****disclaimer and notes in chapter 1****
Spike stood up with Willow in his arms, thankful that she wasn't complaining, while Xander leaned heavily on the back of the booth when Angel nodded for them to leave. Xander was stumbling and looked ready to pass out so Angel leaned over and scooped the young man up in his arms as well being careful of Xander's bruised ribs. The vampires carried their precious cargo to the car and tried to make the ride over as comfortable as possible for the injured humans.
Angel kicked open the door and walked into the living room. The elder vampire set Xander down gently on the couch near the fireplace careful to keep his shoulder elevated. Angel went to the bathroom and pulled out several towels and his first aid kit. The brunette vampire returned to the living room dropping his supplies on the coffee table. He told Spike to wait before he placed Willow in front of the fireplace, and pulled a blanket from the back of the couch. The dark haired vampire folded the blanket in half and spread it on the floor a few feet in front of the fireplace before quietly perching on the edge of the couch near Xander's waist.
"Thanks, Peaches," Spike whispered as he placed Willow on the blanket in front of the fireplace. He positioned her carefully, so her body wouldn't be touching the cold floor.
"Hmmm... rock salt, maybe?" Angel spoke quietly, "must've just wanted a show, some quick cash, and no fatalities."
"Show, my ass, look at Red! She's bleedin'! Even Xapper is wounded. I like a decent spot of violence just as much as the next bloke, but leave my humans out of it," Spike spat from the kitchen. He brought two large bowls filled with warm water, placing one near Willow on the floor and the other near Angel on the coffee table. Angel opened a couple of packets, and tossed one of the alcohol-covered cloths to his childe. Spike nodded and both vampires sterilized their hands as best they could in the situation. The bleached vampire grabbed a handful of medical supplies and a few of the towels Angel had brought before kneeling down next to Willow.
"Spike?" Willow asked weakly.
"Yeah, luv?" Spike responded.
"You kissed me." Willow said with an almost question-like inflection.
"That I did, luv." Spike smiled at the redhead, but hating what was about to come next. "Pet?" The blonde vampire tried again when he didn't receive a response, "Red? Don't take this the wrong way and it might hurt a bit, but I'm going to have to move your clothing so I can fish all the glass out. You can stay still for me, right Luv?" Spike held her eyes briefly as she nodded her assent.
"S'ok, Spike, I've been a Scooby for a while. I know the drill." Willow tried a grin though it came out more as a grimace because of her discomfort.
Angel glanced away from the quiet conversation his childe and Willow were having, and back to the job at hand. Xander was lying on his stomach facing the fireplace and his two friends. He wasn't moving much, or speaking, and the latter was what worried Angel.
"Ok, Xander, this will probably sting, but I'm going to remove your shirt. After I do, I'll be using warm water to clean off the blood a little and see if you need to be sewn up. Are you with me, Xan?" Angel laid a cool hand on Xander's forehead.
The vampires worked as quickly as they could to clean out the wounds, sterilize, stitch, and bandage their humans. However, the whole process took longer than expected. They dried their blood-caked hands on the one clean towel left. It wasn't much, but it would do until they both could clean up later.
Now that the younger vampire didn't have to worry about Willow imbedding the glass deeper, he moved her to a more comfortable spot on the unoccupied couch. Both she and Xander seemed to be in a semi-conscious state, and Spike knew it was from the pain. "Sire," he asked.
"Yes, William," Angel sighed wishing the night had gone better.
"Ya got anything for pain in there? They could probably both use enough to knock out a horse, but with the blood loss..." the younger vampire trailed off.
Angel had a vague plan forming in his mind, and started digging through the kit. Finding his prize, he answered his childe's unspoken question, "we should probably stick with an over the counter painkiller for now."
"Right." Spike went back to the kitchen and retrieved two bottles of water. He had almost filled a couple of glasses from the tap but remembered that Angel kept the fridge stocked with the bottled water that the humans preferred. He didn't understand it. As long as it was clear, water was water as far as he was concerned, but they assured him the taste was different. Spike smiled briefly at the memory of that conversation, and exchanged one of the bottles with a couple of capsules in Angel's hand.
After the humans swallowed, Angel took both partially empty bottles, placing them on the shared endtable. The dark-haired vampire sighed and looked over to his childe, "I'm going to take this stuff back to the bathroom and find them something clean to wear. Will you get rid of the rest?"
"Sure, Mate, but don't expect me to clean the friggin windows too," Spike mock-growled.
Angel cuffed his childe on the back of the head mumbling about smart-assed children, before packing the unused first aid supplies back into the kit. The brunette vampire gathered it and the used towels on his way to the bathroom.
Spike grabbed the empty boxes and wrappers tossing them into the half empty bowls before taking it all to the kitchen. The blonde vampire was tempted to toss everything down the disposal, but knew his neat freak Sire would complain a hundred years from now about it. Instead, he dumped their contents into the trash bin under the sink. He washed his hands, shrugged, and washed both bowls, leaving the wet dishes in the rack to dry.
Spike opened the cabinet next to the refrigerator and cursed. He opened several more cabinets before he found the mugs above the coffee maker. "Bloody wanker," he muttered pulling two down, "always moving the mugs from where I put 'em. Stupid tosser." He went back to the fridge pulling out a couple of packets, ripping them open with his teeth and dumping their contents into the mugs.
By the time Spike returned to the living room with the heated mugs, Angel had already re-dressed the humans and was currently coaxing a fire out of the fireplace. Spike set the mugs down, the clinking noise catching Angel's attention, and arched a scarred eyebrow in his sire's direction. Turning away from his sire, he shifted Willow slightly placing her head in his lap. He picked up his mug wanting to finish his dinner while it was still extremely hot. Hearing her whimper, he used his left hand to caress her arm soothingly, and looked back to Angel for a response.
Angel finished lighting the fire, "I know, but I don't want them cold." The elder vampire stood up, pushed the free-standing screen back in place, and said softly, "I'm going to get a few more blankets."
"Well, hurry it up you poof, your dinner's gettin' cold," Spike said gruffly and finished his off in one gulp.
"I'll drink it cold, or re-heat it," Angel called from in front of the linen closet.
Spike grimaced at the thought, "All right, Mate, whatever you say."
Angel returned to the living room and covered Willow and Xander with the blankets he'd brought. The souled vampire smirked at the look on Spike's face, took the empty mug from his childe's fingers, and grabbed his own mug on his way to the kitchen. Angel finished his dinner, washed both mugs, leaving them in the rack next to the bowls before returning to the living room. He echoed his childe's position with Xander, using his left hand to stroke the young man's hair, "I want to claim them, William, tonight."
"Are you daft?! There's no way in 'ell they're ready for that!" Spike whispered harshly, "and what do you mean by them, you nonce?! There's no way you're touching Red!"
"Right of the Sire, me boy, and relax! Do you want to wake them?" Angel hissed, "I love Willow, but you know I think of her as a little sister. It's irrelevant anyway. I only want to initiate the first half of the claiming. I agree that they aren't ready for more than that..."
"Damn straight I'm right--" Spike interrupted.
Angel continued as if Spike hadn't spoken, "but I'd like to offer them more protection than they have already. If I claim them, they'd automatically be under your protection as well."
Spike snorted, "Bugger that! If you haven't noticed yet, Mate, being under *your* protection won't mean squat to those who know you're a pansy-ass vampire with a bleedin' *soul*."
Angel smiled predatorily, "I don't mind giving a few preventative lessons, William."
The blonde vampire shuddered, immediately trying to cover it as a shrug, "Wouldn't hurt, Mate, as long as I'm not on the receiving end."
Angel smiled warmly at his childe. No matter how long and what they went through, Spike was still his boy. "If it makes you feel better, we'll both initiate the first stage, as long as they agree to it. That way they'll still have protection if something happens to one of us."
"Who the fuck said anything was going to happen to y-us?! I'm not getting dusted anytime soon, Peaches," Spike snarled.
Angel caught his slip, but chose not to mention it, instead saying, "Spike, I just want to double their chances."
"Fine," Spike relented, "but we should do it now so they'll heal faster."
"Assuming they agree," Angel pointed out smoothing the hair back from Xander's forehead.
Spike unwittingly echoed the gesture as he looked at the sleeping Willow fondly, "right."
Letting the humans sleep, the vampires sat in silence, brooding into the fire. After a few hours, Spike broke the silence, "Angelus, that bloke at the restaurant, he mentioned having orders to hit the place."
"Someone named 'Car'-something, he didn't finish the guy's name." Angel's expression hardened. "I really wanna go back and eviscerate him."
"The guy who ordered it or the idiot?"
"Right. Leave me some entrails, eh? And make sure they're still alive when you do. I have plans, Angelus, lots of bloody plans."
"Willow did say earlier that Gio's personnel file read like a Who's Who list of felons." Angel looked at the warm sleepy Xander beginning to stir in his lap. "I'm sure many of them have enemies. We just have to figure out which one starts with 'Car'. Shouldn't take too much digging."
"What shouldn't take too much digging?" Xander opened a bleary eye, then blushed when he realized his head was in Angel's lap, with the vampire absently stroking his hair.
****poll**** This was originally going to be a crossover with Highlander. But now I'm asking--if anyone wants this crossed over with a particular universe, I'm willing to give it a shot--The TTH version will be crossed with The Sentinel. If there's enough interest, I'll cross it with other fandoms at my website. Poll is here http://liz.e-fic.com/lizficmain.html (if you don't like any of the fandoms mentioned write in your own suggestion in the comments section.) Once it's been successfully 'crossed' I'll move the story to the correct fandom category.