His Bad Penny

by Saber ShadowKitten






Prologue



Spike rolled his eyes at the conversation going on in front of him. It was getting harder for him to curb the impulse to jump in and tell the twits they were all pathetic idiots. If the upcoming fight against a monolithicus demon wasn't going to be a real bloodbath -- his favorite type of fight -- he wouldn't be there at all. As it was, because Riley the wonder-pug was with them, he had to play Xander's hick friend again so the soldier boy wouldn't put two and two together and get Hostile 17.

"Riley, how long have you been doing this, huh?" Buffy asked.

"After training-" Riley began, only to be cut off by her.

"I've been doing this since I was fifteen, remember? Fifteen," Buffy said.

"And we've been helping since we were sixteen," Xander added. "And I'm going to be in therapy for eternity because of it."

"Lots of evil slayed by us Slayerettes," Willow chimed in.

"I think we know what we're doing, and I'm getting sick of telling you the same thing every time we go to kill the baddie," Buffy finished.

"I just don't want you to get hurt," Riley said, looking directly at Buffy.

Spike was going to heave.

"I don't want any of you to get hurt," Riley continued. "I've had specific training-"

"Papa!"

Everyone stopped talking at the child's voice coming from behind them, each of them immediately tensing in preparedness for an attack.

"Papa! Wait!"

They turned and saw a little Hispanic girl with short black hair in a blue plaid skirt, navy sweater, and navy knee-highs running straight towards them. Buffy, Riley, Willow and Xander all stared in shock when Spike dropped down to his knees and engulfed the girl in his arms.

"Penny, what are you doing here?" Spike said with surprise in his voice, holding the tiny girl tight.

"I knew you weren't dead," Penny said, her small arms wrapped around his neck. "I just knew it."

Spike closed his eyes and inhaled the sweet smell of soap and baby powder. Penny's little heart was pounding as he hugged her close. Oh hell, he thought. He hadn't realized how much he really missed her.

"Uh, is there something you want to share with the class?" Buffy said.

Spike stood, picking the little girl up as he did. She lay her head on his shoulder and he could feel her warm breath against his neck, reminding him of the hundreds of times he'd held her this way before. He looked at the three completely shocked faces and chuckled.

"I'd like you to meet Penny," he said, then gave them a smile. "My daughter."

"Your what?" Buffy stared at him with incredulity.

"You heard me," Spike said.

"But how can a va-" Xander began.

"Xander," Willow hissed in warning.

"-sectomized guy have a daughter?" the brunette finished.

"Guess you'll never know," Spike taunted. He turned his back to the other four and glanced around. Spotting a bench, he headed over to it and sat down, Penny still in his arms.

"Now, Miss Bad Penny Angelus, tell me why you're not in school where you belong," he said, running his hand lightly up and down his daughter's back.

"Because I wanted to find you," Penny replied. "You told me the only person I can trust is myself, and when Sister Mary Margaret said you died, I knew it wasn't the truth."

It was almost the truth, Spike thought, remembering when he'd called the boarding school with the "official" notification of his death. It had been just before he'd tried to stake himself, and he'd wanted to make sure his little girl would be taken care of after he was dust. Once he'd found out he could still kill demons -- beggers couldn't be chosers -- and he decided to stay alive, as it were, he chose not to tell the school it had been a mistake, thinking it would be better for her. He hadn't seen, written or spoken to Penny since the day before he'd returned to Sunnydale and had gotten captured by the Initiative, way back in November.

Spike ignored Willow and Buffy, who had moved to stand near the bench he was sitting on with Penny. "How did you know where to find me?" he asked his little girl.

"I called Granpoof," Penny answered.

"You didn't," Spike said with a groan.

"She did," Angel said from behind the younger vampire. Spike chuckled softly at the shock and pain that he saw flash across the Slayer's face.

"Buffy," Angel greeted quietly.

"Angel," Buffy said, equally as soft.

"I think I'm going to heave," Penny said loudly, sitting up.

Spike laughed and kissed her cheek. "That's my girl."

"How?" Willow asked, sitting down on the edge of the bench. "I mean, you can't...you know, make children, right? And she doesn't look like Drusilla. Unless you cheated on her." The redhead gasped, then glared angrily at the blond vampire. "Shame on you, Spike. Cheating is-is-is bad and-and wrong and just plain mean."

"Angel," Xander greeted with no inflection as he and Riley joined the group. "Why are you here?"

"Is everything okay?" Riley asked, hiding the stun gun he had in his hands behind his back. "We do need to go and...do that thing."

"Thing?" Angel said.

Buffy gestured. "The usual."

"Do you need any help?" Angel asked with concern.

"No," Buffy replied shortly.

Spike could imagine the pain that Buffy's answer caused his Sire, and he chuckled again. "As enjoyable as it is hearing your two hearts being torn to shreds," he said, rising to his feet and setting his daughter on hers. "Bad Penny and I are leaving."

Angel's hand on his shoulder stopped him. "Not until I get some answers, Spike."

"What makes you think I'm going to talk to you?" Spike said to the older vampire.

"Because I said so," Angel replied in a hard tone.

Penny giggled. "Papa doesn't listen to anyone by himself, Granpoof," she said to Angel.

"That's right, I don't," Spike agreed. He looked over at Buffy. "Don't you have something to kill?"

"He's right, come on guys," Buffy said, turning and walking purposely away, Riley trotting quickly after her.

"Angel, it's always not a pleasure," Xander said before following.

"You're not off the hook, buster," Willow said sternly to Spike. She looked up at Angel. "Bye Angel. It was nice to see you again."

Angel watched after the retreating group, then glared down at the blond vampire. "I'm not through with you yet," he said. Then he disappeared back into the shadows, undoubtedly going to help the others.

Spike glanced down at Penny when everyone was out of sight and sighed. "You ruined a perfectly good night of blood and violence, did you know that?"

"Papa, you say that every time I see you," Penny replied with a giggle. Spike scowled at her and she giggled some more.

"I should have eaten you when I had the chance," Spike told her. In response, she linked her hand with his and smiled up at him, her teeth bright white against her darker skin. "Come on, moppet. You an' I have some catching up to do after I call the school and let them know where you are."

"Sister Louisa is going to be mad," Penny told him.

"And what makes you think that I'm not mad, too?" he said.

"You didn't go mean face and growl at me," she informed him with child-like authority.

Spike shook his head and began walking with her to Giles's house. He didn't have a telephone, or a bathroom -- or food, for that matter -- at his place, and he knew Penny would be needing both soon. "Remind me why I made you my daughter again?"

"Because I'm your Bad Penny, Papa," Penny said by rote. "No matter how many times you tried to get rid of me, I kept coming back."



Part One



December, 1998



Spike heard the tiny heartbeat before he saw the equally tiny girl standing in the doorway of his current home. Her scraggly black hair hung around her dark, dirty face, and she peered at him with her almost-black eyes between the matted strands. She was clutching a ratty old stuffed elephant by the ear and her faded flowered dress was threadbare, covering her distended stomach but not her scraped up knees.

"What do you want?" Spike snapped at her. She flinched but didn't move.

Irritated, the blond vampire rose to his feet, his human mask slipping away, and he growled loudly at her.

She turned and ran out the doorway.

Growling again, Spike raised the bottle in his hand to his lips and drank steadily. He then staggered over to the old double mattress on the floor in the corner of the dilapidated apartment he'd made as his home in a condemned section of Los Angeles. He dropped the bottle to the floor at the same time he dropped down onto his bed. Throwing an arm over his eyes, he said his daily curses on those he hated, including the Fungus Demon whom Drusilla chose to be with over him despite his best torturing of her, before passing out for the day.

When he woke up, the little girl was in his doorway again.

"What?!" Spike snarled at her. She didn't answer. He grabbed the bottle on the floor next to the mattress and hurled it at her. It broke on the doorjamb where her head had been before she'd run back out for the second time.

He got up, went out and hunted, and when he came back he saw her at the end of the hallway. He slipped into game face, growled at her, and she turned and ran out of sight around a corner.

A few hours and bottles of alcohol later, he saw her crouched by his doorway, peering around the doorjamb at him, elephant clutched in her hand.

"Will you go away?!" Spike yelled. She did, but she came back again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

"That's it," Spike snapped, darting after the little girl who kept returning to his doorway. He grabbed her up under the arms and shook her. "Why are you always here, you bloody little chit?"

She didn't answer him. She just looked at him with wide eyes through her matted hair.

"This is the last time I'm going to tell you to leave me the hell alone," Spike told her in a hard voice. "You come back again and I'm going to kill you, understand?"

He shook her one more time for good measure, set her on her feet, and she ran away.

But she returned the next day.

"Cor, you're like a bad penny," Spike said upon seeing the tiny Hispanic girl peeking around the corner of his doorjamb. "You just won't go away, will you?"

His fangs descended and she disappeared, but this time he chased after her. He was going to get rid of this annoyance once and for all.

Her little bare feet thumped on the rickety, wooden stairwell as she flew down them, Spike not far behind. Through his yellow eyes, he saw her exit onto the next floor and into one of the abandoned, doorless apartments on that level. He charged after her and slammed into an invisible barrier blocking his entrance.

He smacked it with his palms, snarling loudly. "Damn it!"

Spike scanned the area he could see from the doorway, and found the little girl watching him from behind the corner of a old, beat-up couch. Then he saw a pair of legs behind her on the floor and it broke through his anger.

"Who's that?" he asked, pointing as best he could to behind her. "Is that your mum?"

The little girl nodded, the stuffed elephant hugged to her chest.

"Is she breathin'?"

She shook her head no.

Spike looked at the little girl for a few moments, then turned and made his way back up to his home.

She peeked around his doorjamb two hours later.

After that, he tried his best to ignore her. He hunted, he drank and he slept all the while she hovered in the doorway, watching him with her dirty face and her near-black eyes. Every time he growled at her in game face, she'd run away, but she'd always return within a few hours.

"Do you have a name?" Spike suddenly asked on one of his more sober nights. He looked over at the girl in the doorway from his bed. "Or should I just call you Bad Penny because I can't get rid of you?"

She didn't answer.

Spike sighed. "Fine. Bad Penny it is." He picked up a new, unopened bottle of alcohol beside the mattress and looked through the glass at the amber liquid. "Don't know why I'm even talkin' to you. I should just eat you."

But he didn't.

"You know what I don't get, Bad Penny?" Spike said several weeks later. "I don't get why no one's come to take you away. Don't you have any other family?"

"No."

Spike stared at the little girl a moment, then threw his hands in the air. "Hallelujah, it's a miracle! She speaks!" She giggled quietly. He walked over to her and crouched down in front of her in the doorway. "So, Penny, any great words of wisdom you'd like to pass on to Papa Spike?"

"I'm hungry," she replied shyly.

"You're hungry?" Spike said with a fake gasp. "Oh no. Whatever shall we do?"

She looked at him through her tangled, dirty hair, her dark eyes hopeful and needy.

She looked at him just like Dru used to.





*****





Spike knocked on Giles's door. "Now, be on your worst behavior, luv," he told Penny. "Make Papa proud."

"Sister Louisa told me I was suppose to be a good girl or I wouldn't get into heaven," Penny said.

"Do you want to get into heaven?" Spike asked, looking down at her.

"No, I'm going to hell with you," Penny replied.

The blond vampire was laughing as the ex-Watcher opened his door. "Oh hello, Spike and, uh..."

"Penny," Spike supplied.

"And-and Penny," Giles said. "I, er, thought you were helping Buffy."

"Change of plans," Spike said. "I need to use your telephone."

"Oh, yes, very well," Giles said, stepping aside to let them enter.

Penny whooped and ran into Giles's home, immediately jumping up onto the couch and bouncing on the cushions. Giles stared at the girl in horror, and when he looked at Spike, the vampire gave him a grin and a shrug. "Kids."

Spike watched Penny out of the corner of his eye as he went over to the phone. She began picking everything up that she saw, sending Giles's scurrying after her and removing things from her hands. He couldn't help the large smile that grew out of his grin.

"That's an antique...," Giles gasped, taking the small statuette away from Penny. He set it down only to have to run after her again as she started for his weapons box.

"Our Lady of Perpetual Help," a pleasant voice said on the other end of the phone line.

"Sister Louisa, please," Spike said into the receiver. "It's an emergency."

"One moment."

"Wait, don't touch," Giles winced as a several rare books fell off the old shelf to the ground, "that."

"Sister Louisa," a matronly woman said in Spike's ear.

"Sister, this is Mr. Angelus, I heard you think that I'm dead," Spike said into the phone. "Well, I'm not."

"Mr. Angelus," Sister Louisa gasped. "Good heavens."

"I just wanted to let you know that Penny's here with me," he said. "And what kind of school are you running anyway? I sent my little girl there because it's the best and the safest in the county, and she turns up here in Sunnydale. You nuns probably didn't even know she was gone."

"Actually, Mr. Angelus, Penny had permission to leave campus for the weekend with the man you named as her guardian when you enrolled her at Our Lady," Sister Louisa said. Spike heard some papers shuffling. "I believe he is your brother. A Mr. Angel Angelus."

"Right. Well, okay then," Spike said, a bit chagrined. "Er, I guess goodbye. Change your records to say I'm not dead, and I'll bring 'er back on Sunday night, eh?"

"We'll look forward to seeing you again, Mr. Angelus," Sister Louisa said. "And I shall thank the Lord that the news of your demise was a mistake."

"You do that," Spike said, then hung up the phone. He turned in time to see the ex-Watcher whip off his glasses.

"Will you please sit down?!" Giles snapped at Penny.

"Hey now, you don't talk to her like that." Spike walked over to where Penny was toying with a deck of tarot cards and hoisted her up over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

"Papa!" Penny squealed with laughter. Spike danced his fingers along her ribs as he carried her over to the couch. "Papa, stop it, that tickles!"

"Oh it does, does it?" Spike asked, tossing his little girl down onto the cushions on her back. "Then what does this do?"

Penny squealed even louder when he began tickling her in earnest. "Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop," she said between laughs.

"What do you say?" he said with a grin.

"Stop or I'll rip your bloody guts out!" Penny yelled.

Spike sat on the edge of the couch and scooped her onto his lap, pecking her on the forehead. "Bloody hell, sweeting, I missed you," he said before pulling her into another hug.

"I missed you too, Papa," Penny said, her small hand clutching the front of his tee.

"And I've seemed to have missed something entirely," Giles said, staring at the two of them with a befuddled expression on his face.

"Papa does that to people," Penny said to Giles. "He's a complex conundrum."

"Cor, where'd you learn such big words like that?" Spike asked, pushing Penny back slightly so he could see her eyes.

"At school," she replied. "I'm in Super-Achievers. Sister Teresa gave me a long, long, loooooong test and told me that I had a high I.Q. Then Sister Louisa it was no wonder I was so big for my britches."

"Well, I'm proud of you, baby girl," Spike said.

"Papa, I'm seven years old," Penny told him in a snooty voice. "Stop calling me a baby girl or else."

"You wouldn't be threatenin' your old man now, would you?"

"And if I was?"

"Bully for you," Spike said with a smile. "I see that the nuns didn't smack all that sass out of you with their rulers." Giles cleared his throat and Spike looked up. "Oh yeah, right, you're here."

"Of course I'm here," Giles said with exasperation. "This is my house."

"There's no need to be rude," Spike said, settling Penny back against his chest again.

Giles pinched the bridge of his nose in obvious frustration. He then slid his glasses back on and sat down in the chair beside the couch. "Let's start at the beginning, shall we?" he said with strained patience. "Why is it you are here instead of with the others?"

"Peaches is here," Spike said. "And I wasn't about to take Penny into a bloody fight."

"And this is Penny," Giles said, looking at the little girl. Penny waved her fingers at Giles. "Where are her parents?"

"I'm her parents," Spike said.

Giles stared at him as if he'd sprouted wings. "Pardon? I don't think I-I, er, heard you correctly. Did you say you are her parents?"

"Damn straight," Spike replied. He absently rubbed his little girl's back.

"And you expect me to believe that?"

Spike scowled at the ex-Watcher. "Why the hell would I lie about something like this?"

Giles focused on Penny. "Penny, do you know your parents names and phone number?"

"Of course," Penny said. "But Papa doesn't have a phone number because he thinks phones are 'bloody well annoying.'"

"What is your father's name?" Giles prompted.

"William Spike Angelus," Penny replied immediately, snuggling back against Spike.

"Told you," Spike said, curbing the impulse to add 'nyah-nyah.'

"What about your mother?"

"She's dead," Penny answered matter-of-factly.

Giles glared at Spike. "I take it you had something to do with that."

"No," Spike said shortly. "Penny's mum was already a corpse when I met her."

"Mama took too much medicine and she went to sleep and never woke up again," Penny said. "Where's your bathroom?"

Giles blinked at the abrupt question. "Er..."

"It's down that hall to your left," Spike supplied, pointing towards the hall. Penny climbed off his lap and walked quickly in that direction. He watched her progress until she disappeared from sight, then rolled his eyes when he caught Giles's look.

"Is it that soddin' difficult to believe I'm her father?" he said.

"In a word - yes."

"Well, I am," Spike told Giles firmly. "And I'm a bloody good one, too."





Part Two





May 1999





"Mister, I can't find my Papa, can you help me?" Penny said, looking up hopefully at the well-dressed man in front of her.

"Well, that's not a good thing, little lady," the man said. "Why don't we go in that store up ahead and see what we can do to find him?"

Penny accepted the man's hand and walked with him up the street. When they came abreast of the alley between the stores, she tugged on his hand. "I think I see my Papa," she said, trying to pull him down the alley.

"I don't think we should go down here at this time of night," the man said, reluctantly allowing himself to be pulled along.

"Smart man," Spike said, stepping out of the shadows behind him. He grabbed the man by the hair, bared his neck and sunk his fangs into him.

"But not smart enough." Spike let the drained body fall to the ground and he looked over at Penny, his features returning to human. "And the lesson for tonight is: never trust anyone but yourself," he told her. He kicked the corpse. "He trusted you, now he's dead. Understand?"

"Not even you?" Penny asked, a frown on her face.

"Especially not me," Spike replied. "You never know, one day I might wake up with a taste for little girl, and bob's-yer-uncle, you're dead."

Penny nodded, her expression serious. "Never trust anyone but myself. Right." She looked down at the body. "Can we take his wallet now? I want ice cream."

Spike chuckled. "Go ahead, my bad little girl."

Penny opened the man's suit coat and rooted in the inner pocket, extracting a black leather wallet. She then giggled when Spike picked her up with a spin before settling her tiny form on his hip. As they strode out of the alley, she opened up the wallet and looked at its contents.

"He's got one of those Gold Cards, Papa," she said.

"Oh really?" Spike said. "And what do you think we should do with it?"

Penny wrinkled her brow as she thought, causing Spike's lips to curl up. Her short-cropped, black hair capped her head, highlighting her smooth Hispanic features. Regular eating had made her extended belly vanish, and with a good scrubbing and some new frocks, she made a beautiful little girl.

A beautiful little girl that needed him.

Every night through the end of February he'd told her he was probably going to eat her the next day. And every next day he'd started to like having her around more and more. His Bad Penny had slowly filled the emptiness that Drusilla had left inside of him, and as time wore on, she'd pulled him out of the drunken depression he'd been in because of his Black Queen.

The night she'd called him Papa was the night he stopped telling her he was going to eat her.

He'd sarcastically called himself Papa Spike a number of times when speaking to her, but never once had he thought she would take the title seriously. Then one day she'd had a nightmare, had crawled onto the mattress with him without his knowing, and was snuggled up in his half-embrace when he'd awoken that night. The first words out of her mouth when he asked her why she was there had been: "The monsters were after me, Papa, but you're scarier and meaner than them, so I knew you would protect me."

The next night he'd delivered her to a beauty spa, courtesy of the of his dinner's Gold Card, and told them to clean Penny up. The smile she had for him and only him when she'd returned all gussied up had made him feel good again. In that instant, she became his new Princess. He'd protect her, cherish her, teach her, educate her and become the center of her world. Then, when he felt she was ready, he'd turn her and they would rule the night together, father and childe.

"Let's go to the furniture store," Penny answered.

"The furniture store?" Spike questioned. "Why there, luv?"

"They have that neat chair that wiggles," she replied. "I want that."

"Penny, we don't have electricity," he told her. "And I think you need to plug that into the outlet."

"Oh."

Spike took in her sad face and something twisted inside him. "Well, maybe it works fine without a plug," he said, trying to make her happy again. "It won't hurt us to go take a look."

Penny's smile lit up her face -- and his heart.

*****

"Right here?" Spike asked his little girl.

"A little more to the left," Penny instructed.

"Here?" he repeated.

"That's perfect, Papa," she said. "Now you put the dog table next to it and I'll put our light on it."

"Yes, ma'am," Spike said, saluting her. She giggled infectiously, causing him to laugh, too. As ordered, he moved the metal dog statute with a flat, round piece of glass on its head into place, then took the lit hurricane lamp from Penny and set it on the odd end table. He stepped back and looked at the setup. "Not bad, pet."

"Let's try it out," Penny suggested. She pointed to the chair. "Sit!"

Spike gave her a look, but she stuck her nose in the air and pointed again. "I said sit!"

"Bossy little chit you're turning into," Spike said, folding his arms over his chest. "What are you going to do if I don't sit?"

Penny walked right up to him and tilted her head back to continue to look at him. Then, without a word of warning, she drew her tiny fist back and punched him right in the crotch. Spike gasped and bent to cup himself at her surprisingly painful blow to his privates, and she laughed loudly as she ran out of their flat, undoubtedly going back downstairs to her old flat where she knew he couldn't enter.

She returned a little while later with a book and a smile for him. "Did I do good, Papa?"

"You did perfect, my little Bad Penny," Spike replied, sitting in the old-fashioned rocking chair that was positioned in front of the only non-boarded window in the abandoned flat. He had chosen the fifth floor to make his home when he'd returned to Los Angeles, and from his window he could see out over the razed buildings towards the heart of the city.

Penny walked over to him and climbed up onto his lap. He settled his little girl back against him, and he lightly pushed with his toe to get them rocking. He rested his chin on the top of her head and the two looked out at the late city night, listening to the traffic, the blasting horns, the shouting and the occasional gunshot.

"Papa?"

"Yes, sweeting?"

"How come you're a vampire?" Penny asked softly.

"Because your Grandpoof made me into one," Spike replied. "A long time ago."

"Did it hurt?" she inquired with curiosity.

"Not really," he answered honestly. He smiled at the memories of his dark-haired Sire and ignored the pang in his heart at the thoughts of Drusilla. "Angelus, Dru and me were in the middle of shagging each other rotten when he turned me. One minute I was alive and burying myself in Dru as I shot my load, the next I was undead and burying my fangs into the meal Angelus left trussed up in the bedroom for me."

"Papa, what's shagging?"

"Something you're not going to do for a long, long time," Spike replied, taking the book from her. "Now, what are we reading tonight?"

"Harriett, the Spy," Penny said.

"Does anyone die?" Spike asked, opening the book.

"No, but there lots of mean tricks that get played on Harriett, and her friends all get mad at her and make her cry," she answered.

"Sounds lovely," he said. . "I bet it has a soddin' happy ending, though."

"Yeah," Penny said. "But we can always make up a new one."

"True," he agreed. He held the book up in front of them and dropped a kiss on top of Penny's head.

"'My name is Harriett, and I'm a spy,'" she began, and they slowly rocked back and forth in the rocking chair as she continued to read well towards dawn.





*****





Spike glanced at the clock on the mantle, then down at the sleeping little girl beside him, her head on his thigh. He ran his hand lightly over her hair again and again in a gesture that was as soothing to him as it was to her. "How do you think they're faring?" he asked.

Giles looked over at the vampire above the rim of his teacup. "Worried?"

"More like bored," Spike said. "If Penny hadn't shown up, I'd probably be out kicking some major demon bollocks. I haven't been in a good fight in weeks."

"I'm sure they'll be back soon," Giles said. He took a sip of his tea. "Now, back to Penny. What are you going to do now?"

"What do you mean?" Spike asked.

"Well, if I surmise correctly, your original plan was to-to turn Penny when she came of the desired age," Giles said.

"Yeah, what of it?" Spike frowned at the man.

"With your, er, implant it is rather improbable that you would be able to accomplish that goal," Giles said.

"I hadn't thought about that," Spike said, more to himself than the ex-Watcher.

"Yes, well, there are some splendid children's homes here in the states," Giles said, setting his teacup down onto its saucer. "I'm certain that with Penny's, ah, en-enthusiasm, she would be placed with a family-"

"Hey, hold on there," Spike interrupted. "You got her all packed up and shipped off without even a 'by-your-leave.' Who said I was gettin' rid of the chit?"

"Penny has little to no use to you now," Giles pointed out.

Spike opened his mouth to answer, then closed it and frowned. He looked down at Penny's peaceful features. Was Giles right? He'd been all set to let her go forever even after the aborted suicide attempt.

He could always get a fledgling to turn her for him, then stake the bloke. Or he could get the chosen vampire just to drain Penny and he could give her his own blood, which would make him more of her Sire. But would he be able to control her if he couldn't even bite a human himself?

His musings were interrupted by the front door opening and Buffy, Angel and Riley tramping inside, arguing with each other. Spike quickly held up his hand and glared. "Shut up or you'll wake Penny," he hissed.

"Why don't you go put her up in my bed, Spike," Giles suggested.

Spike nodded and carefully scooped his little girl up in his arms. He scowled at the three now-silent people in Giles's living room, then headed for the stairs. Bloody loudmouths, he thought.

Once in the ex-Watcher's bedroom, the blond vampire gently laid Penny down on the bed. He removed her shoes, setting them on the floor, and pulled half the comforter over her small body. He laid his hand on the top of her head for a moment, lovingly looking at her sleeping face, before he bent and kissed her brow.

"Sleep well, baby," he whispered. "I missed you."

"Love you, Papa," Penny murmured, snuggling further under the comforter.

Spike smiled. "Love you back, my Bad Penny." He brushed a second kiss on her forehead, then straightened and headed back downstairs.

"Alright, you annoying sods, let's keep our voices down, shall we?" Spike said to the others in the living room. He flopped back down onto the couch and propped one of his Doc Martens up on his knee. "Now, I know you're just dying to say something, Angelus, so spit it out."

"Who is she, Spike?" Angel said, ignoring the infantile jibe.

"She's my daughter. I thought we've already been through that part," Spike said.

Angel was on him in an instant, picking him up by the lapels of his duster. "You can't have children," the dark-haired vampire growled at Spike. "So cut the crap and tell me who she really is."

"Let go of me, you nonce," Spike growled back, putting his hands up to shove Angel.

"No fighting in Giles's house," Buffy snapped, stalking up next to them. "Angel, let go of Spike."

Angel released Spike with a small push and the blond vampire fell back onto the couch. "Answers, Spike. Now," he said in a hard tone, staring down at Spike.

"I told you, she's my daughter," Spike said irritably. "I have the bloody papers to prove it. Got 'em so I could enroll her at O.L."

"Where are her real parents?" Angel asked.

"Dead," Spike answered. "And no, I didn't kill 'em. Next question, Alex?"

Angel's fist shot out and knocked Spike across the jaw. "Hey!" Riley exclaimed, rising to his feet from the desk chair he'd been sitting in.

"Stay out of this," Angel said over his shoulder.

"You don't talk to him like that!" Buffy exclaimed.

"Buffy-" Angel began.

"And don't take that tone of voice with me," Buffy said.

"I've walked into an episode of Passions," Spike muttered. He glanced around. "Wonder where little Timmy is."

"Listen, I don't know what's going on here, but getting angry with each other-" Riley started to say.

"Shut up," Spike and Angel chimed at once.

"Great, like father, like son," Buffy said sarcastically.

"Suck me, Slayer," Spike growled.

"Watch your mouth," Angel snapped at him.

"Papa, can I come down?" Penny called down to them from the loft.

Spike looked up and saw her standing by the railing, then glared at Buffy as he rose to his feet angrily. "I must've been yakking to myself when I said for everyone to keep it quiet!!"

"I think quieting down is a good ide-"

"Shut up, Riley!"

Giles stood, walked into the kitchen and poured himself another cup of tea.


Continued 1