Xander woke with a painful groan and winced as he tried to move. Opening his eyes he looked around and noted he was in a bed surrounded by Tara, Prue, Lilith and Janna who were all asleep.
Confused for a few seconds as to how he had ended up in such a situation he suddenly remembered what had happened. He had won his fight with Radrik, killing him with a powerful magical attack, but Radrik had managed to throw his sword at him and it had hit him straight in his chest. He had blacked out thinking he had failed and wishing he could see his girls one more time. He shook his head knowing he was alive, but obviously hurt badly and still recovering.
"Rest easy Alex," he heard his mother say and he turned to find her sitting by his bedside alongside his father who he had never met and only seen briefly before his fight with Radrik. "Leo said you will need to stay in bed for at least two more days before he thinks you can start moving around again," Jessica added, relieved to see her son awake.
"How long have I been here mom?" he asked settling down.
"Two days, that sword caused huge damage to your body and Leo almost lost you until Mandy arrived to help," Jessica answered with a smile. "The girls refused to leave your side and have slept her since. They have all been worried about you," she added with a small laugh. “You gave me and them a scare, we thought you had been killed,” she admitted.
“Sorry Mom, that wasn’t my intention,” Xander responded, taking her hand in his for a few seconds and giving a supportive squeeze. “He caught me off guard with that last move, I thought I had killed him,” he told her with a slight wince. “Guess it goes to show to never let your guard down until you know for a fact your enemy is dead,” he mused.
“That would be a good idea,” Jessica said, just relieved that her son was alive and well. She had almost felt her heart stop when she had witnessed that sword go through his chest, without Leo and Mandy she knew he would have died.
"Is it over?" he asked
"Almost Alexander," Eric finally spoke up. "Lord Tepes is currently dealing with those who supported Radrik and removing them from power and killing those that refuse his command to stand down. I think he intends to make sure there will be peace in the tribes no matter what," he explained.
Xander blinked as he looked at his father for the first time in his life, at least when his life wasn’t on the line. He noted how close he was now sitting next to his mom. Clearly the years apart hadn’t dampened their love for one another. That made him hopeful the two could get back together once they had caught up with each other. Granted he did not think his father would be happy to learn about Tony Harris. He would have time to get to know his father in the next few months, but right now there were still things to do. From the look on his father’s face he seemed to have already realized that.
"He will summon a meeting of the chiefs tomorrow once he is finished to explain what will happen next. You don’t have to attend due to your injuries," Eric said.
"I’m not chief dad," Xander replied with a shake of his head, but careful not to move too much. "I know I won the fight, but I agreed with the others that if you lived I would pass on that title to you as it should have been,” he told him. “I have a lot to learn and do before I am ready to take on such a role. I’m not ready for such a role father," he continued as Prue snuggled deeper into him from one side. "You should attend the meeting and let them know what I said. Alucard will accept it," he added.
Eric looked at Jessica a little shocked by his son's statement as he had believed his son would keep the title and stay to help settle things down. He nodded as he realized his son had a point he had never been trained to lead the tribe as he had been before his father had been betrayed. Plus from what little his wife had told him so far he knew Alexander still had things he needed to do. Plans he intended to put in place once things had settled down a little here. He wouldn’t be staying. He glanced at Jessica and noted she didn’t look surprised, so she knew he wasn’t planning to stay.
"I will do the best I can Alexander," he said. "I’m proud to see the man you have become and I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to watch you grow, but it wasn’t safe," he started to say.
"I know dad, mom explained it to me and I don’t hold any grudge against you," Xander cut him off with a small smile. "You wanted to protect us and you did. They captured you and most likely tortured you and still you didn’t give us up that shows that you truly cared," he continued. "Now we are all free of the past and we have a whole future to look forward to," he stated with a smile which was shared by his parents.
Outside the building they were in Alucard and his son continued to deal with Radrik's most zealous followers alongside Seras, while the others talked about what had happened in the last two days.
Piper and Phoebe were worried for Prue should Alexander not wake, but Leo assured them he would he just needed time to heal enough. Amy also worried for her friend and for Janna who had been the most effected by Alexander's close brush with death due to her pregnancy. The others were concentrating in helping bring the wars of the Romany tribes to an end.
Cassandra breathed a sigh of relief as Alexander finally woke up and began to talk with his parents. She had been horrified to see Alexander go down with Radrik's sword in his chest and Leo working on him and almost losing him until Mandy showed up to help, obviously having been watching events as they happened. Her lord had commended Mandy for her quick actions and decided to assign to her to work more closely with Leo and Alexander in the future. Considering her friendship with Leo it was clear Mandy was happy with her new task.
She was currently watching Vlad finish removing the most dangerous of their people who still believed in Radrik's vision for their people. He was brutal and quick as was her son and Seras, but she knew it was necessary if they were to ensure that there would be no future uprising against them. He was sending a message which would spread throughout the whole of the Romany lands and it would be heeded by all but the most stupid of their people.
"My lord," she turned to see Jonas re-enter the room and come to stand in front of their lord who had been watching things next to her. "There has been another attack on the Hellmouth by the First, this time only Buffy was hurt seriously," he reported.
"The First is trying to weaken our defenses there," their lord said with a frown. "I take it he used normal demons once more?" he asked.
"Yes my lord. They caught Buffy on one of her regular patrols alongside Willow and Giles," Jonas informed them. "Luckily Kendra, Sam Sabuto, Cordelia and Oz were also on patrol and rushed to help, things are heating up my lord," he continued. "There were also two other attacks on some of our other champions around the world. We believe the First is looking for a weak spot while he rebuilds his elite forces," he added.
"I agree," their lord said with a shake of his head. "Prepare a rapid response unit to be led by Whistler. They are to deploy to aid any of our forces in repelling these attacks no matter where they are. We will not show signs of weakness now," he ordered and watched as Jonas bowed and left to carry out his task.
"There is a risk my lord that the First may try and attack Alexander while he is healing," Cassandra spoke up, causing her lord to face her once again.
"I have already placed wards around the area so no demon, not even the First, can breach it. They will hold until Alexander is back to full health and once again on his feet," he informed her, causing her to smile in relieve to know Alexander and his friends were safe for a while.
"He has done better than I ever hoped he would," Cassandra said as she watched Alexander fall back asleep in the comforting presence of Tara, Janna, Prue and Lilith while his parents talked quietly as they watched over them. "He has survived every challenge and come out stronger than ever. He has changed how we fight this war and even helped defeat the Source and has survived an encounter with a Fallen," she added.
"Indeed, he has come far," her lord responded. "And yet he still has far to go, but I am sure he will continue to change things," he added.
(Lavelle tribe, next day)
Eric walked into the council hall nervous as the other tribal chiefs turned to stare at him. He knew there was a chief for every tribe within the Romany nation and now he had just walked in last.
Alucard had sent the summons out as soon as Radrik was dead and for those tribes who had lost their chiefs new ones had been quickly appointed by Alucard.
"Why are you here?" Vincent, chief of the Valmesh tribe, asked in confusion.
"I’m here to assume the right of chief of the Lavelle tribe as my son has asked. He killed Radrik to remove him from power, but he always planned that should I be alive to give control of the tribe to me as it should have been had my father not been murdered," Eric answered, making sure his voice could be heard by everyone, including Alucard who stood next to his son and daughter at the end of the room. "He has a lot of other things to do which prevent him from taking the role of chief at this time and he has asked our king to accept this change," he added.
"I was aware of his plan to do this Eric and I recognize you as the rightful chief of the Lavelle tribe. Please take your seat," Alucard spoke in a loud and clear voice.
Eric bowed and went and sat in the last empty chair listening to the whispers going around the tables as the other chiefs discussed this new twist. When Alucard called for silence everyone quickly shut up and faced the ancient Nosferatu.
"It has been nearly two hundred years since I last stood among you, but as was foretold I have returned to reunite my people into one nation. The wars you have fought in my long absence are at an end," Alucard began in a cool but to the point tone which made it clear he expected to be obeyed. "I have been forced to kill many of my own people because like Radrik they believed in nothing but war and death. I have replaced certain chiefs with new ones to ensure their tribes will obey my new rules," he explained. "Our people have nearly destroyed themselves and well it stops now. No more will we kill each other, is that understood?" he asked with a slight growl and a dangerous look in his eyes although he almost smirked as every chief there quickly nodded their agreement. "I will not always be here in person as I have other duties to attend to, so I’m forming a council made up of all of you and you will ensure the peace is held and if there is a problem you can’t work out you will send for me and if I can’t come I will send either my son, my daughter or my future son in law to deal with it," he told them, then paused as one of the chiefs stood up obviously wanting to ask a question.
"My lord who is this future son in law?" the man asked
"His name is Alexander Lavelle the man who killed Radrik. He will marry not only my daughter within the coming months, but also Janna Kalderash, Tara Maclay and Prudence Halliwell," Alucard answered as he glanced around to see how the news was taken. "Once he has married my daughter he will earn the right to speak in my name as a prince of my house, just like my son Adrian. But this doesn’t make the Lavelle tribe any better than the rest of you and nor does it give them a higher status within our nation," he added, making it clear it would not upset the balance he was trying to create and he noted a lot of the chiefs looked relived by this news.
"My lord, where will this council hold its meetings?" Hallam inquired as he stood.
"I’m going to order a manor to be built in the middle of our land where a meeting hall will be erected. It will stand on my tribes boundaries and once it is built you will meet there every month to discuss how to rule our people and I will try and make sure I’m there as well,” Alucard told them. “But if I’m not able to be I will send my son, daughter or future son in law and if none of us can attend you will have to do the best you can to deal with the business of ruling by yourselves, but remember no one of you has overall say over anything and a decision must be agreed on by the majority of you to go through," he added. "Am I clear?" he asked.
The chiefs all nodded their heads in agreement as none of them were willing to test their newly returned king after learning what had happened to those who had resisted his return to power. A lot of them were pleased by the return of their lord and his children and the peace he promised to bring about and while learning the heir to the Lavelle tribe would marry his daughter and become his son in law they were relieved to know it wouldn’t make that tribe more powerful than the others.
"I think that will do for now," Alucard said, pleased no one had tried to argue with his commands. "You may leave. I will talk to you again tomorrow," he added and watched as they all left to talk to their delegations so a runner could be sent with news to their tribes.
"That went better than I thought it would father," Adrian said as he and Lilith sat down and finally Alucard himself.
"Considering what happened to the ones who refused his commands before some of them arrived I am not to surprised they accepted everything he said," Lilith put in with a smile, while Alucard just chuckled in response. "By the way father Alexander wishes to speak to you and Sir Integra when you have time. It sounded important," she added while turning to her father.
"I will speak to my master and go visit him within the hour," Alucard said in response. "How he is doing?" he asked.
"He still feels a great deal of pain, but he is beginning to regain his strength and is moving about a bit more although he is still confined to his bed by Leo," Lilith answered. "I believe Jessica will remain behind when we leave here to rebuild her relationship with Eric. That will be hard for Alexander, but he knows it is necessary," she added. “I think he knew she would stay should they find his father alive,” she said.
"That is not to surprising though, is it? Jessica came on this journey for two reasons. One to help her son and second to find out if her husband was still alive," Adrian said as he leaned back in his chair. "Now she knows he is and I doubt very much she would leave him. They have much catching up to do and Alexander is old enough to go on without her, especially considering she knows he has so many friends and allies to help him," he stated.
The others nodded their heads at this in agreement before they broke up to go their separate ways. Lilith headed straight back to Alexander while Adrian went to see how the others were doing and Alucard headed straight to the tent where Sir Integra was.
Cassandra smiled as she watched the beginning of her people’s reunification. She was pleased beyond words that it was finally over and she would no longer have to worry they would destroy themselves. Alexander had completed his first major quest and she couldn’t be any prouder than she was, he had succeeded. She knew there was still a lot to do, but she was sure without a doubt that Alexander and his friends and allies were up to the task ahead of them.