Title: Family Ties

Authoress: Sakuri

Rating: K

Summary: Spander drabble. Spike contemplates his family and how he got it.

Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one

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The last thing Red did for them was shove a soul back into his boy. It had been her final debt, her reparations, her blessing. Last big bit of mojo she'd ever performed.

The thing up in LA had happened after that, and the world had been thrown into chaos. Buffy and her legions of Slayers had marched to war, all noble-like, death or glory. He and his boy had marched with her, of course. She'd needed every hero she could get her hands on – and when there were no more of them available, a couple of souled vampires would do in a pinch. Make that three when they met up with Peaches in the wreckage of LA.

He still saw it, sometimes, in his dreams. The night sky blazing like nothing he'd ever seen before, fire and awful light. Dragon wings offering brief respite, sliding dense shadows across the earth. The shriek and clash of the fighting drowned out by the roar of monsters. And the Slayer in the middle of it all, the one girl in all the world – didn't matter that there were hundreds of the chits now, she'd always be The One, to him, to all of them. Especially in that shining, blood-stained, god-awful glorious moment.

He'd looked toward her, just the once, and seen the three of them who'd been there at the start of it all. The Slayer, the little witch, and his boy. Three kids from California, still standing together after all they'd been through. And if he hadn't been so busy fighting for his life right then, he'd have wept. Because he understood family. He got it. Didn't matter how much each of them had changed since those days back in high school. Didn't matter that the one girl in all the world was now one among many, the Vampire Slayer who'd loved and fucked with those very same vampires, lost her black and white principles and that shiny-happy-bubblegum outlook on the great wide world. Didn't matter that Red, fuzzy-sweater-wearing, lesbian-loving, sweet-as-pie Red, was now the All Powerful Witch of the West Coast and could slaughter with the best of them. And then there was his boy, his lovely boy. No longer the whelp, the Zeppo, the comic relief, or the bricklayer. No longer the well-meaning liability. No longer human. Souled vamp, he was, and every bit as dangerous as the Slayer or the Witch, thank you very much.

Point was, none of them were what they used to be. But he knew that it never mattered how much family changed. They remained family. And you stood by family when the world was ending.

Only it hadn't quite ended. Gone to hell in a hand basket, yeah, but it didn't end.

Red hadn't made it out. Shouldn't have gone the way she had – lucky shot to the back that no one had been able to intercept, her Slayer lover screaming and sobbing over the body, death and not glory – but what could you do? Slayer had fared better. Stood there in the bloody aftermath, took stock, then turned and led what was left of her army off into the sunrise. Ever the warrior, that girl. Took her dead with her and didn't look back.

His boy had stayed. Not like there was anywhere for him to go, was there? Couldn't exactly walk in the sunlight with the Slayers anymore. Besides, his trio was broken. Would never be the same as he remembered without Red.

But that wasn't the reason – or not the only reason – he stayed. Boy was his, wasn't he? His childe, his lover, his family.

When it was over, he'd held him while he grieved. While they both had. Two manly vampires clinging to one another and crying manly tears over Anyanka and the Red Witch and the fallen Slayers and what had become of the world. The Big Bad and his Boy.

They'd picked up Angel somewhere along the way. Broody and tortured as ever, but it didn't really matter anymore. All a bit tortured these days, weren't they? No more band of followers for Peaches. Wesley had up and left him, heading for Watcher HQ last time they heard from him. Blue Meanie had slipped the leash as well and was out revelling in the new chaotic world. Rest were dead.

They never really asked him along, but it was no surprise when he came anyway. The three of them – a new trio – fleeing LA and the disaster area of Sunnydale for good. Heading for Europe – not, they told themselves, because the Slayers and everyone else they knew was there, but because America was getting old and where else, really, did they have to go?

Angel passed in and out of their lives, disappearing whenever he got too annoyed or lonely or attached. They'd shrug and let him go, secure in the knowledge he'd be back soon enough, striding in and wanting to play the big boss grandsire like he'd forgotten the last time they laughed in his face. Wasn't a bad arrangement. Between them, they taught his Boy the ins and outs of being a vampire – even if it was only a souled one. Ever the Scoobie, even in unlife, his Boy insisted on putting those new vampire super-powers to work as a fighting force against all the beasties that has slipped into the world during the last apocalypse. That, naturally, meant he and Peaches were dragged back into the good fight, like some god forsaken, three-part, vampiric superhero team – and wasn't that just the saddest thing he'd ever been party to?

So they fought, they fucked, they drank, they argued, they laughed, loved, left and came back again. As he said, family. His family. All that was left of it, anyway. Dru was still out there somewhere, he supposed, which made the four of them. The last of the great line of Aurelius. Three souled vampires and a psychopath.

Sometimes, when he was in the right mood – those rare moods when he was drunk enough to wax poetic, writing sonnets to his Boy, to Buffy, to Peaches even, before shredding them once he sobered up – sometimes he wondered if he'd change anything about how it all turned out. Would have liked to have seen the lil' Bit again. Would have liked Red to have survived. Missed the chits. And he knew his Boy missed the Slayer, who wasn't dead but who was equally out of reach now that they weren't part of the same species, the same family. He wondered if he'd change his Boy back to human, if he could.

The first time Peaches had saved his Boy's life, offering the blood of a grandsire – not out of obligation, but out of loyalty and concern and a true paternal affection for a rebellious childe – he'd had his answer. No. He wouldn't change a damn thing. For all he'd lost, he'd gained something worth it. Because these two vampires, both loved and hated as they were, were his, and the fierce loyalty that had always existed within him had latched on and wasn't about to let go of either. Not even Peaches, the brooding sod.