Children Of The Beast
Giles was shelving books when Spike walked into the library. He glanced down at the title in his
hand, double checking it, before he put it in its place. The simple activity was very relaxing and it
allowed him to know that each tome was handled with respect.
Never in his wildest dreams did he think he would become a librarian for what very well could be
eternity. He didn't think he'd become a vampire, either, but that was always a possibility when
one was a Watcher. Technically, he was no longer an "official" Watcher and hadn't been for
quite a long time, but he still acted in that capacity. He was the one they turned to for
information and communication with other Rebel factions throughout the world. He was also
one of the three advanced magick users of the original band of Rebels.
He moved down the row, the ladder silent as he gave it a gentle push, and he shelved another
book. His thoughts turned to the other two vampires who made up the Triumvirate for the West
Coast Rebel community. Whereas he dealt with the needs of the library, providing information
and communication, Angel oversaw the day-to-day things that needed to be dealt with in keeping
the community from fracturing. He made sure that everyone, humans and non-humans, were
fed, clothed and had shelter; that the small hospital located under the mansion had adequate
supplies; and he took special care of the small group of friends from Sunnydale.
Spike, on the other hand, was the real leader of the entire opposition against Alistair. Not a single
move was made on the West Coast, the heart of the war-zone, unless he had approved it, whether
it be from going undercover, to patrolling the streets, to taking the offensive. He gave out
assignments, collected the information, and formed strategies, all with the goal of destroying
Alistair once and for all.
He also went out every night, either to patrol the streets or undercover. He helped saved humans
when he could, destroyed their killers when he couldn't, and constantly tried to find more non-sterile women in order to help repopulate the earth. He made the decision as to who became a
part of the Rebels and who was allowed to reside in the mansion. Finally, when there was a
decision to be made that neither Giles nor Angel could answer, they turned to Spike.
Giles climbed down the ladder and looked over at the stone-faced peroxide-blond. His bleached
hair was the only personal thing he insisted on, even though Giles and any of the others would
give Spike anything he desired. However, it was not because he was their sire nor because he
was their friend.
It was because Spike, the soulless vampire, chose to have the fate of all humanity rest on his
"Alright, people, tell me what you got," Spike said.
Giles joined the group sitting at one of the tables. Willow sat in front of the computer, of which
the technology had not changed since the Hellmouth opened, with an extremely sloppily dressed
Buffy beside her. Angel, who had come in a few moments before, sat across from the former
Slayer and Giles took the seat beside his teacher and friend. Spike, as usual, stood at the end of
the table, a still-unlit cigarette in his hand.
"As I told Giles earlier," Buffy began, putting her foot on the chair so she could rest her chin on
her knee. "Gladiators wiped out VampF-15 sometime in the past three nights. That's all I was
able to find out."
"Willow, see if the Hackers heard anything about that," Spike instructed immediately. "And I'll
need the list of the current daywalkers available for assignment."
"I have that right here," Willow said, rising from her seat and walking quickly over to a desk filled
with clipboards. She picked one up and gave it to Spike. Those who could go out during the day
were normally humans and, because of their lack of supernatural abilities, they were given the
option of volunteering for assignment. A fresh sign-up sheet was posted weekly.
"Angel?" Spike said, giving the list a quick once over.
"A couple Lolas were murdered also within the last few days," Angel said.
"Coincidence or not?" Spike questioned.
"It would depend on if any of their, er, clientele in the past week was from that Vampire faction,"
"We'll assume that they were, which means the bloody bitch had them killed," Spike said. He
set down the clipboard. "Now we just have to figure out why."
Spike lit up his cigarette and took a deep drag. Giles could almost see the wheels turning in the
blond's head. Permanent frown lines were etched between his brows and Giles tried to
remember the last time he'd seen Spike smile. He couldn't.
"Right, here's what I think," Spike said. "Either the Vampires had something or knew something
possibly harmful to Alistair. If it was knowledge, we're tits up. If they had something, I want to
know what it was, where it is now, and why it's important."
He glanced down at the list on the clipboard. "Giles, I want Harnach, Seals, Duford, Kirkham
and Cates to go under as Scavengers, day only, for the week. They are to be back half-hour
before sunset, no later."
"Very well," Giles said.
"Willow, after you check with the Hackers, I want you and the Slayer to go under as Scavengers,
too," Spike continued. "Sundown to sunup. Try to get to one of their main pack-houses."
"Got it," Willow said. Buffy nodded.
"Giles, also inform Molnar, Brandy, Dewey, Logan, Janes and Rose they're Scavengers," Spike
said. "Same parameters as these two."
Giles nodded, still amazed to the fact that Spike had practically every member of the Rebel
community's name memorized and could identify them easily. Then again, that was a sign of an
"Angel, you take Xander and Cordelia and flesh out the Butchers," Spike instructed. "They may
have seen or heard something on one of their hunts. Second team will be Pagels, Deltro and
"I'll tell them," Angel said.
"Within a quarter hour of after sundown and again after sunup, I will be here in the library,"
Spike said. "I don't have to warn everyone to be careful. If that cow ashed an entire soddin'
faction, she must have had a bloody important reason."
Then, without a word of goodbye, Spike turned and left the library.
"Is it me, or was the stick shoved up Spike's ass further than usual?" Willow asked.
"Willow!" Buffy exclaimed. "Where did that come from?"
"I was channeling Cordy," Willow replied with a grin.
Angel glared at the redhead. "Speaking rudely of Cordelia, where is she?"
"Lola duty with Xander," Buffy answered.
Cordelia struggled against the yellow-skinned, tusked demon that had her pinned to the brick
wall. Xander was around the corner of the building, fighting several of the demon's friends.
They were Randoms, stray demons who didn't associate themselves with any particular faction.
There were many dangers associated with playing a Lola and the attack was only one of them,
which was why the undercover assignment was done in pairs, the Lola and backup. The demon
attacking her wasn't interested in paying for sex. He and his friends had planned on raping her
and, more than likely, they planned to kill her.
She stamped on the demon's foot with her stiletto, the sharp tip puncturing his shoe because of
her enhanced strength. He snarled in pain and used his grip on her shoulders to slam her against
the wall. She growled and grabbed his crotch, glad that this type of demon had similar anatomy
to a human male.
The demon shoved himself away from her. Her stiletto came off her foot, the heel still embedded
in his shoe. The instant she had been released, she pressed an attack. A rapid snap kick sent him
staggering back further. She stepped forward with the action and fluidly followed up the move
with a round kick to his face.
She felt her human mask slip away when he hit her. The powerful punch cracked her cheek bone
and her head snapped to one side. Fury raced through her system and she drew on it as the
Beast, Spike, had taught her.
With a vicious snarl, she spun, using the momentum to swing her arm up to claw his face with
her nails. She grabbed his arm with his next punch and ducked under it, coming up behind him.
She yanked that arm up behind his back until his shoulder came out of its socket. With her other
hand, she snared his single tail of hair, jerked his head to the side and sunk her fangs into his
The demon fell to the ground, drained. Cordelia kicked off her other shoe and ran around the
corner in time to see Xander drop another body. The corpses of three others littered the ground
around him. He smacked his lips together in an exaggerated manner.
"Nothing like violence to whet your appetite," Xander said with a fang-filled grin.
Cordelia put her human mask back into place and touched her cheek. She winced. "Tell me my
cheek looks fine."
"Your cheek looks fine," Xander said. His own human features returned.
She kicked at one of the corpses with her bare foot. "Stupid Randoms!"
"Um, Cordy, where are your shoes?" Xander asked. She let out a small growl and stormed back
around the corner.
Thirty seconds later, her screamed curses made the moon blush.
"Look! Look what those Randoms did to me!"
Angel dropped the book he was reading when his suite door banged open and Cordelia came
stalking into the room. She slammed the door shut behind her, turned around and held up her
"They ruined my shoes!" Cordelia ranted. She threw them down on the floor. "Do you know
how hard it was to find a pair like that?!"
Angel expertly hid his laugh and set the book on the night-stand. He stood and walked over to
her, stopping her mid-obscenity by capturing her chin and tilting her face up. "You're hurt."
"Not as much as they are," she replied.
He brushed her injured cheek with the pad of his thumb. "I'm glad," he said quietly, then
pressed a soft kiss on her lips.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and returned his kiss, then moaned, breaking away.
Angel scooped her up, with a small squeak of surprise from her, and carried her over to the bed.
"Why don't I try to take your mind off the pain," he suggested with a seductive murmur.
"I'll let you know when it works," she said.
He quirked his brow at her, as his fingers manipulated the stays on her strapless corset. "You
"Well, I've been done five times already tonight," she told him. Her lips curled up in a naughty
smile. "One of them was a nine."
Oz didn't know which he hated worse: the fact that, even though he was a card carrying member
of the Soulful Vampire Club, he was still a werewolf; or the fact that because he was a vampire
and a werewolf, he was taken out of the fight against Alistair almost completely three nights per
Being a werewolf and a vampire was the same as being a werewolf and a human except for one
small part. If he got loose, the werewolf wouldn't know that he had to find shelter from the sun.
Waking up a flaming pile of dust was not something he wanted to experience.
He headed from the west wing to the east wing, wanting to at least kiss Willow once before she
went to bed. The three days of the full moon were very lonely for him, unless he wanted to pal
around with the humans or other daywalkers. He knew that Spike was always up and around,
but the Beast was almost impossible to find because the number of things the peroxide-blond did
to keep the Rebels in action.
It had taken Oz a little while to forgive Spike for turning him. He'd learned something that brief
month when he'd been soulless that he never wanted to learn about himself. He'd learned that,
without his soul, he was Devon. All he had cared about was blood, music and sex. His first kill
had been an entire band when they stopped during their flight from Sunnydale.
Thinking about his former co-musician brought a small smile to his face. Devon had been gone
for a very long time, along with everyone who'd been in Sunnydale when the Hellmouth had
opened. In fact, Sunnydale didn't exist at all. There was a big crater where the town had been,
created when Alistair had closed the Hellmouth herself to "keep out the competition," according
to the information they'd pieced together.
Wandering into the library, he saw his redheaded girlfriend where he knew she'd be -- in front of
the computer. "Hey," he greeted softly.
Willow looked up from the screen and a large smile crossed her lips. "Hi, you're you."
"I'm me," Oz said. He went over to her and they shared an all-to-brief kiss. When they broke
apart, he glanced at the computer. "What's up?"
"Some Gladiators eradicated the entire Vampire faction fifteen," she replied.
He gave her a questioning look. "Think they found what they were sent for?"
"That's what Spike wants to know," Willow said. "I'm surfing the Hackers to see if they heard
"I'll take over," Oz said. "You get some sleep."
Willow gave him a grateful look. "How did you know I was tired?"
"Because I know you," he replied. He gave her a soft smile. "Get lost, Willow."
Willow laughed and rose from her seat. She gave him a tight hug, then left the library. Oz took
her chair in front of the computer and quickly scrolled down the screen. He checked where she
had already been and read the notes she'd made on a sheet of paper on the table beside the
computer. Choosing his favorite chat room for finding reliable information, he logged in and got
[Roadrunner] Hey man
[Sophie] Hi TW!
[Night] Hey! Haven't seen you in a while
[Creep] I hear ya
[Teenwolf] Small group
[Night] It's bedtime for most of us
[Roadrunner] That's because we've been on all night
[Teenwolf] Did I miss anything good?
[Sophie] Avon had a close call with a Gladiator the other night
[Creep] Ya, she was telling us about it...freaky deaky
[Teenwolf] A Gladiator??? Does she have a suicide wish?
[Night] It was one of those off-chance encounters
[Roadrunner] During the day
[Sophie] If it had been at night, I'd be wondering what Av was doing out
[Teenwolf] Where was she?
[Night] 15th street
That was where VampF-15 was located, Oz thought. He'd have to get in touch with Avon and
find out what she witnessed. After jotting down the information on the paper beside the
computer, he returned his attention back to the chat room conversation.
Xander trudged behind Cordelia and Angel down 15th Street, a sullen expression on his face. He
didn't like getting stuck with the two of them, especially after they'd been all lovey-dovey with
each other. The vibes of happiness and satisfaction that rolled between them made him want to
"So, what are we doing again?" he asked.
"Finding out if the Butchers saw or heard anything," Angel answered.
"Can't we just call them?" Xander said. He kicked a rusty can and it skittered away noisily.
"And do what?" Cordelia said. "Say 'Hi, I'm a Rebel and I wondered if you knew anything
about the Vampire killing the other night.' Get a brain, Xander."
Xander was about to retort when he heard the distinct sound of a pick-up truck. "Incoming," he
warned, then blended back into the shadows of the dilapidated building. He saw Angel and
Cordelia vanish in much the same way out of the corner of his eye.
The old pick-up drove slowly around the corner. He counted five Butchers, humans and non-humans who hunted the other groups for food and fun. Two of them were in the cab, the other
three were in the open truck bed, holding shotguns.
Just after they passed him, Xander darted from the shadows and leapt up into the back of the
truck. He snatched the shotgun from a surprised blue humanoid, chambered the round and
leveled it between the three Butchers, all within seconds.
"Drop 'em," he ordered the other armed Butchers, one a human female, the other a lizard-like
creature. He saw his two companions descend upon the cab of the truck and braced himself for
the sudden stop. When it did, the human female fell forward and dropped her shotgun, the
humanoid tumbled off the side to hit the pavement, leaving only the lizard still armed.
Xander smiled slowly. "'Do you feel lucky, punk?'"
The Butcher tossed his shotgun to the floor at the same time the female got back to her feet.
Xander casually put a booted foot on the edge of the open bed, put his elbow on his knee and
rested his chin on a closed fist, the shotgun held easily aimed at them in his other hand.
"I have a question. You have an answer," Xander said in a cool voice. "What did the Gladiators
make off with during their attack on VampF-15 the other night?"
"We don't know what your talking about," the human female said rudely.
"Eeehh." Xander made a sound like a buzzer. "Wrong answer."
In an instant, he turned, blew the head off the humanoid who was trying to creep up behind him
and returned to his original position. He arched his brow. "Want to try two out of three?"
The female laughed nervously. "You know, now that I think about it, we may have seen
something. Right, Skin?"
"Yesss," the lizard-like creature replied.
"And that would be?" Xander asked.
"Something small," the female said. She held up her fist. "About this size."
"And that's about it," she replied.
Xander shot the lizard-like creature in the leg without warning. It let out a loud hiss of pain and
collapsed to the truck bed.
"Shit! It was clear, ok?!" she yelled. "Like a piece of glass or something. That's it, I swear!"
"Thanks," Xander said with a smile. He jumped out of the back of the truck and walked
backwards into the shadows of the building, the shotgun still aimed at the Butchers. Once he was
in the clear, he turned and ran down the nearby alley and out onto the next street. Cordelia and
Angel joined him a few moments later.
"Damn it, Xander, you could at least warn us before you do something stupid," Cordelia
snapped at him. "That way we'll know to stake you before hand."
Xander tossed the shotgun to Angel. "It worked, didn't it?"
"Barely," Angel said. "Half a second off and we would have been picking up your pieces."
"Just call me Humpty Dumpty," Xander said. He turned and started walking back towards the
Willow scurried between shadows, her shoulders hunched over, holding her tattered layers of
clothing to her. She gazed furtively around, keeping her head down, acting like a nervous
Scavenger. She'd been trailing a certain small pack of them for most of the night, hoping they'd
lead her back to one of their pack-houses.
Scavengers were just as their group title described. Mostly made up of the weak or the sick, they
searched through the rubble and fallout of the destroyed city for anything usable. They were
quite numerous, despite the fact that they were easy prey. She and the others primarily fed from
the Scavengers because they were so easy to catch, which gave them more time to concentrate on
the fight against Alistair.
The demoness, who had escaped through the opening of the Hellmouth, was the hardest
adversary anyone had ever faced, as evident with the fact that they had yet to destroy her. It was
not for lack of trying on their part, but so far she'd turned out to be as invincible as the old Mayor
from Sunnydale before he tried to ascend. Xander had even stuffed a live grenade down her
throat once when they'd mounted an all-out offensive against her. They'd watched as she
swallowed it whole and heard it explode inside of her. She had giggled, put her hand over her
mouth and said: "Pardon me." They hadn't been able to get close to her since.
The worst of Alistair's reign of terror was centered on the West Coast. Demons, vampires and
other creatures descended on what once was Los Angeles, clamoring for a place under her rule.
The human population was decimated, those not killed on the streets were captured and kept as
cattle, the women not-sterilized by the residual energy of the Hellmouth's opening, which still
created adverse affects even after all the years that passed, were forced to breed.
The fight seemed never-ending. Night after night, the small group of friends went out in various
disguises to find out any information they could. Knowledge was power, not just brute force, as
Spike had taught them. When he had first said it, each of the five he was teaching had wondered
if he was sick. The Spike they had known was kill first, ask questions later. He had never
explained his change of tune and no one had the guts to ask him after the first time. Willow's
bones still hurt from the torture the Beast had put them through after Cordelia had mentioned it.
Willow crept carefully through the doorway the Scavengers had gone into and looked around.
She spotted a hole somewhat hidden by a broken down shelving unit. Her enhanced sight made
it easy for her to see as she crawled through, allowing her to act as though she belonged.
The hole opened up into a large storeroom and she had to hide her excitement when she saw the
amount of things piled everywhere. She'd found a pack-house. Scavengers climbed up and
down the small mountains of rubbish, adding more or retrieving things. They scurried between
the heaps like mice building nests. The conversation was hushed, a low hum in the vast room.
She made her way into the room, trying to find rhyme or reason to the piles. She was happy to
see several human children running around, playing tag or some other game. Although the
demon part of her thought "appetizers," her soul was uplifted by the sight. One day, Alistair
would be gone, humans would be free of fear and happiness would find its place in the world
again. Hopefully, she'd still be around to see it.
"You're one of them, ain't ya?"
Willow turned to the hoarse, male voice and found herself looking down at an old human man,
dressed in the tattered clothing of a Scavenger. "One of who?" she asked, keeping her voice
pitched low and timid.
"Those Rebels," he said, peering up at her with wise, blue eyes.
He laughed, a small, humor-filled sound that ended with a harsh cough. Willow reached out and
patted his back, earning her a huge smile. He gestured with the cane in his hand after he'd
stopped coughing. "Come, come. I've been waiting for you."
As he waddled away, she frowned at the back of him and went on guard for a trap. She followed
him carefully through the maze of stuff and found herself in the area the Scavengers slept.
Blankets, old mattresses and pillows littered the floor, with barely a foot to walk between them.
The old man led her to the back corner and knocked a few times on a steel door. The door
opened and he gestured with her to follow again.
There were about a dozen elderly men and women in the room, mostly humans with a few
demons she readily identified and knew the weaknesses of. They stopped talking when she
entered and stared at her. She felt like she was on Lola duty, dressed in her tightest, skimpiest
clothing, rather than the layers of rags she wore.
The door closed behind her and she immediately tensed. She straightened to her full height and
released her hold on her clothing to free her hands. The old man motioned to her to join them in
the middle of the room.
"I have brought her," he said to the group.
One woman raised a broken pair of spectacles and peered through them at Willow. "She doesn't
look like a Rebel."
"I though they were taller," another commented.
"With big teeth."
"Eyes in the back of their head."
"And large muscles so that she can rip a Gladiator in two."
"She is not only a Rebel," one strong, female voice rang out above the others. They all quieted
and turned to a small, stoop-shouldered, human woman, with long gray hair that reached the
floor. Her eyes were milky white, indicating blindness, yet she looked right at Willow. "She is
one of the Children."
The others gasped and turned to Willow. She definitely felt as though she was on display now.
"Listen, I think you've got me mistaken with someone else, someone who's not me. So, I'll be
"We are honored by your presence, Child of the Beast," she continued, as if Willow hadn't
spoken. "You and your compatriots have done great things in trying to dispel the evil one."
"Um, yeah," Willow said. "About my going..."
"I am Minix, Elderwoman of the Council of Scavengers," she said, gesturing to the others. "We
pledge our loyalty to the Beast and the Rebels. What we have is yours."
"Thanks. That's really nice of you," Willow said. "Any help is always...helpful."
"Give her the thing," one of the members whispered loudly.
"Well, where is it?"
"Didn't you have it?"
"No, I gave it to Hortense."
"Don't look at me."
"Well, someone has to have it."
"Unless it grew feet and walked away."
"That is a possibility."
"No, I'm sure someone has it."
"Squire hid it away."
"I'll get it, I'll get it, hold your old bones."
The half-demon identified as Squire hustled to the far end of the room. Willow watched as he
opened a hidden cache in the wall and pulled out a cloth bundle. He closed the cache and hurried
back to her side. "Here, Child of the great, mighty, superior, intelligent, daring, powerful, never
seen yet all knowing, leader of the Rebels, known only as the Beast."
Willow bit her cheek to keep from laughing at the long description of Spike. She accepted the
bundle with a polite thank you and opened it carefully. Nestled inside was what looked like a
shard of clear glass, slightly square in shape, with rough edges.
"That's a part of what those Gladiators took from the Vampires," Minix told her.
Willow's eyes widened and she felt the thrill of excitement bubble inside her. "Vampire faction
fifteen?" she asked for clarification.
"Yes," Minix answered.
"This is great!" Willow gushed. "Thank you so much! You don't know what this means-"
"Yes we do, Child," Minix interrupted. "Every little thing we collect is examined for use against
Alistair." She chuckled. "Of course, that shard is the first thing that has possible value."
Minix nodded to the old man who escorted Willow and he opened the door. "Good luck, Child,"
she said. "And tell the one known as the Beast that the Council of Scavengers will do anything
Spike dove forward, his hand going to his right boot, and as he rolled to a standing position, he
chucked the knife he pulled out of its sheath at the demi-human Random he was fighting. It flew
end over end before embedding in the creature's eye-socket. Without stopping, he immediately
spun, his left fist lashing out to catch the second demi-human behind him across the jaw. As he
punched, he brought his right arm close across his chest, pulling another knife from the sheath
strapped to his waist. On the back-swing, his right hand rose as if to punch the creature again,
but instead, the knife slashed across its throat. Blood spurted from the fatal injury, splashing
across Spike's bare arm.
He was grabbed from behind. Two strong, large hands clamped around his neck, lifting him off
the ground. He dropped the knife, latched onto the wrists of his attacker, and shot his feet
upwards. With flexibility that came from years of fighting, his legs flew up over his head, the
toes of his steel-tipped boots slamming into his attacker's face.
He was released abruptly with the crunch of bones, and he twisted his body as he fell heavily to
the ground, landing on his side rather than on his head. A third knife was drawn from his right
thigh-sheath and he rolled several times to get out of the path of his scarlet, vampire-like attacker
planting his boot in Spike's face. He shot to his feet, whipped around, and threw the third knife
down the alleyway. It landed, blade first, in the back of a fourth attacker's neck and the black-skinned Random dropped the Scavenger child he was carrying away.
Spike saw the child scamper away as the Random fell to the ground, causing him to receive a
blow to his lower back. His heel came up sharply behind him, catching whomever the attacker
was between the legs. He reached over his shoulder, grabbed a fistful of hair and tossed his
orange-scaled opponent over his shoulder.
He yanked a wire garrote from the belt loops around his waist, sprinted forward and snaked it
around the throat of yet another Random trying to make off with different Scavenger child. The
Random's head came partway off with a sickening rip and the child screeched as he was coated
in blood before running away.
He let go and the body fell to the ground to join his other three dead comrades. Two more
remained standing, the scarlet one he'd kicked in the face and the one he'd thrown over his
shoulder. Not pausing, he shot forward over the body, meeting his opponents half-way.
Another knife flashed in the moonlight, this time, however, it was wielded by the orange-scaled
Spike let out no sound as the blade cut across his face from his temple to his lip, barely missing
his right eye. His human mask flickered briefly, but the chiseled, strong planes stayed prevalent,
as his hand shot out. He grabbed the knife by the blade, clenching it tightly in his fist, and threw
a right cross at the creature's jaw. The sharp edges of the knife slit his palm as the creature tried
to yank it from his grasp, but he only tightened his grip on it.
The scarlet, vampire-like Random circled around behind him. Spike waited for less than a beat,
then clamped his right hand around the knife-wielder's wrist and spun into him. He released his
hold on the blade and shoved the creature's arm forward, effectively impaling the other attacker
in the chest. He brought his knee up and cracked the orange-scaled creature's arm on it. The
knife stayed embedded in the vampire-like creature and he fell to the ground, as Spike drove his
Releasing his foe quickly, he spun around, grabbed the orange-scaled creature's head and
twisted. A loud snap echoed in the alleyway. The last of the Randoms dropped slowly to the
Spike surveyed the scene around him, his lips compressed into a thin line. Blood ran down the
side of his face from the knife wound and from a second gash across his right bicep. His
forearms were also splattered with blood, both from the small cuts on them and from those he'd
killed. Moving with measured steps, he retrieved his garrotte and each of his knives.
As he dropped to one knee to pull the last blade out of the back of the black-skinned Random's
neck, a small voice spoke to him from the shadows.
"You're him, aren't you?"
Spike glanced to his left and saw one of the children he'd rescued. He pulled the knife free and
wiped the blade on his calf. "Who am I suppose to be?" he asked in a low tone.
"The hero," the boy answered.
He chuckled hollowly. "I'm no hero."
The dark-haired, dirty child's blue eyes pierced his own cool, blue gaze. "The elderwoman said
you would be the one to save us all."
"I think this elderwoman has been telling you tall tales," Spike said. He rose to his feet and slid
the knife into the thigh-sheath.
"She doesn't lie," the boy told him. "She said you were valiant, which she said meant you were
the greatest man in the whole world."
"The greatest man, eh?" he said sardonically. "Right, well, you tell your elderwoman that I'm
nothing more than a soddin' vampire who doesn't have enough bloody sense to know he's been
Without another word, he turned and walked away.
Minix appeared out of the shadows and put her hand on the boy's shoulder, her sightless eyes on
Spike's retreating back. "That is why you are the hero."
Sixteen pairs of eyes stared at the peroxide-blond vampire when he entered the library fifteen
minutes late of his appointed time to meet after sunup, holding a towel pressed to his face, the
other wounds still prevalent on his arms. He walked to the end of the largest table where the
seven original Rebels sat and began immediately.
"Giles, report," Spike ordered.
"Something was indeed taken from the Vampire faction by the Gladiators," Giles said. He
opened the bundle on the table in front of him and pushed it to Spike. "This is a shard of what
they took. From the various reports given, the original object was possibly spherical in shape,
roughly four inches in diameter. Oz, Molnar, Janes and Rose have found information indicating
that, when the object is in direct sunlight, it casts a-a, er, rainbow, which leads to the conclusion
that it is a prism of some sort. The material of the shard is either glass or a precious stone, which
I will find out as-as soon as I can."
"Anything else?" Spike asked. No one replied. "Right, then. Giles, keep or find whoever you
want to research this prism. I want to know what it is and what it does as soon as bloody
possible. The rest of you, get some sleep."
Then, just as quickly as he started the meeting, he ended it and left the library.
Giles stood. "I would like the, er, Children to please stay. The rest of you, have a good rest."
"Ooh, a research party," Xander said, rubbing his hands together. "I'll start the round robin."
Buffy and Willow laughed, Cordelia rolled her eyes and Oz gave him a small nod, as the others
left the room.
Angel stood. "I'm going to go check on Spike. He looked a little worse for wear."
"Good," Buffy said, a worried look in her eyes. "If you need me, I'll be here."
He nodded and headed out of the library. He knew his eyes held the same amount of worry as
Buffy's had for the blond vampire. Angel loved Spike as both a childe and a best friend, and he
was afraid, one day, Spike would be too exhausted to fight because of the enormous pressure he
put on himself and wouldn't make it home.
"Yeah?" Spike called out when Angel knocked on the suite door.
Angel entered the room and shut the door behind him. "It's just me."
Spike exited the bathroom with a first aid kit in his hand, the towel still pressed to his cheek.
"How did I know it would be you?"
"Let's see," Angel said, walking over to him and taking the first aid kit. He grimaced when he
saw the gash across Spike's face. "Damn, Spike, what did you do?"
Spike shrugged and pulled his t-shirt off, letting it drop to where the towel had fallen. "What I
always do," he replied. His boots and pants joined the pile on the floor.
After he sat down on the edge of his bed, Angel began doctoring up his wounds. Spike winced
several times, but never uttered a single sound. The dark-haired vampire studied him and noted
the fatigue in his eyes. "You look tired," he commented quietly.
"Understatement, mate." Spike chuckled. "I'm so tired, I want to grab Buffy, use her tits as
pillows and sleep for the next fifty years."
"Why don't you?" Angel asked.
"Right and lose the best fighter I got?" Spike said.
Angel waited, knowing that Spike would continue. The trust and honesty that had developed
between them over the years was one of the best things that happened for Angel. He knew he
could tell Spike anything, and vice versa.
He closed the first aid kit and set it on the night-stand. Spike laid back on the bed and closed his
eyes. Angel walked around to the other side of the bed and sat down, positioning himself so the
blond's head could rest on his thigh. Gently, he began giving Spike a facial massage, being
careful to avoid aggravating the knife wound.
"Cor, I bloody hate sending her out there." Spike finally broke the silence. "I'm afraid she
won't come back to me."
"Have you ever told her how you feel?" Angel asked.
"Yeah, right," Spike scoffed.
"Spike, Dru's been gone for a very long time now," he said.
"I know that, you tosser. I was there when she fucking died."
"I know you were," Angel said. "But it's okay to love someone else."
"What am I suppose to do? Go up to her and say 'Hey, Slayer, I've loved you since you were
still a bloody human, now I'm going to send you to your possible death?'" Spike snapped. "I
don't think there's a soddin' card for that sort of thing."
"I bet Willow could make you one," Angel joked lightly.
"Sod off," Spike growled. "It's better that she doesn't know, anyway. She'll concentrate more
on staying alive and less on hearts and flowers and all that stupid female crap."
Angel sighed and let the conversation die. His fingertips gently massaged Spike's forehead and
scalp, and he felt the younger vampire slowly begin to relax. After a few minutes, Angel knew
Spike had fallen asleep. As carefully as he could, he maneuvered himself from the bed, pulled
the comforter over the blond and crept silently out of the room.