Everyone in the room watched the two men as they ambled through. The older one looked to be a distinguished 30-something. His broad shoulders and narrow waist showed that he took good care of himself. His powerful chest stretched his silk shirt just enough. A few of the observers had the good sense to wonder why he was wearing a jacket in Las Vegas in July; the rest just stared. He moved with a grace that belied his bulk, his motions quick and smooth, like a martial artist.
The younger, shorter man was just as impressive in his own way. Where the larger man was leonine, the younger was more like a leopard. He moved with a cat-like grace that was mesmerizing. His stark white hair and slender figure were a great contrast to his companion's dark bulk.
They were obviously on the prowl, but for what? No one could tell. They stopped from time to time to talk to people, smiling and chatting animatedly. They smiled at each other with obvious love and affection. In this year of 2030, people were finally getting used to same sex couples, especially here in Las Vegas which was a mecca for them. Nevada had legalized same sex marriages in 2015.
Spike looked over his shoulder at Xander and smiled, "We're going to have to check with Madam Angelica later. She's all in a dither about something."
Xander shrugged slightly, his massive shoulders moving gently under his jacket. "Why? We hired her to plan this circus; she should plan."
Spike had learned a great deal of patience in the last 22 years, so he just poked Xander and announced, "Yeah, but she needs some idea of what we want. She's never done a Turning before, you know."
Xander laughed, bright and hearty. "You're right. So... I don't care one way or the other. You decide what you want. Might talk to Tara about what she needs so she can stick my soul on."
"Don't need to, gave her carte blanche to get whatever she needs. I'm going to text Madam Angelica right now and ask her to send us a list of all the questions she needs answered. We should have done this at the start, but... we got side tracked by that, what was it?"
"A Woofler demon. Sounds a lot more benign than he turned out to be. From the name, you'd expect it to be something on the line of a big dog." Xander watched as Spike typed out his text, admiring, not for the first time, Spike's elegant hands and long slender fingers.
Spike finished his text and snorted, "Looked more like a Wookie with quills to me. Nasty thing. And it smelled like..."
Xander laughed softly. "It smelled like it'd been dead for a month. Gross."
Spike nodded his agreement, looking around the room with sharp eyes. Xander also examined the room, his gaze automatically going the other way around. Neither one of them saw anything out of order, so by silent agreement, they headed for the exit.
As they walked they discussed where they should go next. Xander was all for going to Under Wynn while Spike wanted to go to the newer Under Capri. Xander finally got his way by pouting; even after all the years together, he could still get his way with 'the lip'. Spike gave way with good grace though, as he really didn't care where they went, as long as they hit all the places on their schedule.
"You want to go up to the surface?" Xander glanced at his watch. "It's after dark."
"No, take too much time. We'll just stroll the boulevard." Spike nodded to the doorman and glanced back at Xander. "It's really beginning to take shape, isn't it?"
Xander glanced over Spike's shoulder; he was about to walk into a man. "Spike? Watch out."
Spike turned and exclaimed, "Well, excuse me."
The man just looked at him for a moment then tried to shove him out of the way. Spike refused to be shoved. Xander loomed behind him, hand in his pocket. The doorman eased away to get out of the line of fire.
Spike just looked at the man with a mild expression on his face. "I said, excuse me. That means 'get out of my bloody way, pillock.'" Spike never raised his voice, but the man stepped out of the way with a shiver. He wasn't sure who this was, but he was very glad that the blond man seemed in a good mood.
"Sorry, sorry. Didn't know who you are." Xander just loomed a bit more with a slightly raised eyebrow and a Mona Lisa-like smile. "Is your boy always that ..."
Xander laughed softly. "I'm his boy. Move." The man moved, never realizing that he was lucky to keep his tongue.
As they moved into the boulevard, Spike looked over his shoulder at Xander. At 40, he was barely showing his age, a bit of silver at his temples made him dignified, a lot of muscle and a cold, inflexible expression made him frightening. His aura of competence and confidence was becoming. He was all business, until he smiled. That smile lit up his face like a welcoming sun. Everyone in the Court vied for one of those smiles.
Xander smiled, beaming at Spike without a care. "Nope, just move along, nothing to see here."
"Star Wars quotes? You are in a good mood." Spike turned to amble along the sidewalk, cocky strut carrying him along more quickly than it appeared. Xander admired his ass, mourning that duster again. The faithful coat was finally retired when a side seam had given away and Spike had refused to have another made. He's simply said that he'd outgrown it.
Xander missed that coat.
As they walked they were greeted by all sorts, from demons and vampires, werewolves and humans, to things indescribable by those labels. Xander nodded to some, scowled at others; Spike nodded to those that Xander nodded to and ignored the rest.
Xander looked around himself in pleasure; they'd worked hard to make Under Las Vegas a safe place. And it was safe now. After several years of ball busting on his part and a few very unpleasant public executions on Spike's, they'd finally 'tamed the beast'.
Oh, there were a few every year that tried to invade their territory or move in on another clan's area, but he and Spike either handled it themselves or sent Bud and Tara. Xander grinned at nothing much, making a whore nearly faint when she saw. Bud and Tara's wedding had been a thing of beauty, and terror.
Bud's entire tribe had shown up for it, including his mother. Bud's tribe, it turned out, was matriarchal. Accordingly, Tara was the head of their family, not Bud, although neither one of them seemed to care much.
But Bud's mother did care, and the ceremony had been astonishing, to say the least. Tara had to buy Bud from his mother. She gave 20 horses, ten cows, and dozens of geese, chickens, and turkeys. All symbolic. Xander had carved until his fingers bled, so had every other wood carver they could find. All the carvings had to be done in 30 days, blessed by Tara in a special ceremony and approved by Spike, as Tara's liege lord.
Xander smiled in remembrance; the ceremony had been something else. Bud had been brought in by his father, tied with a silken rope and laden with his dowry. Spike had managed not to laugh like a loon, until later. Bud's dowry had consisted of yards of gold chain all of it draped around him in softly jingling loops. Tara had taken the rope from her, now, mother-in-law and waved a hand. The rope had transformed into a drift of sweet smelling smoke and wafted away. The dancing, feasting, drinking, and fighting had lasted for four days. That had been nearly twenty years ago now.
A movement attracted Xander's eye. It was Giles, coming out of his favorite restaurant. Xander sent the now rather elderly man a nod. Giles had stayed with Spike's court as an advisor, confidant, negotiator, and friend since he'd come aboard to tutor Xander. He and Tom were room mates and still offered Xander help as needed for his dyslexia; problems were few and far between now. Xander bumped shoulders with him companionably as Giles fell in step.
"Where are you going?" Despite his age, Giles' steps were firm and vigorous.
"Up to Longhaven's, just checking things out. See and be seen. Want to come?"
Giles shook his head, every evidence of regret on his face. "I promised Madam Angelica that I'd help her; Timmins is proving to be a bit difficult. She offends him with her attitude and he retaliates by... cold shoulder doesn't begin to describe it. I do believe that Master Timmins is offended that you hired that woman in."
Spike, overhearing the conversation, announced, "Well, how's he going to have time to do all the planning and take care of us, too? Doesn't make sense. I don't want him exhausted before the ceremony; he's got an important part to play in it. And so do you, git, so don't go wearing yourself out, either."
Giles smiled at 'his boys' and shook his head. "Rest assured that I shall be well rested before the ceremony. But that is one of the reasons I promised to help her. That harridan is... not as organized as I'd wish. She doesn't seem to be able to handle some of the demands put on her by the variety of guests invited. She's actually more trouble than she's worth. Timmins could do it himself, if he wasn't lumbered up with keeping the Residence in order."
Xander bit his lip for a moment then took his phone out of his pocket and quick-dialed. "Timmins? Yeah, tell Madam that she's fired and make it stick. Then, you take over the arrangements for my Turning. Get Tom to run the Residence, he needs something to do besides teach those classes."
Tom Dalton had been teaching classes in the stables for years since Sunnydale had fallen into that sinkhole and he had chosen to spend more time with Giles. However, the quality of the occupants had changed over time and most of the stable were now at least high school graduates. He was beginning to feel a bit on the useless side; now he just helped out around the Residence. It was getting big enough that Timmins really needed a hand. Spike was also trying to convince him to return as a Secondus.
Xander snapped his phone shut in a 'that takes care of that' way that made Giles smile. Xander had definitely matured from the goofy, clumsy boy he'd been at 18.
Giles started to reconsider Xander's invitation, but realized that if Timmins actually managed to get rid of Madam, he was going to need help. He regretfully told Spike that he was going back to the Residence to help Timmins. Xander patted him on the back, smiled again, and said, "That's Ok. We probably won't need you tonight; there's not a lot of anything we're doing except 'strut and gawk', you know, see and be seen? Only ruder. Not much negotiating in our near future."
Giles started to say something, but Xander poked Spike who just flapped a hand and said, "If we need you, we'll call you. Make an early night of it, go home, get some rest, and back Timmins up if needed. Shoo!"
So Giles let himself be persuaded and headed back home.
Spike and Xander ambled on, looking in windows and leering at whores, male and female. Spike glanced around, taking a bit more in. "We need to reduce the number of whores around; there's too many and they're too obvious. Lots of people still don't want them around the kiddies."
Xander took his own count. "I think you're right. I'll have a little talk with a few people."
"And, by people, I'm sure you include demons." Spike curled his tongue behind his teeth for a moment, making Xander smirk.
"I do. I find the appellation 'sentient being' PC and ridiculous. If it's intelligent and has feelings, it's people. So don't start." It was a long standing argument between them and Xander was getting tired of it.
Spike gave Xander one sharp glance and decided that his chain rattling was beginning to go too far and dropped the subject, forever.
"Ok, whatever you say, luv. Are we going to see any one of consequence at the Wynn?"
Xander, realizing exactly what Spike was up to, replied, "Not that I'm aware of. I'm hoping to catch the General Manager out of his office for a bit of a chat. I just want to touch bases with him to check if he's satisfied with the quality of our service."
Spike nodded, dodged a drunk without thinking about it and announced, "I swear, if he's not happy, I'm going to eat him. He's the one that complains constantly about the security, right?"
Xander shook his head. "No, that was the last guy. This guy was hired, transferred in, something, about two months ago. You've never met him. That's the other reason I wanted you to come with. You need to meet this one. He's actually not really bad, as twitchy accountant types go."
Spike didn't bother to try to hide his relief. "Oh, that's good then. After we're done there, we going home?"
Xander glowered at a thug who was eyeing them from the nearby alleyway. "Spike, we need to have some enforcers do another sweep, I didn't like the way that guy in the alley was acting."
Spike glanced at the alley and saw the man, or was he a demon? Sometimes there was no way to tell. "Let Bud know. You might want to go along with the team this time."
"Can't. I'll be out of it for at least two days you said. The sweep needs to be done tonight or tomorrow. I won't have time. I'll go the next time."
"Ok. That'll have to do, won't it?" Spike couldn't help his grin; he was as excited as he'd ever been. Xander was going to be totally his, forever. He couldn't wait.
"You're going to have to wait until the proper time. Tara has to make all her preparations and Giles needs to get rid of Madam before she drives Timmins to eat her. I really hope he doesn't."
Spike frowned. "Xander, you know Timmins won't eat her; he's been visiting the stables for a long time now. Besides, I'm sure he knows she'd only make him sick."
Xander laughed heartily at that. All the upper echelon Masters in Spike's court visited the stables now. Spike had finally gotten tired of dealing with local law enforcement asking him to help find the serial killer. He'd dusted a couple of the more stubborn ones and set up suck houses in which the lower minions, fledges and childer mostly, could get blood and actually make money at it. It kept them from making sloppy kills, leaving corpses lying around, and generally scaring the tourists.
They arrived at the Wynn without fanfare, but were recognized at once and shown to a private room for a consultation with the new manager.
While they waited, they were served an assortment of snacks and a drink, very high roller treatment. Spike poked at a lump of something then turned up his nose. "Stinky cheese! Not good. He does know I'm a vampire, right?"
Xander, who didn't like limburger, either, just shrugged. "I think he does. He knows you're the Master of California, so he should." He sniffed then plucked a different treat off the tray at his elbow. "Here, try this. It doesn't stink. I think it's potted shrimp."
Spike accepted the treat, ate it, and nodded his approval. "Not bad. Wonder what that wanker is up to? We're waiting too long." Spike fidgeted, glancing around the room quickly. "I don't like this."
Xander, who had a good idea what as up, just patted him on his frantically jiggling leg and said, soothingly, "Take it easy. I think he just heard about our little 'party' and is trying to get the catering. Like he will." Xander's snort showed his opinion of that idea. "Timmins would have our guts for garters, if we even thought of picking so much as a pillow. Ease off."
Spike accepted that explanation and settled back to nibble and sip, waiting for their host to show up. Xander relaxed, too, and smiled genially at the server when he came in with a cup of cappuccino with whipped cream on top. He thanked the man and sipped in silence until the General Manager himself showed up. He greeted Xander by name and glanced at Spike, dismissing him as too young. He remarked in that horrible jovial tone that people like him assumed, "And where's Master Spike?" He nudged Xander with an elbow in a familiar way that made Spike grit his teeth. "You sly dog, you, you said he'd be here."
Xander just nodded in Spike's direction. "Master Spike, may I introduce Mister Frederic Longhaven, General Manager?"
"Yeah, guess so." Spike eyed the man's hand for a moment then settled back in his seat. He never shook hands with humans until he knew them. Xander had given up trying long ago. The Master of California could be a very stubborn vampire when he wanted.
Mr. Longhaven quickly realized that Spike wasn't going to shake his hand, but he didn't get offended; he was used to having customers refuse his hand. At least Master Spike hadn't sneered at him, so he just got on with it.
"I'm sorry to keep you waiting, but there was a bit of difficulty in the third floor casino. It's all taken care of and now we can sit down and have a nice visit." He settled in a chair, carefully pinching up the crease in his trousers and shooting his cuffs. He thought it made him look elegant; it really made him look fussy. Xander had learned from Timmins that the truly elegant man, like Beau Brummel, left his rooms perfect and assumed that he was perfect all day.
"I hope it wasn't something that requires our intervention?" Xander made as if to stand up, but Mr. Longhaven flapped one hand at him, patting him back into his chair.
"No, no. Some high roller got offended because he thought he should have the Imperial Suite, but he never spends that much money. He's comped into one of the Executive Suites and happy to have it. Especially after we told him that his behavior could get him blackballed all over Vegas. No one has the right to smack my hostesses, no matter how much money they spend. He is now aware of that, due to one of your people. She's a very nice lady, most of the time, until it's time not to be nice; then she's very convincing."
Spike sipped his drink then remarked in a voice so bland that even Xander might have been fooled. "I'm glad you approve of our services. However, we do not provide our people to deal with unhappy high rollers. They're only provided to deal with demon related problems. Get me?"
Mr. Longhaven nodded. "Oh, yes, of course I do. But, I think, in this case, it was permissible as the high roller in question was a V'noth. Very unpleasant being. Didn't want to listen to me because I'm human." Spike nodded more genial now. "How are the snacks?"
Xander swallowed a shrimp toast and said, "Very nice. Very good quality. Big enough to taste, but not so big as to be more than a mouthful."
Mr. Longhaven smirked a bit. "Thank you. I understand that you're having an event. I was hoping to get the catering contract for it. If you feel we're worthy, of course." His smooth face betrayed his eagerness by just the slightest degree.
"I see. Well, I'm sorry to disappoint, but it's a Turning you see. I wouldn't want the Turnee to eat a server. Maybe some other time." Spike's expression of slight sorrow was put on at best. Xander wasn't fooled for a second, but Mr Longhaven seemed to take it a face value.
"A Turning? I'm not sure I understand." As a General Manager, Mr Longhaven was fairly cognizant of a number of odd ceremonies, but he'd never heard of this one.
"I'm turning Xander." At the human's lost expression he explained, "Into a vampire. He's going to become my formal Consort, not that he hasn't been all these years, but it's time to make it formal and permanent. He's going to start his unlife as a Master vampire and my Consort. So we're not having many humans around. Only those he already knows and is friends with. People that have been with us for years. See?"
"I think I do. Well, congratulations?" His questioning tone insulted Spike a bit, but Xander just put a hand on his shoulder.
"Thank you. I know you don't understand, but I'm very happy. We'll be together until one of us is dust and the other greets the sun. It's nice." Xander's glowing happiness made Mr Longhaven smile. Spike fairly beamed himself.
"I see. It would put a bit of a wet blanket on the proceedings if the celebrant ate a server. Bad form and all that. Right?"
Spike nodded with a smirk. "Only too true. If you're satisfied with the security arrangements and that's all, we'll be taking our leave. The snacks were very nice and we'll keep you in mind for future events." Spike finished the last of his drink and stood up. Xander stood as well and moved to stand at his shoulder. "Stop looming, luv." Xander just chuckled.
They nodded, exchanged leaving pleasantries, and removed themselves from the room before Mr. Longhaven could hold them up anymore.
The ride up in the elevator had been escorted, but the ride down was spent in what Spike referred to as snogging. Xander liked snogging very much.
Timmins had taken great pleasure in sending the arrogant and foolish Madam Angelica on her way. He'd called in Giles and Tom and sat down with them to make plans. They'd had their heads together for the last hour. It hadn't taken them long to divide up the responsibilities; Giles was contact, Timmins general manager, and Tom was responsible for the crews. They had delegated all arrangements for the actual ceremony to Tara with Bud as her deputy and it was done.
Timmins issued general orders, Giles contacted the people to do the work and negotiated the deals, and Tom organized the work crews who did all the setting up, construction, and cleaning. Tara had already found all the items necessary to make sure that Xander kept his loving soul and knew the ritual by heart. Bud was delegated to making sure that all the items were where they were supposed to be and made their way into Tara's hands at the proper time.
Spike and Xander took one look at the room and agreed that it was perfect.
It wasn't as big as you'd expect, but it was plenty big enough for all the participants. Spike had been a bit disgruntled to realize that Bud and Tara had to be right in the room to perform the ritual. This made sense, but it also precluded some of the activities that Spike had planned; these went by the wayside at once. Spike was more concerned with keeping Xander's soul than he was with getting his 'end away' as he put it.
The total number of people that 'had' to be there wound up being seven. Spike and Xander, of course, Tara, Bud, Giles, Timmins, and Tom, as the anchors and celebrant for the ritual. That was all that Spike was allowing in the room, but the rest of the Court would be waiting in the throne room to greet Xander when he rose. No matter how long that took.
The room contained a huge bed in the middle of a pentagram, five candle stands with five candles in each one, one at each point of the pentagram, a small brazier and cushion near the foot of the bed and not much else. The bed was covered with the finest linen sheets and feather pillows abounded. The duvet was silk and filled with goose down. Everything was in shades of clay and chocolate brown, Xander's favorite colors. Timmins had included a few small accent pillows of turquoise and scarlet. Spike approved the arrangements after a glance at Tara. She nodded, smiling at this evidence of how much Xander was loved. The only other furniture in the room was chairs for each of the other participants. Spike would stay on the bed with Xander, holding him until he rose.
Xander paced, he was nervous and it showed. Spike was nervous, too, evidenced by him smoking around Xander. The ashtray full of butts was proof of how nervous he was.
Tara checked her preparations for the last time, told Bud to empty the ashtray, start the brazier, and light her stand of candles. Bud prepared to do as he was told.
Giles settled at his assigned point of the pentagram as did Timmins and Tom. Bud took the small brass lighter with its attached snuffer that Tara handed him. He held it steady as Tara lit it and blessed it, and lit her candles. He then went to each of the others and lit their lighter from his. He then went to his position and stood behind his candelabra, but inside the pentagram.
Tara turned to Spike and nodded, "We're ready." She looked down at the Orb of Thessla and smiled in satisfaction. They'd searched for one for some time, but finally had to give up. She'd learned all the spells and incantations and made one herself.
Spike turned to Xander. "Ready, luv?"
Xander looked into Spike's eyes and replied, "As I'll ever be."
"You sure?" Spike's anxious look made Xander rub Spike's cheek with one hand.
"You've been asking me that for the last ten years. Yes, I'm sure, so bite me already." Xander eased out of Spike's grip and lay down, turning his head to give Spike access to his neck.
"Alright." Spike shifted around until Xander was half on his chest, half on the bed with his head on Spike's shoulder. "Much better. More comfy?"
"Yes. Get on with it."
"Pushy git." Spike realized that they'd fooled around long enough; Tara's chant was reaching the point where he was supposed to start draining Xander. Spike licked Xander's neck; his saliva would ease any pain. He changed and bit carefully into Xander's neck. Xander didn't even whimper. It never hurt when Spike bit him. Like the dentist always said, "Just a little pinch."
Tara continued to chant. Spike gently bled Xander; he didn't want to draw too hard and make Xander light headed. He wanted to ease Xander to sleep so he wouldn't be afraid. Xander sighed and settled against Spike, squirming to get more comfortable. Bud lit all the candles on his candelabra.
Xander sighed again and Spike stopped drinking to ask, "Xander, you doing Ok?"
"Yeah, just feeling a bit cold."
Timmins lit his candelabra. Tara continued to chant, the Orb began to glow.
Spike returned to Xander's neck after covering him carefully with the duvet. He began to rub one hand over Xander's chest as he continued to drink. Xander's complexion paled.
Tom lit his candelabra. Tara's chant reached its first stopping point and she began the first set of ritual gestures, the Orb's glow became even brighter.
Xander slipped into unconsciousness and fell limp in Spike's arms. Tara began to chant again and Giles lit the last candelabra.
Tara threw herbs and spices into her brazier and settled back to watch the Orb which was so bright now that it was hard to look straight at. Tara looked at Spike and Xander, but kept the Orb in the corner of her eye.
Spike felt Xander's heart stutter, thud one last time and still. Xander's loyal, loving heart had stilled. Spike shuddered and stopped drinking. He arranged Xander more comfortably, easing his arm from around his shoulders and laying him back on the pillows. Tara added spices to the brazier and smiled, the Orb shattered into bits. The light from the shattered Orb shot from in front of Tara straight to Xander's chest and melded with him.
Spike didn't need Tara's, "Now!" to know that it was time. He held out his arm, Bud moved forward to cut him deeply enough that the blood flowed. Spike pressed his wrist to Xander's mouth and Giles came to lean over them, stroking Xander's throat to force him to swallow. This was the crucial time; Xander had to be forced to swallow enough blood to revive him. Xander swallowed convulsively, once. Then he swallowed again, and again.
Spike nearly cried, the relief was that great. Xander was going to Turn. And he was going to be one of the most powerful vampires ever. He would retain his wonderful, kind and loving soul. He was going to feed on nothing but Spike's blood for the month until he was 'weaned', until he was strong enough to hunt, but he never would. He would feed exclusively from Spike, Timmins, Tom, and Giles until he could be trusted to feed without killing.
Giles was the first to realize that Xander needed to be pulled off Spike before he drained him. "Spike! Xander has to stop. He'll go too far. He's killing you."
Spike laughed, "No, can't kill me. Won't dust me, either." Spike dug his fingers and thumb into Xander's jaw right at the joint. He opened his mouth and Spike pulled his wrist out. It took a moment and a bit of talking from Spike to get Xander to lie back down.
When he did, he relapsed into unconsciousness, still and now cold. Spike and Timmins arranged him as comfortably as they could, with Bud and Tom helping. Giles and Tara turned to snuff the candles and extinguish the brazier. They all then settled in their chairs to watch and wait.
Spike glanced at his watch. It had been three hours since Xander had 'passed'; it felt like much longer. He looked around. Tara was cuddled up to Bud, dozing after her labors in the ritual. Bud was rubbing her back and whispering in her ear. Timmins had taken up a place beside the bed after healing Spike's wrist with a couple of long licks. He hadn't moved since. Tom was sitting in his chair, but didn't look as if he'd relaxed an iota. Giles was also sitting in his chair, his eyes suspiciously red. He didn't seem to be able to quit polishing his glasses.
Xander twitched; Spike grabbed him. He shouldn't be Rising yet, but he was. Timmins hovered. If Xander Rose as they hoped, he'd be just like Human Xander; if he didn't, no one was sure what would happen.
They waited, and waited. Finally, Xander decided to make his feelings known.
"Ow! Spike! I'm hungry. You didn't say I'd be so hungry. It hurts!"
Spike nearly fell off the bed he was so surprised. He quickly gathered himself together. "Here, luv, feed." He offered his wrist to Xander.
Xander clutched at him for a moment then controlled himself with an iron will. "No. First, you have to tell me what to do. I don't want to hurt you."
Spike laughed with joy. That was his Xander all over. "Alright. Just let your fangs drop. Think about it for a second and it'll just happen. I'm surprised that you haven't vamped already."
Xander concentrated for a moment and his eyes changed from their usual chocolate brown to brilliant amber, his brow furrowed into ridges, and his fangs appeared. He was magnificent as a vampire. And so gentle as he delicately bit into Spike's wrist. Spike didn't even blink as Xander's fangs pierced his flesh.
"Good, very nice, luv. Easy, not so fast, you'll make yourself ill."
Xander stopped sucking so hard. He mumbled, "Sorry." around Spike's wrist.
"Don't talk with your mouth full." Spike's admonishment was automatic.
Giles goggled for a moment then broke into slightly hysterical laughter. Tara joined him, more in relief that Xander was still Xander than anything else. Timmins and Tom both just smirked with pride. Their boys were going to be fine.
Xander fed from Spike and fell back to sleep again. Spike accepted the wrist Timmins offered and drank then sent Timmins off to the stable to feed himself. Tom settled back in his chair and picked up a book. He started to read in a soft, clear voice. This was one of the things that Xander loved, so they did it for him even though he was asleep.
Spike drowsed, watching his little family from slitted eyes. Tara was a delight: kind, gentle and sweet, but fierce when she needed to be. Bud was his war shield. Timmins and Tom were his factotums, always there, always ready to do whatever he needed. And Xander, his beautiful mate. His Consort, his eternal companion.
They all rested and listened to Tom read until Timmins came back from the stables then Spike drank from Tom and sent him to feed. Spike knew that Xander would wake again, as hungry as the last time.
Just as Spike was beginning to wonder, Xander woke again.
"I'm still starving. Spike? Did anyone think to tell the Court that I've Risen?" Xander glowered at Giles then Bud. Both had the good grace to look a bit shamefaced.
Giles stood up. "No, but I'll go tell them all now, shall I?"
Spike petted Xander. "Yeah, you better, I guess."
Giles left and they soon heard a riotous cheering from the courtrooms. Everyone, it seemed, was celebrating Xander's Rise as a vampire.
Xander fed from Spike again, but it was Giles who offered his wrist to Spike.
Spike gazed levelly at Giles for a moment. "You sure?"
"I am. I want to help you feed Xander. I want him to be as powerful as possible. I know I'm old, but I'm still strong."
Spike snorted. "You talk like you're ancient. You're only, what? Fifty- something?" Spike didn't wait for Giles to scoff that he was nearer to seventy; he just delicately bit into the ex-Watcher's wrist and drank, being careful not to take too much. "There. Sit down now, you'll likely be a bit light-headed for a moment. Timmins, bring him some juice or something."
Timmins just handed Giles a glass of orange juice and a couple of shortbread triangles from the tray he'd returned with."Here, your favorites."
Giles thanked Timmins and settled back to nibble and sip.
Xander smiled at them both from his nest in Spike's arms then looked up at Spike. "I'm tired of laying around. Can we go out yet?"
"Sure, luv, anything you want. Want to run? Feel strong enough?"
Xander scoffed gently at the thought that he might be weak. "Sure. Come on, let's go."
Xander eased off the bed, not wanting to stand up too quickly and have Spike demand that he return to the bed.
Xander stood grinning in what he thought of as his war face while Spike sorted himself out. He, Spike, was tangled in the duvet and sheets and swearing a blue streak as he untangled himself. Timmins left him to it, hiding his face so Spike wouldn't see him smiling.
"Oi! I don't need to see your face to know you're laughing at me. Yuk it up, you. Just for that I'll not let you run with us."
Timmins just snorted, knowing full well that Xander wanted both Tom and him to run with him. They'd discussed it behind Spike's back. They were all going, just in case something went wrong on the run. The First Hunt was something special in the old days, not so much now, but they wanted to have a real old-fashioned First Hunt for Xander. No one had had one in over two hundred years.
So, Spike led Xander out of the Residence by a back way followed by Timmins and Tom. Bud stayed behind with a grimace.
Giles, noticing the face, asked, "Aren't you going? I thought you and Xander were War-mates."
"We are, but there's no way I can keep up with five Master vampires. It's just not possible."
Giles looked at Bud blankly. "Five masters? Timmins is a master and so is Tom, Spike is a high master, who else is going?"
Bud shook his head. "Angel, as Spike's Sire. And Xander's a Master. He arose as one. He's never been buried, never had anything but Master's blood, and he still has his soul. Do you have any idea how powerful he's going to be?"
Giles' stunned expression told its own tale. "Yes, actually, I do. Rather frightening, isn't it?"
"No. It's Xander." Bud wasn't a bit worried about it. Xander was too good a person to give him any concern about his power.
Xander slipped out the back door of the Residence and into the wide alley, followed by a grinning Spike, Timmins, and Tom. Tom checked the end of the alley to see that it was clear; they didn't want fledges and such trying to follow them. This was Xander's Rising Run.
Spike grinned and hopped from foot to foot. Timmins nodded to him and they were off, running from the alley way into the crowded boulevards of Under Las Vegas. As they ran, they dodged beings, people of all kinds and sizes. They all just got out of the way as best they could. Everyone knew about Xander's Turning, but only a very few were invited even to court.
One of the invitees was Angel, who joined them on Xander's Run when they reached where they'd agreed he would wait. He gazed at Spike for a moment then ran closer when Spike nodded to him. Spike hadn't objected to his being included in the 'after party'. Buffy, Cordelia, and Willow were waiting back at the Residence with the rest of the court.
They ran through the under city for an hour, cutting back and forth across the streets and up to the surface, jumping from roof to roof in a display of insane, steely nerve and fierce strength.
Spike finally signaled that it was time to return home to greet the Court; it was getting late and he didn't want Xander to be too tired. He also wanted to feed him again.
It took only moments to return, via the front door this time, and make a grand entrance into the formal courtroom. Spike had resisted having such a thing for years, but Xander, Giles, and Timmins had finally worn him down.
It was a magnificent room, well appointed and brightly lit. Timmins had unashamedly plagiarized the layout of the Grand Throne Room of the Russian Winter Palace.
They were met in the anteroom by minions who helped all the Runners into clean clothing. All the Runners were dressed into similar clothing, button down shirts, vests, trousers, and heavy boots. Their coats were long-tailed dusters, similar to Spike's old faithful coat. Timmins and Tom were both dressed in the house colors of dark green with gold accents. Angel and Spike were both dressed in black and Xander in his trademark dark brown and bronze. Spike caught a look in the vampire-friendly mirrored wall and laughed.
"Here," He grabbed Angel by one arm and pulled him to Xander's side. He stepped in front of them then grinned in an absolutely terrifying way as Timmins flanked them on one side while Tom took the other. Angel smirked, looking a great deal more like Angelus while Tom just glanced at Timmins and nodded.
They made their entrance, striding down the aisle left for them and mounting the dais. Spike held up his hand for silence, smiled at Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia who were standing near the foot of the first step then announced, "He is here. He has Risen as a Master. I present my Consort, Alexander Harris. All hail!"
Xander vamped and glared at the court. Buffy shivered under the impact of his presence. Willow squeaked softly; she hadn't seen Xander since that disastrous spell more than twenty years ago. She'd kept up a correspondence with him, but since the British Magical Council refused to allow her to leave the compound, they hadn't seen each other. She'd only managed to get permission to come due to Spike's intervention. Cordelia, as Angel's personal assistant, had seen Xander on a regular basis and they'd settled their differences long ago.
All the occupants of the room cheered heartily and applauded. Xander stepped to the edge of the dais to accept their homage and looked out proudly.
"Thank you, thank you. I'm very happy to see everyone here. Refreshments are going to be circulated in a few moments. Enjoy." He turned to his friends. "We'll retire now. Spike? I'm tired already. Should I be?"
Spike turned to lead the way into the back of the dais, headed for the exit there. "Yeah, you're still settling into your new life. I'll feed you again then we can visit with everyone for a while."
His glance over his shoulder brought everyone to follow him into the back room. This room was a good size as it was used as a retiring room, dressing room, and private meeting room. There were several seating arrangements which were fluid and easily rearranged at need. Now there were several chairs and couches arranged around a large central table with side tables for all the chairs and at both ends of the couches. A hostess service was placed on the low central table; it consisted of a coffee pot, tea pot, sugar and creamer, as well as a large samovar for hot water. Timmins frowned; he'd specifically said that here was to be chocolate as well. He stepped over to a door, whispered for a moment then returned.
"I apologize, the servers are catering staff, not our people since they're all celebrating. They forgot the chocolate, as well as cups, saucers, and spoons. I don't know how they thought we'd drink without that. But never mind. Shall I be mother?"
Cordelia snorted at that Briticism, but settled in a chair. She was elegantly turned out, as usual, in Dior, Gucci, and Prada. Willow looked very nice in a pant suit from Harrods, but Buffy looked exquisite in a simple linen suit, obviously tailored to her, and to a practiced eye hiding a multitude of what Xander called 'sins'.
Timmins moved his chair nearer the various pots and Tom prepared to hand cups around; as soon as they arrived.
A sharp knock at the door brought chocolate, cups, and other forgotten paraphernalia. Timmins gave the server a sharp look, but relaxed when he realized that she was simply that, a server. He did, however, intend to have a few words with someone later. Not Tom, as he'd been there when the orders were issued.
After serving everyone, Tom settled with his cup and just waited.
It didn't take long. Buffy started it, of course, "Ok, Xander, how do you really feel?"
Xander grinned, vamped, and roared. He sounded like a cross between a male lion and a leopard. "Great! Really, really great."
Buffy just smiled and went back to her coffee, satisfied that 'her' Xander was still the same person he'd always been.
Willow just eeped and gulped at her tea, burning her mouth in the process. She was glad to be here, but well aware that her relationship with Xander had been permanently destroyed all those years ago, when she'd cast a spell she knew Xander didn't want. In her arrogance, she'd thought she knew better than anyone what was good. She now knew better, too late.
Cordelia gave Willow a knowing look then turned to Spike. "Ok, this is all well and good. But when are you going to Claim him? Just asking; Angel and I shouldn't be gone from LA too long."
Spike just smirked at a grinning Xander. "Well, actually, I claimed him years ago, when I made him my Consort. But we're going to have a ceremony night after tomorrow night. I trust you'll manage to stay that long."
Angel snorted. "Cordy, miss a marriage?" The lady in question gave him a dirty look. "I don't think so. We'll stay for that then we really must get back. Spike, can I call on you for some support in the next month? I might need it, might not." Cordelia gave him a swat on the shoulder. He ducked belatedly, exclaiming, "What?" in an indignant tone.
"Ceremony. Rising? Idiot, you don't talk business during an occasion like this. It's not like it's some meet and greet cocktail party." Cordelia pinned Angel with a glare to rival Spike's.
Angel managed to look both indignant and contrite. "Sorry. Spike?"
Spike just hugged Xander and said, "We'll talk about it later for details, but I don't see any reason why not."
Xander just sighed and started nodding off. Spike chuckled in an indulgent way and announced. "I'm taking sleepy head back to quarters and feeding him. Stay as long as you like. Timmins, see to things, will you?" Spike dragged Xander to his feet without waiting for an answer. They were half way out the door before the humans registered what he'd said. Timmins just nodded and offered Cordelia more tea.
Cordelia waited until there was no chance of Spike hearing then turned to Timmins. "Ok mister, answer time. Claimed, Companion. What the hell? Talk." She settled back and waited.
"Very well. I see that no one really understands this at all. Master Xander was made Claimed Companion back in the early days. He's now a vampire so he's a Claimed Consort. That will be announced at the 'marriage' feast. He was a Companion because Master Spike declared him one and their relationship was exclusive, that's all that takes. But a Claimed is one who has had the Master's blood. A Consort is the next step and very, very rarely a human has that honor. Master Spike and Master Xander agreed to wait to have a Turning until Master Xander looked older. Old enough that he didn't have to worry about... er...showing ID? That's what he said, at any rate.
He is now a very powerful vampire, Risen as a Master in fact. And he's only going to get more powerful as time goes on. I'd say that the two of them, Master Spike and Master Xander, are already nearly undefeatable. I'd rather stay on their good side and I'm... very old." He smirked at Angel and poured himself more tea. Angel just looked like he'd swallowed a bug.
Cordelia simpered at Angel, Willow looked sad, and Buffy just looked interested. She'd long ago gotten used to the whole idea of Xander and Spike and had called on them several times for help. She'd gotten either them or trusted lieutenants. She was happy either way
"So, you think Xander's going to be powerful?" She held out her cup for more coffee.
Timmins poured and nodded. "As we've already said. He Rose much sooner than expected, that's a sign of a powerful vampire. And he's getting nothing but Master's blood. He's been taking about an ounce a day since he was thralled." Willow winced. "He's at least three times as powerful as a man his size, or was. Now that he's Risen and getting that much Master's blood... well, he's going to make some of the old gods look lame." Buffy just grinned in a rather odd way.
"I see. Well, that's good." She sipped her coffee, settling back in her seat.
The conversation turned to other things.
Giles met Spike at the door of their bedroom and helped him get Xander undressed and into bed again.
"How's he doing?"
Spike grinned happily. "Fine. He's still adjusting so he'll be sleepy for a couple of days yet. He'll be really awake just about in time for the Claiming." Giles put Xander's clothing on a chair and sighed. "You look all in, go get some sleep. I won't let you miss anything important. Timmins will take care of the guests, and Tom will keep everything else in line. Shoo."
Giles went with a sigh of relief.
Spike crawled into the bed with Xander after stripping and dumping his things on top of Xander's. Timmins would take care of all of it later. Xander took his feeding quickly and dropped off completely. Spike fell asleep, holding Xander in his arms, as he had done for twenty years now.
Xander slept for most of the rest of the day and woke at his usual time of 5 pm.
"Spike. Hey, wake up. I'm hungry." Xander shook Spike by the shoulder.
"I'm awake. You want human food or blood?"
Xander snickered at Spike. "You've got bed head. Bad." Spike just swatted him. "Hey! Spousal abuse, I tell ya. Um... both, I think."
"Ok, luv, I'll poke Timmins."
Xander snorted. "I can smell it too, you know. Come on, shower, dress, food." Xander crawled out of bed and headed for the shower. "Can I have O-pos on my pancakes?"
Spike shook his head. "No, you're having nothing but my blood until further notice."
"Oh, Ok. You going to be Ok? That's a lot of blood for you to give. What's it turning out to be, a pint every 24 hours?"
"About that, it's all you'll need until you're ready for human blood. But I can replenish from the stable any time I need to. Timmins brought in over 20 new people over the last six months."
Xander did some mental math. "Ok. That's cool then. So now, feed me."
Spike just laughed. "Xander, luv, you make me so happy. Come on, I'll feed you."
So Spike fed Xander from his wrist again. Xander fed gently and licked so the bite mark healed.
Timmins stuck his head in the door just as Xander finished. "Breakfast is ready. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, orange juice, and coffee. You think you'll like it?"
Xander thought about it for a moment. Spike still had taste, so he liked human food. Angel, on the other hand, could neither smell nor taste it; he didn't bother.
Spike dragged Xander down the hall after Timmins, in a hurry to find out if Xander still could taste.
It turned out that he could taste; his moan of ecstasy over pecan pancakes with peach syrup, maple-cured bacon, and cream scrambled eggs proved that. Spike dug in, too, and between the three of them they soon cleaned all the platters and Xander was after his second cup of coffee when Giles ambled in still wearing sweat pants and a ratty t-shirt.
"Hey! Leave some for me. Pig!" Giles realize what had happened and his eyes brightened with joy. "You can taste! Great heavens above.... but that's still no reason to bogart the last of the coffee."
Xander laughed and started another pot. "Here, Mr. Cranky Pants, you can have this one. I'll wait. I've already had one."
Giles accepted the coffee with a sigh of pleasure and sipped. "Well, how do you feel? And I want details. Details, I tell you. Must... I'm going to be the first Watcher... or anyone for that matter who has any true information on a Turning."
Xander settled to answer all Giles' questions. They spent the next two hours in conversation, with Spike adding comments from time to time.
Timmins finally sent Giles to check on Buffy and Cordelia who, surprisingly enough, were now very good friends. They were up and had left to go shopping. Willow was gone, slipping out to return to England with as little fuss as possible. Tara had spent some time with her then told her to be out of Vegas as soon as she could manage it. It seemed that she was just a foolish as ever. Bud had seen her to the airport and onto her plane.
Xander realized that, while he felt sad that he wasn't friends with Willow anymore, he really couldn't say he missed her that much. He was happy with the friends he had.
Spike chivvied Xander back to bed again and they settled in to go over arrangements for the next ceremony.
"I was hoping that Bruce could make it; hear from him yet?" Xander had dispensed with his lessons five years ago, Master Bruce admitting that he couldn't teach Xander anything new. Bruce had taken leave of the Court and settled in LA to teach at a dojo for non-human students. He also took body guarding jobs for visiting dignitaries.
His Israeli counterpart, Yakov, had disappeared a few years ago; word had gotten back that he'd gone on a mission for his country and not made it back. Xander was saddened, but not surprised. Spike found himself strangely saddened as well.
Spike shrugged. "I don't think he's going to make it. He'll probably send some outrageously expensive present to make up for it."
Xander laughed. "I hope it's a new sword. The one he presented me with finally broke. Really pissed me off. I really, really liked that sword."
"I know, luv, I've heard nothing but that sword for weeks now. I'm looking for something that will be up to your new strength. Might have to have something made special."
Xander pouted, he'd loved that sword and carried it from the moment Master Bruce had given it to him.
Spike couldn't help but kiss Xander. "Oh, that lip. Gonna eat it up." Xander returned Spike's kiss with equal fervor and they spent a while just enjoying a necking session and a few gropes and grabs. Xander responded eagerly, but Spike cooled things off. They'd promised a superstitious Bud and Tara not to do anything until their union had been 'blessed'. Spike grumbled about that on an hourly basis, but they'd promised.
So, instead of the lusty romp between the sheets that they both wanted, Spike fed Xander again and they went back to sleep, counting the hours until their bonding ceremony where Xander would the proclaimed the Claimed Consort of High Master Spike.
Xander wondered vaguely what the other High Masters would send as gifts. He was greedy that way. Spike had completely spoiled him.
Spike and Xander spent the next day and a half alternately sleeping, feeding, and talking. Timmins brought them snacks of the human variety and made them come to table for breakfast and lunch; dinner he served them in bed. They only had dinner once as the ceremony in which Spike was to Claim Xander was on the second night after he Rose.
Spike had to admit that he was as excited as a girl about this one. He wanted every being out there to know Xander was his still. Xander was as excited as Spike and not shy about showing it. He'd picked out rings even. Spike was a bit doubtful about that until he saw them. Solid blocks of titanium had been machined into rings broad enough to cover their finger from joint to webbing, wide enough to be dramatic, narrow enough to be comfortable. The man who'd machined them had also drilled holes which the jeweler had lined in platinum, each hole encased a diamond in a bezel setting. Xander's ring held three half carat diamonds the color of Spike's eyes. Spike's ring held six diamonds as clear and pure as Xander could find. They weren't set in any particular pattern, just scattered rather randomly over the top of the band.
Spike had taken one look and approved heartily. He couldn't wait to have it on his finger and, since titanium lasted practically forever, keep it there for a very long time.
At the appointed hour of 6pm, Spike and Xander dressed in the clothing they'd chosen for this ceremony. Armani seemed appropriate to Timmins and neither Spike nor Xander had argued.
The suits were dark charcoal grey for Spike and a deep burnt umber for Xander; they both wore white, Mandarin-collared shirts. Spike's studs were black pearls and Xander's tiger eye cabochons. They looked every bit the elegant, rich, and powerful men they were.
Timmins made sure that they were perfect then left to take his place among the observers.
Spike looked into Xander's eyes and nodded, "Shall we?"
Xander smirked then replied, "We shall."
Their entrance into the large throne room was not as dramatic as their last; they just walked through the back door onto the dais and into a lighted space there. Spike waited while those who'd already noticed them poked the ones who hadn't. It didn't take long.
He was pleased to see that Buffy, Angel, Cordelia, Giles, Timmins, and Tom were right at the front almost standing on the first step. He motioned for them to come up, but none of them would move past the third step which was twice as deep as the others. He also noticed representatives from the Masters of the other Territories standing nearby. They held boxes either on a cushion or in their hands. He nodded to them to let them know that he'd seen them.
"Oi! You lot! Quiet." Spike waited for a moment for the Court to quiet. "Thank you. You're all here to witness as I formally Claim Alexander Harris as my own, and he Claims me. Yes, it's to be a mutual claiming."
There were gasps from different areas of the Court, but everyone of what Spike referred to as the inner circle, smiled. They had all been expecting something like this.
Xander smiled proudly at the room. Spike had explained it all to him. There hadn't been a mutual claiming of a High Master in more than three hundred years. He laughed, throwing his head back, allowing his unbound hair to ripple in the overhead light.
Spike rubbed his hands together and announced with rather annoying cheerfulness. "Ok, let's get this show on the road."
Xander turned to face Spike and took his hand. Slipping the ring on his finger Xander announced in a clear voice. "Always wear this ring as a symbol of my eternal claim. I will be your constant companion for the rest of my days." He slipped the ring down to the base of Spike's finger then kissed him.
Spike took Xander's hand and slipped the ring onto Xander's finger. "I Claim you as my companion, my love, my other half. Always wear this ring as a symbol of my eternal claim."
Xander smiled as Spike pushed the ring down his finger to the base. "Yes, are we done now?"
Spike nodded. "Yes, my impatient luv." He took Xander's hand in his and held them both over his head. "I Claim him!"
Xander echoed Spike's words and actions.
The entire courtroom cheered again.
All the remaining Scoobies approached to hug and congratulate them both. Buffy couldn't resist; she fixed Spike with a mock stern look and said, "Shovel, mister. Just sayin'?" Then grinned at him and turned to Xander with the same warning.
Spike just smirked while Xander gave her his best, 'Who me?' expression.
Buffy hugged them both again then handed them off to Cordelia who also hugged them both. She handed Spike a card with a grin then gave another to Xander. Xander had to smile; they were gift cards for a 'toy' shop that both he and Spike were fond of. They thanked her with matching smirks. She snorted, "Pervs," and returned to her place, dragging Buffy with her.
Giles just stepped up and shook hands with both of them; he didn't bring a present as his was in their bedroom waiting for them. They both smiled and then let him go back to his place. Timmins and Tom came next, kneeling together to swear their fealty to Xander as they had to Spike, so long ago. Xander was delighted, but had to wipe his eyes with one hand. Spike beamed on the proceedings with undisguised delight. Their swearing done, they both returned to their places, not on the floor, but standing behind the happy couple.
Then it was time for the other Masters' gifts to be presented.
The representative of the Eastern Seaboard came first; he knelt at Spike and Xander's feet and opened the casket, presenting it for viewing. It contained matching Gucci watches, thin as paper, with leather bands. Xander's watch was obvious as it was larger than Spike's both in face and band. They took the watches from their beds and put them on.
Spike thanked the representative while Xander admired his watch.
The next representative just held a cushion up to Spike on which sat a carved wooden box. When Spike opened it, all there was in it was an envelope. Xander sniffed the air delicately. "That's from New Orleans."
The representative just smiled; Xander had identified his origin just from smelling the paper.
"Yes, it is. This is from Master Robinson, please." He extended the cushion to Xander. Spike nodded so Xander picked up the envelope and opened it. It was a certificate for one of New Orleans' grand hotels. A two week all expenses paid vacation and a free pass. A permission from the Master of Louisiana to stay in his Territory.
The representative from the Northern Territory was last, but he didn't seem to mind. He presented Spike and Xander both with thick rectangular boxes. Timmins moved to his side and took one which he offered to Xander; the representative offered the other to Spike. Xander eyed the one Timmins was offering him with a skittish look, but Timmins just grinned and nodded for him to open it. Xander and Spike opened their boxes at the same time.
They contained working antique Tommy Guns, the real article, not reproductions. Spike lifted his out of the box and examined it. "Very nice. Xander?"
Xander just ran a finger down the stock reverently. "Wow. They're the read deal. Very nice."
Spike re-cased his gun and handed the boxes off to a minion who placed the boxes on a side table along with all the other presents they'd been given.
The representative bowed and returned to his place, a relieved expression on his face.
Xander and Spike accepted a few presents from casinos and other local establishments, but soon Spike had had enough; he announced in a loud voice, "Thank you all for your presents and good wishes. We're leaving now. Good day, night, or what ever." Xander snickered at this and allowed himself to be hauled through the door, laughing like a loon.
Spike was deliriously happy, happier than he'd been since he'd laid first claim on Xander.
Xander had turned perfectly, soul still firmly stuck on.
Xander was happy too. He'd always thought, somewhere in the back of his mind, that Spike would change his mind.
Spike turned in the door to their bed room and smirked at Xander. "I should carry the bride over the threshold, but ..." He let out a very unmanly shriek when Xander grabbed him.
Xander swept Spike up in his arms and tossed him across the room onto the bed. Spike's vampire reflexes kept this from being a disaster so he landed in the middle of the huge bed, laughing. Xander made it across the room in two bounds and hopped on top of him.
They wrestled a bit then Spike pushed Xander off him. "Orf! We'll ruin these suits and I want to put them up."
Xander obeyed, stripping out of the suit in record time. He took his suit and Spike's, roughly folded them and dropped them on the closet floor. "There, satisfied?"
"No, but Timmins will be." Spike crooked his finger in a universal 'come hither' gesture. Xander went to him with a lecherous leer that made Spike laugh.
Spike pulled Xander down onto the bed and rolled over on him, grinding their pelvises together. Xander unashamedly whimpered.
"Oh, don't do that. I'll go off like a two dollar pistol."
"That's the idea, luv. Vampire now, remember? Reload in two seconds, you will."
Xander gave up. He'd done without since he'd been turned, and now he knew why Tara had insisted. All he needed was a touch and he'd blow like a volcano. Spike provided that touch by running one finger up his erection from base to tip.
When he was done shuddering, Xander unclenched each muscle individually and mock snarled, "Ass." Spike just curled his tongue behind his teeth and snickered.
"Now we can take our time. You'll be ready again in a few minutes. An' don't be too pissed." Spike gestured to himself. He'd exploded, too, so Xander wasn't alone in his eagerness.
Xander couldn't resist Spike; he always said Spike tasted like silk and honey, which made Spike laugh and ask what silk tasted like. Xander had always said, "You." Now Xander licked his way from the point of Spike's chin to his groin, taking a detour at his navel that had both of them chuckling. Spike liked it when Xander laughed during their time together; it tickled.
Spike enjoyed Xander's attentions until he couldn't stand it anymore; he had to push him away, or come sooner than he wanted. Xander obeyed Spike's gentle push and allowed himself to be maneuvered onto his back. Spike returned his attentions with enthusiasm, making Xander groan softly. Spike turned his head and his twinkling eyes met Xander's. Xander blinked at him for a moment then sighed, "That's so good."
It didn't take them long to explode again. And again. Then Spike kept Xander on edge until he pinned Spike down and demanded, "Orgasm, now!" Spike obliged.
The night was filled with sighs and moans, tender touches and loving kisses. Xander led Spike from orgasm to orgasm and followed where he was led.
The sheets wound up on the floor. The duvet was draped over the headboard, and neither Spike nor Xander knew where the pillows were.
Xander grumbled, "I'm done. Finita, fucked out."
Spike snickered, "I know. That last was orgasm number ten."
Xander pulled away to look at Spike. "Damn, you counted?"
"Of course. Had to make sure you were satisfied."
"I am. And sated, and any other word that means fucked into the mattress."
"You don't mean fucked, you mean well loved."
"That, too." Xander pulled Spike to rest on his shoulder. "I do... love you. You know?"
"I do. I love you, too. Have for so very long."
Xander rubbed Spike's shoulder. "I asked you a question a long time ago. You said to drop it, you'd tell me when the time was right. I think the time is right."
"Question? OH, oh, that question. About my ulterior motives." Xander rubbed his cheek against the top of Spike's head. "I wanted a true companion, someone who would stay with me, love me, have my back. When Willow hexed you into a thrall, I saw the chance to... not mold you or change you, but to help you be everything you showed potential for. And I did everything I knew how to do to get you to return my love. That was my Ulterior Motive."
Xander just hummed softly then murmured, "Well... you succeeded. I'm here to stay for the long run. Thanks."
He reached over and tugged the duvet off the headboard and pulled it over them. Spike snuggled against him until they wound up spooning, wrapped in the duvet. Spike heard Xander murmur, "I like Ulterior Motives." just as he dozed off.