Bliss Took Hold 26
by Danielle


“Uh, yeah. Something I’m trying.” Angel brushed crumbs off of his sleeveless tee and stood up, embarrassed. Spike, Xander, and Riley rose and started picking up wrappers and food.


“Guys, this is Lance,” Dawn announced. The blonde boy stepped forward and stuck out his hand. He had an expressive face, but what caught attention were his big green eyes. “Lance, this is Spike, Angel, Xander, and Riley.”


“Nice to meet you,” Lance shook hands with each of them. “Why’s it weird that you’re eating?”


“Oh, uh...he’s anorexic,” Dawn cut in, her eyes glittering as she strived for seriousness. Angel furrowed his brow while Xander, Riley, and Spike made successful attempts not to laugh.


“Wow! Sorry, man. Didn’t mean to get to personal there,” he started to apologize.


“It’s alright, mate. It helps for people to know about such a *serious* disease...” Spike grinned jauntily as he wrapped an arm around his sire’s shoulders. It was clear that he was enjoying tormenting Angel. The older vampire set his jaw and struggled not to hit his childe.


“So, we getting started or what?” Dawn clapped her hands together and headed towards the stairs. “I’ve gotta change into something more workout-y, be right back. Spike, be nice.” With that, she bounded up the steps and out of sight.


Spike looked the Nibblet’s new beau up and down, circling him appraisingly.


Lance watched him warily, commenting, “Dawn said you’d be protective...but I’m really not a bad guy, scouts honor…” He raised his right hand in the scout salute.


Spike just raised a nonplussed eyebrow. Without breaking eye contact with his prey, he addressed Angel. 


“Peaches? About how many scouts did we tear limb from limb in our day?” This was going to be a blast.




Hours later and the group was relaxing after a hard training session. Angel had gone over the basics of Tai Chi with Riley and Spike complained about the ‘bloody ballerinas’. The blonde vampire led the warm-up; then coached the teenagers on technique and form.  Xander sparred with them, but mainly he watched Spike.


The blonde vampire was all business when it came to training. He had a way of being gentle and demanding, inspiring Dawn and Lance to really push themselves.  It made Xander consider what Spike said about a Master Vampire’s need to instruct. //Angel’s not the only one, Fangless.// he thought.


Lance cast a playful look at Dawn, “So, you spend afternoons working out with buff guys--nope, not feeling insecure at all...”


She giggled and lazily swatted him.


“Bit needs to protect herself, who better to help her than us?” Spike had started to spar with Angel again and although Xander could tell they were pulling punches for Lance’s sake, it was still a spectacular show. Spike jumped up, grabbing a low hanging beam and swinging a kick into the older vampire.  He let go of the beam and flipped backwards, landing on his feet. Angel socked him in the jaw and the blonde swept his feet out from under him.


“You always were more of a kicker, Spike...” Angel grunted as he used a leg movement to hop to his feet from flat on his back.


“Says the man who was doing pirouettes only minutes ago, bloody Poof!” He chuckled as he walked off. “I’m done. Goin’ up for a snack, mate.” Angel perked up and followed him.


The vampires headed to the kitchen to heat up dinner, Spike glaring at the teenager--and making them spring apart guiltily--before disappearing up the stairs.


They heated their blood in uncomfortable silence. Spike waited until his sire was taking the first drink to speak.


“Seems like Soldier-boy’s feeling better--what’s Buffy gonna think of you claiming him?”


Angel choked on the blood and took a few deep, unneeded breaths before answering.


“I’m not--“


Spike leaned to Angel and bared his neck. “You see these, Angel? Your mark--over a century since you usurped Dru, becoming my sire and it’s fading to *nothing*. So’s the bond; I know you feel it too.”


The darker vampire sighed. “I know. It’s like losing a piece of myself.” He downed the rest of his blood, furrowing his brow and looking utterly alone.


“Pathetic, isn’t it?” Spike snarked as he pulled Angel into a hug.


“You in the same hell I am?”


The blonde chuckled at the rare vulnerability in his sire’s muffled voice and he pulled away gently. “Never was much of a brooder, mate. I’ve got the whelp and the Bit to keep me busy...” Spike said as he heated more blood and refilled their cups.  “But I don’t fancy watching the Slayer dust you either.”


“Somehow I don’t think it’ll come to that.” The older vampire had a strange look on his face.  “She already knows.”


“What happened?”


Angel looked around the room, not meeting Spike’s eyes. “Buffy’s noticed what’s been going on between Riley and me, but she doesn’t seem to mind. When she went out with me, slaying was still new to her and she was more *there*. But now, with him, with everybody, she’s remote.  Riley needs guidance, acceptance, and darkness, something I can give him.”


“So you’re what--the missing piece?”


“It just feels right. The three of us complete something that two couldn’t. I don’t know how it happened, but I care for Riley.”


“And he’s the perfect pupil. You’re going to claim him, aren’t you?”


The brunette shrugged unconvincingly. “We still have to talk about it, but we’ve got time and we’re okay.”


“He doesn’t get jealous with you and the Slayer? Or has that come up yet?”


“There have been...moments...with Buffy. Kissing. Not all out, just--more familiar contact. But it feels like we’re all just...together.”


“Wait. He saw you *kiss* and Soldierboy didn’t go nuclear?” Spike took a gulp of blood to cover his surprise.


“ It was just a peck, and he came over to us. We spent the night in her room...just holding each other. It was nice. Complicated, but nice. When things between Buffy and I were good, it was--” Angel stopped, at a loss for words. The hope in his eyes was unmistakable. “...But you’re right. I’ll always see her as everything normal and pure in this world, and Buffy needs someone to idolize her the way Riley does. I love them both. Nothing’s certain yet though--”


“Ha! You’re in the ‘let’s not talk about what’s going on to avoid bolluxing it up’ phase. Scary place to be, mate.”


”Just don’t--”


“--tell anyone. I got it.”


“Anyway, you’re doing the same thing with the boy and you know it...”


“I don’t know if this little infatuation he has is going to last! Besides, thanks to Angelus, I don’t know the first thing about claiming anyway.” He cut his eyes at Angel, hoping he’d take the hint.


The older vampire cleared his throat, trying to make it casual. “Well...first you take him, and he takes you...”


“Already did that, remember? You were bloody there—wait! That doesn’t mean you claimed him too, does it?” Alarm shot through Spike at the thought of sharing Xander again.


Angel chuckled, “No, Spike. It doesn’t work that way. There’s another step in the process, but it takes a while. When you claim someone, it’s as strong as a sire/childe relationship, only...slower and more dangerous...” 


“Just spill it already, you wanker!” The suspense was killing him.


“Over the course of a few months, you have to exchange small amounts of blood. Enough to change Xander without turning him. It’s a precise balance: you don’t want to give too much too fast.”


“What happens if it goes to hell?”


“Depends. Could kill him...could drive him crazy.” The older vampire met his eyes, ”But it won’t come to that. Exchange no more than a cup a week for two months and he’ll be fine.”


“Sounds like a bloody recipe!”


Angel ignored him. “There’s a text in Latin to finalize the whole deal, but mainly you both need to exchange true statements of love...”


“Like wedding vows?” Spike was in a tailspin.


Angel smirked, “Sort of...we’ll go over the Latin later. When we have more time.”


The blonde reluctantly agreed and they headed downstairs to join the others.


Spike’s head was spinning just thinking about claiming Xander. He and the boy could belong to each other for eternity. //Getting ahead of yourself, aren’t you? Gotta see if the human’s feelings stick first.//


He turned his thoughts to a less pessimistic subject.  //Peaches, Pyle, and the Slayer together, actually making it work.  Angel did crave a protégé; it was part of a Master Vampire’s instinct to parent those they created. And Soldier Boy genuinely seemed to need it right now...//


Angel and Spike were at the foot of the stairs when the blonde saw the panicked expression on Xander’s face.


“Done with your V-8 break, guys? Why didn’t you leave your *drinks* upstairs? You know I hate tomato!”  The dark-haired human’s eyes widened in a ‘have you lost your undead minds?’ face.


Spike realized that they’d brought their half-full mugs with them, and quickly drained his before grabbing Angel’s mug and heading back in the kitchen.  







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