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The Winding Road

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The night before school starts again, Xander is out with Willow eating ice cream and playing a movie quotes game, neither really had anything else to do and had just finished watching a new movie at the theater. They had hung out a few times since they had talked and he had taken her to that Greek place, she liked so much. She had even come over to the mansion, even if only when Angel wasn’t there.

He turns to her and can’t help but play, enjoying the lack of awkward, and touches his ice cream to her noise before jumping away and laughing, when she yells out his name in surprise.

“Let me get that for you.” He leans in quickly licking away the ice cream.

“Xander!” She shouts at him, pushing him away.

“I’m sorry. Your nose looked so tasty.” He gives her an apologetic smile before wiping the rest away with a napkin. It takes him a second to notice her scent has changed and her heart rate has picked up. He takes a slow step back still smiling because he doesn’t know what to do, now that he notices these things.

It gets a little weird like this sometimes because he has to think about his actions around Willow and that wasn’t something he had done before or was use too. Now sometimes he would get stuck thinking about his nearness to her and sometimes he would hesitate and knew she noticed it. Before, something like this would never have made him think twice.

Should he still hug her as much? Will that make her uncomfortable? Is that why she felt that way about him and thought he might? He had never thought so much about touching and not touching Willow in his life, he had never second guessed a hug or friendly kiss. He didn’t want to give up Willow hugs and maybe that makes him selfish but before Angel she was the only person who ever hugged him freely.

Xander is about to make a joke to get rid of the tension when he looks behind her and sees a vampire, only a few feet away. Fuck, he had been so caught up in his thoughts he hadn’t heard or smelled it approaching. He pulls Willow off the small wall and behind him. “Willow, stay behind me!” Hears her scream when she sees the vampire that had been behind her.

He doesn’t have a stake on him but he has been practicing transforming and is able to grow some wicked claws and teeth. When the vamp comes towards him, he punches it as hard as he can, knocking it back a few steps. Before he is able to go after it, a hand pulls it around and gives it another punch.

“Hi, guys!” Buffy shouts to them as she kicks the vampire in the chest sending it into a tree and a broken branch. “Miss me?” The vampire disappears in a cloud of dust, the shocked expression on its face, the last to crumble.

“Hey.” “Buffy!” Willow gives Buffy a hug, while Xander hangs back, not sure he would be welcome.

“Man, your timing really doesn’t suck.” Xander can’t help but admit, trying to be friendly, though he could have easily taken the vampire.

“When’d you get back?” Willow asks Buffy.

“Just now. Dad drove me down. I figured you two losers would be getting into trouble.” He really doesn’t like her tone and has to hold back a growl, he doesn’t like that he feels so hostile toward someone he considers a friend. But he can literally feel her presence, unpleasantly, against his skin and wonders if it’s because he merged with the primal, making him less then human or because he’s mated to a vampire, maybe both

“I think we-. Well Xander had the upper hand.” Willow defends and he gives her a smile.

“Do either of you have a cross or stake? Very sloppy.” Her tone very easily adding the ‘how stupid could you be.’

Xander can’t help but bristle at that. “It’s been a slow summer. Other then Angel that’s about the only vampire I’ve seen.” Plus, you don’t exactly need a cross or a stake when you have claws and are the mate to the Master of Sunnydale. The vampire was nothing more then a newly risen fledge, who was too stupid to not go after the wrong people. Makes him wonder who turned it because Angel made it a rule that none could be turned without his permission.

“It’s like they knew I was coming back.”

“So, how was your summer? Slay anything?” Mostly, Xander just wants to change topics because if not, he’s going to say something not very nice.

“No, just shopping and some parties.” Buffy answers with a slight shrug.

They continue to talk as they walked till Xander breaks off to head home and Buffy walks Willow home.

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Xander entered the mansion and headed to the kitchen where he heard his mate and smiled at the sight of Angel warming a plate of lasagna for him. Angel had hired a mated pair of demons that now live in the small apartment that is attached to their garage; who clean, shop, and cook for the house. The female (Xander thinks, as they look fairly human but both are extremely androgynous), Zia, is an amazing cook and has been spoiling Xander, since she learned he had never really had home cooked meals. The other, Vey, has been helping Xander clean up the back courtyard garden area and replant it. The two half-demons only physical indicators that they aren’t completely human are the too perfect skin that is paler then normal, two sets of incisors on the top and bottom that are extremely sharp, slightly pointed ears, and dark violet eyes. As the thin and androgynous look could easily be human and they are both about five and a half feet tall, average for a female but short for a human male but not noticeably.

When he walks up and gives Angel a through kiss, he sees him wrinkle his nose when he pulls back. “What?” Half offended at Angel’s reaction.

“You smell a little like the slayer.” The distaste is obvious and makes him smile and he runs his hands through Angel’s freshly showered hair, still free of product. Angel’s reaction to Buffy has gotten worse since the merging of his soul and demon, the demon making its dislike of the presence of the slayer, well known.

“Oh, yeah. Buffy’s back, she showed up out of no where, when some fledge came up on me and Willow. Then acted like I couldn’t have handled a newly risen vamp or something.” Xander tries to keep how irritated by that he was out of his voice, he really didn’t want him and Buffy to be at odds but the primal part of him just growled in satisfaction of having claimed it’s mate.

“Newly risen? Are you sure?” Xander can see the storm brewing in Angel’s eyes.

“Yeah, still had grave dirt on its clothes. Thought there wasn’t suppose to be anymore?”

“There wasn’t. I’ll see if anyone talks but I’m figuring they wont, guess I’ll have to make an example of someone.” Xander shivered at the cold smile that promised violence, glad he was on Angel’s permanent good side. He knew the demon thoroughly enjoyed the violence, bloodier-the better, and it always put Angel in a good and often horny mood.

“Well, have fun with that. I guess I’ll need to go to bed soon and get back on a more normal sleep schedule since school is starting tomorrow.” Xander couldn’t keep the misery out of voice, the summer had gone by so fast. He really didn’t want to go back to school, though Angel had already made him go school shopping for supplies and clothes. Angel had told him that school was one thing he was firm about, that Xander would be attending and then when the time came he would be at least looking at colleges or technical and trade schools. While it was strange having his mate so invested in his schooling, it was nice having someone care and push him to be better. His parents couldn’t have cared less about how he did in high school and would never have mentioned going to college.

“About that. I have a gift for you and after dinner I’ll show you.” There was a small and smug smile on the vampire’s lips.

“Oh yeah!! What? Tell me!” The teen bounced in his seat.

“No. Patience and I’ll show you after dinner.” Xander slumped but nodded agreement and started to eat, well shovel, his food in and glared at his mate when he laughed at him.

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“Angel?” Xander was looking at a car, no a Jeep.

“I bought it for you, it’s a new Jeep Grand Cherokee, it came highly recommended and has four wheel drive. We live quite a way from school now and I figured it would be easier then walking. Plus, your test grades were really good last year and you should be congratulated, wanted to show how proud I am of you.” The vampire explained.

Xander just stood there looking at the shiny dark green vehicle that was parked in the garage, he was honestly shocked.

“You don’t like it?” Xander felt the apprehension from Angel.

“Totally love it. Just, it’s a lot. You really didn’t have to buy me a car. A new car.” It was really too much.

“Xander.” He heard the tone and knew what Angel was thinking.

“Just. Thank you.” Xander threw his arms around Angel, who pulled him over to the Jeep and handed him the keys. He opened the driver’s door and could literally smell the newness, it was a really nice Jeep, and there was light brown leather interior.

“Come on, get in and we can take it for a short drive, see if you really like it. If not, I can always get you something different.” Angel told him as he got into the other side.

“You do know, I have really little experience driving right? I mean sure I have my license but I’ve only actually driven a few times.” Xander was really worried about wreaking the nice, new car and he knew Angel could feel his worry, loud and clear through the bond.

“Well, I’ll teach you and if you get in a wreak, it has insurance, so it’ll be fine. Just as long as you’re fine.”

After he got up some courage he hopped in and cranked it up, thankful that is was automatic and not a stick shift. Angel sat in the passenger seat, beside him. Xander gently reversed out of the garage and pulled out of the drive and down to the gate.

“Here, on the visor is the things for the main gate and garage door.” Angel pointed to two little things with buttons clipped to the sun visor and he clicked one and the main gate opened.

They spent over an hour driving around the outskirts of Sunnydale with Angel giving him occasional instruction and it was actually not that hard. Eventually, he headed back towards the mansion, knowing it was passed time to go to bed to get up for school in the morning.

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After they got back, Xander showered and was getting ready for bed, he decided to thank Angel properly for the new car.

Xander pulled his mate to the bedroom, undressing him as they made their way from the kitchen and pushed him back onto the bed, gesturing for him to move to the middle. He followed after and spent minutes just kissing Angel, taking in the taste of his mouth, which had a hint of copper from his earlier blood. Then he grabbed the oil they used and slicked his fingers then slid down the bed, taking Angel’s cock in his dry hand and gave it a quick lick, before his other hand disappeared behind himself. He had only stretched himself a few times but it always seemed to really affect Angel, he loved to just watch and he could hear his mate groan when he realized what he was doing.

He took his time stretching himself and sucking on the head of Angel’s hard cock, the foreskin pulled down completely off the head. When he felt he was stretched well enough to not cause serious pain, he straddled Angel’s waist and with a hand on the hard cock under him, slowly sunk down. He relished the feeling of Angel’s steel hard, mouth warmed flesh splitting him open and he had become addicted to this feeling, the almost burning stretch when he was first entered.

Then began to ride Angel as slowly as he could, working himself up and down with agonizing slowness, his thighs burning with strain, ensuring the hard cock inside him rubbed against his prostate constantly. He wanted to draw this out as long as he could and wouldn’t let Angel touch his cock, which was bobbing hard between them, dripping pre-come slowly onto Angel’s quivering stomach, he wanted to come just like this. Xander could see the strain of not moving was taking on Angel, his human guise fallen away to the allow the demon out, the ridges, yellow gold eyes, and fangs just as beautiful to Xander as his human face that others considered angelic. Where Xander always thought of him more as a fallen angel, especially in his human guise, tempting and hedonistic. There to tempt you to sin and Xander was more then willing to be tempted.

He squeezed rhythmically, each time he sat completely flush with Angel, and was rewarded with a grunting growl each time, felt small twitches of Angel’s hips that he was unable to control. The hands on his hips, gripping almost painfully tight now. His name was gritted out between viciously sharp teeth, “Xander”, and he could hear it in his name and feel the desperation along the bond, he had been drawing this out as long as he could and knew this was as far as he could push.

“Come on. Fuck up into me, want to feel you come.” Xander egged on his mat and he wasn’t done speaking when the hands on his hips, tightened fractionally, and the hips under him started pistoning up into him, ruthlessly. Angel taking his pleasure as roughly as he ever had and it turned Xander on more then anything, to see this master vampire lose control under him. He leaned down and bared his neck and felt those deadly fangs sink into his shoulder, arms wrapped like bands of steel around his back and orgasmed at the first strong draw of blood from his body. It was always the pull of blood that brought the most pleasure, where no matter how gentle Angel was, the teeth breaking his skin always brought a spark of pain. Xander could feel as Angel came, the throb and pulse of the cock inside him.

When they both got their breath back and it always feed Xander’s ego that he could make someone who didn’t need to breathe, pant, he slid to the side and felt Angel slip out of him with a slick sound. “Thanks for the Jeep, by the way.” His tone only slightly smug.

“Fuck. Love it when you’re comfortable enough to take control like that but not sure I could take it everyday, even a vampire has limits and you about drove me crazy.” Angel’s words were heavy, almost slurred.

Xander just smiled against Angel’s neck and pushed on him slightly to make him get up and get a cloth to clean them up. After a minute, Angel finally got up and stumbled slightly, which made Xander’s smile get even more smug, and brought back a warm, wet cloth and gently cleaned him up.

They shared a few tired, slow kisses before they curled up to go to sleep. Angel wrapped around Xander, with his chest to the teen’s back, so Xander could feel the comforting, slow heartbeat of his mate.

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Xander was telling Willow about the Jeep, Angel had gotten him, unable to hide his enthusiasm and was telling her he would pick her up, if she wanted, so she didn’t have to walk or ride the bus.

They were walking down the stairs of the school, when they saw Giles talking to Ms. Calendar.

“Giles!” “G-man! What’s up?” Xander smirked at the small grimace Giles had at the nickname and it broadened when he smelt the scent of attraction in the air and saw the blush on the man’s cheeks, knew he had a thing for the other teacher.

“Nice to see you both and please don’t call me that again.” Giles greeted them both.

“Hi, kids.” Ms. Calendar greeted them and Willow said “Hi” back but he didn’t have to greet her because Buffy showed up. The primal part of him was bristling and this time not due to Buffy but because of the other teacher, he really needed to find out what set him on edge, the scent was almost familiar.

Giles asked Buffy how she was doing after greeting her. “Living and kicking.” Was her curt reply to him.

“Buffy killed a vampire last night.” Willow added.

“Uh, I think you can get a little more volume if you speak from the diaphragm.” Came Buffy’s snide retort.

Willow’s quiet reply of “sorry”, made Xander’s figurative hackles rise, he was getting tired of her attitude already.

Giles and the other teacher talked about the Hellmouth, her believing just because it was closed there wouldn’t be more vampires and Giles explaining that while closed it wasn’t gone and it’s energy still drew things to it.

“I wonder if they’re here for a purpose, particularly.” Giles added thoughtfully.

“You’re the Watcher. I just work here.”

Giles nodded distractedly at Buffy’s comment, “Yes. I-. I must consult my books.”

Xander turned to Willow and grinned triumphantly and told her to “pay up”, since he had guessed less then ten minutes before he’d want to consult his books about something and she handed him a dollar.

They dispersed to class shortly after, when the bell rang.

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After school, Xander heads back to the mansion wondering if Angel would still be in bed and hoping he could get in a quick nap before patrol tonight.

He headed to the kitchen first, when he hears Angel moving around in there. “Hey, what are you doing up?”

“Oh, well someone came by with a message. I believe we may have some trouble brewing. There are whispers that the ‘Anointed One’ is still around and has something planned. I don’t know what but you should probably warn Giles.” Angel told him as he sipped a glass of blood.

“Something big?” Xander asked as he set down on a bar stool and picked up the sandwich that had been made for him.

“Yes, I believe so, even if I don’t have specifics.” Angel’s brow furrowed but Xander ran his fingertips across his forehead, smoothing out the lines.

“Well, we’ll figure it out and deal with it.” The teen said, as he shrugged.

“I suppose so, just keep an eye out please.” Angel warned, his brow furrowed again.

Xander agrees easily to give his mate peace of mind and runs a finger across his mates forehead, again. “You should be glad you’re a vampire because otherwise you’d give yourself wrinkles with all the brooding.” He teased. “So any chance I can tempt you back to bed? I was hoping for a nap before patrol tonight, it’s going to take a couple days to get used to this new schedule of being awake during the day.”

A low rumble makes him look up from his food. “I could be tempted.” The half-lidded look on the vampire’s face shows he has plans other then sleep.

The younger male laughs and shakes his head. “And I meant just for sleep but maybe after a nap I’ll give you a reward for being a good mate.”

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The next night, Xander and Willow are at the Bronze listening to Cibo Matto playing and are taking about earlier in the day, when Buffy was acting meaner then usually to Cordelia. They argue if something is truly wrong with her but agree something needs to be done.

“Okay, maybe you’re right but we need more evidence.” Xander tells Willow, when she says Buffy’s never been mean. He looks up when he feels Angel get closer and sees him talking to Buffy but isn’t able to hear their conversation due to the music.

Buffy heads to the table and after saying her hello’s, pulls Xander onto the dance floor before Angel makes it to the table. He’s a little stunned but when she starts to get uncomfortably close and starts to…sexy dance on him, he feels a rush of possessive anger from Angel and looks up, sees yellow start to take over his mate’s brown eye’s. Xander grabs Buffy’s shoulders and gently but firmly pushes her away. “I’m not sure what you’re playing at but I don’t want a part of it.”

“I didn’t thank you for saving my life?” Buffy answers, her eyes half lidded, while trying to get closer to him. Xander interrupts whatever else she is about it say to push he back further, ignoring her shocked look.

“A thanks would do just fine, whatever this is, isn’t okay.” Xander takes another step back and walks over to Angel before pulling him out of the Bronze to his Jeep.

“Stop growling.” He commands as he gets in the Jeep.

“Her scent is all over you. When we get home, you’ll wash it off.” Angel’s voice is almost sub-vocal.

“That’s fine. I didn’t want her all over me. What the hell is up with her anyway? I’m pretty sure Willow was right about something being up, now. Anyway, what did you two talk about?” Xander is totally confused by Buffy’s behavior.

Angel grunts before answering. “I just said hello to her and then she seemed hostile and I asked why, then if she was afraid of me. Her behavior was…odd. She said something about not mooning over me, which I figure is a good thing that she’s finally over me.”

“Her behavior says otherwise. I don’t think she knows about our claiming, unless Willow’s told her. I guess we’ll find out what’s got her out of whack.” All he got was a uncommunicative noise from Angel.

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Willow, Xander, and Giles were in the student lounge the next day talking about Buffy’s behavior.

“She’s possessed.”

Giles raise an eyebrow at Willow, “Possessed by what?”

“A…a possessing thing?” Came the unsure reply from Willow.

“Well, that narrows it down.” Giles’ sarcasm is almost dripping off his words and Xander can’t help the small quirk of his lips but hides it by taking a drink of his soda.

Giles sits down, “I believe she may simply have what you Americans refer to as issues. Her experience with the Master must have been traumatic and for a few minutes was, technically, dead. I don’t think she’s dealt with that on a conscious level. She believes herself invulnerable…for the very reason she feels-” Xander interrupts Giles when he notices Buffy.

Buffy walks up to them. “The Master’s gone.”

Giles still flustered at possibly being overheard, “I’m sorry?”

“The Master. I went by his grave last night and they have a vacancy.” Her hands were clenched at her sides and her voice was almost shaky.

“Good god!” Giles unhelpfully exclaims.

“Angel said something about the Anointed One planning something but he wasn’t sure what, but I’m guessing it has to do with the Master’s bones.” Xander tells them, he hadn’t mentioned this to Giles yet.

Xander hears Buffy’s heart rate jump up, “They’re gonna bring him back and I recall you telling me he was history.” She pointedly says to Giles.

“Buffy, I’ve never heard of a revivification ritual being successful.” Giles tries to calm Buffy, unsuccessfully.

“But you’ve heard of them? Thanks for the warning.”

Willow tries to defend Giles. “Well, Buffy, Giles did bury him and-”

Buffy interrupts “Look, this is slayer stuff, okay? Could we have just a little less from the civilians, please?” Sneering at Willow.

Xander jumps up, “Okay, that’s just about enough-.” He cuts himself off but he’s had enough of her attitude. He gets a cold look from her before principle Snyder interrupts them, sending them off to class.

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After classes they meet again, this time in the library, where Giles is looking through a book.

“I’ve got something but it’s Latin, so bear with me. They need his bones, uh…which they have and um, the blood of…this isn’t clear but maybe, of the closest person or someone connected to the vampire.”

“That’d be me.” Buffy’s quick to assert.

Giles looks reluctant to agree. “Perhaps but Angel is the one that killed him.”

“We were close. He drank my blood and killed me. It prompts togetherness.” Buffy argued.

Then a rock comes crashing through the window and Buffy catches it, it has a note wrapped around it and a bracelet.

“This is Cordelia’s.” Then Buffy reads the note “Come to the Bronze before it opens, or we make her a meal.”

“What are we going to do?” Willow asks.

Buffy starts towards the door, “I go to the Bronze and save the day.”

Giles expresses his discontent with Buffy’s actions. “Yeah? Well, you guys aren’t going.” Buffy insists.

“What do you mean?” Willow asks.

“I can’t do it anymore. I can’t look after the three of you guys while I’m fighting.”

Xander bristles because, hell no. “Oh no. First, I’m easily as strong as you and second, who was it, who literally saved your life when you walked into the Master’s lair like a damn sacrifice?!”

“Plus, what about the rest of the note?” When Buffy makes a questioning noise at Willow, she continues, “The part that says ‘P.S. This is a trap’?” Giles quickly agrees with Willow but Buffy just stubbornly continues to insist on going by herself.

Willow and Xander are arguing about if they should go with Buffy, with Giles mumbling in the background till, “It is a trap.” And several vampires appear on the mezzanine level above. “It just isn’t for her.”

Xander tries to fight them off but there are too many and before he can get to Willow and Giles, one of the vampires slam something into his head from behind and everything goes black.

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Xander’s struggling to his feet, when he hears Buffy. “Xander! What happened?”

“Vampires. The ones you could handle yourself.” He doesn’t try to hide the venom in his tone.

“Where are the others?”

He has to rein in his anger and not just at Buffy but himself for not being able to protect Willow and Giles. “I don’t know. I don’t know what your problem is, what your issues are but as of now, I officially don’t care. If you would’ve worked with us for five seconds, we could have prevented this.”

He snarls when she turns away from him. “We, we just have to think. Where would they have taken them?” She mutters as she paces back and forth.

“If they hurt Willow, I’ll kill you.” He knows his voice is deadly serious and he stares her down when she turns shocked eyes on him. He can see when the truth of his words hit her because she almost stumbles back from him.

“Why did they take them and not you?” Which is a valid question.

“Giles said they needed who was physically close to him when he died. Odds are by now they have the complete set.”

“We need to find out where.”

“Yeah and how are we going to do that?” Xander asks sarcastically.

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Xander drives them to the Bronze at Buffy’s request and when they get there, Angel and a tied up vampire are there.

“Angel?” Xander questions his mate.

“Someone had to make sure she didn’t get herself killed.” His opinion of her actions obvious, then his nostrils flare, “Are you okay? I smell blood.”

“Just dandy. We got attacked by a bunch of vampires at the library and I couldn’t hold them all off and one knocked me out and took Giles and Willow.” Xander takes a deep breath, “Fuck, if something happens to her-.” He’s pulled into Angel’s arms while his mate tells him where the others are. Xander doesn’t ask how he got the answers because it probably included torture and the tied up vampire looks like she would piss herself if she was capable, even if there were no visible marks on her.

They rush to the warehouse and when they get there, they see Willow, Giles, Cordelia, and Ms. Calendar are moving along an overhead conveyor, all unconscious and hanging upside down.

As a vampire starts the ritual, Buffy shoves a stakes through another’s back, halting the ritual, while Xander and Angel climb the ladder to get everyone off the conveyor.

Xander helps Angel get everyone up and they start to wake up, Xander holds a still unconscious Willow while Angel fights with another vampire who made it up to them.

“Where’s Buffy?” Giles asks.

“Uh, she’s working out her issues.” Xander comments and motions towards where Buffy is below smashing the Master’s bones with a sledgehammer. Giles rushes down to her and when she finally stops and burst into tears, she leans into him and cries. Angel comes up behind Xander as Willow finally wakes up.

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Willow and Xander are in class the next day, when Buffy walks in and Willow had made it clear that they give her a break for her behavior because of the issue dealing.

They both say ‘hi’ and she takes a seat next to them and they talk about what to do that night.

“Well, we could grind our enemies into talcum powder with a sledgehammer but, gosh, we did that last night.” Xander gently teases and gets an almost smile from Buffy.

He’s willing to give her the benefit of doubt for her behavior because of the dealing with dying issue but he wont take her putting Willow in danger like that again.

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The next night Giles asks Xander and Angel to stay back as they are leaving for patrol, wanting to talk to them privately about something.

“Over the summer, I was researching about primals and I believe I found references about the very primal you host. There was a few stories in localized Bantu about a primal or spirit that was called to defend a village almost as far back as a thousand years ago, the tribe is on the border of Mozambique and Tanzania, near the east coast of Africa. There are stories about hyenas defending the village, viciously and with unnatural coordination, and the name they gave to the primal roughly translates to ‘mans defender’, which is the meaning behind Alexander. I do not believe what you’ve told me and what I’ve found are consequences.” Giles explains to them.

Xander glances at Angel before deciding whether to tell Giles anything he has learned about the primal recently. “You’re probably right. I’ve spoken to her in my dreams.” Xander holds up a hand to stop the watchers questions. “When Angel claimed me as his mate, the primal and I merged into one being which is the cause of the green in my eyes now, though I can speak with her in my dreams. She told me how she was ‘born’ when a shaman called her from the earth to protect their village around a thousand years ago and has since possessed a few who have called her and the local hyenas, as a way to protect the village. She told me none of the other humans were able to host her permanently without completely losing themselves till she found me. Before she was ‘born’, she was a part of the earth and vaguely aware but had little effect on anything.”

Xander, Angel, and Giles spend the next hour talking about the claiming, along with the primal but Xander is still unwilling to tell the watcher everything. They don’t mention Angel’s ability to stand in the sun or how he is no longer affected by religious artifacts and garlic. Which they had decided to test out not long after finding out he was no longer deathly allergic to sun. Though Angel does mention he believes the curse is gone but none of them are able to figure out why or how. Xander does mention he has access to primal magic but as he hasn’t had the memories long, he can’t make much out of them and will need time to organize it. That Angel had started teaching him to meditate.

Xander knows that the circumstances of the primal’s ‘birth’ had made her a protective spirit. She had been protective of the villages she was called to protect and now of himself, Angel, and Willow. The primal, or maybe himself, are more then willing to spill blood and do what is necessary to protect his pack. He’s unsure of how far he’s willing to go but it is another thing he keeps from the watcher, the primal’s sense of justice is much different then a humans. Plus, while she may be protective of those she calls pack and what she considers her territory, she isn’t very concerned with the unknowing humans.

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A few evenings later, Xander goes with Angel to Willie’s bar and when everyone goes quiet when they walk in, he can’t help but smirk. The master vampire has his demonic face present and Xander has called enough of the primal to have his own features slightly changed, fangs present but not so large that they make it difficult to speak. Willie squeaks when he asks if they would like a drink and a dark laugh comes from Angel.

When Willie keeps glancing towards a hallway, Xander gets up to investigate and becomes all the more curious when the bar owner tries to dissuade him. In a backroom he finds a game of poker and it seems the stakes are kittens, the demons all have a basket or little cat crate at their feet filled with them. They all halt when he comes in, most aware that he is the mate to the Master of the Hellmouth.

“Continue. I’m just curious, why you using kittens?” He asks as he scratches behind the ear of a kitten that has strange folded ears.

The demons all glance at one another before one seems to be nominated, the droopy skinned demon clears his throat a few times before he answers. “They are a delicacy to some demons and others just sell them, can get a few hundred for the Scottish fold you’re petting.”

Xander can’t help but raise his eyebrows at that and looks down at the kitten that could become dinner. He has to stop himself from ordering the demons to leave all the kittens with himself and its obvious they notice his reaction. “Would you like one?”

The teen is waffling between saving only one kitten or just walking out and pretending he didn’t find this game of kitten poker, when Angel stalks into the room. The demons all greet him and look even more nervous because they don’t want to face the vampire if they made his mate upset.

The master vampire greets them back casually as he wraps his arms around Xander from behind and asks if he does want a kitten and whispers quietly that he won’t be saving them all. Xander chooses the little light grey Scottish fold he was petting, it has dark grey tiger stripes and a black tipped tail with light green eyes. The demons give him advice on care and food, it’s obvious they raise them well and a few, actually, breed cats. Xander thanks them and Angel compensates the droopy-skinned demon, Clem, who owned the kitten, even though he seems very reluctant to take Angel’s money.

Xander walks resolutely out of the room and tries not to think of all the other kittens that might end up a meal tonight. He cuddles the cute little Scottish fold to his chest and tugs on it’s ear, making it bat at him with tiny paws. He had always wanted a pet but had never been allowed one, his parents saying he wouldn’t be able to care for it which had been a joke because he had managed to take care of himself and the house for years by then.

When they get out to the Jeep, Xander thanks Angel and gets into the passenger side as he is completely unwilling to put the kitten down yet. It was too late to stop by a pet store but they were able to run to the Wal-mart on the edge of town and pick up most of the basic supplies.

Xander finds a cute little black collar with silver designs, a few packs of toys, a cat carrier that will be big enough when it grows up, a water fountain, two litter boxes and litter, and some packs of soft food for the evening. The demons had recommended feeding it a raw diet and some had even suggested feeder mice for playing both of which spoke to his more animalistic side. The little kitten was a hunter, even if it just looked like a cute ball of fluff.

When they got home Xander went about setting the stuff up for the kitten and trying to decide on a name for the little girl. He did have some trouble deciding where to put the two small litter igloos because of his and Angel’s sensitive noses but one was eventually put in their sunroom tucked into a corner and another was placed into a nook in the main section of the mansion not far from the kitchen. Xander figured he could close the door to the one room and keep the kitten in there at night.

As he and Angel sat on the floor playing with the kitten in the room with the wall of windows that faced the pool, which had been dubbed the sun-room even if it wasn’t truly one, he decided on a name. “I’m think Ace, like ace of spades because I did save her from kitten poker and she is too cute to be called Joker. So, what do you think of Ace?” Xander asked the little kitten and was completely ignored for the little burlap toy filled with catnip.

“Thank you, again. I’ve always wanted a pet but my parents never let me have one.” The teen told Angel, who just pulled him closer and gave him a chaste kiss. Xander couldn’t wait to show Willow his kitten and he knew she would want to introduce it to her own.

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Xander’s sitting in the library thinking about getting a video camera so he can catch some of the insane things his kitten does and listening to Giles mumble to himself about asking out Ms. Calendar, when Buffy’s walks in and tells them about an empty grave that was dug up in one of the west cemeteries. Xander and Angel had worked their way through three of the east cemeteries last night and really a town the size of Sunnydale with twelve cemeteries should tell people something.

Later when Buffy finds Willow, she figures out who the girl was and that she died in a car wreak with two others and somehow this turns into them planning to dig up both of those graves as well. Oh the joys of living on a Hellmouth, where grave digging can be an after school activity.

When they get back to the library that night from digging up two more empty graves, well Xander and Giles dug while Buffy and Willow watched. Xander sees Angel and Cordelia in the library, waiting for them, with her clinging to his arm.

“Angel!” Xander glances over at Buffy’s overly happy greeting of his mate before questioning his mate.

“Angel, what are you doing here and with Cordelia?” He gives the girl a curious glance before smiling up at his mate, he hadn’t gotten to see him all day as he hadn’t been home since classes ended and Angel still hadn’t been home, yet, when he left for school.

“I was looking for you and ran into Cordelia in the parking lot and asked where you were, she said you guys were in a graveyard. What were you doing?” Angel glances at the dirt on Xander’s clothes and the shovels him and Giles put down as they walked in.

“Oh you know, digging up empty graves. Buffy found one last night and now there’s three dead girls missing.”

“I know. We found some of them.” Angel gestures at Cordelia, who’s still standing too close to his mate.

“You mean, like, two of the three?” Buffy asks.

“I mean, like, some of them. Like parts.” Angel answers, while trying to step away from Cordelia, who keeps trying to cling to the vampire. Xander’s sure if the vampire frowned any harder his face may actually get stuck that way.

Cordelia interrupts, “It was horrible! Angel saved me from an arm. God, there were so many parts. They were everywhere! Why are these terrible things always happening to me?” She laments dramatically.

Xander can’t help but cough out, “Karma,” and gets a narrow eyed look from the cheerleader, to which he smiles.

Then Willow and Giles agree that it means all their theories were wrong and Buffy wants to know why someone would dig up dead bodies, just to cut them up and throw them away.

Angel grimaces, “Well, what I saw didn’t add up to three whole girls. I think they kept some parts.

Buffy makes a face, “Could this get yuckier?”

“They probably kept the other parts to eat.” Willow answers.

“Question answered.” The slayer says, with an air of wishing she had never asked.

They figure out that whoever did it must go to school with them because there was no point in discarding body parts five miles from the cemetery, otherwise. Plus, Angel informs them it was someone who knows what they’re doing, as it was surgically precise, and no one asks how he knows this. Willow is tasked with finding out the guys locker numbers, when she says she knows a few people who would have the skill, so they could check them out. Then Cordelia ropes Angel into taking her home.

“Xander?” He can here the unwillingness in Angel’s voice and laughs at the helpless look on his mate’s face.

“Come on, I can follow in the jeep. Then we can head home.” Xander offers, since he knew Angel probably just walked to the school.

“Home? What are you two talking about?” Cordelia was looking between them confused.

“Xander is my mate and lives with me.” Angel pulls Xander to his side, after bluntly stating that. The teen thinks that the vampire may just throw him at the girl to get away.

“Mate? As in friend?” The confusion on Cordelia’s face is humorous and the teen tries to stifle his chuckles and is mostly unsuccessful.

Xander can’t hold his laughter in long, “No, as in, Cordelia meet Angel, my boyfriend, well I guess life partner is closer but mate is the most accurate.” He stops himself before he starts babbling.

She just turns her head and narrows her eyes at them before, “Ah, well the better clothes and nice Jeep make sense now. He’s your sugar daddy and really he should have better taste.”

Angel growls at her, which makes her jump back startled . “Don’t talk about my mate like that again.” The vampires teeth have sharpened slightly and there are specks of gold in his brown eyes, as he almost snarls at the girl.

Xander smiles when it seems like Cordelia’s less willing to have Angel ride with her, now.

Though later they find out the guys want Cordelia’s head for their stitched together girl, who they are making for the Frankenstein looking, brought-back-from-the-dead, brother of one of the guys. Xander sometimes thinks that the Hellmouth must really screw with the heads of the people who live here and that even Cordelia doesn’t deserve that, no matter how much of a bitch she can be. Xander is relieved when they destroy the Frankenstein guy because he smelled very wrong and it was kind of sad, in an extremely sick way, how upset it was at not having a mate.

Afterwards, Cordelia thanks him for saving her and says they could be friends since she’s always wanted a gay friend and now that he dresses better and has a cooler older boyfriend, that being seen near him wont hurt her reputation as much. She tells him to meet her for coffee in a few days and doesn’t give him time to decline before she walks away. Xander just shakes his head at her logic and listens into Giles scoring another date with Ms. Calendar.

Xander imagines those guys could have made, legal, breakthroughs in science, in terms of regeneration and limb-replacement but he figures the fact they are going to be spending a few years in jail for grave robbing and desecrating dead bodies is going to stop them from getting into college.

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Xander is laying in bed with Angel later that night when he finally asks what’s been bothering his mate the last day or so. He’s been able to feel the worry anticipation in the bond most of the day.

There’s a long silence and when he thinks Angel isn’t going to answer, “My childer, I can feel them coming closer. Closer then I’ve been to any since WWII.”

“Oh. Who?” Xander knows enough about the vampires Angel had turned, to know there is cause for worry.

“William and Drusilla.” Yikes, the Slayer of Slayer’s and the Mad Seer, just what Sunnydale needs. Angel had told him about them and added to what was written in the watcher’s books.

“Why do you think they’re coming?”

“Well, it could be because they heard I killed Darla and are coming to get vengeance or William could be after his third slayer. We’ll have to warn Buffy and Giles because if his goal is the slayer, he wont stop till everything in his path is dead.” Angel sounds almost reluctant about informing the slayer and watcher.

“Neither of those are good reasons. Why do you feel so mixed up about it?” Because Xander knows Angel, at least a small part of him, is looking forward to seeing them.

“They’re family and I haven’t seen them in so long. I can’t help but miss them, even if I was kicked out of that family because of the soul.” The hurt comes through loud and clear even if Angel’s voice is toneless. “I’ll put out word for them to meet me here. They need to know that I’m Master here and that there are rules, though William was never one to follow them.” Fondness seeps into Angel’s voice and he goes on to reminisce about their time together, though Xander knows that it’s the less bloody parts of their history.

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A few nights later they are outside in the front courtyard where they are suppose to meet William, or more recently called Spike, and Drusilla. Xander is a little anxious to both meet them and get this meeting over with. Dawn is only a couple hours away and Xander is glad he was able to get a long nap in earlier, since he has school tomorrow. Angel’s game face is out and Xander can feel the mixed ball of emotions from him as his childer approach.

“Angelus!” “Daddy!” A black haired woman runs up and hugs Angel, while the blond male hangs back.

“Oh, Daddy, the stars have been talking about you. You’re neither as you were before the soul or how you were after. I’ve missed you so.” Drusilla burrows into Angel’s arms, smiling up at him like he’s the world. Angel leans down and kisses her forehead, the female vampire almost purrs and melts even more against Angel.

“You’re all she’s talked about since we heard you were in town.” The blond man, Spike, is in a long black leather jacket and making a face at where Drusilla is still clutching to Angel’s arm.

“Drusilla, Spike, it’s been too long.” He steps back from Drusilla and motions to Xander. “I want you to meet my Claimed Consort, Xander.” Angel wraps his arm around Xander’s shoulders, who nods a greeting to them and tried not to be nervous when they book turned to look at him.

“The stars spoke of you too. Broke the curses and gave daddy his demon back. Pretty kitty with sharp claws you are, primal magic dances all around you, blessed daddy with ancient earth magic, you did.” Xander tenses some as she gets close and runs a finger down his face but all she does is smile and twirl away, almost falling into Spike’s arms. Angel had said Drusilla was a seer but he hadn’t really believed, till now that was.

“Dru sweetheart, be careful.” Spike reprimands, as he pulls the female vampire tighter against himself.

“What’s wrong with her?” Angel demands as he takes a step forward.

“Got attacked by a mob in Prague, why we’re back here. I have to get her better, she’s not been the same since they cursed her.” Spike answers.

“Anything I can do to help I will, she’s still my childe.” Angel tells the blond vampire.

Spike sneers at Angel, “Don’t need help from someone who just walks out on their family.”

Angel growls back at him, “You mean someone who was forced from their family because they were cursed with a soul.”

“You’re the one who left us with that crazy bitch Darla, you have no idea how hard it was to-.” Spike yells at Angel before he cuts himself off.

Xander steps in and lays a hand on Angel’s shoulder, “Sounds like maybe a century old misunderstanding.” He’s felt how much it hurt Angel that his family left him.

“Darla forced me to leave because I wasn’t enough of a monster because of the soul and even though I didn’t want to leave my family, I couldn’t have been around when you were all killing people.” Xander feels a burst of hope family through the bond.

“You didn’t have to leave us with her but doesn’t matter anymore, does it, been a hundred years. Heard you killed that bitch, good for you.” Spike says as Drusilla mutters in his ear.

Angel looks at Xander who nods, “You are welcome to stay in one of the rooms here if you want. But I ask that you don’t bring your food here and don’t kill innocents while you’re in town. Don’t cause trouble or draw attention to yourselves.”

“What are we suppose to eat then?” Spike sneers.

“I’m sure you can find someone willing or there are plenty of criminals to choose from and we have blood here.” Angel and Xander had talked about this before they had arrived and Angel didn’t think Spike would curb his killing completely, so they compromised on criminals.

“Not gonna eat your animal rot, heard last you were eating rats in the sewers.” The blond vampire sneers.

Xander feels Angel taking a deep breath before answering, “It’s human.”

“We’ll stay a night or two while our minions set up in a warehouse.” Spike eventually agrees, while Drusilla dances around the courtyard, recovered slightly from whatever weak spell she had.

“A room has been prepared for you, I can show you the way.” Angel says as they walk to the entrance of the house. “Spike, Drusilla please come in.” Xander says before they cross the threshold, Angel had put the mansion in both of their names so that other vampires would need an invite.

Angel leads them down a hallway opposite the one that leads to their room, while Xander follows along behind them. They get them set-up in a room similar but slightly smaller then theirs. The tall but thin windows are covered by thick burgundy curtains that cover the entire wall from floor to ceiling. The bed is a queen four poster in an almost black wood, that has silver silk sheets and burgundy and silver blanket, with a myriad of pillows in jewel tones. The bathroom has a combination Jacuzzi tub and shower, instead of separate ones like their own bathroom but it is still luxurious.

It is obvious that the room surprises Spike and Drusilla is already laying on the mound of pillows on the bed. The blond vampire grudgingly thanks them before they leave to head to their own room.

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A few hours later, Xander is in the kitchen eating a bowl of cereal when he hears whisper soft footsteps come up behind him, “You just going to stand there or are you in here for a reason?”

“Oi! Well you sure aren’t human are you? So what kind of half-breed are you? You don’t smell like any demon I’ve run across.” Spike asks as he rummages through the fridge and cabinets. “Don’t even have any beer?”

“Don’t you think it’s a little early for alcohol? There’s some blood packets in the bottom drawer of the fridge, Angel says you have to warm them. Plus, liquors in the cabinet over there in the corner and there’s a bottle of wine in the fridge. If you really want beer, add it to the list on the fridge and Zia or Vey will pick it up.” Xander tells the blond vampire while he finishes up his own breakfast.

He sees Spike make a face but grabs a couple packets and some crackers out of the cabinet, then crinkles them into the heated blood. Xander grimaces a little, “Wha? Like a bit of texture, yeah. So ‘Gelus eats this now?”

“Yes and from me, plus we occasionally go hunting for criminals, he doesn’t kill them though.” They had done it twice since they’ve been back home and had enjoyed it each time, the rush of the hunt turning into a rough night in bed.

“That’s pathetic, he’s a demon.” Spike’s face is twisted in disgust.

Xander snarls at Spike and watches his eyebrow go up in surprise at the sound, “No, it isn’t and don’t talk about my mate like that or you’ll find out exactly what I am. He’s a vampire who had a soul shoved in him, a curse that made him feel the guilt of every death and you know well just what he was like before, that isn’t something a soul can easily handle. He’s finally found a balance, able to let out the demon and deal with the soul. He might consider you family but I’ll kill you if you fuck with him and deal with the consequences.”

“Yeah and what can a kid like you do?” Spike dismissively asks, as he pets Ace who is on the barstool next to the vampire. The kitten completely unbothered by whatever is happening around her.

Xander lets the primal side of himself out. Feels sharp teeth crowd his mouth, claws grow from his fingers, and the magic and age of the primal could be felt in the air. He smiles and sees the almost startled look cross Spike’s face and the vampire take a half step back before he can stop himself. “Want to find out?”

“Oi, bloody hell, what are you? ‘Gelus sure found a strong mate.”

“An alpha primal, one more then willing to protect it’s mate and it’s Angel now. Well, this has been fun but I have school.” Xander gives Spike another fang filled smile before hopping off the barstool, grabbing his bag, and heading out.

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Two nights later at the Parent-Teacher conference, Spike makes an appearance with a bunch of other vamps. Xander goes to find Angel, so he can wrangle his childe before he get’s killed by the slayer. They had thought if he would make a move it would be the night of St. Vigeous, when he would be at his strongest but instead of waiting till the fourth of October he had decided to attack on the first.

“Spike, what are you doing? Didn’t I tell you not to draw attention to yourself. You’re going to get killed.” Angel asks as he walks down the hall to Spike, his voice reprimanding like he’s speaking to an errant child.

“I’ve taken two slayers and tonight I’ll take a third, join me.” Spike taunts.

“No, you wont. I’m the Master of this town and your Sire, you’ll do as I say or I’ll beat some sense back into you.” Angel goes flying at Spike and takes him down in a hard tackle. Xander fights off a few vampires that look like they’re going to interfere and dusts them. He had sent Buffy outside to deal with those vampires so she wouldn’t meet up with Spike. It only takes a few minutes to see that Angel is winning and when he has Spike pinned, he bites viciously into his neck and takes a few deep swallows.

“You will acknowledge me as your Sire or you will leave.” Angel holds his wrist to Spike’s mouth, who hesitates before biting into it and moaning. Xander can feel the affection family arousal through the bond and shakes his head at how incestuous vampires are, as he is able to smell arousal from both of them.

Angel hauls Spike to his feet and tells him to meet him at the mansion later. Then Xander and Angel take out any of the rest of the vampires still hanging around the school before leaving.

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Spike walks in the next night and is slammed into a wall by Angel, “I thought I told you to come here.”

“You said later and it’s later. Plus, I took care of the ‘Anointed Brat’, he’s nothing but a pile of ash, now. Should be thanking me, yeah?” The cocky smile on the blonds’ face makes Angel bare his teeth in a snarl.

“And why would you do that?” Angel asks as he still has the other male pinned to the wall.

“Gave me Sire’s blood for the first time in over a hundred years, didn’t ya? Was a bit o’ thank you.” Comes the surely reply, like Spike doesn’t want to admit it.

“Then, thank you, Spike.” Angel steps back from him. “I wasn’t going to do this, as you’re a master in your own right, now, but I’ve decided to reassert my Sire’s claim on you and Dru. You will take both mine and Xander’s blood. Should have done this when you first arrived.” Xander had told him Spike acted like a child who acted out because they wanted attention from their parents but in a demon version way, that included more death and blood shed. So Angel had told him what he planned to do and was surprised at how easily Xander had agreed. Plus, this would strengthen Xander’s ties to the Aurelius clan and make a superficial bond with Angel’s childer. The bond wouldn’t be as strong as the Sire/childe bond, even a weakened one, but it would still be there and could be used to force the vampires to obey Xander, if needed.

“Bring Dru in.” She was still outside, singing to the stars and he couldn’t help but shake his head, his demon had gone to far with her. No matter what, she would never be sane.

“Daddy!” The erratic vampire greeted.

Angel walked over to Dru and drew her in close, “Sweet Dru”, before tilting her neck and drinking her blood, he could taste how weak she was. He then allowed her to drink deeply from him and then Xander did the same with her. Before they both repeated it with Spike and Angel was able to taste the strength in him just as he was able to taste Dru’s weakness, savoring the second taste of his favorite childe, in as many days. His cock was hard as a rock as he stepped back from the gorgeous blond and knew that his mate was in for a rough night.

“Spike, if you disobey me again like that, while you’re here, I’ll chain ya up and whip ya good. I don’t want either of you to end up dust at the end of the slayer’s stake and she isn’t like other ones, she has friends.” Angel was being truthful as he already had chains drilled into the wall in the basement.

“Yeah, you! What you doing siding with a slayer, giving demons a bad name?” Spike looks like he’s trying to sound pissed but mostly sounds sated and lustful. The vampires eyes were half-lidded and you could see his arousal, as easily as Angel’s. The arousal was saturating the mate bond from both ends, the rush of vampire blood making the teen almost dizzy with lust.

“Keeping myself alive, protecting my mate, and stopping the Hellmouth from being opened and turning earth into another hell. I’m just fine with not sharing space with whatever it would spit out. I prefer to be at the top of the food chain.” Spike didn’t have anything to say to that but pulls Dru off to their room. Angel doesn’t waste anytime in dragging Xander to their bed and letting them both slack their lust in each others bodies.

Angel had admitted his almost love for Spike to Xander, that he had been extremely possessive of him after Dru turned him and had taken him as his childe but had never had Spike’s devotion and love, quite the way Dru did. That he was the one who had first seen the English poet but Drusilla had snuck out and changed him before Angel was able too. It had burned jealousy and rage into his demon, the closest it had come to love before Xander and being denied it, in the way he wanted had driven it mad. He had wished to possess Spike completely, wanted him for himself and when he couldn’t have him, he had taken Dru from the younger vampire, instead. Because she had loved her ‘daddy’ more then anything, even Spike, and he had used that as a weapon and it had turned whatever Spike felt for him into hate and betrayal.

Xander had listened and told him he should tell Spike but he couldn’t bring himself to, he believed the gulf between them was too large. He was thankful for the bond so that what he felt for Spike, Xander understood, would never come close to what he felt for Xander, it just wasn’t possible. Angel had worried this would make Xander uncomfortable but he had understood and encouraged him reasserting his sire’s claim. Xander had just told him that sex-sex was only happening between them, at least for now, because he had read about vampires and their incestuous ways. Angel readily agreed because he wasn’t going to allow another to have Xander that way and while he still thought his childer beautiful, he wasn’t ready to share Xander.

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In the following days, Dru seemed better, healthier, but not completely healed from the blood she drank from Angel and Xander. Angel and Spike were determined to find a way to cure her from the curse she had. Thankfully, this distracted Spike from another attempt against Buffy and seemed to keep him out of other trouble, as well.

Xander would spar with Spike instead of Angel, when he was busy, and he noticed how drastically different their styles of fighting were, though both amazing. He could tell if there was a real fight between Spike and Buffy, she probably wouldn’t win unless she got lucky.

The teen spent anywhere from one to two hours a day practicing and sparring, not including his daily runs. He loved the different fighting styles he was learning but most enjoyed the Tai-Chi that Angel was teaching him, that helped to center and calm him. That along with the meditation, he did daily, helped quiet his mind and allowed him to focus better.

Spike and Dru had set up their minions at a warehouse near the one Angel had fixed up for his own court, though both were still sleeping at the mansion. They all seemed to be refraining from killing innocents and drawing attention to themselves. Though the four of them had gone hunting down by the docks, where the worst of the criminals usually loitered. Xander knew he should have felt worse for Spike and Drusilla draining their prey almost to death. An unconscious body left lying in an alley in Sunnydale was a death sentence as there were plenty of demons who would scavenge.

It wasn’t long before a minion of Spike’s by the name of, Dalton, who was turned by Dru and seemed to have been a scholar before being turned found a book that could possible hold the answer to curing Dru. Something that was made much easier when they were working with Angel. Plus there was a cross that was hidden in a tomb that would help them decode the book and would need to be stolen. As Spike’s minions searched for the tomb and prepared to steal the De Luc’s Cross, Angel and Xander failed to mention the true reason for his childer’s return to Sunnydale. Angel allowed them to believe that it was mainly Spike searching out Angel after he killed Darla and if he got the chance, taking out the slayer.

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Angel and Xander tried to keep Spike away from Buffy, which was easier then they thought as Spike was mostly concerned about taking care of Drusilla. Angel gave her sire blood daily to keep her from getting worse, as the curse was meant to get progressively worse till it caused her death.

They both still did patrols through a few graveyards each night and had gotten Spike to join them a few times, as he wasn’t a big fan of weak fledges eating his ‘happy meals with legs’ (Xander tried to ignore the vampires habit of calling humans this) and he revealed in the violence. Spike liked to toy with the fledges till they begged for death. Thankfully, there were less newly turned vampires then normal and it showed that some where listening to the new laws laid down by Angel. The local demon population usually ran for cover when Spike and Angel were out together, as they all knew just how vicious both vampires could be.

Buffy was still acting odd, vying between ignoring Angel and being overly nice but the vampire mostly tried to ignore it as they all trained together a few times a week in the library. Buffy only joined Xander on his runs about half of the time, as she seemed to not want to spend anytime with him, and seemed to dislike sparring with him. Xander was mostly confused by the slayer’s behavior, he had thought she would be well over Angel by now.

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Xander and Angel showed up at the library to talk to Giles before they headed out for patrol one night, giving the watcher a detailed list of kills they made recently when they patrolled. They heard Buffy telling Willow about her date with a college guy, that she meet through Cordelia. Xander remembered them from earlier in the day and couldn’t help but tell Angel and Giles that the two guys gave off a creepy vibe and they might need to crash the fraternity party. Giles tried to dissuade Buffy from going but it only made her more eager to go and wouldn’t listen to Xander when he said the guys were creepy. She seemed even more upset when Angel didn’t say a word and it proved to Xander that she was still trying to make the vampire jealous, even though she knew they were mated, now. She hadn’t reacted well to the news, when she did find out a couple weeks after she came back.

Xander figured it, also, had a little to do with the fact that Ampata, who was a gorgeous specimen of male beauty that even Xander was distracted by, was more interested in Willow then Buffy. After showing the exchange student the mummy in the museum, Xander was grateful that he had stopped another student from messing with it, as Ampata was seriously freaked out by it and told them that no one should mess with it. Apparently, the story was well known in Peru and they were very superstitious about it.

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Xander hated being right, as he trudged to his jeep covered in the blood of whatever monster the fraternity idiots had planned to sacrifice the girls too. Buffy was trying to cling to Angel and Cordelia was pissed about her ruined outfit. Xander just wanted to be home and in bed, he had a paper to write this weekend that he planned to do tomorrow that was due Monday and a test to study for the same day.

He dropped the girls off at their houses and then drove home, wasting no time in getting in the shower and falling into bed. Xander was asleep, face down on the bed, before his mate got out of the shower and Ace was settling into a spot between his shoulder blades.

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It was easier then Xander expected it to be to persuade Angel to come with him on Halloween as he lead little children around, trick-or-treating. While, he hated Snyder for volunteering him against his will, he still planned to make sure the kids got the best and most candy and already had a route planned out. Xander dressed up as a soldier and Angel just put on leather pants and a silk shirt and said he was dressed as the Master of Sunnydale. The teen would have to remember to make a rule for next Halloween that the vampire couldn’t dress as himself. When they asked what Spike was going to be up to, he was mostly vague, though they figured it wouldn’t be too much as this holiday was more of a vacation for vampires. They tended to stay in, instead of snacking on trick-or-treaters.

The evening wasn’t going so bad till the children dressed as monsters, actually, turned into monsters. They came across a ghost Willow, who looked more like a hooker, and a defenseless Victorian era Buffy and decided to make there way to Buffy’s house, as it was the closest. Xander turned into a soldier but wasn’t completely taken over, just pushed to the back of his mind and was able to tell the soldier who was in control of his consciousness what was happening. Xander and Angel knew that Spike might just take his chance of getting rid of the slayer when she was unable to fight back, though the blond vampire preferred a fight, he wasn’t above taking advantage of a situation. When they rescued Cordelia and found she wasn’t turned into her costume, they realized it must have something to do with where they got their costumes.

The hellish night was finally over after running into the chaos mage responsible, someone who knew Giles by the name of Ethan Rayne, and Giles had broken the statue of Janus which ended the spell. Xander was sure he would never enjoy Halloween again and he still had a head full of information from the possession by the soldier. The primal thought it would be useful information to have and had absorbed it, so now he had special ops training and was an explosive expert. He wasn’t sure his brain had any room left to cram anything else into, as he had already had two possessions and hoped he wouldn’t have a third.

Though he did get a laugh out of Angel mentioning to Buffy that the girls of his time wore dresses very similar to what she was wearing and when she asked if he liked it. He told her that he didn’t really and thought all of those girls were ‘incredible dull, simpering morons’. It took all of Xander’s willpower not to laugh at her shocked and dismayed face because she was, obviously, expecting a different answer.

Xander could feel that he was even more cunning, calculating, and a little ruthless in the days after the possession by the soldier. While he knows the knowledge and skills will be helpful, he just doesn’t want to lose himself to the other influences of the primal and soldier. His fighting style had even changed some and he was very handy with a knife and preferred a KA-BAR style knife, which he now kept on himself at all times. It took a few days for the information to settle and he used the meditation that Angel had shown him to help assimilate it all.

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The De Luc cross was found and stolen to help decode and translate the book that could hold the cure to Drusilla’s curse. Xander and Angel made sure they were the ones patrolling that specific cemetery the night of the theft and didn’t report it to Giles. Xander didn’t even feel guilty for lying or well lying-by-omission because his loyalty laid first with Angel.

Spike was kept fairly busy with Dalton, translating the book, and didn’t make a menace of himself. That and Angel’s threat to strip the flesh from his back if he acted too out of line.

Buffy was excited about a friend of hers who had shown up out of the blue, a friend from her previous high school, Ford. Xander could smell sickness on him and wasn’t sure if he should tell Buffy or not but he did mention it to Willow.

A few days later, Spike grudgingly tells Xander about some boy trying to exchange the slayer for the bite. The teen manages to find Buffy in the library the next day without Ford there with her and decides to tell her. The slayer refuses to believe Xander, even when he tells her Ford smells sick, and storms out of the library but not before telling Xander that Angel was cheating on him with some brunette that she saw all over him. Xander doesn’t bother telling her he is quite aware of Drusilla and Angel couldn’t cheat without him being able to tell and isn’t able to show her the proof of Ford being sick that Willow found.

In the ensuing mess, Xander does find out about a vamp club and can’t hold in his laughter at the, seriously delusional, people who believe vampires are just misunderstood and call them ‘lonely ones’. He uses Spike and Angel to scare some sense into the idiots and is able to catch Ford in his lie, showing Buffy that her supposed friend was willing to give her up to a vampire, so he could get the bite.

Later, Spike tells him about other clubs where people go to get bit by vampires, either to be turned or just to get bit, and also about ‘suck houses’, which are apparently places where people purposely go to get bit by a vampire and even paid for it. Spike tells him how they get addicted to the feeling and some end up dead because the vampire isn’t willing to stop. Xander realizes he is going to have to do something about the ones in Sunnydale or at least have Angel do something.

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After many discussions with Spike and Angel about the clubs and ‘suck houses’, Xander decides that they need to be monitored better. That it would be stupid to remove places where vampires can get willing blood, since Angel limited their hunting. Though these places seem to be some strange combination of crack houses and brothels because there is plenty of sex happening.

Though Xander is more then aware how sensuous being bitten by a vampire can be, though it is different as he’s being bitten by his mate. While he loves the feel of Angel biting him, he wont become truly addicted to the feeling as it is an equal exchange and used to strengthen their mate bond.

He gets a short tour of a few of these ‘suck houses’ and is thoroughly grossed out and decides to shut them down after he has a few new places cleaned up and employs some strong half-demons to watch the places and act as security. He makes sure that small cartons of juice and granola bars are available in each room and that the half-demons on shift check each room regularly and any vampires that try to kill someone are staked. The costs are mostly covered by what the humans and vampires pay to use the rooms.

The old ’suck houses’ are then burnt down, when the new ones are opened and word is spread about them being safer and the consequences for the vampires and other demons who don’t follow the new rules. It’s the least Xander can do and while it doesn’t stop people from getting addicted to being bitten, hopefully it will cut down on deaths. Plus, maybe he can find some humans who Angel could drink from on occasion so he doesn’t have to drink bagged blood as much.

The vampire club he had gone to was redone and made into a place where these vamp junky’s could go to get bitten safely. Again, he employed a number of strong half-demons that would be able to easily discourage a vampire from killing and added a cover charge to get in for both humans and vampires. They kept some of the vampire clichés and added blood drinks for the vampires. While a part of him winced at leading humans straight into vampire’s clutches, this gave the vampires who obeyed Angel a place to get willing blood and gave the humans a place to be safely bitten.

He doubted that Buffy was even aware of these places and had no intention of letting her know either and wasn’t sure but wouldn’t doubt that Giles was aware.

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Dalton had also finished translating the book and the solution was sire’s blood given on the full moon, either forcibly taken or freely given, which would be more powerful. They prepared for the ritual, as the full moon was still three weeks off. It would require almost draining Angel completely and Xander would need to be part of it as he would be giving his own blood to Angel. Spike planned to have a few tied up ‘happy meals’, as he continued to call humans, near by so Angel could drink from them as well, both before and after. Xander was thankful that the blond vampire didn’t tease Angel too much about him drinking only from criminals and not killing them.

Angel talked Spike out of planning a coming out ‘party’ for Dru when she was healed, as a bunch of dead humans would bring the slayer down on them very quickly and could put Dru back in danger. Thankfully, the other male had given in, though Angel wasn’t fooled into thinking that the younger vampire didn’t have something he was planning.

Xander had to put up with Buffy trying and failing to make subtle comments about Angel cheating and had to explain to her that he would know if Angel ever had sex with someone else and that Dru just loved her ‘daddy’. He didn’t tell her that Dru had been trying to tempt the older master vampire into her bed, at Spike’s objection and consternation. While, Angel was attracted to the female vampire he had given her little more then a few kisses, which Xander had allowed. He was thankful for the bond, as he didn’t think he would have fully understood Angel’s feelings and actions, even if he had read about vampires and the interactions between Sire and Childe. Plus, Xander was aware that if it had been Spike trying to seduce Angel, that the older vampire would be having more of a problem keeping things chaste.

Xander wished that Angel and Spike would just talk or even beat each other up; instead of this strange, almost awkward, dance that they were engaged in. Spike wanting Angel’s attention, without trying to seem like he wants it, and Angel unwilling to admit why he had acted the way he had. It gave Xander a headache if they were in the room together too long, the unresolved everything between the two making tension thick.

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Thinking that Giles was a lot darker and had more to his past then just a stuffy librarian, normally would, is different then actually finding out the truth. That the man used to be known as ‘Ripper’ and was into dark magic and had once called a demon, Eyghon, from hell, was more then Xander was expecting. The same demon which had started possessing and killing people and again coming across the chaos mage, Ethan. Angel had been able to save Ms. Calendar by forcing the demon to possess himself and later saying that his own demon still had a hundred years of repression to work out of it’s system.

Ms. Calendar had been badly shaken by the ordeal and had asked Giles for a break, which Xander could understand but it was still upsetting to see the watcher look so heartbroken. Willow had taken the teacher home, as she wasn’t willing to be around the watcher anymore then she had to be.

Xander had to admit to Willow and Buffy that he wasn’t anywhere near as surprised as they were about Giles having a dark past. Buffy had been upset about not knowing anything about Giles’ past and Xander had been blunt in telling her, it wasn’t really any of her business. Though if they were going to have more encounters from things from Giles’ past, Xander wouldn’t mind having a heads up.

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When Buffy told him that she had been attacked while ice skating, Xander was actually surprised in how long Spike had put off going after her and knew this was a diversion from his true plans to cure Drusilla. Giles told them that the attacker was part of the Order of Taraka, which were a group of assassins, when Buffy showed him a ring. Buffy may have killed one but there would be more till they were able to finish their job.

Xander was amused as he figured Spike was taking Angel’s order to not go after Buffy literally, as the vampire said after being asked if he had hired the Order, that he wasn’t personally going after the slayer and if she died it wouldn’t be by his hand. Though he was less amused when he and Cordelia ran across one of the Order, one who turned into bugs. His skin was still crawling thinking about it.

Then the third assassin made it’s presence known by opening fire at a career-fair at the school and Oz, a friend of Willow’s, had been grazed. Thankfully, Buffy had been able to hold the women off long enough for the gun-toting assassin to make a run for it.

Also, apparently being dead for a few minutes allowed for another slayer to be called, Kendra. Though this one was as different from Buffy as was possible. Kendra thinking Buffy was a vampire, since she saw her patrolling with Angel, attacked her and it took them awhile to realize that they were both slayers. The new slayer had already had a run in with Angel and had been beaten but was surprised when the vampire just left, after knocking her out.

Then Buffy seemed to sway between glad she had someone else to do the slayer gig and that this was her calling. Xander found out about a slayer handbook and was determined to gets his hands on it, though he did spend a good while laughing at Giles admitting that it would be almost useless for Buffy.

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Thankfully the assassins were enough of a distraction, along with telling Buffy that there might be an attack on the Bronze and Spike sending a few minions that way, that the ritual for curing Drusilla went without interruptions. Angel drank from a couple tied up criminals that Spike provided and from Xander, then the knife pulled from the bottom of the De Luc cross was plunged through their hands. Dalton chanted the counter spell in the background as Angel held Dru to him with his other arm. Xander watched as Angel got weaker and weaker and Dru strengthened till the curse finally broke.

Xander was quick to remove the knife and pull Angel over to one of the tied-up humans and watched as he almost drained the man before falling onto another. Then the teen pulled the vampire up and to his own neck but this bite was much more gentle then the ones given to the criminals.

He heard Drusilla and Spike celebrating but was more concerned about Angel and getting the vampire more blood and into bed. Xander reminded Spike to not draw too much attention to himself and Dru, as there was now two slayers.

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Monday, he comes to find out that Buffy and Kendra had taken out the gun-toting assassin and that they had heard from Giles that Spike was trying to kill Angel for some ritual to heal Drusilla. Xander was able to tell them that it was already dealt with and that Spike had cancelled the contract on Buffy, on Angel’s orders. He and Angel had taken care of the third assassin who turned into bugs, it had taken little more then glue and a good pair of boots.

Kendra was obviously uncomfortable in his presence and it seemed it wasn’t just because she could sense him but because she wasn’t use to males, in general. She had been raised by her watcher from the time she was a small child and was discovered to be a potential slayer, that it was an honor to those in her village. She took slaying very seriously and didn’t complain like Buffy but Xander figured she probably wouldn’t last half as long. The young slayer was too unwilling to break the rules and was so textbook, as to be predictable. Hopefully, she would learn from Buffy that she didn’t always have to follow the rules because if Spike came up against this slayer, he would be able to easily kill her.

Buffy seemed happy enough to train and patrol with Kendra, as Xander wanted to keep Angel far away from the trigger happy new slayer. All it would take was a crossbow bolt, that the vampire wasn’t fast enough to catch, and he would be little more then dust. Though occasionally Xander trained with them both and Kendra liked to go on runs with him. Kendra had to eventually return to her own watcher and they all gave her a big send off.

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Xander was highly amused when he was paired with Larry as a gay couple and they were given an egg, as a child to take care of. While the jock tried to act like he would catch being gay from Xander, the primal enhanced teenager was easily able to smell the jock’s arousal around him. He threatened the other teen with serious pain if he didn’t shut up and help him get a good grade and Xander commanded he would be taking the first night with their ‘child’.

When Xander got home he showed the egg to Angel and Spike and made them sniff it, as it smelled very odd to him. Neither vampire’s sense of smell was as strong as his but they both agreed. So Xander in the name of a good grade and to ensure that if anything was in the egg, boiled it and called Willow and Buffy and told them to do the same thing.

Buffy was still getting over the drama of dispatching an android serial-killer, who was after her mother, and was still being kept at home by her mother. Willow was still playing around with a few of the left over parts that weren’t incinerated. So, Xander and Angel were picking up the slack of her patrols.

When they found out the eggs were babies of a Bezoar demon, that could control people through their nervous system, the small group was glad they had listened to Xander’s advice and boiled their eggs.

Though Buffy gets grounded for her part in killing the demon and two vampires, when she is unable to sufficiently explain what happened to her mother. Xander tries to get Buffy to tell her mother the truth but she says that she wants to keep her safe, which doesn’t make sense to him. Knowledge is power and all that, plus the slayer wouldn’t have to worry about her mom inadvertently inviting vampires into their home.

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Willow tells Xander that Oz had asked her out and they were going on a date. He was happy that she was getting over her crush on him and while he only knew a little bit about Oz, the musician seemed to be nice enough. The teen seemed quiet but didn’t seem to mind Willow’s babbling and he was already planning his shovel speech, he figured he could probably be pretty scary now.

Buffy’s 17th birthday was coming up and Xander was trying to figure out what to get her. He asked Cordelia to help him, as she would know what a girl would want. After, much too long at the mall he had been able to pick out a pair of boots for her and one for Cordelia as a thank you.

Spike was being much too quiet, not to be up to something and Drusilla seemed even happier then normal. Xander and Angel kept a close eye on both of them but it wasn’t till they came across a box with an arm in it that Angel is able to realize what those two are up too. Apparently, they were putting together the Judge, a demon who would cleanse the world of humanity. This was confirmed when Spike came to the house without Drusilla and told them the demon had been assembled. When asked why he would do this, the blond vampire admitted to not being able to tell Dru no and that he was sure, she had thralled him. Angel warned Spike that he and Drusilla would be punished for this.

This lead Xander to asking for Cordelia’s help in getting Buffy another birthday present, though this one had a little more boom. Cordelia was the perfect distraction when they broke onto the army base and Xander just shook his head at how easily the soldier was lied too. The rocket launcher was a thing of beauty and Xander helped himself to a few guns as well.

The rocket launcher easily took care of the Judge and Xander was glad he was correct in assuming the ‘no weapon forged by man’, didn’t take into account today’s much more advanced weapons. Drusilla nearly got dusted, as she almost didn’t get out of the way in time, and was thrown over Spike’s shoulder and carried out of there at a run. The minions they left behind took off at a run as well and only a few made it back out of the mall. Then the group had to scoop up blasted bits of the exploded demon and Giles took care of shipping the bits all over the world.

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Xander and Angel were sitting down to dinner in the kitchen, though it was closer to a breakfast for Angel since he had only gotten up an hour before, when Spike came through the door and went straight to the fridge and pulled out a 6-pack of beer. The vampire quickly finished one before pulling out a second and slumping onto a barstool.

“Oi! Sometimes, I bloody hate women.” The blond vampire grumbled.

“So, what’s wrong with you?” Xander asked, ignoring Angel shaking his head.

“Dru is driving me bonkers. The Judge, the stupid wanker, killed my only decent minion and I have a fucking headache from her thralling me. I hate mojo.” The vampire continued to complain but it was mostly half-finished mutters.

“Hold on, Dalton’s dead?” Xander asked, he had kind of liked the soft spoken vampire.

“Yep, Judge burned him right up. He was the only one with half a brain.” The blond answered as he finished a third beer.

“Maybe you should turn smarter minions or make a childe.” Xander offered. He knew the vampire had never had a childe and figured part of it was due to having to take care of Drusilla. The teen’s solution only received more grumbling before the vampire snagged some food off Xander’s plate, who put up only half-hearted protests as the blond vampire did look kind of pitiful.

“Why don’t you stay here tonight with us, instead of going back to the warehouse?” Xander asked.

“I would rather put up with her nattering then sleep alone.” Spike muttered before stealing more food off Xander’s plate.

“I’d offer a place in our bed but I’m not sure you’d behave.” The younger male said, ignoring the little noise from Angel and the shock across their mating bond.

Spike was just looking at him with narrow-eyed surprise before shaking his head. “Not nice to pretend to offer something like that and I can behave myself just fine.” The words almost a growl and Xander could almost feel the rejection from the vampire.

“Then you can sleep with us but I’m warning you, no sex. I’m not willing to share Angel, at least not yet.” Xander offered seriously. He knew that it was the Sire’s place to offer comfort and Xander as his mate could offer the same.

“You’re serious.” The shocked blond stated before glancing over at Angel. “Doubt ’Gelus is gonna allow that and he’d probably knock me out of bed in the night.”

Xander sent a very strong nudge across the bond to Angel. “Didna’ deny ya, William. You are welcome in our bed but you will listen to Xander. I’m not ready to share him either and I know he’s your type.” The master vampire offered his childe but made the warning clear.

That is what lead to Xander being used as a heating pad slash teddy bear for a peroxide blond vampire. Spike had wasted no time in stripping his clothes off, when they went to the bedroom, and slipping into their large bed with a waggle of his eyebrows and with a little moving around it was decided that Xander would be in the middle as both vampire’s enjoyed his warmth. When the teen had slid out of bed in the morning, the vacant space was quickly filled by the two vampires seeking out his warmth.

By the time he was out of the shower, they were a tangle of limbs and Xander hoped he would be there before they woke up, so he could see their faces. Spike almost looked sweet with his face tucked into the crook of Angel’s neck, the gel from his hair worn off making it look soft and touchable. Ace was laying at the end on the bed and doing her best to ignore the moving lumps under the blanket but did deign to open one light green eye to look at Xander as he dressed, showing just how annoyed she was.

It wasn’t till after the final bell rung for the end of school that he felt a shock of surprise and arousal run through though the bond and couldn’t help sending back his own amusement at the two vampires. He did mourn the loss of being able to see their reactions when they woke up cuddled with each other. Xander did wonder if Spike would be sleeping in their bed more often now or if Dru would call him back to her. The teen wasn’t as willing to have her in their bed and it had little to do with her trying to seduce Angel and everything to do with the fact she was completely unpredictable and crazy. Xander would be worrying the whole night if she was going to slit his throat just for the fun of it and to see if he bled red.

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Xander was heading to the library to talk to Giles, when he hears voices down one of the hallways that are normally abandoned by this time of night. Being as quiet as he can, he sneaks down the hall to the computer room and the male voice he heard talking to Ms. Calendar isn’t Giles. He hears the two talking about Angel and the curse and realizes they are from the gypsy clan who cursed his mate. Xander has to clench his jaws to stop from growling and it hits him why Ms. Calendar’s smell always bothered him, her magic was at least faintly similar to the smell of the curse. He hears the man, Enyos the woman called him, talking about keeping Angel from achieving a moment of pure happiness and that a elder women from their tribe said that he wasn’t suffering enough. The teen realizes, Ms. Calendar has been here the whole time to spy on Angel for her tribe but its apparent she wasn’t aware of the clause of the curse or its consequences.

He listens to them till they finish talking and when they start walking to the door, he slips back down the hallway and slips out of the school. Angel needs to hear this and he will tell Giles tomorrow.

When he gets home Angel is already there which isn’t a common occurrence lately, as the master vampire often worked late into the night cementing his place as Master of Sunnydale and ensuring his laws were being followed. Xander tells his mate what he heard and is surprised when Angel admits to already being suspicious of Ms. Calendar.

The next day at school Xander tells Giles what he heard and is surprised when Buffy backs him up, as she had a slayer dream that hinted at Ms. Calendar’s involvement. Xander is thankful that they already secured his mate’s soul, as he realizes the vampire would have lost it when they mated and Angel had a moment of ‘pure happiness’. They all talk about what could have happened if Angel had lost his soul because of the clause in the curse and all of them are happy that it didn’t come to pass.

Giles asks Ms. Calendar to come to the library, where they confront her about what Xander heard and Buffy dreamed. Giles wants the original curse but none tell her about how they bound Angel’s soul already. They do tell her just what she could have unleashed on the unknowing public if Angel had lost his soul.

Xander lays into the women for her tribe’s idiocy, that they weren’t punishing the demon who committed the crimes but an innocent soul. A soul that hadn’t been present when the actions were committed and that it was that soul that was being punished by their curse. He warned the woman that if she or any of her tribe came close to his mate again or tried to perform other magic on him, then he would make them pay. He hoped he ran into the man, Enyos, and was able to give him a piece of his mind as well.

The gypsy women leaves in tears after Giles tells her to and that she needs to stay away from them from now on. The two had just started dating again, Xander realizes but can feel little for her.

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Xander is thankful for the weekend, as he heads home on Friday, and hopes he can pull Angel away from any business that isn’t serious because he has been missing his mate. Between time at school and Angel having to work late into the night, they haven’t spent much quality time together. The most time they spend together is either patrolling, which Angel comes to most evenings, and the few hours Xander is home after school, where Angel usually tries to be awake and have food for him before they spend some time training and sparring.

His mate is already awake and lounging on a barstool in the kitchen sipping from a cup of blood and already has food heated up for him. The teen goes up for a kiss, not bothered by the taste of blood though it doesn’t taste near as good as Angel’s, and makes sure it is slow and lingering before pulling away. Xander doesn’t make it far, as Angel’s large hands wrap around his hips and pull him back for another kiss.

“Humm, any chance I can talk you to going back to bed with me? I’m hoping I can pull you away from any, non-serious, business for the weekend and keep us in bed. I’ve missed you.” Xander moans a little as his mate is scattering kisses down his neck, as he is talking. He knows Angel has already felt the lonely-longing feeling coming from him and is pulled even tighter to his mate.

“Of course, mo ghrian (my sun). I know I’ve been busy lately and have already planned for the weekend to just be us. I even talked Spike into taking Dru somewhere for the weekend, so we have the whole house to ourselves.” Angel explained as he continued to leave sucking kisses along the teen’s neck. “Eat and then we can take a bath together before spending a lovely couple days in bed.” The master vampire encouraged.

When Xander was finally pulled from the tub by Angel, he felt like little more then melted bones, and that wasn’t helped any by being given the most amazing massage, to ever massage. The oil had the same subtle lavender mint smell they often used for bath salts and even if it wasn’t a manly smell, it still rocked. He buried his face in the pillows that smelled liked XanderandAngel and tilted his hips up some, hoping that his mate would get the hint. While, he was too boneless to be an active participant, it didn’t stop him from wanting to feel his mate inside him and it had been much too long since they had more then quick frottage or used their mouths on each other.

The young male let out a pleased sign, when he felt a strong finger rubbing against the tight pucker of his ass and the finger encountered little resistance and was quickly aided by another. Little moans left his mouth as the fingers, skillfully, played his prostate and stretched him to fit something much larger. When the master vampire felt he was well prepared, the well proportioned cock of his mate was pushed through his guardian muscles, which again gave little resistance. The slow rocking that followed was almost maddening, it was just right but not enough at the same time, and it pulled desperate sounds from the teen’s mouth. Angel sunk his teeth, gently, into the skin of his mate and the slow pull of blood drove them both over the edge.

Xander let out a pleased and sated noise when his orgasm finally hit him and melted even more into the bed beneath him, completely unbothered by the wet spot he was laying in. He made a protest when his mate made to move and gave another pleased noise when the vampire stilled. The heavy weight of the master vampire weighed him into the mattress and while it should probably feel stifling, it felt comforting. “I love you, Angel.” He murmured as he fell asleep.

“Ta mo chroí istigh ionat” (My heart is within you). The vampire replied as he laid half-over his mate and watched as he fell asleep.

The rest of the weekend passed in a blur of lovemaking and good food. They left the house only once and that was to go out to eat for the evening on a date and to fulfill one of Xander’s teenage goals: making out on lover’s lane. Though the car a few down from them being attacked by what was apparently a werewolf hadn’t been a part of his original dream but this was Sunnydale.

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When Xander entered the library Monday morning before classes, he was aware of the goofy and sated grin on his face and Giles’ narrow-eyed look said he was well aware of what the teen had been up to that weekend. Buffy and Willow seemed unaware, which was a blessing.

“Morning G-man. Angel told me to tell you that we ran into a werewolf, which are apparently real and I should really stop being surprised.” Xander said as he sat down next to Willow and handed her a baggy of the oatmeal raison cookies that Zia made for her and passed white chocolate macadamia cookies to Buffy.

“A werewolf, oh my, and Angel is sure of what he saw?” Xander just gave the watcher a look at the question and was meet by a grimace. “Where did you see it? There have been quite a number of animal attacks recently and I have wondered what was causing it.”

“Angel and I were up on lover’s lane.” Xander told him and didn’t even bother to blush when the older man gave him a look and ignored the sound from Buffy. “What? It was a teenage goal and Angel seems determined to fill them since I’m mated to a great grandpa and he doesn’t want me missing regular teenage experiences or something.” The teen shrugged and began to snack on a chocolate chip cookie of his own and when Giles came closer, he pushed a container of shortbread cookies his way. Xander didn’t miss the pleased smile and knew the watcher would like them with his tea. Zia had been on a baking kick lately and Xander and his friends were benefiting from the demon’s amazing cooking skills.

“Yes, well. I believe it would be prudent to find this werewolf and stop it before it can hurt someone. We should see if anyone in the school has been bitten, as well.” Giles told them before the bell for class rang.

After classes, Xander was the first back in the library and was telling Giles what he had found out during the day. “So, Cordelia was in the car that got attacked last night but she wasn’t bitten. Also, I heard about two students who were bitten recently. Oz, by his baby cousin, and Larry, by a dog. I figured it was Larry but I got fairly close to him and wasn’t able to smell anything and couldn’t get close to Oz before class was over. Shouldn’t they still smell at least a little like a werewolf?” Buffy and Willow had walked in about half-way through his report.

“I would imagine they would but I have no proof. Though my research has shown that a werewolf only transforms three days a month and the rest they only have their human form. Tonight will be the second night of their transformation and I believe we should follow the two students who were bitten to see if they transform.” Giles told them while setting a few large tomes on the table.

“Well if I could get close enough to Oz to see if he smelled differently then Larry but we have no guarantee that they will smell like a werewolf when the moon isn’t out. Plus, most lingering scents like the woods and such would have been washed off and faded by now.” Xander was explaining when Oz walked into the library and stopped immediately when everyone turned to look at him.

“Um, am I interrupting?” The green haired teen asked with a curious tilt to his head.

“NO! I mean no. Why don’t you come on over and have a seat right here between me and Willow. I still haven’t delivered a shovel speech and figured I’d be more intimidating up close.” Xander had to calm down after he almost shouted the first word, he just needed Oz closer and he hoped he could discreetly sniff him. As the slightly confused male came closer, Xander was able to smell a faint wild scent on him but didn’t give any indication till Oz had sat down in the car beside him.

Xander placed his arm around Oz’s shoulders and clamped his hand down on the opposite side, then took a long, deep sniff. “Are you smelling me?” Xander had to give the shorter boy points for not seeming more weirded out.

“Yes. I heard you were bitten recently. Any chance your baby cousin is a werewolf?” Xander asked without removing his hand. The wild, almost feral, scent was faint but there and he wasn’t sure how he knew but it seemed new, not yet fully integrated with Oz’s scent.

“I was bitten but…I don’t know if he’s a werewolf?” Oz’s scent had gone a little fearful but he wasn’t freaking out completely yet, which was good as Xander didn’t want to have to restrain him.

“Find out.” Xander commanded. Giles showed Oz to a phone in his office when he said he could call his aunt and Xander was able to hear both sides of the conversation. He nodded the affirmative at Giles, though he had already been sure.

When Oz walked out of the office, his scent had even more fear in it. “I suppose I am.” The green haired teenager was scuffing his shoe along the ground and picking at his chipped black-painted nails.

“Well, welcome to the not-so-human club. It’s not so bad.” Xander said but he doubted it made Oz feel better.

“At least we found you before something unfortunate could happen, as there have been no human casualties. We can lock you up tonight here and keep an eye on you.” Giles told Oz, as he was wiping his glasses off.

Xander looked over at the cage where the weapons were kept and didn’t think it would be a good idea to try to keep a werewolf there and that they could be easily discovered. “Giles, I think it might be better if he stays the night at the mansion. I mean we have a whole basement and there are some magic reinforced chains there. Here, doesn’t seem that secure.”

“Why do you have chains in your basement?” Buffy asked, looking a little freaked out.

“For if Angel needs chains for something and if Spike gets too out of control he can chain him up and whip him.” Xander had to hold in the smirk at the reaction that received from Buffy and Willow. “You are the slayer, haven’t you read anything about vampires? I mean Angel is the head of the Aurelius clan and Spike is his grandchilde, if Spike doesn’t follow Angel’s laws then it looks bad on him and he must punish him. What do you think happened after the Judge?”

“Angel wouldn’t do that!” Buffy protested, looking sick and unwilling to believe the truth.

“Of course he would, ask Giles. He chained Spike up and whipped him, though he only gave him a few lashes because the vampire was under his sire’s thrall and it doesn’t really work on Dru because she likes it.” Xander told her nonchalantly. He couldn’t deny that he was hoping to break those rose colored glasses Buffy looked at Angel through.

“Ok, that’s enough! Buffy, he is telling the truth. Vampires have a very different sense of punishment when it comes to their family and Angel, as the head, has the ability to do whatever he wishes to the vampires under him. Though I was unaware that he had reclaimed Sire rights on Spike and Drusilla?” Giles asked the last question to Xander, giving him a pointed look.

“Yep, though just blood not sex. It still amazes me how incestuous vampire families are but other then Dru trying to seduce Angel, no sexy stuff. Her thrall doesn’t work on Angel or me, either.” Xander told him and smirked at the noise Buffy made.

“Yes, well. Lets get back to the problem at hand. While, we have found Oz, there is a chance that there could be another werewolf out there, drawn to Oz. Buffy and I will patrol certain areas tonight and see if we come across evidence of another werewolf in the area. Xander will stay with Oz and keep an eye on his transformation.” Giles interrupted, aware that Xander was enjoying shocking Buffy.

“Ok. Oz you want to follow me home or do you need to go to your house for something? Will your parents let you stay over?” Xander asked Oz, who had been quiet during the previous discussion but that wasn’t different then usual.

“I’ll call them from yours and tell them I’m staying over, it shouldn’t be a problem, and I can follow you.” Xander gave a nod at the answers and heading out of the library after a round of goodbyes.

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Xander pulled into the drive and pointed where Oz could park before pulling his own Jeep into the garage and getting out. “So, this is home sweet home.”

“Sweet. You weren’t joking when you said a mansion.” Oz commented, looking around the courtyard.

“Nope. Angel has expensive taste or he does when he isn’t trying to punish himself.” Xander just shook his head at the questioning sound, he didn’t feel like going into all that. “Angel’s home, I can feel him but he’s asleep, and I don’t know if Spike and Drusilla are here, just ignore them. We’ll check out the basement and see what can be done.”

Xander greeted Zia, Vey, and Ace, who were in the kitchen, as they passed through to the door for the basement. Ace was more then likely begging for scrapes from Zia and the demon was a sucker for those large green eyes and sad meow. He hit the lights at the top of the wide stairs and walked down. The basement was mostly a large open space that had training equipment in it; two large hanging bags, a few mats, a selection of weapons on one wall, a weight bench, and a few sparring dummies. A couch and table with a few chairs were tucked beside the stairs. There was also massive chains drilled into the wall on the far side in a tucked away corner. The few doors that lead off the open space were a small bathroom, two decent sized storage rooms, and a wine cellar that was over half-full.

“I figure you can be left in this area if we just move most of this stuff to a corner or one of the storage rooms and give you some meat to eat. I’ll stay with you, as I can’t catch lycanthropy because of the primal. Anything that’s damaged can be easily replaced. So, what do you think?” Xander asked Oz.

“I guess so. Are you sure you should be down here with me, what if I hurt you?”

Xander shook his head and chuckled. “I can promise you that my primal can handle anything a werewolf can dish out but I don’t think it will be a problem. See because I was possessed by both a hyena spirit and the primal, I have left over bits from the hyena and it also left impressions on the primal because she possessed so many. Anyway, they are pack animals and so are wolves and I’m thinking that werewolves will be slightly similar. You’ll probably see me as your alpha, if anything.” Xander explained. He knew he wasn’t in any danger from the werewolf and that maybe primal magic could help Oz gain control better. The teen turned when he heard Angel at the top of the stairs, he had felt him wake up minutes before.

He introduced Oz to his mate and explained to the master vampire what he was planning in regards to the newly turned werewolf.

“Giles was thinking about locking him up in the cage at the library, which didn’t seem like the best plan. I figured here would be much safer and I could stay with him while he changes. We just need to get a hold of a bunch of raw meat for tonight and tomorrow.” Xander explained to his mate as he molded himself to his side and turned his face up for a kiss.

“That should work, I’ll help move this stuff out of the way. We’ll find somewhere better for the next moon or if you can keep him in control enough, just drop you deep enough into a nearby forest, so he can satisfy the werewolves urge to hunt.” Angel answered after giving him a quick kiss. “Zia left you two some food sitting out, so why don’t you come back up to the kitchen.”

They both followed Angel back up the stairs and into the kitchen. Zia had left two large sandwiches and small bowls of soup out for them and a warmed cup of blood for Angel. Xander watched as Oz kept glancing at Angel drinking, who wasn’t really paying any attention to them as he was reading the newspaper. Ace quickly took her spot in the vampire’s lap and started purring loudly, making her pleasure of being petted well known.

“Does it bother you?” Xander asked and was amused when Oz gave a little jump.

The shorter teen cleared his throat and shook his head. “No, just weird. Sorry.”

“Don’t worry. I guess I’m just use to it. I mean you kinda have to be when mated to a vampire, that and getting bitten fairly regularly.” Xander said the last with a smirk and watched Oz’s eyebrows raise.

“I’m not the only one who bites in this relationship, you like the taste of my blood as well.” Angel added casually while he continued to read and pet their cat.

“Yeah, well it’s tasty and I’m part primal, which apparently likes blood.” Xander sassed back, completely unashamed of his taste for his mate’s blood. Their sharing of blood only strengthened their mate bond and he couldn’t find anything wrong with that.

They finished eating with Xander asking Oz about his band and when they were done headed back down to the basement. It didn’t take long for Angel and Xander to move most of the stuff from the middle of the room to either the edges or into one of the storage rooms. Angel had told Zia to pick up a bunch of meat for the next two days. Oz was skeptical about just eating raw food but paled slightly when Xander mentioned the hoard of wild critters he had already eaten. He explained it would help with the werewolf’s bloodlust and need for hunting and it couldn’t hurt to make sure it had a full stomach.

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Xander and Oz were sitting in the middle of the basement floor with Xander trying to lead the shorter teen through meditation. He hoped keeping the new werewolf calm would make the transformation easier. There was a decent sized plastic box filled with raw meat in the corner and a large bowl with water, which Zia had left. The demon had also left a covered plate of barely seared stew meat and a few bottles of water for Xander, as well.

They had spent the hours till the full moon, playing in the game room that Xander had. Bouncing between playing on the Nintendo and using the pool table. It had been a relaxing few hours even with the coming events.

The moon was rising and Xander could see the tremors run through Oz’s body. He watched the painful transformation and kept a close eye on the newly turned werewolf laying on it’s side panting. It raised it’s large head and scented the air, its large black eyes locking on Xander and giving a small growl. Xander let out the primal and growled back through a mouth full of fangs. The werewolf took a wary step back and then sniffed again and whined before moving to sniff and look around the room. It was easily drawn to the raw meat and pulled a rack of ribs from the plastic box to eat. They had laid down some thick plastic over a large part of the floor, to help keep blood off the hardwood.

Xander hadn’t been able to transform completely yet but was sure that there was enough imprint left over from the hyena spirit that he could change and had been reassured by the primal’s knowledge. So far, he had only been able to grow some fairly impressive fangs, claws, and gain a thin layer of fur on his hands, feet, arms, and legs. He wondered if this might help but didn’t think Oz’s first transformation would be a good time to test it, as he wouldn’t know how in control he would be of himself. Xander could already feel the primal magic in himself rise, drawn out by the werewolf’s transformation. He could see it keep glancing at him warily as it chewed on it’s food.

When the werewolf was finished with the rack of ribs it continued its perusal of the room but kept its distance from Xander. When the primal enhanced teen went to move closer, it let out a small growl and backed up but stopped when Xander growled back. The closer he came to the werewolf, the more it’s hair stood up but the only sounds it was making now was a faint whine. Xander let his own animal instincts take over and sniffed around the werewolf, giving small growls and grumbles, before nudging the werewolf’s neck and side. The new wolf finally rolled over and showed its belly and Xander nipped its throat through the mass of fur before giving a few licks to its muzzle to let it know it was welcomed into the pack.

They spent the rest of the night playing and the werewolf steadily going through the raw meat in the box, Xander had to make sure it knew that it was all their’s after the wolf brought him a bison heart. Xander had taken a bite and handed it back, then went and got his own plate of meat, which he showed as only his. The largest problem came from making a werewolf use a large litter box, which Zia had thought about as none of the rest of them had thought about how it would use the bathroom. Xander had to stop it from marking the wall a few times but it had only taken a growl and a nip to curb the actions. They were not doing this in the basement next time. Even if they just fitted out a large room in one of the many abandoned warehouses on the outskirts of Sunnydale.

When morning came and there was a naked Oz, Xander showed him to the bathroom and shower down there and his clothes on the sink before going upstairs to his own bathroom for a shower. He was joined by Angel after a few minutes, which surprised him as the vampire usually liked to be asleep as the sun rose.

“You okay, nothing go wrong?” Angel asked as he ran hands down Xander’s side, searching for any damage. The younger male had been able to feel the vampire’s worry apprehension through the night, as confident as he was that Xander could handle the situation, he couldn’t help but worry that he would be injured.

“Perfectly fine. Everything went well. We played some and he ate all the food left for him. He sees me as his alpha, which I believe will help him. I hope we have at least a warehouse ready for him by next month if we can’t have anything ready for him tonight. Seeing a werewolf use a litter box is not something I ever want to see again.” Xander explained as he let his mate wash him. “We shouldn’t take too long, I want to be back down there soon and I can fix us something for breakfast if he’s hungry.”

That didn’t exactly hurry his mate along but the mutual hand jobs were worth the extra time. Xander dressed quickly and was followed down the stairs by Angel. Oz was sitting quietly at the breakfast bar, picking at his nails and his hair still wet from the shower.

“Morning. Breakfast? How are you feeling? Remember anything from last night?” Xander questioned rapidly as he went to the fridge for blood and to see what he could make for breakfast. He saw a note on the fridge to look in the oven and when he checked their was a covered stack of blueberry pancakes and sausage.

“Morning. Feeling okay, I guess. Maybe but only snatches. I could eat.” Oz answered and Xander could see the blush across his cheeks. “I saw that box of meat was empty, I guess I ate it?”

Xander laughed as he plated up the food and set out syrup and butter. “Yeah but don’t worry, I think it helped.”

They ate in silence before Xander offered a guest room to Oz to take a nap before they headed to the library to see if Giles and Buffy found anything. Xander was hoping for some sleep next to his mate and figured missing some school wouldn’t hurt, as he hadn’t missed more then a day or two the whole school year.

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When they make it to the library after lunch, Giles tells them about the werewolf hunter Cain. Who, apparently, collects werewolf pelts and sees them as little more then animals, even though they are human most of the month. Also, the hunter was a raging chauvinist that offended Buffy and that Giles looked like he wanted to punch in the face, repeatedly. They did learn that werewolves were drawn to ‘sexual heat’ and that is why Oz was at lover’s lane and they checked out the Bronze but nothing showed up.

Xander explained how the night went for them and that Oz was easily cowed by the primal. The watcher asked them both questions till the bell for classes rang.

Later, after classes and being confronted in the gym locker by Larry, who came out to him, Xander headed to the library. Evidently, he was the only out gay teenager that Larry knew and didn’t seem gay. Since the idiot jock had previously assumed all gays had to know about fashion, love musicals, and be camp. Xander told him the only thing that made someone gay or bi was their attraction to males, that their hobbies and personality didn’t, and told him to check out San Francisco and their Pride parade over the summer. He also told him to stop being such a jerk to everyone and having sex with girls just because he thinks he should. Though he did have to stop the jock from kissing him and warned him that his boyfriend was likely to rip his throat out if he did. So, good deed for the day done.

Xander was about to enter the library as he heard Willow tell Oz that she was not fun to be around for three days of the month as well and saw them share a kiss. So, he decided to head to the snack machine first to give them time and wondered where Buffy and Giles were. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That night with Oz transformed was just as uneventful as the last, though Angel did join them for most of the evening. Xander napped, on and off, with his head in Angel’s lap and they talked about any plans for the weekend. Occasionally, Xander would wrestle with the werewolf and any accidental scratches healed quickly

Buffy and Giles patrolled the areas where a werewolf was likely to be and later reported coming across the hunter, Cain, again. The man had set out some traps for the werewolf and Buffy, tired of the man’s attitude, bent his gun and told him to get out of Sunnydale. They didn’t come across another werewolf that night either.

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Xander sits curled up against Angel in the room facing the pool, looking out at the sky as the sun set behind them. Spike had criticized this room, many times, along with any others that had large windows, saying that this house wasn’t meant for vampires. Though the thick curtains that hung from ceiling to floor where any window was, made sure that any vampire would be safe during daylight hours. Neither had mentioned to Angel’s childer that he was no longer deadly allergic to sunlight and often watched either sunrise or sunset. It was still Xander and Angel’s favorite to sit in, in the evening and just share space. Ace had claimed the room as hers and spent most of her time here laying in front of the windows or sitting on a barstool in the kitchen, expecting treats. Though some nights the cat would curl up at the foot of their bed and knead their feet till she fell asleep. Xander often did homework at the desk in the corner or at the table in front of the couch, sitting on one of the large floor pillows scattered in the room.

Those pillows had also been used to cushion his knees, many nights, when he got down between Angel’s legs and ‘practiced’ his deep throating skills. He had realized he had no chance of being as good as his mate, who didn’t need to breath, but still liked to practice.

He had been pondering what to get Angel for Valentine’s day or if it was something they were going to even bother with. Xander had run across the same problem over Christmas and hadn’t yet had to worry about Angel’s birthday because it was passed before he knew when it was last year. Though that was coming up as well, since the vampire was born in March but had been turned during the summer and didn’t really seem to want to celebrate either. The vampire had a much easier time of it, for Xander’s 17th birthday he had gotten him a beautiful axe and a thick white gold Figaro necklace. For Christmas the vampire had gotten him a cashmere sweater, a few comics, and a game for his Nintendo. Xander had gotten him an antique watch and some rare book, Giles had recommended. The money he used was, technically, Angel’s, even if the vampire had put it into an account for Xander and it had felt weird buying Angel a gift with his own money.

This previous Christmas was the best Xander had ever had or at least as far as he could remember and it was celebrated with a few vampires. Angel had gotten Drusilla a rare collectors doll that was hand-made and Spike had gotten a bottle of vintage whiskey and Cuban cigars. He had wondered if it was sacrilegious to celebrate the birth of Christ with demons but only in a cursory way. Xander and Angel had picked out a real tree together and had decorated it, the teen had liked it so much it wasn’t till mid-January before he allowed it to be taken down.

So, now he was sitting here thinking what he should do. In the books he had read and what Angel had told him, before his mate had a soul he was particularly vicious on Valentine’s day. He figured he could either go with, human, romantic dinner and a night of sex or more demon romantic and bring his mate the heart of an enemy. There was conveniently some large demon that was trying to invade Angel’s territory and was working to gain allies. Maybe he could do both, so he could cover the human and demonic versions of romance. He figured some scouting could find where it was holing up and then use of ‘liberated’ grenades would help take the thing down.

“So, what’s bothering you? You’ve been way too quiet this evening?” Angel asked his mate, jerking him out of his thoughts.

“Oh, trying to figure out what to do for Valentine’s day, next week, but I think I have it covered. I mean, if it’s something we plan on celebrating?” Xander gave his mate a curious look.

“Of course, mo shearc (my love). I was thinking of a having a quiet dinner in and spending a lovely evening together. You?” The vampire inquired.

“Similar thoughts. Figured I could have Zia cook something for me and make that blood soup, she makes, you enjoy and then a long night in bed. I was thinking of a surprise for you too but I will have to see if it pans out.” Xander informed his mate.

“Well, there you go. Not too hard, as long as I get to spend time with you. I know I’ve been so busy lately but I’ve been trying to delegate and set up lieutenants but it isn’t easy trying to find someone who is both strong enough and trust worthy to carry out my commands. Spike isn’t reliable enough with Drusilla whispering in his ear and she wont really listen if I tell her to not thrall him.” Angel explained as he started kissing his mate’s neck in apology for his absence.

“Umm…that feels good. I know you’re busy and I understand, that’s why I try not to complain too much and I have to agree about Spike. Oh…keep doing that.” The teen murmured as he tilted his neck to give his mate more room and couldn’t hold in the moan as the vampire nipped his neck sharply.

Xander allowed his mate to push him back onto the couch and arched up when the vampire covered him with his own body. He met the kiss with a groan and knew that tonight was going to be a long, lovely, one. They soon took it to their bedroom and closed the door, as Ace had climbed on Angel’s back and started meowing for attention. The, not so little anymore, kitten really didn’t like being ignored and was more then willing to make her displeasure known, loudly.

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Xander and Angel were sitting down to dinner for Valentine’s day when the phone rings, the teen jumps up to go get it and is surprised when it is Giles. A few minutes later he hangs up and is fuming after what Giles tells him.

“What’s the matter, mo ghrian (my sun)?” Angel asks as Xander sits back at the table.

“Buffy, that stupid bitch, had Amy cast a love spell. The target, you. Though whatever was supposed to happen, didn’t, and Giles wasn’t even sure that it could because of our mating bond. Apparently, all the males in Sunnydale, except us are in love with her and that includes Giles but thankfully, the man has some sense.” Xander explained as his stomach turned, the thought of his mate taken from him by some spell almost making him sick. He knew he would have killed Buffy if the spell had worked and his mate had tried to leave him.

“What was she thinking?! Does she have any idea how dangerous love spells are, they turn into dangerous obsession. I can’t believe she did this.” Angel shakes his head at the idiot girl and goes to comfort his mate, easily knowing what he is thinking from the emotions coming through the bond. “Don’t worry, it didn’t effect me and we are fine but we will deal with the slayer later.” Angel spit’s the word out, enraged at the thought of being taken from his mate and the stress this is causing said mate.

Angel pulls the teen into his lap and holds him close, scattering kisses across available skin. “Don’t let her ruin our night, our weekend. She’ll face consequences for her actions but right now the only thing that matters is us.” The vampire told his mate.

Xander shook himself. “You’re right, it just makes me so mad. You’re mine and I’m not letting you go.” The younger male growled out as he pulled his mate in for a vicious kiss, staking his claim.

The master vampire gentled the kiss after a minute before pulling back. “I am yours and you are mine. Nothing can or will change that. Now lets continue out night and forget about the slayer.”

Dinner was finished as they talked about Sunnydale’s underbelly and demon world. Angel was making inroads with the less violent demons and half-demons. The half-demons were usually looked down upon by some of the demon species but Angel found they were good allies to have. Many could pass for human and were employed throughout Sunnydale with the human population none the wiser. The vampires were mostly terrified of Angel, even if they were too young to know about his days as part of the Scourge of Europe.

After dinner, Xander presented Angel with a box and the teen could see when the vampire smelled the blood. When he opened the box he saw the four hearts and his eyebrows jumped up his forehead but his eyes had gone gold. “Xander?”

“That iggy-achoo demon that was trying to challenge you, I took it and all it’s allies out. The demon apparently has four hearts and is really hard to kill but the grenade I used did take off one of it’s legs and made it much easier to butcher.” Xander tells his mate, matter-of-factly. The teen had been back to the army base outside of Sunnydale and had ‘liberated’ a few other items that he thought might come in handy. The security was honestly pathetic and they deserved to have stuff stolen from them, if he could just walk in and out with weapons.

“You took out the Ighiachio demon by yourself?” Angel asked as he looked at his mate, his eyes still dark gold. The vampire was well aware how difficult that demon was to kill.

“Yep. Though grenades and guns did help. He had about ten vampires and a few other demons with him but they were fairly easy to take out. Anyway, I was thinking I should cover human and demon ideas of romance and nothing says I love you to a demon like killing something.” Xander barely finished before he had a vamped Angel taking him in a hard kiss and pulling his legs up around his waist before carrying him to their bedroom.

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He was laid sprawled out on the bed as Angel straddled him and the vampires hands, pinned his own. The lay like that for long minutes just kissing till Angel reached for the oil they kept by the bed and coated his fingers in it but shocked Xander when instead of moving back and preparing him, the vampire started preparing himself. It was only a short time later before the slicked hand was wrapped around Xander’s cock causing the teen to try to snap his hips up but was still held down by Angel’s weight. Xander’s mouth dropped open when the vampire started to lower himself over the teen’s erection and he couldn’t stop the strangled noises he was making. While Xander had fingered Angel more then a few times while giving him a blow job, he had never ’topped’, though it was obvious who was in control of this encounter and it wasn’t the shocked teen. The feeling of his mate’s body around him was almost enough to send him to an early finish but he held on by the skin of his teeth, not wanting to embarrass himself completely.

Xander couldn’t stop the small thrusts of his hips and his hands were clamped tightly onto Angel’s hips but the vampire was in completely control of the pace. Angel looked breathtaking with his head thrown back and taking his pleasure from Xander’s body, his demonic face to the fore.

“Angel, I can’t last much longer.” Xander gasped out a warning when he felt his stomach tighten even further, as his balls drew tighter to his body. He was amazed he had lasted the few minutes he had and was ready to congratulate himself for it. The tight and slick vise of Angel’s body and the rhythmic clenching was more then enough to make any man embarrass himself. Xander wondered how Angel could last so long sometimes and figured it had to do with being a couple centuries old.

Angel rocked down harder a few times, while jacking himself off, and that was all it took for Xander. As he came, he felt Angel’s body tighten convulsively around him as tepid semen covered his stomach. “Oh god, that was incredible.” Xander couldn’t help the slightly stunned, awed tone of his voice.

The master vampire leaned down and kissed him eagerly, still gently rocking as Xander started to soften slowly. “Liked it, huh?” Angel teased, when he pulled back.

“Very much. So, why did we do it this way? And that is no way an objection.” Xander added, wanting that much clear. No objections from him, no siree.

The vampire’s laugh caused pleasant tingle to run from his groin and up his spine. “Just thought we could try something different. Not normally one to bottom but you’re my mate and equal. I can’t deny that it feels amazing, as well.”

Xander pulled his mate back down for another kiss and Angel slide off of him and to the side. They curled together sharing kissed for long minutes before they both became hard again.

“My turn to ride you.” Xander whispered as he pushed his mate back and straddled him.

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When Xander made it to school the next Monday, he hadn’t forgot what Buffy had done and ignored her that morning. He was imagining scenarios of just how he was going to beat the stuffing out of the slayer for trying to steal his mate and there seemed to be little dialog other then repeating that Angel was his. The slayer stole a few glances at him and he could smell her apprehension but she said nothing to him.

There had been a slightly funny aspect of the whole incident; Spike had come busting in over the weekend, talking about going crazy and that he had kissed the slayer and he needed his tongue burned off. When the vampire had heard about what she did from Xander, he was more then ready to go after her. Angel had told the younger vampire that if anyone got to go after her, it would be him. Xander had been surprised the younger vampire hadn’t been back to their bed but figured Drusilla had nipped that, she seemed upset that Angel had continually denied her.

It wasn’t till that evening and Angel showed up to school that the tension finally broke. “Giles, I believe you should take the girl who cast the love spell and Willow and teach them magic. Make sure you show them the consequences of what could happen if they don’t respect it. Also, Xander should join them because learning the basics will help him with using his own primal magic.” The vampire told the watcher and while it looked like the man wished to bristle at the command, he didn’t as he was aware of what his slayer had just done.

Angel wasn’t through, yet. “You will keep your slayer away from me and if she takes action against me or my mate again, I will put her in her place.” He turned to Buffy before adding, “If you try to pull something like this again, you will regret it. I have no feelings for you, nothing but pity and contempt now. If your actions had damaged my mating bond, I would have slit your throat.” Buffy actually looked scared, as Angel snarled at her.

“I just wanted you to love me back.” The girl whispered.

“Well I don’t and try to force me against my will again and I will show you just how nasty a demon I can be.” The vampire was almost spitting at the slayer now, his teeth bared but human. You don’t love me girl, you don’t know me, you’re just attached to the idea of someone saving you. Pissed you weren’t my first choice and that I turned you down.”

“I think that is enough.” Giles interrupted firmly, as Buffy looked like she was going to cry. “I have made her well aware of her mistake and I don’t believe she will repeat it.”

Angel and Xander decided to leave to go on patrols but not before the teen whispered to the slayer. “Try to take my mate again and it will be me who guts you.” The rage was still simmering under the surface and Xander wasn’t sure what would set it off. A large part of him just wanted to beat the slayer into the ground and he planned to use sparring practice to get a little of his own back, if nothing else.

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It wasn’t till the start of the next week that Giles brought Amy, Willow, and Xander together. He set out a few books and told them they would each read all of the books before they started working magic and that included Amy. That if Giles thought she was abusing magic like her mother, he would have a coven bind her powers till she learned responsibility. The watcher mentioned some very gruesome consequences to abusing music, that included killing themselves by draining their magic if they used magics they couldn’t control.

Ms. Calendar came in while they were talking about magic and seemed to want to join the conversation but just handed Giles a floppy drive and told him the translated curse was on there. She left after realizing Giles wasn’t going to ask her to stay or continue talking while she was there.

Giles explained after she left that most magic users, either wiccans or just occasional practitioners, used magic from the earth and sometimes they asked the various gods and goddess for help for more powerful spells. That it would be awhile before they could use or control such powerful spells and that they shouldn’t use them without careful consideration as they all had costs. Though they were more then welcome to give offerings to a certain god or goddess to curry favor.

That Xander’s magic was different as his was earth magic, primal magic, a much more ancient and powerful form of magic. That he would need to be careful, as his spells could have greater area of effect if he wasn’t careful with the flow of his magic and wasn’t very specific in what he was asking for. Though that was till he became accustomed to it, then it would come much more naturally to him then most magic did to others. The other two were warned not to try to do magic like Xander, as they were not able to control that type of magic and that it could easily control them.

They spent the next hour or so just discussing magic, the different types, trappings, and how to access it. Xander left when Buffy came into the library to spar after going home to spend time with her mother.

Xander still hadn’t spoken but the most minimal word to Buffy and when they trained he stopped holding back as much. It had shocked the slayer when she was no longer winning as often as she lost and the girl wasn’t even aware that Xander was still holding back. Angel stopped training with her completely, worried that the demon would gain too much control and lash out. It was very tense in the library when they were all there. Mostly Xander got his orders from Giles before he left he library after school for which cemeteries he would be patrolling. That way he, nor Angel, would have to go back in the evening and when they did they made sure it was after Buffy had already left.

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Xander was done being possessed and even if he and Angel helped some ghosts move on it didn’t stop the fact, he had shot his mate and then almost shot himself. Though it was a little funny that Angel was the one possessed by a female ghost but he couldn’t say much when he had been possessed by a female hyena and the primal was female, in a sense.

“Do you need another bag of blood? Maybe we can go to one of the ‘suck houses’ and find a willing human, since you wont take anymore of my blood.” Xander hovered around his mate, hands fluttering ineffectively.

“I’m fine. I’ve been shot before and I’ll probably be shot again. Stop worrying and come here. Though I wouldn’t mind fresh blood, I don’t really feel like going out.” Angel told him, while he pulled the teen closer to him. The vampire pulled up the bloodied bandage. “Look, it’s already closed up and the scar will be gone in a few hours.”

“Doesn’t make it any better that I shot you. I am going to find a way to ensure that I am never possessed again. There has to be some kind of magic that will stop it from happening.” Xander grumbled as he tucked his head in Angel’s neck, determined to talk to Giles when he went back to school.

He was exhausted and didn’t waste time in shedding his clothes and Angel’s, then dragging his mate into the bed and arranging them both till he was happy. The teen decided to completely ignore his mate laughing at him and just find the most comfortable spot before passing out.

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There was a slow, deep, beat coming from the stereo and they matched their movements to it. Their breathing slow and even as they went through various sets of exercises; smooth, almost sensuous movements that showed the control they both had over their bodies. They matched each other move for move till the strain because to show in the younger male’s muscles, the fine tremor barely noticeable from holding certain positions.

The two figures finally folded their bodies down to the floor and crossed their legs, after an hour of continuous movement, and one brought his breathing back down from the slightly increased pace. They began to meditate and the younger male brought his heartbeat down to match the slow and steady beat of the music. He let the music seep through his body and continued to keep his mind clear of anything else, focusing on the beat, and let the stress of the past couple weeks melt from his body. From Buffy to being possessed again he had not had a calming past month and needed to let the strain of it go.

It was another hour before there was any movement other then the slow rise and fall of a chest. With a small groan and slow stretch, the younger male laid his body out on the mat. “I really needed that. The tension with Buffy is giving me a headache. I mean she hasn’t even apologized to either of us and I am not talking about that after spending two hours to relax. I’m thinking a light snack then a nice bath.” Xander considered out loud as he continued to lay on the mat.

The vampire across from him obviously agreeing, as he got up and held a hand down to Xander before pulling him up and into a hug. The couple shared a few soft kisses, just enjoying the taste of each other, knowing they weren’t going anywhere. Xander tucked his head in Angel’s neck and breathed the vampire in, loving the cardamom and licorice smell even more then the first time he breathed it in, especially now that it had traces of cinnamon and chocolate from his own scent.

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“This is the last time I volunteer for recon. I’m never going to get that fishy smelling steam off of me.” Xander complained loudly as he entered the library. “They are doping the steam with some kind of fish steroids and if I get with the gills, I am going to be very pissed.”

“Well I think you looked good in a speedo.” Cordelia says as she looks up from filing her nails.

“Regular, intensive, exercise regimen does help but thank you.” Xander shoots back. He had noticed her do a double take during the swim meet and then a very slow up and down. Xander couldn’t help but flex for her, not the least self-conscious in his body anymore. The daily running and sparring had made his muscle definition even more prominent and he was proud of his body, no longer trying to hide it with baggy clothes and layers. He couldn’t wait to try the speedo on for Angel, though he was pretty sure the vampire would still prefer his jock-strap.

He can feel his enhanced healing purging whatever was in the steam, out of his body. This is what he gets for volunteering after find one of those sea-creatures. Angel wouldn’t even let him into their bed because he smelled fishy the night before and truthfully, he didn’t want this smell in their bedroom either.

“Have you found out anything else?” Giles asked him as he came out of his office, reading a book.

“Not really but the creature smelled like a concentrated version of what was coming out in that steam. I’m not so sure that the creatures are being attracted to the smell but that the boys are turning into the sea creatures. The smell is too similar and there was nothing left but skin of the one I ran across. Also, I refuse to go near that steam room again and it may have ruined all other steam rooms for me.” Xander continued to complain to the watcher, who showed him no sympathy. “This swimming thing is easy, I don’t see why they need steroids to manage it.” He wouldn’t mind joining the team if they weren’t a bunch of douches that were dosed to the gills, literally, on steroids. He wondered if there would be a swim team left after this.

“Yes, well they aren’t enhanced by a primal.” Giles reminded him dryly, which the teenager just shrugged off. His enhancements were natural, well sort-of.

This fish stank had better come off because he really wasn’t happy about not being able to sleep in his own bed and even Ace was avoiding him. You would think that a cat would like the smell, especially one who liked seafood so much. Xander was sure the cat could smell shrimp before it even made it into the house and would sit on ‘its’ stool in the kitchen and meow till someone feed it one or ten.

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Xander walked into the library and knocked on Giles office door, the man was completely absorbed in the book he was reading.

“Oh, morning. Come in. What can I do for you?” Giles asked as Xander sat down in front of the man’s desk.

“Dropping off this book, which the other two have already read. I still have one more to finish but then I’ll have read all the books you assigned us. Also, Angel wants me to tell you that he believes Drusilla may be up to something, he has been having sire dreams about her bringing some large statue to Sunnydale. Her and Spike have dropped off the radar and Angel believes that Dru has Spike under her thrall again. He has a few demons who work for him looking for them but till then he says to keep a look out, that there is no telling what she is up too. Angel does believe that whatever she is up to, isn’t good. The last he heard from Spike was the vampire telling him that Dru was telling him that the mouth of hell was calling to her.” Xander relayed to the watcher.

“None of that sounds good. Well, let us hope that Angel hears something else to give us a better lead on what she may be doing. There was a stolen stone block from a museum recently, I believe it contained a demon.” Giles replied.

The both looked up when they heard a commotion outside his office and went out to investigate. The other slayer, Kendra, was out there talking to Buffy.

She turned to Giles and greeted him before telling her message. “Me watcher sent me, as there are signs that a dark power be rising here.” Giles glanced at Xander before looking back at the slayer and asking her a few more question about what her watcher had said and what signs he had seen. The slayer presented a sword that was blessed by the same knight who had stopped Acathla before, the demon turned to stone and placed inside a stone block. Supposedly the demon had tried to suck the world into hell and if he was released he would do so again.

It appeared that Angel’s dreams were fairly correct and dread pooled in Xander’s stomach. The dreams had put Angel on edge, lately, and he seemed very worried about what could happen. Xander didn’t like apocalypses very much and wished they had less of them, maybe he should move away from the Hellmouth.

Giles called them all over and set some books on the table for them to go through and try to do some research on Acathla.

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Xander entered the mansion, cautiously, and took a deep breath, trying to smell who had been there recently. He caught Angel’s scent, Drusilla’s perfume, and some unknown scent. He had been in the library when he felt a sudden pain from the bond and then it had gone fuzzy, like Angel had gone back to sleep but Xander figured it was more likely he was unconscious. The teen had torn out of the school parking lot and had sped home.

He went to the bedroom, as it was obvious whoever had been there was long gone. In the bedroom, there was blood on the bed but not enough to worry about. Xander could smell Drusilla and the unknown scent, he let out a sound somewhere between a howl and a roar. He shoved at the bond, trying to get something from Angel’s end but it continued to be fuzzy.

Ace was tangling herself around his feet and yowling loudly, the cat seemed to be limping so Xander bent down to check on it and, thankfully, the leg didn’t seem broken. He would have to take her to the vet as soon as he got Angel back, though it was likely she would claw his face off if he tried. She had hated the vet since they’d first taken her and they had given her shots and had been even less impressed after she had been fixed. This had to be the one week that Zia and Vey weren’t there, they had gone to visit family in LA and wouldn’t be back for another day. He took a deep breath, trying to stave off the panic that his missing mate was causing.

Xander tried to follow the scent and it went back out the front door but they must have used a vehicle. The teen couldn’t follow the car more then a little down the road, as other car scents blended together. The bond was too fuzzy to try to follow it and it wasn’t something they had tested. When he got his hands on Drusilla he was going to kill the mad vampire for taking his mates.

He wasted no time in going back to the library and explaining why he left in such a hurry. Giles had gotten back while he had been gone, talking to the slayer’s mother again. The girl had finally been talked into letting her mother know what she had been up to, just days before. Her mother was taking time to try to understand but wasn’t taking it very well and didn’t want to allow Buffy to leave the house.

Xander left shortly after telling them that Angel had been taken and headed to Willie’s hoping that the man had some answers. The visit was short and unsuccessful but he had announced that anyone who had information to bring it to the mansion. He hoped someone had heard something but it was obvious that Drusilla was being very quiet about her activities, which was even more worrying. He drove around for a little while, driving passed some of the abandoned warehouses and the one that Spike and Drusilla had, had their minions in but there is no sign of Angel or the other two vampires.

When he gets back to the mansion there is a message from Giles that Drusilla attacked with a bunch of vampires and that she had thralled and killed Kendra before Buffy arrived. That Willow had been taken to the hospital for a concussion and he had a broken arm. That Snyder had Buffy arrested for the other slayers murder even though Giles said it couldn’t have been her but since Giles had been knocked out, he wasn’t a reliable witness. Xander figures he should head to the hospital to check on Willow and meet up with Giles.

When he gets there Willow is still unconscious and Giles is sitting in her room with a sling for his arm. They are whispering about what they could possibly do to track Angel or Drusilla, when Buffy sneaks into the hospital room.

“I thought you were arrested?” Xander asks.

“I was and then I escaped. I ran into someone by the name Whistler that said that Angel was going to be used to open Acathla, that it was his blood that would open it. He was being all cryptic so I just left him. Is Willow-?”

“Did you say Whistler? Shit, he’s the demon with visions from the Powers that Be that led Angel to Sunnydale and to help the slayer. Why did you leave before he was done explaining?” Xander interrupts Buffy.

“Because he was talking in riddles! Something about losing his soul if he was with me and then that he walked the correct path. It was a bunch of nonsense!” Buffy almost yelled at him before Giles hushed them both and told his slayer that Willow should be okay.

Xander left shortly after that to head back to the mansion to see if anyone had left a message there. When he got there, Spike was there.

Xander slammed the vampire into the wall and ignored the crack from the blonds’ skull. “What the hell did you do to Angel?! Where is he?!”

“Oi, that’s why I’m here! Dru’s thrall wore off because she is using her mojo for something else. She’s trying to keep Angel under but he keeps fighting it off and then she knocks him back out. She plans to use his blood to open that statue and suck the world into hell. I came to you for help. I want the world to continue like it is and would like for Dru to continue to not be ash, which she will be if the slayer finds her.” Spike explained quickly.

“Yeah, she will be. She killed the other slayer.”

“Dru took a slayer, good for her. Uh, I mean…” Spike trailed off and winced when Xander smashed him back into the wall.

“Hell, I’m thinking about dusting her because she took my mate, so why shouldn’t I?” Xander asked as he shook the vampire, his rage making fangs fill his mouth and speech difficult and he snapped those teeth at the vampire in front of him.

“Look, I don’t know what’s wrong with her but whatever is talking to her is bad stuff. She keeps talking about the first and the mouth of hell, she isn’t making any sense to me but she’s more powerful then she should be. I think something is possessing her and I just want to get her as far away from the Hellmouth as possible. I take you to Angel and you can save your mate and the day, yeah? I get to take Dru and get the hell out of town.”

Xander called the hospital and was connected to Willow’s room, hoping Giles would still be there and told the man where Angel was when the man picked up. The hospital was closer to where Drusilla was at and he figured back-up from Buffy wouldn’t hurt, plus she had the blessed sword.

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When they got there Buffy was fighting Angel and Drusilla was off to the side watching as the portal began to open from the stone demon’s mouth. She had obviously already used Angel’s blood to pull the sword and open the portal. He wasn’t sure why Buffy and Angel were fighting but it looked like she was going for the kill.

Xander didn’t waste time and laid Drusilla out with a single punch to the back of her head and didn’t slow down when he heard her spine crack. He watched as Buffy maneuvered Angel to in front of the widening portal and was about to plunge the sword in the vampire’s stomach when he left himself open. Xander launched himself forward, grabbing the sword and front kicked the slayer, viciously, sending her flying across the floor.

“Angel, grab the blade and slice your hand.” Xander commanded as he held the sword forward to the vampire, who listened to him even if he looked confused. When there was the vampire’s blood running down the blade, Xander launched it into the mouth of the demon and the portal snapped shut around it.

“What’s going on?” Angel asked as he swayed, blood was still sluggishly running down his face from where it was obvious he had been hit in the head multiple times.

“Dru got you and used your blood to open Acathla. I’m not sure why you were fighting Buffy but I got here after the portal was already open. Spike was able to throw off Dru’s thrall and come get me.” Xander explained as he pulled his mate to him.

“I remember waking up and then it went black, I woke up a few times and Dru tried to thrall me but it wasn’t working and she would have me knocked back out. The last time she used some magic on me and then I was pulling the sword from that stone. Then Buffy was attacking me saying my blood would close the portal.” Angel glanced over to the slayer who was still laying on the ground, just looking at the statue of the demon.

Xander stalked over to the slayer and pulled her up by her hair. “Why the hell were you trying to kill my mate, when all it took was blood. What the hell is your problem? Can’t have him for yourself, so decided to send him to hell?” Xander kicked the slayer in the stomach, sending her flying back away from him again. “You stay the hell away from me and my mate! Next time, you wont come out of it alive.”

Xander looked around and saw that Spike was long gone with Drusilla, so decided to take Angel with him back to the hospital so he could tell Giles what happened before he took his mate home.

When they got to the hospital, Willow was awake and responsive. It didn’t take him long to tell Giles and Willow what he knew about what happened and about Buffy trying to kill Angel. Giles was worried about mentions of this ‘first’ and planned to look into it soon. The watcher explained that Whistler showed up again and told Buffy it would take Angel’s blood to close Acathla but he didn’t realize she would take that to mean Angel’s death. Angel told the little he knew and was surprised that Whistler had shown up, the teen and watcher told what little they had heard from the slayer from her first meeting with the demon. Xander didn’t stay long, as he wanted to get some good blood in his mate and get both of them in bed. He was running on fumes.

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After a few bags of blood and a good few mouthfuls of Xander’s blood, the younger male led his mate to the shower so they could wash all the dried blood from Angel’s wounds off. That way he would be able to see if there were any wounds that needed to be tended too. When he was satisfied they were clean enough and there were no wound large enough to need tending, he pulled them from the shower and dried them both off.

Xander had forgotten there was blood on the bed and stripped the sheets off before putting on fresh ones and dragging his mate in and curling around him. They were both asleep in minutes. Nightmares of what could have happened plagued Xander’s sleep. Either the portal opening and unleashing hell on earth or not being fast enough to stop Buffy from pushing the sword into Angel’s stomach and shoving him into the portal.

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It’s a couple days before they get in contact with Giles to see if he has taken care of the Acathla statue like he said he would and they get a confirmation and that he needed to research the ‘first’ more but it was worrying. The watcher tells them that Buffy has left Sunnydale for the summer with her father, which makes them both breath easier. Giles informs them about his plans to go to England for the summer, again, and will leave keys for the library at the mansion before he heads to the airport in a few days and asks them to keep a record of any vampires they kill during patrols.

That he will, also, bring a small stack of books for Xander to read over the summer, most of it to do with the more ancient forms of earth magic. Xander only grumbles for show because homework over the summer isn’t his idea of fun but he is highly interested in the books. The teen was much more interested in magic then he expected himself to be but he assumed that had to do with being part primal. The few small spells Giles had shown them had come extremely easy to him, even if he had to make sure he didn’t make the spell too strong. The first time he had tried to light a candle with his magic, he had created a small bonfire that melted the entire thing.

They gave their goodbyes to the watcher and wish him a good summer, in case they don’t see him when he drops by the mansion.

Xander and Angel had been talking about what they planned to do for the summer and Xander was all for going to San Francisco again, especially for Pride. The teen knew the vampire would be able to go out during the day and he figured some sunscreen and staying in the shade would help. Angel, additionally, had business that would take them to LA for a few days at the end of the week. Xander was looking forward to that as well because he had never been to LA and figured they could check out a nightclub, when Angel wasn’t busy.

Chapter Text

Xander set his bag on the table in the hotel room before turning to Angel who was hanging his clothes up in the small closet in the room. They had left at sundown to head to LA and it hadn’t taken but two hours to get here, so it was still fairly earlier. They planned to have a look around tonight, as Angel’s business wasn’t till tomorrow, and Xander was excited about checking out a new city. He hoped to find a decent restaurant open late because his stomach was already growling, even though he had eaten before he left.

They had been wandering around for a little over an hour before they came to a door where demons seemed to be going in and out, they could both hear music inside. They glanced at each other and decided to check it out. There was a sign on the door that warned against violence, below the name Caritas, and they could feel magic wash over them as they stepped through the door. Angel went to the bar and got them both drinks before bringing them back to a small table in a corner that Xander had claimed.

“Man, there are a lot of demons in here and some of these species don’t even get along.” Xander proclaimed quietly when Angel set the drinks down. The teen cautiously sipped at what Angel had gotten him before giving a surprised noise, whatever the drink was, was very delicious. Xander had found he didn’t really like straight liquors and only some beers but enjoyed mixed drinks and a few wines that Angel opened for dinner some evenings. Though he didn’t make a habit of drinking more then the occasional glass of wine with dinner because he didn’t want to be like his parents.

“Yeah. I asked at the bar and apparently there is some anti-violence spell over the building.” Angel told him as he took a sip of his whiskey.

“Really? I didn’t know that something like that was possible. I wonder if we can figure out how it was done and have something like that done at Willie’s and maybe even at the house?” Xander asked as he winced listening to some purple demon with greenish spikes screech on the stage. The added as an after thought. “Apparently, this place is a karaoke bar, a demon karaoke bar. Who would have ever thought of that?”

“I would have. The name’s Lorne, lovelies. The owner of this fine establishment and who might you two be?” A demon with green skin, red horns, and red eyes proclaimed as he sidled up to their table.

“I’m Angel and this is my mate Xander.” The vampire answered as he assessed the demon.

“Really? So, why a karaoke bar?” Xander couldn’t help but ask after his mate answered the demon.

“I’m an empathic demon, love. Easier to read demons and people when they bare their soul when they sing. Want to give it a try, I could tell you what kind of trials you could be in for.” The demon, Lorne, said as he gestured to the stage. Both Angel and Xander shook their head but Angel did ask him about the anti-violence spell.

“I contracted the Furies to cast a sanctuary spell, it stops any demon violence from occurring. This is what this place is, a sanctuary for demons and humans.” Lorne informs them.

“Huh. What about human violence?” Xander asked, as he looked around because there were actually a few humans or at least human looking people in the bar. Lorne didn’t seem to have an answer to that but Xander was well aware just how violent humans could be.

They spoke with Lorne for a few more minutes before a demon that had been singing came up to him to ask him what the empathic demon had seen. As they left, Xander hoped they would get to come back before they left LA in a couple days and see the flamboyant demon again.

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The next night when Angel was leaving the hotel to meet with some demons about some rumors he had heard, Xander tried hard not to let his unease show. He had been trying not to be clingy with his mate but every time Angel was out of his sight, his stomach would fill with dread. Nightmares were still plaguing his sleep about what could have happened and he knew Angel was noticing. It had taken everything not to insist on going with Angel but knew it would be better for the vampire to go by himself, plus Xander had to get used to not having his mate in eyesight at all times.

He was trying to keep it from coming across their mating bond, so strongly, since he knew Angel would know something was wrong if he tried to close it off completely. As an hour, then a second, crept by his anxiety kept climbing even though he knew Angel would be gone for a few hours at least. Xander felt a gentle questioning curious nudge from Angel’s side of the bond and he sent back an equivalent of all clear but wasn’t surprised by the disbelief that crept though.

Xander picked up one of the books that Giles left with him and tried to lose himself in the words of earth magic that called to him. The teen wondered if he would be able to duplicate the effects of the sanctuary spell and couldn’t wait to ask Giles for any ideas, when the man returned at the end of the summer.

It was another hour before Angel returned and he set a bag that smelled like it held the most amazing burger in the world down and a large chocolate shake on the table near the bed. Xander wasn’t able to stop himself from pulling his mate into an almost desperate kiss, his stomach finally unclenching and the rush of relief almost making him dizzy.

Angel pulled back and gave him a look. “So, that was nothing? I know something’s been bothering you.”

Xander pulled Angel over him and onto the bed, so he could shove his face in the older man’s neck. “I keep having dreams about what could have happened, about losing you.” He mumbled against the cool skin.

“Mo chroí (my heart), I am here and I will not leave you.” The vampire tried to reassure him but Xander already knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Angel would never voluntarily leave him. Some mix of the mating bond and primal made him completely sure in his relationship with Angel, knew the vampire had meant forever when he said it and that was what they would have. It was someone or something else taking his mate away that scared him. No matter how strong the master vampire was, he could still be taken by surprise even in their own home.

“I know you would never leave me, if you had a choice, but something could take you from me. Drusilla walked into our home, our home! Then stole you from our bed and if I hadn’t been fast enough, the slayer could have shoved you into a portal to hell. That’s what scares me!” Xander confessed as he gripped his mate tighter, he knew his grip was tight enough to make bruises on the vampire but he couldn’t convince his hands to relax their hold.

“We can do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again but I can’t make a promise that I’ll never be hurt or taken again. I can’t even guarantee that something will never take you. But know I’ll do everything I can to always get back to you. I plan for our forever to be a very long time and have no plans to let some enemy take that from us.” Angel told his shaking mate and kissed away the few tears that fell down the young man’s face. This was the release that Xander needed after that night and had been holding in.

They lay there together till Xander’s stomach grumbled, causing them both to laugh. “I guess I should probably try that amazing smelling burger now.”

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Late that same night they were back at Caritas and this time were sitting at a far corner of the bar. They listened to the various demons and humans signing, some actually pretty decent and others made Xander want to scoop his eardrums out. Lorne came up to them after they had been there for an hour and greeted them, asking again if they wanted to sing. Angel declined but Xander decided to be brave and agreed to go up on stage.

When it was his turn, he sat on the stool and wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans. The country song began to play and Xander took a deep breathe before he began singing. He liked the song, Amazed by Lonestar, well enough and knew the vocals and hoped he wasn’t destroying any eardrums. When the song came to an end, he was surprised by the round of applause and gave a wave before booking it off stage, to a few laughs.

Lorne was looking a little stunned when he made it back to his seat at the bar. “So, what do have for me?”

“Man, lovely, you sure have an interesting life and will continue to for a long while. Someone has big plans for you and your mate. I saw an almost ghost of what could have been if you hadn’t kept that primal you happen to be housing, while you won in the end, there was so much heartache and loss. Whatever changed your destiny, it’s big. You’ll still face some bad stuff and losses but nothing like it could have been and in the end, well, some version of happy ever after.” Lorne told them before walking away.

Xander and Angel sat there in silence for a few minutes before looking at each other. They were aware that if Xander hadn’t kept the primal, that he and Angel probably would never have gotten together. That with the few things Xander had heard Buffy say Whistler had said, made it seem like Angel would have ended up with Buffy but would have lost his soul. It caused them both to wonder what the damage would have been before the soul was restored or if it would have been.

Angel pulled his mate to him and hugged him close, laying a soft kiss to his dark hair. Then suggested they leave and spend some quality time in bed together.

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Xander was glad to be back home after the few days in LA, while he enjoyed his time there nothing was as comfortable as his bed. Along with the fact he had his own pool, one which wasn’t filled with germs of strangers like the one in the hotel had been. Ace had greeted them enthusiastically at the door when they had arrived last night and had been determined to sleep in their bed. Zia told them the cat had meowed sadly while laying on their bed after the second day of them being gone.

Xander was floating on his back in the pool with Ace laying at the edge, both soaking up the midday sun, and waiting on Oz to arrive. The werewolf was mostly busy with traveling with his band this summer but was home this weekend for the full moon. Xander had invited him over to relax in the pool till this evening.

The two planned to drive deep into the Los Padres National Forest, which was less then an hour drive from Sunnydale, and spend the night there. The full moon nights after the first, were all done in a warehouse Angel had secured for that purpose. The warehouse had been a large empty space that Xander and Oz had filled with stuff to make it more interesting for the nights of the transformation. They had even had dirt and sod laid down in a large section with a few kitty pools of water set around the open space and tunnels and large dog toys gave them stuff to interact with. The warehouse had served its purpose well and would be there if they needed it again but Oz was finally ready to try to spend the nights of his transformation in the woods. Xander figured if they were deep enough, the only thing they would come across would be wildlife.

Xander heard Oz arrive, Zia greeting him at the door and directing him towards the pool. When the teen walked out of the open glass doors toward the pool, the sun-warmed teen finally turned his head and opened an eye. “Hello, join me. Though you should probably put on some sunscreen, as you look as pale as Angel.” Xander warned, he had the stuff forced on him already by Zia, even if he didn’t burn easy.

“You look like you’re enjoying yourself.” Oz stated as he took off his shirt and started putting sunscreen on and was helped in the task by Zia, who dropped off lemonade and some cut up fruit. They both thanked the demon before she bustled away again.

“I am. So, tell me about your summer.” Xander commanded as he shut his eyes again and kind of floated in a half-doze as he listened to Oz be almost rambling, talking about the gigs his band had played.

Later that night, Xander was pulling into a spot in the forest and they would begin their hike deeper into the woods. He hoped his sense of smell would be able to lead them back out in the morning. After close to an hour of hiking and straining to hear any human but unable to, Xander stopped them in a small clearing. The moon would be rising soon and he wanted Oz to already be meditating when it happened, as it seemed to make the transformation less painful. That and the use of just a bit of primal magic, Xander had been experimenting with using more each time and it seemed to call the werewolf faster but less painfully. The only problem was that it seemed to draw Xander closer and closer to his own transformation and he was slightly worried that tonight he would finally transform completely. The teen just hoped he would still be in control of himself.

They sat in the center of the clearing and began to clear their minds and started to mediate. As the moon started to rise and pull Oz along, Xander feed his own primal magic into the other teenager which soothed the transformation. Xander felt himself be pulled along as well, the animal within himself rushing to the surface and where he would normally stop the rise, he was unable to and felt himself fall over the edge. His body twisting and writhing, his magic swirling thick and heady in the air, before with a final rush he was laying there panting on his side.

Xander noticed he wasn’t in a human shape anymore and tried to stand but his legs weren’t steady enough to hold him, yet. A large black shape came over to him, sniffing and whining as it nuzzled him. He shook it off as he made another attempt to stand, this one successful, and looked down at paws, which he flexed into the earth below him. Xander could feel the more animalistic side of him but while it was closer to the surface it wasn’t overwhelming and he felt closer to the earth, both literally and figuratively. He wished he could see himself, as he felt much larger then a hyena had any right to be, as he was level with Oz. The forest seemed alive, teeming with scents and sounds, and his ears were twitching back and forth trying to track them and his nose was sniffing madly.

Oz howled at the moon next to him and he added his own baying noise before they were both bursting forward at a full run. They leapt and ducked through the underbrush, then locked onto a fleeing prey and switched their direction. Together they brought down the deer, snapping it’s spine and ripping out it’s neck in a gush of blood, before they began to tear into it. Xander cracked open the chest, with massive jaws, to get at the heart, while Oz shredded it’s hindquarter.

They spent the rest of the night wrestling through the woods, chasing each other and prey, before they exhausted themselves and cuddled together under the falling moon, at the base of a large tree. In the morning, they woke in a tangle of naked limbs that caused Oz to blush and Xander to smirk. They were both covered with dirt and blood and Xander hoped he could find the clearing from the night before, as Oz had left his clothes and shoes there. Xander was surprised when it only took them about half an hour to find the clearing and realized they had been running large circles around it most of the night.

As Xander expected there wasn’t much he could do with the clothes he had been wearing but his shoes had survived and he had, thankfully, brought a change of clothes for himself. They used the large bottles of water they had brought in their backpacks and the rags of Xander’s shirt to clean themselves off the best they could before they dressed. Then downed the left over water and ate a bag of jerky, as they hiked back to the jeep. Xander had packed some juice and food in a cooler and had left it in the jeep, which they munched as they drove back to the mansion where they planned on long showers and longer naps.

The next two nights Xander was able to shift with Oz and they ran through the woods, chasing each other and hunting down prey. Xander had practiced during the day to shift at will without Oz there, it wasn’t as easy and it took a lot of energy and he had problems changing back immediately or shifting multiple times in a row. He planned to continue shifting hoping that it would make the transition easier and that he would be able to move between the two forms quickly.

Xander changed in front of a mirror so he could get a better look at himself. The form he took was probably larger then any natural hyena he was aware of, close to 200lbs, and it seemed a mix of the spotted and striped hyena. He knew the primal spirit had possessed both and it seemed both species had left their marks on the primal. The last hyena was a spotted or laughing hyena and his form seemed to have it’s rounded ears and more bear-like build but had the longer mane of the striped hyena, that when agitated it stood up to make it seem even larger and the fluffier tail. His coat is a dark golden with dark brown marks that seem to be a random mix of spots and stripes. The back legs being shorter then the front were hard to get use to but the thick, heavily muscled, shoulders give him incredible long-distance endurance. From the research he did on hyenas after his possession, he knows that spotted hyenas have some of the strongest jaws in the world, able to crack elephant and rhino bones, and they can weigh up to 175lbs. The stripped are smaller, only weighing up to 120lbs, but are just are ferocious.

When he was in hyena form he found it was harder to deny some of his more animalistic tendencies but was grateful that he was still in control of himself. Ace showed, absolutely, no fear of him when he was shifted and the animal side of his brain saw the kitten as part of the pack, so he didn’t have to worry about her getting hurt. They chased each other around the house and Xander let the kitten tackle him to the ground, while Angel just laughed at them and told him not to destroy any furniture. The kitten loved to climb over him and had even ridden on his back through the house, when he was shifted. Xander knew he would have fun with this second form and couldn’t wait to show Giles.

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Xander couldn’t keep the large smile off his face as he looked around and took in the rainbow painted party going on around him. He was wearing low hanging shorts that were only managing to stay on his hips because of his belt and a see through, sleeveless, white mesh shirt, his skin underneath was painted a rainbow of neon colors. Angel had on black jeans and black a-shirt but Xander had been able to talk him into putting a few slashes of paint on it. They were both garnering, appreciative, glances from those near them and Angel had his arm firmly around Xander to discourage anyone from getting too close. The last guy who had tried to talk to Xander had been growled at.

It had actually taken some talking and a little begging to get Angel to come. The vampire had been more then willing to come with him to San Francisco but less willing to stand in a pushing crowd of humanity. Angel had even suggested taking Oz or even Willow instead but Xander had been firm and the vampire gave in to his whims, in the end.

Xander did have to admit that the press of the crowds, the noises, and smells were a little overwhelming but he was enjoying himself. They had found a spot that had shade from both a tree and a building and were watching as the parade went by. He had made sure that the master vampire realized how appreciative he was for coming with him. The dance of rainbow colors and skin was distracting and eye-catching.

The teen wasn’t even sure why he was so adamant about coming to the Pride parade, whether it was because he himself was now firmly ’out’ or maybe because his body shared space with a female primal, even if it was now fully a part of him. It had taken that primal for him to admit that he was interested in the same sex and here was a mass of people proudly proclaiming their sexual identity without the help of a primal spirit. He wondered how many had unsupportive parents like he did, who faced being kicked out if they did openly admit their desires.

He let the melancholy thoughts drift away and allowed himself to be swept up by the happiness of the crowd around him.

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Xander pressed his body back into his mate’s, his arms thrown back around Angel’s head, and let the beat of the drums melt into his bones, setting a rhythm that made his hips sway enticingly. He thanked the primal, again, for it was her that had given him a rhythm or at least the grace, though now he seemed to like music with more drums then anything and when he was sitting at the house he always had drum heavy tribal type music or something with a bunch of bass going in the background. The deep pulsing rhythms talking to something deep within him. He lost himself in the resonating, thumping, bass of the music and could feel that animalistic part of himself rise. Felt the demon, through the bond, in Angel rise to meet it and twisted in his mate’s grasp to press his groin tight against the vampire’s. It was no surprise that they were both hard, their almost tangible want for each other surrounding them in a cloud of lust.

Angel dragged him from the club and they hardly made it to their room before they were ripping each other’s clothes off. Xander couldn’t shake the fangs and claws and could see that Angel was making no attempt to hide his own demonic face. They came back together in a clash and tumbled to the bed in a tangle of limbs. Together, the two lost themselves in a rush of touch, taste, and scent till they exhausted themselves in the early hours of the morning.

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Xander stretched slowly as he woke, his spine popping and causing a satisfied groan to leave the teen’s mouth. He glanced down at himself and saw the fading marks Angel had left on his body the night before, pinking fading lines of sharp fingernails and healing imprints of the vampire’s teeth, scattered over his skin. When he glanced at Angel, the vampire’s back uncovered and showing healing lines from Xander’s own claws that had brought blood the night before, blood he had licked off after he was finished making them.

He luxuriated in the sleep warm bed for a few more minutes before rolling out of it and stretching again before heading to take a shower. Angel and he planned to head back home tonight but not before they ate at a restaurant that was highly recommended by other demons, who had passed through this area. The establishment was run by a family of demons and they had food that catered to the eclectic taste of most species of demon. Angel had made them a reservation earlier in the summer when Xander mentioned wanting to come back to San Francisco.

Angel was stretching in the bed, as he came out of the bathroom drying his hair, and Xander smirked when he caught the approving look from his mate as the vampire watched a few drops of water roll down his sun-tanned skin. “Like what you see.” Xander teased as he gave a little circle, showing off the barely there marks from the night before.

“Come closer, mo ghrian (my sun).” Angel held out a hand as he tempted the younger male.

“Nope. You need to shower, we have a reservation in an hour and a half and that place is on the other side on the city. I am very hungry but I’m waiting since this place is supposed to be amazing.” Xander told the older man before going to the closet and finding some of the nicer clothes he had brought. Pulling a pair of simple black slacks and dark green button up shirt off their hangers and evading the hands of his mate, when he passed by to head to the shower.

The teen was dressed and running a comb through his hair when Angel walked out of the bathroom, completely naked. The vampire stalked up to him and pulled him in for a kiss that left him breathless before pulling back with a smirk. Xander just shook his head at his mate and watched as the perfect, pale, skin was covered by clothes. Angel had chosen slacks similar to his own and a dark wine red silk shirt. Xander had his shirtsleeves rolled up his forearms, as it was still warm out as the sun set.

The only reason Xander’s stomach wasn’t protesting loudly by the time they made it to the little restaurant was because he had eaten a granola bar from the selection of snacks Zia had made and sent with them for the trip. Xander was surprised there was so little food smell when they entered the restaurant and when he asked the hostess who sat them, he was told it was a spell to dissipate smells. Supposedly, some item’s smell weren’t appealing to others and it ruined their visit. They were seated in a quiet little corner at a table with a small bouquet and candle before a waiter came up to them, a member of the family who owned the restaurant, and asked if it was their first time there before talking for another minute then telling them their food would be ready shortly. Xander glanced at Angel, who shrugged, it seemed that you didn’t order here.

When the food was brought out to their table, Xander was over doubting them and when he took a bite of the tender meat he couldn’t hold back the moan. His meal was a bowl of fragrant rice topped with barely seared meat of an unknown origin tossed in exotic spices and equally unknown root vegetables with a bone broth. When Xander was able to pull himself away from his own meal to see what Angel had gotten, he saw a look of matching bliss on the vampire’s face. A few deep sniffs told him that the vampire was enjoying some type of blood soup, though it seemed creamy and there looked to be some kind of meat in it and if Xander had to guess, he would have to say heart.

After their meal, desert was brought out. For Xander it was a molten lava cake that was a rich mix of chocolate and chili spices and they even gave him a small cup of raw milk to go with it. Angel had what they called blood chocolates and the vampire had asked if he was able to order any to go, the waiter was more then happy to box up a small order for him.

When they were finished the chef came out to the table and talked with them for a minute, ensuring they had enjoyed their meal and they were both highly complimentary. Angel even enquired about expanding, explaining that he was the Master of the Hellmouth and that they could use such a place there. That the no-ill-intent spell over the place should be more then satisfactory to keep any hot-tempered demons in line. The head chef and head of the family of demons that ran the restaurant asked for Angel’s number before they left and said he would get in contact with him. This was the second time Xander had come across a no-violence or no-ill-intent spell and was even more determined to replicate the effects or find the spells that were used.

As they left, Xander told Angel they should move into the apartments across the square from the restaurant and that they should eat there ever night. Then he warned Angel if he told Zia about that comment, he wouldn’t let the vampire into their bed for a week. The older male had scoffed at Xander willingly keeping him out of their bed that long and said that he would crack after a day. The teen asked just how willing he was to bet on that, when it was his strength of will that allowed him to house a primal without it taking him over. That had shut the vampire up quickly.

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The rest of the summer passed much quicker then Xander wanted but had been fruitful. Angel had gotten books on magic and a few grimoires for Xander and he had poured over them. He believed he even found spells that he could utilize and possibly an idea on creating a no-violence spell, though he was going to wait till he could discuss it with Giles. Angel was great to bounce ideas off of and had a very good grasp of magical knowledge but wasn’t the magic practitioner that Giles was.

Also, the fifth son of the demon who ran the restaurant in San Francisco was willing to open one in Sunnydale. The son had been wishing to expand or open his own restaurant as his older brothers either helped manage the one in San Fran or had already moved to other cities to open one. Angel and the two demons were talking regularly and the son had come to look for a location, with Angel willing to be a backer to the restaurant if they needed it. Xander was very excited about the idea of a similar restaurant in Sunnydale, the food had been incredible. Angel told him it was the species of demon, Irnsheffs that made it so between their enhanced senses and their specific type of empathy they were able to give each customer exactly what they would enjoy most.

Xander had been able to spend some time with Willow, she had brought her cat over to the house to play with Ace and then it had spent the whole time being terrorized by the smaller cat. They had lounged in the pool a few times and the red head had lamented about dating a musician who traveled with his band, in an over exaggerated manner. All in all it had been an amazing summer and Xander was dreading school starting back the next week, even if he was a senior now.

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