Angel: It was a trick, Xander; you don't really belong to Spike.
Spike: He knows that, ponce.
Angel: I just feel responsible. If I hadn't...
Spike: Oh fer...
Xander: It was nothing you said, Angel, nothing you did.
One day I looked at him and realised if I ignored the
'I hate him because he's a vampire' thing, I was already
halfway in love with him.
Angel: But if I hadn't... Dru...
Xander: He'd be dead and dust a hundred years ago, and I'd still
be alone, or worse.
So thank you, Angel.
Angel: You're sure?
The Hanged Man
Hanging by one ankle, out of control, seemed appropriate, somehow, so Xander didn't bother struggling. He surrendered to the experience and watched from his new angle as the world moved around him.
Spike saw the largest Gra'ath grab Xander by the ankle and lift him high into the air. Fury added impetus to his battle rage and the vampire finished off his opponents in short order before moving to slice off the tentacle that held his mate aloft.
Before Xander hit the ground the Gra'ath that held him was dead.
"I told you, pet, not all demons respect the Claim."
"I only wanted to watch, my Spike. I wasn't going to steal your kitten. Knew he was yours all along, I did, even when that silly love spell got in my head and whispered silly things about poems and eternity."
"I wanted to see you put your mark on him, Spike, and watch Daddy have a taste and say the words that make him ours."
"I gave you my gift in the alley and Daddy gave you his in the school. You let Daddy have a nip and I missed it. Can I have a nip, Spike? He is family..."
The Claim did many things.
Insecurity and loneliness were dispelled. Balance and harmony were granted. They each became the others center of being.
With blood exchanged there came a synthesis, stronger over time, consolidating energies and vigor. What one thought, the other could hear. What one felt, the other could sense.
Extremes were blunted into moderation. The lust for violence now an urge to protect, the demon bait no longer required protection.
They worked together as a whole, where one was needed the other appeared. When one was loud, the other soothed.
Man and demon. Light and dark.
Always just one more taste before release.
Supple leather binds tight until the begging stops.
Chains attach to fur-lined cuffs attach to widespread limbs to keep the wriggling down.
Submission, sweet and so sincere.
A smorgasbord laid out for his delight.
Cherry red lips, so ripe for biting.
Hard berries balanced on the breast.
A lollipop so hot it's melting, drizzling secret sauce to tempt the tongue.
An hour, two or three, no one could tell you.
No clocks in here, their perfect, private, world.
Then finally release.
Next time's Spike's turn.
The claim made changes subtle but disruptive, rocked foundations of three other worlds.
Habits of years past were hard to alter, but now a thoughtless threat of dust was taken by another to their heart. The Slayer had to learn that harm to one was harm to t'other, and neither would allow the other's hurt.
The Witch, though strong in magic, was no longer first in thought or word or deed. Another had usurped her prime position, within her very best friend's loving heart.
The Watcher must accept one sworn as enemy, into the confines of his family.
Dawnie's faith had never wavered, not once, through the tentative beginnings, to the emotional outbursts to the need to claim and mark. Every step of the way she had been there, encouraging, pointing out the way when he was too scared to believe.
She was his north star, always aiming him true, keeping him on the path.
She had known he was ready to run, ready to abandon his love and flee to protect the boy from his inability to bite and claim and mark him as mate of a Master Vampire.
She had made him do what was necessary.
Moonlight softened the harsh edges of his lover, and Xander silently decided that he could easily adjust to a permanent life of ethereal silver light. How troublesome could it be to give up the harsh gold glare of the day? He knew the time would come, and soon, most likely, when his love would want to keep him safe, eternally as young and virile. And not because attraction would have faded, for he'd been told, not only once, that love would still be his when old and jaded.
He gazed upon his moon-soaked love and uttered not a word.
The moonlight soaked into his soul, and Spike, cold hand ensnared by warm, did think again how he could ask his love to sacrifice his access to that golden ball that nurtured what was best in life. What could he offer in exchange for warmth on skin and beating heart and sun-kissed hair and that which caused the crinkles at the corners of his eyes?
What could he offer but a life eternal, barring pointy bits of wood, or fire, or contact with that sun which reigns supreme?
How could he offer darkness for eternity? He couldn't.
Not just yet.
The question stood between them, never asked so never answered. And yet it caused a rift, it built a wall that all could see.
And finally, there came the day of judgment, and of reckoning, when blood and heart and heat and life faced up to death without decay.
Heart accepted, demon reveled, souls did struggle to comply, but finally there came a verdict, Xander very soon would die... to rise again, awaken to a brand new life eternal; but they both agreed that now was not the time.
And so they wait and watch and love and wait and...
Eventually the time arrived for turning, with none left to fight it.
Xander aged, but just a little, Spike his same eternal self.
The claim had kept them both in good health, kept away most signs of time.
And grief had faded, for the most part; friends were feted now, not mourned.
The world did look so small and fragile, held within his true love's hand,
The ritual of restoration, laid out on the bedside stand.
Now the time was drawing near, he'd spent his last hours in the sun,
Fangs and feeding, blood and needing, new eternal life begun...