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A Union of Heaven and Hell
by Mihreia
Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine Part Ten Part Eleven Part Twelve Part Thirteen Part Fourteen Part Fifteen Part Sixteen Part Seventeen Part Eighteen Part Nineteen Part Twenty Part Twenty-One


Part One  

Spike lit up a cigarette, while studying the couple strolling towards
his hiding place. The girl had a washed out look, long red-painted
hair, old leather jacket, ripped jeans, and enough metal in her face
to be able to compete with some demons for looks. The guy wasn't much
better, though Spike liked the purple hair. The vampire frowned
disdainfully. Pickings were bad in this part of town, but he didn't
want to alert the slayer to his presence. At least not until he had
found the gem of Amara, an enterprise that wasn't going as well as he
liked.
Spike shrugged. Still... He had to eat.
He was just about to grab the guy, seeing as how chits usually froze
and blokes fought when their friends were attacked, when a third
human came around a corner. A human with a familiar smell. Sweet, but
with a salty edge. Spike aborted his move out of curiosity. He didn't
know that many humans that were still alive after he had been close
enough to memorise their scent. The vampire retreated into the
shadows as stealthily as he had come. The figure walked with hunched
shoulders, his face turned downwards. It took a second to recognise
the boy who hung out with the slayer. Spike narrowed his eyes. Of the
slayer's trusty chums, this was the one the vampire had encountered
the least.
As a rule Spike tried to know his enemies. He'd studied the slayer
and the watcher extensively when he had first come to Sunnydale,
going so far as to have some fledglings tape her fights. He had made
the mistake of shrugging off her friends and family as excess
baggage, and got a nasty hit with an axe to make him see reason.
After that he had kept an interested eye on things until he was put
in that bloody wheelchair and high and mighty Angelus came trotting
back into his and Dru's unlives.
It had been quite a surprise to learn of the redhead's new witch
powers last year, when he came back to Sunnyhell after Dru left him.
And that had been one of the two times he had dealt with the boy.
Spike was actually surprised he remembered the kid's scent so well,
considering he had been extremely smashed at the time. But then
again, you just didn't forget the first present you got from your
sire in eighty years. Even if he did take it back a minute later.
The boy, Xander if he remembered correctly, walked past Spike's
hiding place, oblivious to the threat. You'd think somebody who knew
Sunnyhell like he did wouldn't go walking around at night. The blond
shifted slightly, and saw the boy glance into the alley where Spike
was standing. It was too dark to see anything of course, so he just
walked on. The vampire raised an eyebrow. Well, well. The kid wasn't
nearly as oblivious to his surroundings as he appeared. He'd make a
lot more interesting prey. Pity he would be missed. In a sudden
impulse Spike followed him, still not sure if he didn't want to have
some fun anyway.
A block further three vampires decided to feast a little. Xander
froze at the sight, with a deer in the headlights look. He visibly
shook himself out of it. And then, to Spike's surprise, he relaxed
into a passable fighting stance. What was that kid doing? He didn't
really think he could take on three vampires, did he? Suffering from
a fit of wanna-be-Slayer most likely. Granted, they were all
fledglings of the young and bloody stupid kind, anyone could take
one, but all three? That took guts, Spike thought in admiration. It
would be a shame really, to see him get killed.
"I'm really not in the mood for this." Xander said to his
adversaries, voice deliberately low. He grabbed into his coat, and
pulled out... a sword? Fuckin' ey! What's the wanker doing walking
around town with the big knife? Spike watched with growing amazement
as the dark-haired boy whirled around on the balls of his feet, and
took the head of one vampire clear off. The other two vampires
circled with considerably more caution. Xander moved with them, and
Spike caught his first good look of the kid's face in the moonlight.
The vampire whistled soundlessly. The heat of battle made the young
man glow, face flushed rosy, eyes dark with the passion of the fight,
the sheer enjoyment shone from within. He was stunningly beautiful.
Spike had never figured Xander for a predator and now dearly
regretted that fact. He'd make one terrific vampire. The blond
watched him during the rest of the fight with an intensity he rarely
gave a human. He could hear the heart thumping loud and fast, see the
hot blood rushing up his skin, smell the cloying lure of blood from
the wounds Xander took in the fight. It was highly arousing to the
spectator of this fight. Spike suddenly remembered that Angelus had
called the mortal the Slayer's White Knight a couple of times, but
his sire hadn't meant that literally. Maybe the boy had taken it to
heart a little too much? But this wasn't make-believe.
Xander obviously knew how to use his sword. The vampires were
stronger and faster than he was, but the sword gave him a longer
reach. The slashes he inflicted on his opponents healed fast, but
they shattered the concentration. Spike snorted at the idiot
vampires. They should be able to handle the boy easily. The wankers
were afraid of a little pain. To their credit they did get some
slashes in, but they didn't seem to slow Xander down any. Soon both
vampires ended up dust, and Xander stopped moving. A smooth move and
the sword disappeared into his jacket. The mortal boy was breathing
heavily, eyes sparkling with an emotion not unlike bloodlust. He
licked his dry lips. Spike growled softly. That did it! The little
tease was asking for it.
Smirk firmly in place, he came out of the shadows. 

Part Two  

Xander sheathed his sword and stared at the three little piles of
dust on the ground, wondering how he got to this point. If someone
had told him a year ago he'd willingly walk around at night, by
himself, he'd have told the crazy person to stay nice and calm until
he could call the men in the white coats. He didn't have a deathwish,
thank-you-very-much! But things change. For one, in highschool,
however much he had been patronised that last year, at least Buffy
and Willow had still been good friends. Nowadays the girls had enough
friends at school, who had more in common with them than he ever
would again. No more talking about teachers and classes, no more
gossip on who dates who, no more going to dances and parties
together. This was pretty much an at-work friendship now. And at-work
friendships weren't of the good in Xander's book.
The most obvious sign that Xander just didn't feel comfortable around
Buffy and Willow any more, was that he hadn't told them his secret.
At the start of the summer something amazing had happened to Xander.
He'd become immortal, in a non-vampiry way. He'd learnt the basics
from his teacher, and at the end of the summer he knew enough to keep
his head. With a new sword, and a lot more fighting skills he'd set
out for dear old Sunnydale. He'd arrived at the college all excited,
happy to see his friends and tell the Scooby Gang all about his new
life the first time they were all together. But there was a little
problem with that. Every one of them was too busy with their own new
lives to get together. Buffy was all angsty about college, Giles was
slumming it - getting the old Ripper going, Willow was living the
high life of education, and Oz was... Oz. So he'd waited.
Things hadn't improved with time. Granted, there was the much-
cherished apology from the Buffster, but Xander would have been
happier with actions in stead of words. So he'd kept his mouth shut
and tried to be supportive guy as usual. By now it would be too
awkward to say anything. He could imagine the conversation now.
"Oh hi guys, you know last summer? I kind of turned immortal. No,
Buffy, put the stake down, I'm not a vampire. Why I didn't tell you
before? Uhm. You see, I was feeling neglected here, and I'm petty
enough to keep things from you because of that."
Good reason, right? Right. It was more than that though.
Nobody believed he could do anything right. Of course, they had
always thought that. Xander had saved Buffy from death numerous
times, he counted five at the top of his hat. But no, he was Xander,
so he couldn't fight. Like hell he couldn't! Taking some of his
frustrations out on the poor fledglings had felt pretty good
actually. Their clumsy attacks were no match for a swordsman, and
Xander had caught himself extending the fight, playing with the
outmatched demons. See! He could fight as well as the next person! It
was no hardship at all. So, screw Buffy and her protective attitude.
Except that it got awfully lonely all by himself, and secrets weren't
any fun if you couldn't share them with someone. He seriously
considered pulling Willow aside and telling her, when his ears
registered the clapping.
Xander jolted out of his thoughts. His head shot up and he felt his
mouth drop open as a familiar figure stepped into the patch of
moonlight in the alley.
"Spike." He whispered. This was bad. Killing fledglings was one
thing, killing Spike was something completely different, as proven by
Buffy herself. The young man studied his new opponent intensely as
the vampire sauntered confidently closer. The immortal felt a sharp
pang as he was suddenly struck with the surreal beauty of a true
creature of the night. The moonlight made Spike's skin glow, his
bleach-blond hair illuminated a face that was an intriguing contrast
of dark and light. The vampire's movements were those of a big cat
stalking its prey, graceful and agile. Xander had never before
considered the beauty of such a hunt. Hey, there were no wildlife
documentaries on vampires, so who could blame him? Maybe it was
because he had just relished in his own little hunt that he could
almost feel Spike's hunger for it, his enjoyment of the coming
thrill. Xander made no move for his sword. He had no wish to die a
mortal death and leave his life and friends in Sunnydale behind, even
if they did forget he was there most of the time.
Spike was highly unpredictable and Xander knew death was not certain
as long as he didn't fight. The blond vampire liked to play games.
Must have learnt that one from Angelus. On the other hand, if the
immortal did reach for his sword the vampire would certainly drain
him to death and taunt his friends with it, making return impossible.
And strangely enough Xander really had no desire to fight him anyway.
He stood there mesmerised, looking at the demon stalking him. It was
a heady feeling being the focus of that ice blue gaze.
The vampire's smirk widened as he seemed to sense Xander's
submission. He only stopped when he was so near the immortal's hot
breath stirred his hair slightly. The young man had to fight the urge
to step back.
"Not in the mood for another fight, pet?" The blond asked in a
slightly amused, yet oddly seductive tone.
Xander frowned in indecision. He should try to get away, really.
Spike was way more dangerous than the other three vampires combined.
And yet, what could the vampire do really? Even if he drained Xander,
the immortal would revive none the worse for the wear except for a
loss of identity. Ri-i-ight, just delude yourself. Nope, there is
nothing exciting about this. Nothing at all. The insistent stirring
in his netherparts told otherwise.
"Not really." His voice sounded harsh. Spike apparently knew what
Xander was thinking as his eyes twinkled in amusement. Or maybe it
was that nifty sense of smell vamps were supposed to have. Oh god,
this was embarrassing! The vampire bent his head a little and a cold
tongue trailed suggestively up Xander's throat. The young man had to
bite his tongue to keep from moaning. Embarrassment, exit stage
right, and arousal enter from left field.
"What about a different kind of fight?" Small nips with blunt teeth
followed the main arteries up and down. Xander swayed, knowing his
neck was really the only vulnerable part of his body and damn, if
those sneaky vampires didn't always go for the throat. He'd never
thought about his weak spot in this context before though and he
couldn't convince his traitorous body that this was a bad thing.
"Mhmm. S-Spike." He could get out through the hazy confusion in his
mind.
"Yes, pet?" The abrupt cease of the assault on his throat left him
whimpering. Spike chuckled. "More?" His sharp teeth pricked the skin
for emphasis and he slowly lapped up the drop of blood.
Talking really wasn't Xander's strong point right about now. He did
think he made some sort of affirmative noise, since Spike swiftly
pulled off Xander's jacket and shirt, while restarting a pattern of
licking, nipping, and biting. A dull thud signalled his sword was now
officially out of reach. Oh well, who cared? Xander was already
achingly hard, and he was ridiculously glad when Spike pushed him
roughly against the wall. His legs seriously refused to stay in
business. A cold draft ran over his heated skin, accompanied by two
equally cold hands smoothing over his chest and tweaking his nipples.
Spike's mouth moved up along his jaw until it reached his lips,
prying them open and plundering his mouth. Blunt teeth again changed
to pointed and pricked Xander's lips until they bled. The wounds were
tiny and easily healed, the sparks adding their own sting to the kiss.
It freed the immortal from his paralysis and he frantically tugged at
Spike's clothes, not caring any longer about the weirdness of this
situation. His almost instant arousal made high thought process a
luxury. A brief interruption in the bodily contact gave Xander the
chance to look at his seducer. Spike was wearing his vampiric face,
and a swift thrill of fear ran through the immortal's body, quickly
replaced with heat as more and more of the vampire's body was
revealed. Spike apparently didn't care one iota that he was stripping
naked in an alley in the middle of Sunnydale. No embarrassment was
evident. Of course, Xander didn't think vampires could blush. Then
again, even if he could, Xander knew Spike wouldn't have blushed
anyway. If Spike had one characteristic it is that he went into every
idea with utter confidence and without reconsideration.
Not so himself, Xander realised, as Spike approached him, and slowly
eased off the rest of his clothes. A red hot flush travelled all the
way from his face down his chest to his balls. He reddened even more
when Spike was obviously fascinated by the rush of blood so close to
the surface. The vampire sliced small wounds everywhere, lapping up
the blood, as hid hand circled Xander's cock and started a lazy
rhythm. The combination pain-pleasure sent the boy reeling as his
hands dipped down the vampire's smooth chest and abdomen to do the
same.
Suddenly Spike growled impatiently and spun the young man around so
that he roughly hit the wall. Xander's hands scraped along the stone
before he braced himself, knowing what was about to come. The blond
gingerly trailed one finger down his buttocks. The boy panicked
briefly. He'd never done this before, never even contemplated this
version of events. Oh, he'd had the odd gay thought now and again,
but mostly he firmly squashed them. And the rare occasion he did
wonder the players were usually reversed. Clearly not an option Spike
even considered right now.
"Ssshh, easy, little knight. This will only hurt a bit." True enough,
as Spike pushed one wet finger in, it twinged not unpleasantly. It
only felt strange, uncomfortable, until the vampire did something in
there and a hot shiver ran through Xander's body.
"Wha..."
He could practically hear the smirk. "There's a reason people do
this, you know." Again the intense feeling of pleasure ran over him,
and the young man moaned and pushed back. The finger left, and two
returned without much problem. Then three. He hissed at the initial
push. Whatever Spike was using as lubricant, it was not entirely
effective. Xander thanked his healing factor profusely. The sharp
pain didn't make him any less aroused though. Not something he wanted
his thoughts to linger on.
Finally the fingers left him, and a more blunt object teased at his
opening.
"Ready, pet?" Spike's voice whispered close to his ear. The young man
managed a nod, pushing back slightly in anticipation. Just seconds
before Spike pushed forward, Xander felt sharp teeth sink into his
neck. The initial rush of feeling his blood pool and flow upward
towards the vampire's waiting mouth dulled the decidedly painful
entry as Spike breached his body. The vampire restarted a slow
pattern on Xander's cock. After a seemingly endless wait his muscles
relaxed and Spike pushed slowly inward. Between the three very
different sensations the individual acts didn't really register until
Spike began a rhythm. Then they came together in one dizzying whole.
Xander moaned as Spike hit his prostate with every short thrust. A
cold hand stayed at his throat to keep it in biting range, cool thumb
rubbing the warm skin softly, which added an erotic tinge to the
wildness elsewhere.
Somehow the vampire managed a counterpoint of pushing, stroking and
sucking without losing his pace. Xander's mind short-circuited as the
pleasure soared higher and he moved in counterpoint backward and
forward with wild abandon. The tingling of his healing around Spike's
sharp teeth added spice, the draining of blood left him deliciously
light-headed, and in combination with the hard fucking it finally
became too much for Xander. He cried out as he came, Spike not two
strokes later, adding his own sounds to the night.
The young immortal leaned against the wall in shivering exhaustion as
the vampire retracted his teeth, and slowly eased out of his body.

Part Three  

Spike found himself in a daze he hadn't experienced since his last
tumble and blood-sharing with Angelus, way back before the git left
him and Dru on their own in Romania. Bloody hell, he'd never lost
himself to a mortal that much. He had only wanted to have a bit of
jolly good fun before the kill. After all, the Slayer didn't know he
was in town, and if the idiot kid walked around at night, he was
asking to be bitten. Sword or no bloody sword!
That all changed as soon as took he teased the first nip of blood
from the boy's throat. Spike had tasted the blood of a whole bunch of
mortals in his unlife, but nothing that packed such a wallop as this.
Though Slayer blood came close. The warrior girls were somehow more
alive than normal humans with all their strength and fighting and
their mystical prophetic link to the gates of heaven or something and
it showed. Of course vampire blood was more powerful than any mortal
blood, but it wasn't alive. Magical, sure, but it lacked spunk. The
little knight had to be extremely alive to taste this juicy. It made
Spike tingle all over. A vampire could get addicted to a brew like
that. Really, it would be a shame to kill him now.
The vampire stared at the marks on the other man's neck with a scowl.
He didn't like mysteries. They led to returning sires that had
suddenly gained a soul, or wanted to suck the world into Hell and
crazy stuff like that. His eyes widened. What the hell? Blue streaks
spun over the twin holes, and knit the skin together until only the
trails of blood showed there had ever been wounds on the unblemished
throat. Spike roughly turned Xander around to face him.
"What the bloody hell are you?" He growled, in game face. One mystery
was salvageable, two was way too fuckin' much.
Xander smiled nervously at the enraged vampire mere inches from his
neck. "Um, immortal?"
Both eyebrows went up. "Immortal? You can't be killed?" The disbelief
was easily noticeable in his tone of voice. The vampire had never
heard of any immortal humans. And the kid was no demon. Spike would
be able to feel the Hell connection if he was. It would explain the
blood though. You couldn't get more alive than immortality.
"Let's not start with the killing, here. I hate dying. Dying is a bad
thing, with the pain and the death. Except... for vampires of
course,
who probably find it a six course meal in some fancy restaurant." The
young man babbled.
The vampire smiled suddenly. A human that wasn't able to die, huh?
That would mean an endless blood supply of the finest quality he'd
ever tasted. And not a bad shag either. The smile stayed firmly fixed
as he considered his idea. Yep, this had promise. A little
experimentation was a good thing.
His fanged grin grew wider as he noticed Xander's increasing anxiety.
"Get dressed. We're going somewhere a bit more... private." Spike
took
his own advice, when he noticed Xander reaching for his jacket out of
the corner of his eyes. He swiftly grabbed it, and extracted the
sword.
"Ah ah, you won't need that." He admired the sword. If he remembered
Angelus' obsession with the things correctly, this one was of good
quality. A real antique, but sharpened for use. "Neat." He grinned. A
quick move with vampiric speed, and Spike watched in delight as
Xander's eyes opened wide in shock. The boy crumpled to the ground,
the sword perfectly stuck in his heart.
Hey, it was a lot less hassle to simply carry the git than having to
drag him all over Sunnyhell. Less inconspicuous too. Besides, anyone
who told Spike he was immortal shouldn't be surprised to find a sword
planted in his chest. The blond vampire could never resist a
temptation like that.
Twenty minutes later Spike deposited his burden on the bed in his
temporary home and his quickly purchased bag of mortal foods against
the wall on the far side, so that he wouldn't trip over them. That
done, he pulled out several chests from under the bed and started
rifling through them. Damn, he knew he had some of his and Dru's play-
chains left, but where had he put the bloody things? They couldn't be
far. Aha! Ooh, hard choice, should he shackle a hand or a foot? Or
maybe two hands? Dru always tried to crawl out of her skin if she
couldn't reach for him while he drove her wild. He wondered what this
one would do.
Finally he decided to shackle a leg to the wall beside the bed, with
enough room to traverse the living cavern. The second cavern in the
back was where Spike was drilling for his pretty Gem, when he wasn't
sick and tired of it. Patience was not his strong point.
The vampire had just fastened the chain to the kid's ankle when he
was alerted to the young man's revival by the start of an irregular
heartbeat. Fascinated he watched as blue electricity flitted over the
shrinking wound. When a sharp gasp sounded in the silent cave, his
eyes shifted to the immortal's face. Dark eyes opened, and the
luscious mouth grimaced with pain. Spike watched as different
emotions flew over the handsome face. First wonder and gratitude
which turned to resignation, then confusion and finally
comprehension. The liquid brown eyes looked at him with obvious anger.
"What did you do that for? Getting stabbed through the heart hurts,
you know!"
Spike fell on the bed, and leaned back against the wall, legs crossed
and arms behind his head. Xander managed to look annoyed on top of
pissed off as he had to scoot sideways to avoid being squashed by the
vampire.
"Sure I do. Hurts like a bugger. I was stabbed through the heart once
you know. Me and the poof were in Rome, and I told the wanker it
wasn't a goo' idea going to Vatican City with all the bloody crosses
everywhere, but did he ever listen to me? No, when mighty Angelus 'as
a plan 'e sticks to it, until 'is 'ead explodes and I'm stuck wit'
the bloody mess. Anyways there was this bloke..."
" 'Anyways' I really don't care jack-shit about what you and Deadboy
did in the good old days. What am I doing here? And for that matter,
where the fuck is here?" Xander interceded.
"Temper, temper, pet. I couldn't have you running to your little
friends and tell the Slayer I'm here. Besides, we had bloody good
fun, and I for one have a fancy for a repeat performance." Spike
grinned.
Xander lay next to him with his mouth opening and closing like a
demented fish. He looked really cute and adorable. Spike leaned over
and kissed him. The kiss was soft and sweet, not at all like their
earlier one. Cold lips met warm lips in a slow dance. As before the
dark-haired man swiftly surrendered himself to the sensations. It had
been a long time since Spike had experienced such an eager and needy
lover. Drusilla never could handle surrendering to the moment. She
was demanding and sensual, and she liked rough play, but she was
never needy and hardly ever soft.
Xander was a delight. He grabbed at Spike's clothes, trying to
reciprocate, but Spike hushed him. "Sssh, this one's for you, kitten."
The blond slowly unbuttoned the shirt, that had been only half
buttoned up anyway when Spike killed Xander. He traced the contours
of the other man's muscles, varying pressure from tickling to
stroking at various points. He soon had the young man squirming and
making these wonderful little mewling noises. Spike left the boy's
mouth and raked his eyes over the well-formed body.
Hmm, nice. He unbuttoned the pants and tugged a little until Xander
lifted his hips automatically so he could slide them down. The blond
didn't bother with the shoes and socks, since the pants couldn't go
down over the chain anyway. He turned his attention to the straining
erection in front of him. A swift lick to the head elicited a gasp.
The pre-cum tasted slightly salty, but mostly sweet. Spike grinned.
The boy apparently had a sugar-tooth. He sat himself to his task with
vigour.
He dipped his head down over the hot flesh. Alternately licking and
sucking he set a rhythm. Xander moaned and trashed, obviously
enjoying himself. Spike would have grinned if he hadn't been busy. He
still had the skills. Only he kept being surprised by the warmth in
his mouth.
With one hand he reached below to fondle the young man's velvet sack
as the other snapped open his own jeans to relieve the strain, and
started a slow pumping, though his own arousal at this point was
secondary to that of the beautiful mortal, no, immortal boy under
him. As Xander involuntarily thrust upwards, Spike suddenly lowered
his head and engulfed the whole length.
The other man cried out and came, hot spurts coating Spike's throat.
The vampire kept swallowing until the flood slowed. Then he pulled
off and swiftly sank his teeth into the inside of the thigh. The
taste exploded into his mouth. Tingling blood, tasting of hot
sunlight and violent electrical storms, of sweet living arousal and
dark painful death. Somewhere swept up in that storm, Spike heard
Xander cry out again, and he felt cold seed on one hand, hot seed on
the other, but those were all secondary.
Finally he ripped himself away and licked the wounds automatically.
The healing sparks teased his tongue as he lifted his eyes to look at
the thoroughly debauched Xander.
"Wow." The immortal said.
Spike snorted. Wow indeed. He climbed upwards, and lay down besides
the other man, who looked decidedly sleepy. When Xander's slowing
heart signalled his sleeping state, Spike let himself follow.
Spike was awake first the next day. He was jived, and since it was
daylight outside there was not much he could do about it. He could
wake up Xander and go for round three. Ten seconds of serious
consideration was all he spared the idea. Nah, he came to Sunnyhell
for the Gem of Amara, and he hadn't spent nights and nights in the
library in Los Angeles loosing his mind with boredom to abandon his
plan now that he was so close. But deep inside he wondered if he
hadn't already found the real gem.
He left for the second cave, and started drilling, not caring if his
guest woke up or not. Xander had slept long enough, and at least he'd
have some company if the kid was awake. During a lull in the noise,
he heard the dark-haired man yelling.
"Hey, Blondie! Do you have anything to eat in this place." Spike
smirked. Why did he know that was going to be the first thing out of
the boy's mouth?
Five minutes later a well-fucked looking Xander was sitting on the
bed munching on a cheese sandwich, while Spike watched with amusement.
"So, whachadongbadere?"
"What?"
Xander swallowed. "I asked what you are doing back there?"
Spike didn't hesitate to tell him. After all, he had no intention of
letting Xander go anytime soon, so why not?
"Looking for a ring."
Xander frowned. "There's got to be more to it than that. I've got no
problem with you being a ring kinda guy, but this is a bit extreme
for one bit of metal."
Spike smirked. "It makes a vampire invulnerable. No handy little wood
through the heart, no baking in the sunshine, nifty things like
that." He stood up, and left Xander worrying about the consequences
of a daylight vampire, while he went back to trying to become one.
"How did you hear about this ring anyway?" Xander asked a while later
during one of the vampire's frequent breaks, utterly bored with
watching Spike drill a hole in the ceiling from half a room away.
Spike studied the inside of the hole with a calculating eye. "It's a
bleedin' fairytale for vampires everywhere. Well, here it goes. Once
upon a time, when all sorts of creatures still roamed the earth." He
looked over at where Xander was sitting in the other room, as close
to Spike as the chain allowed. "You know, the kind of times dear old
dad was so fond of that he tried to relive them. I say get over it,
and have some fun in the now, but the wanker never listens to me.
Well, in those times there was this vampiric Hell Priestess named
Amara, who for some reason or other was pissed off at somebody as
Hell Priestesses tend to be. So to have a bit of fun she created this
ring to make her invulnerable to stakes and sunlight. Since the bloke
she was mad at expected her at night, she surprised him good and
tortured him some. She had this needle that..."
"I don't need to hear the gory parts, please."
Spike lit a cigarette and blew some smoke. "Suit yourself. She was
bleedin' brilliant. Cor, who would expect a vampire to turn up during
the day. I never believed the pish-posh stories, but a month ago I
nearly killed a Hramogh demon. There all spikes and tentacles, and
they 'ave these poisonous suction thingies on their 'ands. Poison
doesn't do much to vampires, so I won easily. The demon exchanged the
location of the Gem for 'is freedom. Good deal that was. I let him go
and caught him again the next night. Should have had the sense to
move. Well, you can imagine how I was not 'appy to see Sunnyhell
again, what with the Slayer an' all, so I dallied around a bit in LA
to learn more. Can you fancy I found out the git was right all
along?" Spike couldn't believe he told all that to one of the
Slayer's friends. But Xander was company, and Spike wasn't used to
being alone for long periods of time. Not that he would ever admit it.
"What happened to Amara?" Leave it to a human to get hung up about
unimportant details, Spike thought.
He shrugged. "Don't know. I can take a guess and say she lived
happily ever after in bloody mayhem, but that's obviously not what
happened since the ring's here, and no Amara in sight. Silly chit
probably took it off because it didn't fit with her dress."
Xander was quiet for a while, and Spike took the time to smoke his
cigarette.
"So I take it you'll be sun-bound soon. Are you gonna fry on the
beach? Or maybe picnic in the park?" The boy grinned good-humouredly.
Spike hadn't thought that far ahead really. It was neat enough being
invulnerable, he hadn't considered actually living by daylight. "I
don't know. Watching a sunrise would be nice. And seeing you by
daylight."
Xander obviously didn't expect that. "Really? You're going to be
really white, you know. Getting a tan would be of the good."
The blond snorted. "I can be the first vampire to get sunburn without
the burn-part." It actually sounded pretty good. He shook his head.
What was he thinking? He was a demon, the Big Bad. He didn't go
around sun-bathing when he could do bloody mayhem in broad daylight.
He could pull a sneak-attack on the Slayer, or set Peaches' office in
LA on fire without getting staked. That was what the Gem was for, not
for gazing at the pretty fireball in the sky. That do-gooder kid was
a bad influence.
"Right. I gotta get back to pounding a hole in the roof."
Xander smiled at him, and Spike felt a strange flutter in his chest.
Definitely a bad influence.
Roof. Drilling. Now. 

Part Four  


Xander sat against the wall listening to Spike working. He sighed. 
He'd been kidnapped by bad guys before, and it always evoked plenty 
of emotions, things like mind-numbing fear and the desire to be 
invisible. This time was different though, as he wondered if he 
wasn't invisible already. His kidnapper hadn't tried anything, unless 
you counted the mind-blowing sex part. And now he was simply ignoring 
him. Any attempt at communication after their, or actually Xander's, 
breakfast hadn't gotten a response. Who knew being kidnapped could be 
so boring? And his situation wasn't likely to change anytime soon, 
because it could be a while before his friends even knew he was 
missing. 
And why was Spike down here all by himself anyway? Weren't vampires 
supposed to have minions and such? So he was keeping a low profile. 
That didn't explain it. Normally older vampires used minions to fetch 
and carry stuff. Xander winced. He guessed that meant he was the 
Scooby Gang's minion. No, that was crazy guy talking. He shook off 
the unwelcome thought and got back on the original topic. Of course 
Spike wouldn't like it if any of his minions became invulnerable in 
stead of him. They would probably stake him and take over the 
Hellmouth. Hey, if someone made Xander invulnerable he'd stop being 
donut guy and start slaying demons! Okay, maybe not, seeing as how 
nothing changed when he became immortal, but a guy could dream.
In the other room the drill a sharp crack sounded, and the drill 
whined. A merry voice rang through the lair.
"Ha! Finally!" Yay, Spike had busted the ceiling. Now if only the 
vampire wouldn't leave him here all alone when there was finally 
something interesting going on. 
"Hey, Spike, do I get to see what's up there?" 
A very gritty looking blond head appeared. 
"Oh Hell, why no'? Someone has to be able to write the biography." 
The grin on Spike's face didn't match the long-suffering tone of 
voice.
The immortal laughed. "You might want to reconsider that one. I'm non-
college guy here."
The vampire started to unshackle the chain. "Writing isn't 
everything. There's fighting, and shagging, and a bloke doesn't need 
much more than that to get around. And you're not bad at either, 
luv." Before Xander could reply the chain fell away, and Spike stood 
up. "There. Now let's go see what's behind door number one, shall we?"
Xander briefly contemplated making a run for it, but the vampire was 
faster, and he was undoubtedly waiting for the attempt. Besides, he 
really wanted to see what all the fuss was about. He could always run 
afterwards. Right, afterwards, when Spike was supposedly 
invulnerable. Can you say idiot? But if he ran now, it wouldn't 
change anything. Maybe he could find the ring before Spike and 
destroy it. It was a flimsy plan, yet it was the only choice he had.
"Right. Do I get to stake you to see if the ring works?"
"Not on your life." Spike chuckled.
"Yeah, but you killed me once already."
Five minutes later Xander had stopped needling the evil vampire. He 
was too busy gaping at the wonders surrounding him. Okay, it was 
dark, dusty, filled with skeletons and heaven for spiders, but man, 
this tomb contained more wealth than he'd seen in his lifetime. 
Necklaces, earrings, crystals, crosses, grails, candelabras. And 
rings. Lots and lots of rings. It would be a bit conspicuous to 
destroy them all, wouldn't it? 
"Do you know what your ring looks like?" 
Spike answered absently while rifling through the jewelry. "Green 
stone, gold filigree on one half, kind of beetle shaped. Like this!" 
He held the ring up triumphantly. 
Xander raised his eyebrows at the other man. "And this?" He held up 
another ring. 
Spike gripped his hand and scowled at it. It was true, on first sight 
the rings looked frighteningly alike. Then he grinned. "No, that's a 
fake. The beetle is supposed to be on the right side, like this." He 
showed the ring he had found. 
"Why would someone make a fake that's not identical to the original?" 
The young man frowned in confusion. It looked awfully authentic to 
him. Little scratches on the gold, the gem shining in the low light. 
Oh well, if it was a fake Spike wouldn't mind if he took it. He put 
it on his finger and looked over at the blond vampire, who was 
touching a cross without any trouble.
"Ha, it works! No burn, no smoke, no agonising pain, a vampire could 
get used to this." Xander wasn't sure if he frightened or aroused by 
the sight of a happy Spike. The vampire looked more alive than ever, 
which was saying something considering he was dead. Xander was 
leaning towards aroused, when his finger started to hurt. He glanced 
at it and gaped in disbelief.
The ring glowed red-hot and where it touched the skin the familiar 
blue lights swarmed in great numbers. Then they expanded and lifted 
up into the air. 
"Bloody Hell!" Xander's eyes flew to the other side of the tomb where 
the vampire was trying to pull his own ring off. Red mist oozed from 
his hand to the floor, as blue lightning from his own hand started to 
roll along the ceiling. Xander was reminded of the start of a 
quickening, and he was right, as soon the light intensified and 
started to strike Spike. Xander could feel the power being forced out 
of his body, and damn it hurt! And then the red mist reached him, 
accelerated upwards, and suddenly he was caught in a whirlstorm of 
red. It was cold, and clam, and it tasted metallic, but it burned 
just as much when it oozed into his skin.
Xander heard the cave rumble from the force of the indoor storm, when 
he suddenly lost consciousness.
Neither man noticed when part of the ceiling caved in on them, and 
the sunlight shone through the cracks in the roof. The last of the 
storm escaped from the confines of the tomb and the golden sunlight 
shone down on the silent figures, one of which hadn't seen sunlight 
in over a century.
*************************
Not far from that place Buffy scowled as she was interrupted in her 
shopping. She hated earthquakes and other things that made grumbling 
noises, and decided to check it out now before Giles sent her to 
investigate at night. Things always looked better during the day. And 
if she was lucky it wouldn't even be a portent of doom. What would be 
the odds of another bad guy trying to open the Hellmouth? She thought 
for a moment, then firmly shook her head. Nope, I am so not going 
into that!
*************************
In Maine a black-haired man stopped the discussion he was having with 
his accountant about the tax-inspection he really didn't want to have 
on the ground around his hunting cabin to look at the sky. The blue 
sky lit up in blue and red streaks. Some would think it was the 
northern light, but this light came from the west. His companion 
tried to get his attention, but it was easy to ignore the boring 
idiot. Especially since he couldn't find a legitimate reason to avoid 
having people walk all over his sacred killing grounds. But that 
didn't matter now. The man smiled at the sky. At last. He'd almost 
given up hope of ever seeing the phenomenon. It wouldn't be long now 
before both heaven and hell would lose their hold on him, and on the 
rest of this earth, and he could claim it for himself.
*************************
In Scotland a red-haired woman was gathering plants when she saw the 
same sky. She scowled at it. If there was one thing she truly hated 
it was prophecies that she hadn't been able to influence at all. And 
this one was particularly trying. The day that she couldn't even 
guess which century a prophecy will come true in was truly the day 
she was tempted to let the damn thing sort itself out. She sighed. 
But of course, that wasn't an option.
*************************
And in a cave in China a truly ancient vampire awakened. 

Part Five  

Spike first became aware of a splitting headache. It pounded against 
his skull and painted the inside of his eyelids red. He knew he 
shouldn't have bought into the whole invulnerability story. There was 
always a hook between the goodies with that magical mumbo-jumbo. A 
thing that both Angelus and Dru had fallen for countless times. You'd 
think he'd learnt something after that bit with the Engus demon. Say 
no to magic. Ugh.
He slowly opened his eyes, and screwed them shut again immediately. 
Hell, it was bright out! No wonder he saw red with his eyes closed. 
Then the thought really registered and he shot to his feet. Or at 
least he tried to what with all the rubble lying on top of him. 
Sun! Sunlight! Day! No burning! Just a bit of a warm feeling, like he 
got when he came to close to a lamp or candle. The vampire vaguely 
remembered the feeling from when he was mortal. A normal feeling. A 
normal feeling that he hadn't felt in a hundred years.
His smile just didn't die down while he brushed off the bits of 
ceiling. Until he remembered his companion. Where was the wanker? He 
searched the rubble with his eyes, until he spotted a foot. A bit of 
moving rocks and the rest of the body became visible. Spike winced. 
Ouch, it's good that the kid is immortal, crushed ribs are not fun. 
The vampire paced while he waited for the other man to revive. He 
wasn't absolutely sure why he was waiting for a git he held 
absolutely no obligation to, but he did. And a soddin' friend of the 
Slayer's too!
"Spike!" An angry voice sounded behind him. When you speak of the 
bloody Slayer...
He turned around with a grin plastered on his face.
"Slayer!" He said in a provocative tone.
Then the girl blinked. "Spike?" She squealed, a lot less sure of 
herself. "It's... day and you're not going poof. Why aren't you
going 
poof?" She asked, managing to sound almost indignant about it.
Oh, this was bloody good fun. "Yep, I thought I'd have a look at how 
the other side lives." He pulled a very crumpled package of 
cigarettes from his dirty duster, and lit one. "A good hunter 'as to 
know how 'is prey thinks, and all that crap." He put his hands in his 
pockets and looked at the big yellow ball in the sky. "S'been a while 
since I saw that. Cor, it's bright."
Buffy pinched the bridge of her nose. "Okay, we have Spike out in the 
day. Why do I get the feeling this is not of the good?"
"Don't know, luv. Whatever gave you that idea?" 
The Slayer had obviously had it with the pleasantries and was ready 
for some fightin'. She was a feisty thing. And that was fine by 
Spike. 
"Enough with the chit-chat. I'll ask Giles later." She jumped at him, 
stake held out, which Spike dodged more out of habit than necessity. 
Besides, he may not get killed by stake, and that wasn't proven yet, 
it would bloody hurt like a bugger. 
The two opponents were evenly matched in any fight, as they had 
noticed many times before. Neither opponent held back. He punched her 
in the shoulder as she barely dodged, and flipped backwards. Spike 
loved fighting the Slayer, since she was a good adversary, and he 
liked a challenge. It had been quite a while since he'd last fought 
her though. The vampire couldn't avoid a kick in the ribs, and turned 
with it to pop up on Buffy's other side, aiming for her head. She'd 
gotten better in the time between. Buffy ducked and kicked him low in 
the shins. Still, he'd never felt so oddly reluctant to kill her 
before. The thought made him angry and he stepped up the fight.
Kick, dodge, punch, punch, dodge, grab, twist and he suddenly had an 
armful of Slayer. Her throat bare inches from his fangs. 
Spike leaned in to finish her off, when he was assaulted with the 
image of a dead Slayer falling to the ground, a blond vampire that he 
vaguely remembered looking like standing there laughing, and an 
incredible feeling of loss, desperation and anger. He cried out in 
confusion and pain, as a crushing feeling rose in his chest the likes 
of which he had only felt two times before. When Drusilla left him. 
And when Angelus left him. 
Vaguely he noticed Buffy stepping on his foot, swirling around with 
stake in hand and pushing the piece of wood into his heart. An image 
of him turning to dust, accompanied by almost the same sadness had 
him wondering if it hadn't really happened. But no, he wasn't dust 
yet. One pale hand reached to pull the stake out and the three people 
present watched with amazement as the wound closed with familiar blue 
streaks.
Silence held for a minute. 
Then a familiar voice laughed nervously. "I guess it's nice to see 
some gadgets work as advertised."
Spike never took his eyes off the dark-haired boy as the Slayer 
swirled around in astonishment.
"Xander! What are you doing here? Spike's here. Which you know,
and... 
What were you doing with Spike? He didn't hurt you, did he?" Buffy 
shot the vampire a glare that should be able to turn him to dust. "Or 
I'll, I'll... stake him again. And again. And what's the deal with
the 
'again', anyway?"
Spike rolled his eyes. Well, it answered one question. The Slayer 
obviously didn't know anything about Xander's little secret or she 
wouldn't be so worried. The kid was quite capable of defending 
himself. And why was he so annoyed at the idea that the chit took him 
for a nancyboy that needed a princess in shining armour to rescue 
him? It's not like the boy was anything but the snack of the century. 
And a great shag. And easy on the eyes. And funny. And... Oh
fucking 
hell, mate! You're not going down that road again. Have some dignity! 
It's just not natural to start making a move on the French fries.
Spike wrenched his thoughts away from the topic and turned back into 
the conversation.
"...so he find his ring, and this one was supposed to be a fake,
and... 
Well, you'd think I'd have learnt something about dealing with magic 
since Valentine's Day." 
"What happened at Valentine's Day, pet?" Spike lit another cigarette, 
ignoring Buffy's glare.
"What are you still doing here?" She asked when it became clear he 
wasn't paying attention.
He looked up. "You can't 'urt me anyway, and this sounds interesting 
enough to 'ang around a while for. What? You'd rather I go out 
slaughtering some innocents, Slayer? That's not in the handbook, is 
it?"
The Slayer's look became even darker. "Does everyone has a Slayer's 
handbook except for me?" She grumbled. She didn't have a handbook? No 
wonder she came with friends and family.
"What do you want, Spike?" Xander was losing his temper. For a moment 
Spike flashed back to how the boy had looked in the alley the night 
before, all power and grace. Xander blanched for some reason.
Hmm. Let's try something here. Spike pictured Xander naked against 
the wall of one of those mausoleums, letting his hands and fangs roam 
all over that hot body. Preparing him slowly for entering, hearing 
that one gaspy note that told him Xander was ready, and then...
"Spike!" The boy hissed at him, red-faced and shifting uncomfortably. 
Spike smirked.
"Does that answer your question, luv?"
Xander frowned, then nodded. Buffy looked confused from one to the 
other. 
"What's going on?"
The immortal sighed. "It looks like there are some other side-effects 
to these rings than Spike's invulnerability. We need to go see Giles."
"With Spike?" Buffy asked in distaste. Xander nodded. "Okay, 
Bleachboy, you can come. But you'd better not hurt anyone. I may not 
be able to dust you, but I can make you hurt until you wished you 
would."
Spike grinned at her. Not likely. Angelus had been damn good at that 
department, and he didn't see little miss goody two-shoes improve 
upon his technique. He nodded consent anyway. There would be other 
opportunities to raise some mayhem in town. Right now he needed to 
know what the deal was with these rings, and the Slayer ad her chums 
were his best bet. The Watcher knew his stuff, and if he didn't know 
something, he had plenty of contacts that were on the shady side that 
could fill in the blanks. And what self-respecting vampire would miss 
an opportunity to get to know his enemies, before he killed them? 
Or that's what he told himself anyway. 

Part Six  

Xander gasped at his return to life. And moaned at the white-hot 
shards of pain in his lungs. Ugh, note to self: If you're gonna die, 
try not to get crushed next time. He rubbed the dust of his face with 
a hand. And felt something hard against his face that wasn't usually 
there. Blinking he looked at his hand.
Jesus! The ring had burned its way into his skin somehow, leaving 
unmarred flesh growing over parts of the small band. Xander opened 
and closed his hand with intent concentration. And fused to the bone, 
if he wasn't mistaken. He wouldn't be getting rid of that little 
trinket any time soon.
Sounds of a fight caught his attention. Cautious of his still healing 
wounds he moved towards the noise. And his heart caught in his throat 
as he saw Spike slip under one of Buffy's strikes, grab one arm, 
swing around his opponent and end up chest to back with Buffy's neck 
in easy reach of her neck. Xander could see the decision to strike 
blossom in those cold blue eyes, and he suddenly knew Buffy would 
die. There was no way to prevent it now. His heart contracted with 
grief, and sadness. Not just for Buffy, but for the loss of something 
he hadn't even known existed. Why did it have to be Spike? And why 
the hell would he kill Buffy anyway? Oh right, evil soulless vampire. 
Anger burnt him, swiftly followed by confusion as he saw the vampire 
stumble back for no reason.
Buffy quickly turned the tables. Xander couldn't shout a warning 
before she staked Spike. And the immortal didn't even realise the 
strangeness of mourning the vampire that just tried to kill one of 
his friends. But, as he waited the five seconds until his new-found 
lover would turn to dust, mourn is what he did. 
Everyone waited in silence.
Spike, looking confused and resigned to his fate.
Buffy, grim determination and relief on her face.
Himself, feeling helpless and full of grief.
And then Spike's hand moved to the stake and pulled it out of his 
chest. And the world started moving again, leaving three people 
staring in amazement at this unexpected turn of events. 
Xander felt a hysterical giggle bubbling up in him, and deflected it 
with a quip.
"I guess it's nice to see some gadgets work as advertised."
Buffy swirled on her heels.
"Xander! What are you doing here? Spike's here. Which you know,
and... 
What were you doing with Spike? He didn't hurt you, did he?" Xander 
scowled angrily. That's right, Buffy, the only thing he was good for 
was demon bait, right? Never mind the fact that he had been held 
captive this time. It was not like Spike had treated him badly. Buffy 
didn't even notice his annoyance at her attitude, too busy glaring at 
Spike. "Or I'll, I'll... stake him again. And again. And what's the 
deal with the 'again', anyway?"
Now that diffused his anger. Spike wasn't dust. Thank god Spike 
wasn't dust. Xander looked at the blond vampire, pale skin glowing 
ethereally in the afternoon sunlight. Oh. Apparently the sunlight 
thing he had talked about with Spike worked too. The young man 
wondered how Spike could be so calm about his first time out in the 
day in over a hundred years, now that he didn't have to worry about 
sunburn. That reminded him about the current predicament.
Xander told Buffy about the rings he and Spike had found. After which 
the vampire decided to hang around a bit. No doubt to annoy Buffy 
with his invulnerability. It's not like he would hang around merely 
for Xander's company, now would he? Xander's mood really didn't 
improve at that thought.
"What do you want, Spike?" Suddenly he caught a glimpse of himself 
fighting three opponents, toying with them. His eyes practically 
glowed with excitement. He looked like a vampire playing with his 
food, a bit too much like Angelus for his taste. That's not what it 
was like! He didn't enjoy the fight that much, did he? Okay, maybe 
just a little, but that was normal, right?
Another image invaded his mind, with him standing naked against a 
wall, legs spread, head thrown backwards, revealing a pale expanse of 
tantalising throat... and this was so not one of his own thoughts
here! 
The immortal panted as he could practically feel Spike's hands and 
teeth on his skin. This would become embarrassing if Buffy looked too 
low.
"Spike!" Xander hissed at the totally unrepentant vampire. There was 
no doubt in his mind that the fantasy had come from Spike. But how?
"Does that answer your question, luv?" What question? Oh, right, 
Spike and wanting. Ooh, bad thought. Xander frowned, then nodded. 
Buffy looked confused from one to the other. 
"What's going on?"
The immortal sighed. "It looks like there are some other side-effects 
to these rings than Spike's invulnerability. We need to go see Giles."
"With Spike?" Buffy asked in clear distaste. Xander nodded. He didn't 
see any other way. And besides, he was not prepared to let the other 
man out of his sight, until he knew what was going on between them. 
And he wasn't thinking about the rings. "Okay, Bleachboy, you can 
come. But you'd better not hurt anyone. I may not be able to dust 
you, but I can make you hurt until you wished you would."
Buffy waved her stake in threat, but it obviously wasn't working, 
judging by the insane grin on Spike's face.
The whole way to Giles' place the vampire was playing the annoying 
little kid, going on vacation with his parents. Xander didn't know 
whether to be annoyed or amused. It was disturbingly cute hearing the 
vampire whine about when they would get there. Buffy obviously had no 
such positive thoughts and threatened to stake him more than once. 
Xander wondered how she thought to accomplish that little feat. It 
really didn't work all that well the first time.
Finally they reached the ex-Watcher's house. Spike still looked 
amused, but at least he was silent. To say Giles was surprised to see 
Spike with them was a definite understatement. He gaped like a fish, 
cleaned his glasses, looked again and gaped some more.
"W-what, S-Spike is - is... Why do you have Spike with you? And
n-now?" 
Buffy took charge of the flustered ex-Watcher, pulling him into the 
house.
"We'll explain everything. Or actually, Xander will." Xander followed 
automatically.
"Oy! What about me?" The vampire called after them.
Buffy turned. "You didn't really think we're so dumb as to invite you 
in, right? Especially now, with the whole sunlight-non-stake-mojo 
you've got going."
Xander frowned. "Um, Buffy, leaving Spike outside makes talking to 
him a bit difficult."
"Well, he's not coming in here." She glared at her friend.
Giles rolled his eyes, obviously recovered from the shock. "Oh for 
God's sake! I'll just do an uninvite-spell afterwards. Spike, come 
in!" 
The vampire grinned and theatrically stepped through the doorway, 
looking around with interest. "So, this is where you hatch your save-
the-world gigs nowadays. I must say, it's a bit of a downer after the 
last place. I heard you blew that one up yourself though, didn't you, 
Watcher?"
Giles apparently didn't appreciate the reminder and ordered everyone 
to sit down and shut up. 
"Now. What happened? Xander?" The immortal started talking, inwardly 
cringing at the amount of stuff he had to leave out or lie about. And 
it really didn't help that Spike kept smirking at his evasions. Not 
to mention the occasional glimpse he received from the vampire about 
the parts he had left out. His face burned after an extremely 
explicit little interlude about the blow-job Spike had given him. The 
most disturbing part was that he could feel Spike's lust, for sex and 
blood. What had he been thinking, letting a guy with large sharp 
teeth down there? But then he remembered the bite and its dizzying 
effects. 
"And that was all that happened? No incantations or anything?"
Huh? Oh, right. Focus on Giles asking stuff. "No, we just put the 
rings on."
"Hmm." Giles seemed like he had the beginnings of an idea. "Spike, do 
you know anything else a-about the rings?"
Spike stopped staring at Xander and turned to the other man. "No. The 
whelp told you pretty much all that I know about the Gem of Amara. 
I've never heard about the second ring. They obviously work together 
though."
"What makes you say that?"
For a moment Spike looked right into Xander's eyes, almost asking 
something, but the young man had no idea what he was asking. And the 
idea of Spike asking him for anything was ridiculous anyway. Spike 
was a soulless evil vampire. Yes, and if you repeat that often 
enough, you might start to believe it. 
"It has some sort of link between the boy and me. Sending and 
receiving images is a part of it."
Giles frowned even harder. 
"And what's with the invulnerability, Giles? I don't like my vampires 
getting a tan without burning up." Buffy, as always, was more 
interested in the practical parts of the situation. Which was 
logical, her being the Slayer and all. And she probably couldn't wait 
to dust Spike. Xander felt disturbingly uneasy about that part.
"Y-yes. The invulnerability. It has to be equal or opposite. Xander, 
have you noticed anything unusual, besides the, um, images. Any 
unusual weakness, or strength?" Giles' eyes bore into his 
uncomfortably. Xander didn't like feeling guilty, but he was not 
going to volunteer his immortality. And what did that matter anyway? 
There was nothing unusual about his healing.
"Nothing unusual, no. Why?" Out of the corner of his eye he could see 
Spike grinning again. Stupid vampire.
"T-the rings are obviously a set. Since Spike is invulnerable now, 
that means he has to get it somewhere. From you probably. If you 
start feeling weak or sick, you have to call me immediately. Until 
then, it's best if-if you and, um, Spike stay in close contact."
Buffy sat straight. "What? Why does Spike have to stay close to 
Xander? What if he kills Xander? We're talking murderous vampire, 
here." All good points from Buffy. Although Xander suspected there 
would be more close contact of a different kind. Naked Spike on the 
bed in his basement. Ooh, bad image. And from the twinkle in Spike's 
eye the infuriating vampire had received that image too. Damn rings.
"Buffy, killing Xander is not in Spike's best interest here. For all 
I know, if Xander dies, he dies too. I know something about the Gem 
of Amara, but I don't know anything about the link between the two 
rings. This requires research. And I don't fancy having Spike all 
over my house while I do it. He and Xander will just have to make 
do." That said, the ex-Watcher glared a warning at Spike, who 
actually managed to look completely serious.
"I'm not gonna kill him, mate. You've got my word on that." Wow. 
Spike gave his word, that he wasn't going to kill him. Except that 
Spike didn't know how to kill him anyway, so if he did, Xander would 
just get up. Oh, this was not good. Another image of Spike licking 
his neck and earlobe assaulted him. On the other hand...
"It's alright, Buffy. You just go patrol, I can handle Spike." 
Handling Spike... Harris, stop daydreaming and get the annoying 
bleachhead out of here.
"It would be better if I stayed where I can see him." Buffy stated in 
her protective Slayer-mode. Which only made Xander angry at her for 
not believing in his ability to defend himself.
Spike quickly made an end to that idea, though. "Oh, please do. If I 
can't kill the wanker, I can at least kill the Slayer. It would be 
the perfect celebration of my new-found invulnerability." He looked 
absolutely wistful. Xander caught a glimpse of blond hair caked with 
red blood and other gooey bits, and a rush of thrilling excitement 
ran through his veins, blood beating in his ears. Oh, this was truly 
disturbing. Was this how vampires felt every time they killed? He 
shook off the thought with some difficulty.
Buffy still looked undecided, but a little more anxious. After all, 
she had almost lost her life today. Spike really was too strong right 
now. Giles would come up with a solution as always, and then she 
would show him what a Slayer was made of.
"Okay. But if he tries anything, and I do mean anything, you call me, 
okay?"
Xander nodded at her. "I will." If it's anything harmful.
Spike shot up from his seat and clapped his hands.
"Right. It's been fun visiting Slayer Central, but I'm not ready to 
move in anytime soon. I think I'm going to get a bite to eat and then 
retire. Are you coming, pet?" 
All alarms in his head went off at once, but Xander stood up anyway, 
as the vampire left the house. Buffy frowned anxiously at him. 
"Are you sure about this, Xander?"
"Yes. Don't worry, I'm not going to let him eat anyone on my watch." 
He smiled at her. Buffy smiled back, a real smile, not one of those 
Xander-is-being-an-idiot-but-we-humour-him smiles. Then he walked out 
of the house and looked at the bouncing vampire in the small 
courtyard. 
The sound of the door closing sounded oddly final. 

Part Seven  

Spike really wanted to have some fun. The fight with the Slayer had 
left him charged, not to mention the fact that he was still reeling 
from all the immortal blood he had ingested the last twenty-four 
hours. He wasn't hungry for blood in the usual way, but being a demon 
he was never truly satisfied with the amount of trouble and bloodshed 
he could cause. No true vampire needed to be hungry for that. Feeding 
only to satisfy the hunger was something for fledglings and minions, 
not sires and childer. Spike looked at the sun again. It was turning 
a nice orange-red colour. A bit like blood, only too sparkly. What 
better way to end the day than a good kill?
"Come on, I live this way." Right. He still had the little knight 
with him, and there was no chance of him agreeing with Spike's view 
on life and unlife. Sod that! Maybe he could ditch him somewhere. 
Spike scowled. No, the Watcher was right about that one, there was no 
way to predict the effect of these rings. Proximity was probably 
better than separation. This did not improve his mood any. Okay, he 
had to admit he wouldn't mind shagging the git senseless, but he 
preferred his bouts of sex after his bouts of violence. It spiced up 
the hunger for it. Hey, now that gave him a good idea! The kid 
obviously felt Spike's lust when he thought of sex, why wouldn't it 
be the same when he thought of violence? 
Xander was human, of course. He didn't get the extreme emotions and 
the almost sexual high violence gave those that lived a demonic 
existence. But there was potential there. It was what had drawn Spike 
to the boy last night in the first place. The vampire grinned. Now 
that was a true challenge! How to turn the Slayer's lapdog into 
something more to Spike's liking. The violent tendencies had to be 
cultivated slowly, of course. Sadly, that meant no kill tonight. But 
it would be worth it.
The vampire would bet anything that the link they now shared could 
speed up the process. It was a matter of sending the right emotions 
at the right time, desensitise the boy to his own more violent 
thoughts, before doing anything more. Work with a reward system. It 
would almost be like training a childe. And Spike just knew that 
Xander would be a good one. An evil grin spread across his face. Time 
for some experimenting.
"Well, here we are." Xander opened a door that led to a rather dark 
basement. Hell, the kid had the right taste in housing already. Spike 
smirked. Probably not voluntarily though. He walked around the place, 
smoking a cigarette.
Bed, washing machine, open pipe-system. Obviously not cleaned all 
that often. Clothes lying around. High table with... Bleedin' Hell!
The 
kid had a right arsenal there! Guns, flares, rifles.
"Planning on starting a war, pet? Bullets don't do much on most 
demons, you know."
Xander stopped picking up his laundry to look at the vampire. 
"I know. It's a souvenir from a bout with possession. The second 
time."
"Second time?" Spike asked amused. He liked hearing the kid talk. 
Drusilla had babbled away all the time, and it had been hard getting 
used to the silence after she left. Minions were always so boring.
"Yep. First time was a hyena, shortly after Buffy came to Sunnydale. 
I ate a raw pig. My pack ate the principal, but I was locked up at 
the time." Interesting choice of words there. "The second time was a 
soldier at Halloween." He looked up in sudden realisation. "You were 
there yourself. I remember Buffy kicking your ass there at the end."
Spike growled in consternation. He remembered that. The Slayer had 
been bleedin' pathetic, just before turning into a wildcat. "Right. 
That time with the costumes. It was really neat, never seen anything 
quite like it. I take it you bunch got the sorcerer who did the 
mojo?" 
The dark-haired man shook his head ruefully. "No. And not the second 
and third time he came to Sunnydale, either." Xander frowned. "I 
wonder if that's even coincidence. He was a good friend of Giles 
once. They did the whole mad-at-the-world, raise-some-demons thing 
way back when." 
Now that was really funny. The pillock working for the forces of 
evil? Who'd have thought? Spike laughed out loud. "The Watcher? I 
never would have thought him the type." That just convinced the 
vampire that humans were malleable. If the stuck-up Watcher could 
raise demons, why not a git like Xander? He had rage enough. Spike 
felt it back at Giles' house, when little Miss Slayer wanted to 
protect him from the big bad vampire. There was some major resentment 
there. Yes, this would be fun to pass the time until Xander's chums 
found something useful. It had nothing to do with liking the little 
knight. It just kept Spike from getting bored.
Xander had finally finished cleaning a bit, and plopped down on the 
bed. "So, you hungry?" He asked somewhat nervously. 
"What, are you volunteering?"
A hand raked through dark hair. "It's better than you killing 
someone. And it's not like I'm going to die or anything permanent 
like that."
The vampire smiled. Oh, Xander was asking for it, lying there all 
spread out and vulnerable on a bed of all places.
"Oh, I'm hungry all right." He sent some pretty vivid pictures of 
things he would soon do to the other man and noticed with some 
satisfaction that Xander's eyes got larger, and his heartbeat picked 
up pace. Spike stalked towards the bed, enjoying the slightly panicky 
look on the kid's face. He didn't try to get away though. 
The vampire trailed a finger over the growing bulge in Xander's 
jeans. The dark-haired man arched up unconsciously. Spike let his own 
lust grow rapidly, while still staying in control of himself. 
Flicking open the button on the jeans he slid his hand under them so 
that he felt the smooth flesh. 
A flash of Spike giving Xander a blowjob reached him. He growled, 
suddenly impatiently divesting himself of his clothes, while Xander 
did the same. Spike lowered himself on top of Xander. Cold bare flesh 
touching warm everywhere. Both participants moaned, as their arousal 
flared at the contact and flared again as they felt the other's 
response. This link gave the experience a whole new dimension. 
As they began to move, Spike had a sudden craven for the incredible 
blood he had tasted the night before. He could practically feel the 
hot sweet taste of it. Xander gasped. Heavy-lidded, almost black eyes 
opening and searching the blue ones above him. The vampire realised 
that the other had indeed felt his hunger. He slowed his movements, 
suddenly uncertain if Xander would push him away. But then the dark 
eyes closed and Xander tilted his head back, revealing the long 
throat.
Spike felt the young man's need for this. For the blood rushing 
between them. Not one to hesitate he sunk his teeth into the soft 
flesh. The life-giving liquid gushed up and the strange sparkle that 
he had only ever felt with Xander filled his mouth. The slide of hard 
flesh against hard flesh, sweat-slicked body against sweat-slicked 
body added its own spice to the experience. 
Through the red haze he felt Xander's end of the link. How the boy 
felt increasingly light-headed. How he felt the sharp shocks of never-
ending healing. How he felt himself weaken, his eyesight showing 
coloured sparks in his vision. Yet all of that didn't matter because 
with every gulp of blood Spike took everything intensified to 
dizzying heights. 
Spike had never given much thought to how his victims felt when he 
drained them. But he doubted they enjoyed their own deaths this much. 
Xander was truly special. A sudden rush of possessiveness overtook 
him. Xander was his! His and nobody had better say otherwise. Under 
him Xander unexpectedly growled and surged upwards. He sank his teeth 
into Spike's neck, fangs slicing the skin deep. The vampire stiffened 
and came, thoroughly dazed he felt Xander do the same.
Then he slowly removed his fangs from the boy's neck and lapped at 
the tingling wound, purring loudly. A gentle sucking at his throat 
gave him a feeling of contentment and safety. He fondly remembered 
long nights with Angelus doing the very same thing, although the 
older vampire wouldn't have let Spike bite him. And Drusilla had 
hardly ever bitten him during sex. It was a rare occasion that two 
vampires mutually shared blood during sex. That was a definite 
advantage of sleeping with... a... human... 
That thought finally broke him out of post-orgasmic bliss with all 
the sudden shock of a cold shower. Bloody Hell! Xander was a soddin' 
human. Or immortal. Anyway, he sure as hell didn't have the fangs to 
bite Spike! Or he shouldn't. Spike wrenched his head sideways to look 
at his lover, feeling the fangs-that-weren't slip out of his throat 
as he did. 
Spike saw in astonishment that his pet did have fangs. And pronounced 
cheekbones, and yellow eyes, and ridges, and a strangely familiar 
scar over one eyebrow. But the body under him was warm, and he could 
hear the heart beating and the blood flowing through his veins. He 
wasn't a vampire. And Spike really didn't think Xander had suddenly 
gained a demon somewhere. But then how did he get a demonic face? It 
had to be this bleedin' link. The scar. Xander didn't have any scars 
on his face, but Spike did. Even without having seen his reflection 
in a century he knew that much.
Xander blinked at him. "What? Do I have something on my face?"
The kid didn't even realise what had happened. 
Spike smirked. "Something like that."
He leaned in and kissed the other man. Hot lips met cold, dancing 
against eachother, until Xander opened his mouth. The vampire pushed 
his tongue forward into the wet heat and deliberately stroked it over 
one fang. Xander moaned at the unfamiliar sensation. The vampire kept 
it up a while, switching between teeth and tongue, before retreating, 
allowing the younger man to breathe. The immortal licked his lips in 
the afterglow and obviously found something he didn't expect.
Brown eyes widened in horror.
Spike smiled and nodded.
"Oh man!" 

Part Eight  

Oh man, oh man, oh man. This is not happening! Xander nervously 
licked his lips again, and again he felt two sharp points where they 
shouldn't be. He had fangs! Real live let's-bite-someone fangs! His 
hands roamed his face, and encountered alien bones and ridges. Was he 
a vampire? He didn't feel any different from before. And besides, he 
hadn't tasted any vampiric blood. Well, he did actually, but he 
already had fangs before he sank his teeth into Spike. He again 
looked at the highly amused vampire lying on top of him.
"What?!" He growled angrily. Jesus, he could growl.
"You're not a vampire, pet. You're a tad too alive for that." 
The immortal didn't like Spike's amused look and tried to dislodge 
the vampire from his body. He was in no mood for any afterglow right 
now. Spike didn't move other than to catch Xander's wrist in his 
hands, squeezing them until they hurt.
"Uh uh, non of that, luv." Xander kept struggling and bucking a while 
longer, but the vampire was simply too much of a dead weight. And his 
wrists hurt.
When he finally settled down grumbling, Spike kissed him once. Blunt 
teeth scraping over soft lips, and an agile tongue raking over teeth 
that were no longer fangs. "I'll say it again. You're not a vampire." 
He let go of the other's wrists and Xander flinched at the pins and 
needles feeling in his hands. The sharp blue eyes above him didn't 
miss it. "Do you feel that? That's blood rushing into your hands. Not 
something vampires have. Granted you have the features, and I think 
you're stronger than before, but you don't need the liquid diet." 
Spike leered at him, fangs shining in the low light. "Unless you want 
to."
Xander calmed down, when he realised Spike was telling the truth. He 
could feel his heart beating rapidly in his chest, now that he was 
paying attention. Okay, not a vampire. That's of the good. But then 
what was going on? Now what was different today than yesterday, he 
thought sarcastically.
"Um, so, is this my half of the link? Trading my invulnerability for 
your demon or something?" 
Spike finally slipped off his body, to sit up beside him against the 
wall. He frowned as he thought. "You can't 'ave a demon, pet. It 
doesn't work that way. I am a demon; it's not separate. Much the same 
as a human's soul isn't separate. And you are really not a demon." He 
laughed at the idea, but there was a speculative glint in his eyes 
Xander definitely didn't want to think about. So he wasn't a demon. 
For now. 
Well, that at least was a relief. Then Xander frowned. Didn't Giles 
say things differently during the whole Angel episode? Or maybe he 
hadn't understood what the Watcher was talking about. It wouldn't be 
the first time.
"What about Angel then? Do his soul and demon mix and mingle or 
what?" Yep, just jump from one uncomfortable topic to another. Great 
going, Harris. Spike scowled at him, obviously annoyed at the mention 
of his sire.
"Okay, so I don't know all of it. I wasn't the occult adept in my 
family, you know. I know magic enough if it's really needed, but I 
don't much care for spending the days of my unlife with my nose stuck 
in a book. That's Peaches' purpose in life." A swift flash of a 
hearth, Dru playing with dolls on the rug, Angel - no, that had to be 
Angelus - sitting in a chair reading a book, as a brown-haired Spike 
was combing Dru's hair. Xander's eyebrows sprung upwards in blatant 
disbelief. The scene was... cozy. Not a word you would associate
with 
two vampires called the Scourge of Europe, and their crazy female 
companion. He had definitely missed something in Vampires 101.
"I could always ask Giles."
Spike reached over and smoothed a thumb over the left eyebrow. "You 
don't have any scar now, luv, but you had a while ago. Like mine. My 
guess is, since you're connected to me, you can draw on my vampire 
aspects. And the other way around."
The immortal smiled beautifully, with some mischief shining through. 
"Does this mean, you're part-souled now, oh, William the Bloody?"
The vampire vamped out instantly, roughly pulling Xander closer. "You 
better not believe that, little knight! I can bloody kill you in a 
heartbeat, or I can make it slow and agonising, if I fancy it!"
Okay, note to self: Do not anger the big bad vampire. Immortals can 
go on and on and on like the Energizer Bunny, but it sure won't be 
fun. Losing your head may even be preferable. Suddenly he was 
puzzled. "Um, Spike?"
"What!?" One irate vampire answered.
Xander Harris, you are not going to tell the vampire how to kill an 
immortal! You're not! Oh, hell. "If you get your invulnerability from 
me... Vampires die by beheading right?"
"Right." Spike said suspiciously.
"Well, for immortals it's the only kind of death that stays 
permanent. So I'd be careful around swords and stuff if I were you." 
The blond leaned back again, former argument apparently forgotten. 
Xander hoped it was anyway. "Beheading, huh? It's not a thing 
commonly used on vampires."
"I've seen Buffy use beheading two or three times." Spike raised an 
inquiring eyebrow. "She throws stuff." Xander added, not sure why he 
was giving away the secrets of Slayage to someone who was really the 
enemy. He just knew he didn't want Spike to die. And on the small 
chance he did, Xander didn't want to have him die by Buffy's hand. 
He'd had his taste of friends fighting earlier this day. It was not 
an experience worth repeating.
"So, shouldn't you tell the Watcher about the latest developments?" 
Ah, yes. The topic he so did not want to think about. Okay, it was 
cool to have the strength of a vampire, and the scary face was good 
protection against the real creatures of the night, but that wasn't 
the problem. When he and Spike had made love, at the end there he had 
suddenly felt incredibly possessive. Spike was his, and he wanted to 
mark him to prove it. So he did. He bit Spike and drank his blood. It 
had felt so good, the taste was exquisite, and he'd kept up his slow 
sucking until Spike pulled away. 
Xander could deal with the emotions. He knew the possessiveness came 
from Spike initially. It's probably one of those freaky vampire 
things. And he could even handle the idea of drinking Spike's blood. 
It was strangely intimate. Hey, and there were people out there 
without fangs who still did it. No, what he found hardest to deal 
with was the fact that he hadn't even realised he'd done anything 
unusual until he had felt his tongue snag on those new long teeth he 
had. He should have known something was wrong before that. So, yeah, 
orgasmic bliss. But... It's not like blood hasn't got an easily 
recognisable taste. This was what had been bothering him ever since 
the conversation started. 
He sat up and reluctantly reached for the phone.
"You gonna tell him about your immortality, pet?"
His hand hesitated over the numbers. "No, I'd rather do that in 
person. Tomorrow. I'll just tell him about the vampire bit."
Spike sank down a little further into the sheets as Xander dialled 
Giles' number.

*********************
Elsewhere in Sunnydale

A black car drove into a bad part of town. The car was obviously too 
expensive to have anything legal to do with this neighbourhood, and 
people deliberately forgot they had seen it as soon as it passed them 
by. The man in the back seat looked out through the window. A 
malicious smile curved his lips up.
Aah, the good old Hellmouth. The place looked a lot... brighter
than 
the last time he was here. That demon-wannabe mayor had really done a 
good job camouflaging the place as a pretty little town. Not that he 
had lived long enough to enjoy the fruits of his labour. Demons 
really had no idea how to blend in. Keeping a low profile was an art. 
The car slowed to a stop in front of a small motel. The black-haired 
man stepped out of the car, and smiled as he noticed a darker shadow 
among the shadows close by. And there were times to play it grand. 
He waved at his driver.
"Make sure we have proper accommodation. We may stay here for quite a 
while. And start gathering information. You know what to look for." 
"Yes, sir." The servant bowed and walked towards the check-in desk of 
the dingy little motel. Now he was alone. Let's see how the locals 
welcomed him.
A pale figure stepped out of the shadows and came to him.
"Mr. Kennan?" 
Kennan turned to the new arrival and smiled. "Ah, Mr. Drake, I 
expect." Drake was a tall vampire, with brown hair, and very plain 
looking. It was a bit of a surprise. Most Master Vampires Kennan knew 
of, whether they were in his employment or not, were beautiful in one 
way or another. The immortal often wondered if it was the beautiful 
who made it farthest in their society, or if it was that the 
strongest vampires sired only beautiful people to take their place 
one day. Kennan had tried to torture it out of some solitary 
vampires, but they were extremely reluctant to talk about the rules 
of their society. It was frustrating.
"Yes. You asked to meet me here." The vampire said with obvious 
disdain for the smaller human in front of him. Kennan wasn't fazed.
"I need your help to deal with a small matter." 
The vampire grimaced. 
"Why would I do anything of the sort?" His actually sounded amused, 
and Kennan had to stop himself from killing the thing outright.
His voice hardened. "You misunderstand. This is not a request, this 
is an order. You will keep an eye on the Slayer. Make sure she does 
not interfere in my plans."
The vampire protested, but Kennan was in no mood to waste valuable 
time any longer. He gripped the thing's collar and shoved him against 
the car. The vampire slipped into game-face and tried to bite him. 
So, he was feeling playful, huh?
Maybe he should take some time to demonstrate, anyway.
The vampire looked into Kennan's eyes and shivered.

***************
Cassandra stepped off the plane in Los Angeles. She would have to 
move quicker. She knew others would search for the two in the 
prophecy. And it couldn't come to pass, for that would damn everyone. 

Part Nine  

Spike sat in the backyard of Xander's house, smoking a cigarette. The 
sky was starting to lighten in the east, and the vampire could feel 
his instincts screaming at him to head for cover. He ignored the 
sensation. It had been a jolly long time since he'd seen a sunrise, 
and he would see it, uncomfortable or not. It was a bloody 
sentimental thought for a vampire, but Spike didn't care what others 
would think of him. As long as something was fun, it made no 
difference to him that it wasn't what he was supposed to do. In all 
honesty, Spike usually went looking for thrills society said were 
wrong. And he didn't bloody care one wit whether that was the human 
society or the vampire society. Angelus had even encouraged the 
behaviour. His sire had never been the virtue of vampiric unlife 
either.
The sky turned pinkish as the sun rose above the horizon. A small 
sliver of red light peeked out, that last-chance-to-get-inside light 
he had seen a little too often in his unlife for comfort. And then 
the light turned brighter, as the glowing globe started off on a new 
voyage across the sky. Spike put out the cigarette butt, and wandered 
back inside before the kid's parents woke up. Xander was still 
sleeping, covers twisted around his legs. Sometime after the vampire 
left the bed he had managed to occupy the whole space. Spike hadn't 
slept much, since he hardly slept anyway, and it didn't help that 
night was the time to be awake. To his amusement he had found that 
Xander was definitely a cuddler. It was really neat having his own 
personal warm toy in bed with him. The drawback was that he had been 
in a constantly half-aroused state all night and Spike realised the 
kid really did need to sleep.
Well, they had the whole day to make up for it. He frowned. After 
they'd been to the Watcher's place that was. The git had not been 
'appy with Xander's new found abilities. You'd think he'd be glad the 
little knight finally got some juice to help him with fighting. 
Because even the vampire knew by now that there was no bloody way 
Xander would let others fight for him while he watched from the 
sidelines. 
Spike wondered if his pet really fought for the Cause-Of-Good or 
because he just didn't want to see his friends die. He smiled. Spike 
knew that at least part of it was because Xander had too much pride 
to let others do the work for him. The kid was just stubborn that 
way. Spike liked that in a person.
The figure in the bed shifted, and a head with tousled hair appeared. 
Brown eyes blinked at him sleepily and a tad confused for some 
reason. Not expecting Spike in his basement, probably. 
"Mornin', luv." Spike sat onto the bed and started kissing Xander 
with the intention of doing a whole lot more. Tongues clashed and 
Xander started breathing unevenly. Spike dove into the hot wetness 
eagerly, when suddenly there was only air. Annoyed he looked down at 
the hands on his chest, that had pushed him backwards a bit. He 
glared at the unrepentant teen.
Xander smiled an evil little half-smile. "Not now, Spike. We've gotta 
get to Giles to explain things. Remember?" 
The vampire growled low in his throat, not amused in the least. The 
kid couldn't actually be thinking of leaving the bed now, could he? 
He pushed against the unwanted restriction between them and tried to 
kiss those luscious lips again, but they kept moving out of reach.
"We can do this later. Giles was in a really bad mood when I called. 
And what with the immortality... He's going to have a fit!" Xander
did 
look worried and maybe slightly desperate. All in all he looked 
extremely bite-worthy. Not one to give up easily Spike slid his hand 
up to Xander's crotch. He should be able to convince his reluctant 
lover to drop the subject. Xander was apparently oblivious to his 
attempt, as he stood up.
"I gotta take a shower." And there was a well-formed naked body 
sashaying through the basement right in front of Spike's devouring 
eyes until the bathroom door swung shut.
Spike snarled and fell forward onto the bed, biting the pillow in 
frustration. He must have been mad to think Xander's stubbornness was 
a good thing. This promised to be a long day. His cock twitched. A 
very long day.
A bit later the vampire looked morosely at the Xander's back as the 
young man walked happily along through the town. The kid had played 
oblivious all morning, and Spike's temper was not improving as the 
day went along. He was William the Bloody. He was not taking orders 
from any nummy treat, no matter how delicious to play with. Xander 
was bloody well going to pay for this. 
Too bad it was so soddin' bright out here. All the happy meals were 
going about their normal business, and there were more of them 
outside than Spike would have thought lived in Sunnyhell. Well, it's 
not like the nightlife gave such a good indication of the humans 
living here. At the moment Spike was feeling put out by it. There was 
no place to happily attack and/or ravish Xander. A clear image of 
damaging his bad little pet in delicious ways raced through his mind. 
Xander winced. Ha, serves you right, bleedin' wanker. It was amazing 
how easily the vampire forgot about the existence of the link. He 
grinned evilly. If he couldn't do anything physical, then how about 
some mental torture? Spike used the same technique as the night 
before. But this time he didn't concentrate on Xander, but on the 
more sensual aspects of draining someone, and the great joy of 
violence. 
Over the next ten minutes Spike kept up the mental attack. Xander's 
face looked as if it was carved in stone. But the vampire knew it was 
a fašade. He could feel the churning emotions inside the boy,
anger 
mixing with the borrowed violent tendencies, and Spike knew something 
had to give soon. He was eagerly anticipating any action that would 
result from his meddling. If it turned into a fight, that was good. 
And if it turned into a shag, that was good too. Spike could probably 
goad Xander into the latter even. 
It didn't work out the way he expected.
Xander had veered off the direct route to Giles and led them into the 
park, obviously searching for cover and privacy. From up ahead 
sounded raised voices. Clearly Spike wasn't the only one in need of 
some fun. Xander's frowned at the vampire, and motioned with his head 
to the trees some distance away. Spike shrugged at him. Don't mind 
me, mate. I'll bloody keep up.
The immortal stealthily worked his way through the underbrush. Spike 
was impressed. Not bad for a city boy. Wonder where he'd learnt that? 
The voices turned out to be six teens. A tad younger than Xander was, 
Spike judged at first glance. And five of them were making themselves 
a nuisance to the sixth. Just your random bullies picking on someone 
smaller than they were. Not something Spike felt compelled to jump 
into if he had been by himself.
A sudden striking image of a younger Xander getting beat up by some 
punk with attitude, accompanied by a healthy amount of anger, made 
him think otherwise. His little knight was apparently taking this 
personally. The young man stepped out of the shadows.
"Hey, don't you know picking on someone who can't fight back just 
screams loser? Why don't you try that on me?" Spike smirked, but 
didn't show himself. He wanted to see how far Xander would go with 
this. With a little push from Spike's happy vampire thoughts, of 
course. 
"Get lost, asshole. We've got nothing to do with you." 
A familiar gleam shone in those dark eyes. "I don't think so." He 
fell into a fighting stance, as one of the guys rushed him. Wham, 
ooh, that one wasn't going to breathe anytime soon. The others didn't 
take kindly to their mate's injury, and soon Xander got a nice brawl 
going. And clearly enjoying it. After Xander took a particularly bad 
hit in the chest, Spike clapped his hands once. Oh well, time to join 
the fun. He kicked one of the unfortunate kids in the shins, and down 
he went. The vampire could have done the lot in with little trouble. 
But he liked playing with his food. It got the blood going. Not too 
mention that it tasted a whole lot better. 
With three of the idiots down, and Xander handling the fourth, Spike 
finally decided he had enough of this. His face rippled to its true 
form, and the kid he was fighting made this little whimpering noise. 
There were times and places that made whimpering a good thing. This 
was not it. Spike grabbed the teen and swiftly ripped his teeth into 
the jugular. He wasn't as careful as he could have been, but who the 
hell cared?
Hot blood engulfed his throat, and Spike momentarily lost himself to 
it. The unfortunate bully struggled a bit, but he was no match for 
vampire strength. The adrenaline in the blood hit him and made it 
tastier. Not as good as sharp fear, but close.
Suddenly his treat was ripped away. Before him stood a growling 
Xander in full gameface. 
"What the hell are you doing?" 
Spike growled back. "I do 'ave to eat, pet! I'm a vampire, remember?" 
"Not as long as I'm around! You won't do this again! Do you 
understand that? Spike? Or you can just go fuck yourself for all I 
care." Why would those words sting, Spike wondered. Xander sounded 
truly disgusted and beyond angry with the vampire. But something 
there wasn't right. What Xander was saying and what he was feeling 
was not the same. Disgust and anger were in there. But mostly it was 
fear and despair. The blonde couldn't understand that reaction. 
Xander certainly wasn't afraid of Spike.
And then his eyes caught on those accusing red lips. And they were a 
little too red. Spike's head swivelled to the other side of the 
fighting ground. 
Oh shit! No wonder Xander was so upset.
Spike stepped forward, ignoring the fact that Xander had apparently 
lost his ability to speak all of a sudden, and embraced the young man.
"Sssh, it's all right, pet. It was not your fault. I'm an idiot."
Hot tears stained his shirt as Spike whispered comforting words to 
the boy he'd come so intricately strangled with. 
And he wouldn't have it any other way.

*************************************
From behind a tree nearby two glowing green eyes watched. He'd get 
good money for this bit of information. Vampires were stupid and 
untrustworthy creatures, but at least they kept their word. And if 
Drake didn't, he could always sell out to the other side.
************************************* 

Part Ten  


Cassandra walked down the stairs and into the small courtyard, 
wondering what she was going to say. Upon her arrival in Sunnydale, 
the first thing she did was to find a magic shop. Most of the time 
the people that ran such places knew about most of the supernatural 
occurrences in their town. So, eventhough she really despised the 
commercialism of witchcraft nowadays, she found herself in a small 
shop with a remarkable diversity in items. To her surprise the store 
had genuine spell-ingredients clearly displayed. In most cities and 
villages magic shops maintained a front of tourism. She frowned. That 
didn't bode well.
From the back a middle-aged woman appeared. "Hello, can I help you?"
Cassandra turned around, and her coat swirled open, revealing a gold 
amulet displaying an eye held in two hands. The woman's eyes widened. 
" A Veleda witch. My goodness." She composed herself with some 
difficulty, and smiled a bit strained at the green-eyed woman before 
her. "How can I help you, my lady?"
Cassandra smiled back benevolently. Here was someone who knew what 
she was doing. Most people wouldn't have known her status in the 
witch community from the sigil alone. "I'm looking for two people, 
who were involved in an occurrence that happened sometime yesterday 
morning. It could have involved lightning, or perhaps red and blue 
lights. It certainly involved magic."
The woman shook her head. "I haven't heard about anything like that. 
But then, there are a lot of strange things in this town, and half of 
them are related to magic in some form or other."
The immortal did not like where this was going. "Oh? Any particular 
reason for that?"
The other woman looked around as if searching for other customers. 
"Being of the white craft myself I don't know everything, but there 
are several black witches that visit my shop regularly, and they 
sometimes drop a hint or two. There is supposed to be a well of black 
magic under this town. Very strong. And it attracts all kind of 
creatures. It is not smart to be caught walking around after dark." 
She suddenly realised who she was talking to. "I'm not saying you 
can't protect yourself, my lady. But they won't catch me outside at 
night, no sir."
A well of black magic? That was a bit farfetched. There were of 
course places that were more attuned to one or the other of the 
crafts, the same as with people, but a whole town? No spell was 
strong enough for that. It had to be something else. Cassandra was 
curious, and if she didn't already have a reason to be here, she 
would have investigated further. But now was not the time.
"I'll heed your advice. Do you know of anyone that could help me 
further?"
The saleswoman broke out of her dark thoughts, and blinked up at the 
red-haired witch. "Oh yes, a strange occurrence, huh? Most sources 
are a bit on the unreliable side." Then she smiled. "Oh wait, I know 
someone you could talk to. Mr. Giles and his little group. They come 
here regularly, especially that Willow. She's quite a good witch for 
one so young. And there not doing the easiest spells, either. Why, 
they even asked for an orb of Thessulah one time. And then there
was..."
Cassandra was really not interested in the magic history of people 
she didn't know and probably wouldn't see after she got her 
information. "And this Mr. Giles has the information I need?" She 
fell into the monologue.
The woman blinked. "Well, if he doesn't know it probably wasn't very 
important. Wait, here, I'll write you the address." She picked up a 
pen, and scribbled something barely legible. 
"Thank you." Cassandra nodded, hoping the other wouldn't go on 
another rant. She really didn't have the time.
"No problem, my lady. And if you need any supplies, be sure to come 
back!" 
"I will." Probably not, but there was no need to be rude. Cassandra 
stepped outside, and went searching for the address on the paper.
And that was why she stood here deciding if she should knock or not. 
It was very early in the morning. In all likelihood the man wouldn't 
even be out of bed yet. It was one thing to shop at dawn, and quite 
another to ring someone out of bed just for some information. But she 
did need it as soon as possible. There was no telling when the 
prophecy would fulfil itself. And she didn't delude herself into 
thinking she was the only one that had come to this town because of 
it. 
Cassandra compromised by knocking instead of ringing the doorbell. If 
the man was awake, he would here it, and if not, he wouldn't wake up. 
Apparently the owner was an early riser. As soon as the door opened, 
she decided the dishevelled looking man before her hadn't gone to bed 
the night before. He didn't look at her as he pinched the bridge of 
his nose in obvious distress, most likely from lack of sleep. 
"Xander, I'm afraid that I haven't found any..." He stopped his 
monologue as he saw her and blinked rapidly. "Oh! Uhm, h-hello. Can I 
help you?" 
The immortal decided to ignore the less than regular introduction and 
got right to the point. "Are you Mr. Giles?"
"Y-yes." The man stopped fidgeting and threw her an intense, almost 
calculating look. It was something Cassandra had seen in many 
immortals. The harmless fašade with the danger behind it was one
of 
the best covers, mostly used by older immortals that didn't want to 
advertise their presence. Some were more successful at it than 
others. And of course Methos was truly an expert, or he would never 
have been able to convince Duncan of his innocence. That bastard was 
just too good at hiding himself. But for mortals to hide their real 
selves behind a harmless front was rare. This was clearly a man to be 
wary of.
"I was told that you know quite a bit about this town." She began, 
deciding that flattery wouldn't go amiss for a woman barging into 
someone's house at half past seven in the morning.
Mr. Giles laughed a bit. "Well, I'm sure there are people that know 
more. But I know some of its history, yes. Do come in." 
The red-haired witch stepped inside and was astonished to see the 
amount of books spread all over the place. Stacks of them on the 
ground, on the table and the kitchen counter. Even on the couch. 
Lying open or closed, thick volumes and thin papers were spread 
everywhere. Most of them were quite old, but not all. 
"Oh, I'm sorry. I was doing some research. Don't mind the mess." He 
moved some books from the couch to the floor.
"That's all right. I know how it is when you get involved in 
something." Not that she ever made this much of a mess, but that's 
what you got with men living alone.
"So, w-what did you want to know, Miss...?" He looked up with a 
questioning look.
"Where are my manners? It's Cassandra, Mr. Giles." She smiled at the 
flustering man.
"Cassandra. A beautiful name, and quite important throughout history. 
Call me Rupert, if you wish."
The immortal wondered if this man was genuine, or if he was 
playacting. It had been a while since any man had shown an interest 
in her. That was a drawback of living in the woods. But flattering as 
it may be, she was not about to get side-tracked by a charming man. 
"I have an interest in the supernatural. Actually, I'm a practising 
witch." She began. Mr. Giles' intention immediately sharpened. It was 
obvious he'd had some bad experiences with witchcraft. What was it 
with this town?
"Ah, and, uhm, which path or - or coven would you be a part of?" 
"Veleda." She answered, wanting to see if he recognised the name.
He smiled delighted. "A Veleda? I've always wanted to meet a follower 
of the seeing path. I have quite some experience with prophecies, 
really. And most of them do tend to stay a mystery until after 
they're fulfilled."
This time it was Cassandra who was hesitant to get into the details 
of her vocation. In her long years she had many unpleasant 
experiences with people finding out she was a prophetess. Most 
thought they could have an easy path to know the future. And they 
were right on some accounts. The path was in no way easy, but the 
rewards were worth the trouble. Mr. Giles didn't seem like the type 
of person to take advantage of her gift. And if the man already had a 
basic knowledge in prophecies, it would make things a whole lot 
easier.
"Yes, they do. This is about a prophecy actually. I was wondering if 
you have noticed any particular mystical occurrences yesterday. There 
may have been lightning involved, and the sky would have been red and 
blue."
Recognition crossed the man's face for a second, and then it went 
blank. She had hit a sore spot apparently. But he clearly knew what 
she was talking about. 
"Tell me what you know about that. And what prophecy is this related 
to. I've searched all night, and I haven't found anything relevant 
yet." 
All right, now they were getting somewhere. It just took a little 
trust on both sides, and they would get a lot further. Cassandra took 
a deep breath and plunged in.
"I'll be glad to. It's like this..."

*******************************
Someone was knocking on his door. Or more likely kicking. Drake 
lifted an eyelid and stared at the wooden door, hoping it would open 
itself. No such luck, the noise continued. The vampire dragged 
himself out of bed.
Ugh, what kind of idiot woke a vampire during the day? If he hadn't 
been so tired he'd eviscerate the unfortunate at his door. Still 
might. He hadn't spent all damn night looking for clues on Mister 
Fantastic's mysterious persons to be awake all day as well. And how 
dare the stupid little mortal order him to do something. A faint 
shiver of fear ran through him at the thought of the innocuous 
looking businessman. It was a bad day when some suit got the best of 
him. At least he had the excuse that the man was a bit of a sorcerer, 
or Drake could have kissed his hard-won Master of the Hellmouth 
status goodbye.
And it had been difficult enough to step into the massacre of the 
damn mayor's failed ascension. The whole vampire community had been 
in chaos. At least the order of Aurelius had finally lost its grip 
when the mayor stepped in. Now that was one vampire clan Drake had no 
intention of fighting against. The whole lot of them was violent and 
pretty damn archaic with their sorcery and spells. Even Spike had 
done his share of mumbo jumbo while he was in charge and there was a 
vamp that knew how to party. 
Drake finally decided he was awake enough to deal with the nuisance 
at the door and he opened it, carefully standing back from the 
invading sunlight. Feryon Demon. A bit smaller than Drake, green 
glowing skin with yellow pustules on it, sharp green eyes, a sharp-
toothed grin under a lack of a nose. Gyah, not a sight he wanted to 
see first thing in the morning. Or the evening either.
"What?!" He snarled, reverting to gameface. It was always better to 
not look like humans when dealing with demons other than vamps. They 
lost respect so easily.
"You wanted to know if anything weird happened, right?" The wide 
mouth said, still grinning that stupid smile. Drake really wanted to 
get this over with one way or the other, and if the demon wasn't gone 
in five minutes he could scrape his purple bowels of the wall himself.
"Yeah. What have you got?" 
"I want my money first." 
Drake rolled his eyes. Scavengers! No self-respect at all. He went 
back inside and scrambled for a wallet he had picked of one of his 
meals the other night. Before Mr. I'm-Rich, Cater-To-My-Every-Whim 
had entered the picture.
"There. And I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. I'm not in the 
mood." 
The Feryon looked miffed, but hey, he couldn't be half as miffed as 
Drake was right now.
"I saw Spike today." Drake blinked. Think of the devil, and he turns 
up in your backyard. Oh, this was not good. Spike was easily the most 
unpredictable vampire Drake had ever known. Didn't play by any rules 
but his own. And it certainly didn't help that he had a crazy woman 
for a girlfriend. No wait, didn't they split up or something? He 
shrugged. Not his business.
"So? I doubt that's what the guy is looking for." 
The green demon grinned even wider. Drake absently wondered if it was 
possible to peel that grin back over the rest of the thing's head and 
skin it. Would be interesting to try out later.
"Oh, I think he might. Spike was walking around in the full 
sunlight." Drake thumped his head against the half-open door. Why 
him? Why couldn't those half-crazy Aurelians not pick another town to 
mess around in with their bad magic? Someone should take all those 
damn sorcerers and behead them, and crave out their hearts to be 
sure. Drake slammed the door in the demon's face and dragged himself 
back to bed. He'd tell Mr. Headless-and-Heartless the news tonight.
Some days were just not worth getting out of bed for.
**************************************************** 

Part Eleven  

This was not happening. He didn't just bite someone. He did not drink 
blood. And he certainly didn't like it. Xander recoiled sharply from 
that last thought. It was all Spike's fault! Spike was having a snack 
and it flooded over through the link. That's how it went. Not 
Xander's fault at all. No matter that he liked kicking the crap out 
of those kids. He had helped their victim, who had run away at the 
first opportunity. The younger boy had thankfully not seen Xander 
bite one of his tormentors. And Xander was sure he would not have 
bitten the teen if Spike hadn't. But he did, and it was so good it 
was bad. The power of it! A direct line to the secrets of life had 
nothing on this. The adrenaline kick had been incredible. Hey, at 
least now he knew why vampires went for human blood. 
Xander laughed a bit hysterically, and Spike's arms tightened around 
him. Cool leather surrounding him, scent of gelled hair, soft 
soothing voice in his ear, all said it was safe here. No reason to 
get away from the vampire that had just led him to mauling an 
innocent person. Okay, not so innocent maybe, but he didn't deserve 
being bitten. The victim was probably scarred for life by this. Well, 
just look on the bright side! At least he wasn't dead! Which was more 
than could be said about Spike's victim. 
Spike kept up his litany of meaningless phrases. It was oddly 
comforting. And when did he start connecting Spike and comforting, 
anyway? The vampire had just killed a person, body lying not far 
away, and yet Xander had no intention of going anywhere. Eventhough 
Spike was the reason he was in this situation in the first place. The 
first two times they'd had sex, Xander could delude himself into 
thinking he didn't have a choice, seeing as how he was a prisoner of 
an evil demon and all. What did that make last night? 
It had been really good, much better than necking with Cordelia or 
that night with Faith. Xander had been overwhelmed by Spike's 
feelings, and sex really wasn't the word for what happened last 
night. It was a whole lot more. And yeah, Spike was evil, Xander 
couldn't think otherwise after he'd seen all the pictures and 
feelings the vampire had sent. And okay, those had been the main 
reason Xander went vamp on a guy. But Spike was honest and loyal, and 
he was fun. And he couldn't help being a vampire.
The young man could understand why he would never want to change. 
Since he became immortal he'd done some killing himself, it was part 
of who he was and he wouldn't want to go back to being just plain 
Xander Harris, even if he could. Why would Spike be any different? 
So, he could accept Spike's vampirey ways, why not his own? Yeah, 
soul, but... Because really, Xander wasn't a vampire at all, it was
way 
different. He was reacting to Spike's heat in battle, his hunger for 
violence. 
The immortal frowned. Spike seemed to be better at this link-thing 
than he was. Xander was constantly flooded by the other's emotions, 
but not vice versa. Huh. He had to work on that. It wasn't fair that 
the vampire seemed to have no problems at all. The young man decided 
to prod at it a little in the near future, see what happened. Until 
then he'd just have to be careful to stay away from situations where 
Spike's vampirism would infect him.
Finally having found some sort of solution he pulled back a bit, and 
smiled weakly at the blond. "Hey, warn me next time you have a 
craving, would you?"
The vampire kissed him softly. The kiss wasn't like any they'd shared 
before. It lacked the hot passion, but replaced it with a sweet 
longing. When the other pulled back, Xander blinked up dazedly. 
"Will do, luv." Spike kept one arm around Xander's back, and the 
immortal leaned into it a bit as they started walking again. At that 
moment, he really didn't care what others would think if they saw the 
two of them like this. 
They strolled towards Giles' place. They were late now anyway, 
everyone else would already be there, so ten more minutes didn't 
matter any. It wasn't until they were almost at their destination 
that Xander again began to worry about how to reveal his immortality. 
His friends would most likely be pissed. Well, it's not like they 
never had any secrets they were unwilling to share, Buffy hiding 
Angel's return coming to mind and Giles' happy demon-infested past. 
And unlike them Xander had wanted to share, but he couldn't find 
anyone willing to listen, so it really wasn't his fault. He was 
determined not to get manoeuvred into a corner by his friends. They 
had pushed him to the background of the fight against evil, and they 
shouldn't be surprised to find him fighting in the shadows that 
resided there.
His determination held until he felt skittering claws run up his 
backbone and start drilling into his head. So not a good. What was an 
immortal doing here? Next to him Spike cursed out loud, gripping his 
head.
"What the bleedin' hell is that?" He got out through gritted teeth.
Xander raised his eyebrows in surprise. "You feel that? Like a 
headachy feeling, but not quite? Really nasty spiders in you head?" 
"Headache is right. And I'm a soddin' vampire, I don't do headaches!" 
Spike growled, sounding indignant. 
Xander smiled at him. "Well, you do now. That feeling says there's an 
immortal nearby. Guess I'm not the only one who's borrowing other 
people's powers around here."
"Oy. No need to get your knickers in a twist, mate." In good Spike-
sense the vampire ignored the irritating feeling now that he knew it 
wasn't dangerous and lit a cigarette. Playing it cool. Xander was 
beginning to suspect the vampire mostly smoked to make a point. It's 
not like he needed the nicotine, being undead and all. "So, is this a 
good or a bad thing?" The blond inquired.
The immortal frowned. "No idea. Mostly bad. Immortals are a fight-
happy little bunch. I haven't told you about the Game yet, have I? We 
basically go around chopping each other's heads off."
Spike lifted an eyebrow as he puffed out smoke. "My kind of people. 
Why didn't you tell me that before, pet? 'Ave you killed any?" Trust 
Spike to want the sordid details. Xander accepted being immortal and 
all it entailed, but he wasn't happy with the killing living humans 
part, even if they could defend themselves. And he really hoped he 
never would.
"Three. More luck than skill, but I'm getting better. You know, 
whoever's in there is probably wondering why we haven't gone in yet. 
I wonder if another immortal can even feel you." He added musing out 
loud. 
"Well, let's go in and see. We're no' gettin' any wiser standing 
around out here." 
Right. Xander took a deep breath and knocked.
"Oh, Xander. You're here. Good. And Spike." Giles added glaring at 
the vampire. Inside were the rest of his friends. Willow and Oz were 
researching. Buffy was sitting on the couch, pretending to read, but 
keeping a sharp eye on the only strange person in the room. As soon 
as Spike stepped in the house, she started eyeing him too. Xander's 
attention was completely caught up in the strange woman seated at the 
table, with a large book and a cup of tea in front of her. 
Giles followed his gaze. "Oh, r-right. Xander, this is Cassandra. 
Cassandra, these are Xander and Spike. They're the, um, ones you were 
searching for." 
"Whoo. Time out. She was searching for us, why?" Xander asked, 
glaring at the red-haired woman. It was not good when some strange 
immortal was looking for you. His fingers twitched, unconsciously 
reaching for his sword. He was achingly aware of the cold hard steel 
he kept in his jacket.
Cassandra stood up, deliberately holding her hands in clear view, 
clearly trying to appear harmless. Xander heard Spike growling softly 
behind his back. The dark-haired immortal could see that his next 
fight-to-the-death was going to be loads of fun with Spike hanging 
over his shoulder. Not.
"I'm not here to fight. There's a prophecy concerning you that I want 
to make sure turns out right. As I'm sure there are others who want 
to do just the opposite." 
Well, she seemed sincere enough. And what harm could she do with all 
the other people here? Spike would kick her ass, and Buffy would pick 
up where he left off. "A prophecy concerning me and Spike? I thought 
prophecies were for Slayers and such."
Cassandra blinked, then turned to Giles accusingly. The ex-Watcher 
winced almost unnoticeable as she looked at him. "A Slayer? You're 
Watcher to a Slayer?"
"Um, yes, actually. Well, ex-Watcher really." The woman's eyes raked 
over the people present, searching. Buffy raised her hand and smiled 
nastily at the immortal witch. 
"One Slayer, accounted for. Hey, and you're not exactly open about 
yourself, excuse us for withholding information."
The witch nodded in acquiescence, thinking. "This could be good. It 
would explain the demon part of the prophecy. Where there's a Slayer, 
there are demons."
Spike was not one for patience. You'd think what with dating Drusilla 
he had gotten used to mysterious ramblings, but maybe it was just 
love, cause he sure didn't show it here. "I'd really like to know 
what prophecy you are talking about. I'm not the least bit fond of 
'em."
"Yes, of course." She closed her eyes for a moment, before reciting.
" As blue and red streak the sky,
In the place where Hell rests,
Two become one. 
As Heaven and Hell align, 
Contained in its children, 
The end will be near. 
Yet two warriors of these, 
Will fight together again,
The old and the new united. 
One demon, one soul,
Fight for understanding, 
And it will win the battle." 
Buffy lifted her eyebrows. "Well, that's as obscure as ever." 
Giles nodded, having heard the words before. "You've told me about 
the sky turning red and blue you saw back in Scotland. But I don't 
see how you get lightning from that verse." 
Cassandra kept staring at Xander while she answered Giles. "That 
would be because I only ever prophesies about immortals."
Giles speared her with a look, and his voice sounded weirdly 
strained. "Immortals? You-you mean to tell me... You're that
Cassandra? 
The - the one from Homer? I knew there was an immortal prophetess 
called Cassandra, but I honestly didn't think you were - were she."
Willow frowned. "Immortals? What's an immortal, Giles?" 
The ex-Watcher started cleaning his glasses, and looked towards 
Cassandra for permission to explain. She nodded at him. 
"Quite. Well, um, immortals are regular people until they - they die 
their first death, after which they stop ageing and heal from every 
wound, except for beheading. Immortals live by a code of single 
combat. They fight eachother to the death, and the winner takes the 
loser's, um, power."
Oz inserted his own bit of wisdom. "Sounds painful." Willow smiled at 
him and grabbed his hand. Xander found he had more tolerance for the 
mushy stuff now that he had Spike. In fact, his hands were pretty 
much itching to reach for any part of the vampire. And it didn't help 
that the vamp in question was standing close enough behind the young 
man that Xander could practically feel Spike breathing down his neck. 
If he had been breathing, that is. Strange that none of his friends 
had noticed their unusual closeness yet. Right, the Return of the 
Invisible Xander, Part one hundred and twenty-seven.
The immortal woman laughed. "Not every meeting between immortals 
results in death. I have many immortal friends who I would loathe to 
see die."
Giles appeared interested in hearing more about other immortals, but 
he sighed in irritation, getting back on the topic at hand. "So. I 
take it t-there's another immortal in town somewhere, who fits the 
warrior part of the prophecy? The first thing we should do is try to 
find this immortal." 
Xander smiled a nervous half-grin.
"Heh. Imagine that. Well, look no further. I would be him." 
And then there was silence.

Part Twelve 

Spike could practically count the seconds 'till the blast hit them. 
Three, two, one....
Willow. "What do you mean, you would be him?"
Giles. "This-this, um, are you sure?"
Buffy. "Not funny, Xander. You're not immortal. Are you?"
Oz. "This is different."
Willow. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Giles. "H-how long have you been, um, immortal?"
Buffy. "Tell me you're joking."
Willow. "I thought we were friends?"
Okay. That was it. Xander was already sending out worst case 
scenarios and flinching internally. Spike really didn't need to feel 
the kid's emotions to know how this would effect him.
"Shut your gobs!" Spike rippled into game face and snarled for 
effect. Apparently everyone had forgotten his presence, because they 
all stared at him like gaping fish. "Now, I can't say I know much 
about you lot, but even I can see you're a bunch of bleedin' 
hypocrites. I'm sure Xander 'ad 'is reasons for keeping this a 
secret, and I for one don't care what you think of it. I'm not here 
to listen to you prattle on about how 'urt you are. So Xander is 
immortal, deal with it."
Xander's eyes met his with a mix of gratitude and anger. Spike 
smirked. Yep, the little knight still didn't like others defending 
him. Well, tough luck for him. The kid was his, and nobody hurt what 
was Spike's but Spike. Xander's scent shot rapidly towards arousal. 
His pet apparently liked his possessiveness. The vampire had to 
remember that.
Xander turned back to his friends with a lot more confidence than 
before Spike interfered. "Yes. I'm immortal. Since this summer, 
really. And I thought about telling you, but there never seemed to be 
time."
The little witch looked hurt, big eyes pleading. "You could have said 
something. I would have listened." 
Xander laughed bitterly. "Really, Willow? You were rather busy with 
college and Oz. Can you honestly think of a time we were together for 
reasons other than slaying?"
Red opened her mouth to speak, and suddenly frowned in dismay. Spike 
grinned. Ooh, a winner. Xander was indulging his mean streak there. 
Good for him. Knock 'em on their arses, luv.
The Watcher and the Slayer seemed to be dumb-founded as well. The 
other redhead looked on in amusement, with a clear undertone of 
impatience. As a stranger to these parts she had about as much 
interest in the hurt feelings of the Slayer's chums as the vampire. 
Which was none at all. The Watcher pulled himself together first, and 
he even seemed to share the sentiment. Not bad for the pillock.
"Well. Let's get back to the topic at hand, shall we? We, um, can 
talk about this after the - the Apocalypse is averted. Again." He 
glanced at Cassandra to convince himself of his own 
statement. "Quite. Well, um, if Xander is one of the two warriors, 
who is the other one? The, um, next line states that they would fight 
together again. I don't suppose you two have met before?"
Cassandra shook her head. "No, we haven't. Do you know any immortals 
you've fought beside?" She asked the young man directly. Spike was 
curious as to the answer. He didn't know a whole lot about Xander 
exploits as an immortal, and he was eager to know more. Especially 
because he didn't want to see his pet's head lopped off. That was not 
an option. It wasn't every day that you found a limitless blood 
supply that came in a nice shaggable package. His eyes shifted to the 
other immortal in the room, considering the idea. Red hair, fair 
skin, she was beautiful enough. But the arrogant bearing and lofty 
high morals were not to Spike's taste. He'd had enough of the 
pampered princess treatment dealing with Drusilla. Xander's 
refreshing mix of mental strength and emotional vulnerability were 
intoxicating.
The Slayer was staring at him. Spike smiled derisively at her, but 
she didn't react other than to frown thoughtfully. "Giles?" She asked.
"Y-yes, Buffy?" 
She turned to her Watcher. "Where does it say that there have to be 
two immortals? Everything in there is about two people, right? And 
Spike's a warrior of sorts. I mean, I've fought him often enough."
Spike blinked. The blond chit seemed to have gained a brain 
somewhere. And he had to grudgingly admit she was right. In some ways 
Spike was a warrior. Especially compared to other vampires. The blond 
loved dealing with a challenge, to the point of drawing out fights 
with the Slayer because he had too much fun to just kill her. 
"It is possible. Though Spike and Xander have never fought together 
before either."
Spike flashed back to the little scuffle with the bullies earlier 
this morning. That was not what the vampire would call a real fight, 
more of a misunderstanding between him and those punks. They just 
misunderstood that they were snacks and tried to fight back. Not 
worth the mention.
Cassandra stepped in, startling some of the people present. They had 
clearly forgotten about the stranger in their midst. "Prophecies are 
often unclear, because they have two possible endings, one good, one 
bad. The demon and soul in the last verse don't need to be Spike and 
Xander. Neither do the two warriors. I'm pretty sure there are more 
immortals in this town than just the boy and me. They could be 
working on the other end of the equation." 
Now that was an idea Spike really didn't agree with. He knew quite a 
bit about the ambiguity of prophecies. Drusilla had held the market 
in premonitions. Real prophecies were more coherent than his 
princess' ramblings. And Spike had seen them come true enough times 
to know every line could be interpreted for the forces of good, and 
for the forces of evil. As a prophetess the redheaded immortal had to 
be aware of this. The vampire narrowed his eyes. She was playing them 
for some reason, and if there was one thing the blond was not fond of 
it was manipulation. Ever since Angelus disappeared, he preferred 
being his own man. He had to keep a close eye on her. 
The Watcher however, bought the story. Spike narrowed his eyes. The 
git was besotted with the immortal witch, or his name wasn't William 
the Bloody. Bloody stupid. Giles nodded enthusiastically. "Yes. The 
only verse we can be sure of is - is the first. That has come to pass 
already. Xander and Spike are c-connected through those rings." 
Willow looked at the two men in clear confusion, about to say 
something, when the immortal woman jumped in again. "Oh yes, the 
rings. Can I see those?" 
Spike and Xander exchanged looks, before the boy stepped forward and 
held out his hand to his fellow immortal. The witch's eyes became 
large.
"My God, that's the ring of Tyrsis!" 
Spike lifted an eyebrow. "And who the hell is Tyrsis, witch?"
Cassandra clearly didn't like being insulted that way, but Spike sure 
as hell was not going to apologise for her sake. He didn't like the 
woman one bit. She was lying to them, probably thought she knew it 
all. The vampire didn't like arrogant people. And on top of that she 
was a potential enemy of Xander. None of which made her a person to 
put on his Christmas list.
"Tyrsis was an immortal a long time ago. He is known for being the 
only immortal who kept his Quickening from going to the winner. He 
knew a sorceress and she sealed his Quickening into a ring. It's said 
that whoever wears that ring becomes invulnerable and might even win 
the Prize."
Spike laughed out loud. "I think you've got your stories mixed up, 
lady. Xander didn't gain invulnerability, I did."
The Watcher stepped in. "Actually, stories often become mixed up 
throughout history. Especially in this case because, um, the ring of 
Tyrsis and the ring of Amara look alike. Still, there is a-a great 
possibility Tyrsis and Amara knew eachother. We'll most likely never 
know the truth."
And in Spike's opinion it bloody well didn't matter if they had been 
shagging like bunnies or tried to douse eachother in flames. He 
wanted to know what the deal was with this link he and the boy had 
and the rest could just bugger all. "Right mate. So, are we joined at 
the hip for all time, or what?"
Giles sighed. "I don't know. We should..." 
"...research." All the Slayerettes spoke at the same time, most
with a 
smile on their faces. 
"Quite." 
Spike lasted three hours, before he was bored out of his mind. He was 
still amazed at what had to be his personal record in reading a book, 
but the Watcher had pretty interesting stuff. Still, if there was one 
thing he didn't like, it was sitting still for hours on end. His eye 
fell on Xander, who was stuck with his nose in a book. Time for some 
fun. He still owed the kid for this morning. Spike silently 
manoeuvred his way towards the dark-haired boy in small steps. Pick 
up a book here, and sit down there. Ask something, and move closer to 
the speaker. Until he was right behind the immortal.
He had noticed the first time he had sex with Xander, that the boy 
had an incredibly sensitive neck. At the time he didn't know why that 
would be so, but now he had an idea. Vampires were severely neck-
centred, because it was the easiest way to get the most blood. 
Immortals probably had the same inclination for a similar reason. 
Whatever the cause, Spike liked the results. 
He absently stroked the side of Xander's throat, taking care not to 
send any images this time. That would be cheating. Xander leaned into 
his hand unconsciously. Small strokes and his head tilted back a bit 
to give better access. The vampire looked around at the diligently 
searching Slayerettes, and decided nobody would even notice if he 
decided to suck the kid dry. They really trusted him to work with 
them until they had a solution to the current problem, didn't they? 
Bloody morons.
Spike lowered his head, and licked Xander's neck. He was bombarded 
with the heady scent of arousal. Xander gasped. A cold hand reached 
under the shirt the kid was wearing and stroked along the muscles of 
his back, slowly creeping to the front. Xander hissed. "Spike!" 
"Relax, pet. Nobody's looking." The vampire whispered in his ear. 
Then he licked the rim following the whirls down. Swiftly changing to 
game face and back he bit an earlobe, lapping up the drop of blood. 
Xander tensed a second, eyes frantically darting from one person in 
the room to the next. But when a cold hand flicked a nipple his eyes 
closed. Spike grinned. He wondered how far he could go with this 
before the young man stopped him. 
He stepped up the seduction, scraping teeth along the back of 
Xander's neck until he could feel the immortal shiver. Working a hand 
slowly down into the waistband of his lover's jeans, just brushing 
the erection there. Xander was breathing hard, and instinctively 
pushed up into his hand. Sensual images reached Spike, and it was 
clear Xander's control was this close from snapping. Then his eyes 
flew open and he suddenly sat up straight, pulling away.
Spike leaned back casually as the other people in the house all 
looked with varying expressions of surprise to the red-faced 
boy. "So..." He began all flustered, still leaking arousing images.
"Is 
anyone up for a snack?" 
The vampire looked on in amusement as Xander took orders. Then those 
near black eyes bored into his, and the voice addressing him was 
tense, demanding obedience. "Spike. Since you can't eat the populace, 
why don't you join me? We can stop by the butcher's on the way back. 
Hey, no time like today to become a part of the micro-wave 
generation, right?" 
"Right." Spike had no intention of eating baggie, but Xander knew 
that as well as he did. Those smouldering eyes promised him a tastier 
treat.
Buffy looked up in worry at the request. "Play nice, Spike. I'd hate 
to have to cut that finger off and vacuum you out of the carpet."
The vampire grinned evilly. "I've got no problem playing nice with 
Xander here." 
As he walked after him to the door and the daylight outside, Spike 
noticed Xander shiver in anticipation at those words. 
He smiled. 

Part Thirteen  


As soon as Spike stepped outside, and closed the door, Xander grabbed 
him. That's what you get with the teasing, he thought viciously, as 
he pulled the other man in for a heated kiss. He raked his hands 
through the bleached hair, marvelling at the softness. Spike 
responded with equal eagerness, but he was still in control of 
himself. The vampire's thoughts were still amused. 
Not what Xander wanted right now! He consciously started sending a 
barrage of images, enough to drown out whatever thoughts Spike was 
still capable of. Xander took a quick break from his assault on the 
other's lips to look around. 
Stairs, bench, door, tree, bushes. 
Yes! Bushes. 
He half pulled the willing vampire towards those convenient, if a bit 
too low, bushes and lowered him down on the ground. The vampire in 
question refused to let go of Xander's shirt, and the immortal ended 
up on top of him rather suddenly. His breath rushed out of him and if 
Spike had been alive he would have been pretty crushed right now. But 
the end result was full body length contact, with Xander on top for a 
change. This was good. Not something he had done before, but why 
should Spike always be the one in control? He grinned wickedly.
Xander quickly divested the blond of his duster and shirts, stopping 
to admire the pale near white flesh in the afternoon sun. Spike still 
managed to look as if bathed in moonlight, even in the full sun. The 
immortal caressed the flesh, marvelling at the softness over hard 
muscles. He paid extra attention to the nipples, and very soon Spike 
was reduced to laying still and making noises, that were rapidly 
growing louder. Not a good so near to Giles' place.
"Not a sound. We don't want Buffy to come investigate, do we?" Xander 
grinned. The vampire shook his head, not speaking a word. Apparently 
he took the request seriously, eventhough the evil smirk would 
suggest he didn't mind one way or the other if Buffy would stare, 
stake or join in. As long as she didn't interrupt his fun. The 
immortal lowered Spike's jeans, and stared at the erection that 
appeared. In their earlier play he hadn't given it much thought, but 
it was also paler than normal. Pinkish going on red. He had the 
sudden urge to taste it and decided to go with the impulse. He licked 
the head, and watched Spike wriggle on the soft ground. It encouraged 
him to try more. He worked his way up and down the hard length, 
licking and sucking, until he had the vampire panting in reflex, 
trying his best to stay quiet. Little mewls and whimpers escaped 
anyway.
Just before the vampire would come, he pulled off. Spike growled low.
"Sssh. I'll make it good." Xander looked around in frustration for 
any kind of lube. Well, Spike's duster seemed the likeliest place to 
find it, but he was not going to search there! There was no telling 
what might be in there. 
"Lube?" He inquired instead. Always a good strategy: Let Spike deal 
with nasty stuff. In no time he found his fingers sticky and in 
places he would not have given a second thought mere days ago. Spike 
moved back harshly against the sensations, growling impatiently. 
Right. Not good making the dead guy with the pointy waiting. Xander 
lubed himself and slowly shoved into Spike's body. 
Tight, cool, very strong grip there, and did he mention tight?
But very good. Almost perfect even. Okay, moving would make it really 
perfect. So, he moved. It simply wasn't possible to go slow or easy, 
not that Spike even wanted any of that. The vampire had reverted to 
game face, and Xander found he liked it better that way. More 
predatory, yet strangely vulnerably like this. More The-True-Spike 
<TM>. Thoughts were becoming a problem, so he just felt.
Felt the friction. Felt the heat in cold sensation that was just too 
weird to think about, but intense like you wouldn't believe. Felt 
each time Spike clamped down on the out stroke. Felt the moment the 
body beneath him stiffened and a hoarse, barely held back, cry 
sounded, swiftly followed by deafness as blood rushed to his ears and 
he came himself. 
He again fell on top of Spike. His mouth ended up in the neck region, 
and at that moment it didn't feel strange to scrape his fangs along 
the white flesh and whirl little bloody figures with his tongue. 
Spike, William the Bloody, half of the Scourge of Europe, Slayer of 
two Slayers, started to purr. 
They lay there in blissful peace for a few minutes. Xander had almost 
dozed off, when Spike noted with an audible smile.
"Eh, pet, not that I mind staying here for a while longer, if we're 
not back with the nummies soon, the Slayer will think I offed you. 
And we are lying a bit in view here, luv."
Drat! The bleached wonder was right. Nothing like having the threat 
of an angry Buffy looming over your head to make you move. Xander 
blinked. Or even worse, a disappointed Willow. He shivered at the 
thought. They were in and out of the donut shop in record time, even 
for the guy with college-degree in speedy donut-runs. An impending 
apocalypse did wonders for speed. Not quite as much as Buffy or 
Willow, but getting there.
So, donuts in hand, they arrived back at Giles' house. As soon as he 
entered, Xander noticed Willow's eyes on him again. She had stared at 
him throughout the day, always with that wounded puppy look. Xander 
sighed. She was his best friend and he realisd he had hurt her by 
keeping secrets from her. He motioned to her. Better get this over 
with. Willow looked at where Oz was sitting, and encouraged by his 
little smile, she went outside with Xander. 
The immortal sat down on the steps in front of Giles' place.
"So." He wasn't sure what he should say, and anyway, Willow had 
probably already lived this conversation a dozen times in her head, 
while he was fucking Spike, so she would know where to begin. He 
cringed internally. 
Willow sat down too, staring at him as if she had never seen him 
before. "Why didn't you tell me that you were immortal? And I
don't 
buy that you didn't have any opportunity. We didn't grow that
much 
apart."
Xander took in her earnest face, her short hair, her leather pants 
and her short shirt. She had really matured a lot this year. She 
wasn't his mousy little sister anymore. Nor the sweet shy girl with 
the crush on him, that he never really wanted to think about, because 
it would just be weird. Maybe he was wrong in trying to protect her 
from the nastier parts of his new life. Decision made, he smiled 
grimly at her. 
"You're right about that. Part of it was the lack of opportunity to 
talk. Right, and a healthy dose of resentment in there, really. The 
other part... There's a lot more to this immortality thing than
just 
the part about not dying. And it's not anything to write home
about." 
His mind drifted back to his first quickening. He hadn't had all that 
much training yet, when Damon Frank challenged him. And he had been 
extremely lucky to win that one. Lucky that Frank had been pretty new 
to the Game himself. Lucky that the other man made that one mistake. 
And lucky that Xander had enough soldier instincts left to take 
advantage of it. Yay, Go Hellmouth!
Xander cut the man's head clean off. 
There had been a moment of dazed calm and then liquid fire ran over 
and through him in painful, joyful spasms. Power in its purest form 
racing through his body. The greatest high he had ever experienced, 
but at the same time exquisite agony. He had wondered at the time if 
this was how vampires felt when they were feeding, the high part 
anyway. And now he knew that at least parts of it were similar, all 
right. 
It wasn't until after the quickening had died down that Xander 
realised with a sick feeling how true that comparison was. He had 
killed a man and taken his life force. A real person, with a soul. If 
that wasn't vampirey, he didn't know what was. And it really
wasn't 
the same as slaying the occasional vampire. Cause, well, vampires are 
evil, so it's all to the good. Damon Frank, though a tad
challenge 
happy, was not evil. Okay, so in reality Xander had no idea if the 
guy was good or evil, he just met him, but he was potentially good. 
All part of that fucked up Game. Frank's death was completely 
useless. And when Xander died, hopefully many years from now, that 
would be useless too. Yay! He was pretty useless in life, at least he 
had hoped for a meaningful death. Saving Buffy or something like 
that. Or just fighting the latest Hellmouth baddie. But there were 
few demons that ripped someone's head off, so there was little chance 
Xander would permanently die that way.
And to live he had to kill. And wasn't that totally vampiric?
"You can tell me, Xander." Willow's voice rang through his morose 
thoughts.
He didn't dare look at her while he explained the Game to his oldest 
living friend. It would have been easier to tell this to Jesse, he 
mused. Willow had such a black and white view on life. But he had to 
try anyway. He owed her that at least. 
"I've killed three people, Willow. Even Buffy hasn't ever killed real 
people." He could see Willow trying to hide her horror. Nope, he 
didn't think that would go over well.
The girl frowned. "Isn't there any way you can avoid killing? If you 
just avoid other immortals. They can't be everywhere."
He sighed. "That won't work. Vampires are everywhere, why not 
immortals? It's me or them, Willow, and I really want to live."
"Well, you and Cassandra don't go around swinging swords. You
don't 
have to fight. Or you can travel in groups. You're safe then."
She just didn't want to understand. Friendships between immortals 
only lasted as long as the immortals didn't get sick of each
other. 
The fact that fighting to the death was such a large part of life, 
made sure it was an easy solution to most problems between immortals. 
See, no talking it out, no messy emotions, just a nice clean murder, 
and you even saved money for a shrink. But how could he explain that 
to Willow? He evaded the question.
"That only works with friends. There are a lot of headhunters out 
there. And you really don't want us to start banding together.
You 
could get the first immortal war in history. Yay!"
Willow sighed in frustration. Probably thinking he just didn't
want 
to understand. And that's true. Xander really didn't. "I
guess. As 
long as you don't fight for fun it's kind of okay." Xander was sure 
there was a guilty expression on his face. Sure enough Willow's face 
turned hard.
"You don't do it for fun, right Xander?"
"Not the killing, no. That's barf-worthy. But the fighting and... 
afterwards. I can see how it can become addictive. Gives me a whole 
new appreciation for vampires, let me tell you." Oops, that last was 
a bit much. A matter of the mouth moving ahead of the brain.
Ooh yes, now she went indignant. And she was wearing the I'm-
disappointed-in-you-Xander face, that he had first learn to fear 
after he had slain Willow's Barbie. Except this time he was more 
angry than afraid. It wasn't his fault! He didn't invent that
stupid 
Game. He just had to live with it. 
"Speaking about vampires. What's with you and Spike? He's - he's 
evil, Xander. And you two act like you're best friends. You're 
talking and joking and - and laughing. And he's our enemy."
Ouch. Xander winced. Apparently she had decided she couldn't win
the 
debate about immortality, so she switched tactics. Anything to lay on 
the guilt. So he and Spike talked a bit while researching, it's not 
like Xander had anyone else to talk to, is it? Willow and Oz were 
still pretty cosy with each other. Giles was busy wooing Cassandra 
and Buffy was too busy keeping a suspicious eye on Spike and 
Cassandra to talk to him. Xander became really annoyed. "We were 
supposed to stay together. Giles said so. And okay, he now thinks 
it's unnecessary, what with the immortality and all, but that
doesn't 
change the facts. What did you think we would do, ignore each other 
all day and night?"
"You could be a little less friendly." She said petulantly.
"Yeah, so Spike is evil. At least he understands about the 
immortality thing." Xander added in anger.
Willow again had the kicked puppy look. "I do understand." 
"Right." He stretched the word in disbelief. "You want me to die 
young, or spent the rest of my long - potentially very long - life on 
holy ground! Do you see me in a monk's robe? And I'd still die if I 
set one foot wrong." 
"At least it's better than killing people." Willow insisted angrily. 
Xander looked at her in stunned disbelief. Okay, he knew Willow was 
na´ve, but this was simply denial! She just didn't want to
understand 
how hard it all was. She acted as if Xander had chosen to be 
immortal, while he was just trying to live the new life he had been 
given the best he could. He could have been dead! He growled at her.
"It's nice to know I'm that important to you!" Willow's face turned 
white, and she scooted away from him. Now what? Xander gaped at her 
in surprise, before realising he had slipped into gameface without 
thought. He shook his head in frustration, before standing up. He 
looked down at her sadly, face melting back to normal. Big eyes 
stared up at him in fascinated horror.
"You really believe I would hurt you. I'm sorry. I'm trying
the best 
I can here, but that is just too much. Tell the others I've gone for 
a walk."
And he turned around and left. 

Part Fourteen  

Spike looked up as the little witch came inside. He had been 
receiving all sorts of images for a while now, and none that made him 
feel happy with the chit. It had been all he could do to stay in his 
seat and not race out the door to stop whatever she was saying to 
hurt Xander. But if he just up and stalked out of here Slutty the 
Vampire Slayer was likely to give him heart massage with a piece of 
wood. He smirked. Right, shows how much she learnt the last time she 
pulled that. No, the Slayer was really not an obstacle. In truth, 
Spike knew Xander had to talk to the witch sooner or later, if he 
wanted to stay friends with her and it really wouldn't help any if 
Spike was there with him. And it was bloody sentimental, but Spike 
wanted Xander to stay friends with the soddin' demon hunters. Which 
was down right loony, considering the fact that they would probably 
hunt him as soon as they had resolved the current crisis. There had 
to be some way around that, without having to give up any of the 
vampire habits that gave him a happy. He sure didn't need them for 
survival, now that he had his pet for an unending entree. But he sure 
as hell still wanted to get some jollies killing. He was a bloody 
demon. So, he had to think on a solution for that some more.
"Where's Xander?" He asked the small redhead.
Red looked up at him accusingly for some reason. "He's gone for a 
walk."
Spike cursed, and vamped out. He should 'ave gone with his first 
instinct and stopped that little talk. Those wankers had all 
forgotten the danger out there! From the corner of his eye he noticed 
Buffy fondling her stake at the sight of him. "And you let 'im run 
around town alone, knowing there's guys out there gunning for 'im. 
Stupid bint you are." 
He stalked past her angrily, and slammed the front door loud behind 
him. He stopped at the top of the stairs to look around him. The 
Watcher git's house was located pretty central. Xander could have 
gone any way from here and hit familiar ground. The vampire lit a 
cigarette, trying to catch the kid's thought process. He was Xander, 
he had just had a clinch with the witch, now what? He blew smoke. 
This was not going to work.
He stared at both directions again, and finally chose right, towards 
the centre of town. He could faintly feel his blood tugging him in 
that direction, weird as it sounded. It was as good a place to start 
as any.
Hours later he still hadn't found the kid. Spike growled in 
annoyance. It was starting to get close to twilight already, he had 
been walking through sunlit Sunnydale for most of the afternoon. 
Occasionally he caught a stray image from Xander. The young man was 
pretty emotional at the moment and it showed. One time he caught an 
image of a very young sweet looking Xander in a playground, with 
another dark-haired little boy. And there was also a pigtailed little 
red-head directing their sandcastle-building from a little ways away. 
Oy, the witch had been a cute little thing, alright. Not as adorable 
as his little knight, but sweet. Young Xander had even bigger brown 
eyes than the grown-up version, and Spike was glad he hadn't met the 
kid at that age. At least now he had a reasonable chance of 
resistance against the puppy look. A little while later the vampire 
had found the playground in the image. It had been modernised a lot, 
but there were still little kids playing there. No Xander though, so 
he wasn't all that interested. 
He did notice one blue-eyed blond girl in a bright red dress that Dru 
would have loved to sink her teeth in. Spike caught himself wondering 
why the parents let the kid play outside in such a vampire attracting 
dress, before he realised the sun was still out in full. Still not 
used to being out in the day, mate. He'd feel a hell of a lot happier 
come nightfall.
It turned out that he didn't feel any better later in the day. But 
that was more because he still hadn't found Xander. He could feel his 
lover somewhere nearby, but he never gained any real distance on him. 
Spike kept just missing him everywhere. The vampire was tempted to 
take his current frustrations out on a hapless victim. No reason to 
deny himself some fun. He hadn't once taken advantage of his daytime 
hours yet since he got the bloody ring, and all the trouble that went 
with it. Well, as long as he was having fun with Xander, he didn't 
need to take it out on the locals, of course. But the whelp was 
nowhere in sight, and not likely to turn up in the next fifteen 
minutes. It was a waste of good daylight if he didn't use his new 
advantage. 
So, bugger all this searching, he was grabbing a snack!
He sought out a quiet spot in the park, with just enough people 
passing by to have choice in pickings, but not so much that he'd be 
interrupted. The sun had just gone down when he spotted his prey. She 
was pretty, but not overly so. Brown hair, grey eyes, somewhere in 
her late twenties. Walking along fast, but not frantic. Spike stepped 
out from behind a tree, and snatched her. One arm to hold her, one to 
silence her, and teeth at just the right height near the jugular. 
Usually he just bit and drained at that point. For some reason he 
fancied a second look at the woman this time and he turned her eyes 
towards him. Wide grey eyes, little bloodvessels springing in the 
corners. Breathing heavily through her nose, in harsh gulps. Heart 
beating like crazy, the sound oh so sweet. She was a perfect victim.
Why then was Spike so reluctant to bite her? Dallying with the bloody 
do-gooders hadn't changed his attitude towards life and unlife in the 
least. He snorted in disgust and bit deeply. The blood was salty and 
alive, but he already missed the extra champagne bubbly of Xander's 
blood. Really was addicting, his pet, just like he'd thought. The 
heartbeat increased rapidly, until the rhythm held for endless 
seconds before starting to taper off. Spike dropped her before then, 
not sure why he did that. Draining some random passer-by just wasn't 
the same thrill as it used to. Of course he loved the hunt and the 
chase, but the blood tasted somehow... inferior. She wasn't worth
the 
trouble of killing. 
Spike lit another cigarette as he stared at the shallowly breathing 
woman and tried to decide if he wanted to kill her or not. Which was 
why he didn't notice at first, when several vampires stepped out of 
the darkness. Spike counted seven at first sight.
"Well, well. William the Bloody." A tall, brown-haired vampire 
stepped out a bit later. Spike smiled. Going for the dramatic 
entrance, was he? Now this could be fun. The vampire looked at the 
mortal lying on the ground. "Not man enough to kill a girl, Spike?"
The blond waved a hand derisively. "Mum never taught me not to play 
wit' the food. Wha' of it?" He let his eyes roam lazily over the 
bloke in charge of this rabble. "And who might you be, mate?" 
"Name's Drake. Let's not drag this out any longer than we have to. 
Get him!" He motioned to the other vampires. Spike slipped two stakes 
out of his pockets seconds before they were on him. The first two 
were dust before they knew what hit them. Then it became a bit 
nastier. The blond dodged and kicked every which way. It always hit 
something. He always became slightly manic in situations like this, 
and he just couldn't seem to stop grinning. Of course, knowing he was 
bleedin' invulnerable helped.
Vamp three checked out, before a big one got in a good stake-induced 
rip across his right pectoral muscle. Another one, with a nasty scar 
on his cheek, tried to sweep Spike's legs, but the blond just jumped 
and grabbed a tree branch. This gave him the opportunity to kick away 
the big tosser, and kind of point him at a broken tree bench. And 
four down, three to go. A redhead sliced through his shoulder with a 
bowie knife, rendering his left arm useless, which was bloody 
inconvenient for about five minutes, and then it was healed. Spike 
grinned some more.
He threw one stake, dusting the redhead with the big piece of steel, 
before turning to the other two. Scar and a little blond fellow. Both 
of whom were staying back cautiously. 
"Oy! You got anymore where those came from?"
Drake rolled his eyes and seemed to grumble about something. If the 
bloke hadn't been a demon, Spike would have thought he'd just been 
praying.
"Alright. When you want something done, you have to do it yourself. 
You can't get any good minions anymore this day and age."
Spike stood straighter as the other Master Vampire approached. "I had 
the same problem, mate. It's the telly. Makes human brains into mush. 
I'm glad to be immortal is all I can say."
The other vampire didn't seem to appreciate the comment, as he 
attacked immediately. Well, this one certainly was more of a 
challenge. Drake had actually taken some martial art classes. He 
wasn't at Spike's level though, and he hadn't learnt how to fight for 
his life on the streets of London. 
"You know Spike," Kick to Spike's chin, who ducked swiftly. "I've 
learnt three things about members of Aurelius over the years." Spike 
swept with his feet, Drake jumped. 
"Oh, do tell, pet." Backhanded stake plunged into Drake's lower back. 
The vampire grunted. 
"One. They're dangerously destructive bastards." Drake pulled out the 
stake and threw it underhand at Spike. The blond barely jumped aside, 
but it grazed his ribs.
"That brings back memories, it does. Pray tell, what line hatched 
you?" Spike smirked and kicked Drake's knee. It cracked sideways, and 
the dark-haired vampire started limping a bit.
"Mashenau. Two, they're fiercely loyal to immediate family, but hell 
on anyone else." Drake got in a good jab at Spike's face, and the 
blond could taste his own blood. That just added spice at this point.
"Right. I back-stabbed quite a few Mashenau in my day. You 
wouldn't 'appen to 'ave known a bloke called Torrence, now would 
you?" Drake hissed and squinted his eyes at his opponent in angry 
recognition. This time Spike went on the attack, when the other was 
distracted. He hit him with an uppercut and a sweep, and Drake went 
down.
"And three, in fights Aurelians believe way too much in fair play." 
He smiled bloodily up at Spike. The blond tensed, but he was too late 
to avoid the trap. "NOW!" Drake yelled.
Spike felt a sting in his neck, and suddenly his knees felt weak. He 
slumped to the ground, and the last thing he saw was an evilly 
smiling Drake looking down at him from a few inches away. 
"Well Spike, looks like your fabled luck finally ran out."
We'll see about that, you bloody pillock, Spike thought with a 
vengeance, more pissed off than he'd been in a long time. 
Then everything went black. 

Part Fifteen  


Just a few blocks from where Spike sank to the ground, Xander's head 
flew up. Something was wrong with Spike! He had felt a burst of anger 
that faded way too quickly to be natural. Especially considering the 
fact that Spike was not one for supressing his emotions in any way. 
The immortal frowned in frustration. He didn't know where Spike was. 
How was he supposed to help him? But as he turned around a bit, not 
knowing what to do, he felt a slight pull in one direction. Yes! Now 
to get there in time. 
Xander was just about to run that way, when three vampires blocked 
the way in front of him. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see 
three others at his back. The young man practically growled
"I am not in the mood for this!" 
"That's just too bad." A tall blond vampire said as he transformed to 
game face. Xander pulled his sword and calculated his chances. These 
were not fledglings, and his maximum until now had been three 
vampires at the same time. On the other hand he did have other 
advantages now.
"Ooh, he's got a sword." A punk-looking vampire scathed. He pulled a 
hand out of his coat. "Well, I've got a gun."
Shit! This was not good! The vampires hadn't seemed at all surprised 
at the sword. It was pretty clear that they knew he was immortal. And 
the easiest way to take out an immortal was shoot to kill and then 
keep the body dead. Or in the worst case scenario he'd lose his head.
Grim-faced Xander jumped at the punk, slicing at the weapon. His 
sword ripped through bones and muscles, separating hand from arm. The 
punk howled and staggered back. The immortal turned with an overhand 
swing, and beheaded a different vampire. 
Then a shot sounded, and he felt burning pain rip through his back, 
obliterating the left lung, and going straight through to his chest 
to cut into the rapidly beating muscle there and exit out the front. 
He tasted blood in his mouth as he fell to his knees, sword 
clattering on the stones. He felt more than saw the other vampires 
move closer. At least he had killed one, and maimed another of his 
attacker. 
No! He thought fiercely. Spike was in danger as well, and Xander 
wanted to do as much damage as he could. He growled in anger, and 
slipped into game face. Then he shot up from his low position and 
ripped into the nearest vampire with his bare hands. The next few 
minutes were a blur of flashing fangs and rippling faces, as the 
other vampires reeled back. Before the shock had worn of, one of them 
was dusted already. 
Somewhere in the confusion, right after he had ripped the heart out 
of another vampires chest, Xander regained a hold of his sword and 
then it was really too late for the remaining two vampires. 
Finally the last one turned to dust, and Xander was left gasping from 
breath, with the taste of cold vampire blood in his mouth, a sword 
covered in ash, and numerous quickly healing gashes all over his 
body. He blinked. That was not what he had thought would happen when 
he fell down mortally wounded. The immortal hesitantly reached up to 
the left side of his chest, where he had clearly felt the bullet rip 
through his heart. That was a mortal wound. You just couldn't get any 
deader than that. He should be an unmoving corpse right now, except 
for the moving part, which the vampires would certainly have done for 
him.
So what exactly happened here? Xander flashed back to the blue 
knitting electricity on Spike's chest after Buffy had staked him. 
Huh. He had pulled a vampire. That was... weird. But good. Well,
now 
that he had recovered from the sudden non-death he suddenly 
remembered why he had gone Viking on the poor vamps anyway. It was 
likely that Spike had also been jumped. What with the two of them 
being a package item and all.
Xander knew the blond could take care of himself in most cases, but 
the vampires had probably pulled a similar stunt as the gun thing. 
Except of course that guns don't work on vampires. Xander had been 
lucky that they hadn't known about his new vampirey habits. The enemy 
person, whoever it was, didn't know everything about them. That was 
always a good. 
The dark-haired young man sighed impatiently. There was no point in 
locating Spike now. He'd better get the gang together first. And who 
knows? They might even have found something in the time he had spent 
visiting all his old haunts and trying not to think about Willow's 
accusations. He ran the rest of the way back to Giles' place, trying 
not to think of Spike in enemy hands. It was only now that Spike 
could be killed that Xander realised he really wanted the vampire in 
his life. Even if he was evil and killed a person every day. It just 
didn't matter as long as he stayed with Xander for the rest of his 
life. The immortal stopped dead as he truly realised what that meant. 
He loved Spike. Not puppy love as he had experienced with Buffy, or 
mutual lust as with Faith and Cordelia. His feelings for Ampata came 
closest to what he felt now, but this was ten times as strong. He 
loved cuddling up in those strong arms at night. He relished the way 
Spike never underestimated him. He even wanted the violent and erotic 
thoughts the blond sent his way at inopportune moments. And he 
actually needed the fierce look in those eyes as the vampire declared 
Xander his. Xander smiled.
Oh yeah. He was in love with Spike.
Then he started running again. Now that he knew he was in love with 
Spike, he was twice as determined not to lose his lover to some wacko 
with a sword and a world domination problem.
Everyone looked up as Xander burst into the room.
"They took Spike!" He got out between breaths.
"T-they took Spike?" Giles stuttered as he started cleaning his 
glasses. That was never a good sign. "This - this is really bad." The 
ex-Watcher looked deep in thought for a second, before looking up at 
the new arrival, trying to appear hopeful. He was only moderately 
successful and it really didn't ease Xander's mind any. "At least you 
got away. That's something." As if Xander would run away and anyone 
behind. Certainly not Spike.
"Yes! No! I wasn't actually with Spike when they took him. I felt 
it." Xander exclaimed, trying to summarise the weird sensations he 
and Spike shared. He needed a whole new vocabulary if he really 
wanted to explain it.
Buffy cheered up immediately. "You felt it? You could be wrong, 
right?" 
Oh yes. How stupid to forget for a moment. Donut-boy obviously 
couldn't do anything right. Wake up, Buffy!
Xander glared the clueless girl. "Plus, six vampires tried to capture 
me."
"Well, this is new. They don't usually go after Xander." Buffy mused 
to herself, clearly dismissing the thought. "How did you get away?" 
She looked up at him with those big green eyes, waiting to hear where 
she should start slaying. There was nothing left to slay this time 
though.
Xander grinned evilly at her. He could do a good Spike if he wanted 
to. 
"Actually, I dusted them."
Buffy blinked. The rest of the Slayerettes seemed equally astounded. 
It felt good. Xander lapped up the attention he didn't get all that 
often.
"You dusted all six of them?" Willow asked in disbelief.
The immortal scowled at his friends, getting tired of this line of 
questioning. "Yes. Contrary to popular belief, I do know how to 
fight. Of course, it did get a bit dicey when they started in with 
the guns, but..."
Buffy frowned. "Vampires with guns? You're kidding, I hope. I don't 
need them going all Darla on me."
"No, Buffy. If I were kidding I'd say something like, hey, does 
anybody else see that big red and white target painted on my 
back, 'cause the vamps thought it was rabbit season. But my back's 
just red from where I got shot, so that won't work." The immortal 
explained in slow phrases.
Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. "Yes. Well, Xander is immortal, 
he should be able to handle himself better than we know, Buffy." 
Xander smiled at the ex-Watcher. As usual, G-man was the only one who 
got it. "So, the immortal has Spike. He'll be coming after you next, 
Xander. As the, um, vampire attack didn't work, and nobody reported 
in, our mystery person will come him- or, or herself this time. 
Probably tomorrow morning."
Xander frowned. "Why'd you say that Giles?"
Willow smiled up at her best friend, apparently eager to forget the 
argument they had before Xander walked away. "We found out some 
things. It's very interesting, really."
Xander clapped his hands and went over to sit on the couch next to 
Buffy. He tried to put Spike out of his thoughts for the moment. If 
there was one thing he had learnt during his years as a Slayerette, 
it was that information was usually the difference between life and 
death on the Hellmouth.
"Well, spill it, G-man. What evil will we face today?"
Giles smiled a bit, before launching into his speech. It was vaguely 
familiar.
"It seems that the history of mankind and - and demonkind according 
to the Watchers is a b-bit incomplete. Miss, um, Cassandra was nice 
enough to fill in some things she has read over the years that are 
now lost to us. 
The world was once populated with demons, from the Hell-dimension 
originally. And we, um, knew they lost their purchase on this world 
to make way for mankind. The relevant part here seems to be how they 
lost their purchase. Cassandra tells me she read quite a bit in the 
library in Alexandria. And um, well, it's your story really." He 
smiled at her.
Cassandra smiled back, easily stepping into the role of 
storyteller. "It seems sometime in the height of the demon-age 
another dimension opened unto earth. One that is, like Hell, 
mentioned in many religions, and often referred to as Heaven, or 
variations thereof."
Oz raised his eyebrows. "Heaven, huh?" He half-smiled.
"Yes. And it seems the inhabitants of Heaven didn't much like those 
from Hell. They fought for quite some time, creating warriors on both 
sides. Eventually, after many strikes and counter strikes there were 
only few ways left to access earth from either dimension. And so 
there was place for mankind to grow as it couldn't under the former 
reign. Warriors from either side still exist though, all of them half-
human in some way."
Giles nodded, readjusting his glasses. "Yes. In this context, 
vampires and demons are warriors of Hell. The Slayer is the primary 
warrior of Heaven. But there are others, like seers or witches and 
certain fantastic creatures that are less known warriors of Heaven. 
Immortals fall in that category."
Willow frowned. "But there are bad witches, right? And, and there are 
good demons."
"Exactly. Being a warrior for Heaven doesn't make one good, nor does 
being a demon make one evil. Just as with humans, it's the choices 
one makes that determine the place in life."
Xander nodded thoughtfully. "So, what does this have to do with me 
and Spike and that prophecy? Other than me being from Heaven and he 
from Hell."
Giles started gesturing. "It is exactly that, Xander. Two warriors, 
one from Heaven, one from Hell, linked together mentally, will fight 
together. One demon, one soul. And it says here that Hell and Heaven 
will align. As we are all intimately aware of, we are located on a 
portal to Hell. Heaven is more easily reached in some ways, but also 
more difficult to open a portal to. An immortal, being a warrior of 
Heaven, should be able to do it however."
Buffy looked extremely serious, and ready to fight. "So you're saying 
that not only is the Hellmouth about to open, so is Heaven?" 
"In theory, yes. The, um, immortal needs both Xander and Spike to do 
this though. And he needs to do it tomorrow, when the sun is closest 
to earth in a long time. At the moment the sun reaches its zenith."
"So, we have a night and half a day to rescue Spike, and prevent me 
from joining him?" Giles nodded grimly. "Just so I understand what 
the plan is." Xander added.
Buffy took charge at this point. "Well, we won't be able to do much 
tonight. If this guy has vampires working for him, it'll be easier 
ganging up on him in the day. Especially if he has to do this spell 
in the sun?" She looked at Giles to confirm her statement. Giles 
nodded at her to continue. "Right. So we need to make sure Xander is 
safe tonight, and we need to find out where they're keeping Spike."
Willow fell in. "We also need sleep, Buffy. We've been up for a long 
time now."
The Slayer acknowledged the point with a nod of her hand. "Giles' 
place is the easiest to get in and out in this case. Xander can't 
sleep over at the dorm, and there's every chance the guy already 
knows where Xander's house is. So, Xander stays at Giles. I'm gonna 
go patrol a bit, see if I notice anything unusual, while Willow and 
Oz sleep. Then I'll wake Wills and Oz, and take some Z's myself, 
while they tour in the van to some of the more remote places. And be 
careful, guys." She added, begging face to the fore.
Giles nodded in approval. Xander however had a problem with 
this. "You're forgetting something, Buffy. I can feel Spike. You 
can't. If they're lying low, you'll never find them."
"You are not leaving this house, Xander." Buffy said warningly.
Cassandra spoke up at that point. "I can go with you. I may not be 
able to feel the vampire, but I can feel any immortal that crosses my 
path. It's only for short distances though, it won't do much good 
driving around." 
The Slayer nodded. "You can come with me. We'll be most likely to 
find any activity within the city limits anyway. Willow and Oz can 
manage."
"I can go with them. I can feel Spike over quite some distance, and I 
won't even set foot outside the van, I promise." Xander promised.
Buffy had her stone face on. "No, Xander."
Giles stared at Xander a while, apparently deciding something, before 
turning to his Slayer. "He has a point Buffy. Finding Spike is a 
priority right now. W-we don't know if both members of the link have 
to be present to start the incantation, since they are connected no 
matter the distance between them. We can't afford to gamble with 
this. And, and Xander has already proven that he can take care of 
himself."
The blond girl sighed. "Okay, if you say so." Then her face hardened 
again as she turned to the dark-haired immortal. "But you won't leave 
the van, and you'll stay within sight of Oz and Willow."
"Of course, Buff." Xander replied. He had no intention of getting 
caught, but he knew he didn't want to spend all night worrying about 
the blond vampire. Searching at least gave him the feeling of doing 
something useful. Besides, he really was the best chance of finding 
Spike.
And he would find him, of that he was sure.

Part Sixteen  


"So this is the infamous Spike." Kennan smiled as he looked at the 
still unconscious vampire shackled to a pole in the middle of the 
large storage room. He didn't look like much, but from the stories he 
had heard over the years, this one was not your average vampire. 
There may be some eight vampires with a worse reputation, including 
the blonde's sire, but none other was such an unpredictable menace as 
William the Bloody. He didn't seem to follow any rules, and hardly 
ever had plans beyond wrecking havoc on humans and demons alike. 
Highly irregular for a vampire of his calibre. Most of the Masters 
were ambitious and secretive. And they were usually willing to make a 
deal if they could benefit from it. And Kennan was good at cutting 
deals. The immortal sneered. That was a weakness in vampires he could 
always exploit. 
Spike however was everything Kennan didn't want to see in a Master 
Vampire. He only seemed to have two weak spots. That insane lover of 
his was the first, but Kennan knew that Spike hadn't seen the 
vampiress in over seven months. He'd heard rumours that they'd broken 
up. So it was not a good time to start kidnapping her and find out if 
loverboy would rescue her or laugh his ass off at him. 
Spike's other known weakness was his fondness of fighting Slayers. He 
had two under his belt, and he'd attacked the current Slayer a number 
of times. Yet in this case it seemed he had actually joined forces 
with her for some reason. A case in point of his unpredictability. 
Kennan hated it when his enemies didn't have any discernible 
weaknesses.
Yes, he was really going to enjoy destroying this particular vampire. 
He turned back to a much more predictable member of the same species. 
"So, where's the other one? The immortal?" He asked Drake. 
The vampire scowled. "I don't know. Mick and the others should have 
been back by now. How hard can it be to shoot a guy and move him five 
miles?" 
From the entrance to the room sounded a rough chuckle. "Harder than 
you'd think." A green demon stepped into the room. Kennan frowned, 
deep in recollection. He'd seen that kind before somewhere. Then he 
smiled. Of yes, a Feryon. The last one had ended its life nicely 
under Kennan's blade as a sacrifice to Naurr-ti six years ago. 
"I take it you saw something?" Kennan asked it.
The green eyes flashed. "You could say that."
The immortal was getting annoyed with the drawn-out conversation. 
"So, tell me."
"What's in it for me?" The demon asked.
Kennan smiled evilly. Ah, territory he knew so very well. Demons and 
their deals... "We'll set a price afterwards."
The Feryon narrowed its eyes, but apparently decided to take him at 
his word. Not smart really, but he would let it find that out for 
itself. "I saw your six guys attacking the dark-haired kid. He killed 
two, but then they shot him. Fwwwst." He motioned with a black claw 
on the back of a disgruntled Drake. "Right through here, and out the 
front. Heart would have been pretty much pulp by that point."
"So he died?" The immortal asked, wondering why the vampires weren't 
back with him yet. Something must have gone wrong.
"Nope, that's the thing. They should have used a stake. That would 
have stopped him, I'd wager."
Drake swore. "You mean he was a vampire?"
Kennan didn't know what to think about this development. "Immortals 
can't become vampires. Vampiric blood isn't strong enough to change 
us." So what was different about this one? The only thing coming to 
mind was the Heaven to Hell link he had with the vampire! The 
immortal looked with a speculative eye at his captive. He wondered 
which immortal abilities Spike had gotten in return. For he had no 
doubt that they had exchanged powers in the process of linking. What 
he wouldn't give to have the ring of Tyrsis himself. Well, on the 
other hand, there was that nasty bit with the wearers becoming 
utterly insane and possibly even destroyed by his little spell for 
becoming the most powerful being on earth.
"Oh, he was a vamp all right. He dusted all your men in ten minutes 
flat." The Feryon grinned widely. "So, what's it worth to ya?"
Kennan was too lost into speculations to bother killing the 
irritating snitch. Who knows? He could still be valuable in the 
future.
"Pay him, Drake." He motioned. The vampire shot him a dark look, but 
the immortal didn't care. He turned back to his captive and tilted 
his head in thought. He really should see if his theory was right. 
Kennan drew his sword out of his longcoat and slashed it swiftly over 
the vampire's chest. Spike reeled back instinctively.
"Bloody Hell! Watch the knife, mate!" 
The immortal smirked. "Playing possum, Mr. the Bloody?" He watched 
with interest as blue lightning whirled across the long cut. Well. 
That was one theory proven right. Why didn't his sources say anything 
about this side-effect of the rings?
Spike blatantly ignored the fact that he was tied up as he looked 
around the area. "Nice place you've got. Not quite the standard I'm 
used to, but it'll do in a pinch." He returned his attention to his 
captor. "So, what do you do for fun around 'ere?" 
Kennan scowled. If there was one thing he hated more than 
unpredictability, it was insolence. The least Spike could do was act 
like a prisoner, not a fucking guest! He was tempted to take out his 
anger on the vampire, but it was better to keep him as strong as 
possible. The spell would take a lot out of the vessels, and the 
longer they held, the stronger Kennan would become. 
It wouldn't work without the immortal though. Kennan didn't trust his 
employees not to screw up again, so he would have to catch the other 
one himself. But first he had to prepare the ritual. And he wouldn't 
mind a bit of gloating.

"You'll see that soon enough." The dark-haired fellow in the suit 
said.
Spike didn't see an immediate way to get out of this situation, so he 
settled for needling the poof. Hey, when he escaped it wouldn't hurt 
to have some useful information.
"What? Not feeling talkative? I thought the bad guys were supposed to 
spill the plan to take over the world? Granted, I could be wrong. It 
is my first stint as good-guy." The blonde said, mockery dripping of 
the words."
The suit looked as if he wanted to punch Spike. Now that was 
interesting. Why the soddin' hell was he holding back? It certainly 
wasn't morals. 
"Oh yes, I'm supposed to say how I'm going to take over the world. 
Well, you won't be around to see it anyway." The immortal grinned 
evilly. "I hope you've learnt something from that loony chick of 
yours after all those years."
"And why's that, mate?" Drusilla? What did his princess have to do 
with anything? 
The poof folded his hands behind his back. "When I'm through with 
you, you'll make her look positively sane." 
Spike had to keep from grimacing, until the guy finally moved away. 
Insanity was not a fate he wanted to meet. At least death had 
dignity. Insanity didn't leave any room for that. Dru's worst bouts 
had often left her whimpering in a corner or rolling on the floor. 
Spike had always taken care of her after her episodes, and he had 
very much relished those quiet moments. His princess was usually 
vicious and demanding, and certainly not one for cuddling and tender 
moments. Case in point was the necklace he had painstakingly sought 
out to give her on Valentine's Day. What happened? Angelus, the 
bleedin' bastard, rips out the heart of the first person he sees, and 
she thinks that's so much better. Just because we're demons doesn't 
mean there's no place for romance now and then, is there? Walking 
together under the full moon and the light of a million stars, 
dancing in the graveyard to the sound of a radio that was just lying 
around untended after his latest kill, ripping the throats out of a 
lovey dovey couple that's trying to do the same thing. Angelus has a 
way of ruining the moment.
The pillock. 
The only time Dru really wanted the sweet interludes, in stead of 
humouring him, was after one of her outbursts. Spike briefly wondered 
who would take care of her now that he wasn't around anymore, but he 
couldn't honestly say he worried about it. He hadn't seen Drusilla 
for seven months. He had made sure to keep informed about her 
whereabouts, in case she ever came to what senses she had and wanted 
him back. Dru was still 'appily shagging every demon that fell over 
her lovely feet, though. He didn't care one way or the other. 
Spike blinked. Well, what do you know? A few days ago, he would have 
happily taken his goddess back if she came to him. Not without making 
her grovel, of course, but still. And now he wouldn't mind if he 
never laid eyes on her adulterous arse ever again. 
When he thought about dark hair and dark eyes, hers was not the first 
face he saw. Instead he saw the face of a young man that fought like 
a predator and shagged like a demon, all without losing that strange 
innocent quality that Drusilla could only ever imitate. Not to 
mention the great body and the addicting blood. Spike sighed. Okay, 
and the smile, and the inane comments, and the... 
Bloody Hell, he really was far gone, wasn't he? Love's bitch, indeed. 
Because he could deny it all he wanted, he really was in love with 
Xander. He'd fallen quick and hard, and possibly helped along by the 
effin' bond they had, but that didn't diminish the truth. William the 
Bloody, bad-ass vampire, was in love with a mortal boy - well, 
immortal, really, but it was all the same in the soul department and 
it didn't change the basics.
Spike sighed, and started paying attention to his surroundings again, 
trying to make out what the bad guy was planning. The vampire minions 
were scurrying about here and there, acting like brainless dolts as 
usual. The Master, Drake, wasn't doing much more than watch the 
leader of the gang with obvious annoyance. This was not a happy 
little vampire underling. Spike might be able to use that. 
The big poof himself was a while off, painting something on the 
floor. Invoking the black arts in all likelihood. The blonde strained 
his neck to try and see the design. Something... circle with three 
triangles attached... colours mostly blue and white. Now what did
that 
mean again? Spike went over all the pictures he'd seen in Angelus' 
books. The ponce had been a decent sorcerer, but then he'd learnt it 
straight from granddaddy. The Master was one tradition-rigged vamp if 
Spike ever saw one. But also a hell of a sorcerer. Practically 
obsessed with the arts, and he'd taken Angelus along for the ride.
Spike himself had not seen any use in most of those spells. He sure 
as hell didn't want the Hellmouth to open up and swallow the earth! 
But he knew a fair amount about sorcery and witchcraft. He wouldn't 
be Aurelius if he didn't. The vampire racked his brain for any 
recognition. The immortal kept drawing. Three white lines towards 
where Spike was standing, two blue ones criss-crossing the others. 
Then he circled to behind the pole in the centre of the room, and 
Spike lost sight of him. 
He kept staring at the circle. Then he blinked. It was a Hell-essence 
spell. A spell to prick a finger-thick hole into Hell and make a 
demon stronger by drawing directly from the evil energy. He frowned. 
The design was almost right, but the colours were all wrong. And 
besides, he was sure the wanker was not planning on making Spike 
stronger in any way, shape or form. 
He racked his brain for an answer. It was not a reversed spell. And 
he was sure its purpose was giving him energy. The lines were a 
soddin' give-away. 
Suddenly his eyes widened almost comically. 
Bleedin' bollocks! I'm fucked! 

Part Seventeen  


Xander sat in the back of the van, looking anxiously out through the 
open doors. Willow and Oz were crouched against the wall of the evil-
looking house. They had driven around for half an hour, when Xander 
started to feel the strange pulling sensation that meant Spike was 
nearby. It took a while, but they finally pinned it down to this 
house. 
It was a large house, but not a mansion like the one Angel had 
inhabited in his evil-hell-sucking days. The windows in the front 
were all dark, and there didn't seem to be anyone at home. Not going 
to fall for that one, evil-guys, because his Spike-radar said the 
vampire was here. And he sure wasn't here to buy real estate. 
Willow and Oz had immediately jumped into the fray, and Xander was 
determined not to be left behind. Angry Slayer, or no angry Slayer. 
That is until Willow stepped in. She frowned just a little. 
"But if you get too close, won't the strange immortal feel you are 
there?" 
Strike one, and he was out. That didn't mean it didn't suck to sit 
here and watch his friends jump into danger. Or crawl into danger, as 
the case may be. And after all, he was the immortal of this bunch. 
Well, and Oz maybe. Xander blinked in confusion. If you killed a 
werewolf with not-silver and he wasn't wolfy at the time, did he stay 
dead? Or did he get back up? He had to ask the G-man about that some 
time.
Oz disappeared around the corner. Willow looked back at Xander, 
smiled bravely, and waved at him, before following her boyfriend. 
Xander sighed. Now all he could do was wait. Not something he was 
good at. He tried not to think about everything that could go wrong, 
and made sure to keep an eye on his surroundings. If anything out of 
the ordinary happened he would fetch Willow and Oz and get them away 
from here, immortal buzz or no immortal buzz. 
But when something finally did happen, he couldn't move an inch. And 
not because he was suddenly paralysed with fear or anything. Though 
he was, really. And he had a good reason for it.
He. Just. Couldn't. Move.
From the opposite direction as the house, a small figure stepped out 
of the darkness. Golden-tinted skin, slanted eyes, silky black hair, 
she was clearly of oriental origin. But that was not what made 
Xander's eyes bug out. The girl was wearing dull-looking armour with 
raggedy red and green textile hanging off her shoulders and hips. Not 
to mention the big samurai sword strapped to her back. 
This was not a good! He'd evidently stepped right into the evil 
immortal's parlor and she was about to welcome him in. But as she 
stepped closer the lack of immortal buzz stated otherwise. Not an 
immortal, then. But it was too much to hope that she was on the good 
side of this gig. Not so close to Bad Guy Central.
China-girl studied him from two feet away, those dark eyes seemingly 
pools of night. Her eyes flashed down to his hand. The hand with the 
ring he suddenly wished he'd never seen.
"You wear my mother's ring." She stated, as if convincing herself of 
something.
Then she looked up again and straightened.
"I am Lin Chei, daughter of Amara Kirsag." 
When people started to introduce themselves with names given to 
ancient artifacts, it was a sure sign they weren't your average 
human. In addition to the whole imitating a stiff he was performing 
here without his consent. And that was so not a good. Where the hell 
where Willow and Oz?
Xander suddenly found he could still speak. "Heh. You've got the 
wrong guy, Miss. This is the ring of Tyrsis." He grinned lopsided, 
trying to look harmless.
Chei shot him a sharp look, obviously not enamoured with his comment. 
Okay, Harris, don't anger the weird lady. Especially since you still 
can't move anything below your neck.
"I must say, I'd rather not deal with this insolence. It's that I owe 
a debt that I'm here at all. You will listen, and you will heed my 
words. If you do not, I am not responsible for what happens. Is that 
clear?" She snapped out, and heavy ridges starting appearing on her 
brow and cheeks, sinking the frighteningly red eyes deep into its 
sockets. 
Xander raised his eyebrows in surprise, inside quivering in fear. A 
vampire! And a truly ancient one at that. She had that whole Mastery 
red-eyed look, and the full-faced game-face was new as well. Why 
hadn't she killed him already? She obviously knew how. If she was the 
one performing the spell, how would they even beat her? Beating an 
immortal sorcerer was difficult enough. 
"Are you listening?" She growled at the immortal, her small hand 
slapping him in the face. 
"Y-yes. I'm listening." His voice sounded rough and unused. His cheek 
stung. Chei was apparently satisfied with the answer, because there 
were no more hurtful motions. 
"Alright. I will tell you a story. 
Once, when the world was still a place where demons reigned, there 
was a vampiric Hell Priestess called Amara Kirsag. The Hell Priests 
and Priestesses were the most powerful warriors in the war against 
Heaven. But they had adversaries, called Heaven Sorcerers and 
Sorceresses. Amara, like her kin, killed many a Sorcerer. 
Until one day when she found a young Sorcerer named Tyrsis, mortally 
wounded from battle, defending a group of children, some of demon 
heritage, some angelic, some mortal. And she realised it was the 
children that got the worst end of the war. From that day on the 
Priestess and the Sorcerer banded together to protect the young ones, 
a union between Heaven and Hell not seen before or since. 
And as it goes in such cases, they fell in love. But they were often 
at odds with eachother, because they couldn't understand how the 
other person thought. Finally they decided to invent something to 
help them understand eachother better. Two rings were created that 
would allow them to know the other's thoughts and memories. And it 
worked beautifully.
But there was an unforeseen side-effect. Tyrsis and Amara found they 
could share their powers in a limited way." Chei looked at Xander, 
looking almost sad. "Not to the extent you can now, but since they 
understood more about the powers they were wielding, it was enough to 
give them an edge. Enemies heard of this and wanted to own the rings 
for their own purposes. Both minions of Heaven and of Hell tried to 
fight them, but together they were too powerful. 
One group finally succeeded. They attacked Tyrsis close to nightfall 
when he went out alone, and beheaded him. Amara was just in time to 
see the quickening start, and in her anger she denied the victor her 
lover's soul and sealed it in her ring. The result was that her 
immortal lover granted her invulnerability to sunlight, and she took 
bloody revenge. When her enemies were defeated, she took her 
husband's ring with her. Amara's ring, the one containing Tyrsis' 
soul, was hidden. As a final act she sealed her own demon essence 
into Tyrsis' ring and died where she stood, because her body was no 
longer animated by the forces of Hell.
The rings have moved around a lot over the years, and they work 
separately. But until you they have not worked to their full purpose 
since those early days. And they are a lot stronger now than they 
were then, with the power of Amara's demon and Tyrsis' soul locked 
within." She smiled, and raked a nail along his cheek in a seductive 
manner.
"Someone trying to create a union of Heaven and Hell would find one 
already in place." She purred.
Xander frowned, caught up in the story. He recognised some of it from 
what Spike and Cassandra had said, but he didn't see what was so 
terribly important about the story. Right, so there was a dead 
vampiress in his ring, and a dead immortal in Spike's. Hurrah. 
"Can you vague that up a bit? What does it all mean?" 
Chei shook her head in anger. "It means, young one, that you should 
not scoff about the 'dead vampiress' in your ring. Amara can help you 
if you let her." Shit, did she read his mind? She did. And okay, she 
was talking about ages dead vampires lending a hand in times of need. 
And, that is so not what vampires do! 
And really, not even touching on the subject of how loony China-girl 
was, she's a vampire. You know? Evil, soulless, fill in the blanks, 
vampire. 
"Not all vampires are the same. Some have honour. But you already 
know that. Maybe I will see you again, Alexander." Chei smiled at 
him, before moving away.
The darkness swallowed her up again. And he could move again.
Xander stared in the direction the vampiress had disappeared. He 
didn't know what to think. Okay, he could deal with the immortality 
and the occasional head-chopping. He was glad he could now dust six 
vampires with little trouble. He loved the link he had with Spike, 
even if it painted a target on his back for some megalomaniac 
immortal. His life was just getting more Slayer-esque by the day.
But he drew the line at mysterious vampiric informants. 
It was much too Deadboy-like, and look where that got them! This was 
not supposed to happen to Xander Harris. Okay, he was glad he wasn't 
donut-boy anymore, but this was just a little much. As Buffy had 
said: This is new.
And he really wasn't sure what to make of the insane fairytale a la 
demonic forces, brought to you live by our hostess, the evil 
vampiress. 
Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder and he turned around, heart 
in his throat.
Green eyes looked at him with clear worry.
"Hey, are you alright?"
Xander grinned, a bit falsely. "Yeah, I'm good." Willow seemed to 
study him, but apparently decided to let it go.
"What were you staring at?"
"Oh, just the night." Xander climbed back into the van.
"Did you find Spike?" He asked as soon as the others were also 
seated. He didn't want to appear too anxious after all. Nope, he was 
not shagging the vampire. Great, he was starting to sound like the 
bleached moron.
"One vampire accounted for." Oz smiled at him in the rearview mirror. 
Xander barely held in a sigh of relief.
Willow twisted in her seat. "Yep. Now we just have to make a plan, 
and rescue him." All said with not even a twitch in her resolve face. 
Willow kind of liked Spike, if Xander was not mistaken.
The immortal determinedly put the encounter with the creepy lady and 
whatever she was planning out of his mind. 
He had some planning of his own to do. 

Part Eighteen  


Spike immediately started paying more attention to his surroundings, 
when he felt the sensation that said there was an immortal 
approaching. Finally something to stave off the boredom of being 
ignored by all and sundry. Spike grimaced at the pins and needles 
sensation in his head, and struggled to keep his face neutral. His 
captor knew too much about the nifty side-effects of his and Xander's 
link already. No need to show him Spike could feel the bastard too. 
You never knew when it might come in handy. Especially since it 
didn't seem as if the immortals could feel him coming in return.
The vampire faked indifference when he saw the immortal's head shoot 
up at the approach of an unanticipated guest. 
Spike narrowed his eyes in sudden thought. Why did the immortal 
proximity alert go off now and not before? The man had dallied about 
with his paint for hours now, and not one tingle to show his 
immortality. But on reflection, he hadn't felt Cassandra either after 
that first buzz at the door had passed. Maybe constant exposure made 
him immune or something? Could he have missed the first warning, 
because he was unconscious? Probably. 
It couldn't be good for Xander though. Any challenger could just stay 
out of range and shoot him, or wait until he slept to hack his head 
off. There was no way Spike believed the bastards would all play 
fair. And nobody killed his Xander, but him. And then only for 
enjoyment purposes. He considered that. Yep, for enjoyment only. It 
wasn't his fault if he happened to enjoy violence and killing, was it?
A vampire minion scurried up to his boss and announced the visitor. 
Whoever the visiting immortal was, he or she wasn't one for waiting 
apparently. The first thing Spike saw was long red hair. Bugger all! 
That couldn't be good. The next was a slack body being dropped on the 
floor by two minions. 
A familiar looking slack body.
The vampire wasn't aware that he started growling, game-face coming 
to the fore. He just knew he hadn't ever been quite this pissed off. 
Not even when Angelus left without a word. After all, the bloke could 
'ave been staked. 
That scuzzy traitorous bitch! Bleedin' skanky bint! Oh yeah, see if 
her head stayed on her neck two seconds after he was free. Spike knew 
from the beginning that there was something funky about the o so 
helpful prophetess. Nobody was so White Hat he helped out perfect 
strangers. He had been an effin' div alright. Should have gone with 
his instincts and chucked her out on her arse at the first sign of 
lying about her precious prophecy. All prophets were wacked in the 
head anyway, one way or another! 
The vampire struggled against the chains, chafing his wrists raw and 
bloody as he pulled with all his strength, ranting profanity at her. 
Bloody original too, if he was any judge. Electric streaks sparked 
off both flesh and metal, but he didn't feel it. 
The fact that Cassandra didn't even glance at him once during his 
tirade was not improving his mood either. Spike stopped the stream of 
words with some difficulty. This was getting him nowhere. For one, he 
was too angry and anxious to be more coherent than your average 
drunken lout anyway. But more importantly, he had better things to do 
than cuss out the ho. 
Keeping only the smallest amount of his concentration on the two 
talking immortals, he poured everything he was into an attempt to 
reach Xander mentally. Come on, Xander, where's that brave little 
trooper you've got hiding behind that happy face?
"Kennan. I never thought you'd be one for prophecies." Cassandra 
smiled nastily. "But then you do love power, don't you." She poked 
Xander with her foot. Spike's growling intensified, but there was 
nothing he could do but keep trying to contact Xander. "I brought you 
a present."
The vampire directed his thoughts toward the dark-haired boy lying on 
the recently cleaned floor. There was the slightest stirring in his 
head, indicating Xander was still present and accounted for. Well, 
the kid wasn't dead. That was good. If he had been trying to contact 
a soddin' corpse he would feel a tad stupid right about now. The boy 
felt content enough, too. Not noticeably in any pain. That meant he 
hadn't been conked on the head recently. His little knight's mind 
didn't feel muddled, so he wasn't drugged either. In fact it almost 
appeared as if Xander was sleeping. The blonde lifted an eyebrow. If 
the immortal was just sleeping, he should have woken up with all the 
moving around. What the blazes had the chit done to 'im? Bloody 
hypnosis or some such bollocks?
Kennan approached the witch warily. "And you would accommodate me, 
why?"
The witch tilted her head and studied him. Apparently she came to a 
decision, because she replied in a haughty tone. "Well, it is my 
prophecy. I'd like to make sure it comes true."
The other immortal laughed, clearly not believing a word she said. 
Good choice, mate, she sure took the whole lot of us in with her 
saving-the-world sap. "Right. You really want to see me gain 
understanding of every power on this earth and beyond. That's a 
laugh." The black-haired man pointed to Xander's unconscious body. 
"Tie him to the pole." The same two minions who brought him in 
dragged him towards Spike.
Now that woke the vampire up quite a bit more. He didn't much like 
the fact that he wouldn't be able to see his lover once put on the 
soddin' giant stake. Swiftly he memorised every feature until it was 
burned in his brain, and then he pictured the image of a laughing, 
talking, awake Xander. Something stirred in his head. There you are, 
pet, you can do it. Another small twinge.
Cassandra watched with clinical detachment as the boy was chained to 
the other side of the pole Spike was attached to. The vampire ignored 
the woman, and started softly stroking what skin of Xander he could 
reach behind his back.
Wake up, luv. We're really should get out of here. He thought at the 
other man.
"I know you didn't want him drugged, so I told him to sleep."
Kennan lifted his eyebrows, before nodding solemnly. "Ah yes, that 
famous Voice of yours. I'm amazed you didn't just order him to walk 
in under his own power."
Voice, what voice? Bloody Hell, it had been hypnosis after all. Spike 
knew Dru had a bit of mesmerism in her bag of tricks, but he'd 
thought it was a vampire thing. Even the bleedin' Master 'ad a touch 
of it. But maybe it was witch related? As tempting as it was to bait 
the bint to find out more, chance was she'd choke up. It would be a 
shame to stop such interesting information. That didn't stop him from 
almost exploding with barely held back comments, though. At least 
Xander was starting to wake up. 
"It's not quite as simple as you're saying. He's got a strong will, 
and the link to the vampire doesn't help any. I wasn't sure about the 
effects." The redhead volunteered. 
"Why, Cassandra. Giving away trade secrets? How unlike you." 
"It pays to be nice to the person who's going to rule the world in a 
few hours." She answered wryly.
At that moment Xander opened his eyes. "W-what? Where am I?" Spike 
felt the moment Xander realised what had happened. His emotions went 
from confused to clear to white hot rage.
"What the hell do you get off on handing me over to the enemy, lady? 
I thought you wanted to help us, not shack up with the other side!" 
He growled. Spike wished he could see his love's game-face. He'd only 
seen it once, but he was so beautiful when he was angry. Broad, 
masculine ridges, smooth, but not too smooth. And those too sharp 
cheekbones for his human face, that he had inherited from Spike 
somehow. Not to mention the scar. But it wasn't as if the two were 
the same. Couldn't be, because there faces were too different. 
Spike's ridges were more wrinkly, sharper as well. Spike was a lot 
paler too, of course. It was strangely erotic, actually, to see the 
red blood pumping under the twisted demon face. 
"You tell 'em, luv." He chuckled. Xander's warm fingers gripped his 
own in response. Thinking about Xander always cheered him up, 
eventhough the situation was not improved by getting a hard-on. Spike 
shrugged mentally. Sod it. He was a vampire, and shagging and 
creating mayhem were pretty much his goals in life.
The two immortals still ignored the captives. As their conversation 
ran to an end, the red-haired witch walked up to Xander and 
disappeared from Spike's view temporarily.
"I'm leaving now. But don't worry, I'll be back for the grand finale. 
I'll see you soon, youngling." 
"Yeah, no thanks. And fuck you too." Xander hurled at her back, as 
she walked back to the door she had entered through. Kennan looked 
after her, apparently deep in thought. Then he shook himself out of 
it visibly.
The immortal grinned at Spike. "Your friend's got quite a mouth. Did 
you teach him that?"
"Nah, he's a natural." The vampire replied casually, with a hint of 
pride. He didn't care one wit what the suit thought, but it would 
give Xander a happy to hear him talk like that. Lighten the thoughts 
of impending doom a bit. Judging by the squeezing fingers and the 
wave of warmth in his head the thought was appreciated.
Kennan shrugged. "Well, let's continue with the preparations, shall 
we?"

"You WHAT?!" Ripper shouted at the red-haired woman, who had just 
finished explaining what she had done. "You! You...." Giles started 
pacing furiously, clenching his fists to keep from hitting the 
exasperating woman standing by the door. Well, he was certainly over 
his short-lived attraction. Nobody threatened his children and got 
away with it! And they certainly didn't hand them over to a raving 
mad sorcerer who would kill them in wee hours. No, there was no way 
he was letting this woman get within touching distance of his charges 
again! 
The immortal witch stayed irritatingly calm in the face of his anger, 
which really only made it burn hotter. "We had to know who our 
adversary was to defeat him. And Xander had to be with Spike. The 
prophecy can't fulfil itself any other way."
Buffy didn't appear to feel any more calm than Giles himself did, but 
evidently she had decided two people pacing would defeat the intent. 
She was twirling a mean looking stake though. Ripper actually hoped 
she would use it. It's not like that woman would die from it. 
Permanently anyway. "I thought the point was to avoid the pending 
Apocalypse, not give it a helping hand."
Cassandra nodded serenely. Giles was really starting to feel as if he 
was the raving lunatic in the face of her calm. "I knew you would see 
it that way. But things must go the way they were meant to or the 
consequences will be devastating."
The ex-Watcher took a deep breath and stood still for the first time 
since the immortal had told them she had gone and betrayed them all. 
"Even if that means they might die?"
"You know how prophecies work, Rupert. Only the prophet sees what 
lies behind the words. And they will not die, if we help them." Yes, 
Giles knew what she meant by that. When they first appeared, 
prophecies were really visions, but they had to be contained in 
words. Anyone could study the words, but most of the time the things 
only made sense after the fact. Not to mention the fact that most 
prophecies had two sides to them. Only prophets could see some of the 
true meaning, and to which side the coin would fall. But never all. 
Cassandra had taken a terrible risk that could yet destroy them all.
But she had a point. "Yes! I know. I don't necessarily disagree. But 
you should have told us what was required to fulfil the prophecy in 
our favour."
Cassandra raked a hand through her hair and looked at the people in 
front of her. "I didn't think you'd just deliver Xander to Kennan 
without protest. And he needed to be there."
Willow piped up, just as upset as the rest of them. "You-you just 
walk in here, and- and take Xander against his will! You don't even 
know him! I've known Xander all my life, and he's the bravest person 
I know. He would have volunteered for your little mission. But no-o-
o, you had to go and kidnap him. Well-well, that sucks!"
Oz smiled at his girlfriend. "You're cute when you curse."
Willow blushed, but didn't take her eyes off of the unfortunate 
immortal. Giles smirked in satisfaction. The small group of fighters 
against all evil would take in anyone with good intentions, even a 
soulless vampire like Spike or a total stranger like Cassandra, but 
once they turned against one of their own there was no way he or she 
would get back in. Not even Angel had returned to his accustomed 
place as trusted fighter and Buffy's right hand man after his stint 
as Angelus. 
Cassandra could talk all she wanted. She would not be included in 
today's rescue attempt. 
"Miss Cassandra, I believe it would be best if you'd leave. There is 
nothing you can provide that we can't do ourselves." Giles smiled 
nastily. "And frankly, I don't think there's a person in this room 
that would trust you to watch our back."
Cassandra looked face to face, seeing nothing but hostility. From the 
hard face of the dangerous warlock she had thought was a nice, but 
slightly dopey ex-Watcher to the set in stone and ready to kill look 
on the Slayer's face. 
And from the disappointed and angry expression of the little red-
haired witch to the expressionless yet somehow cold and at the same 
time dangerously wild look on her mild-appearing boyfriend's face.
This was not what was supposed to happen. But the prophetess could 
see there was no way these people would ever let her help again.
There was nothing to do but leave.
So that's what she did. 

Part Nineteen  


Xander watched with growing alarm as the dark-haired immortal chanted 
in an unfamiliar language. This was not good. Buffy? If you're going 
to rescue somebody, you'd better do it soon. Any time now. Anxiously 
waiting here.
Ah, hell! The young man had known for three endlessly long years 
fighting the evil on the Hellmouth that he was defying the odds. It 
was a given that sooner or later he would die in one of their 
scrapes. After all, he was normal guy, good for demon bait but not 
much else. 
It was truly ironic, really. The very first time in his life that he 
had left Sunnydale, and the Hellmouth, he had died. By vampire bite, 
no less. And when he revived and learnt of his immortality, 
practically his first thought after the 'Help, I'm a vampire'-
reaction had been: Oh, good, maybe now I won't die a gruesome death 
being used as a virgin sacrifice. Not that he was a virgin any 
longer, and that was practically the only good in the humiliation 
that was Faith's post demon-bashing party. 
And now he would die as a sacrifice anyway, pretty much because he 
was immortal. Funny how life threw you back in your place time and 
again, wasn't it?
Well, at least he wasn't alone. Xander winced. Not that he wanted 
Spike dead. In fact, he would much rather the vampire live a long and 
prosperous unlife. Okay, not too prosperous, 'cause that would be bad 
for the rest of the human population. Still, part of him was glad the 
blonde was here. It was even sort of romantic, dying a gruesome death 
together. He winced. Of course, he could do without the gruesome 
death part.
Xander blinked, squinted his eyes at the open space in front of him, 
and blinked again. Was that a hole? The small swirling red circle 
grew a bit. Yes, it really was. A hole in nothing. Huh.
"Um, Spike, there's a red circle in front of me. I'm guessing that's 
bad?"
Spike laughed. "Yeah mate, that's bad alright. The bastard is gonna 
link us to Heaven and Hell, but he's gonna do it the wrong way 
around. Would have been a bloody power treat otherwise."
The wrong way around? Heaven... Hell... Oh Shit! Vampire plus
holy water 
equals one big pile of dust. What would happen to a vampire faced 
with the thing holy water originated in? No! Spike was not going to 
die! He was... he was Xander's lover, and he couldn't die until
Xander 
said so, dammit! 
Hey! Ring! Vampire invincibility ring! That would do the trick, 
wouldn't it? Xander winced. Holy water or a stake was not exactly the 
same as being exposed to Heaven, so he'd better start praying. Did 
God even take prayers for vampires about to be dusted by Heaven? 
Red and black lines shot out of the ominous little circle and 
attached themselves to Xander. He instantly felt as if he was burning 
up from the inside out. Images of black smoke and red fire flitted 
through his mind, along with some nasty little torture scenes. The 
immortal laughed a little hysterically. Okay, and Hell on a soul-
filled person was not a happy event either, apparently. 
Behind him he heard Spike curse. Not that he had much thought left to 
spent on his lover. His mind was filling up with everything from rage 
to bloodlust, from cruelty to malicious glee, fast approaching total 
carnage. If this was the image of Hell, Xander wasn't in a hurry to 
visit the real thing any time soon.

***********************************

Spike had expected what would happen, but reality was a tad bit more 
than he had imagined. He gritted his teeth against the onslaught of 
burning white light filled with justice and judgement, regret and 
forgiveness, and all sorts of other things he didn't have names for. 
And he had no need for them either. William the Bloody had never been 
one for all that crap. Life on the streets of London had taught him 
little about the goodness of humanity and a whole lot about its petty 
cruelty. And damned if he believed in the utter goodness of Heaven 
and all that rot. That attitude hadn't changed one wit when he became 
a vampire.
From the corner of his eye he could see Kennan revelling in the 
occasional bolts of coloured light that hit him from both gateways. 
Bet that bastard doesn't get the quick tour around Heaven like Spike 
did. He just fed off the escaping power. Spike stubbornly refused to 
give in to the redemption streaks that blanketed him. 
Oi! Soulless demon here! I don't even want the damn redemption. I'm 
not soddin' high and mighty Angel, the nonce with the hard-on for 
that shit. Take it back with you and sod off!
The light didn't care what Spike thought, it just kept coming. Images 
of colourful whirlwinds and palaces, tournaments and hunts cluttered 
up his head. The vampire gritted his teeth against the feeling of his 
blood boiling in his veins and resumed his attempts to free himself 
from the chains binding him. 
Noise from another part of the room made him look up. Oh look, it's 
the Slayer! And her little gang. Couldn't you have come a wee bit 
sooner, you wankers? Maybe before the sorcerer started the spell? 
Slutty took one look at where Spike and Xander were chained, before 
grimly starting in on the poor fledglings scattered throughout the 
area. Red and Dogboy were a twin fighting machine, backing eachother 
up seamlessly. She had a mean shot with the crossbow, and he stabbed 
any vamp that came close enough. The Watcher had ruffled up a sword 
somewhere and he did a pretty good imitation of an immortal. Of 
course he was nowhere near Xander's level, but then, his little 
knight was one of a kind. Spike smiled at the memory of the first 
time he'd seen Xander fighting, then growled as a particularly 
vicious judgement streak caught him.
Speaking of, he hadn't heard a sound from the kid in a while now. 
Hell couldn't be that tough to see for someone who lived on the 
Hellmouth, right? Yeah, right. Hell is just peachy for souled 
wankers. Evidence numero uno: Tortured Angsting Angel TM back from 
his trip to Hell. The vampire started worrying, in between the bouts 
of fending of the unwanted feelings shoved on him.
A shriek sounded from somewhere behind Xander. Not remotely human 
sounding. The vampire saw the Slayer's eyes grow wide, a look of 
recognition on her face. She hacked in on the vampires even more 
determinedly. What in bleedin' Hell was it that she saw that would 
make her the Terminator-Slayer? Before he could think of an answer a 
deep low growling came from right in front of him. Out of the great 
white circle came a very large white paw, soon followed by an equally 
large lion head and a large white wing. 
Spike cursed vividly. There was no need for the situation to get even 
worse! Kennan looked a bit pale there. Apparently he hadn't expected 
this development. Things were not going the way he wanted them to. 
That idea was strangely satisfying, seeing as how it came from the 
utter worst thing that could happen at this point. 
But then, what idiot tried to open Heaven and Hell at the same time?

******************************

Xander wasn't really aware of anything going on around him. He didn't 
see his friends coming to the rescue, and he didn't see two big heads 
of the Hellmouth-creature moving in his direction.
He was completely turned inwards, trying to find a solution to the 
barrage of alien feelings and images running through him. And for 
some reason he was fixated on what the vampire lady had said. Okay, 
he had a dead vampire in his ring. And Spike had said that if he had 
been at the Hell side of this spell it would have been a 'power 
treat'. So, he had a Hell-connection and he had a vampire. That had 
to be good for something.
So, Miss dead vampiress, some help here would be nice. Ring? Just 
work already. Xander focused all the concentration he could muster 
under the onslaught of Hell at his ring. And it started to burn the 
same way it had the very first time he had put the thing on. But this 
time there were no blue-white streaks.
Instead there was a steady red mist, rising up from the ring itself 
to cling to Xander's skin, before jumping over to Spike. The vampire 
exhaled loudly in surprise as the mist settled on both of them.
"What the Hell?"
Xander gritted his teeth. "Concentrate on the ring, Spike. There's a 
dead immortal in there that's willing to help."
Spike laughed incredulously. "What? 'Ave you gone 'round the bend, 
mate?"
"Just do it!"
Soon after that fierce command blue lightning started to streak 
between the two bound figures. The rage courtesy of the Hellmouth was 
now moving through Xander and into Spike. At the same time the 
immortal could feel more soothing and familiar emotions coming his 
way from Spike's direction. 
And something else. A hesitant mental touch, that was clearly not 
Spike. Spike's touch was far more real, and never hesitant in the 
least. This, whatever it was, wasn't Spike. The young man welcomed 
the strange presence, and soon it seeped into him. 
Xander looked on curiously, as the other immortal took over. 

************************

When Xander started talking about dead immortals, Spike's first 
thought was that he had cracked under the pressure. But he sounded 
awfully confident, and there had been that familiar feeling of mayhem 
in the midst of all that gooey stuff, just before he started talking. 
And who's to say there wasn't a dead immortal in his ring? It had to 
work somehow, and it did explain his bond with an immortal. Kind of.
And what with Heaven devouring him on one side, and the damn lion in 
the other, there was no harm in trying, now was there? Alrighty then. 
Dead immortal, if you're there, just come on out and help some. 
Bugger me! The ring started to flicker with immortal lightning. Spike 
looked on in wonder. Looks like the kid was right. How in Hell did he 
know that? 
The lightning jumped over to Xander, and it was only now that the 
vampire noticed the red mist swirling over his skin. Not to mention 
the sneaking alien presence in his cranial cavity. What's with this? 
No dead immortals are taking over my brain if I can help it. He 
growled at the strange presence.
Nobody but Xander gets in there. And he wouldn't be trying to force 
his way in, he'd ask. An image of a black-haired vampiress swirled 
through his head, smiling evilly at him. Then she jumped into him 
fully, and before he could try to put up resistance, she was in 
control. Spike could do nothing but look on in silent helpless rage. 

Part Twenty  

Giles stabbed another vampire through the stomach. The unfortunate 
fledgling shrieked in agony, while Ripper smirked at him. Good idea 
that, blessing the sword with holy water. A swift stroke at neck-
height and another vampire was reduced to dust. The ex-Watcher had no 
opponents for the moment, so he took stock of the proceedings. Blue 
and red streaks of light illuminated the fighters in uneven flashes, 
and it took a while before Giles could locate everyone.
Buffy was scuffling with two vampires, still attempting to get closer 
to the pole in the middle of the room. Hmm, that was a bit sloppy 
there. Well, what would you expect from a Slayer that hadn't 
practised her moves since she started college over a month ago. At 
least not with him, and he couldn't imagine Buffy practising all by 
herself. Too busy partying and enjoying her new freedom from annoying 
parents and Watchers. Ex-Watchers.
Giles sighed, annoyed with himself for being so easily distracted by 
trivial matters, and let his eyes roam over the other people in the 
room. Oz and Willow were pretty much out of vampires to shoot and 
stake. There were five more near the sorcerer, but that was all. The 
two redheads were closer to Xander and Spike than Giles, and had 
apparently realised that fact. Willow hurried forward, as Oz kept a 
vigilant eye on the remaining vampires.
Suddenly he grabbed his girlfriend's arm and yanked her sideways, 
covering her with his body. And not a moment too soon. Where her head 
had been mere seconds before, there was now a large snake-like head 
that swept through the empty space. 
"Oh, Bloody Hell." Giles cursed. Not that creature again. He'd had 
quite enough of their own personal Hellmouth-monster to last him 
several lifetimes. Not to mention they had hardly survived the battle 
last time, and then they still had Angel with them. Ripper might not 
trust the man with the life and love of his Slayer any longer, but 
the 200-year-old vampire was a great fighter. Thank God for werewolf 
senses, or Willow would surely have been devoured.
As if that wasn't enough, there sounded an ominous growling from the 
other side of the room. On Spike's side of the room the front half of 
a great white lion appeared out of thin air.
"Of course." Yes, let's do open both the Hellmouth and the Heaven's 
Gate. Because one is just not powerful enough for a megalomaniac, now 
is it. Did the man actually believe he could control them both? 
Bloody pillock. He hadn't read the Akkad Scrolls, that's for damn 
sure. It's not like it wasn't attempted before, with near disastrous 
results. But then, they did not have a dust-resistant vampire in that 
particular case. Still, the Slayer and three Watchers died closing 
those gateways. Giles did not want any of his charges to undergo the 
same fate, if he could help it.
Ripper gripped his sword tighter and stepped into the fight, 
alongside Oz. The rescue had just come to mean a lot more. The ex-
Watcher and the werewolf darted in and out of range of the heads, 
while Buffy faced the lion all by herself. Willow was still trying to 
get to Xander, helped by a protection spell Giles didn't think she 
knew. And he would have discouraged her from using it if he had the 
time and if the situation had been less grave.
The lights in the room intensified, red mist coming up out of 
nowhere, and blue lightning streaking over the walls of the building 
to play under the roof. A quick glance at the sorcerer and his 
helpers showed that the man was backing up, white-faced. Yes, old 
chap, not quite up to the task of controlling your creation, are you? 
Giles blinked. He was also missing a vampire. Probably shot by one of 
Oz's stray arrows. 
The multi-headed snake hissed suddenly, echoed by the lion's growl. 
Both turned away form their attackers and faced the centre of the 
room.
Where Xander and Spike had just stepped out of their bindings. Ripper 
narrowed his eyes. It was clearly not Willow's doing. The girl was in 
fact staring wide-eyed at her childhood friend, as someone who didn't 
know what she was looking at. The ex-warlock murmured a handy phrase 
he had picked up quite a while ago to allow him to see the more 
mystical side of people.
Willow shimmered a faint blue. Buffy shone like a blue beacon, while 
Oz was stained in green and red. The four remaining vampires present 
shimmered red. The immortal sorcerer was somewhere between Buffy and 
Willow. Xander should have been in that range. But he clearly wasn't.
The young man was shining brighter than Buffy, and the glow even 
vaguely showed human features other than his own. Ripper rolled his 
eyes. Could that boy get through a single year without getting 
possessed? The ex-Watcher couldn't only see Spike's back, but he 
imagined the same thing was happening to the vampire. 
Now the question was, which side would those entities chose? Giles 
sincerely hoped they would pick the good side, but it was extremely 
doubtful in light of the spell being performed. In all likelihood 
something had come through the gates. Something less corporeal than 
those two guardian creatures.
Nothing could be less from the truth. The two beings that were Xander 
and Spike started chanting, in chorus. And in a language Giles was 
not familiar with. The ex-Watcher frowned. That was not something 
that happened to him every day, since he was quite well versed in the 
demon languages. And still, he could understand less than one word in 
five. What little he could make of it turned out to be a pleasant 
surprise. They were speaking a sort of binding spell. 
But powerful. More powerful than Ethan and Ripper had ever hoped to 
be. What remained of that rebellious young warlock was revelling in 
the chance to learn more about this. As did what remained of the 
Watcher, but for more benign reasons. 
But the person he was now, couldn't give a damn about any bindings 
spells, he just wanted Xander back safely after whatever was 
happening finished.
And Giles was content with that knowledge.

***************************************

Amara smirked at the Lion Marchis. It had been a very long time since 
she saw the creature last, and he hadn't changed a bit. Still 
arrogant, and judgmental. The vampiress soaked up the powers of the 
Hellmouth that came to her through the dark-haired boy. She could 
feel the mind of the vampire she inhabited growling in the back of 
her head, but what was a vampire of ample 200 years going to do to 
her?
{Master vampire.} Spike grumbled, stabbed in his honour.
Yeah, yeah. Master. HA! You couldn't light a candle with the amount 
of knowledge about Hell you've been taught, kid. She brushed back her 
non-existent long black hair in a habitual move of arrogance. Amara 
wiggled her fingers. 
Let me show you how a real Priestess of Hell does things around here, 
sweet thing. 
{Right. Let's 'ave it then.} 
Darling? She called to her husband. A faint ripple echoed through her 
mind. Oh yes, he was ready as well. There was nothing like taking on 
a Guardian of Heaven after a sleep of ten thousand years. It would of 
course have been a hell of lot easier for her to close the Hellmouth, 
and let Tyrsis handle Heaven, but there were rules about not messing 
on other demons' territory. Besides, where was the fun in that?
{You're bloody right about that. It just would 'ave been bleedin' 
more fun for me, if there wasn't some ages dead bint stuck in me 
effin' body.} 
Amara ignored the kid's ramblings and started to chant.

***************************

Tyrsis smiled at the feelings he received from his wife. Amara was 
plain exhilirated at the thought of fighting again. It wouldn't last, 
of course. Eventually the original demon would take over the body 
again, but not before she had wrecked merry havok on anything Heaven-
related. Marchis had no way of winning. Too bad, Tyrsis kind of liked 
the guardian. You could always convince him to close a willing eye if 
you fed him sweets. 
{What? We just had to feed the lion HoHo's and he would have become a 
sweet purring pussycat? I somehow don't think so.}
The young immortal whose body he shared at the moment was obviously 
getting restless. Oh well, let's deal with the Hell Guardian then. 
Kar'ni-tak had one obvious flaw, he was blind as a bat if you used 
the right enforcement. But first...
Tyrsis started the binding spell. 

*****************************
Buffy grabbed the leading bad guy by the neck.
"Oh no, you don't. No leaving the party early." She smiled sweetly at 
the immortal. "Wouldn't want to miss the appointment with a sharp 
stick, would you?"
The Slayer made sure the man wasn't going anywhere by bending some 
convenient metal pipes around his legs. Nope, he wasn't going 
anywhere anytime soon. She turned her attention to the silent battle 
in progress.
Xander and Spike, or whatever the things inhabiting them were that 
majorly set off her spidey senses, were still chanting. Right in the 
middle of kicking the crap out of those gateway creatures.
It wasn't often that the Slayer got the chance to see others beating 
the crap out of the bad guys, and she found herself running an 
internal monologue on their technique. Ooh, pretty right hook there, 
Xan. A bit more working with the legs, Spike. You're not reaching him 
that way. 
Xander was using a weird fighting style that seemed to include 
standing still for short periods, and then striking rapidly. And by 
the looks of it, that worked. She squinted. Yes, she would bet 
anything that the Hellmouth beastie was doing a Jurassic Park on 
them. With the whole not seeing silent objects thing and all. That 
would come in handy the next time some overzealous demon tried to 
open the Hellmouth. And that day would come. Buffy was not na´ve 
enough to believe otherwise.
On the other side of the arena there was Spike fighting the flying 
lion. Whoever inhabited Spike had pretty much the same style as the 
blonde vampire. Just pull an all out, no holds barred assault, and 
anything would crumble. The Slayer cocked her head in thought. 
Actually, that was pretty much the way all vampires fought. It was 
just that fledglings used only their animalistic instincts, and the 
more dangerous vampires such as Spike, Angelus and Trick knew martial 
arts. Huh. She had never truly considered why they were so much 
harder to kill. She'd contributed it to age, experience and increased 
strength. And those were factors. But they had also consciously made 
an effort to learn how to fight.
Buffy laughed. It was funny to think of a vampire like Angelus 
following martial arts class in order to defeat his opponents. With 
her being the opponent. Okay, not so fun. Concentrate on the fight, 
Buffy. 
Xander and Spike were synchronising their moves, driving the beasts 
back into their respective circles. When they were invisible from all 
sights but right in front of the holes, the chanting increased in 
volume.
The circles burned bright yellow, and started growing smaller, the 
blue and red lights becoming dimmer with each contraction. Slowly the 
gateways to Heaven and to Hell closed again, awaiting the next 
unfortunate being that tried to open them.
Then everything became dark, save for the two dimly glowing figures 
standing back to back in the middle of the room. 
The Slayerettes watched them silently. 

Part Twenty-One

Spike could feel the energy in the room dissipating, and with it came 
a weakening of the chit commanding his body. Made sense, what with 
the lack of demonic power to sustain her presence. 
So, get out! You're bloody well dead! And if I've got my story right, 
you freakin' offed yourself, so don't get all happy with unlife on my 
account.
He felt her amusement. {Just a bit longer, pretty boy. No sense in 
wasting what little I've got left.}
Spike's body turned to look at Xander, or the bloke that was in him. 
The immortal spoke directly to Buffy. "The Guardians won't awaken for 
quite some time now, even in the event someone opens a gateway, 
Slayer."
The blonde girl shrugged, obviously not knowing what to think of this 
development. "Uh, that's good, I guess." 
"May I ask, who are you exactly?" Giles, ever the curious Watcher-
type, just had to ask questions, didn't he? Spike sighed internally. 
This was all taking too bloody long. He didn't ask much, just control 
over his body back, and a chance to shag Xander into next week. He 
had been too close to losing the boy. 
When the immortal hadn't reacted at all during the assault from Hell, 
Spike had been pretty much terrified that the kid had snapped. Human 
minds were a lot more fragile than those of vampires, with their 
souls and delicate sensibilities and all. The vampire himself had 
felt as if he was burning from the inside out on a physical level, 
but all the Heavenly emotions had been pretty much a waste on him. 
Annoying in their insistence, but not harmful to his psyche at all.
Turned out his brave little trooper was working up a plan. Pretty 
much a plan that Dru would have come up with, what with the dead 
immortals, dead vampires and the voices, but Spike didn't mind a tad 
of insanity now and then. And it worked, didn't it? Good one for his 
Xanpet!
Now, if they could bloody get on wit' it! He'd like to leave this 
place before he starved to death. Amusement rippled over him again, 
as Amara clearly agreed with him. Spike's body moved surreptitiously 
closer to Xander's. Tyrsis' explanation was winding down, and that 
was all she had been waiting for. 
The vampire got the idea she was up to some mischief, a spot of fun 
before she landed back in her confined prison. He never guessed what 
she intended, until she did it.
"Well, my husband. A final farewell before we are separated again?" 
Spike's voice spoke, and then he his lips smashed onto a very 
familiar mouth. Surprise was quickly replaced by amusement. That was 
one way to shock the Scoobies. That was pretty much the last coherent 
thought in his brain. 
Soft, warm, and completely edible lips. A quick sweep with the tongue 
brought forth a salty sweet taste. French fries? And chocolate. Eaten 
some time ago. Only Xander would think that was a good combination. 
Sometime during the kiss Spike had regained his mobile functions, but 
at that point he didn't care that the invader was gone. He was happy 
doing this for quite some time more.
"Well, that is a sight I could have happily lived my entire life not 
seeing." 
And then of course, the Slayer had to resume being an annoying twit. 
It was her calling, after all. 
Xander immediately backed away from him. Yes, the blonde was bloody 
well going to die horribly! Except that Xander seemed to care about 
her for some reason or other, and he would probably give Spike teary 
puppy-dog eyes for days after, if he didn't attempt to stake the 
vampire out of sheer principal. Lover or not, he was still a white 
knight at heart. Not that Spike wanted to change that.
"Heh. That was not what it seemed." Xander grinned lopsidedly. "Well, 
it was, but..." 
The Watcher took of his glasses, and smiled at the flustering boy. 
"We understand, Xander. You-you can't blame Tyrsis and Amara for that 
kiss. After all, they were married." 
Red grinned at her friend. "So, how did it feel to kiss Spike?" 
The immortal rolled his eyes, before smiling winningly at her. He put 
his arm around her shoulder winningly, and started leading her 
towards the exit. His voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. 
"Hey, I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." 
The witch giggled and allowed herself to be led away. Her wolf 
followed at a short distance, a small smile on his face. 
Spike smirked at the sight. Yep, his Xanpet was still as good at 
playing the bumbling idiot as ever. The only one he showed his real, 
immortal self to was Spike, with all the predatory instincts and 
magnificent fighting abilities included. It made the vampire feel all 
warm inside, like he and the kid actually had a chance at eternity 
here.
He patted his pockets for a cigarette to get a smoke in before he 
followed Xander and ended a thoroughly satisfying day of violence and 
mayhem in an even more satisfying way.
He even felt good enough to listen to the Slayer when she approached 
him with a determined expression on her face.
"Spike. I can't say I'm happy about it, but Giles explained to me 
that you and Xander are pretty much a 'Buy one, Get one free' - 
package from now on. So, you can stay in Sunnydale. But you're not 
going to eat any people on my watch, or I will cut that ring right 
off your finger and turn you into so much dust. Xander or no Xander. 
You bag it, or you get bagged, got it?"
"Right. Got it." She turned towards her Watcher, who smiled at her 
proudly, before they turned and walked in the direction the others 
had gone.
Spike puffed at his smoke, before flicking it away with his 
forefinger and thumb. He turned towards the darkest corner of the 
room and smiled almost angelically. 
"You didn't think I'd forget about you, did you? I don't take kindly 
to people chaining me up, and slicing me with bloody big knives." He 
paused in thought. "Well, except in certain circumstances, but you 
can bet you won't ever get in that position." 
Spike's smile broadened until he looked like a psychopathic maniac 
intent on a happy. Which was exactly what he was, of course.
"I wonder how resilient immortals really are? Let's find out, shall 
we."
Kennan backed up further into his corner, but with his legs bound 
together, and his sword lost in the fight, he didn't stand a chance.
Let's just say it was a good thing for Spike that Buffy wasn't around.

*************************

Drake slammed the door to his apartment shut with a bang. He ripped 
off his shirt, intending to crash in bed and not come up until he was 
certain the Slayer and her friends were no longer intent on killing 
anyone even remotely related to that total fuck-up the sorcerer had 
come up with. Oh yeah, let's just open the gateways to Hell and 
Heaven and get more power than you ever need. As if that ever worked. 
Every dimwit that attempted to open the Hellmouth was too high 
profile. The Slayer only had to sweep up the pieces after they 
destroyed themselves. And now Drake had lost most of his minions. Not 
that he'd had a choice in participating. Fucking sorcerers were just 
too powerful for their own good.
A knock sounded on the door. 
"What?!" He pulled the door open with the same strength as he had 
closed it earlier. 
The vampire closed his eyes and counted to ten. Then he opened them. 
Nope, the sight before him hadn't changed. There was a Feryon 
standing in front of him. The same damn Feryon as before, probably. 
Greedy little bastard had cost him a lot of money. Kennan was too 
arrogant to pay the snitches himself.
"I thought you might like to know what happened after you left. It 
was quite a spectacle, and very unexpected." 
As if he gave a damn. Before he had slipped away into the main house 
and down the basement into the sewer system, it had been obvious that 
the slayer was going to win. Hellmouth creatures, or no Hellmouth 
creatures. If you had to rely on the Hellmouth Guardian to save the 
day you had a long wait coming, Drake knew that much.
"Yeah, so?"
The wide green smile split in two. "There were two ancients. One of 
which was the Hell Priestess Amara herself." Amara, huh? Drake knew 
about her. In fact, he knew enough to know that she was another 
freaking sorcerer, and he'd had quite enough of them to last several 
lifetimes. He flashed a friendly smile at the Feryon.
"Let me get some money, and then you can tell me more."
The demon was still waiting patiently when Drake returned, annoying 
wide smile still in place. The vampire was happy to see that the 
smile didn't last, once he had skewered the creature with his 
daggers. The Feryon fell drop dead in the hallway. Drake looked to 
either side, and raised his voice.
"There's a dead demon here. Can someone get rid of the body, before I 
trip over it?" 
As he closed the door behind him, he could already here the shuffling 
feet of two surviving minions, that were taking care of the body. Who 
said he had to take all his troops on every little mission?
Drake smiled, and plunked down on his bed. Yep, a few weeks and he 
would be back in business. And then he just had to take care not to 
cross any sorcerer's path. 
Use less magic, unlive a lot longer. That was his motto. 
And he was going to stick to it, if it killed him.

**********************

Xander was sitting on the steps to his basement door, enjoying the 
sunset. It had been quite a day. He had seen and experienced both 
Hell and heaven, and had been subjected to yet another possession. 
Okay, it was the first benign one, so that not of the norm. 
And he had kissed Spike in front of all his friends. Okay, it hadn't 
been him at first, and he had denied having anything to do with it at 
all afterwards, but it had been great nevertheless. He just hoped 
Spike hadn't been insulted that he had opted not to advertise his 
relationship with the vampire. It was still too new, too personal to 
be shared. And he kind of liked the whole secrecy thing. Spike was 
part of the Xander that he'd become during the summer, the strong 
capable Xander that fought like a demon. Donut-boy would have 
squicked at the thought of having a soulless vampire as a lover. 
Okay, to be honest, Xander was slightly squicked still, but he was 
not giving up the feeling of unity he got whenever the vampire was 
close. And it wasn't all the link, either. It helped to know Spike's 
feelings first-hand, but he could have hated the vampire, and still 
been linked to him. But instead, he had gained a vampire that loved 
him totally, eventhough he would most certainly deny it. Now if only 
the vampire in question would make an appearance.
Instead he felt the eerie tingle of an approaching immortal. Xander 
tensed, and made a grab for his sword. His mind worked in overdrive, 
trying to remember what had happened to the immortal sorcerer that 
started this whole mess. He drew an uncomfortable blank. The immortal 
that appeared was not the one he thought, but she wasn't any more a 
welcome sight. He kept his sword out in the open, a clear warning. 
Cassandra took the hint, and didn't try to get closer. 
"What do you want?" Willow had explained why Cassandra had turned him 
over to the bad guys, but it didn't make any more sense after the 
explanation as it did before. 
"I just wanted to see you survived."
"Oh, I did. No thanks to you." He responded heatedly.
The redhead nodded affirmatively. "I did what I had to do. You and 
Spike had to be together to defeat the Guardians." 
Xander nodded, not pacified in the least, but understanding at least 
that much. "I know why you did it, but I just don't like the way you 
did it. I didn't have to be captured to be near Spike. And even if I 
did, you could have told me what you were planning."
Cassandra and Xander stared at eachother, neither breaking eye 
contact. Finally the red-haired witch smiled at the stubborn young 
immortal. 
"You are a remarkable young man, Alexander. So I'll tell you this 
much. There was no other way this could have happened. But for what 
it's worth, I'm sorry."
Xander nodded, not happy, but recognising the sincerity in her eyes. 

**************************

The immortal woman turned her back to him, and started walking down 
the street. A secretive smile played around her lips. Yes, there was 
no other way this could have happened.... Because there was more
than 
one prophecy to be considered.

*************************

Xander sat outside for a long time, until a violent shiver ran up his 
back. He rubbed his arms in unease, not sure what it was he felt. But 
for some reason he started to looking westwards regularly, and that 
was why he saw Spike the moment he turned around the corner. The 
vampire sauntered closer, not obviously in a hurry, but the glint in 
his eyes told a completely different story. 
Xander stood up, rubbing his arms in the night chill. 
"Hey."
"Hi pet. Waiting for me?" Spike waved his arms at the little scene. 
Xander guessed he did look a bit like a kid waiting for dad to come 
home with his birthday present. 
"For who else?" Xander stepped into the inviting arms, and kissed the 
vampire passionately. It was a repeat performance of earlier, but 
this time there was no Buffy to remind the young man violently of his 
friends watching them. Spike-kissing? Not something he was willing to 
share.
Okay, possessive tendencies getting out of hand. Spike nibbled on 
Xander's lower lip in a delicious way. Ah, who cared? The vampire was 
all his, and he was now going to get him inside, because he'd had 
enough spectators for one day.
Spike laughed. "In a hurry, are we?"
"Yes. Want you. Want you inside me, now!" Xander growled, moving in 
and out of gameface unconsciously. Spike was still smirking, but at 
least he was allowing Xander to pull him inside. 
Once inside, the vampire took charge. Despite Xander's desperate 
pleading, the blonde was moving at an agonisingly slow pace, 
savouring the moment. And if he was honest, that was exactly how the 
immortal wanted it. They had seen death today, they needed to 
remember life tonight. Or what passed for life, since Spike was still 
among the heartbeat-challenged creatures out there. 
And in here.
Hands mapped out Xander's chest, sliding over the skin, taking in 
every nuance and every gasping reaction. Lips and tongue left a cool 
trail from his collarbone to his hardening shaft. But the attention 
passed by that area to return to Xander's mouth. Spike's fingers 
started to carefully widen the tight ring of muscles, still ignoring 
the needy flesh just above it, leaving the young man whimpering and 
writhing on the bed. Finally the vampire positioned himself at the 
opening, but stopping himself from just pushing into Xander's body.
"Open your eyes." The young man obeyed with some difficulty, and 
looked into the darkened blue eyes as they became tinted with gold as 
Spike slipped into his vampire form. Once it would have scared him 
witless. Now it only made him harder, knowing that their lovemaking 
had just jumped to the next level. 
And at that thought Spike moved his hips forward in one long thrust. 
Xander yelped, surprised at the sudden entry. As he held still for a 
moment, Spike started a second round of licking and nipping where he 
could reach, nicking the skin in irregular intervals. Hot sparks 
started the healing process, but this time they didn't stop as the 
wounds closed. Little arcs jumped from vampiric immortal to immortal 
vampire and back again.
Spike started to move, and Xander couldn't do anything but feel as 
the sparks intensified even more. The air he gasped in was heavy and 
every hair on his body stood on end. The slow slide in, out, in, out, 
made for delicious friction, but it really only intensified the 
static. 
Orgasm built slowly, but surely, and just before the tension became 
unbearable golden eyes met golden eyes in complete understanding. 
Fangs flashed white, and the circle was complete. The tension jumped 
up another notch and suddenly broke, lightning arcing between the two 
entangled bodies as their essences mingled in more ways than one.
Spent, they laid silently on the bed, Xander releasing his grip on 
Spike's throat first, because oxygen was really becoming an issue. 
The lightning was dying down, and in the sudden silence Spike smirked 
at him like the cat that ate the canary.
"That was just.... Wow." Xander understated the situation. 
The vampire shifted, and slid out of Xander's body, otherwise making 
sure not to move an inch from his comfortable place. "Yeah, I can see 
the perks of being immortal."
"You killed Kennan, didn't you?" Xander asked with sudden insight. 
Spike didn't answer but his smile said it all. 
Xander decided it didn't matter. He was far too content to spend time 
brooding. He was lying in bed with his lover, after having the orgasm 
of a lifetime, and he just couldn't be bothered. Spike was here and 
fitting perfectly into the gaps in his life. Whether it was snuggled 
up in bed together, fighting side by side, or standing on exact 
opposite sides of a situation, Spike's emotions were exactly the same 
as Xander's. The young man smiled at the blue eyes so close to his 
own. 
"I love you, you know." 
Spike's eyes widened in astonishment, and a warm gust of love swept 
over the younger man. Oh yeah, they had the same emotions alright!
"And I you, pet." Yep, life was good. 
And he didn't want to change a thing.

THE END.