place. A muscled, leather-clad thigh pressed into his crotch. Spike groaned into the mouth devouring his and wrapped his arms around his lover's neck.
The next thing he was aware of was being flat on his back on the stone slab in the center of his own crypt. A sleeping bag was under him and a naked Xander was above him. They were both naked and his legs were wrapped around the strong waist between them. He could feel that he'd been stretched, something slick and cool was inside of him and he wanted more. Thrusting up against the brunette, he felt his lover enter him.
He'd never been so full. The younger man was barely in and Spike felt stretched beyond anything he'd ever experienced. Slowly, the other man pressed further in. And the vampire felt him self losing control. More of that cool hard length entered him and he shifted into full game face. And finally, finally, the boy was completely in and the blonde was split open. A moment of stillness, and then movement.
Gently back and then forward. Slow easy rocking, and some how Spike knew that he was still just being stretched. Every shift rubbed the cock inside him over his prostrate and the blonde moaned and whimpered. The rocking picked up speed, he was kissed deeply. Hands held him open as the hips between his legs began to move woth more force.
"Cum for me. Let go. Show me you like this, and I'll show you how much better it gets."
Spike screamed and gasped. Clamping his legs around his lover's hips, he felt his orgasm roll through him like a tidal wave. And then it really began. Pleasure left his muscles slack. The rocking turned to deep thrusts. Stronger and stronger with each movement. Spike was hard again in seconds.
Moving with the body above him, he thrashed and arched his back. Looking into the face of the man moving inside him, Spike watched in stunned awe as he exhaled smoke. And then his own gameface was revealed. Fangs that made his look like a child's toy, eyes still the same chocolate brown but now the iris was slit vertically. The creature on top of him smiled. And Spike knew it was just beginning.
Thrusts that rocked his whole body slammed into him, a clawed hand pulled his head back, and a mouth fastened to his throat drinking deeply. At the first taste of his blood, the cock inside him exploded. But the fucking didn't slow. It picked up speed and force, and Spike felt this orgasm slam into him like a freight train.
And still he was being taken. And is was wonderful. That amazing wonderful cock was splitting him in two. He was impaled again and again. Cum from his lover's first orgasm oozed from his hole and made the strokes even easier. The vampire was being owned. Possessed. And nothing in this world would ever satisfy him again after having this. And at last his mate roared his release. And wave after wave of cum so cold it burned flooded the blonde's body.
Another moment of stillness, and then he was empty. Cum rolled down the insides of his thighs in cool trails, and his hole spasmed and jerked in reaction. Cool arms gathered him close, and he was kissed and cuddled. When he finally got the energy to raise his head he couldn't resist looking at his lover's groin. Nine inches long and as thick as three fingers where they joined the hand. And he couldn't believe that thing had been inside of him. But the delicious ache in his ass said it had, and his lover was kissing him again. And as soon as he got his strength back, he was going climb on that marvelous thing and fuck himself unconscious.
Giles watched Ethan fidget with his teacup. Buffy was glaring furiously at his lover, while Willow waited with a look that was half fear half hope. For himself, he only wanted his lover not to be in danger. Anything else could be dealt with.
"I suppose I can't convince you to wait till morning for this."
"Start talkin' creep."
"You will at least maintain some level of civility in my home."
"It's alright Ripper. Under the circumstances I don't blame her. I'm not sure where to begin. I...I suppose it all begins with Midian."
"Midian? Ethan that's a legend. It's just a story."
"No my love Midian is very real. Or at least it was."
"Umm, guys, what's Midian?"
"My apologies young witch. I'll start further back, shall I? At the very beginning. You know that not all demons are evil. With some, it's that they are exceptions to their species. With others, they are as a whole decent people. They're just not human. Not demons really either, that's just a convenient name forced on them by cowards and murderers."
Ethan drained his tea and stood from the table. Walking to the window, he moved the curtain and looked out into the night as he spoke.
"During the rise of the church, there was an inquisition. Bare in mind this was when they were still just the Romans and the Catholics, rather then the one cohesive unit. The heads of the church laid waste to whole villages of non-humans. Creatures that weren't bothering anyone, just trying to exist. Men, women, children, all of them slaughtered. Until finally, one rose up to fight. He used the forbidden magics of his people to harness the strength of those who were already lost. He used their souls' need for vengeance to decimate the hunters. At the time they were in Rome, the greatest city in the known world fell to Baphomet's rage."
"Baphomet. I've heard that name. He was a demon."
"No Rupert. In the beginning he was just a man. Unfortunately, he wasn't a human man, for that the church decreed that he and his kind must be irradicated. It wasn't until he rose against them that he became...what he is. Even with their great city in ruins and the church defeated his people weren't safe. The hunters would come again and again until nothing was left. So he used the power again. He brought himself here, to America. Then it was still undiscovered and clean. The only humans here lived in a natural balance with non-humans. He found a spot away from the eyes of the world, and he built Midian."
Ethan faced them again. Sorrow and awe danced in his eyes, and Giles knew that his lover felt connected to this story. He understood that feeling, the magic in his blood stirred at the words his mate spoke. Images of Midian and it's creator raced through his mind, too quickly to be comprehended but slowly enough to be longed for.
"He created a sanctuary, and called his people to him. Baphomet let the magic use him, it eviscerated his body and rended his flesh to draw power from his pain. But the pain was laced with his joy at knowing that soon his people would be free. And the magic guided them to him. He gave his life to save them from their enemies. And for centuries Midian thrived. It's people became the Tribes of the Moon, and the natives of this land accepted them as just another part of the world. And then the church came again. More death, more suffering, and this time Baphomet cannot fight. Others must fight to protect their sanctuary. So they went to him, one by one. They drank his blood and the magic changed them. They were given their beasts."
"Their faces became masks, hiding their true nature. Whenever they chose the beast could be let loose. And it was unstoppable. They were Baphomet's fighters to begin with. Those that lost themselves in the beast were called berserkers, and they were locked away to be cared for and let loose if they were ever needed. Those that were able to control it became Baphomet's priests. He became their God. Their warriors were baptized in his blood. And in the last days of their great victory, there was a prophecy. A man, who would become of the Tribes, a blood innocent would heal Baphomet and remake Midair. And he did. Boone came to Midian."
He sat down again. Giles' hand held his lover's and Ethan kept his eyes on the table as he spoke.
"In the centuries since the last battle the Tribes had become known as the NightBreed. They discovered that they could add to their numbers, not only by having children, but by turning humans into Breed. Of course, the humans had to die first. And when they joined the tribes they became a different type of Breed. No babies for them, no sunlight either. But then sunlight became intolerable for all the Breed in time. You see, after the last battle, Baphomet pulled Midian underground. The first law of the Breed became "What's below remains below." In time, humans forgot Midian was there at all. They built a town on top of it. The town died, nothing was left but a cemetery. Midian became known as a city of the dead. The place where the monsters lived. The place where they forgive you."
"The hunter's came again. This time they found Midian because of a madman and Boone's love for a human woman. Midian was destroyed. The Baptizer called his priests to him and gave each of them a piece of his body. The priests fled the ruins of the city, escaping with the other survivors of the Tribes. Each going in a different direction to keep their God out of the hands of the hunters. Baphomet's last act was to call Boone to him. "
Spike ached with the sorrow and pain in his lover's words. Xander had told him of things he had never dreamed of. Creatures who could become smoke or fire, or transform into a flock of birds. Beings that were each gifted with skills and magics as different as night from day. But all of them connected. All linked together through their God. Baphomet, The Baptizer. And now when Xander spoke it was not in his own voice. Something old and powerful, and sad so sad, spoke through his lover. And the vampire knew he was hearing the voice that Aaron Boone had heard when he'd stood before The Baptizer.
"You have destroyed our home. This was inevitable. No refuge is forever....Find me, Heal me. Save me from my enemies...You are Cabal."
The power faded in the silence that followed. Spike was drawn closer to his lover's now shaking body, and he kissed the younger man gently to calm him.
"He succeeded. Cabal, He Who Unmade Midian, remade it. And this time there are plenty of warriors to protect it. We will not lose our sanctuary again. He found all the pieces of Baphomet, all but the heart. That was stolen by the resurrected madman who led the hunters. Before they could stop him, he divided the heart into pieces and sent them all over the world. Now you have to understand, Baphomet was a big guy. His heart was the size of a young elephant. And the pieces were scattered. So Cabal decided to send out his best warriors to find the pieces and return them to the new Midian. And while most are either born NightBreed or made that way, there are accidents. Cabal himself was never meant to be turned. The reason I became NightBreed was I got bitten. Just like Boone."
"Some of the Breed are here in the Hellmouth. The bite started the change, and when I died I came back as one of them. Something pulled me to Midian, and the Tribes of the Moon embraced me. I found my place in the world. When Cabal started sending warriors out to look for the heart, I was chosen. He gave me Bane and made me promise I would come here as soon as I could. It was alot harder to keep that promise then to make it. I've found three pieces of the heart, and each piece calls to the others. I had to go where they led me. And now they led me to you. And when I leave this place you'll come with me?"
"Yes. I'll stay with you."
"All my life, I dreamed of loving and being loved. Completely and absolutely. All my life I dreamed of you."
Sunset found a silent grim-faced Slayer pacing Giles' living room. No amount of explanations from Ethan could convince her that Xander was anything but a demon. And he had to die. Willow was refusing to see the truth and Giles was so hooked into his precious Ethan that he'd believe anything. Even Riley had tried to convince her she was wrong. But none of them mattered. Xander had been her pet clown. This thing was strong and dangerous. It was not Xander. It had to die.
"Buffy this is a mistake."
"Shut up Riley. That thing is gonna die...tonight."
"You can't kill him."
"Spare me the invincible stories Ethan. I'm not interested."
"You should be. He's already dead Slayer. Dead and risen. Knives, guns, stakes, spells, none of that will work on him. He is a Knight of Baphomet, a Warrior of Midian, and one of Cabal's Chosen. Nothing can kill him, except the blood of the Baptizer. And we happen to be fresh out."
"That thing is just another demon, and I'm gonna kill it."
"That thing is your friend Xander, and if you try to kill him he'll eat your heart while it's still beating."
Buffy turned her back on the warlock and went back to pacing. Ethan left her to her stupidity and Riley to his lousy taste in women. Sitting at the kitchen counter he smiled at his lover when a cup of tea was placed in front of him. A taste revealed it to be laced with a healthy dose of whiskey, and that earned Giles a kiss.
"You really love each other don't you."
Giles looked at Willow for a long moment. The red-head had been distant but not cruel since Ethan's return. She seemed more stunned then angry, and now she was sitting beside his lover trying to discuss something that was obviously very awkward for her.
"Yes Willow. We love each other."
"I thought so. Buffy said that you two getting back together wasn't like her and Angel because they loved each other. But you love each other too. I don't understand, I don't think I ever will. But...you're Giles. You're my Giles and I want you to be happy, you deserve to be happy. If Ethan does that then I guess I should wish you lots of warm fuzzies."
"Thank you Willow. I know how much your disapproval was bothering Ripper. You have a good soul, shame you don't have better taste in friends."
"Ripper that Slayer of yours is going to get us all in deep shit with one of the toughest forms of life on the planet all because of a bruised ego. I think I'm entitled to be a little snarky."
"I agree with Ethan. She wants to hurt Xander. Snark away."
"Willow don't encourage him."
"Spike meet Bane."
The blonde vampire studied the motorcycle his lover had just introduced him to. He could sense...something. The bike was alive, and it was powerful. Anything more then that was hidden and carefully concealed by the same kind of mask Xander wore. In frustration, the blonde turned to his lover with an appeal in his eyes. Smiling softly, the brunette chided his servant for teasing his lover.
"That's enough Bane. Come out and meet Spike. You'll like him."
As soon as he finished speaking, Bane came out. Smoke rolled from nowhere to surround the bike in a shroud of mist. From within it Spike could sense but not see movement. When it cleared he got his first look at Bane. The size of a Clydesdale horse, the creatures body was covered in muscle underneath a layer of jet-black fur. Short and sleek, the animal's coat seemed to swallow whatever light hit it. It stood on all fours, legs that were obviously capable of great speed and strength finished with paws the size of a bear's, complete with three inch long retractable claws. A head like a wolf's cocked to one side, and it's fang-filled muzzle opened to let a pink forked tongue lull out. The beast made a soft chuffing sound, and Spike got the impression he was being laughed at.
"Bloody hell! I've stayed in apartments smaller then you."
Bane laughed again. The Master was right. It liked this one. And from the scent the blonde one carried, the Master liked him too. Bane sent a questioning thought to the Master. Would this one be joining them? Surely Master hadn't claimed one so lovely just to leave him behind. That would be foolish. And the Master was not foolish.
A wave of amusement and happiness washed over Bane. The Master was pleased that Bane liked the pretty one. He would be traveling with them. And Bane was to protect him at all costs. That was fine with Bane. The Master had never been so happy before. Anyone that made him that way was worth protecting. Besides, Bane really did like the pretty one. His words sounded very funny when he talked. And anyone who had sense enough to know that Hell was indeed bloody, was fine by Bane.
The ride to Giles' was a blur of wind and speed. Spike sat in front of Xander with his hands on Bane's handlebars. Now that he'd seen what the creature really was he couldn't think of it as just Xander's bike. The feel of the engine translated itself into a rumbling purr, and the vampire understood that Bane was pleased. Apparently, it liked him.
Xander's arms around his waist were there own distraction. He was leaning back into his lover's chest while the bike did all the work. Xander had told him that the longer they spent together, the stronger the connection between the two of them would become. They were already more then lovers. Soon they would be tied to each other in every way, and Spike could already feel Bane's presence at the edge of his mind. Even now, he could feel that the elemental and his mate were discussing something. Whatever it was, Bane was not happy.
Bane let his engine rumble loudly and spit out sharp pieces of gravel into the few cars they passed. The Master had ordered him to hold back in the coming fight. The Master knew that the Slayer would attack. He didn't want Bane to interfere. And what was even worse was that he didn't intend to kill the fool. The Master considered her to be too insignificant a threat to bother disposing of. Bane did not agree. She meant to harm it's Master, and whether she was actually capable of doing it or not, just the intent was reason enough to put her into a shallow grave. He would have suggested eating her...but she smelled awful.
Xander was content. He finally had his mate. A lifetime of pain and loneliness had left a hole in his heart. Spike had filled it. He had a purpose, a people, a place, and his mate. For the first time in his life or his death he felt complete. He knew Buffy was waiting to kill him. He knew Bane wanted to use her for a scratching post. He knew Spike was being drawn into his link with Bane. But Buffy's bullshit seemed impossibly unimportant in comparison to the wonderful man he had in his arms. He wasn't even going to bother with killing her, after all who was to say the next slayer wouldn't be worse. Still, he'd given Bane orders to protect Spike. If the Slayer so much as stared hard at his mate, Bane would get a new collar...made out of Slayer skin.
If Ethan Rayne had done what he was told Giles and Willow would stay out of the fight. He was sure the warlock would obey him. As a user of the forbidden magics he owed a certain amount of loyalty to Baphomet and his followers. Even the most jaded Catholic says sir to a priest. Whether he did his job or not, Buffy wouldn't care. He'd embarrassed the Slayer in front of her groupies and that was intolerable to someone as self-absorbed as she was. He would never understand why the Powers gave so much responsibility to such an arrogant child. Still, it would be fun to see her face when she found out Ethan had told her the truth. Buffy bashing could turn out to be fun, now that he had a little perspective on the situation.
The roar of the engine signaled that her enemy was near. The Slayer moved into fighting stance and waited. Within a minute her target came into view. She watched from her hiding place as the two figures dismounted the bike. The brunette pulled the blonde into a deep kiss and then moved toward her. The blonde stayed with the bike.
Xander's hand was on the doorknob when Buffy struck. Stepping out of the shadows, she sent a hard punch into his kidneys. A kick to the small of his back was followed by blows to the back of the head and legs. The stake made a satisfying thunk sound as it penetrated his back and came out through his chest. She stepped back with a smile on her face, waiting for her enemy to turn to dust. Waiting and waiting and waiting.
"Damn it Buffy! I liked this shirt."
Xander turned around to face her. It was only as she saw him calmly pull the stake out of his chest that she realized he'd never reacted to the blows she landed. She'd hit him full out with all her strength and he hadn't so much as grunted. And there he stood...smiling at her. He raised the stake to eye level and then calmly crushed it into splinters with one hand. Still smiling, he grabbed a fistful of her hair and dragged her into Giles' apartment.
"Spike! You can come in now."
From her awkward position Buffy saw Spike walk into the apartment. The blonde smirked at her and took a seat on the couch. Giles handed him a cup of tea and sat beside him. Willow nodded hello and perched on the arm of the couch. Riley moved as if to help her, but Ethan's voice stopped him.
"I wouldn't. If he wanted her dead she already would be. He seems in good spirits Mr. Finn, for all our sakes, don't make him angry."
"Well said Wizard. I see you've done your job."
"As you commanded My Lord. Is there some other way I may serve you?"
"Yes. Put a binding spell on this one. I want her unable to harm my mate."
"As you wish. May I extend the spell to include my lover and myself? As well as, the young witch?"
Ethan began to chant an intricate spell, as the words left his lips they formed bands of light that surrounded Buffy.The bands began to overlap and then weave together, until finally she was covered in a spider's web of light. When Ethan stopped speaking the light flared for a moment and then seemed to soak into her skin. When the last of it was gone, Xander released her and she fell to the floor.
"You son of a bitch!! I'll get you for this. Who the hell do you think you are?!! You bastard!!!"
"Silence! I am Alexander, a priest of Midian and a Knight of Baphomet. I give you your life this once, cross me again and I will kill you."
Xander crouched until he was looking into Buffy's eyes. He breathed out the faintest whiff of smoke and felt his eyes shift. When he spoke this time they all heard an echo of the power Spike knew lived inside his mate.
"Now listen carefully Slayer. I want no part of you or this place. When I've achieved my goal I'm leaving. I will take my mate and any who wish to join us back to Midian. You will not interfere. This is none of your concern. Understood?"
Willow was the first to react. All the joy she'd been holding in since the night before came spilling out in a happy little squeal. The red head seemed propelled by the sound and charged to Xander pulling him into a hug before he'd completely straightened up from glaring at Buffy. Xander wrapped his arms around his friend and hugged her tightly. She wiggled away, but only far enough to see his face. The witch studied his cat's eyes, and his long teeth, and the slight point to his ears.
"Oh Xander! You look wonderful. Your eyes are so pretty. Can you see in the dark?"
Xander laughed in delight. Willow's easy acceptance of him was a gift he'd prayed to Baphomet for, he'd been answered. With one arm around the woman he thought of as his sister, Xander guided them both to the couch. Sitting next to his mate he pulled Willow down on his other side. He smiled when Spike snuggled into him and was pleased to see the grin on Willow's face when his mate stuck his tongue out at her. Their friendship was obvious and a great relief for him. It would be difficult to convince the witch to come to Midian if she thought it would make things awkward between he and Spike.
"It's good to see you again Xander. We were very worried about you."
"Nice to see you too G-man. I see you got your wizard back. Things working out?"
"Yes, quite. and while I fully accept that you are extremely powerful and dangerous...I have asked you repeatedly not to call me that."
Xander rose from the couch to hug the Watcher close. He was thrilled when Giles hugged back. The older man had always done his best to be kind to him, and Xander had missed the tone of fatherly reproach in his voice. It was nice to know that Giles wasn't afraid of him.
Ethan watched his lover be hugged by a Knight of Baphomet, and felt his heart melt. Ripper had been heart broken over the boy's death. Seeing the two of them reunited made the wizard almost glad that the Knight was here. But despite good moods and happy reunions, Alexander was still dangerous. And Buffy was still a fool. Ethan made up his mind to keep the Slayer from doing anything stupid...again.
When Giles was released and the Knight motioned him forward, Ethan's heart froze. The boy this man had been knew of his past. Perhaps the Knight thought him unworthy of Ripper. If that were the case his life was over. It was obvious to the Wizard that his lover, the witch, and the vampire were already being thought of as part of the Knight's tribe. When this man left he would take them with him. Ethan had to be included, he could not live without Ripper again.
Kneeling in front of Alexander, he made the appropriate symbol of respect and fealty. Finger to tongue, forehead, and heart. He bowed his head and waited in silence that seemed to sink into his skin like a leach's teeth.
"You served me well. You will serve me again. I require you assistance in completing my task."
"Whatever is needed My Lord."
"First, I need you to get up. Then I need you to call me Xander. After that...could you talk Giles into springing for Chinese food. I'm starving."
Ethan looked up into laughing brown eyes and couldn't stop his own smile. He was helped to his feet by strong gentle hands. And then he was being hugged. And while they others had missed it, Ethan knew he was being scented and sensed. He'd just been accepted into the tribe. And when he was released he kept his eyes down to show that he knew who was in charge. And Xander made a point of catching his eye, and then he winked. And Ethan wasn't quite as worried anymore.
Spike cuddled against his mate's side and purred to let him know how content he was. It was nearly dawn, but Giles had insisted they stay in the guestroom. Empty food containers from the closest Chinese restaurant littered the floor. The witch was asleep in the over stuffed easy chair, Buffy and Riley were curled in the corner as far away from them as possible, also asleep. The Watcher and his warlock were deep into a discussion with his mate about the history of Midian.
"What I don't understand is how Baphomet survived what the magic did to him. It was blood magic, fueled by his pain and the pain of all those murdered souls, so why didn't it destroy him?"
"It nearly did G-man. It rended his flesh and tore pieces out of his soul, but his willingness to suffer for his people made him stronger then the magic. In the end, it remade him. The man he was is gone. All that's left now is a tortured god, whose only solace is the survival of his people."
"Then why allow Boone to destroy Midian? Why not stop the prophecy and protect his people?"
"That version of Midian was already destroyed. It was grave. There was no future for the Tribes there. Every year our numbers dwindled until only a few remained. What happened with Boone and Decker was a tragedy, but in the new city the Tribes have more then tripled. The NightBreed are thriving again...because of Boone. There's even talk of alliances with true demons. Not the let's kill everyone and eat their poodle demons, just your average regular person except for the horns and tail type demon."
"Clever that." Spike sat up straighter but didn't move away from Xander. The blonde nodded in thanks when Ethan handed him a lit cigarette. Taking a deep drag he nibbled his lower lip and blew smoke out his nose as he thought over the proposed alliances. "Those type have families, you offer a safe place to snooze for the kiddies and you get loyal fighters. With the ankle biters in the city, if someone attacks mumsy and dadums'll go out fang and claw defending Midian. Damn smart that."
"Boone thought so. You're gonna like him Blondie, and I can't wait to see you and Narcisse butt heads with each other."
Spike smiled up at his mate and stole a quick kiss. Ethan watched his lover's eyes cloud over and then go blank as the mask he'd perfected fell in place. That indifferent stare had never worked on him, it appeared that it wouldn't work on Xander either.
"Giles? What's wrong?"
"Nothing...just, for a moment I forgot you'd be leaving again. It was nice to have my family together again."
Xander caught Ethan's eye as the warlock pulled his lover into his arms. A small nod toward Ripper was the only encouragement he needed. Coaxing the taller man to his feet, Ethan led him to their room. Stripping his lover with comforting ease, he pulled off his own clothes and joined Giles under the covers. For awhile, they simply laid in each others arms. Then Ethan began working on the task Xander had set for him.
"I'm so sorry my love. I know how much you've missed him. It will hurt you terribly when he leaves, and I hate that there's nothing I can do to stop that."
"Don't let him leave."
"He can't stay here Ripper. Midian needs him...almost as much as you and young Willow do. Ripper...."
"You do know don't you? You have felt it?"
"Felt what? You always pick things up before me, what is it?"
"When he leaves Spike will go with him..."
"...and so will the little witch."
"Willow?! To Midian?"
"I almost envy her. I only saw the old Midian for a short time, and I've never seen the new city."
"Mmmm, I wonder what it looks like?"
Step one accomplished...get him thinking about Midian. Step two would be trickier. But it had to be done. Ripper was wanted in Midian. The two of them could have a good life there, and his beloved would be with his family. And convincing Ripper to go to Midian would spare him the trouble of helping Xander abduct his beloved when he left.
"I know what you're doing Ethan."
"Of course you do, it wouldn't be fun if you didn't."
Giles rolled on top of Ethan and kissed him deeply. Looking into his mate's eyes, he couldn't keep from laughing at the mischief in them. Ethan was the same. In all the years they'd known each other, Ethan was always the same. He was Giles' constant...in every way. The worst times in the Watcher's life were the times he and Ethan were parted. He'd let the council separate them, he'd let his own fear of his self keep them apart, and then he'd allowed the opinions of an arrogant brat to hurt his lover. Giles was more grateful then he could express that his beloved had forgiven him. If Ethan wanted to go to Midian...Giles would just have to find out if he could get out of his lease.
"Clever that luv." Spike leaned back into Xander's arms as Bane took them back to his crypt.
"You said that already."
"S'true. Smart about the demons and smart about settin' Ethan to get ol' Ripper ready to go. You're bringin' him and Red with us aren't you?"
"Yes. The safest place for them is Midian. I won't have my family in danger."
Spike smiled when his mate hugged him even closer. He felt Bane purring in his mind and sent his own happy thoughts right back at the creature. Visions of a bloody Buffy made the purr grow louder and the bike move faster. They were at the cemetery long before the blonde was ready to give up his new found feeling of contentment. As it turned out, he didn't have to.
Xander stood and picked his mate up in one smooth move. Carrying him back to their bed in the crypt, he stripped them both quickly and laid down beside him. Spike pulled the taller man on top of him and spread his legs. The brunette let smoke roll out between his parted lips and felt the man beneath him react to the sight of his fangs and eyes. Growling low in his throat, Xander let the beast slip a little further. With a sound like an angry lion he flipped the smaller man onto his stomach and then up to his knees. Slathering his length in the lube he'd left in the crypt, Xander lined him self up with the tight pucker in front of him. Pushing in slowly he breached the ring of muscle with the head.
"Oh...Xanderrr....wha..." Spike's panting moans were exactly what he wanted to hear.
"Shh, need this. Give me this...please." The vampire had to respond to the need he felt coming from his lover, he dropped his head to his arms and spread his legs wider.
The brunette howled in triumph and slammed into his mate. The body under him froze and started to shake. Purring into the ear he was nibbling on, Xander held completely still waiting for his mate to adjust to his size. Slowly, the shaking stilled and the vampire rocked his hips back. The Knight let the last of his hold on the beast slip and pounded into his mate.
Spike felt cool breath on his back and a cloud of smoke floated around his face and shoulders. He felt his lover's body shift against his back, and instead of flesh he felt fur against his skin. Arms covered in fur wrapped around his waist and pulled him up until he was kneeling on his lover's lap. The huge cock inside of him stroked his prostrate with every forward thrust, and he was in gameface snarling for release. Xander sank his fangs into the vampire's neck, offering his own wrist to his mate. Spike bit down into an arm covered in soft, short, chocolate brown fur.
Purring. Something was purring in Spike's ear. Shifting his weight, resulted in strong arms tightening around him. He tried to wriggle away, but the shaft buried inside him thrust into his prostrate and kept him in place. Slowly the blonde became aware of his body and it's location. He was in his mate's lap, legs wrapped loosely around the brunette's waist, that glorious cock inside his aching body. And oh fuck...he ached. He fucking hurt!! His skin was on fire, while his lungs fought for air he didn't need. His muscles twitched and shifted and it seemed as though his whole body was rearranging itself from the inside out. He began to fight against the arms holding him, growling and snarling in pain.
"Shhh, hush my love. Easy, easy. It's the changing. Let it happen. Don't fight. Be with me. Be with me always."
The voice was cool water on seared flesh. The vampire forced himself into stillness. Wrapping his arms around his mate, his buried his face in the larger man's neck. Soft fur soothed his aching body everywhere they touched. Hands as steady and sure as time smoothed his twitching body, finally they settled on his hips. Spike moaned when he was slowly lifted and then lowered onto the length impaling him. He wanted to pull away, but the sensation was too intense. Up and down up and down. Gradually he began moving on his own. And then the hands were only holding onto him for their own enjoyment.
He rode his lover. Spike knew this had nothing to do with Xander's pleasure. This was his. Bracing himself with his hands on the brunette's shoulders, Spike fucked himself. He set the pace he wanted, loving the feel of nine inches of cock inside him. Until Xander he'd never been near anything so big, he could've wept for the years wasted. Ramming his hips downward he took every inch, lifting up until barely the head was inside, he'd slam down again. Cum flooded his hole. It rolled down his thighs and pooled around his mate's cock. Spike howled in fear of that wonderful dick going soft on him. But it didn't. Increasing his pace, the vampire knew his ass and thighs would be bruised. He didn't care.
Sweat poured off his over heated body, and he had to throw his head back to get hair the color old gold out of his eyes. And still he rode. His mate had used this cock to own him, now he would own his mate. Cum filled him again. His mate fell backwards, lying flat beneath him. Spike screamed his victory out as his own seed poured out of him. Collapsing onto the body under him, the last thing he was aware of was two strong arms holding him. And something was purring in his ear.
"Harder, please Angel...Harder!" Wesley writhed under him, as Angel thrust smoothly into his lover. He loved making the Englishman lose control. Wesley was a true sensualist and Angel reveled in him.
They'd been lovers since the ex-watcher had found a way to take the happiness clause from the curse. Angel's soul was permanently his, and he celebrated by taking Wes to his bed. The man had been driving the vampire nuts with the cloud of pheromones that surrounded him every time they looked at each other. He hadn't meant to lose his heart to the rogue demon hunter, but Wes' loyalty and faith in him had won his friendship...after that it was impossible not to melt at the slightly crooked and endearingly delighted smile that greeted him everytime Wesley looked his way.
"Is this what ya' need darlin'? Aye, I thought so."
Wesley laughed in delight and pushed his hips up harder against Angel's stomach. The human thrilled everytime he heard that wonderful broque. Angel often became so involved in their lovemaking that he slipped into it without noticing. It had become Wes' goal to get the man to lose it enough to revert to Gaelic. He'd come close on more then one occasion.
They found release quickly after that, and sleep followed that. Wesley had no idea how much time had passed when his lover woke him. It didn't help his befuddled brain any that his lover chose to do this by sitting straight up in full game face and letting loose an enraged bellow.
"Angel, what's happening? What's wrong?!"
"Spike! Wil, my childe. He's gone!!"
"Has he....was he killed?"
"I don't know!! He's just gone." The Master Vampire was beyond furious. He couldn't feel his Wil. He didn't know if his beloved childe was dust, or if the soldiers had him again, or...what?!! He didn't know what had happened. But he was damn well gonna find out.
"Fetch Delia and Doyle. We leave as soon as their dressed. Hurry darlin' I cannae wait long. My Wil could need me."
Wesley pulled his pants on and ran through the hotel. A flight of steps and a hallway later and he was beating on a door.
"Francis! Cordelia! Hurry! Something's happened to Spike!"
Xander watched his mate adjust to his new body as he woke. The once milky pale skin had become porcelain, traced through
with the most wonderful patterns of blue veins barely visible beneath a velvet surface. The already lean and muscled body
was now more defined and toned. A tattoo stood out clearly on the smooth skin over his heart, it was the outline of a face.
Slanted yellow eyes and a red line for a mouth were the only distinct features, but it was still clear who's face it was.
When Spike ran his hand over the face it's mouth opened a little and sharp teeth nipped at his finger tips. The once vampire
and his demon were still joined, but now they had become something new.
The hands Spike snatched away from the creature were the same, with one exception. They were newly tipped with a lovely
set of short razorlike talons. The newly born being flexed his hand and the talons extended to over three inches long and
then retreated. He opened his mouth to speak, but then stopped when he ran his tongue over his teeth. They were all slightly
sharper then normal, but his canines were as pointed and sharp as his new claws. A tongue brushing against them caused them
to grow. They came down to rest just outside his bottom lip and then drew back up, but the point never went away. His fangs
were permanent now.
Xander ran a hand up the center of his mate's back. The blonde shivered and extended his wings. Freezing, he turned to
look at his mate in shock. Xander kissed him gently and then rose from the stone they slept on. Going to a wall he ran his
hands over the surface while whispering soft words in a language no human had ever heard before, when he was finished he
went to the opposite wall and repeated the process. There was a flash of light and the brief smell of ozone, and then both
walls were transformed into mirrors. Floor to ceiling facing each other so you could look in one and see a reflection of
your back in the other. Then the Knight led his mate to the mirrors and watched him discover himself.
Spike stared in shock and awe at the creature that faced him. White blonde hair shot through with strands the color of
old gold and fire hung to the small of his back. The tattoo on his chest opened it's slitted eyes wide to get a good look at
him. It clacked it's teeth together in approval and then seemed to go to sleep. Wings that started out as black as ink at
their arch and faded to pure white at their feathery tips hung from each shoulder blade. Flexing the muscles in his back
extended them; their width and length made it clear they weren't for show. He could fly. When he turned his head to look at
his mate he caught sight one of pointed ear.
"I look like a friggin elf angel!"
"You look like one of the Breed. You're one of us now."
"One of you...the Tribes of of Moon."
"Boone will make it official when we get back, but you are NightBreed. And you're mine."
The Knight stepped behind his mate and nuzzled into the space between his wings. The blonde moaned and arched into the
touch. Turning in his lover's arms, he wrapped his wings around the both of them and pressed against him. The brunette's
arms circled his waist and he buried his face in the smaller man's neck. Spike tilted his head back to give Xander better
"Xander, show me. Please?"
The brunette pulled out of his love's embrace and moved to stand directly in front of the mirror. Taking in a deep
breath, he slowly let it out. Smoke came from his mouth and began to surround his body. It clung to him like a second skin.
As with Bane, Spike could sense movement inside the smoke. A low growl rumbled through the crypt. Walking forward slowly,
the ex-vampire stopped at the edge of the smoke and watched in awe as it began to roll away. It was gone in the space of one
unneeded heartbeat and the next. And then he saw his mate. No masks, no magic, this was the real Xander.
The knock on the front door was more a furious bang then anything else. Ethan and Giles rushed into the living room to
find a barely awake Willow opening the door to Wesley. Buffy and Riley staggered to their feet when a blanket covered Angel
followed the ex-watcher in. Behind him came Cordelia and Doyle, and then Wesley was slamming the door and pulling the
curtains. The sun was blocked at the same instant Angel let his displeasure be known. Riley was turning blue from lack of
oxygen when Buffy threw herself at the vampire. She used all her strength to try and pry his fingers from the commando's
neck. It didn't work.
"Where is my Childe? What have you done with Wil?!"
"Angel, it would be easier for him to answer if he could breath." Wes ran a soothing hand up his lover's arm. The
taller man released Riley and turned to Giles.
"Where is he?"
"He and Xander were here. They were going to stay in the guestroom. I suppose they left right after we went to bed.
Have you tried Spike's crypt?"
The ride to the crypt was accomplished quickly through Angel's and Giles' complete disregard for speed limits. When the
vampire told the watcher that his link with Spike was cut off Giles got pissed. Very few things could disrupt the connection
between Sire and Childe. The most common was death. If anyone had hurt Spike they would pay. The blonde vampire was a friend
and the lover of his newly returned son. He was apart of the family, and no one fucked with Ripper's family.
Ethan was scared. For Spike to be hurt or dead meant one of two things. First, Xander was dead. Ethan wanted nothing to
do with anyone or anything strong enough to kill a Knight. And the second was what had him more worried. If Spike were gone,
and Xander was still around...there wasn't going to be much left standing in Sunnydale. The warlock did not want to face the
possibility of a vengeance hungry Xander looking to take apart those responsible for his mates' pain.
Angel was wrapped in his blanket when the two cars pulled into the cemetery. Piling out they rushed to Spike's crypt
only to freeze just inside the door at what they saw.
"Hello Daddy. Come for a visit?"
Xander was beautiful. Short velvet fur the color of milk chocolate
covered well a muscled body. Broad shouldered and narrow hipped, Spike
licked his lips at the thought of running his tongue over a six-pack. The
perfect cock was soft and also covered in fur, and the once vampire couldn't
wait for the feel of it again. His mate's feet and hands were both clawed.
The souls and palms were calloused, speaking of time spent running on all
fours. The ears were pointed, but not so much as Spike's. All the teeth in
the slight muzzle were gleaming and sharp. Xander was a meat eater. Despite
the catlike appearance, he was still recognizably Xander.
"There's more isn't there?"
"Yes. I can shift fully into a creature...more like Bane. But this
is my natural form, just as that is yours." The voice was a soft rumble.
Throaty and deep, it made the hair on the back of Spike's arms stand up.
"I can change more?"
"Yes, but it will have to wait until we get to Midian. Babbette can
teach you like she taught me."
"You can't teach me? Why not?"
"I'm a fighter love. I have no talent for teaching. Now come here."
Spike walked into his mate's arms and ran his hands up and down the fur
covered chest. Xander purred softly and Spike was delighted. Grinning like a
kid at Christmas, he pounced. Xander was flat on his back and laughing
helplessly beore he realized the blonde was tickling him. Hands and feathers
were being run over his chest and stomach. The result was a string of
undignified giggles and pleas for his beloved to stop teasing him. But Spike
was having too much fun. Using his wings for balance and blocking escape, he
straddled his love's waist and showed no mercy.
He was just about to swoop down for a kiss when something itched the
back of his neck. Xander went still at once. Cocking his head to the side he
listened carefully. A frown marred his face, and then he was on his feet
with Spike behind him. The brunette had maneuvered himself between the door
and his mate. Spike felt anger and annoyance rub against his mind. For a
moment he was shocked, but then he sent his own feelings of concern and love
back to his mate. He wasn't worried. Now that he was paying attention he
knew that people were coming to their crypt. More importantly, he knew who
was with them. He had just enough time to slip into his jeans and force
Xander into his. Then the door burst open.
"Hello Daddy. Come for a visit?"
Angel walked slowly into the room. As his Sire got closer, Wesley
ushered everyone else out. Firmly closing the door between them and the
outside, the ex-watcher stayed by the entrance and watched his lover
approach the blonde.
"Wil? My sweet Wil. You've got wings."
"Xander gave them to me. He came back to me."
Angel registered the brunette's presence for the first time. He stared
in shock at the picture his beloved and bewinged Childe and his fur covered
catman made together. The connection between them was obvious, but the older
vampire was still confused. Xander was dead. It hadn't struck him as odd
when Giles said Spike was with him earlier because he hadn't been listening.
"Xander? But you're dead?"
"Not quite. Not quite alive either."
The vampire felt power coming from the creature standing with his
Childe. Old power. But his senses told him this was Xander, the boy's scent
was unmistakable. The lack of heartbeat was worth a raised eyebrow though.
And then it happened. The brown furred beauty slowly breathed in. Smoke came
from everywhere, shrouding the form and hiding what took place inside it.
The smoke rolled away as quickly as it had come...and there stood Xander.
Wesley's shout drew the trio's attention to him. He'd drifted from the
door over to where they stood. A tentative hand reached toward Spike's wings
while eyes full of awe asked permission. Spike smiled and Wesley stepped
closer. Gentle hands traced the inner side of one wing, ruffling the
feathers a little. Then a face full of joy and awe turned to their owner.
"You're wonderful! You're here."
Xander used slow easy movements and a delicate touch to turn Wes' eyes
to him. They were shining with happiness and tears. The Knight smiled softly
and brushed the moisture from the other man's face. When he spoke his voice
was low and laced with the power Spike recognized as the Baptizer.
"What do you know of Midian innocent?"
"They forgive you." A whisper. Hushed and rough.
"What could you want with forgivness...innocent?"
"I...I failed." The tears came quickly now. Angel moved to take Wes
into his arms, but Spike understood that something important was happening.
He put himself between his former Sire and the ex-watcher.
"You have not failed. You have accomplished your purpose. Angelus
has been banished for all time. The Powers have their champion...and his
"Wha...I don't understand."
"You are the tie that binds. It is your love that holds the soul in
place, that keeps the demon at bay. No spell is unbreakable, no curse
unending. But your love is eternal. Your devotion will never waiver. You
have succeeded at the task you were born for. You have not failed. You will
never fail at you destiny. You have accomplished your purpose. "
The power faded. Only Xander stood before them now. He studied the man
before him. The tears were gone and he stood tall and straight. When he
raised his head he kept his eyes on Xander's chest and said nothing. Xander
smiled and gently pulled the glasses from his face, a gentle hand wiped his
tears, and then angel was holding him.
Spike moved back to his mate and watched Angel comfort the mortal. For a
moment he felt a twinge of regret. Angelus was no longer his Sire. But
Xander's arms were around his waist and Angel was not Angelus. And nothing
in the world was more important then Xander coming back to him. Nothing.
"Right. Now one big push up and then flap as hard as you can."
Wesley watched his student with a critical eye. As the only person to
have studied the mechanics of flight he was elected to help Spike learn to
use his wings. It was ironic that the studies that were serving him best now
were the ones his father had condemned as useless. The idea of flight had
always fascinated him, it was this fascination that led him to Midian.
Stories of creatures beyond imagination, creatures with wings or without
that flew. Stories of a million kinds of magic caught the mind of a lonely
eleven year old boy, and had never really let him go. Yesterday if you had
asked him if he believed in Midian he'd have said no and then felt guilty
for lying. But today he wouldn't bother. Midian was real.
A blonde torpedo knocked him off his feet. He and Spike landed in a
heap, much to the amusement of the spectators. Giles and Ethan were sitting
on the blanket spread on the ground, books about flight surrounded them and
the large thermos of coffee. Willow, Cordelia, and Doyle were sitting on
another blanket munching on the endless supply from the bottomless pit of a
basket Willow had brought with her. Wes was convinced it was enchanted,
there was no wat a normal basket held that much. Angel was leaning on a
headstone next to Xander. They were each keeping one eye on their respective
mates and the other on the Slayer. Moping against a tombstone, she made her
distaste for the new Spike abundantly clear. The odd thing about that was
Riley's reaction to it. Instead of backing her up he was keeping his
distance. His eyes never left Spike.
"Wes I think the idea is for him to stay in the air."
"Do shut up Angel."
More laughter and a sheepinsh grin from Spike, and then they were trying
again. This time when Spike lifted off he stayed up. They spent the rest of
the night learning control and speed. By the end of the night Spike could
fly. He wasn't ready to soar with the eagle, but that would take time. The
impromptu "teach the blonde to fly" party broke up, but the only one's to
leave were Buffy and Riley. She stormed off to patrol and after a moment of
staring at Spike he followed.
"So...you're undead. Right?"
"But you're not a bad guy."
"I cried for you."
"Don't you ever do it again." The hug was fierce and long. Cordelia
let go of the last of the grief she carried for her first love and Xander
regained one of the truest friends he had ever had. When they broke apart
Cordy's Doyle smiled at him and held her while she fussed with her mascara.
"You took my Childe."
"I claimed my mate. You should be able to understand that Deadboy."
"Angel" Wes' voice was soft but sure. "He's right. They belong
together. Remember what you told me about Spike after the funeral."
The anger in Angel's face slipped away. He let his eyes wander over his
former Childe and finally settle to gaze into the bottomless blue looking
back at him. A thousand memories of a million moments good and bad raced
across the Master Vampire's face. A sad smile drifted into place, and before
the others realized he'd moved he was hugging Spike.
"Be happy my sweet Wil. You deserve it."
"As for you," Eyes like molten gold turned to Xander. The voice that
spoke was a snarl. "If you ever so much as make him feel bad...."
"Hey, the vamp version of the shovel speech. I'm just in time."
Riley Finn walked directly to Spike. He stood in front of the ex-vampire
and studies him in silence. Finally, he reached out one slow moving hand and
brushed against Spike's left Wing. Xander moved to push Riley away, but Wes
got between them. Angel moved forward with the same purpose in mind, but
Riley spoke before he reached them.
"I'm sorry. What we did to you was wrong. It would've been kinder to
kill you. I know that now. But then...you weren't real. You weren't a
person. But you love Xander, you loved him when he was alive, you grieved
when he died. I saw you cry. I watched slip further and further away
everyday he was gone. But now he's back. And he loves you...loves you the
same as you love him. I hate you for that. I hate you for having the one you
love love you back."
Riley turned to face the reast of the group. His face was dry, but his
mouth was a thin line and his eyes were glassy with tears.
"Buffy sent me to get you. There's a nest of vampires. She wants
help. I'm going home now. Goodbye."
Xander watched Riley leave. When the ex-soldier was out of sight he turned to his mate. Kissing him softly he let what was about to happen slip into the blonde's mind. Spike pulled away and stared at him for a moment, finally he nodded and Xander felt his acceptance. The Knight stayed long enough to watch his mate go with the others to help Buffy, then he ran. The moon was more light then he needed even without shifting, and he could smell the despair coming from Riley. It would've been impossible for a blind toddler to miss the man's trail. Xander kept his distance until they were just outside Lowell House. Riley had his hand on the doorknob when the Knight stepped out of the shadows.
"Did something go wrong? Is Buffy okay?"
"I didn't go with them Finn, I followed you."
The older man studied him for a moment, as if trying to read his mind by the expression on his face. "I'm not gonna invite you in."
Xander smirked and let an amused little chuckle escape as he brushed Riley aside and walked into Lowell house. "We can do this here if you want,
it makes no difference to me."
Finn closed his eyes for a moment and breathed a deep sigh. Then he looked Xander in the eye. One sharp deliberate nod was all that was offered before he turned and headed toward the stairs. It was Xander who locked the door when they arrived at the ex-soldiers room. Riley sat on his bed and stared at the wall.
"You gonna kill me?"
"Do you want to die Riley?"
"Does it matter? You're either gonna do it or not."
Xander knelt on the floor in front of Finn and used one hand to turn the older man's face to look at him. With the other he brushed soft blonde hair out of tired eyes. That was the last draw for the older man. He collapsed in on himself, suddenly becoming small and impossibly helpless. But Xander was ready for it, he sat on the floor with his back braced against the bed and pulled Riley into his arms. The blonde curled around him and buried his face in the brunette's chest.
"Shh...such grief for so worthless a cause. Hush now, she doesn't deserve your tears and she was never worthy of your love. She can't love; its not you she doesn't love...it's anyone that isn't her."
"Angel...she loved Angel..."
"No. She owned Angel. And now she doesn't. Let her go Riley. She's not for you. There's no future with her; there's no future in Sunnydale."
"I don't...there's nowhere else to go."
"You're wrong. There's a place for you. A place that needs your courage and your loyalty. A place where you will never be second prize, a place where you matter, where you belong. People to love you, people who want you there, who need your help.... a home."
"Shhh, close your eyes. I'll make it better. I'll take you home. I'll...forgive...you..."
Smoke from Xander's lips surrounded them as he guided Riley to tilt his head back and expose his throat. He bit gently but deeply. The older man jerked from the pain, but the Knight held him in place. He pulled his mouth away long enough to bite into his own wrist and place it against Riley's mouth. Then he went back to drinking from the bite. He felt the tugging at his wrist when the other man began to drink. After a moment he pulled away and laid Riley on the bed. Then he moved to the chair in the corner of the room and waited. It wouldn't take long for the older man to wake up, and when he did... Things were in place. It was time to find the heart and leave. The Slayer could have Sunnydale. He already had what he wanted.
The fight was already going strong by the time Spike and the others got there. As usual, Buffy was performing a complicated gymnastics routine when a few well placed punches would have worked. The former vampire was surprised to hear Angel heave a sigh of resignation before wading into the fight. He watched his ex-Sire methodically dust any vamp that got within his reach. There was no fire in this fight. Angel was helping because it was expected, not because he cared about the outcome. The blonde was so absorbed in studying the Master vamp that he noticed the moment Angel's attitude changed.
A random minion ran from Buffy. He passed close by where Wesley and Spike stood watching the fight. As it fled it reached out with one hand and attempted to jerk Wes between it and Buffy. Angel roared his fury and charged. Of course, the ex-watcher calmly staked the stupid creature before it had the chance to make him so much as stumble. But that one foolish reaction was the end of this nest. They had threatened Angelus' mate, and they had to die. Indifferent resignation turned into snarling fury, and even the Slayer had the sense to get out of the way as the Master vampire laid into the idiots.
When the last was a pile of ashes Angel strode over to them and took Wesley into his arms. A deep kiss and whispered reassurance from the Englishman calmed his fury. The Slayer's reaction to the kiss reawakened it.
"Jeez. Give it a rest." Buffy's distaste was obvious. So was Angel's lack of patience. For some unknown reason Spike felt the need to try and stop this disaster before it started. He suspected it had something to do with wanting the Slayer to be around to see what his Xander had been up to.
"Let's all toddle of to our respective beds for the night kiddies. We've all had a full day."
"Yeah and we're all soo eager to watch Wes drool over Angel when he can't do anything about it. Talk about pathetic."
"Give it a rest Buffy, we've all had enough for one day." Spike began to ease away from Angel and the Slayer. It was obvious even to Buffy that what she'd said had upset Wesley, what she didn't seem to notice was Angel's growing rage. Spike was pretty sure he could get Wes out of the crossfire, but he had no idea what to do about the others.
"Actually Slayer, Wesley is my mate...in every way."
"Uh-huh, and let me guess...the curse doesn't apply to ex-idiots from England. Or maybe it's that he doesn't have what it takes to make you happy. You don't really love him do you Angel? It's not like it was with you and me. He's just there."
Spike felt Bane brush the back of his mind. It had sensed his concern and was checking up on him. A quick look around showed him that the proverbial shit was about to hit the metaphoric fan. Ripper, Rayne, and Red were standing shoulder to shoulder giving Buffy looks that would've scared the devil himself back into hell. Doyle was red-eyed with anger...literally. He was also green spiky skinned and ready to enlighten the Slayer about his feeling on this subject. The prom-queen was calm, she was very calmly loading her crossbow and aiming it at Buffy. And Angel...Angel was smiling. Spike left concerned, bypassed worried, and went straight to fucking scared. He knew that smile.
Riley began to stir from the sleep he'd fallen into. The changes were complete. His transformation had taken only a few minutes instead of the hours it usually took. Xander had known that Spike would change quickly, his being a vampire with a faster rate of healing and regeneration had ensured it. The Knight wasn't sure what had caused the speed in Riley's change, but he'd sensed that this would be the case. Turning away from the window he settled into a comfortable lean to watch the ex-soldier wake.
Riley felt himself swimming up out of a fog. He was asleep and dreaming, he knew that, but the dreams were so real. And so much nicer than his current reality. In his mind he was in a city full of people he knew and cared for, and what was even better was that they all cared for him. Then there was the woman...almost too thin, tall but not his height, long dark hair, wide dark eyes, an odd slightly crooked smile, skin that glowed in the moonlight, and her voice.... Her words had an odd accent to them and he wasn't sure what she was saying, but she was smiling that smile and reaching out to hug him and he never wanted to leave her arms. He was home there. She was his home. And that wonderful voice was in his head, even though he was leaving the dreams behind, her voice followed him into the waking world and as he woke he echoed the last of her whispers...
Sitting straight up on his bed he was immediately aware of the differences in himself. They were rather unavoidable. For starters, his skin was green. Closer examination of the webbing between his fingers revealed that his body was now covered with a layer of miniscule scales, each one was an odd shade of opalescent green. When he shifted on the bed the light coming from the window made him shimmer and glow. He was dark like an emerald or the deep seas, and when he touched the sides of his neck he wasn't surprised to find gills. He'd become amphibious. His feet were webbed like his hands and when he concentrated he found that his fingers hid claws he could extend or retract.
The mirror on the wall showed him that his hair had darkened to the color of burnished gold. Like Spike's it had lengthened, it was now down to his shoulders. His teeth were obviously that of a carnivore, although unlike Spike and Xander he did not have elongated canines. His eyes were a darker shade of green than his skin and when he blinked he discovered two eyelids. One served the usual purpose, the other was nearly transparent to allow him to see underwater and still keep his eyes protected from debris, like a crocodile.
'That'll be useful.'
The sound of his voice was what finally shocked him. It was unmistakably his, but it was also changed. The tone was deeper now, it seemed to resonate more in his chest like a purr. He was reminded of the stories about sirens who lured sailors to their deaths and was pretty sure that if he tried to sing he'd hear something very different then the off key warble he was accustomed to.
"You look beautiful." Without turning to look at him, Riley could hear the smile in Xander's voice.
"Don't let Spike hear you say that."
"He'd agree. So will Rachel."
That got Riley's full attention. He spun to look at the dark-haired man. Standing up he discovered that his balance was better, which probably had something to do with the webbing. He was about to question the other man about his dreams when Xander's smile disappeared. His brow furrowed and he bared his death in a snarl.
That was all Riley needed to hear. Xander was already climbing out the window and he was following. They hit the grass and set off at a full out run. Xander was the person that had given him a new chance at life, a place to belong, and a mysterious beauty to dream of. Spike was Xander's mate. Any threat to either man was intolerable.
Angel kept smiling. He slipped out of Wesley's arms and walked up to the Slayer. Pitching his voice just loud enough to be heard by everyone else, he spoke in a calm intimate tone. And he never stopped smiling.
"You're right Buffy, it's not like it was with us. You were so sweet and young. So naive and unsure...so bloody boring. When we were together it was everything I could do just to keep my cock hard, and you just laid there. Stupid girl. If I'd wanted to fuck a corpse I'd have stayed in the cemetery."
Buffy swung with her right arm, but Angel was ready for it. He caught her wrist and twisted it behind her back. Grabbing her other arm, he spun her around and twisted it too. Shifting his weight forward he tangled his legs with hers and pinned her against him. Leaning low he put his mouth close to her ear and continued in
the same silky cool voice.
"But my Wesley, mmmm... He's amazing. Oh, I can't describe how he moves when I'm in him. You wouldn't believe the things he can do with his mouth.
And it's soo good....when he fucks me."
Buffy screamed and tried to jerk away. She threw her body forward and tried to head butt the vampire that held her. It was a wasted effort.
"I love it when he fucks me. You should see his cock. It's perfect, long and thick. And when he comes in me it's like fire going through me. On his worst day he's a better fuck then you could ever dream of being you frigid little cunt. Even soldier boy had to go out and screw a few stray vamps to get his end away after being stuck with just you."
Angel let her go then. During the last of his words she'd sagged against him, without his support she fell to the ground. Using his foot he turned her over to face him, then he stood straddling her waist and staring down at her. Now when he spoke it was in his normal quiet voice, the one they'd all heard a thousand times.
"You wanna know the best part? The part that made he and I had to go through worth it? It's the love. I love him. More than anyone or anything. Whatever you call this existence I have...unlife, death, I would give it up for him and never hesitate. If he got turned tonight, to be with him....I'd give up my soul."
Buffy curled into a ball on the ground. She was sobbing and shaking. Angel turned his back on her and went to Wesley. The vampire gathered his mate into his arms and held him close. Wesley laid his head on Angel's shoulder and turned his face in to nuzzle the taller man's neck.
"I love you Liam."
Xander strolled out of the shadows calmly. His hearing and his connection to Spike had let him know what was happening. Considering what he was about to spring on Buffy he almost felt sorry for her...almost. He stood behind Spike and pulled the shorter man into his arms. The ex-vampire cuddled against him and they both felt Bane's approval.
The bike rolled up next to the two entwined men and let its engine purr. The one who tried to hurt its master was in pain. She wasn't dying, but it was a start at least. It liked the tall dark one; he had made the woman cry. As far as Bane was concerned that was a very good thing.
Spike couldn't keep from chuckling at the elemental. He wasn't thrilled with the idea of it taking a liking to Angel, but considering how pleased he was with his ex-Sire at the moment it was hard to begrudge the creature it's approval. Pressing further into Xander's hold on him, he turned his eyes to the spot in the shadows where he could feel a presence.
Riley watched Xander and Spike hold each other. He sensed the power and the
intelligence in the motorcycle parked next to them; it was obviously not what it
seemed. He turned his attention to the two other men embracing. Angel was
holding Wesley close to him and purring softly. Their feelings for each other
seemed to flow from them like a soft colored light, after a moment Riley
realized that he could actually see what they were feeling. Focusing on the
others he let this new ability show him what was happening.
All the lovers were covered in blue; it was the color of their love for each other. With the exception of Buffy they were all flashing between red and dark gray, anger and sadness. Willow was encircled in a pale gold that showed her to be a powerful witch. Ethan and Giles were each surrounded by a deep almost fiery golden halo. They were infinitely more powerful then the young witch, but she had potential.
Cordy was covered in a soft purple, she was human but the threads of gold lacing through the purple showed she had the potential to be a very powerful witch. Doyle was green. His demonic heritage was visible, but the flashes of silver showed that he was a seer.
Wesley was purple with bands of gold, a human who regularly used magic. The streamers of pure white that surrounded his chest showed that he was an instrument of the Powers. Angel was a seething mass of red, black, and purple. The rage and hatred of his demon in constant battle with his human soul. But there were lines of white that shot through the mess. They were thin, but pure and undeniable and each one of them corresponded to one of the streamers of white that emanated from Wesley.
Red and black also encircled Xander and Spike, but it was a calm shroud that was overlaid with gold and the occasional streamer of white. A purple haze hung over both of them; they had their souls. In the center of them both there was a pulsing yellow-white flame. It was the mark of Baphomet; it was what made them NightBreed.
Riley knew that a mirror would show him the same colors surrounding his own body. The only thing that would be missing was the blue of love. It was this thought that caused him to turn his eyes to Buffy. Red and black, as violent and volatile as Angel. The purple of her soul was dim and dirty looking. Where there had once been streamers of pure white, there was now a dingy cream color like old lace. There was no trace of blue. There was no room for it. Xander was right, she couldn't love anyone.
Riley felt the last of his pain slip away. He couldn't hate Buffy anymore; he could only pity her. She had once been a servant of the powers like Wesley, but she had let the violence that was a necessary part of her nature rule her. Her connection to the Powers was almost gone and when it was she would no longer be able to survive. Very soon a new Slayer would be called. Because he had once loved her, Riley was relieved that death would be coming for her soon. Perhaps in it she would be able to find some peace. Maybe she would be rewarded for the good she'd done and forgiven for what she had become.
Taking a deep breath, Riley stepped out of the shadows. It was time to say goodbye.
"I must say Mr. Finn, green is definitely your color."
Ethan's voice drew everyone's attention to Riley. Rayne was smirking, he wasn't
surprised by the change in Riley at all. Somehow, he'd known. Giles raised his
eyebrows, and then nodded once. He was a slightly surprised, but he approved.
Willow reached out to touch him.
"You're scaly, but not bad scaly. Like a snake, smooth and kinda soft, slippery scaly."
"Yeah, it comes with accessories too." Smiling at the redhead, Riley raised his hand and spread his fingers. The webbing was translucent in the moonlight.
"Wow, have you considered joining the Olympic swim team." Willow's smile was brighter than he remembered it being for a long time. It was full of acceptance. Riley realized that he had a friend, one he hadn't even known he'd made. He couldn't keep himself from hugging her.
"What is it about the green ones?"
Cordelia's voice was full of laughter. Or at least it was until Doyle leaned up and kissed her. The two of them had no problem with the ex-soldier.
Angel finally pulled away from Wesley long enough to look riley over. "Is this what you want?"
Once, Riley would've heard scorn and disgust in that calm voice. But with the fear of losing Buffy gone, all he heard now was concern. "Yes, this is what I want. It's what I'm supposed to be, only I didn't know it."
"You're not like Spike and Xander. You haven't gone beyond death, and...you probably will never able to pass for human again."
The newly made Breed could hear and feel the gentle concern in Wesley's voice. He wasn't trying to change Riley's mind; he just wanted to make sure the younger man understood the choice he'd made."
"That's okay. I didn't do such a good job as a human anyway. I think I might be better at this."
"You'll be fine in Midian. The fact is, there's a lot fewer us that can pass for human. There are no secrets among the Breed Riley, you'll be accepted exactly as you are."
Xander's voice was a rumbling purr, probably because Spike was busily nuzzling his neck. The blonde raised his head long enough to grin at Riley, but then he went back to making a meal out of his lover's neck."
"Riley, what's going on?" Buffy's voice was harsh. Angry and cracking from tears. The others had been standing between the two of them and she hadn't seen Riley yet. Taking a deep breath, he stepped out from behind hid friends and faced the Slayer.
"Riley?! What happened to you?!!"
"Don't worry. We'll get you fixed. Giles will find something and you'll be back to yourself in no time."
"I am myself Buffy. Nobody did this to me. I chose this."
"You chose to be Kermit's taller brother?!!"
Buffy's words should have hurt. They didn't. Riley actually found himself to be amused. Doyle on the other hand was not.
"Hey, let's not make this about color...you bottle blonde."
"Oi! Bugger off leprechaun!!" The former human couldn't keep from smiling. Doyle was closer to Kermit green than he was, and there was no way Spike would let his shot at bleach jobs slip by. These were his friends. He had to bite his lip to keep from laughing.
"You think this is funny?!! You're smiling about this!!?! Riley you're not even human anymore!"
"Neither are you."
"What!? What the hell are you talking about?!"
"You're not a human being anymore Buffy. There's nothing of humanity left in you. Whatever you could've been, all the good you've done; you've made it all worthless by the way you treat people."
"Okay, okay. This green thing is messing with your head. I'll get you help Riley."
"Buffy stop!! Listen to me, please. I don't need your help. I don't want it. Once I needed you to love me, but you didn't even try. You used me as a convenient replacement for Angel. And I don't know who to feel more sorry for; the two of us because we honestly cared about you, or you because you can't care about anybody."
"You wanna feel sorry, feel sorry for yourself. I hope you like the spot in Hell where you burn demon, cause you're gonna be there or a long time." Buffy's voice was a snarl. She spit each word through clenched teeth.
"I'm not going to Hell Buffy, I'm going to Midian. So are Giles, and Ethan, and Willow. You're going to be alone, so be careful. No one's going to be here to help you. Goodbye Buffy."
Riley found it was easy to turn his back on her. She was nothing to him anymore. Just another slayer. Just another pawn in the Powers endless war with the bad guys. There had been thousands of slayers before her, there would be thousands more. It was only her friends that had made her different, and she didn't have them anymore.