In Which There is the Pitter Patter...
Chapter Four - In Which There is the Pitter Patter of Demonic Little Feet
Xander rolled over to spoon with his lover when he felt a small ball of something curled into him near his chest. He rubbed the sleep from his eye and noticed the messy tuft of blond hair. This surprised him because he had been about to assume that it was one of the numerous hyena kits that roamed the City.
“Not awake yet,” his lover asked with a twisty snarking tone. It was his own form of teasing his one-eyed lover.
“Need coffee,” Xander said with a yawn. “You know that you make the best,” he said looking that other man who was sitting up in bed with a book in his lap. He batted his eye at the man, which only caused the other snort.
“That doesn’t work,” he said nodding to the steaming cup on Xander’s nightstand. “I don’t see why you keep trying.”
“Habit,” Xander said, sitting up and taking a sip of the best hot java he’d ever had. “Besides I love the way you talk even if you’re sneering at me. The cup is always there regardless of what I do.”
“Hmph,” he lover snorted again and then asked about the bundle seeming to be sleeping between the two of them. “So do you know what this is about?”
He was curious about the strange child and did a quick diagnostic test to measure the child’s health. He did this when he had first noticed their little intruder, only to be startled by some of the results.
“I don’t know how he got here,” Xander said. He did notice that the kid was in a leather jacket with tiny doc martins and he was comfortably curled up in a sun spot soaking in the warmth from it and from the two men on either side of him.
“I really hate to wake the little guy up. It’s obvious that he’s tuckered out, but we need to know where he came from. I can make a few calls, but I’d have to go into town for that.”
“Have a look at these first,” his dark-haired lover said, handing him a couple sheets of parchment paper.
Xander was familiar with the magical diagnostic output papers because his lover always helped him to care for the bruised or injured Slayers living in the City or the ones that found their way to them. He sighed and made sure that his reading monocle was secured to his nose by its clip and staying in place with a squint before he began to read the technical data of the human anatomy. He frowned at a few of the things he was reading, but when he got to the part about heartbeats per minute and age he was shocked.
“Zero beats per minute,” he exclaimed softly, still not wanting to disturb the child, then he read out loud, “Age - one hundred and thirty-two… I know of only one person that could be that age, not that I would actually know who else would be that age, but the one I do know about... he’s... actually dead.”
“M’not dead,” the child muttered into the pillow he had been clutching and hiding his face. He was slightly afraid because here he was the “Big Bad” turned into child and now he was in a bed with two obviously adult human males. He really wanted to stretch out in the heat around him, but he was curled up in fear. “Came back in reverse order in Gelus’ bigwig lawyer office years ago, din’t I?”
“…” Xander didn’t say a word, when stood up calmly from the bed, stretched a couple of times to get the kinks out of his back.
Then lifted the leather clad bundle from the bed. He picked the child up gently with a firm grip under the arms. He lifted him up high into the air and took a good look at the face that the child could no longer hide, as the pillow he’d had fell to the ground with a thunk.
The boy crossed his arms and glared at the man, choosing not to kick or struggle, until he had a good look at the one that was holding him up there. The boy smirked that one smirk that Xander would recognize a mile away. His eye widened and despite the clip to his nose, his reading monocle fell with a crashing tinkle to the ground.
“S..sss..Spike,” Xander sputtering and putting the boy down in shock. “What happened and how are you immune to the sun?”
“Bloody ‘effin Wells brat,” Spike said, scrabbling back into the bed. He stayed well away from the direct rays of the sun. He leaned against the headboard, near to the spot where he had been comfortable. He sighed and then said, “You know about his potion fixation, yeh? Don’ know what you mean about the sun though?”
“Yeah I know about his ‘passion for potions
’,” Xander said, doing the finger quotes thing that was common among the Scoobies. “That doesn’t explain…” He waved his hand up and down in the boy’s direction. “...and you were sleeping in that spot just before I picked you up,” he said pointing to the spot where the boy had been sleeping.
“Sure it does,” Spike said, checking the pockets of his coat looking for smoke that he knew wouldn’t be there, but couldn’t help the habit. He stopped seeking his cigarettes when he looked at where Xander was pointing. Curious about it, he inched his hand in the direction of the sunspot to test that truth while explaining what happened him.
“Was in London doin’ a job for Rupes,” he put his index finger in the sun ray and when there was no smoking or pain he put the rest of his hand in it, his eyes widened at the realization that he wasn’t burning up.
“When it was time to look into the tower where the kid had set up his experimentation
room,” he inched the rest of his arm into the sun’s ray. “Jus’ my bad luck that I was picked to check up on him. Slayers were busy going to a once in a lifetime concert or some’at like that.” He slowly crawled back into the spot and basked in the warmth looking for the source of the sun.
“Idiot botched ‘is potion, but decided to toss it out the window instead of getting’ rid of it proper like,” he continued telling his tale and sounding pissed. “I ‘ad me a date with my interestin’ pair o’ red ‘eads, but ‘s not like I could tell’em what happened to me. Not that I could contact ‘em again anyway. They were mine and the relationship ‘ad real promise too,” he was upset about that because they had moving slowly and everything had been interesting and intriguing, up until the accident. “Said they ran a joke shop or some’at like that, coulda given ‘em ideas for stuff, but...”
“What potion was this Wells person working on?” The black-haired man sitting next to him asked. “Do you know?”
Spike looked at the man and then he looked at Harris and then looked back at the man and asked, “Wot in the nine hairy hells are ya wearin’? I ain’t seen that since I was about fifty years turned.”
“It’s your standard night shirt, obviously there is something terribly wrong with your eyes,” the man snarked back. “Maybe I should do another diagnostic check,” he said pulling out his wand.
Spike’s eyes widened comically huge and he scrambled with insane speed to get away from the pointing stick. “No way,” he shouted trying to get out of the room. “No, no, no, no, no spells, no more spells, ye’ll not get me again…”
He was about to run out of the room when he was scooped by strong arms and a rumble voice said, “Easy… he was only taking the piss with you, as you're fond of saying.”
Spike peeked up over the White Knight’s shoulder and noted that the wand was no longer in sight. He sighed and shuddering sigh, laid his head down and let his body fall limp with relief. He trusted this Scooby and knew that this one-eyed man would not let him down. The man was petting his back in long smooth motions, like he had done this several times before.
Xander’s lover got out of the bed and walked over to the boy. “I must apologize,” he said. “I didn’t mean to frighten you with the wand. You have experience with them, I take it?”
“Yeh,” Spike said nodding. “Bad wizards tried to harm me’ Dru years back, but we got out ‘o there right quick. ‘S around the time we was heading to China.” He took a look around the room and noted that the two men were obviously together, as he could still tell this by the scent of the sex musk in the area.
“Who are you?” He asked the man and then he turned and asked Xander, “Do your birds’ know that you’re shacked up with a male lover?”
“Spike,” Xander said drawing the little boy’s attention. “I’d like to introduce you to Severus Snape. Sev’rus this is Spike, probably better known in your history books as William the Bloody and one fourth the Scourge of Europe.”
Severus’ jaw dropped open in shock, which he closed very quickly and then said, “Wow. It’s such an honour.”
“Really,” Spike perked up at that with a please grin.
“Yes,” Severus said with a gentle smile. “You’re quite popular in our history books and ever since the Council of Watchers stopped employing Witches and Wizards from our world since about 1959, we stopped receiving updates on the demonic activities of the Muggle World.”
“I can see that happenin’,” Spike said. “Hey Harris, ‘ow 'bout some food? Got anything red for me?”
“Nope,” Xander said putting the small vampire down. “We'll figure something out, but for now you’ll have to eat the regular human foodstuff. I can make a run to the nearest city, with your help Sev.” His lover nodded and he continued, “I guess I’ll just have to make the shopping run a couple of days earlier. Besides I need to make a few calls to get answers about this.”
“I’m sure that we can handle your absence in the mean time," Severus said knowing that his lover was pissed, but that he was contained for the moment because he wanted those missing answers. "It's the girls' day off from training, if you’ll recall. They'll be in the kitchen waiting for you to make their breakfasts and you’ll have to explain this,” he said pointing the boy.
“Oi,” Spike said shifting into game-face.
It was then that the door to the men’s bedroom was opened by the tumble of three hyena kits being pursued by one of the younger Slayers living in the City. She took one look at the small vampire, pulled out a stake from the back of her pants and attacked.
“Vampire,” she hissed.
She launched herself quickly on light feet and nearly had him, but he had scrambled Xander’s body and sat up there with his feet dangling on either side of the human’s head. “Watch it,” he said. “I work for the Council you little bint.”
“Morayo,” Xander said loudly, getting her attention. “You do not attack anyone that is in this room. You know the rules.”
“But, he’s,” she said looking up at where the blond boy was perched, sticking his tongue out at her and had his thumbs in his ears waggling his hands in a ‘nyanh’ fashion.
“You heard the man,” Spike said puffing up his chest and crossing his arms. “No attacking this vamp.”
“Morayo,” Xander said getting her attention again. “This is Spike. Now obviously something has happened to him. We’ll also need figure out what he’s doing in our City, but for now why don’t you go and tell the others that he’s here and is not to be harmed in any way.”
“Wait a minute young lady,” Severus said catching her attention before she took off out the door. “Why did you come running in here in the first place?”
“Oh,” the girl said, as though she had just remembered the real reason for coming to disturb her teachers. “Xan’s Joja is the dining house waiting for him. You know that bird will not deliver to your private rooms anymore.”
“Thank you,” Xander said. “We’ll join you girls shortly. Tell Saba to prepare breakfast for the rest of you, ah,” he held up his hand. “I’m going to town today, so you make sure that the girls give me accurate lists of their needs, understand?” She nodded, hopping from one foot to the next.
“Take Spike with you,” he said putting the vampire down and nudged him out the door.
Morayo’s eyes lit up and she quickly ran out of the room, saying, “Come on, Spike. Don’t worry the others...”
Severus chuckled as her voice faded somewhere down the corridor of their home. He turned in time to see Xander sit down on the bed, put a hand to his face and shudder. “Xander?”
Xander looked up and he had tears falling from his eye. “No one told me that he was alive,” he said and then he chuckled through his waterworks. “It’s so like Andrew to play with potions and not know what he was doing.”
He leaned over the bed to pick up the pillow that Spike had been clutching. It was heavier than normal and he noticed that there were a couple of objects inside it. He reached in and pulled out two books, sheets of parchment paper and a tattered notebook.
He looked over one of the books and noticed that it was written in a language close to Farsi. The next book was a Farsi to English dictionary, the notes and notebook contained the translations and the experimentation that Andrew had been working one.
“At least we have a place to begin,” Xander said with a sigh, looking at his lover. “Andrew got the wrong language to English dictionary.” He shook his head and knew that the younger man was going to be in for a world of hurt once Spike was back to his normal self.
Severus took a look at the books and nodded. “I’ll see if I can decipher what he had been working on and what went wrong. Now let’s get dressed, you still have to go see what that bird of yours brought you.”
“Shower together?” Xander asked with such a hopeful expression that Severus chuckled and nodded. Besides he liked their showers together. It was a perfect moment in time in which they touched one another with care and gentleness, although sometimes it was with playfulness.
However, they were both very used to the tactility that Xander displayed during such times. Severus was a glutton for the gentleness of his lover’s hands and Xander was greedy enough to do it often because he needed to just touch another living person.
Meanwhile, Morayo ran into the communal kitchen building with Spike not too far behind.
Spike was surprised to note that he had to leave one building and go to another for food. He was even more surprised to see that the few buildings that were visible were only partially so. There were enough dark entrances for him to dodge the sun by going from one to the next.
He did test the strength of the rays and found that he could step into the sun without worries, but that just worried him even more. He wondered when that particular would disappear. By the time he managed to get into the correct building the youngest Slayer had already told the other girls about their newest guest.
“He’s so cute,” she said. “Still a vampire, but he doesn’t look like the ones we’ve seen.”
Saba, one of the eldest Slayers living there, said, “We’ll have to tell him about the temple.”
“Why,” one of the others said. “Let him go and get caught by the spirits that still live there.”
“No,” Morayo said. “That’s just wrong, besides you remember what Xander’s told us about him. He’s a good guy and has earned the right to live in peace.”
“SABA,” another Slayer said in shock. “What are you doing?”
“Just adding something to the pancakes for Spike,” she said, licking her finger to close the cut she had made. “Yours are already on the table, so what are you complaining about.” She finished making four small pancakes with her blood for the little vampire. “Lurking in the doorway will not get you fed,” she said to the little blond thing. “Come in Spike.”
“It’s ‘bout time one o’ you bints figured it out,” Spike said zipping into the room. He sat at the table where Saba pointed. “Thanks luv,” he said looking at the pancakes and sniffing them with relish.
There were four slayers currently living in the City this time, Katia, Morayo, Saba and Njeri. Morayo was the newest one and tended to do more of the digging and exploration. Njeri and Saba were about the same age, although Njeri was here to learn more about the normal plants. Saba came back to trade goods that she knew Xander would be able to exchange in town for other stuff.
Katia was the strange one because she was of British-Russian descent. For some reason her Watcher couldn’t handle her plus four others and since she was a bit of trouble-maker, they sent her here to hopefully calm her down or get her killed.
There were still some stodgy old Watchers that felt they couldn’t handle more than one girl and that the excesses should be done away, like in the Law of the Jungle where only the strong ones survive. It was a good thing that Giles had taken over the Council and that more middle-aged and younger Watchers were just as good as the old boys. That was also a good thing because diverse opinions improved the Slayers’ life spans.
However, now that Katia was in a safe place, she made it her own personal mission to rescue those girls that needed a better Watcher. Her methods were not approved of, but the results were undeniable.
“Please Miss, can I have some more?” Spike used the cutesy, pitiful slight pouty look that was extremely Oliver Twist
(…i…), with the big eyes of hope and expectation. It was the voice with the British accent and the look that had the girls all doe-eyed and quite ready to ‘Oh! and Ah!’
“No Saba,” Xander said walking into the room. He turned a slight glare at Spike, who huddled into himself at that, but it was only in fun. He shook his head and said, “You really do know how to play this up don’t you?”
“O’ course,” Spike said with a grin. “But I wouldn’t mind another ‘elping without the pancake batter.” He said this looking at the Slayer who expectedly looked cross at that. It was something he was hoping for because he just loved to piss off the Slayers.
“Sorry,” she said. “I’m in need of the rest.”
“Tha’s alright,” he said, and then turned to the others saying, “What about you…” The girls had given Xander their lists and left the area quickly. They knew about this vampire’s need to make them angry, so they didn’t want to be there for the rest of it. Besides it looked like Xander could handle the shrunken vamp much better at the moment.
“Somethin’ I said?” Spike said to the other two in the room.
Severus snorted and choked down a chuckle. He kind of liked the small blond. It reminded him of his godson’s attitude. He turned to Xander and said, “I’ll make the pancakes for us and then you can doctor a few for him after I’m done. You better take a look at Joja first.”
Xander nodded and headed to where a beautiful falcon was waiting on a perch near the open window. “Hello Joja,” he said. He handed his falcon a treat while taking off the missive that was tied to one of his legs. The bird chirped and flew out of the window when Xander said, “Thank you.”
“Wot kind of name is Joja,” Spike said waiting patiently for his pancakes. He didn’t care if they had blood or not, they were filling and better then the shit he had been able to get at Watcher HQ. “Something like that in the place needs a better name than... wot does that name mean anyway?”
“It’s a nickname,” Severus said. “The bird’s full name is JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt (…ii…).” He said it with such a straight serious face. He chanced to look up from his meal and when he registered the horror on the blond boy’s face it was enough to crack him up.
Severus’ dark eyes lit up with amusement and he was still chuckling when he served the breakfast to lover. He had been told about the ‘Basement of Doom
’ where a helpless vamp was tied to a chair and tortured mercilessly with Pauly Shore movies.
Xander chuckled and said, “That was one of my better torture devices at the time.”
“Bloody murder is what that was,” Spike said laying down his head on the table with a thump.
Xander put the correspondence aside in order to make pancakes with his own blood for Spike. He didn’t want his girls to that and anyway he had blood to spare since he had that nifty bout with Hepatitis a couple of years back. He handed the plate to the vampire and said, “You’ll need to give me a list of supplies that you’d like to have while you’re staying with us.”
“Why,” Spike said through his gulping mouthful. He couldn’t help himself. There was something in the blood that made him hungry and yet it was filling him up better than the Slayer’s blood.
“We have a schedule that we try to stick to, when the need to replenish supplies comes up,” Xander said. “I usually try to go to the city about twice a month. That’s when letters get sent and when we pick up the world news. If you don’t want anything,” he shrugged. “Well that’ll be fine, but know that you’ll get nothing until about the same time next month.”
“Can I smoke or get a decent drink?” The little vampire asked. “I also have a letter, if you don’t mind.”
Severus frowned, but then he pulled out a W-Camel, which was the Wizarding version of regular Camel cigarettes (…iii…). “Try this,” he said. “It doesn’t contain the pollutants that the muggle version does. These types are the only ones that I will allow in this City.”
“Ta so much mate,” Spike said, lighting it up. He was surprised by the cleanliness of the taste. It was different. “Could you pick up my brand, but like these?”
Xander nodded and asked, “Wheaties?”
“Wheatabix, you uneducated twit,” Spike said exhaling the non-noxious vapours. “…and maybe…you...um,” he was rubbing the bridge of his nose. “…ah forget it.” He wanted a pair of reading glasses just in case, but decided to wait and see how long he’d be stuck in this form.
“Clothes,” Xander asked.
“Yeah,” Spike said. “If you have enough on ya for it, but don’ go outa your way for it.”
“No worries,” Xander said. “Sev’rus?”
Severus had been writing a list ever since he had finished his meal. “Just a few things,” he said. “Why don’t you read the correspondence while I finish this up.”
Xander nodded, unrolled his letter and read the following: Dear Mr. Harris, It is wish with great pleasure that we congratulate you on your intent to adopt the magical creature child by name of William Pratt, also known as William the Bloody and currently known as Spike. We are please to inform you that all of the paperwork has been filed in accordance to the regulations of the multi-verses. To fully accept your responsibility and to promote a successful outcome, please ensure that all parties sign at the appropriate sections in blood. Yours ever, Hally-Ann Edees Multi-Verse Child Placement Services
Xander’s Hellmouth wiggins, vibes or whatever you wanted to call it was zinging him, but there was nothing in the paperwork that looked out of the ordinary. The part about signing in blood was wiggins worthy, but not in the extreme for him.
He and his lover were familiar with the Multi-Verse
organizations because he had similar documentation to sign regarding the City of Hamunaptra when he purchased it. The papers back then list only his responsibilities for the city and its denizens, but it was also a contract of service that he negotiated with other planes, hence the multi-verse references.
However, in order to make sure that there was nothing bad about these papers or this situation, he had Severus look them over and test the contents for magical manipulation. There was a section of the forms for significant others
too, so the Wizard was hoping that Xander would ask him to fill it out. Although he suspected that the man wouldn’t because he had once promised never to coerce him in anything.
Xander pulled out an old fountain pen specifically used for contract. It was one that he planned to bring along with him for some of his transactions in the magical world. It was expected of him and the other magical creatures, which he transacted with, trusted him in their dealings because of it.
He pricked his finger at the wound he had opened in order to drop his blood into Spike’s food and quickly signed the forms. “Severus,” he said. “I would like you to sign too, but I don’t want you to do it if you don’t feel that it’s the right thing for you.”
Severus gave him the loveliest of smiles. It was the one that made Xander fall for him. He was smiling because he was glad that his lover was considering his feelings in the matter. He leaned forward to capture the mouth that completely intrigued him from the moment he registered that it was someone that was talking to him at the worst moment in his life.
“I’ll sign too,” he said. “That is if you don’t mind,” he turned to look and ask the astonished little blond vampire.
“Don’ mind,” Spike said, choking up at the fact that this virtual stranger was sticking his neck out for him. “Don’ mind a bit, as it’s a form o’ protection, yah. ‘Sides, don’ quite know ‘ow long I’ll be like this, but protection’s good.”
“Spike,” Xander said getting the young vampire’s attention and kneeling in front of him. “We’ll figure this out, but for now consider this your home for now and always.”
Spike’s eyes were huge and there was the unmistakable glistening sparkle of wet emotion in the vampire’s eyes. “Really? Always?“
“Really,” Xander said hugging the little guy. “Always,” he confirmed petting the small back.
Spike tucked his head to hide the tears and wipe them away on Xander’s shirt. A few moments later he came out of his burrow and signed the papers too, in blood.
Once everyone had signed, the papers popped out and popped in again. This time there were official seals on the documents and whoever needed a copy had them.
“Severus,” Xander said. “Why don’t you show Spike around and let him pick out his building or a room wherever he wants, just not with any of the Slayers…Okay Spike?”
“Yah, yah,” Spike said hopping down. He knew better than to live with the Slayers. “Let’s find me a place with a bit o’ darkness in the mornin’.”
He took a hold of one of the Potions Master’s stained hands and dragged him out of the building to have a look around the City. He began to grill him with questions, while Xander packed up the things that he needed to trade and popped away with the magic in the bracelet that he had taken to wearing long ago.
(…i…) Oliver! - musical movie of 1968 - Oliver Twist story - but the Oliver in this movie is the image I have in my mind at the this point.
(…ii…) Couldn’t help myself, I remembered the irritating song from a Pauly Shore movie “In the Army Now.”
(…iii…) NO! I do not advocate underage smoking, but this story is about Spike who is a vampire that has already lived passed the age of majority and therefore I will not condemn him or punish him by making him use substitutes in the form of candy. The W-cigarette version is my concession to it because ideally any cigarette that has no pollutants would be a miracle and that would frankly be is a bit of fiction, which is what this story is. Isn’t it?