Lost and Found
He awoke by degrees; sensations slowly returning to cold extremities, though his mind remained infuriatingly blank as he tried to remember who and how and where and why.
He was lost, adrift in a sea of confusion and impulse, hunger and fear, and so much loneliness and need he wanted to howl, to rend and scream, to forge the bond he knew was missing deep inside.
One hand on his shoulder pulled him into a tight embrace; a second pressed his face against cool flesh.
"Drink from your Sire, Xan. Drink and accept your birthright as a new Aurelius Childe."
"Where exactly are we?"
"Heading for Missouri, Pet, remember? That last great aunt of Cornfed's and her whelps are there, down south a ways. You fell asleep an hour outside Peoria so I just drove. You've got a bloody death grip on that map!"
"You know I know we're taking care of Riley Finn-shaped business. When I asked you where we were I meant a name, a town... a State? I only wondered 'cause I'm pretty sure I just saw 'Welcome to Indiana' on a road sign back before you took that left..."
"You sayin' we're lost?"
Always Keep a Spare
Spike lay, waiting patiently, for him, which meant mild cursing, while Xander scoured the floor around the bed.
"I didn't hear it land, did you? It didn't hit the wall. It's all your fault for tickling me like that!"
"Like to hear you squeal, I do, and you know your squirming always gets me hot. Now calm yourself, it's gotta be down there somewhere, after all. Unless there's a bloody portal under the bed. Again."
Xander blanched and dropped onto all fours to take a look.
"No portals, just some fluff, and a key to a set of vamp-proof handcuffs..."
Xander watched his family interacting over dinner and for the very first time felt secure. Dru had made it plain she wanted Angelus, not his Spike.
"You sure that poofy soul of yours is lost for good this time? No witchling's gonna stick it on again?"
Dru giggled and rapped Spike's knuckles with a fork.
"Daddy's nasty spark has been snuffed out. Pff! Gone! There's nothing left to stick on if they try." She pouted prettily. "Are you going to let me taste your kitten before you leave? I'll only take a tiny little nip."
"Hands off, Princess. He's mine."