Pairing: Spike/Connor/Lester, Angel/Becker
Word Count: This part: 3,842 (total:13,458)
Summary: Lester’s children come to stay.
Notes: #9 in the Spike at the ARC series- full list here. This whole series is set in series 3.
Houseguests, pt 2
Lester walked toward the canteen with his daughter, Spike excusing himself and going off to find Connor. Whether it was to give Lester a bit of time with Jessica as he’d said, or just because he wanted to find Connor, Lester wasn’t sure. Either way, he was glad that Jessica’s mood had improved. She seemed to have taken a shine to Spike, even if he was apparently telling her way too much about things she shouldn’t be hearing.
“So what exactly did Spike say about Angel and Becker?” he asked casually as they took their sandwiches and Jessica’s slice of chocolate cake to a table and sat down. This was harder than he’d expected. How exactly did one have this conversation with a twelve year old? Maybe it was payback for his managing to avoid the birds and the bees talk with both of the kids earlier in their lives.
Jessica shrugged her shoulders. “Nothing. Just that Angel was Becker’s boyfriend. And that he’s Connor’s,” she added.
He’d told her? What the hell else had he said?
“Does it bother you that Spike and Connor are together? That they’re both boys.”
Shaking her head, Jessica struggled to unfasten the cardboard wrapper on the sandwiches one handed, eventually letting her dad take over and open it for her.
“No. It’s kind of cute.”
Lester ate his sandwich as he listened to Jessica telling him about the essay she was writing and the film she’d seen last week with her friends, all the while thinking about her utter lack of concern over the fact that Spike and Connor were in a relationship. He had expected her to be surprised at least.
Two days later, Lester was still thinking about it. Jessica had gone back to school this morning, meaning that he got a bit of time alone with Spike and Connor. Not much, as they had to set off to the ARC in a few minutes, but it was enough.
“I’ve been thinking about talking to Jessica,” Lester said casually. “About us. I’m not saying that I’d tell her everything, just maybe see how she’d feel about it.”
Spike nodded. “Well, she didn’t seem too bothered by Angel and Becker, or when she asked me about Connor. Apparently one of her mates at school has a brother who she and this mate walked in on with his boyfriend,” he informed Lester with a grin.
Lester sighed. That was the kind of thing he was worried about in the flat; although they had been careful, eventually someone was going to slip up and she was going to see something she shouldn’t. He would rather talk to her first than have her finding out in that way. But no matter how she seemed to be handling the knowledge about the others, it would be a bit different being her own dad.
“What about David?” Connor asked. “He seems pretty comfortable with me and Spike but I don’t think he’d really understand.”
He wouldn’t, Lester knew that. They would have to save that talk until he was a bit older. Glancing at his watch, Lester stood, picking up his jacket and briefcase.
“Come on, or we’re going to be late.”
Connor and Spike shared a look and before Lester knew it, he had an armful of Connor. Spike grabbed the briefcase and jacket from him at the same time as Connor spun Lester around and backed him against the door, going in for a kiss. This time, alone in the flat, there was none of the uneasy expectation of getting caught, or having to keep quiet in case one of the kids heard.
“Hey, let me have a turn,” Spike complained, easing in to take Connor’s place, pressed up against Lester as he kissed him.
“Do you think anyone would notice if we were an hour or so late?” Connor asked hopefully.
It was tempting, but Lester shook his head. “We can’t. I’ve got a meeting at nine thirty. One I can’t miss, even though I would much rather be here, back in bed with you two.”
Spike sighed, releasing Lester and reaching up to straighten his tie. He handed Lester the jacket and briefcase again.
“I’ve got a better idea,” he said, a mischievous gleam in his eyes. “Meet me in bunk room two at noon.”
Lester frowned. “There are cameras in there, you realise that, don’t you?”
Spike waved a hand dismissively. “Not like they work. Danny figured out how to loop the surveillance feed ages ago. Where do you think he vanishes off to when he wants a nap and doesn’t want anyone to find him?”
Well, you learn something new every day, Lester thought, making a mental note to look there if ever Quinn went AWOL again.
“I am not having sex in the bunk rooms,” Lester informed him. “It’s against regulations; we could get fired for that. And besides, it’s tacky.”
Lester rolled his eyes. “No.”
“Spoilsport,” Spike grumbled, pouting.
As it happened, there was no time to play at work anyway. No sooner had they arrived than the detector sounded, sending them out for what would only be the first anomaly of the day. The second alert came before the first team had returned, opening up in a shopping mall in the middle of Leeds. As Abby, Connor, Becker and Danny were already out at the first site, it fell to Spike and Angel to deal with the second, along with Sarah.
“Are you two going to be alright to deal with this?” Sarah asked the two vampires, given that it was still daytime outside.
Angel nodded. “Most shopping malls don’t rely on windows for lighting the place up so we’ll be able to keep out of the sun. You’re driving, though.”
They piled into the vehicles, the two vampires in the centre seats, blankets at the ready in case the sun shifted enough to catch them through the front windscreen. They didn’t need them, though, the heavy, one-way tint that Lester had ordered applied to the vehicle windows so that the vampires could travel in them was effective in keeping out the sun. Three of Becker’s soldiers squeezed in as well and they were off.
The mall was ideal for the vampires; it was possible to get around almost the entire place without encountering any natural light. The car park had given them a bit of trouble, but Sarah had pulled the vehicle up right next to the entrance so that they could make a run for it. When a security guard tried to tell her to move it, she ignored him, letting Becker’s men inform him that they’d park where they bloody well liked, thank you very much.
“First floor,” she announced, checking the detector in her hand and then pointing. She need not have bothered, as a loud roar alerted them to the location of the anomaly as well as answering the question of whether anything had come through.
The anomaly had appeared in the middle of a clothing shop, panicking shoppers and staff alike, who had then run screaming from the shop when the two creatures came barging through.
“What are they?” Angel asked, watching the two dinosaurs as they proceeded to eat their way though the entire inventory of Chrissie’s Cookies, next door to the clothes shop.
“Haven’t a bloody clue,” Spike replied. “They’re gonna be sick, eating all those cookies.”
Sarah was standing just behind the two of them, looking at the shop front.
“There’s a shutter on the Cookie kiosk,” she whispered. “If we can close that, we can contain them until we work out how to get them back.”
Both vampires turned to her. “Why are you whispering? The greedy buggers are too busy getting a sugar rush to notice us,” Spike pointed out.
While they were distracted, Angel began edging his way toward the two creatures, one of the soldiers at his side, moving slowly so as not to attract their attention. One of the creatures spotted them as they got near and let out a roar to alert its companion but, before they could get back out over the counter, Angel and the soldier had them both tranquilised.
Spike came up beside them, looking at the two unconscious creatures on the floor in the narrow shop, broken cookies littering the floor, the dinosaurs’ mouths lined with crumbs and chocolate smudges.
“Question for you, genius,” he asked Angel. “How the hell do you plan to get them out of there and back through the anomaly now they’re out cold?”
Angel opened his mouth, ready to offer a sarcastic reply, when he stopped. He looked back at the dinosaurs and the tiny staff door at the back of the kiosk, then to the smirk on Spike’s face.
“Oh, shut up. What was your great plan, anyway?” he asked. “Make them follow a trail of cookies back to the anomaly?”
“’Would have been a lot better than having to drag the flamin’ things back to it.”
It took them an hour to haul the dinosaurs back to the anomaly, even with the vampires’ superior strength, the soldiers and the help of three of the mall’s security guards. Sarah set up an anomaly locking device and closed it down into a tight ball of light in the air, advising the owner of the clothes shop to keep it closed until the anomaly disappeared. He was more than willing to do so, having no desire to even go back inside to check the damage never mind open it up again while the anomaly was still there.
By the time they got back to the ARC it was late and everyone else had gone home. Becker was still there, waiting for Angel, and offering to give Spike a lift home as well.
When he got inside the flat, Connor, Lester and the children were just finishing their tea.
“Spike! We saved you some spaghetti Bolognese,” Jessica announced.
Spike smiled at her. “Thanks, pet, but we stopped for something to eat on the way back.”
Jessica looked a bit disappointed.
“I’d love a cuppa, though.”
She beamed and hurried off to get him a mug, pouring him some from the teapot in the middle of the table.
“Guess what? I got an A for my essay!” she told him. “Miss Gupta said it was the best one.”
Letting Jessica tell him all about her first day back at school, Spike sat back and wondered how the hell his life had ended up like this. He’d spent hundreds of years being the bad boy, the rebel; he’d never expected to end up with a job and a read-made family. Sure, he’d taken care of Dawn in Sunnydale, and he’d even been one of the gang back there, but kids? Far from making him run for the hills as he’d thought it would, he actually liked it. This was the life he’d wanted when he was human, even if the ‘nice girl to settle down with’ had turned into two men.
“So, how did it go in Leeds?” Connor asked. “Any problems?”
Spike glanced at the children, listening to his every word. “Two trespassers,” he said carefully, “but we sent them back where they belonged. No injuries, but it’s still open. We had to leave the lads there to guard it.”
“Guard what?” David asked, chewing on his spaghetti.
“Please don’t talk with your mouth full,” Lester told him, before turning to Spike and Connor. “We can discuss this later.”
They got the chance a few hours later when David had gone to bed and Jessica was in her room, playing with Nancy and Sid. When she emerged to get a drink and all conversation in the living room stopped, she frowned. Staring at them for a moment, she went to get a glass of orange juice and went straight back to her room.
“So, we never did get to finish what we started this morning,” Spike said quietly, sliding closer to Lester on the sofa. “How’s about we head off to bed… Come on, James. It’ll be fine; no one was any the wiser the last time.”
The door to Jessica’s room opened again and she went to the kitchen to put her glass in the sink and Spike put some space between him and Lester again. Coming back, she stopped in the doorway, her hands on her hips.
“Every time I come in here you all stop talking,” she said, looking between them. “You were doing it the other day, too. I’m not a kid; I know that something is going on.”
“It’s nothing, love.”
“Are you talking about me?” she asked, the bravado fading slightly. “You are, aren’t you?”
Lester got to his feet, hurrying over to her. “We weren’t talking about you, I promise. We were just talking about work.”
“No you weren’t,” she insisted. “Or you would have just said that.”
Glancing back to Spike and Connor, Lester nodded minutely. If he’d been waiting for the right time, then it had just arrived kicking and screaming at his feet. The pair of them excused themselves, giving Lester and Jessica some privacy to talk. Lester knew where they’d be to come and find them when he was finished.
Jessica watched them leave before turning her worried expression to her dad as he led her to the sofa to sit down. For a while, they sat in silence as he worked out in his mind how to broach the subject, how to explain it to her.
“You know how your mum has been seeing Adam?” he began. She nodded. “Do you mind?”
She shook her head, frowning, looking confused as to where this was leading. “I like Adam. He’s kind of old but he’s nice.”
“He’s a year younger than me! That’s not old.” No, Lester told himself; that wasn’t the point. “What if I were to start seeing someone, too? You and David would always be the most important people in my life, that won’t change,” he added quickly. “And I would never try and replace your mum; no one could ever take that away.”
“I know, dad.”
Lester gauged her reactions as he continued. “When we were talking the other day, you didn’t seem uncomfortable with the fact that both Angel and Becker were men, and that they were dating,” Then, quieter, “How would you feel if I began dating a man?”
She was silent for a while, fiddling with a piece of cotton on the cuff of her pyjama sleeve, and Lester wondered if he should have just kept his mouth shut and not said anything. Her reactions the other day had been encouraging but perhaps this was pushing her too far.
“Are you?” she asked, still not looking at him.
“Am I what?”
“Going out with a man.”
Now or never, Lester told himself. “Yes. Jessica, I know you must have questions and I just want you to know that you can ask me anything.”
“Does mum know?”
Lester nodded. He had talked to Amelia about Connor and Spike a few months ago, right after they had been outed by Helen at the ARC. She attended the same gym as one of the women who worked in payroll for the ARC and, as with Jessica, he didn’t want her to find out through rumours and gossip.
“We talked about it and she said she just wants me to be happy,” he said. “Just as I’m glad that your mum is happy with Adam.”
Jessica looked up then, as though once she knew her mum was okay with it, then she could be as well. She did look a bit concerned when Lester continued, however.
“There’s something else,” he told her. “You know how most times there are two people, either men or women, in a relationship? Well, sometimes it’s three people.”
She smiled. “Like on Jeremy Kyle? There was this programme where the man had two girlfriends and they didn’t like each other and when they came on stage one of them slapped the other-”
Bloody hell, what had she been allowed to watch?
“Not exactly, love. Sometimes, it can be three people who all love each other and they all get along really well.” He took a deep breath and said quickly, “Spike and Connor don’t just live here, they live with me. They’re both my boyfriends,” he added, seeing the slightly confused look on her face.
He could see her thinking it over, the slight frown on her face as she worked through the information in her own mind
“Jessica, if there’s anything you want to ask-”
She stood up. “Can I go to bed now?”
When he didn’t come to find them, Connor and Spike let themselves into his room to find him sitting on the bed, just staring into space.
“It didn’t go well then, I take it?” Connor asked sitting down beside him.
Lester just shook his head.
“What did she say?”
“Not a lot. She just said she wanted to go to bed and left.”
Spike crouched in front of him, hands on Lester’s knees to balance himself. “She’s a sharp kid,” he said. “Probably just wants to be on her own to get her head ‘round this. Give her a bit of time and she’ll be fine.”
“I hope so. What if she says something to David?” Lester said. “I can’t even think of having that conversation just yet.”
Connor smiled. “It’s a shame there isn’t one of those help books for kids that you could give him. Like those ones for dealing with bereavement.”
“I don’t think they make one for ‘Daddy and mummy got divorced and now daddy is living with two men’,” Spike pointed out. “Or a ‘Daddy is shagging a vampire’ one either.”
“You know, we should write one,” Connor suggested. “We could corner the market on this one.”
Spike laughed. “As far as we know, me and Angel are the only vamps here. So, unless Becker’s got a kid he’d not telling us about, I’m not sure there’d be much demand for it. Now if it was for Becker, you’d do better with a ‘How to train your nancy-boy vampire’.”
As Lester smiled at their bickering, Connor gave him a hug. “That’s better. Now, how about we all get some sleep and talk to her in the morning when she’s had time to process this. It was kind of a big thing for her to find out.”
He and Spike stood up to go back to their room, not wanting to make the situation worse by Jessica finding them in with Lester.
“I reckon you ought to tell her about me, too,” Spike said as they left. “She seemed more pissed that you were keeping things from her; one more big secret isn’t going to help.”
The following morning, Jessica emerged from her bedroom for breakfast and sat down at the table in silence. She mumbled a thank you when Connor poured her some cocoa-pops and passed her the milk but other than that, she didn’t say a word. David obviously knew that something was wrong as he kept looking between them, as though hoping that one of them would tell him. When no one did, he sighed and went back to his cereal.
“Are you taking me to school today, dad?” he asked a few minutes later, dutifully taking his empty bowl to the sink.
Lester nodded. “Jessica, will it be okay if Connor gives you a lift to school?” When she shrugged her shoulders, he took it as a yes. “Connor, take the car then you and Spike can come straight to the ARC. David and I don’t mind a walk, do we?”
David looked happy with the thought of having his dad to talk to for the whole walk to school and hurried off to get his coat and bag, practically dragging his dad out of the door.
“So, pet, let’s have it,” Spike said to Jessica. “Whatever’s on your mind: tell us to piss off and stay away from your dad if you like. Just talk to us.”
At that, she looked up at him, surprised. “What? No! I wouldn’t do that. It’s just…”
“Just what?” Connor asked.
“I don’t understand how he could love mum and then suddenly like boys too. I mean, don’t you like one or the other?”
“Not necessarily,” Spike told her. “Before I met your dad and Connor, I was involved with a lass called Drusilla for a long time. Thought she was the love of my life. Then there was Buffy. Thought I loved her too, for a while,” he mused. “Anyway, my point is that sometimes it’s not one or the other; sometimes you just love who you love.”
She smiled at him for the first time that morning. “Okay. But he still should have told me,” she said, the smile fading again.
“He didn’t know how to,” Connor said. “He was worried that if you didn’t approve, that you wouldn’t want to spend time with him. He didn’t want to lose you.”
Connor stood up and handed Jessica her coat. “Come on, time for school. Your dad will not be happy with us if you’re late.”
They were headed toward the car, parked in the underground car park under Lester’s block of flats, when Jessica paused and frowned at Spike.
“Why have you brought a blanket with you?”
Spike draped an arm over her shoulders and gave her a hug. “That, my little niblet, is a story for another time.”
The anomaly detector started wailing at around noon and causing Lester to look up from his paperwork. Two days of peace and quiet, he thought. He’d been enjoying the opportunity to get caught up on paperwork that didn’t involve field reports and requisitions to replace whatever equipment the team had broken while out chasing creatures. Between that and Becker’s constant requests for new gadgets and guns, he found himself saying no rather a lot.
“Lester, we’ve got another anomaly,” Connor announced, barging into his office.
Lester arched an eyebrow. “Yes, I can hear the alarms.”
Connor ignored his sarcasm. “It’s in the grounds of Greenfields School.”
When Lester appeared next to the vehicles, glaring at Danny until he relinquished his claim on the front seat, no one commented. Sure, they eyed him curiously, wondering why he was suddenly coming out to an anomaly with them. When Spike and Angel climbed in the back as well, Becker frowned.
“Are you sure you want to come? We can’t guarantee the anomaly will be under cover,” he told the two vampires.
The two of them didn’t move, staying seated.
“Greenfields is my daughter’s school,” Lester told Becker. “I won’t get in your way or interfere with your command, but I’m going.”
“Us too,” Spike announced, Angel agreeing with him.
Becker nodded, knowing that in Lester’s place he would do the same, and started the engine.