Spike in the City Of Angels, Episode 3:


In Hope Of A New Beginning


by John Cope





Part One



Somehow on hearing Giles' frantic shout Buffy managed to bring the crossbow up even as the firing mechanism released the bolt. It sped forward, clipping Angel's shoulder as it flew through the air. He jerked back away from the sharp pain as the bodkin point tore a line across his skin. Despite that however, his eyes never left the Slayer's face.

The Slayer looked around. She'd been on a street, she had been about to kill a vampire on a street and now here she lay on the grass in what looked like a park and an abandoned overgrown one at that. "What the fuck is going on here?"

"Buffy?" The vampire -- handsome she supposed but all black silk shirt and leather pants as was so typical of his kind -- was staring at her. At a part of her she always considered it rude for anyone to look at.

"You know occasionally I have been complimented on my eyes or the not unimpressive breasts I keep down the front of my shirt," Buffy snarled as the vampire carried on looking at the scar. "So take your eyes off my mouth and put em someplace else or I'll kill you whatever Giles says."

"I don't understand...?" Angel did look up at eyes that weren't his lover's. Even in her most desperate moments Buffy had never looked that hard. "I just don't..."

"What, you don't understand a simple death threat?" Buffy heard running feet as the others overcame their shock at Angel's narrow escape and came running over. "Giles what the...holy god! When did you become a quick change expert and who are all these people?" She did a double-take on Browne. "And vampires?"

"Oh good lord!" Giles had a look of absolute bewilderment on his face. Not an unfamiliar sight but all the same hardly reassuring in these circumstances. "Willow," he said turning to an upset looking red haired girl who stood beside him, her eyes wide as she stared at...it. "I think the spell didn't work."

"Well yeah...I suppose." Willow tried to smile and failed badly. "But on the other hand technically..."

"You got a Buff, Will," a black haired guy chipped in, at least he wasn't staring at the scar. Buffy adjusted her legs which had been kinda far apart braced as she was to fire a crossbow. "Not ours sure but Buff all the same and nobody can take that away from you."

"Right Xander...thanks."

Then Oz put his arms round her and held her close. "It's ok we know it works, we just try again. And then we go find a spell to send people back."

"Yes...er...quite." Giles offered his hand to the alternate Buffy to shake. "Rupert Giles at your service, er...Buffy. We'll get you back were you belong in a jiffie let me assure you."

Buffy looked at the hand, then at Giles and then at all the other people who she didn't know. "I have to say this is weird, and when things get weird I get tetchie, and when I get tetchie I get violent so if you don't want to get on my bad side please tell me in English what the fuck is going on?"

"Ah..."

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Willow picked herself up of the ground, even as a great many other people did the same. The blue flash had not been explosive enough to damage property but it had certainly sent a forceful shock through those who witnessed it. Shaking her head, she checked she was still were she was supposed to be and that Xander was still with her and reached a decision.

"This isn't nice, everything's gone so strange." Humans were fighting back, vampires were getting hurt or killed. Then she saw the cops starting to get out of their cars, shaken but armed. "This is just so wrong."

The theory states that vampires can't be killed by guns and it is true of conventionally loaded weapons in the strictest sense.

Of course though if somebody fires a twelve gauge at a vampires head from close range then the effect is much the same as a stake to the heart. Also though a vampire can survive a bullet in the body easily enough despite the excruciating pain, it can suffer major inconvenience to say the least if it hits an important bone. Vampires have no medicare if your comrades actually both to carry you away your unlife can be more or less guaranteed to suck.

Your social position is gone, every vamp you ever screwed over is gonna look for his or her payback. Even a Master vampire with the most powerful will is gonna have to watch his minions hard if his legs are broken. Should you avoid gang rape there's still the will they feed you? question to consider, probably not so you'd best pray for a rat-infested lair. One where you can play dead and hope to get a nibble.

All this ran through Willow's mind at speed decision reached she didn't hesitate. Grabbing Xander's arm she hauled him to his feet. "Leaving now."

"But what about the ba...oooooowww," Xander cried out as Willow ripped the crossbow bolt from his side. "What the...?"

"Are you disobeying me?" Willow held the bolt like a stake. "I'm afraid I can't allow that, die here or come with, your choice!?!"

Xander looked round and took in thirty cops and a confused Englishman all of whom were waking up to the fact there were two vampires just across the street from them. "Ok we run."

They vaulted the fence seconds ahead of the first gunshots which sent wood splinters flying after them.

"The Master is gonna be so pissed!" Xander shouted to her as they raced for the nearest sewer outlet.

"Not caring," she replied as she ripped the metal cover up out of the ground. "Loyalty to a Sire has it's place but let's not make a career out of it."

"But...?" Xander began before Willow tripped him dumping him unceremoniously into the sewer. The splash he made was loud.

"Oh." Willow screwed up her face. "That wasn't how I wanted that to work out." She started to clamber down the interior ladder. "But though you may stink at least you'll still not be breathing."

The slamming of the manhole cover back into place drowned out any response Xander might have wanted to make. Once, that is, he'd finished spitting out what he landed in.

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When the cops arrived Colin knew that it was over. They slammed into his surviving forces like a tidal wave. The vampires were only just holding their own as it was and this tipped the balance. Vampires who weren't to busy dying began to run.

A vampiress wasn't fast enough for Seymour and Eddings. The heavily built Seymour slammed his nightstick into the back of her head bringing her down and then the two police men slammed repeated blows into her fallen body to make sure she stayed there.

"Hey guys." They looked up to see a shortish kid with green hair looking at them. The shirt he was wearing was ripped by vampire claws and showed some blood. "Try just sticking the sticks in her heart, it's quicker and you get to kill more."

"He's right, he's some kinda Martian, but he's right." Eddings pulled out a dime. "You wanna call?"

"Heads." Seymour watched the coin spin through the air to land on his partners palm. His fellow officer slapped it on the back of his other hand and held it out.

"Sorry man." He took a two handed grip of his stick. "But it is my turn."

"Knock yourself out." Stepping back to let his friend strike both Gerry and Oz winced at the sound of breaking ribs. "Isn't she supposed to go bang now."

"Little more to the left." Oz liked his slaying a lot neater than what had been going on tonight. The fact that Eddings had to stand on the vampire to get the pressure to rip the nightstick clear only made matters worse.

"Ain't education wonderful, knowing where the heart is." Dave tried again and the vampiress disappered to both mens obvious amazement. "Wow you see their skeletons and everything."

"Which is why when you slay one." The guitarist pointed in the direction the vamps were running. "You're always ready to bag another."

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Buffy was in hot pursuit of Colin, he had something of hers and there was no way he was getting away with it.

The Katana wasn't a family heirloom but it had been a present from Angel, She knew it was a very old blade that he had paid a lot of money for and she had enough potential bad news to give him without adding this to the mix.

Colin wasn't exactly running to get away, he knew what awaited him if he made it back to the Bronze without the Daywalker's dust on his clothes. But he also knew the pursuers were thinning out, he still had ten vamps in a scattered pack around him. And whereas the Slayer had a stake he had a sword.

Spike ran along as fast as his legs would go. The gunshots from behind him made him want to run back and check on his new friend but he'd shouted to Jenny to get her hunters to drag Altie out of the way of the mortals who weren't in the know but he knew if some cop or civilian touched the body. *Then it's all up for the poor bloke.*

"Slayer!" Spike managed to shout. "Are you sure two of us should be chasing these guys?"

"No...it's a dumb idea," Buffy was having to breathe to keep going as it was conversation did not help matters. "But hey I'm blond remember?"

Colin was about to shout stop and have his boys rip the opposition apart when the blacked-out vans turned the corner ahead and started racing towards him. *Reinforcements right on time.*

"Oh crap." Buffy decelerated as fast as she could without tripping herself. "More vamps?"

"I may be totally knackered love." Spike's lungs had kicked into use after the run and his smoking was catching up with him. "But I can tell there ain't vamps in those vans even from back 'ere."

The vans turned and blocked the street. Colin realizing his mistake turned to run amongst the houses on the side of the road even as the van doors slid open to reveal aimed crossbows.

Buffy kicked Spike's legs from under him plunging them both to the tarmac. "Down." She knew a dusting vamp might not be enough to stop an inbound stake.

Wilkins security guards where well trained their bolts deadly. Vampires dusted to left and right the clatter of Buffy's katana as it hit the sidewalk told Buffy all she needed to know about Colin's fate. The battle was over the good guys had won.

"Well if that doesn't beat all." A familiar irritating voice broke the silence. "I go to all the trouble of finding this old thing and don't even get to use it."

*Ok so maybe the good guys is putting it a little broadly.* Buffy looked up to see Wilkins walking over towards her an old medieval looking sword held in his hand. *Oh this will look good come election day.*

"Buffy how are you?" Wilkins seemed to lose the smile a little as he took in Spike. "Arn't you going to introduce me to your...pal."

On the outside Buffy Summers looked all sweetness and light but on the inside she gave an evil laugh as she answered. "Oh yeah, Mayor Richard Wilkins meet Spike. He's my boyfriend...daddy."

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"So you moron's lose your Buffy, who you already let get turned into a vampire by her demonic lover, who has a soul so that's ok. You meddle with dark powers over which you obviously have no control and you pull me out of my reality and into yours when admit it you don't have the faintest fucking idea how to send me back." A circle of not exactly happy faces surrounded Buffy as she spoke, they looked ashamed of themselves and she hoped to make them stay that way. "You really are running one hell of a screwed up outfit here, Mister."

"Now really I think that you're..." Giles began only to be interrupted.

"Putting it a little strong." Buffy seriously considered hitting someone, the vamps for first choice. "People were dying back there, and you took a Slayer out of the fight. The Master's guys were..."

"The Master." Angel a fearful expression went and stood close to Giles asking him nervously. "Will Buffy be alright, can you open the gateway and let me through?"

"Well as she's not strictly speaking the Slayer of that reality I doubt the Codex will apply, and I think we have enough problems..."

"Excuse me." Giles attention snapped back to the irritated blond."Can we concentrate on my situation here? Get your witch to work her Mojo in reverse Rupe, times wasting."

"Rupe!" Giles removed his glasses but before he could say anymore Willow chimed in.

"There's no way I'll cast that spell, it would be like murder." Willow realized that the alternate Buffy wouldn't know her resolve face but used it anyway. "You'll stay here for a couple of days and then we'll get Spike back to give us the all clear."

"Listen sister." Buffy began before the word murder hit home. "Do you guys know something I don't?"

"The Pergamum Codex," Giles gave his glasses an absentminded wipe with a handkerchief as he spoke. "The Master was fordained to face and kill a Slayer, it happened to Buffy here but fortunately he chose to use drowning rather than draining and Xander knows CPR."

"Hi, that's me." Xander beamed at her, his eyes still not on the scar to the obvious annoyance of a pretty girl stood next to him. "I must say it's nice to meet ya."

"Whatever." This was a stumper, Buffy had the impression that she was being told the absolute truth and that gratitude might be necessary. "This is weird to the ninth degree. I owe you guys my life now...so thanks, but god Giles I just hope you have a strong heart."

"Why what are you going to..." Giles suddenly remembered the shock of finding his Slayer had been turned. "Oh good lord..."

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Jenny knelt on the ground cradeling Michael's head in her lap. The boy was dead, the latest of the town's residents to pay the price for keeping the hellmouth closed and he wasn't alone.

The sounds of crying filled the air as the families of those who had died in front of their homes wept over the scattered bodies. Away in the distance shouts could be heard as surviving vamps were pursued but Jenny knew most would make it clear and be underground soon. Then the Master would know how badly he had been beaten, the knowledge of the pain he was shortly to suffer was little comfort to her.

"Buffy!" A tweed clad man with an English accent was running around frantically searching for someone amid the crowd that had gathered. Correction a handsome tweed clad man. "Buffy where are you?"

"She took off after the vamps Mister." Jenny pointed with a bloodstained hand. "Just head that way and you should meet her coming back."

"Thank you." He came closer and looked down concern all over his face. "Was he a relative, that poor young fellow?"

"A student." Jenny brushed some hair back into place as she pondered what a Brit was doing here. "And a fellow vampire hunter...Mr Giles."

Part Two

The Master sat silent on his throne staring at nothing, ignoring the bloody battered vampires who cowered before him.

"I have been overindulgent, thinking that I could make those creatures learn their place in my new society. It was my intention to rule them well, the camps they would have lived in would have had three meals a day, and the bleeding would only have been twice a week. A civilized policy I hope you can all agree. " He turned angry red eyes on Darla. "But no, that's not good enough for them is it, kill the vampire, storm the vampire's lair and destroy him that's all they are capable of thinking. Well we'll see about that."

"Master we should run now," Alexander was an old Minion of the Master having been sired nearly seventy years before. "Go through the sewers before they come, otherwise it will be like that time at Salonika..."

"Do you not think I do not remember that defeat?" The Master was on Alexander so fast that nobody saw him move. His fist slammed the minion to the floor. "It was that that set me on my journey to find this place as a means to end their dominion on this world."

Alexander mentally pictured himself on the cross upstairs and shuddered at the thought. "Master I..."

"You apologize as you should." The Masters claws gently stroked through the shaking vampire's black hair. "Greed is a terrible thing, I admit it as a failing, I have sought to keep this world for myself to let no other demon share it, well that time has past."

"Oh Master." Darla had been looking near to tears at the failure of her two surviving favourites to return, now a cruel smile crossed her face. "Do we let the old ones out at last? That will be glorious."

"Yes I think the time is here." The Master's voice rose as he contemplated mankinds destruction. "Let them see how they like sharing this world of theirs with the denizens of hell, those few who survive shall wish with all their heart's that they had bowed before a kindly ruler such as I!"

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Giles applied the band aid very gently despite being annoyed with the injured party. "When did you last have a tetanus shot Willow?"

"After we fought that big multiheaded demon and we all got beat up." Willow knew she couldn't just leave it there. "I think it must have come from inside me Giles, the knowledge that a witches blood has power and Janus wouldn't listen to us unless we gave him something in return."

"Yes Willow I know you didn't plan it that way." Giles looked at his handiwork and let Willow's hand go. "But to take such a radical step unplanned and without consulting me is foolish, you don't know what your actions might have lured through that void."

"What vampires and stuff?" Willow shivered a little at that prospect. "But it did kinda work."

"I know." Giles looked at the figure standing apart from them. "What are we going to do with her? It's unfortunate but in all Buffy's usual haunts she'd stick out like a..."

"Scared thumb." Willow flushed even as she spoke. "Jeeze did I really say that?"

"You did don't say anything similar to her face please, I suppose you couldn't put her up could you?" Giles had a sinking feeling that he might have to take in a teen. "I doubt she'll want to share digs with two vampires."

"If Mom saw her I'd have immediate questions about what happened to poor Bunny's face." Willow shrugged. "Yeah I know I've told her it's Buffy but she's not the worlds greatest listener. I suppose I could say its Halloween make up practice but after that whole burning at the stake thing and with the Jewishness..."

"You don't want to mention Halloween?"

"Or Samhain, not until I'm at least thirty." Willow was about to suggest Buffy sleep on Giles' sofa when another more obvious plan occurred. "Why doesn't she just go to her Moms?"

"Oh please Willow can you see us getting away with that?" Giles ran the conversation over in his head. "Look Joyce we haven't managed to get your daughter back but here's another one we found, who by the way is alive. Hang on what about the Harris's do they...?"

Willow's aghast expression answered Giles question. "He'd probably regard it as a second chance wouldn't he?"

"Totally." Willow looked across at the boy in question currently staring at a woman other than his girlfriend. "And Anya....well she's ok now but if she got real angry then you have to wonder."

"Oh I don't think she could get her power back without the amulet." All the same Giles realized he was going to have to bite the bullet. "Joyce will just have to be reasoned with."

"The...you know what is gonna make her wig. I thought that Slayer's were supposed to heal if they get hurt so that when vamps see them they want to..." The Wiccan blushed crimson. "Party."

"Generally yes, unless the wound is very grave and that looks like it should have healed easily." Giles took his glasses of and gave them a wipe. "I must try to do some research on that before she goes back."

"That's assuming Treat doesn't kill us first."

"Yes...er...quite."

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"You ok?"

Buffy looked round, the vampire called Angel stood behind her, a look of concern on his face. "You still mad?"

"I've had better days let's put it like that." She looked him up and down. "Vamp with a soul, and a Slayer's dating you, jeeze that's weird."

"She is a vampire...now." Angel tried to keep the guilt out of his voice. "But we were...close before that."

"Must be strange for you?" Buffy astonished herself by sounding a little sympathetic. "Having your girl turn up with a pulse, not that I'm your girl I mean the temperature difference alone eeeuugh, oh sorry no offence."

"None taken." Angel felt a degree of relief in fact, he didn't want Buffy accusing him of cheating on her with...Buffy. "I guess I never thought about that, I was more concerned over the being a vampire difference."

"I guess if I'd met a handsome cuddlie creature of the night..." Buffy shrugged. "But feature cold feet and other stuff. No I think I'll stick to nice hot mortal boys and not go seeking out your double... oh sorry again no..."

"I know, no offence." Angel had begun to realize that this Buffy was not that dissimilar from his, once you got through the tough exterior. "Before it happened I tried to get her to go out with ordinary guys, ok I was jealous as hell of them but I tried."

"Which shows you're a good person despite the...blood thing." Buffy looked at her shoes. "Guess if I'm stuck here I should make myself useful, you guys have any vampires...other than you and the other guy that you need killing?"

"Funny you should mention that." Angel had wanted to leave it to Giles to brief Buffy about Treat but since she was asking him. "We may have just the opening you're looking for, let me explain..."

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"Well I guess it's a big enough son of a bitch." Treat regarded the LA city bus suspiciously. "But vampire don't you think that the cops are gonna wonder what this mutha fucker is doin' in Sunnydale."

Kelvin smiled and pointed to the tarpauline in the back of his van. "That's what I got the paint for homes, and fake plates, this will look like somebody's bought a surplus bus by the time you're through."

"Yeah like I'm gonna get paint on this suit." Treat had to agree though that the idea sounded right. "Ok negro that's half your nights work done, did you get me that other thing I was after."

"It wasn't hard, army surplus is army surplus." Pride in his voice Kelvin walked to the van and pulled out a crate, opening the lid he turned to Treat and asked."Brother does that meet your requirements?"

"Now will you look at that, homes you are the best connected brother in this city." The M-79 wasn't exactly mint condition but it looked the part all the same. Treat lifted it out of the box. "Hullo sweetness."

"The grenade has to travel about forty meters before it'll arm." Kelvin watched Treat break the short stubby shotgun like weapon open. "But it don't matter you shoot something that size into somebody their sure to feel it human or vamp."

"I feel like Arnie with this." Taking a one handed aim Treat pictured the Slayers face and dry squeezed the trigger. "Shit I wish I'd told her 'I'll be back', you dig that accent there vampires cause I don't here no laughter."

A lot of vampires started laughing at once, the ones over forty meters away loudest of all.


Continued

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