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The New Path

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**Chapter 1:

 

It’s a couple days before Xander realizes it’s not just his imagination and he still has the primal spirit inside his head. It’s been almost two days since the ritual that was suppose to move the primal out of his body but she’s still there. Though instead of in complete control, like before, she’s just a quiet presence at the back of his mind.

What really solidified he wasn’t imagining it was following the scent of someone, right to their apartment. The scent had been on his mind almost since the primal possessed him, she was drawn to it instantly. He had first smelled it on Buffy when the alpha had been in control and that’s why they attacked her because the primal saw Buffy as competition for a potential mate, wanted to show her who was dominate. They had realized right away that the scent wasn’t human but it isn’t till Xander is stalking the street of Angel’s apartment that he realized that the hyena was, very much, still there. It takes more willpower then Xander is willing to admit to, to actually leave and head back towards his house. He can only hope that Angel didn’t see or hear him as he entered his apartment.

Xander lays awake that night trying to figure out what to do, if he should tell anyone that he still has the primal spirit of the hyena taking up space inside him or figure out what Angel is, first. Maybe he should tell them but he’s worried they will take her away but it feels too late for that already. She just wanted a safe place, a pack, and now a mate and she doesn’t want to leave and Xander doesn’t mind her there, welcomes her in fact. It doesn’t feel the same as before the ritual to remove the primal, less animalistic but not completely so and there is no blood lust. He isn’t sure that it’s just because he’s in control because he knows something left him during the ritual.

He wonders if that’s her influencing him but it doesn’t feel that way. He feels stronger, faster, and he knows his senses are heightened. He has a new set of instincts now and a lessening sense of human inhibitions, both of which will serve him well on a Hellmouth, where he helps slay vampires, seriously vampires! That still catches him off guard, sometimes.

Though the mate thought is a little worrying, especially since it’s Angel, Buffy’s mysterious helper and the fact he isn’t human. He wasn’t able to get close enough to find out what he was though and wonders if Angel will be able to tell that Xander isn’t completely human either.

Maybe, he should tell Willow first, since he and the hyena considers her pack now, someone to protect, though at first the hyena saw her as too weak, till she smelled the potential power of Willow’s magic and realized how much she meant to Xander. Where the hyena considers Buffy competition still and Giles is firmly in Buffy’s pack, Xander see’s Buffy as a friend and Giles as a mentor. At least he’s over his hopeless crush on Buffy, yeah, no chance of that working out when the new part of him wants to attack her.

It is getting a little confusing in his head lately. All his own thoughts and feelings and the primal’s feelings and instincts all blending together. Plus, the added input from his heightened senses is slightly overwhelming. So, Xander decides to just get some sleep and make a decision tomorrow, maybe, and is almost asleep before his bedroom door bangs open. Damn, he forgot to lock it.

“I thought you were told to take out the trash, can’t even do one thing right can you!” The words slightly slurred but Xander has become an expert at figuring out what his dad is yelling at him, when he’s drunk.

Even though he knows it will do no good. “I did, as soon as I got home from school.”

“Now you’re lying to me, you little fucking bastard.” His dad takes a few slightly stumbling steps towards him and Xander knows he’s going to end up with a few bruises.

As his fear notches up, because one day his dad isn’t going to stop, he feels the primal stand up and growl in his mind, more then willing to put up a fight and protect Xander. Xander takes a few moments to decide if he should let her out some more or take the beating. Decides as long as she doesn’t kill him, just scare his dad enough to leave him alone.

In a second, Xander is up and in his dad’s face, just realizing he is already as tall as him and he knows his eyes are glowing green. “Yeah, what are you going to do, you pathetic drunk? Beat up your own son. You can try.” And that’s accompanied by that eerie laughter and Xander watches as surprise, confusion, and a hint of fear flash across his father’s face as he takes a stumbling step back. He hasn’t ever felt this calm and in control in the face of one of his dad’s drunk rages.

Maybe his dad is even drunker then normal because he clearly ignores the glaring signs to stop. “I’ll show you to respect me.” Xander is able to catch the hand that was coming up to deliver a blow to his face and squeezes, feeling the wrist bones grinding together.

“You are going to turn around and walk out of here or I’m going to snap your wrist, understand?” Xander notices his voice is deeper and growling. He can smell the fear finally coming off his dad. Xander gets a frantic nod and lets go of the wrist and watches the drunk man stumble out of his room. Xander makes sure to close and lock the door this time.

Yeah, he is definitely keeping the primal. He would much prefer the man to fear him, then the other way around and get beat for whatever reason the drunk makes up.

Now he just needs to figure out what Angel is and what he is going to do about that.

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Holy shit, batman, he’s a Vampire!! Xander had gotten close enough to Angel to see if he could get a better smell of his scent and had noticed the serious lack of heartbeat. Xander had gotten away as fast as he could, hoping Angel hadn’t realized Xander was able to tell what he is. What really confused Xander was why Angel was helping Buffy, was it a trick?

Also, Xander had noticed he smelled different then other vampires, though really Xander only knew what fledges smelt like, which was death, earth, and blood lust. Angel had smelled deeper but also closer to a human, not the blood lust that all the other vampires smelled like. He didn’t smell like human blood either but rather something animal. Now Xander had more questions, then answers. Should he tell Buffy or does she know, she’s a slayer, they’re suppose to be able to sense vampires, so maybe she knows but Xander doubts it. She’s more of a slay now, ask questions never kind of gal.

Xander decides to just keep an eye on Angel and see what he’s up too. Though him being a vampire, doesn’t seem to make him any less of a potential mate to the primal, even if it throws Xander. He admits he has always thought Angel was gorgeous, which is another indicator that the spirit is easing some of his inhibitions. When he first realized he was attracted to guys as well as girls, after having a few wet dreams about Jesse, he pushed those thoughts and feelings as deep as he could. His dad had made it very clear he would ‘beat the faggot’ out of Xander if he found him with a guy. Now though, he doesn’t fear his dad at all and the fact he is sharing space with a female alpha, it figures he would prefer males now.

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Angel had sensed Xander nearby and had noticed that the boy’s scent was stronger and wilder, it called to his demon even more so now. He was finding it difficult to continue to ignore the boy, the one who had called to his demon from the first time he saw and smelt him. The boy’s heart had tripped and stuttered before he had made a hasty exit, it didn’t take a genius to figure out that the boy had found out what Angel really was. It didn’t bother him, just made him more curious and even relieved that Xander knew what he was. Angel knew there was no real chance with the slayer, that his demon recoiled in disgust every time she was near and wanted to lash out and kill her when she touched him but he had thought she would be his redemption, had been clinging to that desperately.

The boy, was a completely different story, had made his demon react with pleasure the first time he had smelled Xander but Angel had been denying his demon so long, it had become habit, even if his soul was just as attracted. Dark hair and dark innocent eyes, always drew him in, whether he was demon or human. His demon had been rattling its cage more and more as Angel continued to ignore the boy and put his attention on the slayer. He wasn’t sure how much longer he would be able to ignore him, now especially, when his scent had become even stronger and seemed to call specifically to him. Nothing had held his demons attention this long, not since Drusilla, and even this was different as his demon had no intention of tormenting or destroying him first, just wanted to possess him, turn him into his childe, and even protect him.

Which wasn’t something his demon had ever wanted to do before, while he had always been possessive and obsessive with what he considered his, he had never wanted to protect something or someone for no other reason then to keep it safe. It made him think that the boy would probably be the only thing safe if his demon ever gained control again.

Angel needed to find the boy and figure out why his scent had changed, why he had been following Angel, and why he had been stalking the street by Angel’s apartment because now he knew that the new scent that had lingered near his home was the boy’s.

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Xander had been wavering between staying out of Angel’s sight or confronting him the past few days, though staying away would normally be easier but all of a sudden Angel was everywhere. He knew Angel realized something was different with him and was just as intently watching him as Xander was watching Angel. He was so absorbed in thought he didn’t hear Buffy entering the library.

“He’s a vampire! Angel is a vampire!” Well duh, is exactly not what Xander says and he barely keeps the eye roll in check.

“Why do you believe so?” Giles asked as he was coming out of his office. 

“We kissed and all of a sudden he pulls back and he’s all vamp face and then he jumps out of the window. Why has he been helping me if he’s a vampire? Is it a trick, something to do with the Master?” Xander could barely hold back the growl, the primal was pissed, someone touching what she already considered hers. Yeah, he needed to keep those feelings in check.

“I don’t know. Let me check my books, you all can help me.” With that Giles disappears back into his office, then comes out with a large stack of books. “Look through these and we can see if we can find him and an explanation for his behavior.”

The next while was filled with tense silence and the flipping of pages.

“Oh my, I think I have found him. He use to go by Angelus, and he was umm…quite sadistic, it would seem, known as part of the Scourge of Europe, till the turn of the century when he came to America and began to shun the presence of other vampires.” Giles voice was shaky as he relayed what he read.

“He smells different from other vampires.” Was out of Xander’s mouth before he could stop himself.

“What?!” Comes from Giles, Buffy, and Willow, all are looking at him like he’s crazy.

Shit… “When the hyena was in control, she could tell he smelled different and he also smells different then other vampires, fledges smelled like death, dirt, and blood lust and he didn’t smell like any of that. He smelled, well umm…really good. It was why I attacked Buffy, his scent was on her and the hyena didn’t like that.” And now that were looking at him like they thought he was crazy and trying to decide if they should cage him up again. He really hoped they would over look the fact he admitted Angel smelled good…so good, like he could roll in it…oops distracted by smell-o-vision, again. That was becoming a problem.

“Xander, that seems like a really informed response from someone who said they couldn’t remember much?” Giles reply was even but his eyes were sharp and calculating.

“Umm…well at first it was all blurry and some things weren’t easy to recall but then over a few days it all came back with vivid Technicolor and smell-o-vision. I…umm…maybe the spirit isn’t as gone as we thought.” That was a massive understatement but he was trying to ease them into this, especially since he had outed himself before he was ready.

“Explain now!” Xander winced at the shout, he hadn’t seen Giles that…emotive ever and now he had to explain and try to make them not take her away.

“Well, at first I thought it was all my imagination, that it was just left over impressions from the possession.” An impression that made him want to follow Angel’s scent around like a lovesick puppy.

“What was your imagination?” Jeez, he was getting there, impatient watcher man.

“Enhanced smells, hearing things I shouldn’t be able too. Then I found myself tracking someone by scent the other day and realized she might still be there. Not like before, not in control just kind of like a…presence at the back of my mind. I realized I was stronger, faster, all my senses are enhanced. She was just looking for a safe place and pack, when she was pulled out of the hyena at first she was unwilling, reacting like a wild animal backed into a corner would, and lashed out. Once the ritual was done again and the zookeeper tried to take all the spirits into himself, she didn’t want to go into him, she thought he was bad, so she stayed.” Now a deep breath. Well Xander babble was good for something.

“Why didn’t you tell me immediately, you stupid child. You have no idea what you are dealing with.” Ouch. But, that reaction right there was why he hadn’t said anything.

“At first, I was just trying to figure out if I was just losing my mind, then when I was positive she was there, I didn’t know how to tell you and if I did, what you would do. I mean you said the only way to get her out was for her to voluntarily move to another but she doesn’t want to go and I think I want to keep her. I mean I feel safer with her there and she isn’t in control.” The primal’s presence was comforting actually but he wasn’t saying that and he didn’t know how to explain that she had no intentions of taking over again and she was nothing like before, he wasn’t exactly sure how he knew.

“You have no idea what she could do. The spirit could easily take over and do unknown damage. I can’t believe you would be so ignorant and what, you think she’s going to keep you safe?” Giles voice was getting louder and full of condescension.

“She hasn’t tried to gain control again and she already has kept me safe, when my dad came to beat me again because he was drunk, she helped make me unafraid and made him back off.” And shit, he really hadn’t meant to say that. But at least it shut Giles up and Buffy was looking more shocked then anything.

“Xander, is he really? You said it hadn’t happened again?” He could hear the sadness in Willow’s voice.

“Yeah, Wills, he never really stopped, just learned to not leave too many visible bruises. I didn’t want to tell you, I could see how it affected you.” Oops, wrong answer, there’s ‘Resolve Face’.

“Xander Harris, I am your best friend and you are suppose to tell me if something like this is happening. We could have done something.” Xander wasn’t sure what she thought she could do but he wasn’t going to say that.

“Well now it doesn’t matter, he’s scared of me. All I did was grab his wrist when he went to hit me and gripped it really tight, though I’m pretty sure my eyes were glowing green and I told him to leave me alone or I would break it. So, I think I’m safe. Plus, we live on the Hellmouth, we are out there going after vamps and other stuff, plus we’re friends with a slayer, so yeah, being faster and stronger is of the good.” He really hoped he could convince Giles, because Willow wouldn’t be as hard to convince now, at least till he confessed he or at least the primal wanted Angel as his mate. He was going to put that conversation off till…forever.

“Well, I think I should research this some more but there was no other way to remove the spirit mentioned, other then it voluntarily leaving. I’m not sure its wise to share your body with such a spirit, even if it does make you stronger.” Then, Giles turned around to Buffy and added, “Also, I believe you should be careful but maybe see if Angel will give you an explanation of his behavior if he comes to you again and be careful.” With that and a huff, Giles disappeared back into his office.

Buffy left immediately after and that just left Willow and Xander, a Willow that was giving Xander big sad eyes. “Want me to walk you home, Wills?” He tried his most charming, love me, smile.

“Yes, please.” Xander could tell it would be a question filled walk.

“You should of told me about the hyena and Tony.” They hadn’t even made it out of the school yet but Willow above everyone deserved answers.

“Yeah. I guess I should have told you about him but I just…I don’t know. I was scared and embarrassed and didn’t really know what could be done. And I was going to tell you about the hyena thing. We consider you pack and you’re my best friend, Willow.”

“So, why was she kind of mean to me when she was in control if you consider me pack?” Xander had figured that was coming, he hadn’t been nice to Willow or really anyone during the possession.

“She was mean to everyone but she didn’t realize I considered you a friend, or well pack, at first, she was lashing out. Now she considers you pack, we’ll keep you safe.” Which was the truth, now that the primal considered Willow pack she would keep her safe. The explanation wasn’t exactly right but it was close enough.

“You really want to keep her inside you?” Willow’s voice was small and uncertain.

“Yes, I feel safer and stronger plus she just wanted a safe place. She’s not trying to gain control, she’s just there.”

“She’s what, talking in your head? That sounds like crazy person talk, mister.” The tone that was said in and the look on Willow’s face was kind of hilarious.

Xander couldn’t help but laugh at that. “Not exactly, she sends feelings and thoughts, sort of like pictures or scents sometimes. It’s really hard to explain.”

“I just don’t want to lose my Xander.” Delivered with big sad Willow eyes, she totally knew how to play him.

“You wont, Willow. I’m still me, mostly. I mean some of my inhibitions are lessened. Like remember when I told you I had a sexy dream about Jesse, then never talked about it again? Well now, I don’t mind admitting I’m bi, before I was scared of what my dad would do if he found out, now I’m not scared of him or ashamed of how I feel. Plus the fact she’s a female spirit probably helps.” Though he wasn’t ready to admit the primal had her sights set on a specific male, Angel.

There was a pause before Willow rushed to say, “Oh…I mean, yay, for self awareness and not being ashamed about coming out, that’s what that was right? I’m the first to know, right? As your best friend I should be.”

“Yes, Wills. Yes to both. I love you.” Xander chuckled and gave Willow a peck on the forehead as they stopped at her steps. “Night.”

“Night Xander, love you too.” Xander watched her walk into the house before heading to his own at a fast jog, glad that Willow was on his side and that he hadn’t lost his best friend.

He really hoped there was something to eat at his house, he was really hungry, feels did that to him. Honestly, as a teenage boy everything made him hungry and lately it had been so much worse.

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Angel couldn’t help but shudder again, his demon was so agitated and revolted by the slayer kissing him. He had been unable to hold back his demonic face when she kissed him in her room and now she was aware of what he was and was probably planning on slaying him, especially if she found out about what he had done before being cursed with the soul.

He had seen what was coming before she kissed him and now looking back, probably talking about his attraction to her, in her bedroom especially, was a bad idea. He had been trying to say that while he was attracted to her, they couldn’t be together, never mind how much she made his demon recoil in disgust and hate. Telling her that he thought of her as a possible redemption for his soul probably wouldn’t make her any happier either, nor that both preferred her friend, Xander.

Plus, the fact he hadn’t been able to get Xander alone the last few days to talk to him, was making him even more frustrated. Though he knew now the boy hadn’t said anything about him being a vampire and Angel wondered why.

He needed to talk to Buffy, explain himself, why he was helping her. Hopefully she wouldn’t try to slay him because he didn’t want to actually hurt her if he could avoid it. Maybe she would be at her house now. Now was a good a time as any to face a pissed off slayer, Angel thought.

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Of course, nothing could go right today. Angel had made his way to Buffy’s house and instead of Buffy, he had found Darla, his bitch of a Sire, there holding Buffy’s mom after drinking from her. She had tried to tempt Angel to drink and he had wanted to, his thirst for human blood making his demonic face appear. While the pig’s blood he had been drinking recently was better then rats, it still wasn’t human, which his demon yearned for.

Darla left him holding Joyce’s body and that would, of course, be when Buffy showed up. Now she would be after him with a vengeance and probably wouldn’t listen to him, if he tried to explain. It probably wouldn’t help that Angel had actually been tempted to take a sip.

He was actually surprised Darla hadn’t found where his true desires lay, she used to be able to know exactly what he wanted. Like his earlier thought about Xander and how dark hair and innocent eyes, always drew him in and was what he normally chose, it was also true that blonde hair and bright, beguiling eyes had lead to his downfall. Darla had easily lead him to willing give up his life, embrace being a demon, and had been the one to gift him with the gypsy girl that lead to him being cursed with a soul that had tormented him for a hundred years. She had been the one that had pointed out Drusilla, who Angelus considered his ‘masterpiece’ and the one who had abandoned him when he was cursed.

Now there was Buffy, a slayer, with blond hair and innocently inviting eyes, who he had gone after with his characteristic obsessiveness because he had thought she would offer him redemption but now he saw she would only lead to his downfall, much like Darla had. He had revered Darla and could easily love Buffy but neither were good for him or what he needed. His demon agreed, it was the first time in a long time his soul and demon had been in complete agreement and both wanted Xander.

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Angel arrived at the Bronze and knew Buffy would show up, that this had to be a trap set by Darla, she always had a plan. Darla thought she had played him, that he was on her side. No, no matter what, he would never be on Darla’s side again, after she cast him out when he was cursed with a soul. She had abandoned him, when he needed his family the most.

Buffy arrives and Angel tells her, when she asks, what he was, what he did, and then when she asked what changed. He told her about the curse, how he had been tormented by a soul for almost a hundred years. That while he had it, it hadn’t stopped him from wanting to kill her, that even though he looks like a man, he is still a vampire. Darla was right about that, at the very least.

When the slayer offers her neck, Angel couldn’t help but think she was a stupidly naïve child. You don’t offer your neck to a predator, to a vampire especially, one who just admitted to having a part of himself that wanted to kill you. The smell of slayer’s blood called to him, he couldn’t help but remember Spike saying it was like an aphrodisiac, after killing his first slayer. Gave his demon a second to breath in the scent of slayer blood, could almost taste the power and felt his fangs ache to come out.

Darla appearing pulled him back to the present. She was always dramatic but really, what vampire carries guns?

When he was presented with Darla’s back and an opportunity he took it. “Angel?” The shocked whisper before she disappeared into dust. Angel couldn’t decide if he should feel triumphant and vindicated or just empty. His demon was just as torn, between railing against killing its Sire and pay back for what she had done to them.

He saw Buffy give him an expectant look, what did she expect from him now, he had nothing else to give. He just turned and walked away. Just needed a little space and not a reminder that he chose protecting a slayer over his own Sire, even if there was no love lost between them.

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He turned up at the Bronze when it opened again, to see if he could find Xander and maybe see if Buffy’s mother was okay.

He didn’t spot Xander but saw Willow point him out to Buffy and her start towards him. He slipped back out of the door when she was lost in the crowd, he didn’t feel like talking to her right now. He started to walk back towards his apartment.

It wasn’t long before he realized he had a shadow and after a deep inhale, knew that it was the boy, the one he had been looking for. “Going to stay hidden in the shadows?” He got a quick flash of green eyes when he looked back, which was intriguing, before the boy melted out of the shadows. “Got a reason for following me?” He asked as the boy materialized.

“Looking for a few answers, that I figured you could provide.” Plus Xander couldn’t stand the smell of the post-fumigation party, the lingering chemicals irritating his newly enhanced sinuses. He had told the girls he had a headache and was going home early.

“As long as you provide some answers also.” Angel wanted to know what had changed with the boy, what made him so irresistible now.

“Could do. So?” Not like Xander had really expected to get out of explaining his new addition.

“My place, its close.” Angel couldn’t say he didn’t have ulterior motives to having Xander in his apartment, the main being, having Xander’s scent there. Which he was taking full advantage of now that the boy was walking next to him, as inconspicuously as possible but when he glanced over, he saw the boy’s nostrils flaring also. This close he could feel something was different, not just smell, there was a presence to the boy, now. Like something dangerous was hidden underneath, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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“Um…so, I would offer a drink but all I have is…” Angel figured after almost 250 years as a vampire, he wouldn’t be so awkward.

“Blood, you can say it, it isn’t a bad word. You’re a vampire, you drink blood. So that at least answers if you drink from humans. Why don’t you and what do you drink?” Angel was a little surprised by the boys bluntness.

“No, not anymore. I drink pigs blood. The soul.” Which only gets him a confused frown.

“Buffy didn’t tell you about the soul?” A quick shake was his response. “Well almost 100 years ago in 1898, I was gifted a young Gypsy women by my Sire, Darla, and took great pleasure in raping and killing her. The tribe of Gypsies she was from was very powerful and she was a favored child. They cursed me with a soul, to feel the pain and remorse of every death I had thoughtlessly dealt over my life as a vampire, since my turning in 1753. That it would plague me for the rest of my existence.” Which was more detailed then the bare bones he had given Buffy.

“So, now you have a soul, don’t kill humans, and fight the good fight?” The disbelief wasn’t subtle, nothing about the boy was subtle he was coming to realize. “Because a soul doesn’t make someone a good person, just gives them a choice to be.”

“Not exactly. At first, I drank from murderers, rapists, and other criminals, not able to kill innocents but even those deaths plagued my soul. Then Darla tried to have me kill a baby to prove I wasn’t affected by the soul, I couldn’t and escaped with the child, saving it from her. She then threw me out of my own family.” Angel couldn’t stop his voice from rising or the anger he still felt, even if he couldn’t have stayed when they continued to kill but to be thrown out for not being enough of a killer but it was not like he had exactly expected loyalty from Darla.

“Then I came to America at the beginning of the 1900’s and kept to myself, as much as possible for a very long time, and then ended up living in sewers and feeding on rats, after killing a dying man in the ‘70s. Till a demon, Whistler, came to me and told me I would find my redemption at the side of the slayer. He showed Buffy to me and told me to help her. So I did, followed her to Sunnydale and helped her where I could, my soul was drawn to her bright personality and goodness, seeing her as my redemption.” Angel paused for a moment before decided to finish with. “My demon was revolted by her and when she kissed me, I couldn’t hide the reaction I had to her nearness. I told her about the soul at the Bronze and how even with it, part of me still wants to kill her, before you all showed up.” It was a very abridged version but Angel figured if this lead anywhere, he would have time to tell the boy more, if he wanted to hear it, that was.

Angel looked up when he was done and met with silence, Xander was just looking at him with his head tilted, it reminded Angel of an animal, a curious predator. “That was the most I’ve ever heard you say and even Buffy says you are quite laconic.” Xander couldn’t help a small smile, thinking of the word-a-day calendar that Willow had given him.

Angel couldn’t help the small chuckle that escaped him. “That is honestly more then I’ve probably talked in the last decade. So, am I going to get answers now that I’ve been so verbose. Like why your scent has changed, gotten earthier, stronger, wilder? Why you were outside of my apartment a few days ago?” The boys scent now called to him so strongly, it had been only a faint pull when he first saw Xander, now it was as if a tether was tied to him pulling him towards the boy, insistently.

Xander flashed green eyes at Angel again, he liked the intense look it got him, it made the primal purr in his head. “Probably has to do with the fact I have a primal spirit, sharing space with me. I don’t know if you heard of the possessions last week but when they did the ritual to move the spirits out of us, mine decided to stay, she likes me, wants a pack, and a mate. I actually like her and am hoping Giles doesn’t find a way to remove her other then the voluntary way they found before. Plus, I’m not sure it’s safe now, can feel us…merging together, overtime we’ll be less her and me and become just us. Which makes me sound like a certifiable, multiple personality, loony.” Xander couldn’t stop the self-deprecating smile, it was a default.

A primal that seemed to have latched on. Jesus, the boy would become incredibly powerful if they actually merged and if he kept in control, he would be a force to be reckoned with. The boy must have more hidden strength then even Angel suspected, the strength of will that it would take for the boy to not simply be overwhelmed by the spirit was incredible. At least, he was able to protect himself while living on the Hellmouth.

“Buffy told me a little about it, said you attacked her. Also, didn’t mention why you were outside my apartment.” Angel wasn’t being side tracked from his questions.

“Hah, well I was hoping you would over look that. I tracked your scent here, could tell that the scent I was following wasn’t human, didn’t know who it was till I showed up here and saw you entering your place. I, um…well, that was why I attacked Buffy, was your scent, competition.” The boy had gotten quieter as he continued to talk but Angel could hear him fine.

“You thought I was competition?” Angel barely held back his growl at that, he had scented interest and arousal from Xander when he was near Buffy before. Xander would be his.

“No. I saw her as competition and attacked. The primal, she seesyouasapotentialmate.” It took Angel a second to decipher the rush of words and took everything in him to hold back the pleased smile. Seducing Xander, making the boy his, would be so much easier if the feelings were returned.

“Potential mate?” Angel had an idea of what he meant, though just because the primal thought of Angel that way, didn’t mean Xander did, since it was obvious the boy was in control.

Xander couldn’t stop the blush but the primal was pushing to explain and get their mate. “Yes. She was drawn to your scent, even when I found out you were a vampire, it didn’t stop us…I mean her from wanting you as a mate.” Xander paused before continuing, “I know she’s having some influence over my feelings in regards to you, though I did find you gorgeous from the first time I saw you and now your scent is…distracting. I mean I wasn’t even comfortable admitting I was bi, till she was there, mainly because I was worried about what my dad would do.” Mildest understatements of the year, goes to Xander.

Angel wondered about the comment about the boy’s father, if he was anything like Angel’s.

“I can smell the Gypsy magic though, now that I know what it is, in your scent, its barely there but still present. It sets the primal on edge, she doesn’t like it.” Xander wanted to say more but wasn’t sure he should reveal any more.

“So the primal wants me to be her mate, while you’re just attracted to me?” Angel needed to know exactly how Xander felt, so he would know how to proceed with making the boy his, it was no longer under discussion, him and his demon were still in complete agreement about this. Though it disturbed him that the spirit didn’t like the smell of the curse, if this kept him from having Xander, he didn’t know what he would do. He cursed Darla and the Gypsies again.

“I know over time our desires will combine and there wont be telling one from the other really, even if I’m not sure how I know that. Right now, yes I am attracted to you and she wants you as a mate, which sounds and feels like a pretty permanent thing but my human side isn’t so sure about this. Just because I’m attracted to you and she wants you for keeps, doesn’t make it the right thing to do, I’m not sure how I feel about the vamp thing. Plus you haven’t said how you feel about this. I mean you were kissing Buffy a day ago. We have no plans to be second to someone.” Xander had to force the growl back down before it could come out, the primal didn’t like Buffy, a rival for what she already considered hers.

Angel figured he should lay his cards on the table, so to say. “Buffy kissed me and my demon reacted. I wont lie, I was attracted to her and it had crossed my mind and I didn’t stop the kiss from happening but the reaction just cemented the conclusion I had already came too. I was trying to tell her it would never work. So, don’t worry. I want you, I have wanted you. My demon was instantly drawn to you, when I saw you for the first time. Your scent made my demon relax for the first time in almost 100 years, I ignored it because I had been denying it just as long. Plus, I was still holding to the thought the slayer would be my redemption. It took my Sire, Darla, talking to me, for me to realize that Buffy would have lead to my eventual downfall, that loving her would be nothing but pain and heartache, for both of us. Would have had my demon rattling the cage it’s in, even more. It was becoming harder to ignore, in regards to you, how much it wanted you, to make you my childe, though I guess now that wouldn’t be a good idea or necessary. Wanted to make you mine, possess you, keep you, protect you even, which isn’t a normal reaction for my demon. It’s not just my demon though both my soul and demon are drawn to you. We want you by our side, as our equal. Don’t doubt you are the first in our attention and now the only.” The last thoughts drew Angel up short, Angelus never thought of other’s as his equal nor wanted them to be. Plus, monogamy hadn’t been something his demon had ever believed in. It made a distant, not possible thought occur to him, he would have to come back to that.

He looked at Xander again, who was returning his stare just as intensely. Angel could smell the slight scent of attraction and lust in the air, made earthier by Xander’s primal. It drew him in like nothing had, in a very long time and couldn’t help scenting the air harder, trying to draw as much of that spicy, earthy smell in, as possible. He had taken a few steps forward without realizing he had moved, stopping just a couple feet in front of Xander who was leaning against the arm of the couch. Could see his pupils dilate slightly, knew his were doing the same and that Xander would be able to smell the light smell of lust coming off of him now. Unknown minutes pass by them as they just look at each other.

“Um…so. You’re attracted to me. In a weird, kind of creepy, obsessive, stalker way. Though I guess that’s just your style. Admittedly I don’t mind it and the primal likes it.” Xander finally spoke and gave a weak laugh, trying to break the tension that was crawling across his skin. Making him tighten his grip on the side of the couch so he wouldn’t reach out.

Angel answered with an equally weak smile before clearing his throat and taking a few steps away, hoping he would be less tempted to touch. So much warm skin, right there, that could be his, that would be his.

He couldn’t deny he was obsessive, he had always been so, with things or those he really wanted, even more so. He knew his attention could be intense and he would need someone who could handle that. Buffy never would have been able to handle being the focus of all that attention. Xander, especially with the primal, could and would want it, even need it, in regards to a mate. Angel didn’t know much about hyenas or primals specifically but he knew enough about animal behavior and instincts that he could figure out what it would need and want.

After another long moment of silence. “So. I should head home, it’s late.” Yeah that sounded right.

“You should stay. I mean…um…you can take the bed and I could take the couch. So, you don’t have to walk home in the dark.” Angel really wanted Xander to stay the night, so he could continue to bask in his presence, his scent, his demon mostly quiet for the first time in ages.

“I can protect myself now.” The rebuttal was weak and Angel was willing to take advantage.

“Well, who knows what the Master will send out next. You can go home in the morning when its light out, if you want.” Angel was hoping he would stay longer, they could talk more. He didn’t offer to walk the boy home.

“You just want me to stay and not just stay but sleep in your bed. It has to do with my scent here in your home doesn’t it? Because the primal is very willing to mark this as her territory with our scent.” Xander wasn’t being fooled. Angel might be worrying about his safety in the dark but he had ulterior motive too. Though Xander and the primal weren’t complaining, at all. The primal had been itching to spread their scent over as much of Angel’s den as possible. She made it much easier to be so forward, Xander had hardly been able to talk to someone he was attracted to before.

“Yes.” There was no point in denying it, it was the absolute truth.

“Okay. I guess it couldn’t hurt. Are you sure about me taking the bed?” Xander was sure of the answer before he heard it.

“Yes, the couch is fine, slept on worse before.” He had said something similar to the slayer. “Much worse, I’ve had to hide in hay and bury myself to stay out of the sun.”

“Yikes. That’s crazy. The sun thing has to be extremely annoying. I mean I wonder why vampires burn in the sun. I mean corpses don’t. Is it the demon that takes over, that would be the only reasonable answer.” The boy barely took a breath before continuing. “Hmm, where do the demons come from?”

Angel jumped in while the boy paused to either breath or think of more questions. “Yes, something to do with the demon, a mark that it’s unholy, I suppose. Same as not being able to enter a house without an invite. Or being burned by holy water or a cross.” He paused before continuing, “I haven’t actually given it much thought, in a long time, other then to glorify in being a vampire, then after getting cursed, hating what I am and had done. Called from a hell most likely, when giving the blood of another vampire.”

“So, they have memories prior to be awakened in a body?” Xander couldn’t stop his questions, he had always been curious and who better to ask then a vampire. One who wouldn’t try to eat him…kill him was maybe a better way to phrase it with the way Angel was looking at him. The primal had memories but he knew that was different.

“No. While all vampires don’t start out the same, they don’t come with memories, just desires and hungers, that the person or what’s left of the person willingly gives into because there is no soul or consciousness to tell it no, that something is wrong.” Angel use to relish giving into those desires, now the soul made sure he suppressed them, though they were still lurking in the deep recesses of his mind, haunting him.

Xander thought about that a minute, then. “Wonder about the humans with souls, that still do bad things, some obviously don’t feel remorse or guilt. Think they lost their soul or is it just broken? You think they would be even worse as a vampire or the same because they were already giving into their darkest desires?”

Angel didn’t have an answer for that. “You have a lot of questions but it’s getting really late. You should head to bed, the bathroom is right through there, if you need it.”

“Fine mister but you better plan to answer me tomorrow or well later today.” With that Xander headed to the bathroom to take a quick piss and wash his hands before splashing some water on his face. He looked at his reflection in the mirror and couldn’t help but smile, wondered how Angel did his hair without being able to see it.

When he walked back out, Angel was laid out on the couch, reading a book. Xander took off his jeans and over shirt, then slipped into Angel’s bed and couldn’t help but run his face over the pillow, luxuriating in being surrounded by the scent of Angel, it was heady. “Night Angel.”

“Night Xander.”

“Angel?” It was barely a whisper but Angel still heard it. “Yes, Xander?” Equally as quiet.

“Are you okay after dusting Darla, I mean she was your Sire even if you didn’t like her anymore.”

Angel hadn’t thought anyone would care to ask. “I’m okay. My demon was torn, I mean I killed my Sire but also it felt vengeance for how she treated me when I got my soul.”

“Okay. If you need to talk about it, I’m probably not the best one to go to but I’m here. I doubt they have demon psychiatrists.” Angel wasn’t sure how to respond, whether to thank him or tell him that, yes, there were demon psychiatrists. Some who preyed on humans, others who used their abilities to help both demons and humans, so just stayed quiet.

Angel listened to Xander’s heart finally slow, not even pretending to read his book anymore, lulled by the steady rhythm that called to his demon but not to drink and kill. His demon was rumbling with pleasure, being able to be this close to Xander, even if it wanted to be closer. Wanted to claim Xander though it was prepared to wait till Xander came willingly…another thought that brought Angel up short and made him think back to a possibility that had occurred to him earlier, even if it was an impossibility, he would need to research it again, he bet the watcher had books on the subject. The thought sent a thrill through him, if it was true.

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“Morning” It was getting closer to 10am, Angel had fallen asleep for a short while after dawn.

“Ugh…5 more min.” Angel couldn’t hold back a chuckle at the disgruntled voice and sleepy glare sent his way.

“Okay, when you’re ready I have food for you.” That got a deep sniff and a grunted “food”. Well that was easy, as the boy was already moving to sit up.

“Yes, food. I got it right before the sun came up, so you can heat it in the microwave. Just something from the fast food place near here, didn’t know what you would like so I got a few things plus juice.”

“Thank you. You didn’t have to do that.” Xander couldn’t help the smile that he sent Angel’s way, food always made him happy and someone who didn’t eat thinking about that for him was nice. The hyena approved, a mate who provided for them.

Angel was sure his heart would have skipped if it still beat at the beautiful, unrestrained smile that Xander gave him. No one smiled at him like that and all he had done was pick up some food.

“You’re welcome.” He couldn’t even be embarrassed at the breathy tone, he was probably making heart eyes at the boy, for gods sake.

The boy disappeared into the bathroom, where Angel had set a fresh toothbrush and other toiletries for him to use and came out a few minutes later. “Thank you. I hate morning breath. Is that something vampires get or well blood breath?” Angel liked the boy’s unending curiosity, which was surprising, he usually didn’t handle people well but this brought him out of his own imposed silence.

“If you mean, do I brush my teeth? Yes. Though I guess it isn’t necessary, I enjoy it.” Angel watched as Xander pulled the different breakfast sandwiches out and sniffed them before throwing all but one in the microwave. That one, he unwrapped and ate it cold and in a few bites before taking a big sip of the orange juice.

“You like it all?” Angel didn’t eat human food or really know what a human would like but the boy seemed fine with the choices.

“Yeah dude, its all awesome, thanks. I can and will pretty much eat anything, the primal seems a little pickier, prefers meat and raw as possible, poor Herbert. Plus, I’m a teenage guy who is always hungry, the primal spirit seems to just makes it worse.” Angel got another smile, though this one came with stuffed cheeks that reminded him of a chipmunk and gave a mental wince when he thought of how cute it looked.

“Herbert?” Angel had to ask.

“Umm…the school mascot, a pig. When the primal was in full control, I ate him. I felt bad when I was back in control, I really liked the little guy. She has agreed to no more live animals, thankfully. Plus, I’m glad I wasn’t there when the rest of the pack ate the principle, he probably tasted bad…plus you know, cannibalism bad.” Xander added as an afterthought and shrugged.

“I heard about the principle. What happened to the others who were also possessed?” Those spirits had obviously left them.

“Their hyena spirits left willingly, into the zookeeper guy, who then got knocked into the hyena enclosure at the zoo and eaten. They will probably need therapy for life but otherwise okay, I guess. My spirit was different.” Xander answered before he unwrapped another sandwich and dug in. Angel watched him demolish the whole pile in a fairly short amount of time, wondering where he put it all because under those baggy clothes was a fairly lean body, one Angel couldn’t help but appreciate.

“Yum. That was all so good. Happy tummy. Less weird then the mostly raw bacon I’ve been eating the last few days but just as good.” Xander rubbed his belly, surprised he didn’t have a food pouch.

“Raw bacon?” Angel grimaced thinking about it.

“Yeah. I love me some bacon, plus hyena, so raw bacon or barely cooked bacon in scrambled eggs.” Xander was sending him a soft glare, like he was waiting to be judged for his eating habits, like Angel was in a position to judge anyone for their diet.

“Not judging, just curious. So I guess with the primal, you have a much stronger stomach, cause wouldn’t that normally make a human sick?” Angel’s own curiosity was peaked.

“I guess so. I hadn’t really thought of it like that but yeah, I suppose so. Already had an iron stomach to survive anything, Jessica, my mom cooked. Hey can vampires eat? I know you don’t need food but can you?” There was the unabashed curiosity again.

“We can. I don’t usually, haven’t in a long time. The taste of food is faint, though stronger foods are fine. Though I know some vampires who eat often.” He remembered William munching all the time.

“I wonder what happens…no never mind, I don’t know if I want to know.” Xander wrinkled his nose.

“I’m not sure. Vampires don’t exactly have the same bodily functions as humans.” Angel smirked, curiosity had consequences sometimes.

“Hey. Isn’t it like past your bedtime? Do you sleep? I mean you have a bed.” Xander pointed towards where he had just spent the night.

“Yes, I sleep. Don’t really have to much I guess but I like it, there is already enough hours to fill in an unlimited existence. Plus especially around dawn or noon, I always feel…lethargic, I suppose, the older the vampire the easier it is to stay awake.” Sleep was often the only way to make it through a day filled with nothing but silence and his own misery, though his nightmares weren’t exactly pleasant.

“Well, I wont keep you up. You can head to bed and I can head home, get a shower and change of clothes, check in with Willow.” Xander wasn’t sure if he wanted to leave but he should offer.

“You don’t have to or you could come back later.” Angel wouldn’t mind a bit more sleep, he had gotten used to it over the centuries and then Xander could come back at sunset. Plus he wanted time to spend in his bed, taking in their mixed scent before it faded.

Xander tried to keep his smile small but the primal was pleased at being asked back to her potential mate’s den, instincts mixing together. “I can come back later. When do you normally wake up, when the sun goes down?”

“Around there, usually. I can take you out for food.” It had been said for a long time the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach.

That gave Xander pause because that sounded sort of like a date. “That sounds date-ish?” Xander wasn’t able to keep the hope out of his voice.

“It is…dateish. If you want it to be.” Angel was a little nervous waiting for a response, which was ridiculous as he was an almost 250 year old vampire.

“Okay. See you at 8?” Xander asked as he walked to the door.

“That works.”

“Bye.” “Bye Xander.” With that the boy left.

Angel didn’t waste time, just striped off his clothes before sliding into bed, their mixed scent hit him low in the stomach, stirring feelings he hadn’t felt in longer then he wanted to admit to. It wasn’t long before he was slipping into sleep, dreams filled with warm skin, a perfect scent, and a steady heartbeat, not nightmares about his past.

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Xander made it back to his house quickly, an easy run, that only made him slightly winded. He enjoyed the burn of his muscles, the fine sweat that was gathering on his skin, and the primal enjoying the run just as much or maybe she was why he enjoyed the run. Too early for that kind of thinking. He needed some running shoes, maybe he could get some money out of his dad.

When he got to his house it was still quiet, both probably still passed out. He went to his room to strip and take a shower, though the hyena whined in his head about washing off Angel’s scent, but there wasn’t much he could do about that.

Later, he was amazed what asking for some cash for some new shoes while flashing green eyes at his dad could get him, he hadn’t wanted to use up the small amount of cash he had saved up from odd jobs. He knew he probably shouldn’t do that much but it was still nice to have a hundred bucks, plus it was just a hundred less they could spend on alcohol, so he didn’t really feel guilty. Xander was heading to the mall, hoping to find some new running shoes, maybe a pair of jeans and a nice shirt all on sale. He usually had to find his clothes at the thrift stores because he was usually given a hundred dollars to find clothes and shoes for the whole school year.

He kind of wanted to find a nice outfit for tonight, he knew it was stupid but it was his first date…date like activity . He knew he should feel a little guilty because he knew Buffy liked Angel but the primal just growled at the thought, it wasn’t going to feel guilty about being with their possible mate. Plus, he remembered what Angel had said about knowing being with Buffy wouldn’t work plus his demon hated her, while both sides of Angel liked him. It was nice for someone to choose him, it wasn’t something that had really happened before because Xander had always been the last pick.

When he walked out of the mall, almost two hours later, with two nice pairs of dark jeans, two new shirts, and a pair of nice sneakers, and a hair cut because his hair was getting too long, now it was much shorter and slightly styled on top, he felt pretty good. He had found an awesome sale at one of the larger department stores and had been able to get everything but the haircut for a hundred bucks, some awesome bogo sell. Now to get home and wash the clothes because he hated the new clothes store smell.

He had already replaced his body wash, shampoo, deodorant and clothes detergent with something that had a lighter, more natural smell earlier in the week, when his senses started getting stronger and the smells were all overpowering. The locker room at school was unbearable, all those strong body sprays and cologne, were hell on his nose. He wasn’t even going into what just walking down a hallway smelled like, pheromone soup.

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He hadn’t even raised his hand to knock before the door opened. “Hi.” Yeah, he even sounded nervous.

 

“Hey. You look good.” Angel couldn’t help how his gaze lingered on the much tighter dark jeans and dark green dress shirt with rolled up sleeves, it was a very good look on the boy. Plus, the shorter hair made him look older but Angel had thought about running his hand through the longer, silky looking locks.

“Thanks. I, um, its tighter then I normally wear but the store guy said it looked good.” While Angel agreed he didn’t really want others looking at Xander and had to hold back a growl.

“You went shopping today?” Angel lead him into the apartment, not taking his eyes off the boy or the blush spreading across his cheeks.

“Yeah, I wanted some new running shoes and they had a sale going on and I guess I just wanted something nice to wear tonight.” Xander couldn’t stop the red that he knew was spreading across his face, he hadn’t meant to admit to that, he hoped his embarrassment would eat him whole…now. Xander looked at Angel, who was wearing a pair of casual black slacks and a buttoned up dark burgundy shirt, that had the sleeves rolled up his arms, showing off the defined muscles of his forearms. He felt a little like a kid playing dress up, which he kind of was. What was an almost 250 year old vampire doing, interested in him?

“Well, I agree with the sales attendant, you look really nice. You ready to go, what are you feeling like?” The compliment sent a flutter through Xander’s stomach, ugh he felt like a girl.

“Sure, but we don’t have to. I mean, you don’t exactly eat.” Xander didn’t want to imposition Angel.

Angel quickly assured the boy. “It’s fine, maybe I’ll try something. I haven’t tried food in a very long time. So what are you feeling?”

Xander thought a moment then decided on. “Maybe something spicy. There’s this little Thai place that has some really good food, they have this spicy shrimp dish I’m in love with.”

“Thai it is. Lead the way.” Angel was surprised it wasn’t something like burgers, wasn’t that what most teenagers liked.

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They both sat in silence till they ordered, Xander getting a shrimp and rice dish, while Angel ordered some spicy beef broth. They kept glancing at each other but neither able to start the conversation, it seemed.

Xander wondered where his normal inability to shut up had disappeared too. “So, um…what do you normally do when you aren’t saving a slayer and fighting the good fight.”

“Not much. I usually read, sometimes I draw, exercise…I guess I’m pretty boring.” Angel couldn’t believe that summed up his life or unlife as it were, though that was better then what he had been doing the last two decades, slumming in sewers and eating rats. Though till recently he hadn’t felt like he deserved even that but first his mission to help Buffy, then Xander, it made him yearn for more.

“Hah, yeah other then being a vampire with a soul, just your normal run of the mill guy. I find that hard to believe.” Xander couldn’t keep the incredulous tone out of his voice.

“Umm. Since getting cursed with the soul, I mostly tried to stay away from everything, to keep away from humans and demons alike. I didn’t fit in either category, because I wasn’t demon enough for most vampires and I still wanted to drink from humans, even if my soul protested the thought of taking their life.” Well that was depressing dinner talk, Angel couldn’t help but wince, he didn’t really know how to do small talk.

“I don’t really have anything to say to that. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how ostracized you must have felt. What kept you alive, well undead?” Yay, for the big SAT word for Xander but seriously, asking someone why they hadn’t dusted themselves was not 1st date talk, or any talk, ever.

Angel decided to stick to complete honesty, kid needed to know what he was getting into. “I’m not sure, sometimes it was I was just too much of a coward to step into the sun. Others times my demon wouldn’t allow it and then mostly I felt I should have to continue to exist as long as possible to fell the guilt and misery I was cursed with. Till recently, I haven’t felt I deserved anything good.”

Xander though about that for a moment and the primal was upset by her potential mate’s confession.

“Why? I mean how long do you think you should be plagued by those deaths, for as many years as you killed, as many years as deaths? How much punishment? You talked about redemption but what redeems you? Saving as many lives as you killed, twice as many, ten times as many? Saving someone doesn’t bring back another life, it isn’t a scale where one life saved can be weighed against one death. Why do you need to be redeemed in the first place? Your soul wasn’t there, it shouldn’t have to pay the price of a demon who had no conscious to guide it. You have a demon, you are a vampire, a killer by nature, people are your food, like this dish is to humans. I know you didn’t just kill to eat but you can’t hold yourself to human morals, when you aren’t human and had no soul to stop you from giving into every dark desire you had.” Big breath for Xander and holy cow, batman, where did that come from?? Xander wondered when he got so insightful, he just knew that the primal had pushed him to help alleviate some of the guilt and misery that had settled around Angel. Xander hadn’t realized how he felt about the issue himself till he just said it.

Angel was just staring at him, like he had grown another head. Okay, so maybe he overstepped, a little, some, a whole bunch. Well damn, he hadn’t meant to get all serious and ranty, he always had a problem keeping his mouth shut. “I’m sorry, that was overstepping…that…” Xander let the words trail off because he didn’t know how to finish.

“No. I mean I’ve never looked at it like that. I don’t know when, or how, or if, I will ever feel like I have paid enough for the deaths of all those people. I’ve never thought of redemption like that or even thought about it till recently. I guess I thought eventually I would know or something would tell me, when I’ve paid enough or maybe I would never have. Plus, even now I have all those same desires.”

“Yeah and so does every human.” Xander’s statement only gets him a disbelieving look.

“Okay, maybe not to the same degree as your demon but its still there. You think I haven’t thought about hurting or killing my dad, when he beats me in a drunk rage because I have. I’ve thought about it, figured out every detail, thought about how to not get caught. Doesn’t mean I have or will, even if I hated him completely, I wouldn’t. That’s human nature, the soul stopping humans from just doing exactly what they want and it doesn’t stop all of them, like I mentioned last night. Sometimes, even good people give in to their darker desires. You can’t take it back once it’s been done but you can try to not do it again. You aren’t currently killing humans, even if your demon wants you too, your soul helps you say no. It kind of makes me think of alcoholics or drug addicts who have given it up but still, years later, they continue to desire it, even though they know the damage it caused.”

Angel couldn’t help but think this boy was much smarter and more insightful then any of his friends or even himself, gives him credit for. But mostly he’s stuck on the comment about his dad, a throw away comment, like it’s just a fact of life.

“Angel, you kind of have killer face on.” Angel reaches up, knowing his demonic face isn’t showing. “No just killer face not vampy game face. What’s the matter, don’t like my idea? Its okay, its just my opinion.” Xander really hadn’t meant to piss him off.

“It has nothing to do with that. Though you make some incredibly insightful points for a 16 year old boy. No, right now my demon is thinking up inventive and painful ways to kill your father and my soul isn’t putting up much protest.” Xander could take one look at Angel and know he wasn’t kidding, at all.

“No killing the parentals. That would probably not get you a second date. Though my primal isn’t really putting up a protest. But it’s okay now, I mean she helped me deal with it. The other night he came in drunk, yelling at me and she wasn’t happy about it. So we scared him, didn’t even hurt him, just gripped his wrist really tight when he went to hit me, the bruise is already gone. Today, I asked for some money for new shoes and flashed green eyes again and could smell the fear. I prefer him to fear me then the other way around, though just ignoring would be fine.”

It took Xander a moment to realize that the sound was coming from Angel. “Angel, you’re growling. Stop it.”

“Oh…sorry. Don’t like the thought of someone even touching you, so the thought of someone hurting you-.” Xander wondered how someone could make sheepish look so gorgeous.

“Its okay. Like the thought of someone caring, like the thought of it being you even more.” The primal made a point of making sure Xander knew she liked the idea of a mate that wants to protect them. Protect and provide for them. Yeah, yeah, he already knew she thought Angel is all perfect mate material, so far.

Xander glanced down and noticed his plate was empty and wondered when he was able to eat it all, while he was talking. He looked over to see that Angel had eaten most of his broth.

“Liked the food?” He watched Angel look down, with an equal look of surprise and looked back up with a small smile.

“Yeah, I did. It wouldn’t be bad mixed with blood, would be nice and spicy. Oh, sorry.” Angel made a face, Xander couldn’t decipher.

“Doesn’t bother me, though I think some of that is due to the primal and the new changes to my own diet. So how does pig blood taste compared to human?” Xander figured it had to taste different.

The waiter stopped by and asked if they wanted dessert and Xander could never pass up sweets, so ordered something since they were still talking.

“Bland and unappetizing, that’s why I thought the spicy soup would at least give it some taste.” Angel answered as the waiter walked away and couldn’t stop the grimace that crossed his face. “Though I suppose it’s better then rats. I just microwave it to warm it up because cold blood is nasty.”

“Why not drink human blood?” That got him a horrified look. OH! Misunderstanding.

“I don’t mean kill humans or even drink from them but this is 1997, we do have these things called blood banks and they have rejected blood. When they did a blood drive at school, they talked about it, its quite a bit supposedly, more then enough for a reformed vampire. I’m sure there is a way to get a hold of some and plus whatever reason the blood was rejected wouldn‘t hurt you.”

“I’m not sure that would be a good idea, I think it would just make me want human blood more.” Plus, Angel really hadn’t thought about it, seriously what was it with this boy continuing to show him new perspectives and ideas. He supposed it had to do with a new set of eyes that didn’t have the same preconceived notions that Angel did.

“I would figure it would be more like giving in a little to the demon, to appease it slightly cause it wants human blood but doesn’t upset your soul because no one was killed or injured and the blood was freely given. I mean that’s how I’ve been handling the primal spirit, come to some type of compromise. Plus your diet makes me think of those people who go on those extreme diets and only eat salad or something. Their body isn’t really being given what they need, they aren’t enjoying it, which is half the fun of food, and eventually they are going to cave and pig out or binge. Though in your case it would be more, give in and drink from a human and not have the control to stop.”

There was a long pause before Angel answered. “That makes sense.” Angel hadn’t ever thought of it that way. It had always been all or nothing with him, not a halfway point. He wondered if Willie’s had human blood and if he should even show his face there, after allying with the slayer. Should he even consider this just because Xander said it.

“Wont you be stronger? Healthier? Well, whatever that means in vampire terms. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?” The primal wanted a strong mate, an equal, needed one.

“Yeah, I would be stronger and able to heal faster. Maybe not as strong as I was when I drank from humans but more so, then I am now.” It wasn’t like he hadn’t noticed he was slower, not as strong as he once was, especially since he had started fighting demons. He was a shadow of what he once was and all of a sudden that pissed him off, as much as it saddened him. How was he suppose to claim and keep Xander safe, okay maybe that was ahead of himself. He had handled what he faced so far but it should have been easier and he had only won because of his centuries of experience and varied fighting styles, not from simply being stronger. Though even in his weaker state he was still much stronger then a fledge.

“Maybe, you have a good point.” Angel was struck again by that bright, unrestrained smile that looked so happy and pleased. Couldn’t help but stare till the waiter dropped off whatever the boy had ordered for dessert.

“Want to try any?” There was a plateful of bite sized variety of sweets.

“Hmm, is there anything spicy.” Cause now he was in the mood for it after the soup, which had really been so nice, rich and spicy. Plus, spicy sweet reminded him of Xander’s scent.

After they had finished dessert and Angel had paid the bill, they walked down the street of little shops. “I guess I should head home. Need to do some laundry and finish my homework for school tomorrow.” Xander was reluctant to end the evening but he did need to get home.

“I’ll walk you.” Angel wasn’t ready to let the night end, he had been hoping to have Xander come back to his apartment again, he had forgotten about school. The hazards of wanting to be with a 16 year old, he supposed.

Xander liked the fact that most things were within walking distance in Sunnydale. His house was maybe a 15 minute walk, most of it in silence but it was comfortable. “Thank you for dinner. It was really nice, plus talking to you. You don’t seem to mind my endless questions.” Plus Xander thought, Angel didn’t just assume he was an idiot, just the comedic relief, he could be himself more.

Angel wanted to touch the smile on Xander’s lips, see if it was as warm as it looked. “You’re welcome. It was nice talking, haven’t done so much in a long time or had anyone to really talk to. I like your questions.”

“We’ve kind of had some pretty serious conversations since last night, not much light hearted talk.” Xander couldn’t believe they had talked about some of the thing they had but it felt natural.

 

“Yeah. But you had some good points and gave me a fresh view on some things. I may even try the blood bag thing, see how it works.” Angel admitted.

“Good, tell me how it goes.” And then they were at Xander’s door.

Not sure what was possessing him, well other then a primal, he leaned in and gave the lightest kiss to just under the hinge of Angel’s jaw and whispered “good night, Angel”, it just felt right and the hyena liked the fact her potential mate trusted them at their throat. Even felt flattered when Angel took a deep breath in and swallowed loudly and the returned press of lips to the side of his head.

“Night, Xander.” Angel could hardly get the words out. Then Xander was walking into his house.

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“So, who was that?” Xander saw his dad leaning against the doorway leading to the living room with arms crossed.

“Not really any of your business.” Couldn’t help flash his eyes and hardly held back the smile as he smelled fear and watched the man step back. Man that really made dealing with him easy.

He walked up to his room and didn’t waste any time gathering clothes, so he could get them in the wash. Had already cleaned his room up some over the last few days, as the smell of a teenage boy’s room wasn’t exactly pleasant to a very sensitive nose. Opened the window to let the night air in.

In bed that night, after doing his laundry and homework, which he had hoped would squash his arousal, he couldn’t help but close his eyes and think of the barely there kiss he had placed on Angel’s throat. How he could smell Angel, who had a trace of Xander’s scent on him. Probably from sleeping in his bed after Xander had and that was all it took to get him from half hard to leaking hard. Knew it wouldn’t take long as soon as he touched his cock, tried to draw it out some, just lightly touching his stomach, rubbing his nipples till he couldn’t take it anymore. Licked his hand and wrapped it tight around himself, his hips jerking up off the bed. Barely a minute of fast, tight, hard strokes had him spilling over his hand, couldn’t stop the whisper of Angel’s name. Sleep came quickly after that, barely enough time to clean up.

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Angel couldn’t help but pull himself out, had been hard since he realized what Xander had been doing. A few rough, dry strokes had him spilling with a chocked grunt, biting his lip bloody with sharp teeth.

He had stayed after Xander had gone in, telling himself it was just to make sure the boy’s dad didn’t hurt him. While that may have been part of it, mostly he just wasn’t ready to leave. Yeah, Xander had been right when he called his attention creepy and stalker like but he didn’t dwell on it.

When the boy had finally settled down to sleep, Angel had been ready to leave, till he heard the up tick in Xander’s heartbeat. It had taken him longer then it probably should have to realize what the boy was doing, then when he did, he was harder then he had been in so long. He knew he should leave, that this was private, not for his ears or eyes…yet. When Xander had whispered his name as he came, Angel couldn’t stop himself. His orgasm was rough and left him shaky, he hadn’t done this in so long, had been denying himself even this simple pleasure. There had been points in his life, where he had starved himself so much, he probably wouldn’t of had enough blood to even get hard.

After, he went home to take a shower and wash off the evidence of his weak self control, even as he brought himself to orgasm again from just the thought of Xander saying his name and thinking about him, while doing the same thing. The demon rumbled pleasantly at the release and sent thoughts about what the boy would look like under him. He fell into another sated sleep filled with pleasant dreams of skin and sweat.

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“So, what are you pretty ladies talking about?” Xander asked as he sat down across from Willow and Buffy.

“Buffy is sad she hasn’t seen Angel since seeing him at the Bronze for a minute, he disappeared before she could talk to him. Also, side note, nice new clothes and hair cut, I like.” Xander tried to ignore the Angel comment, as he had spent the weekend with Angel and they had gone on a date.

“Thanks. Asked my dad for some cash for some new shoes, he gave me a hundred bucks, so I got shoes, jeans, and a couple shirts plus the haircut.” Xander was wearing his new shoes, jeans, and a polo shirt he had gotten, dark blue with a few stripes of white across the chest. He couldn’t stop the smug smile, his dad had even left him twenty bucks this morning for lunch this week. Watching Xander eat raw bacon, probably freaked him out even more.

“Xander. You shouldn’t use the hyena to get stuff from your dad…well not too much.” That’s why Willow was Xander’s best friend.

“I wont, I promise. So, class, my ladies?” Xander stood up and made a show of bowing and holding out his hands, getting a laugh from both of them, which had been the goal. He didn’t like the sad look on Buffy’s face, it made his stomach twist a little. The primal felt satisfied that she had the attention of her targeted mate and didn’t have any feelings towards who she considered competition. Man, was his head a contradictory place to be.

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“Giles.” The man dropped the book he was holding.

“Oh my, Jesus. Please don’t sneak up on me, again. Buffy isn’t here, her and the rest are out doing patrols, Angel.” Giles smoothed down his shirt, obviously a little embarrassed by his reaction.

“I called you a few times but you were distracted and I know, that’s why I came here. I wanted to talk to you about something and see if you had any books on the subject.”

“Oh, well yes. I was looking at some books that may help us with what the Master may be planning next. Anyway, what subject would that be?”

“Consorts and the curse on the Aurelian line of vampires in regard to that.”

“Now, see here Angel. Buffy is a slayer and she couldn’t be your consort, regardless of the presence of a curse upon your line.” The man huffed out crossly.

Angel watched the man pull off his glasses and polish them before replacing them and looking him in the eye, like he was daring Angel to protest. Not that Angel planned to, no a slayer could never be a consort. “This has nothing to do with Buffy. I know she couldn’t be one, nor do I want her as mine.”

“Then who is this in regards to. Though I’m sure it isn’t possible, I am well aware of the curse on the Aurelian line that stops any from finding their consort, on top of the fact it is so rare for a vampire to actually find theirs, in the first place.”

“Not sure why the who matters but…” And just then Xander comes through the doors, still wiping dust off his clothes. Angel can’t stop the smile that crossed his face as he watches the boy, unawares.

“Oh my, you don’t mean?” Giles was looking between Angel and Xander.

“I do mean, he is aware I am drawn to him but not that I believe he is my consort. It has been well over a century since I studied the subject and was hoping you would have some books on them.”

“Now see here, you may be unaware but he currently has…”

Angel interrupted before the man finished, “A primal spirit, an alpha to be precise. One who likes him and plans to stay for good. I know this and was drawn to him before but once the primal possessed him, I was unable to ignore him or how I feel pulled to him. My demon wants him in a way it has never wanted anyone and is willing to do anything it takes to have him. Wants him willing, to protect him, and in disregard of all others.” Giving the watcher a pointed look, the man would understand if he had ever studied vampires and their consorts.

“Well, that is…that is something. Know one thing, I will not have you harm that boy.”

“I have no intentions to, I just want him safe and happy.” And that was the truth, though he wanted Xander safe and happy with him and would do what he had to, to make it so.

“Giles. GILES! Oh, hi Angel. Um…we just got back. Obviously, since I’m here. The girls are in the bathroom cleaning up. And holy cow, you do not want to be on what a primal considers their territory and threatening someone they consider pack. Man, it was brutal and so much fun. Oh and what are you doing here Angel?” Xander babble was out in force tonight, he could hardly reign it in but he was excited after what had happened.

“Just looking for some books, I thought Giles might have. You took out some fledges?” Angel would have loved to see the boy in action now.

“Took out? No. Demolished and obliterated? Yes. It was so amazing, Angel.” Xander can’t help the proud smile, he had almost ripped a vampire apart when it tried to attack Willow. “A vampire came up behind us while Buffy and I were handling two and tried to attack Willow. I almost ripped it apart, it was crazy. Willow said my eyes were all green glowy. It was just, me and the primal consider Willow pack and someone who needs to be protected and when I saw it go after her, I just got really pissed off.” Xander took a big breath and tried to stop the flow of babble, he was just so excited, he had been so fast and strong, it was crazy.

“Were you in control or had the hyena taken over?” The clinical tone of a watcher who was conducting an experiment, out in full force.

Angel wanted to punch the man when he watched the proud smile dim, wanted to do anything to bring it back.

“I was in control. I mean it was her instincts, along with my own desire to protect Willow and it was the strength I got from her being inside me but I was in control. As soon as the vamps had been dusted I went to check on Willow, she had scraped her knee when she fell down. I had to stop myself from licking her knee to help heal it, which was very much a primal thought but that’s all.” The boy looked so earnest and hopeful.

“Angel!” Buffy called out as she entered the library, they had moved out of the stacks as they were talking. “What are you doing here? I’ve been hoping to see you.” The hopeful smile made Angel wince, on the inside and tried to return the smile, though he was pretty sure he failed when her smile faded.

“Just looking for some books I thought Giles would have but I was just leaving, was going to walk Xander home and ask him more about his possession. I’ll be by tomorrow Giles to see if you have any of those books I’m looking for.”

“But…wait…oh ok.” Buffy couldn’t even really get a word out before they were both out the door.

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Angel hadn’t really waited for an answer, just guided Xander out of the library with a hand at the small of his back.

“I think you did a great job tonight, you should be proud of protecting your friend and pack.” And the bright smile was back with some extra wattage. “Are you getting stronger or is it just tapping more into the primal?”

“I think both. Some just needing her strength and some just stronger then I was and getting stronger. I think it will be like that till its just sort of one, us, in here. And you don’t have to walk me home if you don’t want to, I can protect myself now.” Though Xander was pleased by it.

“I want to.” Angel paused before voicing his next thought, hoping the boy would take him up on it. “I would like to train with you, if that was something you wanted. While instincts are great to have in a fight, knowledge of fighting styles will help even more. I could teach you basic techniques of hand to hand combat first, then more advance styles of fighting and weapons training.”

“Really, you would? That would be so awesome. Thank you, Angel.” Xander couldn’t stop the hug if he had wanted to, which he didn’t, really any chance him and the primal could take to be close to Angel was of the good. He had his arms wrapped around Angel’s neck for a few moments before hands wrapped around his waist and brought him even closer. Xander tucked his nose into Angel’s neck and laid a soft kiss in the same place as last night before gently pulling out of the hug.

“No take backs, once you realize how uncoordinated I can be.” Trying to lighten the mood, again. It always seemed to get so thick so fast between them sometimes.

“I doubt you will have that problem as much now, the primal will help, just listen to what she tells your body to do.” Angel could still feel the boys warmth from the brief contact, wanted it back.

“Ok.” Though Xander couldn’t stop the laugh at that because if he listened to what the hyena was telling his body to do, he would be rubbing himself all over Angel.

“What?”

“Umm…yeah, I’m not sure you would be saying that if you knew what she wants me to do, well actually maybe you would.” Cue the blush, Xander thought maybe his blush would become permanent, with the frequency it was occurring lately.

“What is she wanting you to do?” Angel could see the blush that had spread across Xander’s cheeks and wanted to reach out and touch, feel the heat of it.

“Rub myself all over you, so you have my scent on you, marking you as ours.” Yeah, there was no chance of Xander being able to make eye contact while saying that.

“Oh.” Angel was really glad he didn’t need to breath, he wouldn’t have been able to. His demon was in complete agreement with the primal spirit and wanted that, also.

“Yeah, oh. This is me. I’ll see you tomorrow maybe, when you come to pick up your books.” Xander decided that a hasty exit was necessary.

Angel stopped Xander with a brief touch on the arm and pulled him closer gently before he could head up the porch steps, leaning in even more slowly, so Xander could stop this if he wanted to. He laid the softest kiss on Xander’s lips, felt the gasp Xander made before he pressed his lips back against Angel’s. Angel stopped it before it could go any further and stepped back, swiping a thumb across the boy’s lower lip before pulling back completely. Angel’s demon was raging, begging, pleading for another taste of Xander but he was going to keep it at the light kiss they shared, knowing the boy was still working through his own desires plus what the primal wanted. He didn’t want to push it or mess this up and he had time, he wasn’t getting any older. “Night”

“Right, right. Night Angel.” Xander wasn’t sure his brain was really working at the moment but he did turn around and head inside.

Xander leaned against the door, after closing it, couldn’t stop his fingers from touching his lips. They still felt like they were tingling from Angel kissing them, the thought of his cool, soft lips made Xander’s stomach tighten almost painfully.

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Xander laid in bed that night thinking about his life now, how much it had changed and was changing. How he was somehow dating a vampire, even one with a soul, he thought it should be more of an issue, then it was. That truthfully, he felt at ease with Angel, that being with him felt right, on a bone deep level. The primal had no issues with Angel being a vampire, liked that he was so powerful, an equal in her mind, in a way a human never could be.

That he was no longer alone, even if he had, had Willow, it wasn’t the same, she expected him to act a certain way, was so use to the masks he wore to hide the pain he felt. The loneliness, the bruises, fears, and insecurity that had literally been beaten into him. The primal knew everything about him and Angel didn’t expect him to act a certain way, they saw him, the true him and what he could be. The primal pushed him to reveal his true strength, not hide behind humor and sarcasm. He had acted that way because if people didn’t expect much from him, they wouldn’t be disappointed in him.

Now some of his human fears and inhibitions were fading, the primal didn’t care about what others thought, those not in their pack mattered little. The primal didn’t have insecurities, no reason to be afraid of simple high school bullies, no reason to be ashamed of their feelings or actions. He felt more confident, a real confidence in himself, not the faked of before, how he pretended to not care what others thought or said about him, when it had cut him each and every time.

His world had changed when Buffy came to town and he had felt fear to know what exactly went bump in the night, had lost one of his best friends to a stake he held. Now, Xander welcomed the changes in his life and knew he would be better for them, for the primal and Angel.

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Angel had picked up the few books Giles had on consorts the next night and the watcher said he may be able to find some others and more about the curse on Aurelian Consorts. Couldn’t wait to get home and read them all, he wanted his suspicion to be confirmed. He was glad his Latin wasn’t too rusty, as most weren’t in English.

He had avoided Buffy again that night and walked Xander home, deciding they would start hand-to-hand training the next evening before sunset and patrol. Angel figured there was enough space at his apartment, then they could head to the library together.

“So, I’ll come to your place a couple hours before sunset? You really don’t mind? We could do it after patrols.”

“It’s fine, Xander. Plus, I don’t want you losing anymore sleep then you already are or your school work will suffer, you are already staying up fairly late each night as it is.”

“Thanks, Angel. I’m really excited about this. I figured I could start running everyday also, I like it or well the primal does plus it’s good exercise.” Xander really couldn’t wait to start training with Angel, he just hoped he didn’t suck.

“That’s probably a good idea and I’ll pick up a few things for the apartment so you can have something to drink and eat, since you’ll be there everyday, any suggestions?” Angel wanted Xander to be comfortable at his place.

“Oh. You don’t have to, I’ll eat before I come over.” Though the thought pleased Xander and the primal, their potential mate providing for them again.

“Xander.” Angel would pick stuff up whether Xander gave him some ideas of what he liked or not.

“Ok, ok. Um, maybe some milk or juice and water, I prefer milk over soda now. Foods that aren’t over processed, which is really sad because I use to love Twinkies and now they just smell like chemicals and processed sugars.”

“What’s a Twinkie?” That got him a horrified look from Xander.

“You’re kidding right? No, that’s serious face. Okay, a Twinkie is a spongy cake of golden goodness, with a sweet creamy filling and use to be my favorite snack, till a certain primal hyena decided that, no, she didn’t really like them or other similarly processed snack foods. At least I don’t have to give up sweets and chocolate completely, as long as its more natural tasting, or my life would be a sad, sad place.” Xander gave Angel his saddest, my life is hard look he was capable of and noticed Angel was barely holding back a smile.

“Don’t think this isn’t serious, don’t even think about making fun of me, mister.” Xander felt his stern face wasn’t very stern as it was obvious Angel was losing his fight against a laugh.

“I, I’m not making fun of you. I’m very sorry you can no longer eat Twinkies but I doubt they were healthy for you.” It took quite a bit of willpower to fight back the laugh at Xander’s exaggerated sad face.

“They weren’t supposed to be healthy, that was the point. I’m a teenaged guy, healthy isn’t exactly the first word I would think, when I think of my diet.” Pout face was out in full force.

“You’ll survive.” Angel leaned over and kissed the pouted lips, unable to help himself. He felt Xander’s hands slide around his neck into his hair, the heat from his hands felt like it was searing Angel’s skin. Couldn’t help but deepen it, when he felt Xander melt against him or flick his tongue across slightly chapped lips. Minutes passed by with nothing but the sounds of their lips sliding across each other or tiny gasps that kept escaping Xander, that were driving Angel mad. It took every bit of Angel’s self control to gentle the kiss and pull back.

The sight of Xander’s kiss swollen lips and eyes that were mostly pupil, hit Angel low in the stomach and watching Xander’s tongue flick out to lick his lips like he was trying to get more of Angel’s taste, made him groan. “You need to go inside. Good night, Xander.”

“Why? I was pretty happy with the kissage, it was super awesome. I vote we continue doing that.”

“No. I don’t want it to get out of hand, we should take this slow, we have time. I, I and your primal want something very permanent Xander and once you’re mine, my demon wont be willing to let you go and I highly doubt your primal will be willing to let me go, either. You need to take your time, make sure you understand how you feel and what you really want. Like I said we have time, not like I’m getting any older and I don’t want your teenaged hormones doing or allowing something you will regret to happen. So please, lets take this slow.” Angel could hear the pleading in his voice, knew he would only be able to put up so much resistance before he gave into his own desires.

“I…ok. It wasn’t…wasn’t cause you didn’t like it?” Angel stared at the boy for a moment to see if he was serious, cause he knew the boy could smell his interest but it hit Angel, this was still a teenager and even one who had added senses, couldn’t always hide their insecurities.

“No, just no. Xander, it took everything to stop and I really didn’t want to but I also don’t want to push you. Don’t think for a second I don’t want you or didn’t enjoying kissing you. Love how you taste, how you smell when I kiss you, and how you feel against me.” Angel pulled him in for one more soft kiss to taste the smile that was on Xander’s lips after what he said. “Now, off to bed you go. You have school tomorrow.” He lightly pushed the boy towards the porch steps.

“Okay. Night.” Xander wasn’t sure he would be able to wipe the smile off his face ever. He understood where Angel was coming from and he did want and need time and was glad Angel stopped them, even if his hormones and dick, completely disagreed.

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Angel headed to a small grocery store that was open 24 hours and picked up a few things for Xander before he headed home. He really couldn’t wait to start reading those books, he figured he would start with the ones in English as he could read them faster and maybe even be able to get through all of those tonight, since most only had small sections or a few chapters on the subject.

He didn’t want to get his hopes up but he knew it was already too late. He wanted Xander to be his consort but if the curse was still in effect, he didn’t see how it was possible. Though either way it didn’t matter, he planned to keep Xander by his side as long as the boy allowed it.

Xander who was so much more then he let anyone see, he hid behind a wide smile and sarcasm. Angel only knew the difference because he had seen a real smile from him, how it was small and a little lopsided and warmed those melted chocolate eyes even more. He couldn’t wait to watch Xander mature into the man he was going to become and he planned to be right by his side. Couldn’t wait to truly get to know Xander, every fear and insecurity, so he could sooth it away, let that beautiful boy know just how amazing he was.

Angel had been thinking about what Xander had said, about how his soul didn’t need redemption, that it was the demon who had killed, that his soul hadn’t been there and deep inside he agreed but it didn’t stop the guilt he…the soul felt. Even if he didn’t need redemption, the purpose Whistler gave him got him out of the sewers, brought him to Xander and all of him, demon and soul, were so grateful and he planned to spend the rest of his existence showing Xander, as long as the boy allowed it.

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The next evening, while Angel was waiting for Xander, he was trying to decide if he should tell the boy about what he thought or if he should wait for more confirmation, because he didn’t want to be wrong about this.

The more he had read the night before and through most of the morning, only sleeping for a few hours around noon, the more sure he became. Xander being his consort was the only explanation for his demons behavior, there was little vampires held any importance to but consorts were among the most honored thing among those who were aware of them. Even those who didn’t know could instinctually feel a respect, of sorts.

While, there was no theory about why or how they existed that had been proven, it was fact among vampires that they did exist, maybe a gift from their creator. That a vampire would be completely drawn to a single being. Though they were extremely rare, only a dozen of bonded pairs recorded over the last 500 plus years by watchers, though there surely were those that hadn’t been recorded, the number was still likely miniscule to the number of vampires in recent recorded history. Again, no explanation to this that had been proven, only that one had to be powerful enough to feel the pull.

Angel had barely decided that he would wait, when there was a knock on the door, he could tell it was Xander by the sound of his heartbeat. “Come in.” He called out as he started to pick up the books.

“Hey, what have you been up too? Have fun with your new books?” Xander pointed out the books that were still spread across the table.

“Yes actually. Let me get these out of the way.” Angel hurried to finish picking up and moving the books out of sight. Though the titles were hardly indicative of what they spoke about or even that Xander could read most of them, since they weren’t in English. “There’s some food and something to drink in the fridge and the cabinets.” Angel waved vaguely in the direction of the kitchen as he put the books in a cabinets.

A minute later he heard a surprised noise from the boy. “Wow. I didn’t realize you would get so much, you really didn’t have too.” Xander was looking at the gallon of milk and case of water plus multiple packs of bacon, the really good thick center cut kind, eggs, and thick sliced meats and cheeses. He opened the cabinet next to the fridge and found bread and natural peanut butter.

“Too much? You said your appetite had increased and I figured with us working out you would need the extra protein.” Xander looked back at Angel, who was looking unsure.

“No. I mean you really didn’t need to get all this stuff for me but I really appreciate it. Also, I’m planning on moving in, if you plan to feed me this good.” While Xander said it jokingly, he thought living with Angel would be amazing.

“Xander, you are always welcome here. Whether you just want to come over or if you want to get away from your parents, the door is always open. I want you to feel comfortable and safe here, with me.”

Really, the only answer to that was a hug, with added kisses to show extra appreciation.

“Thank you and you’re amazing. The primal believes you are super mate material, she highly approves and we want you to know.” Xander said this between laying kisses to Angel’s neck, along with a few very tiny nips, that seemed to make Angel purr.

Angel felt breathless, which you know he was, but in a whole different kind of way. “Umm…you’re welcome. Keep doing that.” He wondered if Xander understood what those kisses and nips to his neck meant, that he viewed Angel as his alpha and also that Xander was trusted at his throat, which was a huge statement among vampires.

He finally pushed the boy back gently and laid a soft kiss to his lips. “Now, time to get to work. I’m going to show you proper stance, how to throw a basic punch correctly, and how to balance and use your weight to your advantage, today. We will be working on that for a few days before we move onto anything else.”

“Meany. Fine but I demand more kissing after.” Xander gave Angel what he thought was a good glare, though probably only looked like a pissed kitten.

“I agree to those terms.” Like Angel would actually say no to kissing Xander.

The next two hours were filled with Angel showing Xander how to hold his fists, how to throw a good punch, where his arms and feet should be when going into a fighting stance. Angel could tell all the close touching was getting to Xander, could smell the increased lust as time went on, not to say Angel wasn’t affected either but he was better at concentrating on what they were doing.

“Okay, okay. Enough for today, you did really well. You’re picking this stuff up quickly. Why don’t you grab something to eat before we head to the library. I have some stuff I want to discuss with Giles or I would come with you on patrol.”

“Something to do with the books?” Xander couldn’t stop the flush at the compliment, he had been so nervous at the beginning, worried he wouldn’t be able to learn this stuff.

“Yes. Something to do with a very old Aurelian curse.” Which was partially true.

“Dang, you guys get cursed right and left.” Thankfully, Xander was distracted by putting together a large sandwich and wasn’t inclined to ask about it.

Angel watched the boy put together two massive sandwiches and promptly start to demolish them with a glass of milk, again wondering where he put all that food. Angel wondered if he should have gotten glasses that he hadn’t used for blood or if he should mention that to Xander.

“You going to eat or have you already?” Barely even stopping between bites to get the words out.

He hadn’t but…“Well, I figured I would later.”

Xander stopped eating for a moment to look up at Angel. “It’s fine you know, you can drink blood in front of me, it isn’t going to bother me. Oh, did you get any human blood?” Angel was amazed that there was only curiosity on his face.

“Yes, actually I picked up a few packs the night before last. A demon bar in town sells them, they get them from the local blood bank, instead of them getting destroyed.” Angel said before he pulled out a pack, opened it and poured it into a glass before putting it into the microwave to heat it up and had never felt so self conscious. He hadn’t drank blood in front of a human before, not like this, he had drained a human but that was different.

“So, is it better or no?” Xander asked around a mouthful of food, he actually looked interested in the answer.

“Yes. Not the same as fresh but much better then animal blood.” It was the absolute truth. The blood, while not great was a huge improvement, even with the added anti-coagulants they put in it. It was more expensive but worth it and it wasn’t like Angel ever had to worry about money. His demon purred in pleasure, not having tasted human blood in over two decades and only but a taste then.

He couldn’t stop his face from shifting from the smell and taste of warm human blood and hoped it didn’t bother Xander. When he looked up, the boy was just looking at him curiously, no repulsion or fear. “What?” It was a little slurred around fangs, it took him a moment to make his face shift back.

“No! I mean could you shift back, I mean only if you don’t mind.” Xander had moved towards him as he spoke and Angel shifted back. Xander had never been able to look at a vamp face close up without the added fear of being eaten.

Xander looked at him for a second before raising a hand and slowly running a finger over his brow ridges. Angel couldn’t stop his eyes from fluttering shut or the rumble that started deep in his chest, the ridges were very sensitive and hadn’t been touched in well over a century.

“You like this.” Statement not a question because Angel’s pleasure was obvious.

“Yes, sensitive.” Then felt warm breath a second before he felt warm lips on his brow ridges, his eyes popped open in shock and he took a deep unnecessary breath.

“Wonder where your eyebrows go?”

“I don’t now.” He had, had a similar thought the first time he had felt his new demonic face.

“I remember being promised kisses after, so where are they mister?” Before soft kisses were laid on his lips, while his face was still shifted. He wasn’t sure if he should stay this way or not, his demon couldn’t stop purring in pleasure though. Angel gently kissed back, being careful of his sharp fangs, till Xander’s tongue darted in his mouth and ran along one, pricking it on the tip.

The taste of Xander’s blood exploded across his tongue, bringing a feral growl out before he could stop it and he couldn’t help but suck on the tip of the tongue, trying to taste more. He heard a small gasp from Xander, then it hit him what he was doing and drew back so fast, Xander stumbled.

“I’m sorry, so sorry Xander. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Angel could hardly believe what he had done, disgusted to feel himself completely hard just from the taste of Xander’s blood.

“Whoa, calm down big guy. You didn’t, I promise. I was the one playing with very sharp fangs and it didn’t actually hurt. The gasp, which was what seemed to make you stop, was a sexy gasp not an ouch gasp, for your information.” Xander was surprised how erotic it had been actually.

“What?” He looked at Xander, who didn’t look or smell scared, still looked kind of flustered but it seemed to be warring with concern, directed at Angel. “Xander, I, I-” How did he explain.

“You what? You liked my blood, well yeah, you’re a vampire. Blood is your thing. You didn’t hurt me, you could have but I don’t think you wanted to, otherwise you would have bitten me. Did you want to really bite me, drain me, kill me?”

“No! No, I would never. I couldn’t do that to you.” And as soon as he said it, he realized it was true. Yes, he had loved the taste of Xander’s blood and wanted to taste him again but his demon had no intentions of draining him, his restraint didn’t come from his soul. “Oh.” It felt like the biggest revelation of his life or unlife.

“Yeah, oh. You really think I would let your fangs anywhere near me if I thought you wanted to really hurt me, the primal just knew that you weren’t going to try to really hurt or kill us and I trusted her and I trust you, Angel.” Xander realized it was the truth, he trusted Angel completely, even in this short amount of time.

“I, thank you. You have more faith in me then I had but you’re right, my demon doesn’t want to hurt you. I liked, no loved the taste of your blood, it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced but I didn’t want to drain you.” Angel was even more certain now that this boy, this teenager who shared space with a primal, was his, his Consort.

“Oh, so what does my blood taste like, is it super yummy?” Xander said it teasingly but was actually curious to know.

The laugh escaped Angel before he could think to stop it, his boy, always so curious. “It tasted incredible, like you but concentrated. Spicy sweet like raw cinnamon and chocolate and then the primal adds a fresh earth, wild taste to it, makes me think of the plains of Africa, can almost taste the sun. I could taste your power and that your primal is old, very old. So yes, it is super yummy.” Angel barely held back the grimace at saying that.

“Hmm, so I taste like cinnamon, chocolate, and now like Africa, too. Interesting combination. Yeah, I got the feeling that she was really old too. I couldn’t tell how old, just very. Can you tell just by tasting my blood?” It was something Xander had been curious about. He had gotten images of her life but he couldn’t tell by the terrain or the tribes she had come across, how old she was. By now he knew she was more then just a primal spirit of a hyena but more a primal that had possessed a hyena.

“No, not an exact age, other then very. I would guess many, many centuries.” It had actually surprised Angel, he would have thought the primal would have been young. It wouldn’t surprise him to find out that it was a millennia old, now that he had tasted Xander.

“Oh, wow. That’s really cool.” And it was but it didn’t surprise Xander either.


“And you are very lucky she likes you or she could have taken you over completely and not given you back control.” Angel could only imagine the inner strength it took to not be consumed by the primal, one so powerful, even if it gave up control willingly.

“I am, very lucky.” Though Xander wasn’t just talking about the primal and from the look he got from Angel, he probably realized that. “Ok, so one more kiss. Then off to the library before patrol duty.”

It turned into a long, slow, and very through kiss. Angel trying to get as much of Xander's taste as he could and Xander's uninhibited response, more eagerness then ability. The boys obvious inexperience turned Angel on more then he thought possible, knowing he was probably the first to kiss Xander but he learned quick. When Angel pulled away, Xander’s lips were damp, red, and kiss-swollen, and he couldn’t help but run his thumb over the boy’s bottom lip and felt his tongue flick out to taste his skin.

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Angel barely waited for Xander, Buffy, and Willow to leave before…

“He’s my Consort, there is no other explanation about how I react to him.” He declared.

Angel watched the man polish his glasses before answering, like he wasn’t completely willing to give voice to his thoughts. “You may be correct, I actually talked to someone about some books they may have about consorts and the Aurelian curse in regards to them, and he said he actually had a book of minor prophesies that had one about the curse or the end of it, I should say, said he would find it and send it to me. Though, why do you seem so certain?”

“I tasted his blood and it called to my demon but it had no desire to drain him.”

“You what?! How dare you bite him!” The watcher had gotten much closer and his voice louder.

Angel held his ground and replied calmly. “I didn’t.”

That brought the watcher up short and Angel hardly held back his smirk. “Then, how?”

“He kissed me while my face was shifted and he nicked his tongue on one of my fangs.” The thought and taste made arousal pool in Angel's stomach, even now.

Giles cleared his throat before looking away, then replying. “I see. Well, like I said you may be right. I will tell you when I get the book, it should be a few days.” The flustered man had pulled his glasses off and polished them again as he spoke, it amused Angel to watch these nervous ticks. Though they didn’t fool him, he knew the man in front of him was just an able predator as he. “Well as I suppose you are staying till he gets back, you may as well help me look through these books. Look for anything that the Master could be doing or possibly do next.”

“Of course.” He was as ready to be done with the Master as the watcher probably was, more so honestly, he had never liked the guy.

After a short while, Angel heard Giles clear his throat and looked up, though the man was very pointedly not looking at him. “You need to speak with Buffy, she does not seem to realize that you have no interest in her, that your interest lay else where. She seems to believe that there may be a chance with you.”

“I will and have noticed the same thing. I was hoping she would come to the same conclusion as I did before and especially after she kissed me, that there is no future between us, even if I hadn’t found my mate. Anything would have lead to both of us getting hurt in the future. I was trying to tell her this when she kissed me. I just hope it doesn’t affect Xander and Buffy’s friendship, he sees her as a good friend.”

“I’m sure they will be fine, as she will be. Teenagers attention spans are frustratingly short and she will be enamored with another, more suited her, before long I’m sure.”

“I agree.” Though Angel didn’t like the suggestion the watcher was making about Xander in that statement, as he was also a teenager.

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“We are back, victorious! Having slayed the evil blood sucking undead.” Xander exclaimed as he entered the library, finding both Giles and Angel absorbed in a pile of books.

“Good. How many did you kill tonight and where?” Giles asked as he pulled out a small journal.

“Five. One behind the Bronze and the other four were newly risen fledges in the east and south cemeteries.” Buffy answered as she put away her crossbow.

“My, that is a lot. Activity has risen lately.” Giles murmured as he scribbled in his journal.

“Yeah. Plus you should have seen Xander, he punched one and knocked it out, it was pretty impressive.” She actually sounded a little jealous.

“Ah, good job. Maybe you should start training with Buffy. You need to learn how to fight, though it does seem like your new instincts and power increase are quite significant. I would like to sit down with you soon, instead of you going out and ask you some questions. The possession is permanent, there is no way to remove the primal other then it voluntarily leaving and as it seems to have taken up residence. I believe it would be unsafe to try to remove it now even if there was a way.”

“Umm…ok.” Angel answered at the same time as Xander’s mumbled response. “Actually, I just started training him in hand-to-hand, we started today before sunset. I thought the same thing, that he had the instincts and power, just not the knowledge of how to fight properly. I figured we would eventually get to more advanced fighting styles and weapons.”

Then Angel considered what the watcher had said and agreed. “Though you may have a point Giles, he could train with Buffy. He would be more able to match her strength and she would have a sparring partner who could really challenge her, once I’ve worked with him some more. Maybe you two could go running together, Xander said he was going to start running everyday. You would be able to push one another.” Angel looked expectantly between the two.

“Yeah, what he said.” Xander was looking a little shocked, as was Buffy. Angel thought maybe Xander hadn’t thought they would tell anyone about the training but there was no point in hiding it and he had no intentions to hide them either, he was just giving Xander time.

“That’s a good idea, Buffy. You would benefit from having a stronger sparring partner.” Giles agreed. Knowing he didn’t prove much of a challenge.

“Okay. Angel, maybe we could train together.” Buffy smiled hopefully at Angel, she was surprised that he and Xander had been training but maybe it made sense. Angel had a demon and Xander had a hyena or something like that. She didn’t care as long as she got some alone time with Angel.

Angel purposefully misinterpreted her. “Sure. Once I work more with Xander, maybe we could both spar with you, so it would be two on one, it would help you with fighting multiple opponents at the same time. Xander you ready to go, I’ll walk you.”

“I was actually hoping you would walk me home, Xander could walk Willow.” Angel barely held back his growl but knew he should probably go ahead and talk to Buffy, no time like the present they say.

“Okay, just let me talk to Xander a minute.” That got him a too hopeful smile and he hardly held back his grimace, this wasn’t going to be a fun talk.

He moved a little away from the group with Xander. “Giles wants me to talk to her, to make sure she understands that there is nothing between us, nor can there be. I think it’s a good idea also. I could come by after, make sure you got home safely?” Though even if the boy said no, he would still drop by just to check.

“Okay. I’ll see you after while. Good luck with that talk.” Xander couldn’t help but tease Angel and it got him a little growl. A chuckle escaped him at that. “Hold on, does he know about us?”

“Yes. He figured it out the other night, when I asked him a question about something and told him it wasn’t about Buffy. Is that okay?”

“Yeah. See you later.” It pleased Xander and the primal that someone knew about them, even if he wasn’t exactly ready to tell Willow and Buffy yet.

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“So, I haven’t really got to spend any time with just you lately, though you are hanging around the library more often. Given up your mystery man gig?” Buffy smiled over at Angel, glad to finally have some alone time together, though noticed he seemed to keep space between them. Maybe, he thought she wasn’t interested since he was a vampire but she had thought about it and figured the soul changed that, they could try. That after her date with Owen a few weeks back, she figured it would be better to date someone in the know and who could defend themselves, which made Angel a perfect option.

“Yes, I will be around more often.” Which was true, he would be around as much as Xander allowed him to be.

“Good. Earlier when I said something about training together, I was hoping we could train, just the two of us.”

“Maybe after I’ve worked some more with Xander. We could work with more advanced weapons, I assume you train at the library?”

“Yeah, where are you training with Xander?” They hadn’t been at the library and had come in together, laughing. Something she had never actually seen Angel do before, maybe a small smile or chuckle but not a real laugh. He had looked even better then normal even if she felt jealous that he was that way with Xander and not her.

“My apartment, its big enough for what we are doing now, though not for weapons training, so I suppose we will have to train in the library, when we get to that point.”

That kind of brought her up short, Xander had been to Angel’s apartment and she didn’t even know where he lived, other then close to the Bronze. “Oh. That’s good.” She wasn’t sure what else to say to that.

There was a few minutes of silence as Angel didn’t say anything after that, just walking. They were within sight of her house when she figured she needed to take the bulls by the horns, or something like that. “So, I was wondering what you were doing this Friday night, maybe we could go to the Bronze?”

“Maybe, I’ll have to ask Xander. We might have plans but if not we can meet you and Willow there.” Angel knew he was misinterpreting what she was saying but he had no idea about how to start this conversation. Also, not to sound like a massive jerk, which admittedly he could be.

“Oh. I meant just you and me, like a date.” Buffy wondered why he would have to ask Xander, not like they could be training all the time.

“Oh. Buffy…I thought that it was obvious we couldn’t be together. I mean, I was telling you that when you kissed me. Then I couldn’t hold back my demon because it was revolted you touched me like that and I told you that even with the soul, a part of me still wants to kill you.” Yeah, if that didn’t turn someone off. Now he had to decide if he was going to mention Xander or wait. He should probably wait, since he didn’t know if Xander wanted to tell anyone yet. Even if he wanted to tell everyone that Xander was his consort, though he should wait to tell Xander first, he supposed.

“But you have a soul and I know you are attracted to me, you wouldn’t hurt me, Angel.” She had to make him see, that they could be together, she laid her hand on his arm, only to have him back up.

“Buffy, we can’t be together. I don’t want to be. I will admit that part of me, it was drawn to you, your brightness and I thought you were attractive but I also, eventually, realized we couldn’t be together. I would constantly be fighting my demon, myself, because as much as you want to see me as a man, I’m not. I’m just a vampire with a soul.” He hadn’t wanted to admit that for so long and had been pretending to be a man but Xander didn’t let him pretend nor did he mind that Angel was a vampire, a demon.

“But…Angel, you are different. Just give us a chance.” Buffy felt like crying, she thought that he wanted her, when they kissed it had been so perfect, she knew he could suppress his demon.

“No. It may take time but you’ll see this is better. There is no chance for us, nor should there be.” Angel tried to make it as final sounding as possible, though when they all found out that Xander was his consort, his mate, it would be a moot point.

Buffy just turned around and walked into her house. She had to make Angel see they could be together. His soul, what made him good and human, was attracted to her, that was the important part. He was just stuck on the demon part of himself, maybe he thought he wasn’t good enough for her. She would just have to find a way to change his mind.

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Angel walked towards Xander’s, hoping he wouldn’t have to talk to Buffy about this again, she had seemed stuck on him having a soul. He couldn’t wait till they knew he was with Xander, that he planned to stay that way for the rest of both of their existences.

As he got closer to Xander’s, he heard yelling so fell into a run. When he got there he found Xander sitting out on the curb, at least he wasn’t inside. “Xander, are you okay? What happened?” Angel knelt next to Xander.

“Yeah, fine. Just they were yelling when I got here, so I figured I would stay outside till they calmed down or went to bed.”

Angel wondered if this was a common occurrence and offered, “Xander, come to my place. You can sleep there, tonight.”

“No, that’s fine. I’m use to this, I don’t want to be a bother.” Guess that answered Angel’s unasked question.

“Xander, you aren’t. I want you there, so please. You really shouldn’t have to deal with this. Do you need anything?”

“Yeah, my backpack and some clothes. I guess I can go in through the window. Thank you.” Xander nestled into Angel for a hug before heading around to the back of the house, he had gotten really good at climbing into his window.

When Xander looked back and saw Angel hadn’t come though, “coming in?”

“Needed an invite.” Angel said as he slipped through the window. Xander grabbed his backpack and a small bag for some clothes and his toiletries.

“If you wanted to you could leave an extra set of clothes at my place. That way if you needed it after we sparred or just staying over without coming here first.” Maybe Angel could move him in a set of clothes at a time.

“Okay.” Xander grabbed an extra pair of jeans, gym shorts, a couple shirts, and boxers. “Let’s go, they’re getting louder.”

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When they got back to Angel’s place, Xander set his bag down and just kind of stood there, he felt really embarrassed about his parents.

“Hey. Come here.” Angel pulled Xander into his arms and laid a soft kiss to his lips, he could smell the embarrassment and wanted to erase it, kid couldn’t help who his parents where.

“You know, your dad, reminds me of mine. I mean he wasn’t a drunk but he didn’t seem to need that to yell at or beat on me or my mother. I was, he called me a drunk, whoring, lay about, which hurt more cause I was. I had no ambition to be anything more because I knew I would never be good enough in his eyes and could have never become a man my father would have been proud of. You though, you are a good man and you are just going to get better, going to become a much better man then your father is or has the potential to be. You will never be like him.”

“Thanks. I just hate them sometimes, why do they do this, over and over again. Always drunk and yelling, its worse on the holidays, the whole family is over and its just an excuse to get loud and violent, I usually camp out in the backyard or go to Willow's, if her parents aren’t there.” The boys home life was worse then he had thought.

Angel just hugged his beautiful boy tighter, nuzzled the side of his head. Offering what comfort he could. Felt the huge sigh Xander released and the tension leave his body. “Okay. As much as I want to just stay here forever, I think I need a shower, then food. That okay?”

“Of course, make yourself at home. You know where the bathroom is, I picked up…um…some stuff for you in there, when I was at the store.” Angel said before he let the boy go.

“Okay, thanks. I’ll be out in a few.” Xander grabbed his bag before heading to the bathroom.

Angel turned on some music, then sat on the couch, and picked up a book from the side table, trying not to listen and give Xander some privacy, while he went about his ablutions.

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About ten minutes later, Xander came out of the bathroom clean and feeling one hundred times better and extremely hungry. Patrolling made him hungry, well everything made him hungry but anything that expended extra energy made him even more so. Now he just had to decide what he was going to eat. Another sandwich or maybe bacon and eggs, he wondered if Angel remembered the eggs needed cooking utensils.

“Hey Angel, do you have a pan for the eggs?” Xander asked as he headed towards the kitchen area.

Angel looked up from his book before answering. “What? Oh, yes. There is a small pot and pan set in the cabinet next to the stove and utensils in the drawer. There’s salt, pepper, and a few other spices also.” Angel said as he pointed in the general direction of the kitchen. “If you feel like something sweet, there is some chocolate ice cream in the freezer, it’s suppose to be homemade, they had some pints at the store in a specialty section.”

“Man, Angel you really went all out. You really shouldn’t have, I can’t pay you back for all this stuff.” Xander barely had a hundred dollars to his name.

“What? No! I don’t expect you too. Xander, I like getting you stuff, its just some food. Plus, don’t worry about money, I have been around for a very long time. I didn’t spend all my time killing before my soul.”

“Oh. You had a job?” Xander was very doubtful.

“No. Some of its stolen, some is from investments that are very old, and my father was well off.”

“Okay, not going to ask any questions but still thanks for everything. I feel like I’m always thanking you lately.” The primal was pleased that their potential mate was such a good provider plus it made Xander feel warm and cared for.

Xander went about lightly frying a quarter pack of bacon, then scrambled half a dozen eggs before loading it all onto slices of mayonnaise covered bread. The dill had been a perfect addition to the eggs, he had always thought it made them taste so much better and had been glad when he saw it.

He looked up when he saw Angel sit down across from his with a cup of blood and smiled at him and got one right back. It always made his stomach and chest feel all fluttery when Angel smiled at him. He demolished the pile of sandwiches in record time, feeling nice and full when he was done. Xander was pretty sure he had a food pouch on his stomach now.

“I’m going to get so fat, if I keep eating like this.” Though it wasn’t going to actually stop Xander from eating just like this.

“I doubt it, your metabolism was probably pretty fast already and has most likely gotten even faster, its why you’re eating more.” He doubted the boy would gain an ounce of fat, maybe muscle though as he continued to train and exercise.

“I feel like I’m going to eat everyone out of house and home.” Xander said around a yawn.

“Alright, time for you to get to bed, you have school in the morning.”

“I would normally put up a fight but I feel so exhausted. Nighty, night.” Xander leaned down and gave Angel a kiss. “If you get tired, your bed is plenty big enough for the both of us.” Xander tried to sound casual and wasn’t sure he pulled it off.

“Maybe, I have some reading I want to get done first but that does sound very appealing. Now off you go.” The thought was extremely appealing but Angel wasn’t sure it was a good idea, too much temptation.

It was much closer to dawn when Angel finally put down his book and sat there for a minute, thinking if going to lay with Xander was good idea. He wanted to, there was no doubt, the thought of being able to hold all that heat and perfect scent against him, made the decision for him. He set an alarm so Xander would have time to get up and get ready for school and eat before he left.

Angel walked into the bedroom and saw Xander’s naked back as the sheet was pulled down slightly, he quickly stripped to his boxers before getting under the sheets. He settled against Xander’s back, wrapped an arm around his waist, and nosed into the short hairs on his neck, loving the feeling of all that warm skin against his own cool skin. He felt Xander sign in his sleep and settle back even more against him, his hand sliding into Angel’s.

Angel laid there for a while just luxuriating in the heat and smell of his mate, even if he hadn’t claimed Xander, he was still Angel’s. It didn’t take long for it to lull Angel into a deep sleep.

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The next two days went by quickly, though Xander didn’t stay the night at Angel’s again. He went to school, did homework right after, then went home or to Angel’s, sparring with Angel, library at sunset and then patrolling before going home.

Though one night he had sat in the library for a couple hours with Giles instead of patrolling and was asked about a million questions, made him feel a little like a science experiment. Though Giles seemed satisfied that he had control and he currently wasn’t in any danger nor a danger to anyone.

It was hard explaining that he had all these new instincts, mostly animal, but they didn’t rule him. Also, how to explain that the primal wasn’t just the primal spirit of a hyena when he didn’t know exactly what she was, that she was old and so much more then just an animal spirit. That his new instincts weren’t exactly like the striped, sometimes called laughing, hyena because he had looked them up and mating for life, wasn’t part of their behavior, so that came from the primal, possibly. Though he didn’t mention that fact to Giles, just that some of the primal’s wants or actions didn’t follow the hyena’s natural behavior. Giles seemed a little surprised at first by that but agreed after some explanation.

Or even how they communicated because it was all inside his mind, both just immediately knew because they both shared their thoughts. Like he dreamed of running on the plains of Africa and could literally tell you how it smelled and how the dirt felt against his paws even though he had never been there. That she was picking up on his thoughts and behavior, also. Knew there was still so much he had yet to learn from her and how cunning and intelligent she was, that she didn’t want all their secrets to be given away to another pack. That her complete trust only extended to Xander and possibly Angel.

Xander had told Angel about that, how the primal was reluctant to give up knowledge to Giles, both because he tried to get rid of her and because he was considered part of Buffy’s pack but at the same time felt no such qualm about Angel. Angel just told him to do what felt right, not to push himself, that there was nothing wrong with keeping some stuff to himself as long as it wasn’t detrimental to anyone else. Said you don’t give up everything to someone who could be your enemy, it was hard for Xander to think of Giles as a possible enemy but the primal had no such qualms. He did realize that Giles loyalties laid with his slayer and would do what was necessary to keep her safe, the primal had seen something…darker, beneath the surface of the older man.

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Saturday was spent mostly at Angel’s, going in the early afternoon to start some new training. He had done everything he needed to at home for the weekend, so he could spend the night again, if Angel didn’t mind.

Before they headed to the library he wanted to ask. “Angel, would you mind me spending the night again?”

“Of course not. I would enjoy it, I very much liked sleeping next to you.” Angel considered that an understatement of his enjoyment, he had been hoping Xander would spend the night again soon.

“Cool. Willow and Buffy will probably want to go to the Bronze after patrolling but I would rather just come back here and spend time with you.” He liked when it was just the two of them, Angel didn’t expect him to be goofy Xander and took what he said seriously, it allowed a different side of Xander to come out, one that was more mature then he showed others. Snark, babble, and humor had always been his defense but he didn’t really need that around Angel.

“I like that plan.” Angel pulled Xander into his arms, loving the feeling of his boy slotting against him perfectly. Their kiss started out slow but didn’t stay that way long, then Angel felt Xander’s tongue rubbing against his human canine and made a questioning noise.

“Game face please. I want to lick your fangs again.” There was a pause before, “That sounds so weird.”

Angel wanted to tell him no, that he could get cut again but it seemed like that was what Xander wanted and he really didn’t want to object. He loved the idea of tasting Xander again, so shifted his face. The demon purred about the acceptance it got from the act, that Xander wasn’t shunning a part of him and made a point of reminding him the slayer would never have accepted this.

At first, Xander just lightly licked them, till he purposefully ran just the tip of his tongue along the bottom of one, creating a small slice on his tongue and letting out the smallest amount of blood. Angel couldn’t help the growl of pleasure as he sucked on the tiny wound, he demon purring in absolute pleasure, could literally taste Xander’s arousal. He hardly realized he had pushed Xander against the wall and was rubbing against him. Kissing Xander almost desperately, unable to hold back the passion he felt for this beautiful boy, his Xander.

He heard his name gasped before he felt Xander tense and then was hit with the scent of Xander’s release. “Oh, Xander.” He couldn’t stop himself and rutted roughly against Xander’s stomach a few times before spilling into his own pants. Even in the midst of his orgasm, Angel hoped he hadn’t pushed the boy too far, too fast, worry already filling his mind.

They leaned against each other a few minutes, just nuzzling each others neck and leaving light kisses wherever they could reach. “I didn’t mean for it to get out of hand like that but that was amazing. I haven’t came in my pants since I was a young lad, myself.” Angel couldn’t help laughing, he felt so light and relaxed even if worried he had moved too fast. “You okay?”

“Yeah. Really good and I agree, amazing. I really didn’t mean to come in my pants but it felt so good to have you against me like that.” Xander was at least not so embarrassed since Angel had done the same thing, he had never had a person so close to him before or at least not sexually.

“It did feel really good, now why don’t we go clean up and change before we go.” Angel pulled Xander with him to the bedroom.

“Good thing I have some clothes here.”

They both changed quickly and Xander made a sandwich before they started walking towards the library, hand in hand. Angel liked the easy intimacy between them and the sweet smile on Xander’s face, when he twined their fingers together.

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They had barely walked into the library before Giles was calling to Angel. “I have some news, I believe you will want to hear. The others can patrol, I have that book with the prophesy I told you about.”

Giles pulled Angel into his office as the others left. “You may very well be right. Read this.” Giles handed over an old book that smelled heavily of dust, that had a piece of paper stuck in it that had the translated page.

It took Angel only a few minutes and he couldn’t help but laugh out loud. He had been right, Xander was his Consort. The prophesy stated that the curse on the Aurelian line would be broken when circumstances made it so the Consort and an Aurelian Vampire, literally couldn’t ignore each other. They would be unable to pass through each others life without finding the other, something would make sure of it.

“The primal. It made his scent so much stronger and it literally called to my demon, I had been able to resist the slight pull I had felt till then and had planned to continue. We would have possibly never given in, if it hadn’t been for him being possessed as he was, he would never have admitted to liking a male while living under his father’s roof, either. He’s mine, I knew it.” His demon was filled with an almost overwhelming possessive joy that he had never experienced before.

“While it may be true he is your…consort, it does not mean he is yours or that he will choose to be claimed by you. You will not pressure him into anything, he is a 16 year old teenager who has his whole life ahead of him. Being claimed may not be one of the things he has planned for his life.” Angel couldn’t hold back the vicious growl or stop his face from shifting at that, took a vicious joy in the man stumbling back from him. No one was going to keep him from Xander.

It took a minute before he could bring himself back under control. “You will not keep me from Xander nor assume that I would force myself on him. He will be mine only if he comes willingly, you know that, the bond wouldn’t form otherwise. I can wait for him as long as he needs, if that is what he wants. I have made it clear to him that I believe we should take our time, as he needs to know his own feelings over what the primal wants. You know the primal considers me its potential mate but I want him to want to be with me for life also.”

The man watched him for a moment before responding. “Good. I just don’t want him to feel pressured, he is so young. While being mated for life with a vampire, isn’t something I would wish on anyone, normally, I feel you two could make a good pair. Your soul will allow you to give him what he needs as a human and your demon will be able to understand and give the primal what it needs as well and I believe his life span may be extended by its presence.”

Angel wasn’t planning on arguing over the soul comment, it wouldn’t matter, Giles would never believe vampires could truly love and Angel would possibly have agreed, though he had watched Spike’s complete devotion to Drusilla for decades. He didn’t doubt it now though, he wouldn’t have loved Xander any less without the soul. He would never have thought his demon could love, till now.

“I agree. The primal, is old, probably close to a thousand years, it surprised me when I realized it and very powerful. But yes, his life, even if we don’t bond, will be greatly increased and if he is claimed, his aging will probably slow even more or stop completely, especially if we share blood often.” Angel had no doubts he would claim Xander, even if it was years from now.

“Are you sure? I would have assumed it was younger, to allow him complete control like he has. We spoke the other day and it seems to be assimilating with him or something quite similar. It didn’t occur to me to ask its age even if he did say it was older. But I agree it is very powerful, I have never heard of one acting like this though. Though like he said it isn’t the primal spirit of a hyena but I believe, possibly, a true primal, I will need to do more research though.” Angel watched Giles pull out his journal and start writing on a page that was already filled with details.

“Very, I could taste it when I tasted his blood and he mentioned he thought she was very old. He will become quite powerful, he is already becoming very strong and his strength and senses are increasing the longer she is there. Who knows what he has the potential to be like when they are done. I believe it was me that kept it from wanting to leave Xander, it wants a mate and knew it had one in me. The primal could possibly have sensed an incomplete bond between us.”

“True and that is a plausible theory. Also, I assumed you talked to Buffy the other night, though you didn’t tell her about Xander?”

“Yes. She wasn’t happy but it had to be done and no, not about Xander. I thought I would give him time, when he’s ready we can tell them.” Angel answered.

Angel went back to reading the translated prophesy again, as they fell silent. He couldn’t wait to tell Xander, he would tonight, since he was staying over.

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Angel was in the main part of the library looking over some of the weapons Giles had. All were in excellent condition, when the group came back from patrolling. When he saw Xander, he felt a smile spread across his face, completely unable to or even wanting to reign it in and got an answering smile instantly.

When Xander walked in and was greeted by the most beautiful smile he had ever seen on Angel’s face and that it was directed at him, he felt and heard his heart skip a few beats.

“Hey, what are you doing?” He asked, a little breathless, just so he wasn’t standing there like an idiot staring at Angel.

“Just looking at some weapons. You had a good night patrolling?” Angel wanted to pull the boy into a kiss but knew he had to wait.

“Yeah, wasn’t too busy. Only saw two vamps out tonight, there wasn’t even any at the Bronze, it was kind of odd.” Xander was a little sad they hadn’t run into more, he was hoping for a decent fight.

“Yeah, maybe it means the Master is up to something, like a vamp pow-wow.” Buffy added as she put the crossbow back in the weapons locker. She had seen the smile on Angel’s face when they walked in but it had taken her a second to realize it wasn’t directed at her, she had never seen him smile like that before. She didn’t like it, sure Xander and him were becoming friends but Angel shouldn’t smile at anyone but her that way.

“So, Angel you coming to the Bronze tonight. We could go dancing, it’ll be fun, which you need to have, instead of sitting here with stuffy old books.” That got a noise from the watcher.

“No. I don’t feel like it tonight and I happen to like these stuffy old books. They can be filled with amazing things. Anyway, I have plans. Come on Xander, let me walk you home.”

“Xander, you’re coming to the Bronze with us, aren’t you?” Buffy turned a big smile towards him, he could never refuse her.

“No, not tonight. I’ll see you tomorrow. Later, Wills.” Then was almost pushed out the door by Angel.

“Jeez, what’s gotten into you. Why are you in such a hurry?” He had to break into a light jog just to keep up with Angel.

“I have some amazing news, well to me and I hope to you. Though I will have to explain why it’s amazing news, I expect. It’s what I’ve been looking into. I had my suspicions for awhile but the curse prevented it from being true but there was a prophesy.” Angel couldn’t help how excited he was.

“Whoa, slow down you aren’t making much sense, what’s gotten into you tonight.” Xander couldn’t help but look at Angel, like the crazy would be able to just be seen if he looked hard enough.

“Okay, lets just get to the apartment, shower and eat, then I’ll tell you. Do you want anything different to eat? There are a few places still open, I could go pick you something up?” Angel just wanted to tell him everything but it would take awhile and he knew Xander was probably hungry and wanting a shower by now.

“Hmmm, well now that you mention it, I would love a burger from that place right near the Bronze, one with pulled pork on it too and medium rare.” Xander turned a hopeful smile to Angel.

“Okay, well I’ll call it in and go get it while you’re in the shower.” Angel was ready to tell Xander and didn’t want to delay it any longer then he had to.

“Awesome.” Xander leaned over and gave Angel a smacking kiss on his cheek, getting another beautiful smile in return.

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“Wonder what’s up Angel’s butt? Seriously. And why is he spending so much time with Xander, I mean there is only so much training they could do together. And did you see the smile he aimed at Xander, I mean he should be smiling at me that way. You have any idea what’s going on with them?” Buffy ranted while they sat at the Bronze, she had thought with the whole group, Angel might come, instead of it being just the two of them, so it wouldn’t seem like a date.

“I don’t know. Maybe they are just becoming really good friends.” It sounded weak even to Willow’s ears. She had seen the smile Angel sent Xander’s way and it was very much an ‘I am in love with Xander’ smile, she should know, she had those same smiles but what was different was the smile Xander gave Angel and it wasn’t a ‘best friend’ smile. Though, there was no way she was telling that to Buffy. She didn’t know what was going on between Angel and Xander, maybe they were being guys and oblivious to each others feelings and selfishly, she hoped there wasn’t anything going on. It’s just that the thought of Xander actually falling in love with someone else made her chest hurt, she had thought she would get the chance to make him see her as more then a friend.

“Ugh, it isn’t fair. I’m just going to have to bring Angel around to my way of thinking.” Buffy thought maybe if she wore something sexier, since Angel was a grown man and he would want a women not a girl.

Willow hardly held back the wince at that, cause she was pretty sure Buffy wasn’t going to have any luck with that. “You get him, sister.” Not that she wasn’t going to be supportive Willow in the mean time.

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A while later, after Angel had gotten out of the shower and Xander was eating his second burger, Angel figured it was time but had no idea where to start.

“You going to just stare at me or tell me what has you so excited, you actually babbled? Cause that is my thing, you can’t go stealing it.” It actually was making Xander a little nervous, what could have Angel so worked up.

“I am, I just don’t know where to start.”

He got a quick reply from Xander. “The beginning usually works.”

“Well there are lots of beginning for this. Like the beginning of vampires or my beginning or the beginning of the curse, to name a few.”

“Well start somewhere and hit them all I suppose. This is something really serious, isn’t it?”

“Yes. It is something that hasn’t occurred in the Aurelius House of Vampires for almost 3000 years, a curse was put upon this line, it is even rumored to be the cause of the instability and added viciousness you see in the Aurelian line.” It had made him wonder about himself and Darla, they were good examples for that theory.

“Wow, that sounds super serious. Instability? Aren’t all vampires, you know crazy and vicious?” Xander winced at his words even if they were true cause Angel was a vampire and had been both but still.

“They all have no souls but not necessarily crazy or as purposefully sadistic as I or Darla was and the Aurelius line has had instability among the childer for a very long time, there are very few left. Occasionally, vampires have some fragment of humanity left. The Master’s favorite and oldest still ‘living’ was Darla, who was over 400 years old and she is gone now, so I’m the next oldest in this line of vampires. It is very uncommon to have a vampire as young as myself who is the next in line to be Master of the House, especially when the line is so old, dating back to almost the first recorded history of modern day vampires.”

“You’re considered young? But you are like…uh, like 244 years old and those are your vampire years. Hold on, how old are you, I mean human age when you got turned?”

“26, so I’ve been around 270 years. And yes, I am considered young. For the Master, who is many 1000s of years old to be the Master of the House of Aurelius, along with being the leader of the cult, Order of Aurelius, it is a large gap. Aurelius who sired the Master was the founder of this line and of the cult, and he is one of the bridges between what use to be considered vampires and what you see today.”

“Holy cow. All we every see are fledges though, where are all these super old vampires and what are these houses of vampires you keep talking about? And what do you mean what use to be considered vampires?” Xander was very curious where this was going, the history lesson was actually interesting.

“What you see here is mostly weak fledges, who are nothing but minions and were created by equally weak minions and so on, they probably couldn’t trace themselves back to a real Master vampire or a House, if they wanted to.” Angel couldn’t stop his sneer because he had never liked weak vampires or minions, they were useless and competition for food. He shook his head to stop remembering the past because now he couldn’t say much against them, with the way he had lived the last century, much less the last two decades.

“Very old vampires are that way because they are smart enough to not attract attention and will continue their very long lives without doing so, by that age they are nothing like what you see. Completely in control and the need to feed isn’t very often if they don’t wish to. Some have even given up killing people and others use only willing donors, so as not to attract attention. You really have very little knowledge of vampires if you haven’t heard of the Houses or history. It is considered a linage of vampire, there are multiple lines but not all are as old as some. Some Master Vampires broke off from their Sires and created a new line and so on, through the ages. The House of Aurelius is a very old lineage of vampire, that is tracked back from childe to sire to almost the beginning of modern vampires. Now though there are very few vampires of this House left and none with any true age.” Angel thought about how the Aurelius name use to bring fear and respect to other vampires.

“You’ve heard Giles call the Master, the king of vampires, which isn’t really a true title and about the Order of Aurelius?” When Angel got a nod from Xander he continued. “Okay, well the Order is a cult that worships the ‘Old Ones’, who were pure demons who roamed earth well before humans. When the Old Ones left earth to other dimensions, some left behind part demons, those they infected. An Old One named Maloker, supposedly sired the very first vampires and they were nothing like what you see today, closer to how the Master looks and much stronger. As vampires begat more vampires, they became…less demon and looked more human. Aurelius, who sired the Master, was much closer to what was originally considered vampires, those who walked the earth before humans, maybe only by a generation or two.”

“Oh wow, ok. That’s not something Giles told us. So super old house but not a lot of super old vampires anymore and a curse that caused this. Well, what’s the curse?” Xander hadn’t figured tonight would turn into a vampire history lesson but it was still cool, he hadn’t heard this stuff from Giles, just that vampires were all soulless monsters and nothing was left of the person inside. And vampires who didn’t kill, even though they didn’t have souls, yeah he definitely hadn’t got that memo. He wondered if maybe Jesse, no he wasn’t going down that road of thought tonight.

Angel took a breath before starting, “Almost 3000 years ago, a Master in the House of Aurelius, another child of Aurelius himself, found his consort, his mate, which I will explain the meaning of after this story, and courted them and when they accepted the vampire’s wish to claim them, the vampire whisked them away. Though this vampire’s consort, also happened to have the attention of a very powerful sorcerer and had been arranged to marry them. When the sorcerer found out that a vampire had taken their betrothed, they were enraged and hunted the vampire down but it was too late, the vampire had already claimed and bonded with his mate. The sorcerer in their rage, cursed the line of Aurelius, cursed them so that no others of this line of vampires would ever find their consort, that they could literally walk by each other and never know, the pull of mates would not be there. Then the sorcerer killed the vampire believing then they could marry their betrothed but the Claimed Consort killed the sorcerer in return and then themselves, after they lost their mate unable to take the broken bond. It sparked a war between the sorcerer’s coven and the House of Aurelius, many of Aurelius’ childer were lost, the Master being the last one left.” It had taken ages for Angel to find that information when he became intrigued by consorts in the early to mid 1800s.

Xander sat there for a minute just taking in the story and Angel’s behavior tonight, it didn’t take long to click. “I’m your consort, whatever that is, but how? You said the curse would make it so you wouldn’t know.”

“I have for awhile thought it was the only explanation to my reaction to you, unlike anything ever before. Consort made sense but I also knew about the curse, I had researched them, originally, in the 1800s. In my travels with Darla, we came upon a vampire who was around a thousand years old and they had a Consort who had been fairly recently turned, though they had been together for two hundred years. I was very curious as it wasn’t something Darla had every told me about. I asked them, they said they had found their consort, who had been a human and only 14 when they found them, so he waited and courted them for a couple years before claiming them. The human didn’t wish to be turned yet and was still very young and since a claim and blood from the vampire would slow ageing it wasn’t needed. By the time I met them, they had been together almost two hundred years and the consort, a vampire for only a few years but looked to be only in their mid to late twenties. I was fascinated with the idea but Darla told me that Aurelius vampires were cursed and that we would never have them nor should we want them, the idea of being bound to one person for the rest of her existence horrified Darla. I was intrigued and liked the idea and researched it for years till I was distracted when Darla pointed out Drusilla and didn’t think on it much after that, as we never came across any others.”

“Still doesn’t answer how I’m yours or exactly what it means.” Xander liked story time but he really wanted to get to the main point already.

This explanation was taking longer then Angel had thought it would but went on to explain about consorts. How there was no theory about why or how they existed that had been proven but something pulled the two together, rumored they were a gift from their creator. That they were very rare and treasured among vampires who knew of their existence. That though it wasn’t written it was the death of his Consort that killed Aurelius almost 1000 yrs before, they had been bonded for well over 7000 years.

That only a vampire turned to be a childe not a minion had a Consort and they could only be found once that vampire reached master status themselves, otherwise the connection was usually too faint. That vampires have gone centuries or even millennia without finding theirs but that once the consort had been born the vampire would feel the pull to them, even half a world away. That they weren’t always fully human, it had been recorded some were already turned or they were half breeds of various demon species.

Angel took an unnecessary breath and looked at Xander who seemed to be listening patiently but also wanting the point of the story. He wished he could have just said you are my Consort and that been the end of it but all this had been necessary.

“Now, a vampire is drawn to a being, so completely, their demon will not wish harm to this person, they will want to protect and provide for them, will want them by their side with exclusion of all others, will love them completely, be obsessively devoted, and they will give this person anything they desire as it becomes their demon’s purpose to ensure their mate is well cared for and happy. The demon will want that person to willingly choose them and that person must not be forced or coerced or the bond wont take. That person is a vampire’s consort, the only being that will draw the demon to them in such a way. Once a vampire claims them, a bond will form between them unlike any other and it that will grow stronger the longer they are together. It is said no two bonds are alike, though all are a link between the mated pair. You are mine, whether you accept to be claimed or not, there will be no others for me.”

“That sounds pretty intense and also like how I’m called to you because of the primal, she wants you and no one else, literally since the beginning. I think it may be part of why she stayed. Is she the only reason you’re drawn to me? And how is it possible with the curse, you still haven’t answered that? And what do you mean claimed?” Though Xander had a good idea about that last one.

Angel had to interrupt or the questions may not have stopped. “Slow down. Yes and no about the primal, she is why I’m drawn to you but not only because of her. When I kept thinking of you as mine, I had to figure out how it was possible, so I went to Giles and had him find as many books as he had on the subject and he was also looking for books on the Aurelius curse, he came across someone who had a book of minor prophesies, in it was one about the end of the curse. It stated that a time would come, where circumstances would intervene and make it so that the Aurelius Vampire and Consort could not ignore each other, that they would be unable to walk through the others life without finding each other. This would be the end of the curse upon the House of Aurelius.”

It only took Xander a second. “The primal. She pulled me towards you and you towards me because you said till then you had been able to resist the small pull you felt but after my scent called to you.”

“Yes, her staying ensured we would find each other. I couldn’t ignore your call once she was there. I believe it may even be why she immediately picked me out as a potential mate, she knew her desires would be returned. Though she may be the catalyst that ensured that I would find you, she isn’t the only reason I’m drawn to you. I want you, Xander. I want you to want this, not just because she does but because you want to spend the rest of our existences together. But like I’ve already said it isn’t something you need to decide now or even soon, I’m not getting any older and your life span is greatly increased already because of the primal. I just ask you give it serious consideration because whatever you choose, I will be devoted to you for the rest of your life.” Angel almost winced because he hadn’t meant to say that, even if it was completely true, he didn’t want to pressure Xander but he did want him as his Claimed Consort. He didn’t know what he would do if Xander never accepted to be bonded.

“That is really serious and from your earlier reaction you are pretty happy about this turn of events. If, no probably when, I accept what do you have to do to claim me? I’ll take my time to make sure this is the right decision but from the primal’s reaction, her want of you as a mate, and my own feelings towards you already, I don’t see me not choosing to spend the rest of our lives together. Though do you only like me cause I’m your consort?” Xander had to know, he wanted to be wanted for himself not some mystical mate crap.

“Happy doesn’t even come close to how I feel, my demon is exulting in pleasure that it found its mate. Claiming, well, sex is usually involved plus the mating pair exchanging marks that will scar and blood, along with words, a sort of ancient spell, that seals the bond between the two. But no, I don’t only ‘like’ you cause you’re my Consort, though it was why I was initially drawn to you, much like why you even gave me a second look was because of the primal, but the more I find out about you, the more I fall for you. You have an amazing heart Xander, you are so loyal to your friends, and so brave. Even when you were only human, you helped fight against vampires because you couldn’t see evil and not do something about it. Plus, you are very insightful for a 16 year old and much brighter then you give yourself credit for, so much more then the goofy friend you act like.” Angel reached out for Xander’s hand and brought it to his mouth for a kiss, wanting some kind of contact. This had been an intense conversation for him, he felt as if he had a heart that beat it would be beating out of his chest.

“This is a lot to take in and I think my brain in on overload with this stuff. So I suggest we put this conversation on pause and go to bed. I feel like I could sleep for half a day.” Xander looked at Angel hopefully, it was just so much to take in. He had about a million questions he wanted to ask but mostly he was exhausted. Sleep was usually his answer to an over worked brain or food but he was already full from the two burgers he had eaten earlier plus it was very late.

“That’s fine. We can go to bed. It has definitely been a long day for the both of us.” Angel pulled Xander up out of the chair and they went to the bedroom. “You want me in here with you again?” Angel wanted to make sure, Xander may want space after their conversation and even if it was the last thing Angel wanted to do, he would.

“Yes. I want some series cuddles.” Xander gave a mock glare to enforce his demand, though he doubted it would be a problem, especially having woken up to an Angel octopus the other morning, that had taken serious work to disentangle himself from.

They quickly stripped to their boxers and got under the cool sheets. Angel laid on his back and brought Xander snug against his side, Xander nuzzled his nose into Angel’s neck and left out a contented sign.

Xander was asleep within minutes but Angel lay there awake thinking back on the day. He was the most content he had been in over a hundred years, maybe more, though he was still worried Xander wouldn’t want to be claimed. Giles was right, Xander was so young and also, what if Angel sullied Xander’s purity, put his soul in danger of damnation. But those thoughts were quickly chased out by the fact that there wasn’t another being on this whole planet who would love Xander the way he would, that Xander had literally been made for Angel. He wasn’t willing to give Xander up for any reason.

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Angel woke to the sound of Xander sniffling and the scent of tears and it jerked him completely into awareness.

“Xander, what’s wrong?” Only then realizing the boy wasn’t even fully awake.

At first he only got some garbled words then “…oh sorry. Just a nightmare.” But the boy clung tighter to him, his grip bruising even to the vampire.

“Xander tell me?” He didn’t know what to think, how to protect Xander from nightmares.

“It was about Jesse.” Came the whispered reply.

“Who?” Which only made the situation worse, he tried to pull the name from his memories, he had maybe heard it once or twice.

“He was one of my best friends. He grew up with Willow and me. He got turned when Buffy first came to town, Darla did it. He was the first vampire I staked, it was an accident, I didn’t mean too. I was holding it, trying to talk to him and he came at me, he wanted to turn me too. He just got pushed into it and then just poof, all gone, no more Jesse.” Xander’s words were coming out rushed.

“After some of the stuff you told me last night, it was different then what Giles said, he told me that a vampire is nothing but a demon who took over a corpse, that there was nothing left of the human, that they were no longer that person. You said there were those who didn’t kill humans and it’s obvious vampires can love.” By the end, most of the sniffling had stopped as well as the tears.

Yeah, this wasn’t going to be a fun conversation. “Xander, while I don’t completely agree with what Giles said, your friend Jesse, wasn’t the same once he was turned. He was a fledge, probably a weak one, just a minion created by Darla. He would have probably killed you instead of turning you, he wouldn’t have been able to control his blood lust so young. The vampires I talked about last night, were masters, all older and they also have decades or centuries of killing humans behind them. Fledges wouldn’t have that control, they have no impulse control at all, their demon is young and hungry, they are overconfident in their new immortality, drunk on their new strength. Possibly the only way a fledge wouldn’t kill, is if they were made to be a strong childer and had a powerful sire who doesn’t wish them too, that controlled them completely when they fed. I’m sorry you had to kill your friend Jesse but he was a demon and would have killed people with little to no remorse, even if there was something left of your friend.”

“You keep saying minion but before you mentioned childer, what’s the difference? I know there is, Giles said as much.”

“Mainly, it’s the amount of blood one is given and intent. A minion is only given the barest amount that will call a weaker demon by their sire. A vampire that decides to make a childe, shares much more of their blood, making the demon stronger and they will often continue to share blood for an extended amount of time, will teach and train them. The stronger the sire, the stronger the childe and the more blood they share the stronger the childe becomes or has the potential to become. Those made as minions never make it to master status, no matter how old they get, they just aren’t powerful enough, they weren’t made to be strong. I believe that the Aurelius line is so strong because we are so much closer to what we were then most vampires today.” Angel answered.

“I want to learn about vampires, all this stuff you talked about, Giles hasn’t told us and I doubt he will. I want to learn about them, also about consorts, and…um…also about you, from before. Giles only went over a little about what you did but I want to know. Could you find books I could read on the subjects, not my favorite thing to do but when I’m properly motivated I can be a fast learner.” Xander wanted his questions answered and figured this way could possibly answer some of them.

“I could. I’ll find some accurate ones in English that give a more rounded view of vampires then what watchers usually want their slayers knowing. I mean if they told them that vampires had feelings and some of the human may be left behind, that slayer might hesitate to kill and could just as easily end up dead. There is also stuff not in books, that I could tell you about, if you wanted.”

“Yeah, that sounds good. I suppose that actually makes sense. Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.” Xander didn’t want to seem so weak.

“There is no reason to apologize. You lost a good friend and in a way that you shouldn’t of had to deal with so young or ever. You and your friends will lose a lot more of your innocence then you should have to, facing the thing you will here.” Angel placed a soft kiss on Xander’s lips, he just wanted that sad expression to go away, to take his boy far from this mouth of hell.

“Ugh, no kissing before I brush my teeth mister. I have to pee anyway, so let me up.” And just like that Xander seemed to shake off the sadness that had been surrounding him a moment ago, though Angel knew it wasn’t completely gone, could still smell it in his scent.

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It had been early afternoon when they had woken up and Angel had called in a pizza to be delivered because he knew food made Xander happier. Yes, he was willing to use any means necessary to put and keep a smile on Xander’s face.

The smell of the meat lovers pizza that Xander had wanted filled the whole apartment and Xander had gotten Angel to take a bite, the taste wasn’t bad but he wasn’t a fan of the texture of solid food after not eating it for so long and had quickly spit it back out. Which only seemed to make Xander laugh, which was fine by Angel, a laughing Xander was always a good thing.

By unspoken consensus they kept conversation light. Xander talked about school and a new teacher Willow was in platonic love with, some lady who liked computers as much as Willow and had a program where they could scan all of the library’s books and they would be searchable by word and subject. How Giles was having a serious conniption fit about people touching his books and was a total ‘technophobe’, Angel completely agreed with Giles point of view and told Xander as much. Which only got him a fond smile and a ‘I figured, you old man’.

Also, how Xander had told Giles they totally needed a truck or maybe a van, since they called themselves the Scooby gang. So they could drive, instead of walk to all the different cemeteries and had somewhere to carry more weapons, cause in Xander’s book, more weapons were of the good. Plus it would just be cool.

Angel told Xander about famous people he had met and all the places he had been in his long life, he left out the killing he had done, not like Xander wasn’t going to find out soon enough. He knew the books Giles had on him as Angelus were pretty accurate till he was cursed and figured it would work as bullet points of his life as a vampire.

They lay together on the couch, just talking for hours. It was surreal to Angel, he hadn’t lied when he told Xander at the beginning that the conversation they had, had was more then he had spoken in decades. This was more then he had talked in over a century but it felt nice just to have someone to talk too, who knew enough about him, he didn’t have to hide what he was. He felt comfortable, at ease, around Xander in a way he hadn’t around anyone else in his life or after.

When it started getting dark, Angel heard Xander’s stomach growl and was again surprised how much the boy could eat. He had, over the afternoon, put away the entire large pizza.

“So food, feeling anything in particular, maybe that Thai place again? I wouldn’t mind a bowl of that soup from last time.”

“Yeah, that works, if you want to go. If not, there is still some stuff here to eat.” Though honestly, Xander had cleared out most of it over the week.

“I do. I might bring home an extra cup of the soup and see if it does mix well with the blood. We could go to the grocery after and get you some more stuff for here.”

“Still drinking human? It looked like you got more.”

“Yeah, went the other night and picked up another order. Made a standing weekly pick-up order. It really is so much better, I’m not sure I could go back to pig after knowing about this option. I feel better too.”

“Good. I think you look better, more filled out maybe.” It was the truth, Angel had looked a little gaunt when they had first met.

They headed out to the Thai place not much later, where both ordered the same thing as before. After that they went to the same 24 hour grocery Angel had last time and Xander picked up some more milk, eggs, meat, and bread. He was a little worried about the cost but Angel seemed not to even glance at it before he paid.

Xander decided to spend the night again, much to Angel’s pleasure, and since he had his backpack there, he wouldn’t have to go home.

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The next couple weeks followed pretty much the same pattern, though the scanning program the new teacher implemented released a demon into the internet, which tried to hurt Willow, after luring her in. He already hadn’t been a fan of the new teacher, she smelled weird, and now she was put at the top of his least favorite teachers list. Also, it seemed to harden Giles and Angel’s legitimate fear of technology and made Xander want to agree.

Xander's training with Angel was progressing quickly, Xander picking up the basics with ease and liked the mixed martial arts style of fighting Angel was teaching him. Angel planned to start teaching him how to use weapons next. Also, he had started running with Buffy everyday, he was maybe a little faster then her but when they added obstacles to their run, he was quite a bit faster, though she got better each run. Buffy and Giles were teaching him to use the crossbow, his aim wasn’t great and he didn’t really like it, it felt cumbersome in his hands.

Also, about a week after he had asked, Angel had presented him with a pretty hefty pile of books. Angel had read through them, picked out chapters, sections, and pages that were relevant and had even added pieces of paper with notes and corrections or theories. It had some stuff Angel didn’t think he would need to know as Angel wasn’t the Master of Sunnydale and didn’t have a court but the hierarchy interested Xander and made sense to him because of the hyena and he supposed if Angel ever took up a Mastership, he as Angel’s mate would need to know what to do. The stuff about Angelus had been…terrifying. Angel’s obsessive nature had been put to use torturing victims for very extended periods of time. He was only a quarter of the way through all the books but he had made a sizable dent in the reading.

He had read some vampires liked certain tastes to their blood, certain emotions. Angel admitted to having liked fear, even unwilling pleasure mixed with pain and terror before he had gotten a soul. There were also vampires who preferred lust, willing lust, some who would only drink from willing victims during acts of pleasure. It was a very interesting read and made what Giles said about all vampires being vicious thoughtless killers seem even less likely, though Angel had made sure to point out that while some of these older Master Vampires might not kill, it was usually only to not draw attention and some whim of fancy, not from some respect of human life. That they had all killed without any remorse at some point of their unlife. Though most weren’t the sadistic killers and torturers like Angelus or Darla were, it made the idea of the House of Aurelius being unstable, more likely.

Xander and Angel hadn’t gone any further, they hadn’t even had a repeat of the ‘coming in pants’ incident, which Xander really wished they would. Sleeping next to Angel some nights left him with very serious morning wood issues. Plus, he was a teenager and was dying of sexual frustration, all those sexy kisses and nothing else, were going to be the death of him. He probably smelled like lust all the time.

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The Master had been quiet which was putting everyone on edge waiting for his next move. They had been sitting in the library reading one Saturday before patrol when a thought came to Xander, he was reading a book on curses and removing them. It sent a chill up his spine, while he didn’t fear for his life as Angel’s mate, didn’t mean any of his friends were safe.

“Angel, could your curse be removed?” Which pretty much made everyone in the library turn and look at him with varying expressions of horror, seriously legitimate question here folks.

“What? If it was removed I would lose my soul again. Why would you ask that?” Angel probably looked the most disturbed beside Giles, which made sense, cause Angel knew exactly what he was capable of without a soul.

“I get that but I mean, it’s a curse and curses can be removed, that’s what I’ve been reading for the past hour. I’m not saying I want to remove it, even though the hyena doesn’t like the way the Gypsy magic leaves a trace in your scent but I mean someone could. Say, the Master, who is aware of it and would probably like a replacement for Darla.” Again, looks of horror. At, least it distracted Buffy from paying close attention to the scent comment. He wasn’t sure he was ready to tell her about him and Angel and he was getting ‘tell me your secrets’ looks from Willow the past week, so figured she at least knew something was going on.

“Oh my, that thought hadn’t even crossed my mind.” Well obviously, Xander thought and that he was possibly a genius for thinking of it himself.

“I, I don’t know that he would, though I can’t say he wont try.” Angel was started to look even more freaked out, which hadn’t been Xander’s intention, he was just throwing out a possibility, a very serious real possibility from Giles and Angel‘s reactions.

“So from the reaction from you two, it’s a possibility.” Again, scary chill down his spine, he didn’t think he wanted to meet Angel without his soul, even if he was safe.

Giles cleared his throat before answering. “Yes, as you said, a curse can be removed. Often curses even have a…um…clause that will remove it. Magic isn’t often absolute, it takes too much power, to make it so. Even as supposedly powerful as the Kalderash Gypsies were, I suppose it wouldn’t be irremovable.”

“Okay, so can we make it…um…irremovable. New word there, I would have gone with un-removable. Since, I’m guessing we can’t remove the curse and keep Angel’s soul. A way to like anchor it or something.” Really, Xander felt like he was just making shit up, not having a brilliant idea, he didn’t know anything about magic.

“I don’t know but it will be something we can look into and no I don’t believe we could remove the curse and keep his soul, it is powerful magic that is extremely rare and most of it is lost.” Giles had started looking through some new books and muttering.

“Angel you okay?” He wasn’t looking so good.

“I…no. I’ve never even thought about the curse being able to be removed. The thought that it could have, that Angelus could have been unleashed again.” Xander couldn’t stop his hand from reaching out and touching Angel, trying to offer some comfort, at least it was only his shoulder.

Though honestly he just wanted to hold him and kiss him till that face went away, maybe later, after they left.

“Okay, well I think maybe you should head home tonight. I didn’t mean to freak you out, I was just asking a question.” Xander really hadn’t.

“Hey, no. Good thing you did, the thought obviously hadn’t occurred to us, not me and I’ve lived with it for a hundred years. That doesn’t mean the Master would never have thought of it. I told you I liked all your questions and that you were much brighter then you gave yourself credit for. Walk with me, I don’t feel like being by myself.” Angel had reached up and placed his hand on top of Xander’s on his shoulder.

Buffy made a noise of protest but was stopped from saying anything by Willow.

“Course, planned on it. Not getting rid of me, mister broody face.” Which got Xander a quirk of lips from Angel, so score.

They left and walked to Angel’s apartment in silence. “Hey, you want me to stay tonight?” Unless Angel said no, he was.

“Yes, please.” Good.

“Okay, good. Didn’t really want to leave you alone right now, anyway. Come on lets get these clothes off and cuddle. It’s still early, sun’s only been down a few hours, so I doubt you’re actually tired but couch or bed?” Xander never thought of himself as being so tactile, though he knew some of it came from the primal and he had never really been one to say no to hugs, few though they may have been, so he was a little touch-starved himself.

“Bed, want as much skin contact as I can get.” Angel felt a little unsteady, the thought that the Master could find a way to take his soul against his will, unnerved him.

“That sounds like a brilliant plan.”

When they were down to nothing but their boxers, they slid together on the bed. Xander started peppering Angel’s face with kisses, nipping his neck, and taking in his scent as it darkened with lust slowly. He had to be fairly close to smell Angel’s lust and assumed it had to do with vampire physiology, since they didn’t sweat but they still put off scent. As the kissing went on, Xander got harder and then an idea struck him, yes he was brilliant plus it was a perfect way to distract Angel.

“Hey, game face? I want to kiss your ridges.” More like lick them and then prick his lips and tongue on Angel’s fangs, distract him with the taste of Xander’s blood.

Angel shifted his face and couldn’t hold back the purr, as Xander started kissing, then licking his ridges. He felt himself start to harden, then Xander dove in for a kiss, roughly running his tongue over a fang, slicing it and his lips much more then he had in the past and getting a larger taste of blood.

Angel surged up and rolled them over, slotting his body over Xander’s, his cock completely hard from the taste of Xander’s blood. Though the small wounds had already healed, thanks to the primal and the faster healing Xander had now. He kissed Xander harder, trying to get every trace of his blood and just more of Xander, who occasionally touched his tongue to Angel’s fangs opening smalls wounds up, again and again. It was driving Angel wild, his demon was going crazy wanting it’s consort, wanting to bite and claim him as his.

Within minutes, Angel was frantically rutting against Xander, seeking completion and knew Xander was just as close, could smell it. “Please Xander, come. Want to smell it.” Knew that would throw him over the edge and just a moment later felt Xander tense up completely before going boneless. The thick smell of sex and Xander pushed him right over the edge, into an amazing orgasm.

It was a few minutes before Xander got his breath back. “God, that was great.” He couldn’t keep the happy smug smile off his face. Yeah, he was genius.

“I’m guessing from that smile, you planned for that to happen. If you wanted to do this again, all you had to do was ask, you don’t have to give me blood. I was just trying to move at your pace, you hadn’t initiated anything since last time we did this, so I figured you weren’t ready for more, didn’t want to push for too much, to fast. Trying to stick with the plan to take it slow.” Angel knew Xander had been trying to distract him and he had but the worry was still there at the back of his mind.

“Oh. Well, I’ll keep that in mind for next time and I guess I’m really not ready for much more then this, even if my dick wants more.” Yeah, his fantasies were a bit more advance but honestly he just wasn’t ready for much more yet. The primal liked the contact but even she wasn’t pushing for more then this, though she liked their scent’s mixed together this way.

“Yeah, don’t let your dick lead you astray, even though its probably harder at your age, it lead to me being turned into a vampire.” Which got a grimace from Xander.

“Shower? Then maybe out to eat, if you’re feeling up to it? We haven’t been to the Thai place the last two weeks. You could get another cup of soup to go, you did end up liking it mixed with blood, last time.”

“Yeah, it was nice. I did actually get a cup to go again, sometime last week.” Angel had thought about getting a few cups, so he could add a little to each cup of blood, all week. The spicy flavor was easily becoming a favorite of his. “You can go first.”

“Actually, I was thinking together.” Xander couldn’t help the hopeful smile, he had yet to really see Angel completely naked.

“Oh, well I can agree to that course of action.” Angel hadn’t ever showered with someone before, taken a few baths with Darla maybe, but that had been all about the seduction not just wanting to share touches.

They had a longer then necessary shower, that ended with another round of very good orgasms, Xander had gotten distracted playing with Angel’s foreskin. He liked how Angel’s cock hung heavy between his legs, the foreskin, just barely, covering the head when he was soft. They were close to the same size but Angel was a little thicker. After, they got dressed and headed out.

“Maybe we can do a patrol though the closest cemetery after we eat, since we skipped out tonight.” Not that Xander was actually feeling guilty, he was just hoping for a good fight, to show off to Angel how well he was learning.

“After I drop the extra soup back off at the apartment and we pick up some stakes, sure.”

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“Finally, I thought the vamps had decided to take a vacation.” Xander watched as two vampires walked out of a crypt, up ahead. They had almost decided to head back to the apartment, then he had heard something on the other side of a row of crypts. “I’ve got them…Hey, you!! You’re not suppose to be in there.” He yelled out to get their attentions before they got out of sight.

They immediately turned and just paused for a second, obviously trying to decide how close they should get before they gave up looking like humans and tried to snack on the idiots walking in a cemetery at night. They started walking over casually like it was an everyday, well night, occurrence and were only a few yards away when they stopped again. Finally, using their senses to realize something was off.

“Yeah, not so human.” Xander let a feral grin spread across his face and his eyes flash before flying straight at one and stacking it before either it or its companion could move. Then spun and tried to get the other in the back but it moved just out of the way as it got over its confusion. Angel was staying out of the fight letting Xander have his fun and keeping an eye out for anymore.

Though the second fledge didn’t put up much of a fight and Xander got tired of toying with it after a minute and grabbed it by the back of the neck and pulled its whole body towards himself and his stake. The dust got all over his clothes and even up his nose, which was a little gross, and quickly began brushing it off himself.

“So? Ready to head back now that you’ve gotten in a little fight? Fledges don’t really offer you any real fight, you’re stronger and faster and now you have actual fighting skills.”

“Yeah but it’s still fun. It’s nice being stronger and faster then them, not as scared they are going to eat me anymore. Before, I was as close to piss my pants terror without actually pissing my pants as possible, when I was out here. Don’t have to be as scared of the dark, as I can see in it now.”

Which made Angel pull Xander into his arms and give him a kiss, he didn’t like the thought of his boy out here, scared and defenseless as a human could be. “Well, now you don’t have to be as scared and I’ll protect you as much as I can.”

“I know. Though it feels amazing to be able to protect myself. I actually think that I’m going to get even stronger then Buffy, I’m already faster then her and the few times we’ve sparred she’s only just won.”

“I would agree. You are going to get much stronger then you already are and likely her. Who knows the potential you have, once you and the primal have merged more completely. Come on, lets get back to the apartment. I think I’m ready for an early night.”

“You just want to cuddle. I wouldn’t have thought it but you are a total cuddler and I’m pretty sure you turn into an octopus once you go to sleep. Not that I’m complaining cause I’m not, I like it. Plus, the fact you suck up all this extra body heat I seem to put off now, it is very nice.” Xander was pretty sure his body had turned into a furnace but Giles and Angel said it was normal, something to do with his new physiology and a drastically higher metabolism, blah blah blah.

“Ah, I see how it is. You only want me for my ability to help you thermo-regulate in your sleep.” It wasn’t like Angel could actually argue any of Xander’s statement, he very much liked to cuddle with Xander, there really wasn’t a better term for it and he really did turn into an octopus in his sleep, plus the fact he did soak up all that extra heat Xander put off now, he always felt human warm in the morning. Though it made it colder on nights Xander didn’t stay over.

“Oh no, you have caught on to my dastardly plan to keep you forever, so I don’t get too hot at night.” Xander loved it when Angel got into a joking mood, it was rare and he still had a serious case of broodiness but it did happen and Xander treasured every time. Plus the uninhibited laugh, those were things of beauty, though he didn’t like sharing them with the rest of the world and planned to horde them, like a dragon hordes gold.

“Well since you plan to keep me forever.” The thought made Angel smile.

“Yeah, I do. Come on, lets go thermo-regulate. Holy cow, what a lot of syllables, totally an SAT word, Willow would be proud.” Another laugh, Xander never admitted to not being greedy.

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Giles and Angel had spent most of the next week talking and researching, reading books that scent made his noise itch, if there was a way to make sure Angel’s soul stayed, so he didn’t come out patrolling with them. Xander had, had the dreaded talk with Willow, well ok maybe not completely but she had asked what was up with him and Angel and he had said something, not exactly the consort/mate something but that he was attracted and so was Angel. Also, had sworn her to secrecy, he so wasn’t ready for Buffy to beat him up for ‘stealing’ her man, even if that was totally not what happened.

Xander and Angel were just walking in the library on a Thursday night, when Giles looked up from a book and made a triumphant noise. “I believe I may have an idea, though it will be tricky as its sort of multiple spells patch worked together and a ritual. I believe the first step would be to anchor your soul and I believe I have found a possible way, then integrate it with your demon, as you said they co-habitat but are separate. Xander’s primal merging with him and leaving him in control gave me the idea. Once that is done, it would be much harder for the soul to be removed, it will be fully assimilated. Though, I believe the process could well be painful.”

“But what if the demon took control?” Angel couldn’t let that happen.

“That is why we are anchoring your soul first plus it would be closer to human morality, our dark desires but tempered by our soul. I believe you mentioned Xander said something similar to you.”

“How do we anchor it?” Angel already had an idea where this was going.

There was a significant pause before Giles glanced towards Xander. “What?”

“Well, from what I found about anchoring, is that it needs to be to another person and they need to be close, that the one being anchored needs to have a connection to the other. That their life spans must be similar because when the anchor dies the connection is lost. Anchoring souls isn‘t something that has been done a great deal and only under much different circumstances. Usually used for short periods of time for someone who wishes to use astral projection to visit another plane of existence or speak with the dead. You would pretty much be binding your soul to the anchor’s soul, in this case.”

“You can’t be suggesting what I think you are? This could very well be dangerous, you have no idea of the consequences, and you would put him in that danger and tie him to me even more, when you are the one who made it very clear I needed to give him time and options.” Angel’s voice was getting louder and incredulous.

“What’s going on? What are you talking about?” Buffy couldn’t help but butt in, she wanted to know who they were talking about because it sounded like they were talking about Xander and Angel. She was completely ignored by the three men, who all seemed to be glaring at each other.

“Hold on, are you saying anchoring his soul to mine?” That’s what Xander had got out of the conversation so far.

“No.” Giles talked right over Angel’s objection, go G-man. “Yes, that is exactly what I’m suggesting.”

“Shouldn’t it be my choice?” Xander asked quietly.

That got a quick reply from Giles. “Of course, I wasn’t saying you had to, only that you are the only option that would work, if we try to anchor Angel’s soul and this is the only way I can figure out how to ensure his soul stays if the curse is removed.”

“Calm down G-man, I was directing this at Angel. It should be me who decides if it is worth the danger, you can’t make that decision for me.” Xander watched Angel’s shoulders slump. “I’m not saying that we have to do it, just that if you want, I’ll be very glad to be your soul’s anchor, Angel.” That got Angel to look at him and he tried to put his willingness to tie himself to Angel even more, into his eyes.

“Why would you use Xander?” Buffy was beyond confused now, she knew they were friends but still this seemed really serious. Shouldn’t if they wanted someone important to Angel, they should use her, even if Angel had been trying to be all noble or whatever and said they couldn’t be together.

Giles cleared his throat before starting to talk again, “As I was saying, the two need a connection, the deeper the better. The possible bond between you two, the fact you’re so drawn to the other and already have a connection will be the best for ensuring that this works. Xander’s life span because of the primal is increased and if you claim him, as you said, he would probably stop ageing.” Giles looked between the two men.

“I need to think about it. I don’t know if I can endanger Xander this way, even if he is willing.”

“Of course. Talk about it, together. You have time, it will take a few days to get some of the ingredients necessary for the spells as they are rarer spell components and to do some extra research to make sure I can work these spells together.”

Xander pulled Angel out of the library while Buffy stood there shocked, hoping to get far away before she got over her immobility. “Come on. Lets get to your place so we can talk about this. God, I am so tired of talking.” Xander made sure he gave Angel a soft smile to lighten his words. He really hoped he could talk Angel into this, it seemed like the best course of action and ensured Angel wouldn’t lose his soul.

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Once they got to Angel’s apartment, Xander went about making a few sandwiches and a glass of milk and sat it down at the table, assuming this would be a long conversation.

“Alright, lets hear your worries and reasons for not wanting to do this and then I can counter them all and talk some sense into you.” Then Xander took a big bite of his sandwich and looked over expectantly at Angel who was drinking a cup of soup and blood. Angel seemed to always have a small container or two of the spicy Thai broth in the fridge now. He said it didn’t take much to flavor the blood, as the soup was very strong and rich.

“It’s a good idea and would make sure my soul couldn’t be removed and used against us. I really don’t want my demon loose without a soul to temper it, especially after a hundred years of repression. I’m not sure about the idea of merging them together but if the demon couldn’t take over too much control, then maybe. It would be nice not having to wage a constant battle against myself all the time. I’m just worried about using you as an anchor, what if something goes wrong? Also, do you want to really be tied even more to me, you are already my consort even if you aren’t claimed and your primal wants me as its mate, this would just tie us even more firmly together, who knows what binding our souls would do, the affect it could have on our bond.”

Xander took a moment, this was going to be easier then he thought, he really figured he would have had to do lots more persuading. Well, victory was still victory. “At least you made most of my argument for me. I agree that I don’t really want to meet an Angel without a soul, even if I wouldn’t be in danger. I’m pretty sure everyone else would be. You can be pretty scary from what I’ve read. I can’t guarantee that nothing could go wrong and this is magic, so extra possibility, not going to lie but I’m willing to take that chance to make sure that your soul can’t be removed against your will. And Angel, I don’t mind tying myself to you even more. I am already well on my way to being completely in love with you and one day in the not too distant future, I am going to ask you to claim me and then I’m going to become your Claimed Consort and you are going to become my mate, my Alpha. So, binding our souls together doesn’t really bother me.”

Angel just sat there for a moment, he was blown away, Xander had said he would allow himself to be claimed in the future and that he was falling in love with Angel. Angel lurched out of his seat and drug Xander up into a hug that was probably making it hard to breath. “I love you, so much. You have no idea. I can’t lose you.” And he did, loved this boy, who had blown into his life. Who had changed Angel’s outlook in so many ways, had brought him peace and happiness, laughter and love. He couldn’t lose Xander, there would be nothing worth continuing on this earth without Xander’s bright smile and wild laughter, without his warm hugs and sweet kisses.

“I’m not going anywhere Angel, you are very much stuck with me for the rest of both of our lives. You have acquired a one-of-a-kind Xander shaped barnacle that has permanently attached itself to you.”

“Good. I love my Xander shaped barnacle.” Angel couldn’t say that without laughing, he hadn’t ever laughed so much as he had in the past months with Xander.

“So, is this you agreeing to do the demon merging and soul anchoring?” Strike while the iron is hot, as they say, Xander had no idea who ‘they’ were, maybe metal workings, that made sense.

Angel took a deep breath before agreeing, “Yes, it is. I don’t want to put you at risk but if I lost my soul, everyone but you would be.”

“I agree, you without a soul is kind of a terrifying prospect. I honestly don’t want to meet you without one and the primal doesn’t either, believes you wouldn’t be a good mate choice like that.” Xander couldn’t help but be brutally honest when it came to this because just the thought was nightmare material.

“It is.” Angel hugged Xander tighter, he was actually surprised his demon wasn’t reacting to Xander not wanting him without the soul, mostly it was still basking in the idea that Xander had agreed to be claimed, even if it was in the future, he had said yes.

“Alright, well now that I’ve won this argument, I’m taking a shower and going to bed. I have school in the morning, thank goodness its Friday. The new principle is a hardass. Wish the other people possessed by hyenas hadn’t eaten Flutie, he was a pushover, this new guy is a meanie.”

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The next night they arrived early to speak with Giles before Buffy and Willow showed up.

“So you have decided to do this then?” Yeah, try to actually sound surprised there Giles.

“Yes, though I want to know exactly what you’re planning to do, I want the risk as small as possible for Xander.” There was no compromise in Angel’s words.

“Ok and it will be, the risk is more towards you. When we do the spell to merge your demon and soul, it will most likely be very painful as it wont be voluntary like with Xander and the primal spirit, where they are combining seamlessly and with intent.”

“It wont kill him will it? I’m not willing to do this if Angel’s life is at risk.” Xander was probably more willing to have a soulless Angel, then a dead one. That didn’t speak well for the rest of the world.

“No his life wont be at risk but it will not be a pleasant experience.” Xander could appreciate that kind of honesty, he hated surprises of the bad variety.

“I can handle it, if you think that this part is also necessary.” The skepticism was blatant in Angel’s voice, he still wasn’t sure bringing his demon to the surface was a smart decision.

“I do. This is a two stage prevention, the first part will be the spell to anchor and bind your soul to Xander’s, then once that is complete I will begin the ritual that will merge your soul and demon. Your soul wont be able to be extracted at this point without your death most likely and there will be no chance of Angelus ever happening again.”

“Okay. So, when do you plan to do this?” Angel was relieved, he hadn’t even thought losing his soul was something that could happen after being cursed but now knowing they could ensure it never happened made him relax since Xander had brought the possibility to light.

“Next week, it will probably be about midweek. There are a few supplies I wont be able to get locally and will have to have them delivered, it could take a few days.”

“Alright, if there is anything I can do just tell me. Mostly I’m ready to get this over with now that I know the curse could be removed. I really hope that isn’t something the Master would do. Though he did like Angelus’ viciousness even if the first time I met him, I was rather disrespectful, got beaten for it too but it seemed to impress him.”

“Well, once this is over I will feel better also. After familiarizing myself with what you did before you had a soul, I would not like to see what would happen if you lost it.”

“No, you really wouldn’t. Thank you for helping with this. I believe we are going to leave before the girls get here, we’ll patrol the east and south cemeteries and also do a trip by the Bronze.”

“Alright. See you tomorrow evening, I can detail exactly what we’ll be doing, so you are reassured Xander wont be in any danger.”

With a few more words of thanks, Angel and Xander left to start patrolling. Xander could hear they just missed Buffy and Willow, knew they would have to face them and explain before they did the anchoring and merging spells. Xander really wasn’t looking forward to that, Buffy still seemed to think she had a chance with Angel, this wasn’t going to be pretty.

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“Umm, what’s this, sleeping naked?” Angel watched as Xander walked out of the bathroom completely naked from his shower and got in bed, he couldn’t help but admire the view, it was very nice. He had actually noticed Xander getting leaner and more toned, from his training and runs, even if he never stopped eating.

“Yes, I suggest you join me. I want to feel all of your naked skin against mine.” Xander voice purred and his eyes were hooded as he looked at Angel through his lashes.

“Well, you wont find any objections from my corner.” Angel let his boxers drop, he normally slept naked but hadn’t wanted to make Xander uncomfortable and slid in beside him on the bed.

“Good. I kind of have an idea, come closer.” Xander faced toward Angel while laying on his side and started kissing him and drew their bodies closer, aligning them just right before he licked his hand and wrapped it around the both of them, as they hardened completely.

“Oh. That…that’s a very good idea.” Angel couldn’t stop the jerk of his hips, at the first touch of Xander’s hand, it was so warm it felt like it was burning his skin but felt so good. Angel licked his own hand and joined it with Xander’s, tightening the grip and swiping a thumb across the heads that got a surprised gasp from Xander. He hadn’t felt another’s hand on him in so, so long.

There wasn’t so much kissing going on after that, as breathing into each other’s mouth which was flattering since Angel didn’t actually have to breath. Xander felt himself getting close, so fast, he knew he wouldn’t be able to hold back much longer. “Please Angel, faster.” It wasn’t half a dozen strokes later that he spilled over both of their hands. He kept his grip on Angel and tightened it even more, which caused Angel to come a few strokes later, their come mixing on their hands. Xander couldn’t stop himself from bringing a hand up to taste, which got a groan from Angel, he very much liked the flavor of them together, it satisfied the primal in a very animal way.

Xander knew they were sticky but he had no motivation to clean up, so was glad when Angel got up to get a wet wash cloth to wipe them both up. “Umm, thank you. I don’t think my legs would have worked.” Which got a soft chuckle from Angel.

As Angel got back into bed and pulled Xander’s back to his chest and tucked his nose into Xander’s neck. “So, where did you get that idea?”

“My brain, I figured it would feel good, better then just jacking off. Plus, I wanted to touch your dick, I like it. The foreskin in really cool.” Yeah, Xander’s filter was gone.

Angel laughed again before saying, “Circumcision wasn’t popular when I was born plus we were Catholic, thankfully.”

“Yeah, I’m a little jealous. Though now I can play with yours.” Which got a sleepy agreeable noise from Angel.

It wasn’t long before they were falling asleep both content and sated.

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Saturday evening Xander and Angel got to the library a little late, hoping Buffy would have already left to patrol and plus they got distracted when they took a shower together after a pretty hardcore sparring session. They were both relaxed from a good fight then fantastic orgasms, Angel had given Xander his first blow job in the shower, it would have brought Xander to his knees if Angel hadn’t caught him. Xander had been a little disappointed he hadn’t gotten to repay the favor, even if he doubted he would have been anywhere near as good as Angel, but Angel had came when Xander had, which was seriously hot, so no real complaints.

“Ah good you two are here, Xander I believe you should stay also, to hear the details so you will be prepared when we do this next week.”

“Okay, whatever you think. Is there something I’m actually going to have to do?” Xander really hoped not because he didn’t want to mess this up.

They all jumped when Buffy yelled out and dropped a book to the table. “Hold on! Could you explain to me why Angel is, what did you call it, anchoring his soul to Xander? Giles you made it seem like they had to have a special connection, so why would it be these two?” Buffy just wanted answers, none of this stuff made any sense to her.

“Ah, um, well like I already said anchoring souls requires a connection between the two people involved and that the two people will be bound for as long as the anchoring spell is meant to last, this one will be for as long as Xander’s life. Xander and Angel have a connection, one which is very deep and this will tie them even closer together.” There you go G-man, telling her without actually telling her.

“Okay, but why would Angel tie himself to Xander or the other way around?” That’s what didn’t make any sense, this stuff sounded serious and permanent. Plus if this had to do with Angel’s soul, shouldn’t they have asked her as his soul is what had been attracted to her.

“Angel and I have already discussed this and as we are already bound together for life, as it is, this wasn’t a big deal.” Yeah, it wasn’t going to be Xander who spelled it out.

“Why? What does that mean? No one is answering my questions.” It was like they were purposefully not answering her.

Xander looked to Giles, who cleared his throat and looked to Angel, who was just looking uncomfortable. Willow had been sitting at the table and staying quiet but looked even more uncomfortable then Angel, if that was possible.

Angel took an unnecessary breath before answering the slayer. “Xander is my consort, my mate, it is a very unique and rare occurrence among master vampires and Xander’s primal was drawn to me as a potential mate both are permanent once we claim each other, which we haven’t done yet though we plan to. You can read about what a consort is if you wish, Giles has books that give a fairly accurate but brief description. That is why Xander is the only one who will work as my soul’s anchor.” Yeah, Xander is glad he didn’t try to explain that, it would have taken so much longer.

Buffy just stood there, she didn’t understand what they meant cause it couldn’t be what it sounded like. That would mean Angel and Xander were together and that didn’t make any sense, as her and Angel were meant to be together.

“So, Xander you have decided to allow Angel to claim you?” Giles looked over to Xander trying to ignore his frozen slayer, knew some kind of explosion was going to happen.

“Yes. Not now but in the future. I know this is what I want, not just what the primal wants. So, like I asked before, do I have to actually do anything during this soul anchoring thing?”

“Oh, no. You will sit inside a circle that is linked with a circle Angel is sitting in and you will both concentrate on your connection. That will be the extent of your involvement. The next part, you may not want to be part of as it could be unsettling to watch.” The watcher explained.

“What? No, I’ll stay, not going to leave just cause it could get bad.” There was no way Xander would leave with Angel in pain.

They all looked up when they heard the library door slam and then looked back at each other, that hadn’t been too bad. Though they doubted it would be then end of it.

“Willow you can go home if you wish, I still have some details to talk to Xander and Angel about.”

“Okay, but could I have that book Angel mentioned, I’m curious. Plus, I know Buffy will want answers but wont be willing to read it.”

“Sure, let me get it out of the office.”

When Willow left, Giles took the next hour to go over everything that would happen with Angel and Xander. Angel kept asking questions and seemed to understand most of what Giles was talking about. While Xander was completely lost but he did pay close attention just in case.

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Afterwards, they headed back to Angel’s apartment, though they did a sweep through a cemetery on the way.

“If I keep spending the night at your house, my parents are going to think I moved out, well that is if they notice. It seems like more of my clothes have made their way to your place.”

“Well I like you staying at my place, I prefer it actually. Plus, this way you don’t have to deal with your parents.” Angel actually wanted to ask Xander to move in with him but thought it was probably too soon. He didn’t have any guide for this, he just knew he wanted to spend as much time as possible with Xander and wake up next to him everyday.

“Yeah, I prefer it too. Much quieter, better food, and umm…oh right, you.” Xander joked as he pulled Angel in for a soft, slow kiss. He liked this, them taking their time, no rush behind their passion both knowing they had plenty of time even if his teenage hormones always wanted more. It always felt bone-deep right to be with Angel, every touch and every kiss, and even if he hadn’t every been with someone else he knew it wouldn’t feel the same.

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On Monday, after spending a lazy Sunday with Angel, Xander didn’t see Buffy but Willow announced that he was staying at her house that night. That they needed best friend time, which made him feel guilty because other then school, after school for home work, and walking Willow home some nights he hadn’t really spent any real time with her. So, he quickly agreed. He didn’t want to see big, sad Willow eyes. He knew she would pull them out if he tried to disagree plus he missed his Willow and figured she had a million questions she wanted to ask.

Buffy still hadn’t showed by the end of school, so Xander didn’t go running, instead working on homework in the library with Willow before they went to her house. He called Angel and told him that he was spending the night with Willow and not to expect him for training.

Willow was actually interested in the training he had been doing with Angel, who had just began teaching him Tai Chi which was really cool and seemed to be Angel’s favorite, though he didn’t mention how sexy it was with Angel always touching him and guiding his movements, it was so…sensual. Xander suggested she learn some basic skills and self defense too. Maybe he could ask Angel to help him teach her. It hadn’t made sense that Giles only became interested in training him when he got stronger but not before when he was human, maybe he just didn’t actually think Xander and Willow would need to do any actual slayage, which was stupid. Willow seemed to like the idea and Xander suggested carrying mace, it wouldn’t kill a vamp but it would slow them down.

“What we need is a mace with holy water in it, you think we could make that?” Willow was the brains, he was just random idea guy.

“I don’t know, it would just need to be pressurized. We could ask Giles tonight. Do you really think Angel will help you teach me self defense?” Willow’s question seemed doubtful.

“Yep and he’s a really good teacher. Has some serious levels of patience and doesn’t get frustrated if it takes you awhile to get something.” Xander was thankful of that because while some stuff he had picked up quickly enough he still wasn’t the fastest learner.

“With you, you’re his…consort. I read that book last night, a consort is some serious business mister. You haven’t been claimed, right?” Xander knew she couldn’t hold back any longer and applauded her waiting this long.

“No, I haven’t been claimed but I accepted, so I will be in the future. It’s not like we’re in a rush, we have lots of time, considering my life span has increased an unknown amount. And yeah, it’s really serious, even more so for Angel. The House of Aurelius, which is his line of vampires were cursed like 3000 years ago so they wouldn’t be able to find their Consorts after some jealous sorcerer lost his betrothed to an Aurelius Master, the sorcerer killed the vampire, then the consort killed the sorcerer then themselves, it was crazy. So, till now none of the vamps of Angel’s line have had a Consort. We broke the curse, there was some prophesy about it, the primal made sure we wouldn’t be able to ignore the other. Angel or Giles could probably explain that better but that’s the gist.”

“That’s, well I don’t know what it is but it’s something. So you guys broke a curse and the primal had something to do with it. She isn’t the reason you’re with him right, cause I heard you guys say she thought of him as a potential mate? And once-. Once you mate, that’s for life or I think it is for a hyena…right?” Willow’s question were both rushed and halting, Xander wondered how that worked.

“Yes and no. If it hadn’t been for the primal I would never have admitted to being attracted to a guy, especially while still living with my dad. Also, she was drawn to him from the start, just from a bit of scent on Buffy. Angel thinks she chose him as her only potential mate because she knew what he was to me. That was how the curse was broken because before he had been able to ignore the pull he felt to me but after neither of us were. But while she may be what drew me to him, she isn’t why I’m falling in love with him. And yes, once we claim each other its very much for life, well existence. Plus the primal spirit is more then just a hyena, I can’t explain it but she’s so much more. Plus, the type of hyena that was at the zoo, they don’t mate for life but the primal does.”

“You love him?” Willow’s question was asked so quietly it was hard even for Xander to hear it and heard her heart skip a few beats which he didn’t understand.

Xander didn’t hesitate to answer because this he was sure of. “Yeah, I really do and I just keep falling more for him the longer we’re together. It’s why I already agreed to be claimed, it just feels right, like it’s meant to be.”

There was a long silence before Willow asked another question and Xander thought she smelled sad but wasn’t sure why or if he should ask. “What does claiming mean precisely? I mean I know how it sounds and the book just said that the consort has to be willing and that once done they would be bonded.” Yeah, Xander had been hoping they could have skipped over this question.

“Umm…well. Angel said it included sex, then the two would mark each other and share blood, that it would scar. They start the bond between them with words, Angel said it was similar to a spell but not quite the same. Plus, I think the primal might require him to best us physically, proving he is a strong worthy mate and alpha. That’s all I know.” Xander knew there was a blush on his cheeks matching the one on Willow's.

“What happens if he can’t best you?”

“I have no idea and I really doubt that’s a issue. Angel is an amazing fighter, he knows all sorts of styles of fighting, plus he is really strong. He’s gotten even stronger since I suggested he start drinking human blood, from blood bags, instead of the animal blood he had been drinking.” The primal was pleased her possible mate was so strong and had listened to their suggestion.

The rest of the day continued like this, Willow asking question and Xander trying to answer them the best he could. He had missed his best friend the last few weeks and she was the only one who could ask as many questions as Xander.

They were discussing whether it would be beneficial to dip the stakes in holy water or if it was overkill, Xander said no such thing as overkill and if they missed the heart it would hurt them worse, as they walked into the library a little before sunset.

“Wanna spar?” Though the quarterstaff thrown at him didn’t seem to give him an option to say no.

“Okay sure. Do you want to do our run after patrols since we didn’t do it after school?” Xander had missed his run and was hopeful.

“No.” Ouch, there was a lot of hostility in that word and whoa there was a quarterstaff.

They next while was filled with a very aggressive Buffy, trying her hardest to beat the shit out of Xander, maybe she needed to vent her anger somehow. This was probably what a slayer thought of as anger management. Though Xander could feel the primal getting more and more agitated as Buffy got more vicious, he was barely holding his own not wanting to actually hurt her as this was suppose to just be sparring. Well, till she slammed it into his side and he fell to his knees hardly blocking her next hit aimed at his chest. Then he was just pissed and willing to let the primal show her who the real alpha was here, who had been wanting to put Buffy in her place since the beginning. Had always viewed her as a rival and they were about to deal with her as such.

He could hear Giles trying to get them to stop, peripherally, but now he planned to win and wasn’t stopping till then.

Xander swiped her legs out at the knees with the staff but before he could pin her she was up, after that it was a blur of the staffs hitting and the sounds of them connecting with their bodies. Xander finally gaining the upper hand and not giving an inch, knew he had a longer endurance then she did. He finally felt her falter and slammed the staff out of her hands before grabbing her arms and twisting them behind her back. “Yield.” He growled in her ear and felt her struggle but his grip was iron strong and then she finally went limp. Heard her grit out “fine” and let her go.

“I hope you two have worked out your issues.” Giles didn’t sound happy but resigned at the same time. Well the hyena had, while she still didn’t consider Buffy pack, she no longer saw her as a rival since getting her to submit.

“Angel’s just with you because we can’t be together, all you are is his second choice. If it wasn’t for the fact you have an animal inside you, he would have never looked twice. You would have just been the boy who followed me around like a puppy.” Xander knew Buffy was mad and lashing out but it still didn’t stop the words from hurting.

And hello there Angel, a very pissed game face Angel, who had Buffy pinned, face down, to the table. “You ever speak to Xander like that again and I will break you, you hurt him again and I will return it tenfold. Xander isn’t a second choice, he is my only choice, there are no others nor will there ever be. I had looked more then twice, well before the primal possessed him, don’t speak of things you don’t know or can’t understand. I love him and I will love only him for the rest of my existence. I don’t want you, I told you that and I meant it.” The words were slightly slurred from the fangs and continuous growl coming from Angel but the vicious finality was obvious. Xander had never seen him look so terrifying, like a vengeful angel, well demon.

“Angel come on. Let her up, she was just working out her issues.” Xander put a hand on Angel and drew him off Buffy. He was immediately drawn into arms and couldn’t stop the loud hiss from his bruised and battered ribs, oops. Hello there again, Angel’s homicidal face, which was as scary as his vamp face.

“Hey calm down, we were just sparring. Well more then sparring, more like slayer style anger management but I’m fine, you know I heal fast. I be good as new tomorrow.” Xander tried to keep Angel from lifting his shirt cause he knew it would be ugly, Buffy had gotten him a few time on his left side, the whole flank was probably bruised and bloody.

Angel seemed determined though, so Xander gave up and allowed Angel to look. Watched gold flicker into his eyes and a snarl escape when Angel saw the bruised and bloody mess of Xander’s left side. There were two lacerations that ran across his lower ribs and were slowly bleeding. He watched Angel kneel down and lick all the way up the cuts, then slice his thumb on a fang and rub his blood over them. Xander watched them start healing right before his eyes, he hadn’t known that vampire blood did that. Then Angel feathered kisses over the bruises before standing back up and nuzzling the side of Xander’s head, who nipped his neck in thanks. He kind of hoped Buffy saw that and understood what it meant, that Angel allowed Xander at his throat. The primal was rumbling in pleasure. They had put their rival in their place and made them submit, then been defended by their mate, who after took care of their wounds.

“Thank you. I didn’t know your blood could do that.” Xander was trying to ignore the fact they had an audience for this whole thing.

“Yeah. I can’t do anything about the bruises unless you want to drink my blood but your healing should take care of it soon enough. I love you and hate seeing you hurt.” Angel’s words were whispered in his ear.

“I know and I love you, more so every day. Side note, you looked super scary when you came in here, all vengeful demon. Made me want to kiss you.” And Xander did just that, a soft barely there brush of their lips still aware of their audience.

They looked over when Buffy made a disgusted noise.

“Buffy I know you don’t want to hear this right now and I get that you liked Angel but me and him aren’t some high school romance, we are going to be together for the rest of our lives which is going to be a very long time. As his mate, his consort, it pretty much means I was made for him. You and him had no future, even if I wasn’t in the picture. You’re going to get to find a nice, hopefully normal as possible guy who can give you a good life, dates in the sunshine, and grow older with you.” While Xander didn’t want to be cruel, he had to make her understand there was no chance for her with Angel.

He only got a sneer before she stormed out of the library, well limped out of the library, Xander had hit her pretty hard in the knees. “Well that could have gone worse.” Before turning back to see everyone giving him looks.

“It went pretty bad as it was.” Giles was polishing his glasses with an intense focus.

“Not really. The primal is pretty satisfied, she’s seen Buffy as a rival since the beginning and making Buffy submit eased that tension. While Buffy is never going to be pack, the primal isn’t going to be hostile towards her. Buffy worked out some of her aggression and anger and eventually she’ll get over this, there will be some new guy who will have her attention soon enough.” Xander wasn’t too worried, he had bested her and if she wanted to fight again, he would do the same. He hoped they could salvage some type of friendship but right now he doubted it and a part of him didn’t care with how she was acting.

The next hour was spent doing some research and cleaning weapons since Angel wasn’t planning to allow Xander out to do patrols and every time Xander moved and couldn’t hide a wince, Angel’s eyes flashed that odd gold color.

Angel agreed to help Xander teach Willow self defense and thought it was actually a good idea. They would start next week because they didn’t know how much recovery time Angel would need after the soul and demon merging.

Leaving to go home with Willow was a little problematic though because Angel was acting sort of clingy and possessive. Then it finally hit Xander when he kept feeling Angel bite his neck, more then a nip but not enough to leave a mark. Angel wasn’t just bothered by Xander being hurt but by the fact someone else had left a mark on him.

“Bite me harder. Leave a mark, go on, I know you want to.” Urged Xander. “Wha?” Angel didn’t even bother taking his face out of the curve of Xander’s neck.

“Angel you want to mark me somehow, its okay, I understand. You don’t like the fact someone else has left marks on me. Just use human teeth.” Xander wanted this just as much, Angel’s mark on him but he knew it wasn’t the time for fangs, especially with how Angel usually reacted to his blood. He had been surprised by Angel’s non-lusty reaction to his blood earlier but it was probably overshadowed by how upset he had been to see Xander hurt.

Angel didn’t give him an answer but he continued nuzzling and kissing Xander’s neck but didn’t bite. Well Xander knew how to tempt his demon, “please Angel, want your mark on me”…and ouch, it hurt but it was a good pain, made the primal want roll over and show their belly. Angel hadn’t been messing around and had probably broken skin, it would definitely bruise. He could hear Angel purring now, licking away any blood that came to the surface.

“Satisfied big guy?” He got a grumble before actual words.

“A little, would be happier if you came home with me and I got to rub my come into your skin.” Xander’s breath stopped at the heated look Angel gave him and he really want to give in but he promised Willow.

“Me too but I promised Willow and we haven’t spent much time together lately. So you will just have to wait. I’ll spend tomorrow night, then Wednesday with you, Giles should have the stuff for the anchoring and merging spells by then. Now, good night.”

“I could walk you two home?” Came the hopeful reply.

“No, we can manage. Bye.” Xander leaned in to give Angel one last kiss before collecting Willow and they headed to her house.

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“So you didn’t even allow him to walk us home?”

“Nope, not that he isn’t somewhere out in the dark following us.” Xander looked back but didn’t see anything in the darkness and he couldn’t smell Angel but he knew he was there.

“Well, that’s creepy.” He saw Willow glancing around into the dark.

“Yeah, that’s my Angel. I don’t think he can help the creepiness plus the primal likes it.” Xander just shrugged, it didn’t really bother him either way.

They spent the night talking more, Willow about the new teacher she still had serious (maybe not so) platonic love for, even though the teacher could have gotten Willow seriously hurt with that unleashed demon. Also something called techno-pagan, Xander had no idea what that meant but it had to do with the teacher Ms. Calendar, as well. Willow was trying to learn magic from Giles, she had a few books about the basics. That was cool but he reminded her to be careful, so that what happened to Amy and her mom didn’t happen to Willow.

Xander talked about how Buffy maybe needed to find more constructive ways to vent her anger. That he really likes all his training, made him feel better, more prepared to deal with hellmouthy stuff. Then, some more about him and Angel, that yeah, they got serious really fast but it felt right and natural, like this was what was suppose to happen.

They both talked about summer, which was thankfully, less far away then it had been. Though Willow had to rain on Xander’s parade by reminding him that end-of-year exams came before summer and that they should start studying soon and more about pre-SAT stuff. Xander thought about maybe talking Angel into doing something this summer.

They went to bed way too late and were both late to school but it had been a good night and Xander would have to make sure he made time for Willow and not get so wrapped up in Angel, again.

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The next night Xander stayed with Angel like he promised after making a quick trip by his house to pick up more clothes. They had spent another hour at the library with Giles going over the planned anchoring and merging, which was the same as it had been a few day ago. Though Xander knew Angel was just nervous about how much the demon would come out once it was released and merged with his soul, he had been restless all evening.

Xander wondered if or how much Angel would change, though as long as he didn’t start torturing and killing innocents Xander would love him and even then he would still but he would also stop Angel if he had to, no matter how much it would kill himself to do so. He had told Angel this and that actually seemed to calm him down.

After that Xander had pulled him into the bedroom and demanded he get naked where they just cuddled and Xander distracted him by asking if they could do something this summer outside of Sunnydale. Xander hadn’t been outside of Sunnydale much other then occasionally visiting family with his parents and those trips had never been something he looked forward too. Angel promised to come up with a vacation that would ensure they had plenty to do and that Xander would enjoy, even restricted by them only being able to go out at night together. Not much later they drifted off to sleep.

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When Xander arrived at the library with Angel the next night just after sunset, all the lights were out and candles were lit. There were two smallish overlapping circles and then a large circle drawn in the middle of the library’s cleared floor and both had strange looking runes drawn inside them. There was a large crystal in the center of the overlapped space of the two smaller circles, it was suppose to concentrate their connection, making it ‘mystically tangible’, Giles had said. The place smelled faintly of herbs and hints of magic, already. Xander knew it had been the cleansing spells Giles had done, to clear the air of previous magic or something.

“Hello, Xander. Angel. Are both of you ready? We should get started soon as we don’t know how long this could take and we want it done before the sun comes up.” Giles stepped out of his office as they had walked in.

Angel was the first to respond, “Yeah, I’m ready to get this over with.”

“Okay whenever you are ready sit in the smaller circles, Xander you step in first, sit, then touch the crystal in the overlapped section of the circle before Angel does the same thing as you are the anchor.” They both did as instructed, they had gone over the order of things already but Xander was glad Giles was still going to lead them through this.

“Alright, now clear your mind. Once, you’ve done so, I want you to concentrate on the connection between the two of you, try to visualize it in your mind. Think of how you are drawn together, your feelings for each other. Then I want you to visualize sending that towards and through the crystal to the other. Take your time, don’t stop visualizing that connection, and do not release the crystal no matter what.”

Xander brought to mind everything he had thought about Angel from first seeing him, to how he was drawn to him because of the primal, the way his own feelings had developed over time, how safe and at home Angel’s scent made him feel, the feel of his cooler body against Xander’s, how he planned to have Angel claim him and they would spend their lives together. He visualized that as bright colored threads that were tightly twined and thought of it traveling to the crystal, fracturing then coming together stronger and then through it to Angel. Xander felt the crystal warm under his hands, opened his eyes to look at it, saw that it was glowing, then looked up and locked eyes with Angel. It felt like a shock going through his system, the flashes of how Angel felt about him and he could hear Giles chanting in the background like listening to him through water.

Xander had no concept of how much time had passed, just sitting there staring into Angel's eyes, their feelings passing back and forth, their connection growing stronger. The crystal growing brighter and hotter against their palms, Giles chanting in the background getting louder.

Then all of a sudden the crystal exploded with light, felt like it was burning them, and it was like they were so tightly tied together they would never be able to separate, everything exposed to the other for just seconds. Then darkness and silence.

Xander could hear himself panting, heard Angel too, still didn’t let go of the crystal.

“Alright, you two may let the crystal go. Take a second before you stand, you are probably disoriented.” Understatement Giles, understatement. Xander felt so…alone almost. Him and Angel had been so spiritually close for what felt like seconds and eternity at the same time and now to not have that presence, seemed unnatural. Giles had said it would literally be like their souls touching and would be incredibly intense, he had been very right.

Xander finally stood up and glanced down at his watch and was surprised to notice that over an hour had gone by. He looked over at Angel and just needed contact all of a sudden and took the step that was separating them and crushed him into a hug. Xander knew he was muttering how much he loved Angel, needed him, wanted him forever and heard Angel saying the same back. They just held each other, unwilling to let go.

There was a clearing of a throat before, “I don’t want to interrupt but it would be best if we continued soon. This part will most likely take much longer.” Xander looked over to see Giles not looking at them and cleaning his glasses, it was kind of funny how he did that anytime he was uncomfortable. Then took a deep breath before taking a step back from Angel, the primal was whining in his head, he was pretty sure one escaped from his throat before he could stop it.

“Alright, you better not take too long Angel because I want to naked cuddle for at least a week. We will not be getting out of bed once we get back to your apartment for at least three or four days. So, you better tell your demon and soul to cooperate, get along, and merge so they can get back to me. You said a vampire’s desire was to give their mate anything and I want this, make sure the demon knows, that this is what I want.” Xander put on a bright smile, trying to cover any nervousness because this part was the hard part. Angel would be in pain, Giles had made that very clear.

“Okay, will do. Kiss for good luck.” Xander immediately complied, running his tongue along Angel’s human canine wordlessly asking for him to change. The sound of shifting and a slight pain was his answer and he could feel Angel suck on his tongue, tasting his blood. Then pulled back.

“More of that when you’re all merged, mister.” One last soft peck before they moved to stand beside Giles.

Giles took out a dagger with runes drawn on it and cut a gash across Angel’s arm letting the blood drain into a bowl that had some unidentifiable stuff that smelled weird in it. Then directed Angel to the larger circle. He watched Angel take a large unnecessary breath and move inside the large red circle then sit cross legged in the center.

Giles started giving Angel instruction to start meditating and then began speaking in some guttural language that Xander had no chance of understanding. When Giles stopped talking he lit the blood and stuff in the bowl on fire, it sparked then started smoking heavily. Xander watched the deep red smoke move from the bowl to Angel, then kind of surround him before disappearing into him.

It was deathly quite for a few minutes then Angel started whining and growling, his body was locked tight, unable to move much due to something Giles had done to ensure Angel wouldn’t break the circle from within once the demon and soul started merging.

The whining started getting louder, interspersed with feral snarls and Angel’s body would twitch violently, his face rippling like it wanted to shift. Xander couldn’t help but move closer, wanting to help but knowing he couldn’t go to him. He sat down just outside the circle, then looked back at Giles to make sure this was okay and got a slight nod. As Angel started making even louder distressed sounds, Xander couldn’t hold back his own small whine. Then just started whispering to Angel, he didn’t know if he would be able to hear Xander but maybe he could and it would make it easier.

Told him how much he already loved him after such a short time and that overtime would come to love him even more. That he couldn’t wait till Angel claimed him, even though they had plenty of time and could take it slow, he wanted it so much already. He already knew he was going to spend the rest of his life with Angel. That he was even looking forward to their first fight so they could have their first make up sex. That he hoped Angel was okay after this, that he didn’t know what he would do without him and he really didn’t want to have to ‘take care of’ an evil Angel. Begged the demon to please do this for him, to combine with the soul, to come back to him, please.

He didn’t stop talking as the hours passed, the distressed sounds from Angel would wan occasionally before coming back even stronger, the body twitches more frequent and violent, his face shifting completely sometimes.

It had been almost four hours when Angel fell completely silent and limp for a minute, then started screaming and the red smoke started pouring out of his body. It quickly dissipated and when it all had left Angel’s body he fell silent and limp again. He just laid there looking very much like a corpse. His lack of heartbeat and breath bugged the primal sometimes, when it wanted to track Angel and all it had was scent and right now it was driving the primal and Xander crazy. Though Angel had told him that he wasn’t dead-dead, till he was dust.

What seemed like another four hours but was probably minutes passed and then Angel sat up suddenly taking an unnecessary deep ragged breath, then dragging in shuddering breathes that racked his whole body.

“Angel?” Xander barely held back the whine that was trying to force its way out of his throat and stood up at the edge of the circle. He couldn’t hold in the gasp when suddenly, faster then he could track Angel was standing in front of him, stopping just short of the protection created by the circle. Angel face was shifted, his golden eyes staring at Xander intensely.

Xander heard Giles say something and then that they could break the circle but he couldn’t take his eyes off Angel’s. Could see the demon at the surface now instead of buried deep.

“Angel, are you okay?” Xander knew it was a stupid question after spending the last four hours listening to Angel make all those horrible noises.

Angel’s face shifted back to human before he spoke. “Fine enough. Just had a demon who had been progressively more repressed for the last hundred years, get out. Had some issues to work out but I could hear you, soothed it some. Demon and soul had lots of compromises to make, it was like a metaphysical battlefield and now I feel like someone set a bomb off inside me. Now the demon is right at the surface, not buried under the soul. It feels…different but good. Now..”

And then Xander was pulled against Angel before he was taken in a forceful kiss, that was completely dominated by Angel, he just submitted to it completely. Angel had never kissed him so forcefully before, he had gotten hints of this when they had let their passion take them over but Angel had always held back, he wasn’t now. The primal was purring under the dominant kiss, her alpha’s touch. “Mine. My beautiful Consort”, was purred against his lips when Angel stopped kissing him. Well there was only one reply to that. “Yours, only yours.”

Then a cleared throat broke through their little world and both turned to look at Giles, who was looking uncomfortable. “Well, it would seem it was successful. I’m sure you would like to get home now plus the sun will be up before too long. When you are feeling like it Angel, I would like to talk to you more about your experience. I also assume you wont be at school later today or tomorrow Xander and I will make sure it is an excused absence but you should be back at school next week.”

“Thanks.” “Thank you for doing this, Giles. Maybe we can talk this weekend. It was a very unique situation.”

They helped Giles clean up before they headed to Angel’s both exhausted and ready for sleep.

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When they were lying in the bed together, after they had eaten and showered, Xander couldn’t hold in his questions anymore.

“So, you said it feels good now, with the demon…out?” Xander wasn’t really sure how to word it because the demon had always been there, that Angel was a demon, but Angel said it had been buried under the soul.

“Yeah, well the demon feels better and the soul does to, I guess. Now they aren’t as separate just a demon with a conscious, which I was before the merging but it was different. The soul and demon clashed and it always felt like jagged edges dragging across each other, it doesn’t now. Plus, I didn’t realize just how much of my demon I had suppressed and buried under the soul, feel freer. Don’t feel as burdened anymore, though I’m not sure how to feel about that.”

“What do you mean?” Though Xander had an idea.

“The Gypsies cursed me with the soul and so I would feel the guilt of every death I ever dealt and I did, for a hundred years, they crushed me and surrounded me in misery. Now, its…lessened is the only word I can find, the demon doesn’t feel guilt for its actions, so now its less. I don’t know how to feel about that, I should feel that guilt but part of me doesn’t really care anymore.” Angel wanted to be thankful for it but he felt torn, still adjusting to the demon being so close to the surface again.

Xander took a moment to think about that, to him it made sense. He had never thought Angel’s soul should have had to pay for the actions of a demon without a conscious. “I think you should be grateful to your demon that you wont feel those deaths as much. I already told you once that I thought it was wrong for your soul to pay for the demons actions. Now the demon is just shouldering a share of the guilt and cause it’s a demon, who didn’t feel guilt in the first place, you feel it less now that they’re all fused together. I’m not saying you should go out and kill more people but think of this as a way to move on from your past. Plus you’ll be less of a Mr. Broody Pants.” Xander couldn’t help but try to lighten the mood slightly, it was always his default.

“You are amazing and I love you, just in case I haven’t told you enough today. If I wasn’t so exhausted, I would show just how much but I’ll have plenty of time when we wake up.” Angel turned Xander’s head up from where it had been lying on his chest and gave him a very through kiss, one that spoke of what was in store for Xander when they woke up.

“I like that plan but I agree, too tired.” Xander’s yawn garbled part of what he was saying but point made.

Angel’s arms tightened around him and he felt a kiss to the top of his head, his eyes were already drifting shut. He had been drained from the anchoring so he couldn’t imagine how Angel must feel.

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Xander woke up to a wet mouth on his cock and the only thing that stopped his hips from jerking up was the strong hands holding his hips down. “Ah!”

Angel came up off him and gave him a predatory smile. “Good, you’re awake now” and then went right back and swallowed him down completely. Angel’s nose was in the thin pubic hair at the base of his cock and he was swallowing around him. A wet tongue was lapping on the underside of his cock and the suction was mind numbingly good. Xander couldn’t hold back his orgasm and barely grunted out a warning before he was coming down Angel’s throat.

“Holy fuck, that was awesome.” Xander breathed out when he was half coherent again.

“Nothing holy about me.” Was Angel’s quick reply and Xander couldn’t help but laugh at that, it was true though.

“Guess not, now get up here and give me a kiss. Then, I’m going to return the favor, you’ll have to teach me how to do that.” Xander could taste himself in Angel’s mouth and it made his dick twitch, like it was getting ideas already but even as a teenager he needed longer then that.

Angel laid back and pulled Xander over top of him, letting the boy go at his own pace, since Xander hadn’t done this yet. But he didn’t waste time sliding down Angel’s torso, down to where Angel was leaking against his stomach already, the thought of Xander’s warm wet mouth on him making it jump.

Xander buried his nose in the crease of Angel’s thigh and rubbed it into the trimmed nest of black curls at the base of Angel’s cock, taking in a deep breath before darting his tongue out to taste. Just like Angel’s scent which was complex, darker, and reminded him of licorice and cardamom, his taste was the same, even if both were fainter then a humans, though the slight taint of gypsy magic was there and made the primal growl. Not that he had gone around licking other people but other’s scents were so much stronger, he guessed it had to do with vampires not sweating.

Xander wrapped his hand around Angel and slid it up and down, smearing the pre come, before flicking out his tongue to taste, swiping it over the slit. The taste was slightly salty, a little bitter, and just a hint of copper but he liked it as it was Angel’s taste. He then ran his tongue up from the base to the head a few times, tasting skin, before looking up at Angel whose eyes were heavy lidded then sucking the head into his mouth. It felt weird on his tongue but he sucked lightly and slid his hand up and down a few times, the foreskin moving like silk over steel. He tried going lower, realizing quickly he wasn’t going to be able to do what Angel did without gagging. Though he did plan to learn, if Angel could do it he could too, they were close to the same size.

“Don’t try to take too much at first, just suck on the head and use your hand. It feels so good Xander, so warm and wet. Yeah, just like that.” Xander sucked harder on the head and moved his head a little up and down with his hand, trying to coordinate the movement, it was harder then Angel made it look. Felt Angel’s fingers running through his hair and along his neck, not directing, just touching.

“Lightly scrape your teeth over the head, fuck so close.” Xander heard Angel gasp at his actions, so scraped his teeth harder over the head again, he didn’t think that was something he would like but to each their own. Then he felt Angel try to push his head off as he warned him he was about to come but Xander wanted to taste more of Angel so just sucked harder. When Angel came, Xander was barely able to swallow it all without chocking, he thought it would take awhile to get use to the texture but the taste was sex and iron and he liked it.

Xander pulled off with a smile, he made Angel come, mission accomplished. “So, how’d I do? You’re going to have to tell me how you did that deep throating thing, not as easy as you made it look.” Which got a small chuckle out of Angel and was pulled up for a kiss before he got an answer.

“You did perfect and it will probably take some practice. I don’t need to breathe or have a gag reflex so it’s really easy for me.”

“Practice, got it. You’ll definitely be benefiting from that.” Xander snuggled in closer to Angel and glanced over at the alarm on the side table. “Jeez, its already 8 at night. But we so needed it. I am really hungry though.” As if to agree, his stomach rumbled.

“Alright, up then. You want to call something in or go out? I need to get more blood after all I drank last night, so I’ll have to run to Willie’s.”

Xander got up and went to the bathroom to brush his teeth and piss before going to find some clothes. When he opened the drawer he had a few things in, he noticed way more clothes in it then the other day, he had just brought clothes from home the other night so hadn’t looked then.

“Angel, are these your clothes?” Xander doubted it because he had never seen Angel wear jeans.

Angel looked shifty a moment then answered, “Oh, um, well I figured you would like some clothes for here, that way you wouldn’t have to worry about taking clothes back and forth. I just checked your sizes and picked up some stuff the other night when you were at Willow’s. I got some more jeans like you bought, more of those polo shirts, a few t-shirts, and henleys. That ok?”

“That’s fine Angel, you really didn’t have to though. I didn’t mind going back to my house for more clothes, since I do still sleep there some nights. I really think my parents are going to believe I moved out soon and like remake my room into something else.” Xander was only half joking, he could imagine them doing that.

“Well, you could always move in with me? That way you wouldn’t have to deal with them, you shouldn’t have to. Plus, I really like it when you’re here.” It took everything for Angel not to add ‘where you belong’. He just wanted Xander here with him everyday. Didn’t want him in that house with parents who ignored him at best or yelled and abused him at worst, who were more often then not drunk and fighting.

That brought Xander up short and he couldn’t help his flush of pleasure at Angel wanting him here with him but…“I don’t know Angel. I’m still only 16, can’t really just move out of my parents house and they might cause problems if they were sober enough to care.”

“I could talk to them, make sure they know you’re safe and that if they caused any problems they wouldn’t like the consequences. I’ve wanted to talk to your father for awhile now.” Though talk was a very loose term for what Angel had planned.

“Angel remember on our first date, I said murdering my parents wouldn’t get you a second date, that still stands, no murdering my parental units.”

“I don’t plan to kill them, just talk, I promise.” Angel tried a innocent smile but from the suspicious look he got, it probably didn’t work. “So, since your only argument was your age and your parents might cause problems and that’s easy to remedy, you’ll move in or think about it?”

“I…I’ll think about it. Plus, you might get tired of me, if I’m here all the time. Most people can’t handle me full time.” Xander tried to make it sound like a joke but he felt like he fell short, it was the truth though. The only person who could handle Xander full time was Willow and they had grown up together so she had probably built up a tolerance.

“Xander, I will never get tired of you. I plan to spend the rest of our lives together and hopefully that is a very long time, counted in centuries. Once I claim you, I have every intention of having you live with me from then on. I want you here with me, want to go to sleep and wake up next to you every day but most important, I want you. Don’t doubt that or me.” Angel pulled Xander to him, holding him close and thought about the parents and people who had made Xander feel like he was someone people had to put up with. Thought about inventive ways to kill them, it made the demon happy, even if his soul made it so they would only be thoughts, too bad.

“Okay. I’ll think about it, I promise.” Xander gave Angel a quick kiss. “So, food? My stomach may start eating itself soon. I was thinking burgers, fries, and milkshake. Can pick it up to go if you want.” Xander was ready to end the serious conversations and eat.

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They went out to eat and after, Xander talked Angel into going to see a movie at the theater he had been wanting to see. He was actually surprised how easy Angel gave in because there was no way that it was something he would enjoy, Angel just didn’t get pop culture references or the comics Xander loved. But he did love the disgusted face Angel made when he tried popcorn and had a great night.

After, Angel made Xander go back to the apartment while he went to Willie’s to pick up more blood. Xander had tried to talk Angel into letting him go with but he had gotten a big solid, “No!”.

The next three days were spent much the same way with lots of food for Xander, ‘sexy times’ which Angel always made faces at when he said that, some additional training, and just spending time together and talking. Angel told Xander more about his time after he got the soul, traveling and how he even helped recover a submarine during WWII, that it was the only time he sired someone when he had the soul and only because there was no other choice and that he still regretted abandoning the fledge after. How now he realized how much of his self he had lost when he was cursed with the soul and had repressed the demon, that he tried to pretend to be human when he wasn’t.

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Xander noticed over the long weekend that there were already changes to Angel’s behavior and personality or maybe it was just revealing more of Angel’s natural personality that he had repressed. Angel became more sure of himself, dominate, and possessive or at least he let it show more now that the demon was no longer, so deeply, buried. Xander noticed that Angel was less restrained, more sensual, passionate, and spontaneous, had a much darker sense of humor that Xander enjoyed. Even his voice changed some, usually when they in bed and Angel was whispering what he wanted to do to Xander in his ear, his voice thickened and an Irish brogue would come out and it made shivers run down Xander’s spine and his cock twitch, eagerly.

That he was much more ruthless when he was fighting when they had done a patrol through a cemetery one night. Angel had always used an economy of movement when he fought, he still didn’t really play with his prey but he obviously showed his enjoyment of the violence more, reveling in it. Which had lead to Angel shoving Xander against a crypt before shoving both their pants down and jacking them off together, while aggressively taking his mouth in a kiss that was all teeth and tongue and a little blood.

Xander liked the changes so far and they didn’t stop it from being Angel, it was something Xander had worried would happen, that he would lose his Angel. The primal preened under Angel’s more dominate and possessive touch, loved how her mate and alpha touched them now. Yet, Angel still woke him with slow kisses, even if Xander tried to escape first to brush his teeth but Angel always pulled him back into bed before he made it completely off. He still gave Xander the same sweet smile though now they were just as often as the dirty, almost predator like smile that made Xander’s stomach tighten, sharply, with lust. He still loved Xander just as much as he had, even more because he said he loved Xander more everyday, the man was a not so secret romantic.

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Monday morning Xander had to drag himself out of a very comfy bed after a kiss from a half asleep Angel, which was a great way to start off a day. He made himself a big breakfast before jogging to school. It wasn’t a half bad way to start a week, which of course must have jinxed him because it didn’t take long to go sideways.

As the day may have started off great but quickly went downhill, as they were forced to participate in the school talent show by the new principle, Snyder. He had already forced Giles out of his library to oversee the talent show and Xander wasn’t sure how Giles was refraining from using a crossbow on the man. Plus, someone needed to tell him Xander wasn’t school spirit guy, he was primal spirit guy and yeah he still had jokes.

The week just got worse as they were required to attend practice not like they did more then pretend to do something. Then it took a Hellmouth turn for the worse when a dancer, some girl named Emily, was found without her heart, now they had someone or something harvesting organs. After seeing the other participants, Xander’s money was on the guy Morgan and his extremely creepy ventriloquist dummy named Sid. They gave Xander major wiggins and he let it be freely known.

The weeks nightly patrols were over run with new fledges and there was more and more signs of activity from the Master. They knew he was planning something big they just didn’t know what. Though he wasn’t the main focus of the week because of the organ harvesting. Willow had decided to start her self defense lessons with Angel and him after the talent show ended.

After catching, then losing, and then again recapturing the dummy it was revealed that the dummy Sid, while ‘aliveish’, wasn’t the one who harvested the heart but a demon hunter who was trapped in the body of a ventriloquist dummy. Didn’t stop him from being massive amounts of creepy and Xander was sure he was still going to have Chucky style nightmares for awhile after this. Sid was after someone who harvested hearts and brains and was part of something called the Brotherhood of Seven.

The guy Morgan who had been the one they first saw practicing with Sid was killed and his brain harvested but it wasn’t healthy because of a genetic disease, so was discarded. So, they needed to find it before it could harvest another brain, a healthy one this time and complete some ritual.

Opening night of the talent show went a little screwy when they find that the bad guy is Marc-the magician (seriously?), who had Giles on stage and was going to cut the top of his head off to take his brain. They were able to save Giles and stop the demon who Sid killed and in doing so freed his own soul.

Then of course the night had to get worse and the curtain went up and they were all on stage and had to try to do something. They hadn’t really practiced cause they were hunting a demon which they couldn’t use for an excuse or one that would be believed anyway. Willow ran off the stage because public performances give her the wiggins, while Buffy and Xander enacted a fight scene. Well they didn’t win the talent show, that’s for sure but they did survive the night, so that was a plus.

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Xander was grateful for the end of week and planned to do nothing but veg out with Willow on Saturday while they watched reruns of a show they loved, all day. It was an amazing and lazy way to spend the day after a week of chasing an organ harvesting demon and a demon hunter in a dummy. Buffy and Angel were not allowed, this was for the original duo.

Though they did take some time to visit Jesse’s grave because while they may be the original duo, they had been the three musketeers for a long time. Instead of flowers they sprinkled his favorite candy on the ground because they were weird like that. Xander hadn’t been here yet because he knew there was no one in that coffin but they did both sit and talk to Jesse’s headstone for awhile. They had a lot to update him on, Xander in admitting he was bi revealed it was because of wet dreams about Jesse that he realized it. It was funny watching Willow’s nose scrunch up every time he mentioned that.

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Sunday evening was spent with Angel, who Xander was pretty sure had been looking for a new place cause there were pages of local real estate listings all over the table.

“So looking for a new place?” Xander shuffled through them and didn’t see anything interesting.

“Maybe, I haven’t really found anything I like yet plus you would have to like it also. I figured something bigger then the apartment would be nice, especially when you move in with me.” Which was delivered with a big, what Xander assumed was suppose to be innocent, smile but missed by a mile.

“That right? Well, nothing wrong with this place but if you want something bigger that’s up to you and you’ll be doing the cleaning mister. What’s wrong with the stuff you’ve found so far?” Other then boring but Xander didn’t say that.

“Too Sunnydale suburbs for me. I wanted something with a little history. I’m sure I’ll find something eventually.”

“I’m sure you will. Now how about a nice long shower together. I’m all sweaty from my run. Buffy’s talking to me again, well close enough and we’re running together again. We’re trying some parkour style runs now, its fun and we are decently matched but I’m a little faster.” No stopping the smug smile from spreading across his face, being stronger and faster then the slayer was pretty awesome.

“Smart of you two to add variety like that and I’m glad she’s coming around. I hadn’t thought her attitude would last long after she got over her initial anger, there hadn’t been anything actually going on between us. Plus, it doesn’t hurt for her to have an ally who can match her or even best her in strength and speed. Slayers don’t normally last long because they go it alone.” Angel knew as William had taken two, in his almost 120 years and couldn’t help feeling a twinge of pride in his childe even when the soul protested.

“True. Now no more talk about slayers and more getting naked and showering with me.” Xander pulled Angel toward the bathroom.

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Angel had spent the past week looking for a new place but all the listings he had found were of little cookie cutter houses, he had no interest in. He wanted something bigger, with history, presence, and style. Something worthy of himself and his mate. He was tired of denying himself luxury and what he truly wanted.

He planned to spend the rest of his days spoiling Xander, giving the boy everything he wanted, he would never want for anything. He didn’t want to ever live like he had for the past two decades before Sunnydale and Xander, his demon was repulsed about how they had lived in the sewers and fed off rats. It had been the lowest point of Angel’s life but now it was getting better and brighter. His demon had always preferred luxury and when Angel had been cursed he had eventually started denying himself even the most simple pleasures, making the demon rebel even more.

While the demon hated the slayer it was glad that the mission Whistler gave him to keep the slayer safe had lead him out of the sewers and to Xander. Maybe this was what Whistler had meant when he said he would find his redemption ‘at the slayers side’, not actually with the slayer but literally by her side because that had been where Xander had been the first time he had seen him. He was grateful to the primal for bringing the boy into his life and making him unable to ignore the pull between them as he had done before in his blind obsession with finding his redemption, thinking it was with the slayer. He shuddered to think how that would have ended, a vampire and slayer was asking for misery and he had enough of that the past hundred years, very Romeo and Juliet, which he had never liked.

For the first time since being cursed with the soul it wasn’t weighing him down under the weight of the remorse of thousands of deaths, guilt he had lived with for the past hundred years. The merging had done so much, what use to feel like the jagged edges of the soul scraping against him, almost burning the demon, from where it had been shoved back in where it no longer fit or belonged, were all smoothed away and it and the demon lived in relative harmony now. He had worried unleashing the demon like this, that bringing it completely to the surface would not end well but it had. The darkest desires and hungers were still there but it was all, finally, truly tempered by the soul, he was able to freely choose to do right or wrong but his demon wasn’t always pushing and he planned to stay firmly on the side of good, he wasn’t taking any chances of condemning Xander’s soul. Xander who was probably the only reason the ritual had actually worked.

Actually, he was pretty sure Xander was the reason the demon was being so…quiet. It had never been so, even before the soul, it was always raging, wanting pain, death, and blood, never satisfied and always so…hungry, like it was never full. Now it was mostly quiet and content, well as much as it could be while still wanting to claim Xander and he hadn’t really noticed just how agitated his demon had been before his boy had walked into his life but now it was fairly sated. Maybe there was or had been something wrong with the demon from the beginning because he wasn’t lying to Xander, there had been very few vampires who had been so vicious as he had been. The theory about Aurelius vampires being unstable because of the curse made even more sense.

Angel had explained to Xander how he, Angel, wasn’t the same as either Angelus or Liam. Liam had been a drunk lout, who was buried under the unrealistic expectations and disappointments of his father, never able to measure up. Angelus had been a demon at its worse, who showed no mercy and often went too far, he thought of Drusilla and how he had driven her mad. Angel was some mix of both, the demon still there but the soul which was Liam, wasn’t the same, the guilt and actions of the demon had changed it, matured him maybe. Even if Xander was right and the soul didn’t need redemption for the demons actions, that part of him still wanted to do good, to help, to be better for Xander.

He had been busy doing other stuff the past week also; making a standing order for more and better quality blood from Willie’s, since for now he planned to stick with the human blood bags. Finally sating the hunger that had been part of his existence for so long, not willing to feed himself enough to do more then survive. The demon was just grateful they were eating human blood over animal and wasn’t making much fuss over the fact it wasn’t fresh. Plus he was getting his dose of violence on patrols recently, his demon had never cared for weak minions or fledges. He was getting stronger, more like how he had once been and not the pathetic shadow he had allowed himself to become.

Being able to be with Xander and sate some of his sexual urges with the boy put the demon in a state of bliss. He hadn’t had a sexual partner since he was cursed and had rarely even brought himself pleasure. He had a lot of making up to do and being with Xander was unlike anything he had ever known. The pleasure and joy from a single willing kiss from Xander outweighed anything he and Darla had done at their most depraved.

He had also put the word out to any and all that if they even breathed in Xander’s direction he would make them beg for their death, which wasn’t even close to a bluff. When some wannabe master vampire from out of town made a comment about how he would show Xander what it was like with a real vampire he had ripped their heart out in the middle of Willie’s. So everyone had gotten the message loud and clear. He would burn the world down if anything happened to his mate, his Consort. He also spread some whispers that he was using the slayer for his own gain, it would probably help in being more welcome in the demon community if they thought he was playing some long term game with the slayer.

Angel had made plans with Xander to talk to his parents, even if Xander still hadn’t officially decided to move in with him, he would be within a couple weeks at the most. Angel could be extremely persuasive when he wanted to be and was more then willing to use whatever means necessary to get his boy where he belongs, which was with Angel everyday. Xander wouldn’t let him go by himself to talk to his dad as he was still a little worried Angel might kill him. Death would be too good for these pieces of trash, he had no idea how these two horrible people made such a wonderful young man. Didn’t mean he wasn’t planning to scare them sober or maybe it would be drunker but either way he didn’t care. They would never hurt Xander again and wouldn’t cause any problems, when he was done.

 

Angel also planned to renew his research for Giles, there had to be something they could find about what the Master was planning. Angel had never liked or been impressed with the Master, he might be the oldest of the Aurelian line, still alive, but he wasn’t even near the scariest, he was just the ugliest and it made little difference the Master was his grand-sire.

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Willow made Buffy and Xander start studying for end-of-year exams the next week, they both tried to get out of it till she had pulled out ‘Resolve Face’. So they started spending an hour in addition to homework, studying old material. Xander was almost wishing for something to happen just to get out of all the studying, it made his brain feel like mush but he had been able to focus better in classes lately. He much preferred training with Angel or running with Buffy even if she was still being a little distant.

Xander and Angel had started working with Willow in self defense, making sure she understood there was no such thing as a fair fight when trying to stay alive and to use anyway to win or get away.

Xander and Angel had started doing two against one sparring sessions with Buffy. Giles had agreed it would be beneficial for her to practice against multiple opponents at once, since most vamps wouldn’t just wait in line and could attack her in a group. She had tried to get just Angel to practice with her and he had agreed but Xander was always there to watch at Angel’s insistence, which he knew pissed her off. They practiced with weapons and Angel was brutal when they sparred but Xander could tell he wasn’t using his full strength against Buffy, making it seem like they were more evenly matched. The primal was pleased that it’s future mate wasn’t giving all their secrets away to someone who could be an enemy, though Xander still didn’t want to think of Buffy that way.

Angel had continued to look for a possible new place but hadn’t found anything. Xander didn’t really see anything wrong with the apartment it was nice and clean and most importantly parent free. Which made him think of how he had agreed to take Angel with him to meet his dad, that was not going to go well, he still wasn’t positive Angel wouldn’t kill or seriously hurt the man as he always got homicidal face when Xander talked about him. So they planned to do that this weekend, Xander hadn’t dreaded anything more then this.

Also, Xander was giving serious thought to moving in with Angel, he figured he would give it another week to at least seem like he wasn’t so easily swayed but seriously Angel was very persuasive. Xander was pretty sure it was cheating if you asked an important question like that again when you had just introduced said person to rimming and had made them come twice from it, alone. Xander would have honestly agreed to anything at that point, his everything had turned to mush and his brains were leaking out. So now, Xander was holding out for at least a week out of pure stubbornness…maybe.

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The weekend had come much too fast for Xander and Angel was still planning to talk to his parents on Sunday. Not only was Angel persuasive but also stubborn as a mule.

They got to his house just past sunset and his parents were in the living room watching TV, they both turned to look when Xander and Angel walked in.

“Who’s this?!” Yeah, this wasn’t going to go well and Xander did not want to be here.

“This is Angel…my boyfriend.” Not like he could say mate or that he was Angel’s consort.

“Always thought you were a fag.” Xander’s dad sneered and he couldn’t help flash his eyes at that and he heard a low growl from Angel.

“Xander, I want you to go upstairs and pack some stuff, we can come back and get the rest later if we need to. I’m going to have a nice chat with your parents, stay upstairs till I come get you.” Well that was the scariest pleasant voice he had ever heard.

“Um…okay. Just remember what I told you.” Xander reminded him before escaping up the stairs as quickly as possible.

He went up to his room and looked around, he had already got a few boxes a couple days ago even if he had still been holding out of actually telling Angel he had already decided to move in with him. Xander didn’t try to listen in to what Angel was saying and just looked through his closet and picked the nicer clothes out, which there wasn’t much of and a few of his favorite tee shirts. There were a collection of photos, comics, and his game boy that he added to the box of stuff he was taking with him. He had some other collectables but figured it was stuff he could come back for but packed them up in one of the other boxes and put it in his closet. Well that didn’t take long and he had barely filled two of the boxes with stuff he wanted to take. So he just laid down on the bed figuring when Angel was done he would come get him.

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“Mr. Harris, you’re going to sit back down and we are going to have a nice pleasant chat about how Xander is going to come live with me now.” Angel gave the man his nicest smile, well close.

“I don’t know who you think…” The rest of his sentence was lost in a choking gasp as Angel forcefully pushed him back down and let his ‘game face’ as Xander called it out for just a few seconds. Angel could smell the man’s fear in the air, it made the demon purr and he heard a whimper from the women who hadn’t said a word since they had walked in. Who had never tried to stop the man who beat her son, who had just as many nasty words for Xander as the man did. “What, what are you?”

“That isn’t why I’m here. All you need to know is that Xander is very important to me and you haven’t been treating him well for a very long time. If Xander wouldn’t be very mad at me and possible leave me, I would pay you back tenfold for every pain you caused that boy and I’ve had centuries to perfect my technique. I could keep you alive for a very long time but you would be begging for me to kill you and I wouldn’t because I know Xander has asked, even begged you to stop when you beat him in one of your drunken rages and you didn’t.” The smell of fear got stronger, more sour and Angel reveled in it, he had to get his kicks where he could these days and couldn’t stop his smile from getting sharper, showing a few teeth.

“Since I promised Xander I wouldn’t kill you or even really hurt you, all I have is words but don’t think I wont break that promise if I’m pushed. Now, like I was saying, Xander is going to come live with me and neither of you are going to cause any problems or you are going to become food for something really nasty, at least then I don’t break my promise as it isn’t me doing the killing. I am going to give him a safe home; where he doesn’t have to lock his bedroom door at night so he isn’t beaten by a pathetic drunk who calls himself his father; where he isn’t ridiculed, somewhere, where he is loved and cared for. Just in case you give two shits about your own son. Now, if you ever contact him again I will make you regret it but if he chooses to keep some kind of contact with you, I can’t stop him even if I want to but you will be nice and civil. Now, I’m going to get Xander and we are going to leave.” Angel gave them another smile, this one made them pale further and headed up the stairs to get Xander.

He opened the bedroom door to find Xander laying on his bed, half asleep. “Hey, ready to go?”

“Yeah, you done ‘talking’ already?” Angel could hear the quote marks when Xander said talking.

“A few well chosen words can go a long way. This all you taking?” Angel only noticed two boxes and they were barely full, that couldn’t be all the boy had.

“Yeah, I have another box of collectible but I figured I could come back for it later. I just picked out some of my nicer clothes, pictures of me, Jesse, and Willow, and my comics.”

“Okay. If you need anything else we can go buy it. Come on.” Angel wanted to get Xander out of this house as soon as possible.

They headed back down the stairs and Xander stopped in the doorway of the living room. He cleared his throat trying to decide if he wanted to say anything but couldn’t really think of anything that second. They both looked pale and Xander could only imagine what Angel had said to them. “I’ll come back for some stuff I left in my closet.” Barely even got a nod.

As he turned to leave he heard “Where, what did you do to my son?” from his mother and it pissed him off, he could feel anger surging inside him wanting out.

“Nothing, I’m right here. Just now I have a little extra, that makes sure I don’t have to put up with being beaten by a drunk who takes his anger out on his son. I’m not sure why you care now anyway, its not like you’ve ever cared before. Not like you said one word or raised a single finger to stop what your husband was doing. Both of you just sit there drinking and yelling till you pass out, you used to scare me and make me feel like I wasn’t good enough but now, now I realize you are both just worthless pathetic people who are going to never amount to anything. So, goodbye and good luck with your lives.” That felt good.

Xander turned back around and followed Angel out of the door, feeling freer then he had before, more confident, somehow. “Knowing I never have to step foot in that house again is a wonderful feeling, I didn’t know it would feel so good. Just saying something about how they treated me felt good.” Angel couldn’t help but reach up and trace the smile on Xander’s face, wanted to keep it there always. His boy’s face was made to smile.

“Good. Now how about we drop this box off and go do something you want. We could go see another movie or go to the mall if you wanted and pick you up some more stuff.”

“We don’t have to but maybe the mall, I would like to check out the new comics and I wouldn’t mind some food.”

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They spent a few hours at the mall, Angel talking Xander into more clothes, the man had an obsession. Xander ended up with a pair of dress slacks, a few really nice button up shirts, a pair of dress shoes, and for some reason a couple pairs of tiny new underwear, a jockstrap and bikini briefs. He even got a new game for his game boy and some comics, which was super awesome and he couldn’t wait to show Willow. Then he pigged out at the food court, getting food from a few different places. It ended up being a decent day, especially with his outlook for the day that morning.

“Thanks for everything today.” He leaned over to give Angel a kiss before he started eating. He had stopped saying Angel didn’t have to get him anything and that it was too much because that only got him a smile and a ‘well I want to and money isn’t an issue’.

“You’re welcome and it’s not a big deal. I want to give you everything you want, let me spoil you a bit, you deserve it and I enjoy it.”

It wasn’t long after that they headed home because as Angel reminded him, he had school in the morning. Thanks…like he needed a reminder of more Willow study sessions.

Though when they did get to the apartment, Xander tried on the jockstrap, it hardly covered the goods in the front and left his ass hanging out but they made Angel whimper and his mouth drop open when he had walked out of the bathroom with just them on and did a little spin.

Xander had noticed his body was losing the last of its baby fat and getting really toned and the tiny undies seemed to really show off the deep V he was developing and his hip bones. He was pretty sure he saw Angel drool, which did a lot for his self confidence. Okay, so maybe these were his favorite purchase because the game and comic didn’t get him a mind shattering blow job with Angel worshipping his body. Though they did get Angel one in return, Xander was getting better at it and could get most of the way down but he still had a little issue with has gag reflex but he was working on it.

Awesome end to a not so bad day.

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When Xander woke up the next morning he was alone in bed but could hear Angel in the kitchen and smelled food so quickly went to the bathroom, then got dressed.

“Angel, what are you doing up?” Sunrise and midday were Angel’s least favorite times to be awake.

“Morning. I was awake and I figured I would cook you breakfast before you went to school. It’s pancakes, sausage, and eggs. We’ll need to go to the grocery store again soon. ”

“Yummy, thank you.” Xander walked over and sat at the table, where Angel was sitting a Xander sized plate of food. Angel had cooked for him a few times before and it had surprisingly turned out good every time. He figured it had to be Angel’s sense of smell that helped him cook, since he kept a fairly strict liquid diet and didn’t eat solid food.

Xander demolished the huge breakfast in probably record time, when he finished he gave Angel a long sticky syrup flavored kiss. “I love you bunches. Now I better get going before I’m late and you have a nice nap. I’ll be home after Willow’s study sessions and my run with Buffy.” With one last kiss he was out the door. He missed Angel’s surprised smile at him calling the apartment home.

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The week started out almost as boring as the last till spiders started pouring out of some guy’s book in class. As the day went on it got even more strange, till they realized peoples fears were coming true. Xander needed to stop thinking things were boring because he would prefer boring over facing his fears.

Giles wasn’t much help as he lost his ability to read as the week went on, that was pretty scary for everyone. They finally tracked it to a boy in a coma, who’s astral projection Buffy had been seeing. The kid had been beaten and they didn’t know who had done it.

Then Xander was chased by a killer clown because he had been terrified of them since he was a kid but thankfully the primal helped him overcome his fear and he thought he was in the clear. That was till he thought he had lost Angel, that he was killed because the primal’s fear was to lose their mate and spend another lifetime without one. He almost had a mental breakdown over thinking he saw Angel ‘dust’ and it took him a while to realize it was just another waking nightmare. It left him feeling shaky and terrified, he kept feeling like he was going to spill the contents of his stomach any second and his heart beat was a little erratic.

Buffy figured out that the boy was being chased by his own nightmare which ended up being a nightmare version of his coach, though the real version was monster enough. He had been the one who put the boy in a coma after losing some little league game. Giles and Xander caught the man when he ran from Buffy and they let the police take it from there. Xander couldn’t help himself and had tightened his grip enough on the guys wrist to break it when they caught him. The primal didn’t like people who preyed on cubs, they were to be protected and had relished in the guys pain.

Later that night when the were all in the library talking about the human monsters the world had, Xander couldn’t help but be clingy with Angel. The primal didn’t want their mate out of their sight or even arm range and Xander was in complete agreement. Angel just pulled him in close and let him nuzzle his neck, so he could take in his scent. Xander always thought of how people talked about fine wine when he scented Angel, his scent was complex and deep, had notes of licorice and cardamom; slight spice, woody, and nutty. Knew it made him feel safe and loved and he felt secure in Angel’s supernaturally strong arms.

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They hadn’t even gotten in the door before, “You okay? What did you see that’s made you so upset, your scent is all sour.” It burned Angel’s nose and he didn’t know how to fix it, Xander had clung desperately to him the whole time they had been in the library. Thankfully Buffy was only there a short while because while she didn’t say anything, she was giving them some nasty glares. If she had said something, Angel doubted he would have been able to curb a very violent reaction with Xander already distressed like he was. Normally Xander kept their contact fairly chaste around Buffy and the others.

“I, the primal’s fear was losing its mate, going another lifetime without you. We, I…you dusted in front of us and it took awhile for me to realize that it was just another one of the waking nightmares. My fear had been fucking clowns because it hadn’t even crossed my mind I could lose you but after seeing that, it’s all I can think about. I can’t lose you Angel, I don’t think I would survive.” Xander barely held in the whine but he knew a few tears were tracking down his cheeks and he tried to hide them from Angel, he didn’t want to seem so weak.

“Oh, Xander. I’m here, right here baby. Not going anywhere and you know I can be a very stubborn asshole when I want to be.” Angel pulled Xander back into his arms and just let the boy cling to him and cry. He kissed away the tears when they slowed down to just the occasional sniffle. “I love you and I will do everything in my power to not leave you, I promise.”

“Ok good, you better. Now I need a tissue, I can’t breathe out my nose.” Xander was pretty sure there was snot showing, which was pretty gross. He hated crying and had always tried to hide it because it was something his father would had criticized him for but he felt safe enough in Angel’s arms to show this side of himself.

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Xander and Willow went to the Bronze, Saturday night, to listen to a new band but Buffy hadn’t wanted to come. Xander was pretty sure it was because of him still. While they had been training together, Buffy hadn’t thawed much towards Xander and he just didn’t understand why. The kiss Buffy gave Angel was over two months ago, as well as being rebuffed by him, and she had been aware of them for a little more then a month.

“She’s still really mad isn’t she? I just don’t understand, her and Angel weren’t together and they could never have worked, she has to see that.” Xander was not above whining to Willow about this, maybe he would get a girl’s perspective.

Willow was silent for a few moments before answering. “Buffy is still upset. I think it was the loss of a possibility that is bothering her the most. To her Angel is a perfect option for a boyfriend even if he is a vampire because he knows about what goes bump in the night and is strong enough to fight by her side. Remember that Owen guy she dated right before she kissed Angel, she said something about normal dating not being for her. I think she fell in love with the idea of Angel, how he helped her when she first came to Sunnydale and would appear when she needed a hand. Maybe when she gives up on that idea, she’ll come around.”

“And that’s why you are the brains of this operation, missy. Smart and pretty, my Willow shaped friend is.” Xander smiled his brightest smile at Willow and got one in return. “Well how about you? No boys you’re interested in? I think I could make the shovel talk pretty scary now. The spring fling is coming up, I saw posters.”

“Not really and it’s still almost a month away, Cordelia just got over excited I believe and hung them early.” Xander couldn’t help his snort of laughter at that, sounded like her.

After the last song, Xander walked Willow home before heading to the apartment.

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“I think I’m going to ask Willow to the spring fling dance thing, I know she wants to go and we can go as friends. I mean this is if some guy she likes doesn’t ask her.” He got a distracted noise from Angel who had his nose in a book, the same as he had the past two hours.

Yeah Angel wasn’t listening. “We’ll probably have wild sex after…” Xander let the sentence trail off to see how long it took for Angel to realize what he had said.

“Ok, have a good time…Hold on, WHAT?!” Xander burst out laughing when he finally got Angel’s attention, he had thought that would work.

“Just checking that you weren’t listening to me.” Which got him an apologetic look from Angel.

“I’m sorry, this book makes some mentions of a prophesy that has to do with the Master but not what the prophesy is. So, you plan to take Willow to a dance at school? That’s nice.”

“She is my best friend plus I figured it wouldn’t be your cup of blood and you know you’re a little old to be going to a sophomore dance.” Xander couldn’t help the slow smile that crossed his face before “you’re totally a cradle robber, even more so then you already look.” Angel just gave him a glare before going back to his book.

Xander decided to leave Angel to his book and pulled out his game boy and figured he could try for a new high score before bed. He laid his head against Angel’s leg and thought they must look domestic.

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Everything seemed to calm down till about two weeks before the dance, then weird things started happening at school. It started out as small things but progressively got worse.

A few people had been attacked and they still hadn’t figured out who or what was doing it, they thought it could be a ghost but Giles was skeptical. They finally figured out it was a girl named Marcie, who was invisible but solid because Buffy had run into her. When they found where she had been staying in the school, Xander could smell her scent and was able to track it around the school but all the trails were old or too overlapping to figure out where she was.

Giles discovered the girl had involuntarily turned invisible because she was ignored by everyone. Even Xander and Willow, who had classes with her the last semester and hadn’t even recognized a picture of her or her name. As two people who had been fairly invisible other then to be picked on, they were ashamed they had never noticed her because at least they had each other.

When they figure out she’s after Cordelia, while they could understand the thought, they couldn’t actually let the girl hurt anymore people.

She ended up tricking Xander, Willow, and Giles with recorded music and trapped them in the boiler room with the gas turned on. Thankfully there was an Angel to the rescue. One who spent at least ten minutes running his hands over Xander, checking him over, like he expected spontaneous wounds to appear.

Buffy had been able to fight and subdue the girl when she tried to disfigure Cordelia. Then some really creepy guys in black suits appeared and took her away. They realized this must have happened before and they wondered what exactly they are using invisible teens for. Xander was pretty sure he didn’t want to know.

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Angel left Friday night to hunt down a book of prophesies for Giles that he had stored, that he was pretty sure might have something about the Master. So Xander spent it at Willow’s because the apartment without Angel was lonely. He had asked her to the dance, though made sure she knew that if a guy she liked asked her she could say yes and it wouldn’t hurt Xander’s feelings. She assured him that they would go together and so planned their outfits that weekend.

Angel had mentioned before he left that he thought he might have found a place and he would visit it when he got back then take Xander to see it. That was exciting and frustrating because Angel wouldn’t even give him a hint about it.

Angel didn’t make it back till Monday night and gave the book to Giles, who was going to translate the part they were sure had the prophesy they were looking for. Both had looked wary and a little worried.

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The following week vamp activity was up drastically and they were becoming much bolder, so they knew whatever was going to happen would be soon. They had to increase their patrols.

Then they experienced a pretty severe earthquake and Buffy said the bathroom faucet had blood instead of water coming out of it. This seemed to make Giles and Angel even more agitated, they were both talking about signs of the apocalypse and Giles hadn’t seemed to have laid the book of prophesies down once. Even Ms. Calendar told them about some monk emailing her about ‘the anointed one’, which had gotten Giles attention, Xander was mostly stuck on the ‘monks email?’ part.

Xander walked in behind Buffy and they both heard Giles telling Angel that no matter how he translated the book it predicted the slayer’s death at the hand of the Master and that the Hellmouth would be opened. Buffy had reacted like a normal 16 year old who had their death predicted and ‘quit’. Xander didn’t blame her, no matter that being a slayer was her destiny she was still just a kid and didn’t deserve to die.

Now they needed to figure out where the opening of the Hellmouth actually was. Xander had thought the whole town was the mouth of Hell, not that there was a specific place in Sunnydale it opened.

All this along with getting ready for end-of-year exams made for a hectic week. Xander wasn’t sure if he would rather face the Master or take finals.

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Later that night Xander and Angel were laying in bed “Do you really think the Master is going to kill Buffy? I mean how is he even going to get her, she quit plus he’s trapped down there?” That had been the main part bugging him, was how the Master could get to her.

Xander felt Angel take a breath before replying. “I…the book of prophesies that I got for Giles, is very accurate, so far every single thing it has prophesied has come to pass. So, it is very likely.”

“I, we have to help her Angel. When she goes to face the Master, we have to go with her. It didn’t say she had to face him alone. She’s only 16, she doesn’t deserve to die, no matter what some book says.” Xander wiggled in closer, feeling Angel’s arms tighten around him. Xander couldn’t let Buffy die, she had her whole life ahead of her. He didn’t care what some old book said or about the short life expectancy of slayers.

He heard Angel whisper against his hair. “We’ll do what we can to help her, I promise.”

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The next night Xander walked into the library to find Ms. Calendar holding an unconscious Giles. “What happened?” Xander scented the air to see if he could smell anything.

“Buffy, she heard Giles telling me she was the slayer and she said she was reinstating herself and that she was going after the Master on her own terms. He tried to stop her and she knocked him out, that was awhile ago.” Xander was going to ignore how the computer teacher knew about the Master and Buffy, for now.

He walked to the weapons locker then pulled out a few stakes and a crossbow before running to get Angel, at least he knew he was at the apartment.

He was already yelling before he made it in the door. “Angel! Buffy went after the Master, she’s by herself. We have to go now.” Xander handed the crossbow to Angel as he dragged him out the door. “Faster, now take me to where he’s at.”

Angel lead him to the sewers, that continued into some underground passage. When they got to where the Master should have been trapped, all they found was Buffy laying face down in the water.

“Buffy! Shit, Angel she isn’t breathing.” Xander pulled her out of the pool of water and turned her over, trying to feel for a pulse and knowing he wouldn’t find one as he couldn’t hear her heart.

“Holy shit. I, um…CPR!” Then Xander tried to remember that class he took on how to do CPR and started pumping his hands over her chest, then opened her mouth to blow air in. “Fuck, it isn’t working.” Xander tried harder and finally Buffy started chocking and leaned to the side, spitting out all the water she had swallowed. “Thank god.” When she rolled back onto her back Xander heard her gasp “Angel” and couldn’t hold back the eye roll, seriously, he had just saved her life.

“Buffy, what happened? The Master isn’t here.” Trying to ignore how she was clutching to Angel cause now really wasn’t the time to be all ‘hands off my man’, they could do that after killing the Master.

“My blood, that’s what he needed to break whatever was keeping him down here, he’s about to open the Hellmouth.” Well, that’s just dandy and exactly what they had wanted to prevent from happening. Talk about a self fulfilling prophesy.

“Shit. Okay, are you okay because we need to get back to the school and see if Willow and Ms. Calendar have found where it’s supposed to happen.” They had started looking when he had left to get Angel.

“I’m fine. I’m better then fine.” She got to her feet and Xander couldn’t help but wonder looking at her white dress, who goes after the Master wearing that. Then shook his head at his random thoughts.

Then they all trekked back out of the underground tunnels, into the sewer system and back towards the library and Buffy seemed to be sure the Master was there.

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They all stood around the pile of dust and bones of the Master. Buffy had pushed him off the roof and through the skylights into the library where Angel had shoved a broken leg of a table through the Master’s heart. Xander didn’t know vamps could leave anything other then dust, must be the fact he was like millennia’s old, he sure had been ugly.

Thankfully, the tentacle monster that had come out of the Hellmouth, that happened to be right under the library by the way, had disappeared and the Hellmouth closed.

When Buffy joined them in the library she cleared her throat, “We saved the world. I say we party.”

Xander couldn’t help but agree. “I agree. Plus, I owe Willow a dance.” Xander threw his arm over Willow’s shoulders and they followed Buffy out of the library.

They buried his bones on consecrated ground the next day.

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The next week was filled with end-of-year exams and Xander was pretty sure he actually did well, thanks to all the studying they had done with Willow. He gave her a big hug and kiss on the cheek for ensuring that he passed because without those imposed study sessions he really wasn’t sure if he would have. Plus, the primal helped him focus, his mind no longer so…loud and disorganized.

Buffy had left immediately after her last exam to meet her dad, who was taking her back to LA for the summer. Wonder who does the slaying when the slayer is on vacation, guess he and Angel could do a few extra patrols.

By the end of the week, his brain felt dead and he was really looking forward to Angel showing him the place he had found. Angel said he had gone to see it and loved it and that he wanted Xander to come look at it also before deciding to buy. At least he had something to look forward to all week and he was seriously curious as Angel had been genuinely excited about this place and so far hadn’t shown much interest in any other places he had looked at.

Friday evening he was tired of waiting to check this place out that had seemed to excite Angel so much. “Alright, time for you to show me this place. Tests are over now and you promised, no point waiting till tomorrow night.”

Angel had a hopeful but also cagey look on his face. “Okay. Just keep an open mind.”

Xander hadn’t even seen a picture of the place as Angel said it hadn’t been listed, that he had found it by pure luck. “Is it really that bad?” Xander was at least hoping it wasn’t like underground or something.

“No, just probably not what you’re expecting. It needs some serious cleaning and some updating but all doable. It is fairly old, has history, and I liked the unique architecture. It’s big, plenty of room for training, maybe an art studio for me, and maybe one of those gaming rooms you were drooling over in that magazine. ” Xander couldn’t help but smile at the excitement in Angel’s voice and he would love to watch Angel draw and paint. He had only seen him sketch some and he always had this relaxed look on his face at the same time being completely absorbed in whatever he was drawing.

“Alright, I promise to keep an open mind, since you seem to have already fallen in love with this place. Should I be jealous?” Which elicited a bright laugh from Angel and shake of his head. Xander really doubted he would say no to anything that made Angel this excited.

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“Angel this isn’t a house, it’s a mansion.” Xander figured he would point that out, they hadn’t even made it to the front door. They had come through a gate that needed a pass code to get through that was at the bottom of the drive. They were standing in what Xander assumed was some kind of front courtyard that lead to the front door which was set back so there was a large overhang. Xander knew sunlight wouldn’t be able to reach the door no matter the time of day. The whole place was made of stone with designs in them and looked like it had been here for centuries, though Angel said it had been built in the early 1900s. It was surrounded by a matching stone wall that went around the property and what had once been a chauffeur’s apartment and covered garage, was along the west wall.

“I know. Just give it a chance. Come on inside, the lights work.” Angel pulled out a key that looked like something out of medieval times and unlocked the front door, which was half a foot thick of solid wood with iron working on it. “I talked to the current owner and said the only time I could check it out was at night and he gave me a key. The place is empty and has been for a long time.”

They spent over an hour just walking around, the place was massive. They had walked into a big open area that was a foyer, Xander assumed, then into a huge living room that had a massive fireplace and hardwood floors. There seemed to be a mix of marble, age worn stone, and some dark hardwood throughout the whole place. There were other empty rooms, probably an office and library from the built in shelves and a formal living room. It had more then a few bedrooms, the master on one end of the house and partial second floor with a terrace that looked out over the pool and the other bedrooms all the way on the other side. The bathrooms were dated but large, as well as the kitchen but those could be updated, Xander did like how the kitchen was open. The architecture was really unique, it kind of looked like Tetris in the huge open doorways and ceilings were really high with huge wood beams running across parts of it. There were nooks, crannies, and columns everywhere and another courtyard in the back/center that was covered but it was all overgrown, and there was an empty pool on the east side of the house, by the master. Covered but open walkway along most of the exterior and terrace above it. It had a fairly empty but mostly finished basement that ran the full size of the mansion, that Angel said could be the training room and where they would keep weapons. The basement also had a wine cellar and a few storage rooms. There were stairs and strange half levels, throughout, and it all looked really amazing and Xander thought it was pretty cool but really big for just two people and probably too many windows for a vampire.

“So, what do you think? We could have the placed cleaned, the electrical checked, then have the bathrooms and the kitchen renovated. I love the architecture and the fact most of the windows are stained glass and up high and the others can be covered with black out curtains that will keep the sunlight to a minimum, plus the room with the wall of windows that goes out to the pool faces east so no direct sunlight from early afternoon on.” There was no way Xander was going to say no to that hopeful face but…

“Sounds like you already have everything planned. I like the place and I bet it could look really awesome cleaned up and renovated. Isn’t it kind of huge for just the two of us though?” Xander figured you could fit his, Willow’s, and Buffy’s house in here and still have some space.

Angel agreed it was large but he really did love the place and it pleased his demon. “I suppose but like I said we would have space for a large training area in the basement, an art studio would be really nice, and you could have a room for your comics and collectables plus a TV and those gaming things you talk about, plus there’s a pool you and your friends can use.” Oh, he had already planned how to talk Xander into this, crafty bastard.

“If this is the place you really want I’m not going to tell you no, especially, since you haven’t seemed to find anything else you’ve even liked.” Xander got a huge smile and a toe curling kiss for his answer. “Well, I should tell you yes more often. So how long is it going to make this place nice and livable?”

“Well it’s livable now.” That got Angel some raised eyebrows. “Not that I plan for us to stay here before its cleaned and renovated. I figured I could talk to the guy tomorrow and confirm I want to purchase the place and then have someone come check out the electrical and plumbing next week. After I buy it, have a crew of cleaners come in and then talk to someone who does renovations. So maybe a month, probably, hopefully less.”

Xander was sure his eyebrows were moving off his face. “Isn’t this place a bit much work?” All he got was a smile and shake of Angel’s head.

“No, it’s perfect. Once it’s fixed and decorated it will be incredible. You’ll see. We can get everything set up here then go on that vacation I promised, while it’s being completed.” Angel gave Xander another kiss before they headed back out.

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The next morning when they were laying in bed ready to go to sleep, Xander had decided to get more on Angel’s sleeping schedule for the summer, a thought struck Xander. “Angel, now that the Master is gone, who’s the Master of Sunnydale?”

There was a pause before, “Well, no one right now. There will probably be in-fighting among some of the stronger vampires and other demons to gain control, maybe someone from out of town. Why?”

Xander took a moment to think it over before answering, “Why not you? I mean now you’re the oldest Aurelian vampire left and a master, right?”

“You think I should be Master of Sunnydale?” The disbelief and shock in Angel voice was apparent.

“Exactly. You’re not evil but you’re still a vampire. A strong master vampire, who could control the population of lower demons and vampires who live here. I read that book about masters who controlled a place, they have pretty much complete dominance over the area and the demons who live there. You could tell them not to kill innocent humans and they wouldn’t, well those who wanted to stay alive.” It made sense to Xander and the primal, their mate and alpha controlling their territory. They needed to talk Angel into this, it would cement them as the Alpha pair of the area and would actually make Sunnydale safer.

“You don’t know what you’re asking. We would have to deal with demons constantly, it would be a very grey area even if I was able to stop some from preying on humans.” Even while Angel was arguing against it, he was considering if becoming the Master of Sunnydale would be a good idea. His demon wanted it, wanted that power and control, something he hadn’t had in ages or maybe ever, not truly.

Xander could tell the idea had interested Angel, even if he was hearing protests, so continued. “Maybe but if you could keep Sunnydale safer overall, wouldn’t it be worth it. Plus this would keep you informed of what exactly is going on in the area and if someone was new who had plans to cause trouble, like opening the Hellmouth again, you would know. It’s not like you couldn’t be scary enough to run this place, I mean I read what you did and now with the soul I think you could be even more so. You aren’t just some demon dealing out random terror with no thought but to spread mayhem, anymore.” Xander watched the interest spark even more in Angel’s eyes, could smell it, and was hardly able to hold in the smug smile.

Angel was quiet for a while, really thinking about the possibility. The demon in him wanted this, wanted to show his consort just how powerful he was but he needed time to think about it. “I, I’ll give it some thought. It’s an idea, possibly a good one. I’ll talk to Willie and see what kind of competition there will need to be taken care of. This wont be easy and I’m not sure how welcoming the demons who live here will be to not killing innocents.”

“Just think about it and I’m sure you could be very persuasive. Also, you can offer protection from the slayer, I mean we could have an alliance with Buffy, what other Master of Sunnydale could offer that.” Xander slide on top of Angel as he was talking then gave him a deep kiss, rubbing himself against Angel’s lower stomach, his cock already leaking. He could smell Angel’s scent get darker with lust, feel those large hands run down his sides and back before pulling Xander closer with hands on his ass, grinding up against him. The primal reveled in the thought of a strong and powerful mate who would take care of them, one who she would let claim them.

They grinded against each other for a few minutes before all of a sudden Angel rolled them over, bracketing Xander in with his arms before slipping into game face and lowering his head to Xander’s neck. Xander tilted his head back further and to the side, presenting his neck, felt those deadly sharp fangs barely scrap against his skin. Bringing the smallest lines of blood to the surface before Angel licked and sucked them up, grinding down against him even harder, almost to the point of pain. He racked his fingernails, roughly, down Angel’s back and felt him tense up and with a snarl his cool semen spread between the two of them, it only took a few more thrusts before Xander’s was joining Angel’s.

“Umm…that was of the good, now I’m sleepy.” Xander could feel the deep grumbling purr coming from Angel before he got up to get a wet rag to clean them up. When Angel got back into bed, he burrowed into his side and felt strong arms wrap around him. “Love you, Xander.”

“Mmm, love you, Angel.”

Chapter Text

Xander laid back in bed, luxuriating in the softness of the over sized bed, looking up at the wood beams that crossed the ceiling. He had to admit, Angel had been right, the mansion was amazing and he was quickly coming to love it, especially the pool and the room filled with his comics and games. They had only been back a little more then a week and had moved into the mansion but it was already starting to feel like home, though that probably had to do with the fact that he considered home wherever Angel was.

He was waiting for Angel to get back from Willie’s, still cementing his place as the Master of Sunnydale. Angel had began before they had left for their vacation in San Francisco, which had been amazing but 2 weeks from their territory was unsettling, especially with Buffy not around. He had never been to San Francisco before, the golden gate bridge had been gorgeous, and the Castro district they stayed in had been fun. Xander had never seen so many gay couples or so much leather, especially when they went out to some of the clubs, it had been eye opening and so much fun. Angel had gotten him an amazing fake id that said he was 21 because some of the clubs wouldn’t allow him in otherwise.

Angel had looked like he was in heaven in the leather shops and had gotten both of them leather pants and had gotten Xander a dark brown leather jacket and some really nice steel toe boots. Though Xander still winced every time he thought about how much it cost but he couldn’t help but appreciate Angel in leather pants and a silk dress shirt, with only half the buttons done up. The sex shop had been…well Xander still blushed thinking about it and the toys they had gotten, many they hadn’t had the opportunity to try yet.

Angel had gotten him a digital camera, he had told Xander that since it was mirror less that it could capture photos of him and that it was enhanced by magic from the demon he had bought it from. Xander had taken tons of pictures while they were there, he had gone out a few times during the day to get some but most were of Angel or the both of them together. He couldn’t wait to get the pictures back, they should be developed by now and was just waiting for them in the mail. Angel had dropped the card off to be developed by the same demon he had bought the camera from, Xander had been with him that time and had looked around the store. It still amazed him how many demons or half breeds were integrated into society and people were still none the wiser and how many of those demons were actually fairly peaceful.

They had even hunted together there, Xander had seen a man try to force himself on another before him and Angel had stopped it. Then giving into the primal and demon, respectively, they had let the man go, letting him run before they chased him down. Angel had drank fresh blood for the first time in over twenty years, though he didn’t drain the man, just enough for the would be rapist to lose consciousness and then healed the bite mark, then they left the man in front of a police station with a note about what he had almost done and that he had probably done it before. Xander hoped they could do that occasionally here, he knew it was the leftovers from the hyena spirit and the primal’s unique sense of justice that had reveled in the hunt, that didn’t see anything wrong with his actions but it didn’t stop him from wanting to do it again.

Now though they were back and Angel had really started to cement his place as Master of Sunnydale, they had even spoken to Giles briefly at the beginning of the summer, hoping to get an agreement out of the man to uphold a deal that the demons who weren’t preying on innocents wouldn’t be hunted by the slayer. The watcher had, had some reservations but had agreed to think about it and that they would talk about it when he got back from his trip to England and the Watcher’s Council there. It was more then any other Master could have offered, even if there were those who opposed not being able to kill innocents but Angel had made it very clear that was a rule not to be broken, graphically. Xander had found out that the lilting Irish brogue Angel used to melt him into a puddle of brainless goo could also send terrified cold shivers down his spine, when it was used to threaten.

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“Xander, wake up.” Angel kneeled down beside the bed, stroking a hand through Xander’s soft thick hair, that was starting to grow out finally and he hoped the boy wouldn’t cut it short again.

“Hmmm, ‘en did you get back? What time ’s it?” Xander looked over at the alarm clock on his nightstand, saw it was only an hour till dawn, so he had been asleep for a couple hours then.

“Just got in.”

“Well get up here and get in bed with me.” Xander tried to tug Angel up but he firmly stayed kneeling causing Xander to frown. “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. Sit up, mo ghrian (my sun). I have something for you.” Xander couldn’t stop a sleepy sweet smile from crossing his face, he loved the little Gaelic terms of endearment from Angel and he seemed to use this one the most, called Xander, his sun. He sat up and hung his legs over the edge of the bed, leaving Angel kneeling between them.

“I love you and will love you till I am not but dust, mo chroí (my heart). I wish to count our time together in centuries, with you by my side as my bonded, my claimed.” Angel reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box and handed it to Xander.

“Angel? What…?” Xander looked down at the small…ring box in his hand before looking back up at Angel.

“Just open it.” He watched as Xander did. “They are called Claddagh rings, they are from a village named the same, it was located right outside of Galway, Ireland, where I was born. They were often given to your loved one, as symbols of engagement, marriage, love. This set was made for me when I came of age, they have been hidden away for more then a century and I had them sent for. The heart stands for love, the crown for loyalty, and the hands for friendship. Will you wear it, be mine?” Angel whispered the last part.

Xander nodded and watched as Angel took his left hand and slid the ring on. “The ring on your left hand, with the heart point towards your fingertips means you are engaged, when you are married it is turned, so the point faces the wrist. Though the meanings of how it is worn is more recent then the actual ring.” Xander took the other ring and slid it on Angel’s own left hand.

Then he whispered Angel’s name as he pulled him up into a soft, sweet kiss, their lips sliding against each other with familiarity. His heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest. “I love you and I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to ask this and I don’t think I could get better. Claim me? Make me yours completely, Angel. I don’t want to wait any longer, not for something I know I want.” Xander had been thinking about this, about asking to be claimed for a while, he knew they had agreed to take time, to not rush, but this felt right.

He heard Angel gasp his name before asking again. “Please, Angel? Want to be yours, your claimed, your bonded, your mate.” Xander sounded like he was begging but he wanted this desperately.

“Yes. Yes. Want to make your mine. Give me a second, have to get a-. Just…” Angel couldn’t seem to let Xander go.

Xander pulled Angel into another kiss before letting him go, knowing that the candles, burning herbs, and such were part of this. Glad they had all the stuff they would need, already. Knew the words Angel would say and his own, had read them a hundred times, it seemed, thankful most could be said in English as Angel said it was the intent behind everything that mattered for this.

Watched as Angel walked to the tall wardrobe that they had placed everything needed in, both wanting it but neither willing to push too fast. He admired the view of a broad back and trim waist as Angel gathered the special made candles, lighting and placing them around the room, setting a bowl of strange smelling dried herbs and a small knife covered in runes on the bed. Xander knew most was trappings or just additional to what was really needed; which was exchanged blood, marking each other, and a voiced promise with intent and that all the rest was just part of an Aurelian ritual, a way to open the bond between them and a blood-rite blessing on their mating.

When Angel started undressing himself, Xander got up, wanting to do this part himself. Pulled the shirt up, untucking it, then slowly undoing each button, kissing each new bit of pale chest it uncovered, still marveled at how gorgeous Angel was. Pushing the black silk shirt off broad shoulders when he was done, letting it fall to the floor, uncaring. Fumbling with the belt and buttons of the slacks Angel wore, as his hands started to shake slightly. Angel grabbed his hands, “Xander?” He could hear the concern but it was unneeded.

“Just a little nervous, we haven’t done this yet. Plus, just really eager.” Then the belt buckle and pants were undone and sliding down hips, past strong thighs, pooling on the ground, around bare feet. Now the only clothes either had on were briefs, which soon followed the path of the pants. Both taking a moment to just look at the naked man who stood across from them, both reveling in the beauty in front of them.

Their lips meet in kiss, soft and passionate, before Angel pulled them back to the bed. “I am only going to ask this once, are you positive this is what you want? That you are ready? Because it cannot be undone. I will never let you go after this, will be incapable of giving you up.” Angel had to be sure because he was being honest, the demon would never let Xander go after this and honestly, he was sure it wouldn’t even now.

“Yes, a million times yes. I want this and you, forever.” Xander promised as he kissed Angel again, savoring the taste of him and the feel of soft, cool lips pressed against his. Smiling because he was going to get this for the rest of his life and he knew Angel was worried about Xander changing his mind but it wouldn’t happen, plus, as possessive as the demon was, the primal equaled it.

“Okay.” Angel whispered reverently before sliding the knife across his own palm and then Xander's and they let their blood drip into the bowl. Angel dipped his finger into the mixed blood and drew a rune over both Xander's heart and the middle of his forehead and Xander did the same for Angel. Then Angel lit the blood covered herbs on fire watching them spark and flare before he started speaking, as a heavily scented smoke started to fill the room. The marks on both of them started to glow and Angel was saying something in a demon language that Xander had seen but had no idea how to say but knew the meaning of. Then, the next part…

“I, Angelus, now known as Angel, Master of the House of Aurelius, Master of Sunnydale, wish to take Alexander Lavelle Harris as my Claimed Consort, who has given themselves willingly. Are you willing?”

“Yes. I, Alexander Lavelle Harris, give myself willingly to Angelus, now known as Angel, Master of the House of Aurelius, Master of Sunnydale, to become his Claimed Consort.”

“I give my love, devotion, and loyalty freely to my Consort and ask for it in return. Is it returned?”

“Yes. I return your love, devotion, and loyalty, till both of us are nothing but dust.”

“I give my protection of the House of Aurelius to my Consort, all those of my line will know you and give you safe harbor, shall it ever be needed. Will it be returned?”

“Yes. I thank you for the protection of the House of Aurelius and will give mine in return to those of your line.”

“I give you all that I am, all that I have, and all that I ever will be and ask you to do the same. Do you?”

“I do.” Xander couldn’t hold in the gasp as he watched the small fire flare again and felt magic fill the room, threads of it connecting and wrapping around them, felt the primal react to it, and the marks on his chest and head were getting warmer.

Angel set the bowl on a table beside the bed before coming back to Xander and pushing him completely down onto the bed and following. They met in a passionate kiss, their desire stroked even higher by the magic surrounding them. Their bodies moved against each other, their cocks sliding together bringing moans from both of them. Xander bared his neck to Angel, he wasn’t surprised how easily the primal had given in, Angel had proven himself to them, many times, and he felt sharp teeth nip at his neck, acknowledging his freely given submission.

Angel kissed a path from Xander's neck, across his collarbones, down to little brown nipples that hardened under his tongue, lazily flicked it across both till they were stiff. Marking what was now his, what would be his till death. He would allow no others to have Xander in this way, this young man was his completely, as he was Xander’s.

Then Angel licked and kissed a path down to Xander’s belly button that was surrounded by a light smattering of hair that lead a thin path down his lower stomach to a dripping cock, fucked his tongue into it, knowing the reaction he would get, the arched back and deep throaty moan his reward. Nipping Xander’s lower belly, getting a quick gasp, before moving to a hipbone and sucking a dark mark into the pale skin, pulling blood up right under the thin skin, so close he was able to taste it, nipping sharply before moving on. Then moving lower and licking a wet stripe up the hard cock that was rising from a trimmed nest of dark curls before sucking the head into his mouth, loving the groan that it got him and the hand in his hair, that clenched tight before releasing, and gave an appreciative moan of his own at the spark of pain. He wanted to bury that cock in his throat till Xander came but had a different mission this time, letting the pulsing cock out of his mouth with a obscene pop. Angel ran his hands up from Xander’s ankles to his thighs, then back down to under his knees to push the legs up and apart, reaching over with one hand to grab a pillow before pushing it under Xander’s pert ass.

Took a minute to just look at the dark pink little hole that was twitching, that he would soon be buried in, he had only had a finger or two in that tight ass a few times while sucking Xander’s cock. Could just imagine how tight, hot, and slick it would be around him, enough to almost end this before it began, he had to wrap a tight hand around himself to stave off an early orgasm. Angel dipped down to run his tongue from the top of the crease of Xander’s ass up to his balls before going back to swipe his tongue in broad strokes, over and over Xander’s twitching hole. He continued till Xander started pushing back against him, trying to get more, then started trying to fuck his tongue into that tight hole, burying his face. Loved the musky taste of Xander, the way his scent was filling Angel’s senses completely. Felt as Xander’s hole softened and loosened around his tongue, listened to him begging for more.

“More. Please, Angel, please. Just a finger, anything.” Xander begged, pleaded, his ability to talk already broken down, unable to get out a real sentence. “Angel please. Want to come with you in me, not before.” Which only got him a dark chuckle and a hard nip to one of his ass cheeks, which caused him to give a little yelp.

“I know ye can come more then once, could make ya come just like this and still have ya hard and beggin’ to come when I’m buried deep inside.” Xander couldn’t hold back the shiver at listening to Angel’s Irish brogue start coming though, it always came out when they were like this. How it sounded like sex, so dark and sensual it slid over his skin, and made him want to melt into a puddle of sexual frustrated Xander.

Angel went back to fucking his tongue even harder into Xander, wanted to make him come as many times as he could but he knew he needed to finish the claiming, this time, plus they would have plenty of time for him to do that later. Reached for the corked glass jar of oil he had made, something that tasted pleasant and didn’t offend either of their enhanced senses of smell. He pushed the cork off with a thumb before dipping two of his fingers in the opening before setting the jar aside. Rubbed his slick fingers around the tight pucker before dipping a fingertip in before pulling it back out, repeating the action till he had Xander begging again.

He had never cared so much about his partner during sex because right now, it was Xander’s pleasure that mattered, wanted this to be the least painful and most pleasurable experience it could be. His own enjoyment was coming from driving Xander out of his mind with pleasure, each soft noise that he let escape, drove Angel to give more.

All of a sudden he wanted as much skin contact as possible, didn’t like this disconnect, the only place they were touching was his fingers inside Xander and his other hand under a knee. He slide down beside Xander, wrapping an arm around him and pulling him onto his chest, an arm locked around his back. Taking those bitten swollen lips in a hard kiss while the fingers still slick with oil slid down the crease of Xander’s ass before one dipped inside, stayed there as he felt it gripping him tightly before relaxing. His face shifting, unable to hold the demon back during this, and felt Xander kiss and lick his brow ridges, causing him to make a deep growling purr that vibrated his chest.

Angel began stretching Xander slowly, one finger eventually becoming two that occasionally ghosted across his prostate, not enough to send him over the edge but to distract from any pain he may have felt from the stretching. Xander who was rocking between the fingers buried in him and rubbing his cock against Angel’s stomach, breathy little grunts falling from his obscene mouth. Angel slowly slid a third finger into Xander, pausing to let him become accustomed to it before sliding them in and out a few times before scissoring his fingers, stretching him well. He knew he was thick and that it could cause Xander pain, especially since this was his first time. After a few minutes he couldn’t wait much longer though, “Ya ready, mo ghrian?” Angel breathed against Xander’s ear, where he had been nibbling, tasting the salty sweet skin.

“Yes. So ready. Please, need you inside me.” Xander was so beyond ready, those fingers were driving him crazy and they weren’t enough even if he had never had so much inside him before. He needed all of Angel inside him, to feel that thick hard cock pushing into him. He couldn’t hold in the whine when he felt those fingers leave him, though.

“Shh, its okay. Be inside ya soon. Want it like this, riding me or on yer back?” Angel whispered, running his clean hand down Xander’s back to calm him.

Angel watched hazy indecision move across Xander’s face before he got an answer. “Umm, my back I think, maybe next time I can ride you.” Angel’s cock gave a jerk against Xander’s thigh and got a breathless laugh from him.

Angel rolled them over, pulled the pillow back under Xander before grabbing the jar of oil and pouring some into his hand and covering his cock. Slicking himself up lightly, hoping he was able to last long enough to make this feel good for Xander. Rubbed his cock along the crease between Xander’s pert cheeks before slowly pressing inside that tiny hole, felt the clench around his cock head, the heat of Xander making his eyes roll back and a strangled whimper leave his lips.

“It’s okay, try to relax for me or it’s going to hurt more, breathe and push back against me.” Felt Xander take a deep breath and push back against him, his cock sliding all the way in, in one long steady push. Held there, leaning over Xander and kissing him, his face back to it’s human guise. “Tell me when.” They laid there for a few minutes just kissing and sharing breath, even if his was unnecessary.

Xander getting use to the feel of something, so large, inside him and occasionally clenching before relaxing again. His legs wrapped high around Angel’s waist. “Okay, ready. Move.” Xander rocked his hips back gently to emphasize his point, felt Angel pull out before slowly sliding back in, the burning stretch he had felt initially starting to fade.

Angel rocked slowly in and out of Xander a few times, before tilting Xander’s hips and sliding in harder, right into Xander’s prostate and heard him gasp. Knew he had the right angle and began to rock into him harder, constantly hitting and sliding over that spot inside Xander to bring him the most pleasure, knew just how sensitive Xander’s was. Hissed at the feeling of Xander’s fingernails racking hard down his back and arched into it but knew that would push him into his orgasm before his was ready.

He sat back on his heels, gripping Xander under a knee with one hand, spreading his legs wider and looked down watching himself disappear into Xander. His other hand wrapping around Xander’s dripping cock to give it a few strokes with his still oil slick hand. Relishing in each gasping moan he pulled from his mate, who looked so wanton spread across the dark red sheets. Hair mussed, cheeks and chest flushed, lips swollen red and parted, and Angel got to have this forever.

Angel already felt on edge, the almost burning heat of Xander, the gripping silky slick tightness, all pushing him closer to falling over that edge. He hadn’t had sex in a century, denying the demon even that kind of release but even before, nothing had come close to this. He had never made love with someone before, in life or death, in life it had been nothing but taking his pleasure and after it had been about dominance and manipulation with his Sire and Childer or rape. Looking into lust blown eyes, that flickered between melted chocolate and the brightest green, felt his non-beating heart clench in his chest, he had no idea what he had done to deserve this but there wasn’t anything that would make him let Xander go, he would burn the world down for him.

He leaned over Xander again, bracing himself on his elbows, laid a chaste kiss on lips that were wet and swollen. “Ready? When I bite ya, do the same, ‘ay?” Got a nod and soft smile as his answer. Tucked his face into Xander’s neck, kissing and licking where that gorgeous neck met strong shoulders that had the potential to be almost as broad as Angel’s and he couldn’t wait to watch Xander grow into them.

He took an unnecessary breath before letting his face shift again, set deadly sharp fangs against that soft, fragile skin and felt Xander do the same and then bit down, his teeth parting the skin easily. Xander’s blood burst across his tongue and filled his mouth, everything else became almost secondary to the taste of Xander’s blood, as he let it fill his senses completely. His orgasm hitting as soon as the blood had touched his tongue, the feel of Xander’s warm come spread between their bodies, and the feeling of Xander’s teeth breaking through his own skin but it was all pushed back. Angel could taste the life and power that filled Xander, all spicysweetfreshearthwildsun, like nothing he had ever tasted, felt it almost spark across his taste buds, his demon purring at the taste of its mate. He swallowed the blood that filled his mouth before gently pulling his fangs out of that precious skin and licking across the wound a few times to stop the blood flow, knew the mark would scar just like the mark Xander left on him and he would wear that mark proudly.

Pulling back to look into Xander’s eyes before leaning down into a kiss to share the taste of their blood, they both could feel the magic of their bond closing, tying them both together forever, felt it sparking across their skin, leaving goose bumps in its wake, the marks burning hot and glowing bright before they faded. Ending the kiss as the magic started to settle, “I love you, Xander.” Nothing had been more true for Angel, even if those words hardly covered what he felt for his mate, his world, his Consort.

“And I love you, Angel.” Xander smiled sleepily up at Angel, the sex and magic had worn him out. The intense look in those dark brown eyes, that were still flecked with the yellow gold of the demon, matched exactly how Xander felt, there was no doubts between them about their love for each other.

Angel pulled out gently from his mate, still seeing a small wince as his barely softened cock slipped out, watched some of his come slip free and felt a burst of pure possessiveness at the sight and bent down to lick it up. Tasting to make sure there wasn’t any blood, no tears and there wasn’t, just them mixed together. He grabbed a small towel from the bedside table and wiped them haphazardly and then settled them both. Laying back and pulling Xander across his chest again, wrapping arms around the warm, beautiful boy who would now be his forever. He had never been so content, perfectly happy, ….settled, and his demon was completely quiet other then a pleased rumbling purr that vibrated his chest, for the first time in his entire life, as a human or vampire.

“Look.” Angel looked down at his own chest where Xander was tapping and saw the rune he had marked in blood was now a dark blood red tattoo that had marked the skin permanently and Xander had the same on his chest, but the marks on their foreheads had seemed to fade. Another mark he would carry proudly, one that showed he was part of a bonded pair.

“Good. Means it worked.” Angel’s voice was rumbled, pleasure making it rough.

Xander linked their left hands, the rings clinking together, smiling at them before starting to pull Angel’s off his finger. “What are you doing?” The fingers curled to stop him.

“You said when people were married the point should face the wrist, I’m doing that. Claiming is pretty much marriage, well deeper then marriage since there’s no divorce.” Xander settled the ring back on the finger, the heart point now facing the wrist and then Angel repeated the action for Xander’s own ring.

“There. Now, let’s go to sleep, the sun is up. We can clean up later, have a nice long bath when we wake up.” Angel kissed the top of Xander’s head, nuzzling into the soft hair.

They fell asleep sated and content in each other arms, finally having something they both had wanted and needed, love, unconditional love and acceptance.

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Xander opened his eyes and looked up to see the under side of a canopy of tree leaves, dappled sunlight shown through warming his skin. He sat up, looking around, noticed he was sitting on a small patch of grass that led right to the bank of a small pond of water, looked out past that to see desert stretch further then even his eyes could see. He knew he was dreaming and even that he was imagining a place in Africa somewhere.

He felt something brush up beside him and saw a hyena laying down beside him, looking at him with bright green eyes far too intelligent for an animal. “Hello?”

“Hello, cub.” Xander’s eyes widened a little as he heard the deep yet feminine voice in his head. “We shall soon be as one, as much as we can be. You will still be able to walk with me in your dreams, if you wish my company. Ask your questions and I shall answer, though soon all my knowledge will be yours.”

“Okay…” And Xander did have questions, lots of them actually but wasn’t sure where to start.

“At the beginning.” He could hear the smirk in the words, though he realized he hadn’t said that out loud. “I can hear your thoughts as easily as mine, as I only exist within you now.”

Xander and the Primal laid under the shade of the tree, as they spoke to one another, time was meaningless in this space and he knew when he woke up, he would be different.

She told him of her ‘birth’ as it were, when she was called to aid a village and how she chose to possess a hyena as her form for many centuries, only leaving it and its descendants to inhabit those who called for her help. That the impression from the hyena was so strong because of this, that it molded her as she grew, had become a large part of her. That she hadn’t been called upon in almost a century but had stayed to continue her watch till she was caught and brought here. That she found a home and pack with Xander, that together they found a true mate, something she had never had, someone who was an equal. She chose to stay to protect him and give her strength and knowledge because she found him worthy and strong enough to not be overwhelmed by her, unlike any she had possessed before him.

That she was pleased to have found a mate such as Angel and would gift him with the primal magic she and now Xander possessed. How it was the claiming that allowed them to be as one and her to share all of herself with him.

They were speaking about the new abilities he would have when Xander felt a spark of fear at the back of his mind and knew it was not his but Angel’s.

“Wake cub and comfort our mate.” Came the growled command.

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Xander awoke with a start to hear Angel calling out his name and the spark of fear and pain was almost overwhelming, now that he was awake. “Angel?!” Xander grabbed him and was shocked to see his eyes glowing gold and not the yellow gold of the demon, “Angel, what?”

And as fast as it began, it ended and left Angel gasping for breath. “The curse…the curse, it’s gone.” Angel’s voice raspy like he had been screaming.

“Oh, god. What happened? Are you okay?” Xander pulled the shaking man into his lap, running his hands up and down the tense back, not knowing how else to help his mate.

“I…I don’t know. My dreams were…confusing, they moved from you to the night I was cursed. Then I woke up feeling like my soul was trying to be ripped from me, but the anchor worked, my soul is still there but…” Angel’s voice was shaky.

“The curse is gone, I don’t smell the gypsy magic anymore. You don’t know what caused it?” Xander was worried because who would be trying to steal Angel’s soul but was glad he could no longer smell the taint of gypsy magic that marred Angel’s scent.

“No, but I think it had something to do with the curse, itself? Who would be trying to steal it now? We killed the Master.” Angel finally looked into Xander’s eyes and couldn’t stop the shocked gasp. “Your eyes, they’re…changed. You have a bright green starburst around your pupil.”

“Oh.” And that did surprise Xander even if he knew there would be changes, he didn’t think they would be physical, unless he called upon them that was, something he couldn’t wait to show Angel. “I knew there would be changes but not that. I talked with the primal in my dreams, the bonding allowed us to merge fully.”

 

“Really. What did you talk about?” The curiosity in Angel’s voice was clear, his fear fading slowly.

“Her, her birth and life, why she chose me. How about I tell you everything she told me, while we take a bath together because I’m feeling less then clean now.” Xander wrinkled his nose because he could feel where Angel’s come had leaked out of him while he slept and had dried. Then heard a thump and cocked his head to the side and had almost thought it was his imagination till it happened again.

“Angel, what’s that noise?” Xander only got a confused look till there was another…thump. Xander looked at Angel’s chest because that sounded like…a heartbeat, slow but there. He laid his head against Angel’s chest and heard it again and again. Slow but steady and was blown away.

“It’s me? What it is?” Xander would have laughed at the confusion in Angel’s tone if it wasn’t so serious.

“It’s-. It’s your heartbeat. The primal said she planned to give you gifts with her magic and primal magic is all about life, death, and the earth, so she, she gifted you with…life.” Xander knew that was only partially true because the primal had been right, her knowledge was now his but it took a while to sort through all the new information. “Life and the sun, I’m not sure what that all means but she said that our mating couldn’t be complete if you were, uh, dead, I mean your body is, was dead and now you’re as alive as vampire can get, I suppose.” Xander winced because that wasn’t a great explanation.

Angel just sat there, his head tilted, obviously listening to his new heartbeat before shaking his head and getting up. “Okay, I’ll start the bath, while you change the sheets.” Angel leaned in for a kiss before heading to the bathroom.

“Wha…?” Xander watched as Angel disappeared into the bathroom, thrown by what just happened, this wasn’t really a time to bury your head in the sand but maybe Angel needed time to process. So did what he was told.

Xander got up and pulled the blanket off first, thankful it was clean, then pulled the dark red silk sheets off, they reminded him of blood but Angel’s pale skin looked amazing against them. He hadn’t been sure about silk sheets and had argued for a set of high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets but now he was addicted to the feel of the seamless silk against his skin and pulled a dark grey set out of the chest at the end of the bed. Quickly putting them on the bed and fixing the blanket back on before heading to the bathroom, where he smelt the scent of natural lavender and mint bath salts coming from a bubbling oversized tub. He glanced in the mirror and saw the star burst of bright spring green, surrounded by dark brown, around his pupil and hoped people wouldn’t notice the change in his eyes at school when it started back.

“You turned on the jets?” Not that Xander was complaining, the bathtub was huge and full of jets that felt amazing, he often had a hard time deciding between it and the stone and glass walk in shower that was probably big enough for five, that had multiple showerheads to chose between. The bathroom was luxurious and Angel’s creation, the heated tiles on the floor, the marble double vanity, and soft warm lights that were adjustable and Xander liked that the uh…toilet was separate, though he had never seen a bathroom where it was in a room of its own inside the bathroom. It was a nice feature when your other half doesn’t have those types of bodily functions, though.

“Of course. How are you feeling? Sore?” Angel walked up to him, rubbing his hands over Xander’s lower back, gently kneading.

“Umm, not really. I can still tell what we did but there isn’t any actual soreness, must be the faster healing, that or you were just super gentle and stretched me well enough.” Xander stretched his arms above his head, reveling in what he could still feel and the remembered fullness.

“Most likely the healing, as you would probably still be slightly sore for your first time, no matter how gentle I was. Come on, get in.” Angel nudged him towards the filling tub.

Xander sat on the high, wide edge of the tub surround and swung his legs over, then slide down into the almost too hot water, watching as Angel got in at the other end. Depending on the mood or if they had the jets on they either sat on opposite ends with their legs tangled and gave each other foot massages so they could both enjoy the back massaging jets or Angel would sit behind him and he would bask in the strength of his mate’s arms. They had put this tub to use, even though they hadn’t been living in the mansion long.

“So, tell me about the dream you shared with the primal. About the heartbeat and what you meant about the sun.” Okay so maybe Angel just wanted the conversation to be in the comfort of the bath. Xander could feel a faint thread of apprehension along with curiosity at the back of his mind and again knew it was Angel’s.

“Okay, well she kept calling me cub for one and…”, Xander told Angel everything him and the primal had spoken about because you don’t keep anything from your mate. Xander couldn’t help but smile at that thought, calling Angel his mate wasn’t going to get old, anytime soon. He had called him that in his mind for a while now but it was really true now, the already scarred bite mark on the right side of neck proclaiming it.

Also, Xander asked more about the curse being lifted because while he liked the gypsy scent being gone he was still worried about the cause and thankful they had gone through with the anchoring.

Xander told Angel that the claiming was what made it possible for him and the primal to become one and that she was glad to have Angel as a mate, an equal. About primal magic, which Xander now had access to, even if he wasn’t sure how to use it, well not yet. Admitted he wasn’t sure about what she meant about the sun and that while Angel’s body wasn’t ‘dead’ anymore, it wasn’t exactly alive like a humans, either. Angel proved this by stopping his breathing altogether and slowed the heartbeat down even further, to no more then a beat per minute. Xander was willing to admit he liked that Angel had a heartbeat now, it was something to track him with, to just sit and listen to, the few beats per minute had a unique sound that would be easily picked up by his ears.

They talked till the water started getting cool and Xander’s stomach started getting vocal, so they got out and dried off. After pulling on pajama pants in the bedroom, they headed to the kitchen.

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Xander really liked the mix of old and new in the kitchen, all the commercial grade appliances mixed with the original antique cabinets that were stained dark, oversized cast iron sink, natural stone floor, and stone countertops with rough edges. He pulled open the door to the fridge, pulling out two bags of blood from the bottom drawer and tossing them onto the counter before pulling out stuff for a sandwich and orange juice for himself.

“I can’t believe it’s already July, the summer goes by too fast. Willow should be back tomorrow from her trip with her parents, maybe I can invite her over and we could go swimming? ” Xander asked as he put together an oversized sandwich on fresh bakery bread, a new addiction. He had smelled the new bakery walking past the place one evening at the beginning of the summer and had been hooked since. The owner was actually some half breed demon, though he looked human, Xander could smell the difference and Angel had said it was a friendly species with very acute senses, who were usually used as trackers, which was probably why his food was so good.

“Of course. This is your home too Xander, you don’t have to ask.” Xander couldn’t stop the smile at that, home, he liked how that sounded almost as much as calling Angel his mate.

“Okay. Any plans tonight?” He was hoping that there wasn’t.

“I had a few but they weren’t important and I can reschedule. I would like to spend it with you.” Angel answered as he sipped at his heated blood.

“Umm, I like the sound of that. Maybe we can have a repeat of this morning and then later, we can go skinny dipping in the pool.” Which got a heated look from Angel and Xander could smell his scent get darker before his eyes turned the dark gold of his demon. “Looks like you like that idea.”

“I do, mo ghrian.” The growled reply, sent shivers down his spine and heat through his belly, deciding to hurry with his dinner, so they could get on to more pleasurable activities. Then when he was finished, he took his plate and cup to the sink and washed them off, taking his time. When he had placed both on the rack to dry, he looked over his shoulder to where Angel was still watching him, his eyes still golden and predatory.

He sent Angel a smirk and then was off, running as fast as he could towards the bedroom, he heard a crash of the barstool Angel was sitting on, a second later. He raced to their bedroom, leaping up the few sets of steps in the hallway that lead up to their bedroom, hearing Angel right behind him and hoping he would make it before he was caught. He felt the impact as soon as he made it through the door and was thrown onto the bed and then his body caged in by Angel, who was on top of him, pressing him down into the mattress.

He let out a barking laugh, enjoying the feeling of his mate and the chase he had given Angel. Knew Angel had enjoyed it as well, could feel his hard cocked pressed against his ass, the pajama pants pulled down enough so Angel’s cock was resting in the crease and heard the rumbling growl.

Xander tilted his head, baring his neck and mark to his mate. “Caught me, what do you plan to do with me now?” His tone teasing.

“Eat you.” Was the growled response and it made even more heat pool in his belly, probably not a normal response to a vampire at your neck. He felt Angel’s game face against his neck and sharp teeth graze where the claiming mark was already healed but had left a silvery scar. Gasped as the teeth sunk into his skin, all pleasure with only a small spark of pain and the sensual feeling of Angel sucking gently before removing his fangs and licking the spot with long broad swipes of his tongue.

Then felt as Angel moved down as kisses and nips were laid down his spine before stopping right above the crease of his ass, whimpered and pushed his ass back. Loved the feeling of strong hands spreading his ass cheeks to bare his hole to Angel’s gaze, this still made his whole body flush and made him feel unbearably hot. Xander could never get enough of the feeling of Angel’s tongue on him there, it was a mix of the actual feelings it gave him and the ‘dirtiness’ of the act. The first swipe of a tongue still surprised him, making him jerk, pushing his hard cock down into the mattress.

Xander knew he was babbling, he either dissolved into this broken babble or his words were stolen, whenever Angel did this. He was already so close, kept trying to shove his ass back for more, completely shameless in his pleasure, but Angel had a very firm grip on his hips, more then enough to leave bruises though they wouldn’t last long unfortunately. Then he felt Angel nip his hole and that’s what sent him over, shoving his cock against the blanket under him as hard as he could a few times, the pleasure almost unbearable and making him whine.

He heard a dark laugh before a slicked finger slid into him, followed closely by a second. “Told ya, mo ghrian. Can make you come as much as I want and you’d still be begging when I slide inside yer heat.” His only response was a moan and more broken begging, as fingers roughly rubbed over his prostate, his cock still hard, not having softened at all after coming. It wasn’t long before a third finger was in him, fingers spreading to stretch him well for Angel’s thick cock.

Felt that cock rubbing against his slick hole, wanted Angel inside him now and let out a pleased sound when he finally started pushing forward. Already loved the feeling of that cock sliding completely inside him, even if it was still a little weird, and how Angel blanketed his back, the feeling of their fingers intertwining. Basked in the power of Angel’s thrusts, that sent wave after wave of pleasure through his body and rocked him down into the bedding. Lost track of time as his mind blanked to everything but that pleasure and lost himself in the pleasure his mate was giving him and the scent of their sex filling his senses.

Xander knew he wouldn’t last much longer, needed something to push him over the edge and got it when teeth savagely bit into his shoulder, nothing like the gentle bite last night, sending him into his orgasm violently with the mix of pained pleasure graying his vision. Felt Angel’s release, though probably warmer then room temperature now, still shockingly cool to the almost burning heat inside him.

Xander wasn’t sure he was going to be able to move anytime soon, his bones felt melted and loved the heavy weight of Angel on top of him and the feel of his cock still inside him. When he felt Angel start to move, he threw a hand back to hold him in place and made a negative noise, still not sure he could make actual words yet.

Felt Angel’s laugh vibrate through his back, “Not ready to move yet? Thought you wanted to go skinny dipping after?”

“Ummm, do. Can’t move yet tho’, gimme a minute.” He basked in the feeling of his mate spread across his back, holding him down, and the new feeling and sound of the slow heartbeat coming from Angel for long minutes.

Reluctantly, he pushed at Angel to let him know he could move after a while. “Okay, I guess you can get up now. The sun should be down enough so the house will have the pool in almost complete shade.”

When he rolled over to his back, they shared a soft kiss that was a contrast to the rough sex they just had but was all the more sweet for it.

“Xander, do you think the primal meant…never mind.” Xander looked up at Angel who was sitting back on his heels now and felt a mix of longing guilt repressed hope from their new link.

“What, Angel?” Xander had figured Angel would ask this question or something similar, knew the man missed the sun. That he loved to hold Xander tight and breath him in when he came inside, after being out in the sun, as close as he ever thought he would get to be again.

“Do you think she meant…I could go into the sun?” The question was quite, almost too low for even his ears.

Xander thought for a minute, searched the new knowledge he had access to again but he wasn’t sure. “I don’t know, but maybe. I don’t want to get your hopes up.” Even if he knew it was too late, could feel it, could see it in Angel’s eyes.

“We should see.” Xander nodded, sat up and gave Angel a chaste kiss before following him out of their room and down the hall. Taking a moment to just watch the muscles in Angel’s back and ass flex, the tattoo on his shoulder almost rippling with his movements, and his flawless skin so beautifully pale.

The pool was long and stretched along side a part of the wall their bedroom was on, the room that lead out to it faced east and had a wall of windows, that they would sit in late in the evening and have breakfast together. Angel enjoyed the natural but indirect light, able to sit in there with the curtains pushed back since the sun set behind them, casting the room and pool in shade from early evening on. The house sat on a hill and the pool was between the taller east side of the house and the low east exterior wall that ran around the property and there was a steep drop on the other side, looking over forest and part of Sunnydale and you could smell the ocean on the breeze when it blew in from the west. The pool was currently cast completely in shade, the sun had sunk low being so late in the evening, the lights in and around it already on.

Xander followed as Angel walked along the wall in the shadow, till he got close to the edge where the sun shone. Watched as he held a hand out in the sun for a second before flinching back…then slowly putting it back out in the sun. Felt amazement joy loudly in their bond and was equally amazed. He hadn’t thought, hadn’t been sure.

“You aren’t…burning.” The sun made Angel’s incredibly pale skin glow almost, showed just how inhuman Angel really was.

“No.” Whispered back to him, like Angel was scared it would be taken away.

“What does it feel like?” Xander could feel a prickling coming from their bond, from Angel, the feel of the sun across his pale hand.

“Incredible. Also, a little…uncomfortable.” The last came reluctantly.

“Well your skin hasn’t seen sun in almost 250 years, I would imagine it would feel strange.”

Xander almost pulled Angel back when he watched him walk out into the sun, his completely bare skin looking unnatural in the fading sunlight, but didn’t and just held his hand. Together they watched the sunset and he could feel the prickly sensation that had gotten stronger in the bond start to fade as it disappeared below the horizon. The amazement joy laughter that filled the bond easily overshadowed it.

He held Angel when he almost collapsed into his arms, didn’t do anything but send out love mine mate to Angel as he felt tears against his neck. Heard him whispering thank you, over and over and shook his head, he didn’t need or want thanks, this was a gift from the primal to its mate.

Xander finally dragged Angel to the pool and pushed him in and then followed him. The darkening night was filled with laughter and love, both of them basking in the new bond between them, it was already feeling stronger and would continue to do so as it matured.

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They were back in bed after hours of swimming and a round of pool sex, plus a stop in the kitchen. Xander had been thankful for still being slick from earlier, since they hadn’t had lube and he had liked the sliding weightless feeling of their bodies in the water. He had ridden Angel slowly, who sat on a stone step in the pool, with the water lapping at their chests. He had bitten Angel again, taking time to really taste and feel the magic in his blood.

“I can’t believe I can walk in the sun and can’t wait to try it again when the sun is up.” The incredulous tone still hadn’t left Angel’s voice, even though he had been saying similar things all night.

“I know, just be careful and maybe…don’t tell anyone, at least not yet.” Xander was reluctant to trust anyone with this knowledge and was grateful when he felt agreement from Angel. The primal only trusted Angel completely, not even Willow even though she was his best friend and he considered her pack but something about her occasionally made the primal bristle.

It wasn’t long before he fell asleep, tired, sated, and completely secure in Angel’s arms.

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Angel laid there watching Xander sleep, mind too full to follow. He still couldn’t get over the fact he had felt sun on his skin for the first time in almost 250 years or the amount of magic it would take to give him both ‘life’ and the sun, as the primal had, what he would have thought of as impossible magic’s. Reveled in the feeling of their bond, Xander a faint but constant hum at the back of his mind, both already able to pass along feelings and wondered how it would mature.

Eventually his mind settled enough and he was able to followed his mate into sleep.

“Xander?” Angel saw two hyenas laying side by side under a tree.

“Hey. Come to visit me and the primal?” Angel watched as one transformed back into Xander.

“I fell asleep?” He got a nod and a smile from Xander. Angel looked around and was sure he was in the place Xander had described earlier in the day. “I didn’t know this could happen.”

“Well, she wanted to meet you and figured you’d have questions, so when you fell asleep, you were pulled into my dream through the link. She said I could change too, so I did. I can’t wait to try it while I’m awake but she said it might take awhile to fully shift like this.”

“Oh.” Angel watched the hyena with intelligent eyes step around Xander and come to face him.

“Hello mate.” The deep yet feminine voice echoed in his head.

“Hello.” He reached out but hesitated before touching till the primal leaned into his hand, he ran it from tall ears down her flank and she licked across his face causing him to laugh. He could feel her love for him through his link with Xander and looked over to see him watching them with a soft smile.

Together the three laid under the tree, the primal laid between them, basking in her mate’s presence and Angel asked her as many questions as he could think of. Learned that going out in midday sun would be painful, even if he wouldn’t die from it, that the bond needed time to strengthen. That they both needed time to strengthen, the benefits they would gain from their bonding would be great and many, a mating unlike any before.

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They wake up curled around each other and Angel smiles and pulls Xander in tighter to him, thankful in the knowledge he will get to do this for the rest of their lives. Basking in the feeling of actually being happy, free from guilt and misery, the soul no longer a burden, a curse, but a gift.

Listens to Xander grumbling about how even waking up well past noon is still too early when they go to bed in the early hours of the morning and breathes in the warm, sleepy scent of his mate.

“Morning, mo ghrian.” And that is truer then ever.

“Ummm…morning.” Angel runs his hands over Xander’s bare skin, as he stretches against him and then settling even tighter to him. “Last night was amazing, having you in my dreams.”

“It was.” He isn’t sure if Xander will ever stop surprising him and the opportunity to share dreams with his mate is incredible. “How about we share a shower before breakfast.” Though he is as reluctant as Xander to start their day but he has stuff he has to do that night, that couldn’t be put off.

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After a shower that was anything but quick, they both settle in the room that faced the pool with their breakfast.

“What are your plans today? I think I’m going to call and see if Willow is back and invite her over. I can’t wait to tell her about us and our trip. It is okay that I tell her about the claiming, right?”

“Of course, mo chroi. I want everyone to know you are mine and I am yours.” Xander can’t help but lean over for a kiss after that, even if it will taste like blood, well blood that isn’t Angel’s. “I do have plans though, a few meetings tonight that can’t be put off. Soon, I will bring you with me and introduce you as my Consort, it will both give you protection to those that plan to be loyal to me or are too scared to move against me as well as paint a target on your back, you must be vigilant.”

Xander can feel the worry along the bond, “Hey, I can take care of myself. I wont be your soft spot, I wont let myself be used against you.”

“I just don’t want you hurt, maybe you’ll let me keep you locked away and safe?” Angel’s hand brushed across his cheek.

Xander laughs at that because he can feel the resignation acceptance in the bond before he even gives his answer. “Not a chance. You’ve been training me and I’m part primal and hopefully soon I’ll figure out how to transform, so I’m not helpless.”

“I know but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. The hellmouth attracts some really awful things to it and I’m putting us in the spotlight being Master, especially since I’m being so restrictive.” Angel had made rules against killing innocents and siring more vampires without his approval, which would cut down on some deaths, also. He had said it was because he wouldn’t have weak vampires create even weaker vampires that were liabilities and disgrace to demons. Xander thought it was masterful and liked the cunning and manipulative mind of his mate, the way he spun words.

“Fine, I’ll allow some worrying but no brooding.” Xander teased.

“How magnanimous of you.” Came the dry reply from Angel, who was looking at his watch. “Alright, I have to go. Hopefully I wont be back too late.”

Have fun…Master.” Xander couldn’t help but add the throaty purr and watched Angel’s eyes widen before narrowing at him. He was sure his smile missed innocent by a mile and he could feel the unmistakable shot of arousal through the bond.

“Don’t play with me, boy. I’ll win.” The threatening tone sent shivers down his spine but they weren’t from fear and he knew his own arousal playfulness was coming through clearly.

“I think a little playing would be fun.” Which just got him a growl and a hard, biting kiss before Angel pulled back, blood on both of their lips.

“Later if you behave. Have fun with Willow.” With that Angel was walking out of the room.

Xander couldn’t help but pout a little because he had been hoping to tease Angel back into bed. They had gotten padded leather cuffs from that store in San Francisco and hadn’t put them to use yet. He still couldn’t decide if he wanted to be tied up or the one doing the tying and figured they could do both…for educational purposes.

He signed, then went to find the phone and call Willow, hoping she would be home. He couldn’t wait to tell her everything.

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“Xander?” He felt questioning along the bond but didn’t respond and kept it fairly closed off. He wasn’t sure how to close it completely and didn’t want to but he knew his emotions were all over the place and had probably alerted Angel without him meaning to.

“Xander, what’s the matter? Why are you out here?” Xander looked around at the back courtyard and took in the overgrown, twisted, and partially dying weeds and trees and felt it matched his mood.

“Please talk to me.” He looked down into Angel’s eyes, he was kneeled before him and it made him think of the other night when Angel gave him the Claddagh ring, which just made it worse. “Your emotions have been all over the place the past couple of hours, I would have been back sooner if I could have. Why were you trying to close the link?”

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to bother you.” Xander felt a tear slip down his face before quickly wiping it away. “How do you protect your best friend, when you’re the one that broke her heart?” He barely got the question out before Angel’s arms were wrapped around him.

“Tell me what happened, please?” Heard and felt the concern coming from Angel, saw the worried look in his eyes.

And he did, how Willow had come over and he had been so happy to see her and they had played in the pool. How she told him about her vacation and he had told her about San Francisco. Then…about the claim, how he was so happy and in love, he hadn’t wanted to wait any longer.

That he had heard her heart go crazy and her scent go sad and sour, had asked what was wrong when she started crying, even though he could see her trying not to. How she admitted she was in love him, had been for years and had hoped he would one day see her like that too. He had held her while she cried and he didn’t know how to make it better, when it was him causing her the pain.

“I don’t know how to fix it, it’s not something I can change. She’s my best friend and I love her but…but I’ll only ever be in love with you. I’ve never thought of her that way, just as a friend, a sister. And I can’t feel bad about us because I don’t regret it, could never regret us but I don’t want to lose my best friend, either. What did I do to make her feel like that, I didn’t mean to.” Xander’s words tumbled out of his mouth.

“Oh, mo chroi. I’m sorry. I do not know what to tell you that will make it better. Give her time to heal. You can’t help who you love.” Xander could feel comfort love mate sent with the words but also…a little guilt.

“Why do you feel guilt?” He watched Angel’s eyes widen a fraction before his expression smoothed back out.

“Just that you are hurting and-” Xander was sure his eyebrow was clearly saying ‘bullshit’ and heard Angel exhale. “Xander, her feelings for you weren’t very hidden, you were just oblivious. I didn’t know if I should tell you.”

“What? You knew?!” The accusation was clear.

Angel raised his own brows at him. “Yes. Her scent, how she looked at you, and quite a few other things gave away her feelings for you. You just seemed not to notice, even with your enhanced senses.”

“Oh.” He felt like maybe someone had punched him in the stomach. “I-. I never noticed. I mean, sure sometimes her scent had lust in it but I thought that was general teenage lust and I try to keep my senses dialed way down at school. Did I really miss all that?”

He watched Angel nod at him and felt him wiping away the last of his tears. Xander just sat there and thought about it. Would it have mattered if he had noticed or would it have just made it weird? Would it have changed how he felt or would he still have fallen for Angel? He knew the answer to that. Maybe this had been what set the primal on edge around her sometimes.

“I think maybe the primal knew or sensed something, sometimes she was on edge around Willow. It wouldn’t have changed anything even if I knew. I would still have only loved her like a friend and would have still fallen in love with you, especially with the primal. I don’t think I could do anything but be in love with you. I hope I don’t lose her as a friend, I’ll call her in a few days and see if we can meet. ”

He let Angel’s hug comfort him, soaked in the love he could clearly feel and laughed shakily at the small hint of possessiveness, that was coming through too.

“So, like I asked before, why back here?”

“Matched my mood, I guess. Plus, I think I want to have it fixed up. Some nice fruit trees maybe, herb bed, and possibly a little vegetable garden because I really like tomatoes off the vine for sandwiches.” Xander looked around at the overgrown garden again and wondered at how much work it would be to turn this place into something nice.

“Anything you want.” Angel promised him.

“Anything, huh? Well, I am feeling like ice cream now and I know that 24 hour dinner is open and they have homemade ice cream during the summer.”

“If that’s what you want. Come on, get dressed and we’ll go.” Angel pulled him up and back inside.

“Maybe a quick shower will help me feel better, join me?” He wasn’t feeling the playfulness from earlier in the day but he didn’t want to let go of his mate yet, needed the comfort.

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It was almost a week before he got the courage to call Willow, who invited him over. When he got there, she tried to apologize and he stopped her.

“You can’t help who you love.” He didn’t mention that he had heard that from Angel. “I’m sorry that it’s me that’s hurting you and that it’s something I can’t fix. You’re my best friend and I’m suppose to be the one keeping you safe from getting hurt or holding you when some idiot breaks your heart and threatening to beat them with a shovel.” He felt like he was handling this fairly maturely even if inside he was freaking out a little because his best friend was in love with him. Honestly, Angel had helped him figured out what to say after he covered Xander in his scent so thoroughly, he was worried Willow could smell it. The vampire was extremely possessive, even when he knew Xander didn’t feel the same towards Willow.

“Well you did hold me while I cried, when some idiot broke my heart, though I’m not sure how you’ll beat yourself with a shovel.” He couldn’t help the laugh at that and got a small smile in return that gave him hope he wasn’t about to lose his best friend.

“Yeah, guess I did. Still wasn’t suppose to be me doing the hurting. You wont stop being my friend, will you?” He had worried over that all week, him and Willow had been friends since kindergarten and a yellow crayon.

“What?! Xander, no! I’ll get over this eventually, they say time helps and I’m only 16, so I’ve got plenty of time. I knew you didn’t feel the same but I still held out some hope that maybe one day, cause I knew at first you had a crush on Buffy and that it wasn’t going anywhere but I know this with Angel is different. So, maybe knowing that you are firmly taken, will help me get over it faster. ” The shaky smile made him pull Willow into his arms and hold her, felt a few tears against his neck. “If you were more of an asshole it might help, instead of being all…you.”

“Willow, language.” Xander faked offense.

“Hush, I’m allowed, mister.” He just nodded and continue to hold her till she pulled away. “Alright, enough wallowing for me. Though I may milk this a little in the future, so be warned.”

“Duly noted. So, pizza on me?” Xander asked tentatively.

“More like that Greek place on you and its baklava, that always makes me feel better.”

“Yummy, baklava. Alright, come on then, on me.” This he could do, maybe it didn’t make everything better but it was a start.

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