Disclaimer: Recognizable characters do not belong to me. The belong to Mutant Enemy and Sony Pictures, respectively. I am only playing with them for my own amusement.
Flying was a new experience. He never knew vampires could fly. He always thought that was a myth brought about by cheesy Dracula rip-offs. As far as he had known, Spike and Angel couldn't fly; neither could any of the other vampires he'd ever seen. It brought about more questions.
Questions about the nature of Vampirism. Nothing he had ever learned in the past four years Slaying vampires had prepared him for waking up as one.
He was becoming aware that not all vampires were the same. Which made sense, if you thought about it. Nothing else on the planet was universal. Not all *people* were the same. There were different species, different moralities. Why should vampires be any different?
He was learning that not all creatures of the night were indiscriminate killers. Not all vampires preyed on the weak, or terrorized others simply because they could. He had seen first hand the mentality of those that did. It had frightened him. Not that such things could exist so much as the idea that it could one day happen to him.
The way it had with Jesse.
He could easily have been the victim of Darla or the Master, or something else like Miss French or Ampata. What would have been worse? To die, permanently, or to be born into an eternity of Hell on Earth, hunting his friends and family, the way he had imagined it?
He could never envision any other way for himself. He had known almost from the time he could think about such things as death, that he would die at a young age, probably horribly.
He had dreams, all his life, dreams of death, and pain and things he couldn't understand.
Before he met Buffy, he had always thought that those dreams were telling him that one day his parents would go too far, and he wouldn't wake up from that fall down the stairs. Or that hit on the head would be one too many, and that would be it for him.
Then he met Buffy, and realized that maybe, the dreams were telling him something else.
It was only a matter of time before he died. That much he knew. He always thought he'd be afraid when it happened. Afraid of what would happen to him, how he would wake up. If he would wake up.
When he opened his eyes in that train car, with Petreius' dark eyes staring into his own, all that fear had evaporated. He knew that whatever happened, however he woke up, it was something that he couldn't stop, shouldn't stop.
He welcomed it.
If he had known about this vast new world, with all its intricacies that were opening up to him, he might have been more afraid. As it was, he found himself trying to decipher each and every mind he came into contact with.
It was unlike anything he could have believed…before. In other vampires, he could sense, just from a simple glance, how powerful they were, how old they were. Sometimes, if he concentrated, he'd get a glimpse of what they were hiding. What secrets they kept behind their wise eyes, and dark looks. With other demons sometimes the knowledge was less, sometimes more.
Humans were all too easy to decipher.
Xander wondered if this was a common thing, this insight into the minds of others, but was afraid to know the answer.
What if he was unique? What if he was the freak, even here? Even now?
He'd always felt out of place, back in Sunnydale. When he was a child, sometimes he'd see things. Things he knew weren't normal. Things he'd never talk about, not even with Willow, especially not with Jesse.
Eventually, he stopped seeing them, but he didn't feel any more ordinary. Even after meeting Buffy, and finding out about vampires, Xander felt out of place. He was the normal guy. The guy without any super strength, or powerful mojo. He was the guy with the secret he sometimes dreamt about.
Usually before something apocalyptic was about to happen.
After several minutes, the two vampires arrived in the front of a building. It looked dark from the outside, but both could feel the vibration coming from inside. The feel of the music, and the pulse of life.
Petreius opened the door and waited for his childe to enter. Once they were both inside, the door closed behind them. Xander looked around in curiosity. This place was a club. From all appearances, an underground nightclub. There were people dancing through out the room, a few people milling about around the bar. A small stage held a band that appeared to either haven't started yet, or were on a break.
What held Xander's attention was that he could feel the pulse of life in this place. The scent of life, and excitement and adrenaline. But he could also smell death. Others, like him, frequented this place, and if he concentrated, he could pick them out, tell the difference between mortal and vampire.
"This way." Petreius moved past him towards a room in the back.
Curious, Xander followed him. Inside the room there was a man sitting behind a desk, with a microphone in front of him. The man was speaking into the microphone, his voice a calm, entrancing tone. He appeared to be of similar age to Petreius, but considering he was a vampire, that didn't mean much of anything. His hair was cut short, and gray.
As the vampire spoke into the microphone, his eyes traveled over his new visitors. He showed no outward appearance that their arrival was surprising, nor did he seem incredibly upset by them. His eyes cast a cursory glance over Petreius before moving to Xander, where he spent a considerable longer amount of time.
After a few minutes, the man finished speaking and then flipped a switch on a panel to his right before turning to face Petreius and Xander.
"Brother." The man nodded to Petreius.
"Lucius. This is Alexander." Petreius motioned to Xander. "Alexander, my brother, Lucius LaCroix."
Xander stepped forward and held out a hand. Lucius shook it and eyed the boy closely before turning to face Petreius.
"He is young brother, but well chosen." Lucius turned back to Xander. "Welcome, Alexander."
"Thank you…" Xander hesitated unsure what to call him. Mr. LaCroix sounded extremely pretentious, and Lucius seemed too personal.
"Uncle." Lucius supplied with a small smile. "You may call me uncle." He turned to Petreius, who nodded his approval.
"Okay…uncle." Xander said hesitatingly. He wasn't entirely certain how literal the term 'brother' was.
"We have a bit of a…situation." Lucius began but then focused on Xander once more. "Why don't you have a look around?"
Xander nodded and left the room. Lucius turned to his brother. "He's young."
"Yes, but he has strength, and power, and a wisdom I haven't seen in a long time." Petreius smiled slightly as he watched Xander moving around the club, taking in everything that he saw.
"So, why have I been summoned here, brother? What kind of mess have you gotten yourself into now?"
Xander walked around the club, curiosity warring with his desire to find a quiet corner and think. His curiosity won out. After all he had an eternity to think, didn't he?
The band had started to play and he stood near the bar watching them. The singer was a woman, blond. She seemed very alone, which was weird because the song wasn't overly depressing and people surrounded her. Still, he could sense it about her, and he wasn't really sure why that was, or how comfortable he felt with that knowledge.
She was a vampire. That didn't really surprise him, as this club apparently catered to vampires and mortals who lived on the edge. Still, it was an odd thing to be able to look at someone a few yards away and *know* they weren't really alive.
"She's something, isn't she?"
Xander turned at the voice. It belonged to a man, a vampire, who looked like he was only about ten years older than Xander. However, he could sense that this man's true age was much higher. He had long hair, and kept his eyes on the stage.
"Yeah." Xander agreed, turning back to the woman on the stage and not really sure he was all that thrilled with talking to any more of his kind than was necessary.
"She's yours." Xander said suddenly, with the knowledge that whatever else he didn't know, he *did* know that the sad woman on the stage was made by the vampire he was talking to.
The man blinked, surprised. "If you mean I made her, yes."
Xander nodded, pleased with himself for reasons he couldn't explain.
Xander froze for a second. Did he mean in the general sense, or as a vampire? Was it that easy to tell?
"To the Raven." The man elaborated.
The Raven. That was the name of the club. "Yeah. I'm new in town." Xander offered. "Xander." He turned to face the man more fully, extending his hand, although he wasn't all that sure what the protocol was with other vampires, if there even was any.
"Vachon." The man offered and shook his hand.
It was all very surreal, this shaking hands and introducing each other, like normal people. But they weren't, not normal, not even people.
Before anything else could be said another man came up and started speaking to Vachon. He was standing on his other side, and although he wasn't talking very loudly, if Xander had wanted he could have eavesdropped, but there didn't seem much point.
If he were to guess, they were flirting. It wasn't the blatant way that Anya had spoken to him in their time together back in high school, or the weird insulting way Cordelia had treated him, or even the way Spike sometimes spoke to him. It was subtler. Though they didn't appear to be attempting to hide anything, either from each other, or anyone else.
It seemed kind of strange. The man was obviously a vampire as well, and there was something almost recognizable about him, on a subconscious level, but Xander knew he had never met him before. And again Xander had to wonder how inaccurate his information about vampires was. It seemed to him that if this Vachon wanted this man, and vice versa, here and now, the vampire thing to do would take it. In his experience, vampires didn't care about where they were, or who might be watching, they just…did.
But watching these two interact was more than about lust, and wants and desires. It appeared they were…talking, about real life things. Jobs and life and love.
Could vampires love?
Giles had always told him no. Buffy had said that Angel loved her. Wasn't that why he had lost his soul? Spike had loved Drusilla, if his reaction after their breakup was any indication.
Yes, there was love. It was possible. Xander refused to think about those he loved and what his new life, his new existence would do to that love. It was useless anyway. He doubted he would see any of his friends or family again.
He didn't mind never seeing his family again. There wasn't much there to miss. But his friends and … other people, he would miss them. His phone call to Willow had been brief. He had only told her he was fine and in Toronto. He had mentioned he had met someone interesting, but nothing more.
Xander wasn't sure what made him mention meeting Petreius at all. It wasn't as if she could ever guess what had happened, and even if she did, what could she do about it? Besides, it wasn't as if he needed saving, not yet anyway.
And unless whatever it was that had brought his Sire to Toronto was less of a threat than Petreius was led to believe, his old life was the least of his worries. His sire didn't seem the sort of...person, to leave his home and come to Canada unless he was truly concerned.
What was scary enough to worry a millenia old vampire, and bring the vampiric community to its knees?
A community that was now his own.
Xander was startled away from his inner thoughts by the feel of a pair of eyes watching him. He looked up and into the curious gaze of the man who had been talking to Vachon.
Xander turned around and saw Vachon over by the stage, talking to the blonde singer, his childe.
The vampire who had spoken to Vachon was older than the girl on the stage, but nowhere near as old as either Petreius or Lucius, if the vibe he was getting from his newly enhanced senses was even remotely accurate.
The man was blond, with a scruffy beard and there was something familiar about his eyes. It wasn't the color or shape, or any sense of having met him before, but a loneliness tempered by pain. He recognized the look, though not necessarily the man wearing it.
"Do I know you?" The man asked stepping forward, his eyes studying Xander intensely.
If it weren't for the serious expression in those eyes, Xander would have laughed. If he were in a different place, under different circumstances, he would have thought that was a pick-up line.
"Uh… no." Xander shook his head, smiling wryly at the course of his own thoughts.
The stranger held out his hand. "Nick. Nick Knight."
"Xander." Xander shook the man's hand.
"What brings you to Toronto?" Nick asked, still eyeing Xander intensely.
"Business." Xander answered just as a blond, mortal, woman came up to Nick.
Nick introduced them, and the woman, whose name was Tracy, started talking to Nick about some case, thereby proving Xander's theory that Nick was indeed a cop. The two moved a few feet away to talk in private and Xander tuned them out.
Xander looked around the darkened club. There was the pulse of life in this club. Life and death. The feel of things unknown to him, creatures beyond even his knowledge. Xander wondered if Giles knew places like this existed.
As he turned back to Nick and Tracy, Xander noticed that Vachon had joined them. He watched the three of them, taking note of their body language and the way they spoke to one another.
It was obvious that Tracy knew both vampire's well, though she didn't seem to know that Nick *was* a vampire. She seemed to think very highly of Vachon. Xander thought he could detect pheromones coming off of her, but he wasn't quite accustomed to his new senses, so he wasn't sure. He wondered if she was aware that Nick and Vachon carried each others scent, and what that was likely to mean.
Continuing to watch, Xander noticed that after Tracy left, Nick and Vachon stepped closer to one another and their voices lowered. Vachon looked up briefly and looked over at Xander but he seemed intent on his conversation.
Xander knew they were talking about him. He also knew that he could probably stretch his vampiric hearing enough to listen in, but oddly enough, he wasn't all that interested in doing so.
"I see you've met your cousin."
The voice behind him didn't startle him and Xander realized that at least on a subconscious level he'd been aware of his sire's presence.
"Who are they?" Xander asked, his eyes still on the two vampires.
"Nicholas, I think he's calling himself now, is your cousin. Lucius is his sire. He fights against what we are."
Xander nodded. He now recognized the look in Nick's eyes as one he had seen in Angel's. "And Vachon?"
"Lucius tells me he has only recently come to Toronto. He has a unique history. Perhaps he will share it with you, but for now, we must go."
"Xander turned around for the first time. "Trouble?"
Xander stood up and followed Petreius out of the club, all too aware of the two pairs of eyes, which followed him.
"Well?" Spike demanded impatiently as Angel entered the apartment and took off his coat.
The older vampire ignored his Childe and went into the kitchen to heat up some dinner. It had been an extremely long night, and he wasn't in the mood for Spike's petulance. His blood was halfway through the heating cycle when Spike joined him in the kitchen, scowl firmly in place.
"Damn you, Angelus, are you gonna get this chip removed or not?"
Angel didn't even turn around. He waiting for the microwave to finish and walked across the small space, neatly avoiding the younger vampire. Once his dinner was finished, and his glass cleaned, he turned to face Spike.
"I found a guy. He said he'd do it."
"You found a guy?" Spike repeated. He was almost too surprised to notice the way in which Angel had answered him. Almost. "What exactly do you mean by 'you found a guy'?"
Angel didn't answer, and Spike didn't really expect him to.
"Do you mean, you just spent the past five hours *looking* for your guy… or do you mean, you knew exactly where to find him?"
Angel still remained silent, though he knew it would anger Spike. But he wasn't about to answer him, and he didn't want to lie to him either. He held perfectly still, anticipating the blow that would be coming.
Therefore he was surprised when Spike quietly left the kitchen. A few seconds later he heard the front door slam shut. Angel was tempted to go after him. It was nearing sunset. But Spike was a big boy and could take care of himself, as Spike had repeatedly reminded him in the five days they'd been together.
Angel had known this would happen. The moment he'd heard about Spike's 'problem' he'd known that sooner or later Spike would come to him, would want his help in removing it. He knew that Spike expected him to do no less. If not for the fact that he was his Sire and therefore responsible for him, than for the fact that he loved him.
That fact had never been in dispute. Not even when the Gypsies had cursed him and he had eventually left him with Dru. Not when he had shown up in Sunnydale and Angel had *helped* the Slayer. Even after everything they'd been through; there had always been love.
Spike loved more deeply than any vampire Angel had ever known, with or without a soul. And contrary to the popular opinion, he wasn't the only vampire walking around with a soul in his or her dead body. There were also vampires who lived by different codes. Vampire's who had values, and something else that used to mean something, even among their kind.
Usually such vampires were headed by master's who'd lived for a very long time. Master's who remembered the old ways, and never lost who they were, even once they became the walking dead.
Angel had met such a vampire once. Not the master, but a childe much older than he was. He had been young at the time, less than fifty years a vampire. She was several centuries his senior and showed him things he could barely ever conceive of. She had tried to teach him that he need not be what his Sire wanted, that, Childe or not, he could do what he wanted to. A true Master would want that for their children. She spoke of her Sire with an affection Angel couldn't understand.
But then, at the time, he hadn't understood much of anything she had tried to teach him.
They had parted ways after a too-short time, and Angel often wondered what happened to her. Was she still around? Was she still so happy with her unlife?
After he had returned from Hell, Angel thought about her often. He had spent so much time there, doubting what was real, what he knew about himself, and the others of his kind, he often wondered if he'd only imagined her.
Since his return from *that* place, Angel had realized a lot of things about himself, not the least of which was you couldn't change the past. He'd stopped brooding over all the things he'd done, all the lives he'd taken, and started trying to make a difference in the here and now. Who knew what would happen when he was finally staked?
He had a purpose now, and a family, as unusual as it was. Spike was part of that, no matter how he acted. Just as he'd known the moment he heard about the chip that Spike would eventually come to him, he'd known that he *would* help him. He could do no less. He wouldn't even want to.
He'd known that the day would come when Spike would come to him, and he'd do anything to help. He'd been prepared for what would happen. Where he would have to go, and what sacrifice he would have to make. The price wasn't too high, could never be too high, but he was probably the only one who would see it that way.
Judging from Spike's reaction, the younger vampire knew the price, and couldn't believe he'd paid it.
But what else could he do?
Javier watched the two vampires as they left the club. There was definitely something off about them. The younger one was obviously extremely young, but there was something about him.
"Who are they?" He asked as he turned to Nick.
Nick followed Vachon's gaze, though the vampires were no longer there.
"The older is Petreius LaCroix."
Vachon raised an eyebrow. He recognized the name. "And the younger?"
"I don't know." Nick admitted.
"You think they're here because of the dead?" Vachon whispered.
They were silent for a few minutes, each in their own thoughts.
"I saw Bishon earlier." Nick said finally. "I came to see if you'd heard anything."
"Bishon? Here in Toronto?" Vachon shook his head.
"Enforcers in Toronto are never a good sign." Nick agreed.
"Hiro Yamato is here as well." Vachon shared as he looked around the club, trying to see if he could recognize any other out-of-place visitors.
"It's true. The council has called a meeting." A soft feminine voice stated.
Nick and Vachon turned to face the new voice, Vachon's eyes widening slightly while Nick smiled broadly.
"Janette." Nick stood up and embraced her. "What are you doing here?"
Janette smiled. "He called. We were summoned." She answered simply, turning her dark eyes to Vachon. "Is this him?"
Nick smiled. "Yes."
"Javier Vachon." Vachon offered, kissing Janette's hand.
"A pleasure." Janette winked as she turned to Nick.
"I'll…" Vachon stood up, looking between Nick and Janette. "I'll see you later." He said, squeezing Nick shoulder before disappearing into the crowd.
Janette watched Vachon weave his way through the dancers. "He suits you." She said turning her gaze back to Nick. "He's very…attractive."
"What's going on?" Nick asked, not rising to the bait.
"I was in Europe. Michel was summoned. Here I am." Janette spread her hands. "Is Petreius really here?" She asked curiously.
"Yes. He brought a young one with him."
"Interesting." Janette looked around the darkened club she used to call home.