Never Send A Psychotic
To Do A Lunatic's Job


by Saber ShadowKitten








"Ordinarily he is insane, but he has lucid moments when he is only stupid."
-Heinrich Heine

"The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact."
-William Shakespeare, A Midsummers Night's Dream

"I love mankind -- it's the people I can't stand."
-Charles M. Schultz, Go Fly A Kite, Charlie Brown

"Is a man a salvage at heart, skinned o'er with fragile Manners? Or is salvagery but a faint taint in the natural man's gentility, which erupts now and gain like pimples on an angel's arse?"
-John Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor







Prologue



In the laboratory, nobody cared if you screamed.



Sunnydale, California



In the year 2000, the government experiment known as the Initiative was destroyed by Adam, a renegade project created by Dr. Margaret Walsh. A ragtag group of rebels, identities unknown by the government, infiltrated Initiative headquarters, removed the Adam threat, and helped save what few soldiers and scientists had survived. The government labeled the Initiative experiment a failure and denied that it ever existed.

Those soldiers that had survived, however, did not forget. They banded together to form their own fighting unit, one that didn't have a name and the government would deny existed, too, but funded nevertheless. These trained soldiers traveled the world and fought to bring down demons that threatened mankind.

What the government didn't know was that the surviving scientists also banded together to form their own scientific unit. They also did not have a name, and had private, corporate funding. These scientists stayed in Sunnydale, in their state-of-the-art high-tech secured building that was disguised as a toy development laboratory. They utilized their scientific minds, the data they'd stolen from the Initiative, and the large population of demons in Sunnydale for new experiments.

In the year 2006, the scientists' experiments revolted. Two chose to escape back to civilization, the remainder stayed at the toy laboratory until the scientists were at their command. The experiments, mostly demon/machine hybrids, forced the scientists to create more of their kind. Like Dr. Walsh's original plan, the hybrids wanted to create a race of super-intelligent, super-strong warriors. They wanted to rule the world.

They failed.

They failed because the two that had escaped were friends of the original ragtag group of rebels. The remaining hybrids were destroyed and the scientists fled Sunnydale for their lives. The identity of the corporation behind the scientific unit was never learned, and the laboratory was stripped of all notes and files -- but not before one of the unknown rebels downloaded a large number of them.

With the information downloaded, the rebels were able to learn what had happened to the two and were better able to care for them. For that's what the rebels did -- they cared. They were a family that loved and protected one another, a town named Sunnydale, and, occasionally, the world.



Part One



November, 2010

Los Angeles, California



Lilah Morgan opened the door without knocking and walked rapidly into the richly furnished office, her eyes focused on a printout of an email she'd received from an overseas contact. "Lindsey, we have a problem," she began.

"Lilah, can't you see I have visitors?"

Lilah raised her eyes and she forced herself not to grimace. Half-draped over her Co-Vice President of Special Operations was Darla, one of her least favorite vampires. Lindsey looked smitten. It was nauseating. "Hello, Darla."

"Lilah," Darla sniffed disdainfully.

Lilah's gaze surveyed the rest of Lindsey McDonald's office and a genuine look of pleasure graced her features. "Drusilla. It's lovely to see you again."

The raven-haired vampiress giggled. "Someone doesn't like grandmummy."

"How astute," Lilah said, returning her gaze to Lindsey and his blond flea-invested blanket. Lilah smiled benignly. "Lindsey, if you can free yourself, I'd like a word."

Lindsey studied Lilah a moment, then sighed. "Darla--"

"It's okay, pet," Darla interrupted, stroking her blood-red nails across his white shirt as she extracted herself from his lap. "Dru and I were just leaving."

"We were?" Drusilla said, surprised.

"Yes, dear," Darla crossed to the other vampiress and took her arm, "we were."

Lilah mouthed "Bye" at Drusilla's wave and waited until the two left the office before turning back to Lindsey. She walked to his desk and handed him the email printout. "Like I said, we have a problem."

Lindsey read the page, a frown erasing the disgustingly dopey look Darla had put on his face. "Who's this from?"

"One of my contacts in Oxford," Lilah replied. She perched on the edge of his desk. "I received a secondary confirmation a few minutes ago. This is real."

"This is trouble."

Duh, she wanted to say. Why did he think she was in his office? A threesome with slut-fang?

"This is big trouble," Lindsey repeated, rising from his black leather chair. "If it's true and they succeed, we'll be terminated."

"Maybe we'll be transferred to a different division," Lilah said. "Wolfram and Hart do represent human clients and we are both Attorneys at Law--"

"No, Lilah," Lindsey interrupted. "We're head of Special Operations, and once that's gone, we're gone -- permanently."

Lilah fell silent. She knew he was correct, she simply didn't want to acknowledge that Wolfram and Hart thought she was expendable. They'd survived this long -- it had been almost ten years since Holland Manners had died and Lindsey and she were promoted into his position. They'd survived ten years of hard cases and clients and an annoying -- though sexy as sin -- vampire detective that insisted on making their lives hell. There was no way she'd let some pissant council of demon hunters destroy what she'd survived with a wave of their clammy hands.

"I'll use the discretionary fund and hire an assassin," Lilah began, only to be interrupted by Lindsey again.

"A single assassin against the Council of Watchers?" Lindsey laughed. "They've been in existence for over a thousand years. An assassin wouldn't stand a chance. A score of assassins wouldn't stand a chance."

"Then what do you suggest?"

Lindsey sighed. "I don't know. Let me think on it."

"Fine," Lilah started for the door. "You work on a solution. I'll try to find out how long we have until our obituaries appear in the L.A. Times."

"Wait. I'll walk with you." Lindsey picked up his suit coat and slid it on. "I want to stop by accounting and find out exactly how much we have in the discretionary fund."

Lilah waited for him and together they left his office, both on the trail to find a way to save their jobs... and their lives.

*****

"Ooh-ooh-ooh," Drusilla giggled softly. "While the cats are away, the mice will play."

"Drusilla, shh," Darla scolded quietly as she eased Lindsey's office door open and peered inside. The office was empty. "Come on."

The two vampiresses ducked inside and Darla shut the door firmly behind them. The blond glanced around the lawyer's office again before quickly crossing the room to his desk.

"What are we looking for, sweets?" Drusilla asked, picking up a chair cushion and looking underneath.

"Whatever had Ms. Frigid Monobrow in a tizzy," Darla replied. She picked up a single sheet of paper. "And I think this is it."

"What does it say?"

Darla's faced turned ashen as she looked to her granchilde-cum-sire. "It says something very bad, Drusilla. Something very, very bad."



Part Two





"Angel!" Darla called as she and Drusilla rushed into the Hyperion Hotel, the home base for Angel Investigations. "Angel!"

"He's not here," Cordelia informed them from her perch behind the registration counter.

"Well, where is he?" Darla demanded.

The brunette seer did not look away from the computer screen. "Out."

"When will he be back?"

"Sometime."

Darla smacked her hand on the green and black marble counter. "Cordelia, this is important!"

Cordelia turned to Darla and smiled politely. "Would you like to wait?"

Darla growled and stalked out of the lobby and into Angel's private office. She slammed the door shut behind her.

Cordelia winked at Drusilla, who laughed. "Naughty girl," the vampiress chided with a smile. "It's not nice to tease grandmummy like that."

"But it's so easy," Cordelia said. She tucked her shoulder-length hair behind her ear, exposing a tattooed band of crosses encircling her neck, and gestured towards Angel's office. "What's up with her, anyway?"

Drusilla walked her fingers along the edge of the counter. "Captain Hook received a message from the Red Queen: No more tea at the Mad Hatter's party, the croc snapped it all up. Tick-tock."

Cordelia Chase blinked several times. She was fluent in Drusilla and fourteen other languages, including Angel Grunt, but sometimes even the most expert translators could only say, "Huh?"

Drusilla had already wandered away, though, so Cordelia couldn't question her further. With a shake of her head, Cordelia returned to researching one of the current clients of Angel Investigations.

Angel Investigations had been in business since 1999, and Cordelia had been the Executive Administrative Assistant since day one, and Executive Seer since about day seventy (except for that time that Angel went nuts and fired everyone, but no one talked about that.) Over the years, the personnel had grown and changed, but the job was the same: they helped the hopeless.

"Little Bunny Foo-Foo, bouncing through the forest...," Drusilla's sing-song voice drifted down the main stairs, "...hopping after field mice and bopping them on the head."

The hopeless kept getting stranger, Cordelia thought, and most of them worked at Angel Investigations.

First, there was Wesley Wyndham-Price, the super-educated ex-Watcher with a stick up his ass the size of a redwood tree. Only, Wesley was an excellent fighter, had a dangerous 'I went to public school' edge, and looked scrumptious in jeans. But he was still a nerd.

Then there was Charles Gunn, street thug, demon hunter, dose-of-reality boy that had biceps the size of Cordelia's waist. Gunn was the muscle at Angel Investigations, and the one to call when moving furniture. Or to open a stubborn jar. Or to kill a really icky spider. Or when the air conditioner was broken so he had to take off his shirt while he worked...

David Nabbitt, dork worth billions, was a semi-member of the investigative staff. He had the contacts and the money for their more extravagant cases. He reminded Cordelia of a puppy, but as long as he didn't try to hump her leg, she didn't mind his presence.

Kate Lockley. Police contact. Bitch.

Then, there were the vampiresses: Darla and Drusilla. The Double-D's, as Gunn called them, although Cordelia bet he was picturing them naked when he did. Men were all alike, including Angel, who'd tried for months to kill the vampiresses but suddenly decided to invite them home instead. They lived at the Hyperion on the fourth floor and spied for Angel. Cordelia did not want to know how her boss got them to behave, but they hadn't tried to snack on her in the eight years they'd been around. As long as that continued, she put up with them.

Finally, there was the big boss himself: Angel, the vampire. Mr. 'Do I or Don't I Have A Soul.' Part-time psychotic, full-time evil fighter. He was cranky, broody, pig-headed, and gorgeous. Every-so-often, he was shy and kittenish. If he wasn't paying her as much as he didn't know he did, Cordelia would have said ta-ta ages ago. But she knew, as did the others, that Angel needed and wanted them around, if only to remind him that there was still good in the world.

Like Moose Tracks ice cream. Now, that was good.

Cordelia jumped off her stool and headed towards the kitchen. "Dru, ice cream!" she called up the stairs as she passed them.

The vampiress came hopping down the stairs, her elbows bent and her hands by her chest like a rabbit. "Hop, hop, hop. The Forever Boy follows the white rabbit down the rabbit hole. Can't be late. Tick-tock. Tick-tock."

"Still with the Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan references," Cordelia said to herself as she pushed through the swinging doors to the service hallway. "Whatever Darla knows must be important."

Drusilla floated into the kitchen as Cordelia was dishing the ice cream. The raven-haired woman removed a container of blood from the cooler, humming to herself. Cordelia knew Dru and Darla still hunted -- which was badness, but Angel said no staking his girltoys -- but they also fed from the stash of animal blood Angel kept in the refrigerator.

"Dru," Cordelia began, handing a dish of Moose Tracks to the other woman. "Where did you and Darla go this evening?"

"To the heart of the wolf," Drusilla replied, drowning her ice cream in blood. "My grandmummy had a tickle."

"Wolfram and Hart, I should have known," Cordelia said. The pieces of the Drusilla puzzle fell into place. Captain Hook, the one-handed leader, was Lindsey. The Red Queen would be Lilah. Lilah gave a message to Lindsey that Darla somehow found out -- no surprise there.

The rest of what Drusilla rambled about was confusing. Who was the Mad Hatter and what was the tea? And the crocodile? Tick-tock most likely meant the clock was ticking, or time was, as Wesley would say, of the essence. Then there was the later reference to the Forever Boy -- Peter Pan -- and following the white rabbit. Who were they, and where were they going?

Cordelia stuck a spoonful of Moose Tracks in her mouth and groaned at the taste. Too much thinking, not enough ice cream. She'd tell Angel what his crazy daughter had said and let him figure it out. That's why his name was on the business cards.

*****

"Angel," Darla frowned at the dark-haired vampire as he entered the office, "where have you been?"

"Out," Angel replied. His brow shot up when he heard Darla growl. "What?"

"Never mind," Darla said, her teeth clenched in a false smile.

Angel crossed behind his dark wood desk and sank down into his leather chair with a sigh. He was tired, crabby, and he thought he might have poison ivy. When Cordelia had informed him around a mouthful of mush that Darla was waiting in his office, he had given serious consideration to running to his room and locking the door. He didn't want to deal with his sire, he wanted a shower, some Calamine lotion, and the remote control to his television.

Folding his hands over his stomach, Angel leaned back in the chair and looked across the desk at Darla. "What's on your mind?"

"Angel, we have a problem," Darla said ominously. She uncurled herself from the plush client chair, stood, and stuck her hand down the front of her low-cut blouse.

Angel smirked, blatantly staring at her bosom. "You decided you'd like to try a Wonderbra and need money?"

"Not funny," Darla said. She extracted a well-folded piece of paper from her blouse and passed it to him. "And neither is this."

Curious, Angel unfolded the single page as Darla perched on the edge of the chair. He skimmed the contents, tightened his jaw, then reread the page more thoroughly. "Where did you get this?"

"Lindsey's office," Darla replied. "Lilah brought it to him while Dru and I were there. Angel, do you think it's true?"

"I don't know," Angel said slowly. "Has Dru had any visions?"

Darla snorted softly. "You know I don't listen to her."

Angel absently waved her away, his eyes focused on the page. "I'll see what I can find out."

Darla went to leave, and paused at the doorway. "Angel?" she said. The dark-haired vampire looked up. "If it's true..."

"If it's true, you'd better screw Lindsey six ways from Sunday, because you aren't going to be around long," Angel said bluntly. Darla gave him a part-scathing, part-pained look and left.

Angel dropped forward and banged his forehead on his antique oak desk. "I... hate... my... unlife...," he whined with each hit. He sighed, straightened, smoothed out the page, and read its contents again.

It was a printout of an email message from someone with a United Kingdom address to Lilah Morgan. People could get email addresses from anywhere that said anything, so Angel wasn't going to rely on the "uk" portion being accurate. There was no subject in the subject line and it wasn't carbon copied to anyone else.

The body of the message was simple and to the point. If it turned out to be true, a lot of non-humans were going to be very dead, including Angel. He didn't like that idea.

The Council of Watchers has discovered a way to vanquish the demon population on earth.

Growling, Angel crumpled the paper and threw it in the trash. He did not need this shit. He scratched his upper thigh. He was tired of other demon hunters mucking things up. He scratched his elbow. He didn't want the responsibility he was just handed. He scratched his neck. He despised his soul at times. He scratched his crotch.

He hated poison ivy.





Part Three





Sunnydale, California



"Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!" Spike stomped back to the bed, sat down on the edge, and glared angrily at his Doc Martens. "Why didn't you tell me they were on the wrong feet?!"

"Sorry."

Spike transferred his glare to the young blond woman leaning against the bedroom door. "You know they bloody laugh at me when I do something like this."

"They do not," Buffy Summers told him with a small shake of her head.

"Do, too," Spike said sullenly. He bent forward and began to unlace his boots. "They laugh at me all the time. 'Ha-ha, Spike can't dress himself. Ha-ha, Spike gets lost on patrol. Ha-ha, Spike couldn't find his dick with both hands.'"

"I see where this is going," Buffy said. "You just want me to comment on your big penis."

Spike gave her a sly grin. "You think I have a big cock?"

"Let me get my magnifying glass first, then I'll let you know."

Spike chuckled as he pulled off his boots, switched them, and shoved his feet back into them. Leaning forward, he snagged the black laces on his left Doc and started to retie his boot. "One bunny ear, two bunny ears," he mumbled, making loops out of the lace ends. "The bunnies cross paths and one goes into the bunny hole."

The dishwater-blond vampire glanced questioningly at Buffy. Buffy smiled softly at him and nodded. Perking up, Spike tightened the knot and buckled the boot belt over the tied laces, then started on the other Doc.

The clock alarm went off on the night-stand, filling the small bedroom with music. "'...I come from a land down-under...'"

Spike immediately joined in, making up the words as he sang along. "Where I rape and pillage and loot and plunder..." He winked at the giggling blond woman, rose from the bed, and waded through his messy bedroom to the closet. The only item hanging in it was his duster; the rest of his clothing was strewn on the blue-carpeted floor.

He removed the duster from the closet, slid it on, and checked the pockets for weapons. Stake, check. 'Nother stake, check. Knife -- ow -- check.

"Ready, slowpoke?" Buffy asked. "Your breakfast is probably getting cold."

Spike brushed his hair back, and it immediately flopped into his face again. His blue eyes crossed as he glared at the offending thick strands. "I need a haircut."

"Whatever you do, don't try to cut your own hair again," Buffy warned, as he shut off the alarm clock. "Remember what happened last time?"

"I thought I did good," Spike protested.

"It looked like you stuck your tongue in an electric socket."

"It did not!" Spike exclaimed, following her out the door.

"Trust me. You looked like a deranged hedgehog."



*****



Rupert Giles looked up from the newspaper as Spike came bounding down the stairs like a ten-year-old, duster tails flapping behind him as he jumped the last few steps. "Spike, I've told you not to do that," the greying Watcher scolded.

"Sorry," Spike said offhandedly. The vampire made a bee-line for the aging black-and-white cat lounging on the bookshelf in front of the living room window.

Giles shook his head as the almost-nightly purring competition began and went back to his paper. It was sad, really. Spike insisted that he and Miss Kitty, who'd come to live with them after Oz issued an ultimatum -- him or the cat -- and he had a bet going on as to which one of them was the better at purring. According to the vampire, Buffy was the judge, but she hadn't ruled in either of their favors yet.

Giles doubted Buffy would ever decide, because that would ruin Spike's game. Giles wasn't sure if Spike knew that on a conscious level, or if it was purely subconscious on his part. Anything was possible with the blond vampire who was no longer fully linked with reality.

Besides, Buffy was dead, which made the decision-making process a tad more difficult.

Giles's gaze shifted to the dishwater-blond man petting the cat and staring out the window into the night. It had been four years since Spike and Oz had escaped from the pseudo-Initiative. Four years since the group finally learned what had happened to Buffy after she and Spike had disappeared one evening while on patrol. Four years of taking care of a vampire who suffered from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and who was literally the group's last connection to Buffy Summers.

The original Initiative had chipped Spike so he could no longer harm a living creature, and that, in and of itself, was horrible enough. It was wrong and immoral, and Giles had thought that was the worst thing anyone could do to a vampire. He'd been mistaken.

The scientists that had re-banded after the Initiative was demolished embodied the definition of cruel, and what they had done went far beyond immorality. Oz had been lucky. They'd only stimulated his change and froze him between werewolf and human, giving him both the wolf's strengths and the human's control.

Buffy and Spike had been kidnapped and "tested" for months. Then the scientists destroyed them both and created a new warrior out of the remains.

Spike was a demon/machine hybrid, with the heart and blood of the Slayer giving him extra-supernatural strength. The scientists had replaced a large portion of his body with titanium and special plastic tubing that acted as blood vessels. His arms, legs, and upper torso had undergone complete biomechanical changes, including replacing his unbeating heart with Buffy's beating one. His lungs were robotic, providing the necessary functions to keep the Slayer's blood oxygenated. A layer of titanium encircled his neck to make it nearly impossible to sever his head from his body. They had peeled his skin away to do their work, replacing it and letting it heal when they had finished.

Spike never spoke much about what had happened. Giles had learned that the vampire and Buffy'd had a very intense relationship during the months they'd been at the laboratory. Off and on over the years before they'd been kidnapped, the two of them had dated -- 'friends that shagged' was how Spike had classified it -- so their turning to one another hadn't been odd. It explained why part of Spike's post-traumatic psychosis included being able to "see" Buffy. It also gave Giles heart to know that Buffy hadn't been alone in that horrid place and that perhaps her last days had been filled with love.

A loud pop startled Giles out of his reverie, and his gaze focused on where Spike had been sitting. The vampire wasn't there. Rising, the Watcher headed towards the kitchen of the brownstone where the noise had emanated from, a binding spell poised on the tip of his tongue.

"I'm not an idiot!" Spike was hissing as Giles entered the kitchen. The blond stood by the microwave, glaring at the empty space to his right. "I just forgot, all right!"

"Spike?" Giles ventured. "What happened?"

"The blood bag exploded in the microwave," Spike grumbled, giving the machine a glum look. His head whipped to the right again, and he growled, "Sod off, Slayer!"

"No harm, Spike," Giles said soothingly. "Why don't you sit down and I'll prepare your breakfast."

Spike stalked over to the six-person kitchen table, arguing quietly with the invisible Slayer. Giles quickly cleaned the mess and set about warming a new bag of blood, this time pouring into a coffee cup before being putting it into the microwave.

Taking care of Spike wasn't a problem for Giles; in fact, he'd gladly taken on the responsibility. Both literally and metaphorically, inside the vampire was the heart of the woman Giles had loved like a daughter, and Giles wanted to protect it because he'd failed to protect Buffy. Plus, over time, Spike had grown on Giles, becoming like another of the wayward children that chose the Watcher as their adoptive father. It also didn't hurt that Spike was still chipped and unable to harm humans, although the scientists had installed a switch to turn that chip on and off , which only Giles and Willow knew about.

Of his own volition, Spike had returned to patrolling Sunnydale, acting as the current Vampire Slayer. No one outside of the immediate Slayerettes and their Los Angeles compatriots knew of Buffy's death, and only the Slayerettes knew about Spike's new status. Giles wanted to keep it that way. He was still considered Buffy's Watcher under the direction of the Council of Watchers, and he was loathe to sever that connection considering the precarious nature of the Hellmouth. The real Slayer was tightly under the Council's thumb and, as long as Buffy was "alive", she stayed away from Sunnydale.

It wasn't that Giles didn't trust the Slayer to do her duty, he just didn't trust the Council. Allowing the Sunnydale Hellmouth to be under their control was a frightening prospect, one that Giles wanted to avoid. Since the Master, Ness, had opened the Hellmouth over a decade ago, it had become the most powerful lure of evil and, well, the Council of Watchers was not made up of the purest of souls.

Spike, with his enhanced body, could stop almost any demon physically. He was helpless against humans, though, because Giles and Willow were very reluctant to switch off the chip. Having a mentally unstable, soulless super-vampire running around wasn't something they were comfortable with. Because of Spike's vulnerability and his penchant for getting lost, someone always accompanied him on patrols.

"Here you are, Spike," Giles said, placing the mug of blood on the kitchen table.

"Ta," Spike said and picked up the cup. He scowled in the direction of the chair beside him, then mumbled to Giles, "Sorry about the mess."

"It's quite all right," Giles reassured him. Exploding blood in the microwave was a common occurrence in the Giles household, and Spike wasn't the only vampire to cause that to happen.

"Evening," Xander Harris greeted, wandering sleepily into the kitchen. He bypassed Giles and went to the refrigerator. Opening the door, the short-haired brunette bent over and peered inside, scratching his boxer-covered ass as he did so. "Don't we have anything good to eat?"

"The icebox is filled with food, Xander," Giles pointed out, sifting through the mail on the counter.

"Healthy food, Giles," Xander said. "Old man food."

"Are you calling me old?"

Xander looked over at him innocently. "Who me?"

Giles shook his head. The slight tilt to one corner of the young man's mouth was anything but innocent.

The brunette rummaged through the fridge and came up with two containers of blueberry yogurt. He shut the fridge door with his hip, grabbed a spoon from the drawer, and joined Spike at the table. Spike snagged one of the yogurts, opened it, and dumped it into his mug of blood.

"Spike, that's gross," Xander stated as Spike took a large gulp.

"S'good," Spike countered, smacking his lips. He held out the mug to Xander. "Try it."

Xander pulled a face after he took the mug and looked into it. "It looks like melted eyeballs."

"Xander," Giles said exasperatedly.

"Well, it does," Xander said. "The way the blueberries are floating in the white goop and blood..." Giles smacked him across the back of the head with the mail. The brunette grinned at Spike, then slammed back a good mouthful of the concoction.

"So?" Spike inquired.

Xander licked a stray blueberry off his canine, his yellow eyes dancing with humor. "I like eyeballs better."

Giles thanked the Lord when the phone rang, giving him an excuse to leave the kitchen. How he ended up with two mentally deficient vampires in his house was anybody's guess.


Continued