Spike in the City Of Angels, Episode 4:


Choices


by John Cope







Part Ten



The click sounded loud enough to wake the dead.

But it didn't. No guard looked in through the door, no alarm went off.

Nothing.

In a state of stunned disbelief the Watcher saw the manacle around his left wrist come open. The bent and twisted nail that stuck out of the lock testimony to his efforts as a pick lock. *God lord Wyndham, you've done it.*

*I've done it!* He held his two hands in front of him, opening them out as one wrist came out of the cuffs. *I'm free!*

Then he looked round at the stained cobwebbed walls of the room he'd been consigned to. *Well actually no I'm not exactly free...not yet.*

The virtually stuffing-free chair he had been told to stay in creaked badly as he stood up and tiptoed over towards the window. His nerves screamed at virtually every step as the floorboards creaked and cracked as if they were about to cave in beneath him. *Out over the window ledge a short painful drop into the gardens and then it's away to the mansion and a hero's welcome.*

Sick with fear at the prospect of having to jump but knowing it was his only way out, Wesley threw back the curtains that covered the window and froze at the sight of the bricks that filled three quarters of the frame.

*Who the hell would....?* But the answer hit home straight away. *Cruciamentum.*

*Damn, damn, damn, damn. Here I am trying to be heroic and look what happens.* Wesley turned and tiptoed back to his chair. *This wouldn't happen to Giles, oh no he'd get a room with a window that hadn't been bricked up you can bet on that, out he'd have gone and it would be. "Oh Giles arn't you brave, your so clever".*

Sitting down, the Englishman looked at the left cuff of his restraints. *Alright then lock it back round your wrist and wait to be rescued like a good chap eh?*

*Cruciamentum.*

*Locked in here with no escape other than by destroying the vampire.* He looked at the window again. *I can see why she never liked me. She forgave Giles though.*

*What are you thinking of Wyndham? Put the cuffs back on. If they catch you trying to escape it's curtains and you know it. If you cause trouble, they kill you.*

*But then has Albany got a ticket home for you? He never did like me I may already be marked down to be a permanent resident in that rather overgrown garden outside.*

*Cruciamentum. Trial by torment, poor Buffy.*

*If I go back to England I'm never going to get away from them, they'll constantly be watching me, biding there time to grab me and use me against her . So it's going to have to be a new start in a new country for me. Maybe in LA, Cordelia is there after all....*

The walls of the hotel's rooms were thin and Wesley had been listening to interesting conversations about the next door tenant. *Giles has to be coming round soon, break him out and between us we may be able to get clear and fetch the cavalry.*

*But there are dozens of them!*

*Then again I've not heard much noise this last ten minutes or so.* Wesley looked at his watch. *Nearly twelve, and even Watchers have to eat......and so do prisoners.*

Quickly his scrambled round the room looking amongst the decrepit furniture and debris for anything that might work as a weapon. He was lucky, under a pile of dust sheets thrown in a corner was a broken sidetable a leg of which came loose with a good hard pull.

He hefted the improvised weapon for weight. *Not bad.*

*Trusted prisoner. Trusted to be too scared to do anything.* Wesley sat back in the chair again facing the door the table leg as out of sight as he could make it. *Handcuffs in front of me, no guard watching over me, how very underestimated I've been...I hope.*

Making sure his handcuffs looked secure Wesley opened his mouth to shout. No noise came out terror having stilled his vocal cords. *Swallow man.* Somehow he forced the rising bile back down and steeled himself to try again.

"Guard." It was a squeak not a shout, but it came again louder. "GUARD!"

A key in a lock and then the door creaked open and two unmasked faces looked in. Young faces, their hair close cut like someone out of boot camp. The Americans from the nearby College. "Yeah, what da you want?"

"I say old chap." Wesley put on his best Oxbridge. "You couldn't possibly fetch me a sandwich could you? And maybe a pot of tea?"

The looks were contemptuous, so was the way the door slammed but the footsteps creaking down the hall said all that Wesley needed to know.

*Oh fuck Wyndham now your really in the crap, it can't possibly work, you are so going to die.*

*****

"You know, I'm quite positive he's faking it."

*Dave Cosgrove?* Giles couldn't be sure if the voice belonged to the Watcher he remembered from a training course four years before but wasn't about to open his eyes and find out. *Buy some time, that's all you can do.*

"Dudes downstairs'll wake him up soon enough." There was a rather worrying degree of threat in that statement, Giles tried to ignore it.

*This is all very curious, English Watchers yes, and we do have some Americans on the books but that voice seem far to young. It'll be a relief when Buffy get's here and we find out what the hell's going on.*

The fact that Willow might be chained up somewhere else in the building and Buffy therefore still in the alternate reality was left unspoken. When any of the Slayerettes got into trouble, Buffy came and rescued them. That was the rule wasn't it?

*I do rather hope so.*

**************************************************************************************************

"Hey Mr where the fuck am I?" The girl might not be a vampire but she could still snarl, the target of her anger sat bolt upright at the sudden noise.

Jason had sat down in a battered looking chair. Ropes tied round the arms suggesting that people had been up to all sorts in the basement, he'd mused on the matter considering scenarios for a few minutes then nodded off to sleep he awoke now with a start.

"You know something Mr, as a guard you make a great slacker." Buffy was awake and watching him, the cloth under her manacles ruffled and untidy showing how she'd been testing the strength of her bonds. "Just think how easy it would have been for me to escape."

"That's where the chains come in luv, stop you from wanderin' while I catch up on me kip." The Enforcer tried to keep his voice level, to conceal the admiration he felt at her lack of fear. "Try to tear em loose all you like Slayer but you're not going anywhere."

"Ok." Buffy put her hands behind her head and stared an the ceiling. "Expecting a vampiress?"

"You know we were." Jason tried hard to concentrate on other things than the rise and fall of the girl's breasts. "That's why they're so strong."

"And you wouldn't ever have had to like unchain her, right?"

"That's the general idea." A dark brooding wrongness started to creep into the Semi-Watcher's thoughts. "Why do you ask?"

"Oh no reason, cept the smell."

"What smell?"

Buffy looked up and gave Jason the look before answered slowly. "Because duh, live people have to use the toilet which ain't here!"

*Bugger!* Jason shifted in his seat as he contemplated getting that close to the Slayers legs and unchaining her hands. *Oh bugger me!*

"Ooops, have I spoiled your nasty little plan?" Buffy looked him up and down, tough guy but she'd floored tougher. "I don't need to hurt you....not less you want me to that is. Just throw me the key and run, I'll be too busy kicking the crap out of your buds to chase you down, unless, that is, you're a really mean kidnapper who'd make me pee my pants."

She looked at him, and saw where his eyes kept straying to. *Dirty bastard.* Her mind said but her scarred lips smiled a different story. "But I think your a nice man, arn't you Mr Kidnapper?"

*****************************************************************************************************************

Albany recapped the syringe and held it up to the light.

"A vampires blood, what a vivid colour." Tapping his teeth with the plastic cap he sank into a deep thought. *Faith, the first deliberate Slayer vamp...or perhaps an experiment first.*

Grimly he considered his alternatives, risk the turning without a prior experiment or have a trial run on a suitable guinea pig.

*I think it may be time to go and see an old school chum!* Grinning Albany got up and went to the kitchen where his followers were eating. His candidate would have bleed first, Albany was going to need a knife.

*******************************************************************************************************************

"Here ya go limey." The guard came in with his dart gun slung over his shoulder his hands full of plate and soft drink, the second guy had his weapon held nonchalantly under his arm his finger nowhere near the trigger guard. "Ham on rye an a Cola, where you want it Mr?"

"Oh well." Wesley looked round looking for a spot within range. "Errr put the plate on the bed and set the can on the floor. I think I'll be able to fight the roaches off long enough to eat it."

"Where do you think you are the fuckin' Hilton...."Bending to put the drink down he never noticed Wesley pull the table leg up from the ground between his knees where he had precariously secured it. Or the leg catching in the dragging lining of the chair's upholstery leaving Wesley tugging at it a look of horror on his face.

"Charlie!" His comrade shouted, his finger grabbing the trigger of his suddenly wildly aimed dart gun. Charlie was turning to find out what the hell the shouting was about when the dart gun went off and put a feathered missile right in his back.

Wesley looked down stunned as his intended target hit the deck. "Well I never."

Then he dived like a scared rabbit at the sound of a rifle bolt being worked he landed on the rifle lying beside the unfortunate Charles and acting on pure instinct grabbed hold.

"Tricky little bastard." The second guard was a short stocky kid with a very worried look in his eye, this was supposed to be the easy prisoner and look what was happening, plus Charlie was six inches taller and certain to kick his ass. He cautiously walked round to the side of the bed gun leveled.

One unconscious Charlie and nothing else. He gulped and managed one word. "Huh?"

PHUT!

The pain was sharp and centered on his left ankle. He looked down even as his vision began to swim and saw a rifle barrel poking out from under the bed. "Why you...."

He dropped to one side hitting the chair on the way down and slamming it back towards the wall.

"My god I did it!" Wesley gasped in disbelief as he rolled out from under the bed grabbing up the second gun as he emerged. "I actually bloody did it."

On his feet in seconds he raced for the door a dart gun in each hand barrels pointed at the ceiling as he prepared to storm the corridor. *Now let's go see where they're keeping Giles?*

*****

The corridor was empty. Wesley stood there for a second considering what to do. Make a bolt for it? Get out of the building and call for help? Or try to get Giles out, too? *I don't know where Buffy is but I know where to find Rupert....*

Unable to decide, he looked back and to until the decision was taken from him.

"What's all the damn noise?" an angry voice asked as the next door down the badly lit corridor opened. Wesley turned to see his former colleague Dave Cosgrove staring at him from just six feet away, his hands empty of weapons.

"Windy?" The Watcher was stunned for a second, unable to believe his eyes.

The rifles weren't designed to be fired one handed but with virtually no recoil and at point blank range it wasn't that difficult for Wesley to aim the dart gun in his right hand and squeeze off the chambered dart.

The thud that followed made Wesley's teeth grind, he heard a muffled shout from downstairs and knew the game was up.

*Right this calls for leadership in a crisis.* Stepping over Cosgrove he raised his foot. *Which is why I need Giles.*

The door slammed inwards as Wesley kicked it open and Giles sprang into action. Or at least sprang as far as the chain round his right wrist allowed.

An unconscious prisoner is a relaxing prisoner. The Initiate's dart gun was on the floor a few feet from him next to the bed. So as he dived for it Giles was able to launch a sharp unaimed kick at a head he hadn't an actual hope of hitting. But the attack certainly distracted the boy.

"I knew you were faking it man!" The Initiate shouted, grabbing for the gun again but his eyes had left Giles and went to the door a look of surprised bemusement replacing the fear on his face. "Jesus it's the wuss!"

"Wesley?" Giles hadn't looked towards the door when it crashed open expecting his rescuer to be a Buffy....or any other member of the world's population other than Wesley Wyndham-Price. *Even Bugs Bunny would have been less of a surprise......Though possibly not Daffy Duck!*

"Hullo Giles." Wesley nodded to his former colleague then fired a dart into the Initiate's leg, a thud later and he was busily piling the limited furniture the room had to offer in front of the door. "How have you been keeping old fellow?"

"Tolerably well," Giles answered from the bed looking on as Wesley barricaded. "Why are you doing that?"

"Well we're not going to be able to fight our way out of here are we?"Wesley looked at his flimsy handiwork and shrugged. "There are nearly twenty of them left but you'll think of something."

"Oh and what am I doing here?" Wesley beat Giles to the question. "I'm an escaping prisoner, chiefly cause I did something silly and they caught me and dragged me back to the States." He walked over to look at the chains. "They've just lifted the head of the bed up and threaded the chain round one leg before putting it back, if we lift it you're free."

"Certainly I am." Together the two men heaved at the frame inching the wooden headboard up from its sockets. "You were helping them then?"

"Yes..." Wesley looked for scorn in Giles face and saw only as look of sadness. "I know I'm not as strong as you."

"They threatened you, with what the sack?"

"They were going to cut my nose off!" Wesley explained, a note of pleading in his voice, he took of his spectacles and held them out as exhibit A. "And I wear glasses, a nose is essential to me."

"So you've never considered contacts?" The chain came loose and Giles scrambled off the bed. "Windows bricked up I see."

"It's the Sunnydale Arms Giles." He noted the look that crossed the ex-Watchers face, anger and a deep sadness combined. He misinterpreted it and, looking away, went on. "I know, but I'm used to wearing glasses....and my nose is.."

"Attached to you." Giles grabbed the two dart guns from Wesley's hands. "Yes I agree you'd look a right idiot without one and I forgive you. Now please get the other guns and put them in the corner over there." He indicated the corner along the wall from the door. "Then help me turn the bed on its side."

"Why?"

"Just do it please." The two men lifted again this time toppling the bed over effectively covering the far corner of the room from the view of anyone coming into the room. Giles propped the mattress up to give a greater screen. "There."

"So we shelter behind it.....but the guns are on the wrong side?"

"Six shots per magazine in one of these aren't there?" Giles checked the chambers to make sure all the rifles were loaded.

Scratching his head but glad to be a follower rather than a leader once more, Wesley nodded. "Standard Watcher issue yes, I've fired four darts."

"And got four hits, well done." Giles handed Wesley a rifle then pointed to the corner along from the door. "We'll take our position here, you kneel or sit on the floor and I'll stand behind you."

"But we can't see the door from here Giles." Wesley's voice dropped to a whisper at the sound of footsteps in the corridor outside. "I don't...."

"If you kicked that door in where would you be aiming your gun, the first thing they'll see is the bed," Giles answered grimly. "They'll think we're behind it for the couple of seconds it'll take too, we put down at least two more."

And then they kill us." Wesley closed his eyesm wishing he'd tried climbing up and trying to squeeze through the narrow gap at the top of the window. "But looking on the bright side we'll probably be unconscious when they do it."

"That's the spirit." Giles patted the Watchers shoulder reassuringly. "Nil desperadum, tell me did they get Willow?"

"She got away......I think." The other appalling prospect was that she'd been a casualty in the gunbattle he'd heard, but then who'd shot Riley? "Someone shot one of the Initiative members....the Americans in the arm. A boy called Riley Finn if you know him?"

"Finn!" Giles felt afraid for the first time since he'd woken up but not for himself. "Well that really puts the tin hat on it."

"What?"

"Buffy has every reason to hate this building, the fact that Watchers would use it again after what they did to her here..." Giles shook his head as he remembered his own part in that betrayal. "And Finn pursued her to a most untoward extent when she first went to the College...especially after he...Oh good lord!"

"What?" Wesley could here steps outside and the sound of dragging as Cosgrove was pulled clear of the door. "Could you please be more precise."

"Angel, Buffy said it only got out of hand after he heard about Angel, I wonder if....." Giles fell silent as the implication struck home that perhaps all along the Watchers Council had been linked with a secret organization here in Sunnydale and had never once bothered to share the fact with him. "Anyway I'm terribly afraid of how Buffy will react."

"You think she might come barging in here and get hurt in some way."

"No it's not Buffy I'm afraid for." There was a chill in Giles' voice. "It's not Buffy at all."

***************************************************************************************

Albany looked at the unconscious Watcher and clutched the knife tightly in his hand. The corridor was lined with confused members of his team but nobody was exactly volunteering to try and rush the two freed prisoners.

Angrily he turned to one of the Americans. "Don't just stand there, go and get Jason, now!"



Part Eleven



The phone rang persistently despite the objects thrown at it till finally a hand came up from under the sheet and picked up the receiver. "O'Malley's Vetanarians......oh Jesus Browne do you know what time it is?"

Doyle realized he hadn't the foggiest idea either and looked at the unset alarm clock by his bed. "For god's sake it's only bloody twelve, what the fuck is a vamp doin' ringin' this early in the bloody day?"

Doyle sat up in his bed and looked at himself in the mirror about his clothing strewn dressing table, blood shot eyes with the requisite bags under them. "You know I hate gettin' rung before two.

"I know you're not sorry you sod......oh right so it's a lazy mick bastard now is it?" Doyle stood up and started throwing discarded clothes around, looking for a bottle he was sure he'd only half drunk. "That's good comin' from you Mr Browne with an e, you're only two generations away from Cork yerself, and what would the Pope say about all that Muslim mumbo, you spout."

Doyle held the phone at arms length to protect his hearing from the vampires voluminous answer. He found the bottle and cursed under his breath. *God you must have had a thirst last night man.*

"Look will you shut up about the prophet Mohammed and tell me what the hell you want?" Doyle sat back on the bed and listened. "What, Sunnydale me? Are you kiddin' this is as close to the mouth of Hell as I'd like to get thanks all the same.

"Ok so you need me, well then that's different but what about the store here?" Doyle started looking out clothes that hadn't been worn too often whilst he spoke, finding a half empty carton of last night Chinese and a fork he proceeded to begin breakfast. "Ant fwat.....sorry just eatin', and what about Cordie?

"Oh and that's nice that is......yeah well at least I only want to shag her not drink her fuckin' blood." Doyle chuckled to himself as he pictured how cold it would be in hell the day Cordelia Chase willingly let the vampire near her. "Oh come on man yer gaggin' to taste it...And the same to you ya undead twat.

"Alright......No we can't rely on Whistler. I'll tell her to nip round to Sol's, he'll take care of her...Excuse me but the old man's known throughout Hollywood as Mr Happy Family, and she'd be safer with him than with you, ya lecherous old fart." Doyle took another look at the Chinese and, turning a little paler, put it down, you could have too much of a good thing. "Right ok what do you need me to bring?

"Right I got to a lock up on the corner of Del Amo and Knott and collect a van...Keys are in which draw of the desk?....Ok, then on to numer 49 1st Street in Santa Ana to collect...What!?!

"Jesus Christ mate were the hell did you get that lot from?.......The police, you robbed a bloody police station you eijit.....What do you mean you bought it fair and square?...Hell and I never knew that, thanks for the tip I'll look into that later, now where next?

"A lockup on Glassell street?....Yeah I know the one we hid out there from those demon head hunters that time...I know fuckin' evil bastards reminded me of you...Oh that's charming that is you foul mouthed heathen.

"That all you need then?.......Fine when do I have to be there by?"

Doyle shot to his feet on hearing the answer. "By nightfall are you serious?.......Christ you blood drinkin' eijit how the fuck do you expect me to get there that fast?......Well for god sake then man why didn't you ring me earlier?."

Doyle heard the vampire laughing as he put the phone down then slapped his empty hand to his forehead as he realized what he'd just done. "Now he'll ring you first in the bloody morning and say you told him to! You stupid prat!"

Cursing Doyle grabbed his clothes and started throwing them on prior to running like hell for his car and the office. "I hate Whistler for this, why the fuck did he have to pick on me?"

*******************************************************************************************************************

Spike heard Browne chuckling as he came back into the living room. "Catch the mick sober then did ya?"

"Yep, and sleepin'. But 'e'll be 'ere on time with the stuff I need's." Browne sat back down on the sofa beside the abandoned newspaper and put his feet up on one of the metal tables left over from the old pre-Buffy decor.

"Care to tell me what the plan is O'Wise one?"

"Kick their arses till they 'oller."

"Sounds like a plan....." Spike began but then tensed up as the screen finally delivered the news he'd been waiting for. "Oh the poor unfortunate bastard, they're discharging 'im just after dark."

Browne smiled and from the coat that he'd slung over the back of the sofa he pulled a whetstone and then drew the Khyber knife from its sheath. "Tragic for the poor misguided youth.....means I'll be able to tag along."

Part Twelve



The basement was quiet.

Buffy had pulled herself back a little so she sat on the floor facing her captor, her back resting on the wall, her shackled hands on her thighs. She had a smile on her face now, confident that she had the measure of the man.

"What's the matter Jeeves? You look so tense, and so hot under the collar." She ran her tongue deliberately over the scar. "You can almost taste it can't you?"

Jason said nothing, his eyes just bored into hers, but his mind was racing. *No don't be so bloody stupid, she just wants to get you within range of her legs, why didn't you chain em down?*

"What's the matter tough guy, ya scared?" Buffy winked at him. "Mr you must be all of nine inches taller than me.....and that's an interesting kinda length to speak of don't ya think......come on over I won't hurt you. Bet you'd like to touch my....."

"Leg trip, then you lock your legs round my neck and give me a choice of gettin' it broke or givin' you the keys." He took a small steel keyring from his pocket and dropped it on the floor beside the chair. "Now what say I leave these here and come join you."

"Spoil my fun," the Slayer pouted. "But I guess if I cripple you it'll show your friends they messed with the wrong girl."

"True." Jason shrugged and sat back. "And give em an excuse to really hurt you, bet you'll be bustin within an hour too, luv, an after what you just said I think your apt to be sitting in a puddle don't you?"

"Oh yeah, well that's really gonna get me on side isn't it?" Buffy was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. "I take it you guys want something?"

"Not from you pretty girl, the bosses are gonna send you home." The Englishman's voice was filled with what sounded to Buffy like a genuine regret. "But I'd say you'd best hope your double turns up soon if you don't want a really uncomfortable sticky smelly night."

"I bet you wouldn't really be that mean!" Buffy pulled her knees up to her chest. "But sending me back, now that puts things in a different light doesn't it? After all, if you people are Watchers I've got no quarrel with you, I'm a good girl who does as she's told, not some vampiress.......have you seen that guy she hangs around with? Such a studlie .....bet that turning wasn't quite the accident she made it out to be."

"Interestin' how quick you are to change yer tactics." Jason smiled for the first time since she'd come round. "I like your style kid, you got guts and hutzpah, what you gonna do, offer to help if I let you go take a leak?"

"Whose to say what I might do you take these fucking chains of me, if you wanna party......" Buffy left the rest unspoken and held her manacled wrists up. "That vampiress is nothing to me, you guys wanna make me an offer, who knows what I might say?"

*Hullo,* Jason thought to himself. *This is either a bloody con trick or the girl means it, but which one?*

Then there was a clattering of feet on the stairs and a head appeared over the banister. "Sir, Mr Albany says come quick, there's trouble."

"Fuck." Jason got up to run then pausing grabbed a plastic bottle and a funnel from one of the cupboards that lined the basement. Too fast for the Slayer to react he dropped them by her drawn up feet. "Here you go luv, I'm sure you'll work somethin' out."

He ran up the stairs, wondering what the tell was going on, whilst from behind him an angry voice shouted, "You Limey son of a bitch how the fuck am I supposed to p......."

Then the slam of the basement door drowned the voice out.

*****

"Right you bunch of gormless Jessie's where's the fuckin' fire?!" Jason shouted as he ran up the main staircase and joined the throng of Watchers and Initiates standing there. "Come on, come on, spit it out lads."

Albany's face turned towards him, a look of almost animalistic hate on his face. "The fire is that little prick Wyndham-Price, the dozy shit escaped into the next room."

"The one with Rupert Giles in it?" There was a chill in Jason's voice, and as he looked around at the Watchers who surrounded Albany, he saw the look in their eyes to. *Nope, there's nobody here wants to take on Ripper.*

"Yes of course the one with Giles in it, the useless sod can't even escape properly," Albany snapped, walking up to the top of the stairs, drawing Jason after him. "He put four of ours down with darts in the process though. Four do you hear me? And with what we face tonight."

His voice rose as he shouted now, spittle flying from his lips. "I want him dead, do you here me Jason? I'm personally going to cut his fucking throat and turn him. Then I'm gonna give him to the Professor as a free sample..."

The gasps from behind him were loud as his words sank home. Pausing he turned as a sneer of contempt replaced the anger on his face. "And what's your problem you bunch of wimps, do you seriously expect me to believe any of you would miss the little traitor?"

"Now Marcus, steady on old chap." One of the Watcher's began only to find himself looking down the blade of a knife. "Now, now, calm down."

"Calm down, how dare you....you're useless, all of you!" The Watcher turned and put his knife free hand on Jason's shoulder. "Get them out of there, do it now. I've had enough of this.....enough!"

"Charlie." Jason didn't take his eyes off Marcus's. *Hullo, 'ere's another one gone mad! Inbred the lot of em. *Oh yes we must keep the Council's secrets, can't be bringin' any new blood in. Result, chinless wonders every bloody one!*

"Yes sir..." The initiate responded a quaver in his voice.

"Nip down to the vans, there's a good lad, there's a sledge hammer in one of them. Fetch it up here would you?" Moving suddenly he locked Albany's wrist in an iron grip making him drop the knife. "And I think I'll take that off you, sir."

The Watcher's leader opened his mouth to shout a protest but it died in the face of the look of menace Jason threw at him as he went on through gritted teeth. "Let's 'ave no more of that eh, be a good example instead of the tit you are now, you're frightening the lads, we'll get them out of there soon enough, but we'll let em stew a bit first."

Part Thirteen



Buffy awoke after just an hour of sleepfeeling refreshed but hungry. Quietly she lifted her head from the pillow and found herself looking into Angel's open eyes.

"Why aren't you asleep?" she asked, concern in her voice. She had the special recharging capabilities of a Slayer but Angel didn't, vampires were supposed to rest all day. "Are you ok?"

"I'm just thinking about what's happened." He saw the immediate fear in her eyes and put a finger to her lips to still her protests. "No Buffy don't worry, I'm not going anywhere."

"That's good." Buffy kissed his finger tips then with a sweet smile added. "But I am."

"Huh?"

"To the kitchen for food." She rose, nude, and went to the closet, aware he was 'watching her back' as she did so. "Do you want something Angel?"

"Always." He smiled at the look of mock shock she threw back at him over her shoulder. "I'm always hungry for you Buffy, but I'll settle for blood."

"Yeah......right."

"You going naked?"

She turned and looked down at her body, then at her lover's sheet covered erection. "Hold that thought Mr, and no I'm not."

Reaching into the closet she pulled out a hanger and held up the garment on it for inspection.

"Oh." Angel suddenly felt very hungry indeed. "What are you planning when you come back, a walk in the rain lover? "

Buffy slipped the short silk raincoat on and buttoned it securely. "Well after I've fed I thought I'd fuck you again and then go rescue our friends....am I your friend?"

"Huh.....oh." Angel realized she meant her alternate. "No you didn't like me."

"I have taste, yay me," she quipped then pouted at the lack of smile. "Joking! And with that attitude I best not tell you who you're with. Anyway there's something else I'm gonna do."

"What, try a career on Broadway?" Angel ducked as Buffy held a shoe aloft as a potential weapon. "Hey, just a joke little Miss Comedianne. What's the something else?"

"Not like we're keeping score but I owe you a blow job, but with you being such a funny guy..."

"I'm sorry."

"I accept your apology," Buffy curtsied gracefully, flashing her cleavage going down and coming back up. "Now do you want carry out or not?"

"Yeah I think I may need it." Angel watched her slip a pair of stilettoes on. "Buffy you do know we have a house full of guests?"

"Demoness," she replied simply adjusting the ankle straps.

"Well be careful." Angel wanted to mention Spike but didn't, adding instead, "Cause if Xander sees you in that he's apt to stain his shorts."

"Best hope he doesn't see me then," Buffy replied as she opened the door. "He's a guest lover, if he got dirty I'd have to help him get clean. Can ya think how I'd have to do it?"

"Buffy......"

But the door shut leaving Angel alone. "God that demoness, what is she doing to her? But she sure can be fun."

With a worried frown at that knowledge he settled down to wait.

Out in the hall it was silent, everyone either asleep or wondering quietly what the night would bring.

Buffy looked down at the stilettoes and contemplated wearing them as she tried to sneak past Spike and Browne. *Dumb fucking demoness!*

*I like that!*

"Who said that?" Buffy looked round sharply there was nobody there she was about to threaten violence when the voice answered from the most unexpected place.

*Me you dumb duffus, the gal you just blamed for your slut like behaviour.*

*SLUT! Oh look who's talking Ms wanting two Spikes at once.*

*Great call, they're both still in the house....now let's think one in your pussy, one in your mouth and I bet Browne's hung so that leaves him your..."

*HEY!*

*Call yourself a vampiress? Little girl, you're nothing like a vampiress. You should have made your mark on him when he became your servant. Why did I have to get you? You're such a wimp I'll be glad to get back to hell. Now Faith she would have been a challenge.*

*Oh yeah I bet she would. And the world would have been safe you'd have spent so much time fucking you'd not even have tried to conquer it. Anyway, though, fun's over sister, I'm evicting you and getting my life back.*

*Do it please, your goodie two shoes act makes me want to yack. But you'll be the one who's sorry.*

*Sorry......do you think I'd be sorry to get away from your constant need for sex and violence?* Buffy took her shoes off and with the straps dangling from her hand set off for the stairs. *I'll be so glad to see you gone.*

*The sex that you enjoy so much, the uninhibited down and dirty sex that your pathetic former human self could only dream about. Little girl if I weren't here you'd be getting screwed by those airheads at College now, but instead of which thanks to me you're getting it regular from two cute vamps. Centuries of experience at your fingertips.....and anywhere else you want it.*

*But...* Buffy began only to be interrupted by Demon Buff's seductive yet angry tones.

*And then there's the violence, like you ever had a problem with the violence Buffy, don't think I haven't read your memories girl. And think about all the good things it does for you Honey.*

*Good things?*

*You like your little friends don't ya?*

*Yes.* She stopped halfway down the stairs aware suddenly that talking to yourself and walking at the same time is conducive to broken limbs. *What about it?*

*Well aren't you gonna thank me for keeping them alive?*

*Ha, that's such a crock. I don't need you to slay. I was doing perfectly ok before you climbed aboard.* Her feet traveled almost soundlessly down the remaining stairs and along the hallway past the entrance to the living room. *You're leaving, and good riddance.*

Browne had been about to launch into another attempt to distract Spike from his 'brooding,' but when the Slayer ran past wearing virtually nothing the comment died on his lips. *Oh!*

*Do you seriously think that the vamps are gonna stop coming to get you once I'm gone?*

*Without you I'll just be a normal Slayer again, they won't be coming in bunches after my ass anymore, they'll just drift in a few at a time like in the old days.*

She opened the fridge door and looked at the goodies inside. *Blood, see I care about you.*

*Thank's a lot, what do you think all those vamps who've been hanging back will do when they hear you've given up your Supervamp strength?*

"I...." Buffy whispered out loud only to be over thought by her passenger. *They're gonna come here in a flood, there'll be a battle here to match what you just had in the alternate world. Your friends are gonna bleed Buffy, they're gonna die. Think on that before you say bye-bye to me.*

"Thanks, that's just what I needed, arguments from the damned." Buffy slung three bags in her large microwave then realized how quiet it was. "Hey! Don't you dare wander off in mid-argument."

"Slayer..." Buffy wheeled round and saw a bemused but blushing vampire standing in the door. "Who are you talkin' too?"

*Oh girlfriend will you look at the bulge in his pants.* An unwelcome voice suddenly clicked in again pushing all her buttons as it did so. *Told ya he'd be hung.*

*Oh fuck I'm getting wet and he's gonna smell it.* Buffy realized she was also leaning back against the worktop and pushing her hips forward invitingly. *Oh you total bitch what are you trying to do to me?*

Other than a sniggering sound it had all gone quiet again though.

"You okay luv?"

Swallowing Buffy managed finally to speak. "Sure.....me fine.....That is to say I'm fine, but thanks for asking...Browne."

"It's just you know..." Browne shuffled from foot to foot, looking Buffy in the eye, then with a gulp, nervously dropping his eyes to her feet, which were naked. *Oh god!*

"I know, I was talking to myself, or rather to my demoness." The microwave buzzed away behind her even as a drop of demoness induced moisture began to make a slow progress down her inner thigh. *Go on, bend over the table, spread yourself for him.*

*No!*

*Wuss, think about all the places he's been to, the things he's learned, the stuff he could teach you, the pleasure you could give Spike and Angel with that knowledge.....*

*STOP IT!*

Watching the Slayer clutch the side of her head Browne realized what was happening and, moving forward, drew the girl into his arms. Putting his right hand on her neck, he gently got her face forward just a little so that her cheek rested lightly on his chest. "There, there Luv, it'll be okay,"

*Feel that muscle, isn't he strong? He'd take you gently, passionately, or hard and fast if that's how you want it. Ask him, just say the words, he's sworn to obey.*

*No.*

Unbidden Buffy's left foot left the floor as her leg ran up the side of Browne's heading for his hip even as her hands came up to grip his hips. She pressed herself to him feeling his erection pressing into her stomach as she did so.

"Do you want to 'urt Angel?"

"No." The word was gasped out. "Never."

"You 'ave to control 'er love or break 'is 'eart." The vetala whispered to her, his fingers gently stroking her hair. "If you were a true vampiress I'd shag you senseless against that kitchen door, but you're not Slayer, you've got your soul and you 'ave to fight 'er with it."

"Don't you want....." Buffy felt his hand tighten just a little. "Me? Is my soul a turnoff?"

"Buffy if you genuinely fancied it, if it was you wantin' me not your demoness, then I'd give it to you good and proper, have you on your knees worshippin' me like a god by the time I was finished." She heard the dry chuckle in his voice. "An' I could too, you know."

*Oh damn baby what are you waiting for? Say yes please James, you could break him with a kiss!*

But Buffy did nothing she just stood there drawing on the strength of the vetala, feeling like she was melting into those lethal but so comforting arms.

"But that's what she wants?" the vampire added. "She knows Angel's the key."

"To what?"

"To your humanity luv." He stepped back from her now, his fingers drifting softly from the back of her head to her chin, lifting her face so that her eyes locked onto his. "If she can get you to break Angel's 'eart she knows she can break your will, your will to be 'uman again. Ok there's your Mum and Giles and the rest but she knows that at the root of it all is your need to take away 'is guilt and 'is pain over turnin' you."

"Oh." Buffy blinked. "Say are you really Browne?"

Bending he kissed her gently on the forehead. "See luv, real lips."

"Ok thanks." She brought her hands up to his and drifted back a little herself holding both his hands out before her. "I wonder if you were some Freudian invention of my twisted subconscious."

"Nope, I'm just Doctor Browne." He smiled and held her small hands in his, wishing he weren't such a good vampire. "It's not just the sex though is it?"

"She says that the strength she's giving me is keeping my friends alive. That if I give her up they'll die."

"Maybe they will."

"Browne!" Buffy's face fell and her eyes dropped away from his. "Then she's right, I'm trapped like this forever."

"You're the Bahadur, the lioness, the 'ero of our tale." Browne sat back on the kitchen table bringing himself back into her line of sight. "You make us raise above ourselves, you make us 'eroes. We'll fight 'ow we can and die if we must, but none of it will be your fault."

"But...." She began only to be interrupted by another kiss, this time on the cheek.

"No more Slayer, we live or we die, as we are free to do." He put his right hand over his still heart. "Look at me, a hardcase, a gangster and a hitdemon and what am I now thanks to you. A hero and a big noise in the LA underworld."

"Mostly that's the screaming," she whispered, then smiled sadly in response to the vetala's loud laugh. "Chin up, that's the spirit huh!"

"You took the words out of my mouth luv."

The microwave pinged and the two vampires took a bag each. "So you think if I concentrate on Angel she'll leave me be?"

"She'll hound you every chance she gets but if you thinks 'ard on 'ow you feel about Angel she won't break ya."

*What a wuss, what a panty-waisted Limey wuss. Jeeze he's as bad as Xander.......Why are you talking to him anyway? Spike's in the next room.*

"I see your point, I'll concentrate on Angel and ignore her." Buffy smiled smugly and took another sip of blood.

*Bitch.*

"An if the spell doesn't work out, well bein' a vamp can be fun." The vetala finished his bag and popped it in the trash bin below the sink. "Specially if you're on the right side."

"Fun." Buffy had a mental flash of some of her more interesting experiences, and her mind sent a question unbidded to her lips. "Worshipping you like a god?"

"Yeah."

"Hell of a promise to have to fulfill."

"I could keep my end up."

"Sure you could." Gracefully standing on tip toe she kissed her sworn vampire on the cheek then lightly brushed the tip of his nose with her right index finger. "Do you think Spike would mind?"

"If 'e didn't kill me in the first week after 'e found out I expect 'e'd come round. Specially if you told 'im nice."

"Oh I would.......real nice."

Now however the vetala's face took on a serious look. "But I hope the spell does work, don't you?"

"Un-huh, absolutely," she replied crossing her heart. "But it's good to know I have pals who'll be a comfort to me if I luck out."

"Too right." Browne stood up and bowed slightly. "Now M'Lady you take Angel 'is blood before it goes cold. I'm just gonna nip down to the basement for.....ahem, 'alf an 'our or so."

Buffy blushed as the blood she'd just drunk traveled to her cheeks. "Vampire.....you needing some alone time?"

"Errrrr yeah." His face, incredibly, turned a similar shade of pink.

"Ok..." She raised one carefully groomed eyebrow. "Treat me nice down there."

"You're really gonna get it one of these days girl....." And with that the vampire ran.

"Oh boy now I got me another one, poor boy......poor man!" Buffy hit herself on the forehead. "See even when I'm trying to be good this happens, god now there's three.....ok in an emergency situation still possible......still possible? I so have to get rid of this demoness!"

Buffy picked up the blood bag and started heading for the door when her eyes fell on a plastic bottle on the shelf above the door. "I wonder......"

***************************************************************************************************

"You took your time." Angel tried not to sound tetchy but failed, he was still lying in the bed half covered by a single sheet.

"Sorry oh lord and master." Buffy grinned holding the blood bag out with her left hand whilst keeping her right hand out of sight behind her. "Hope you didn't start without me."

Her eyes widened as Angel threw the sheet back. "Boy you sure didn't."

"What have you got behind your back?" Angel had kinda hoped Buffy's free hand would be caressing him by now.

"Oh nothing......much." She held the bag out. "Drink now please."

Angel gulped the blood down fast and then patted the bed beside him. "Coat on or off."

"Nope, not like that, go stand by the door and put a pillow by your feet." Buffy used her 'Brooks no argument' voice and was surprised that it worked. "And the coat stays on for now."

*Bet he don't let a mortal girl boss him.*

"Buffy..." Angel stood there naked and ever-so-ready.

"Ok." She knelt before him and her right hand came into sight. She was carrying a half filled cup of some pale green looking substance.

"What's that?"

"Olive oil."

"Olive oil?"

"Warm olive oil."

"What have you got....." The Slayer took a sip and gently held his erection steady with her left hand moving her lips towards it. "Olive........ohhhhhh Buffy."

She sucked the head of his cock into her mouth, her warm mouth. Giving him a sensation he hadn't felt in a century and so much more, the olive oil feeling like balm when added to the sensations created by her tongue and throat.

Buffy bobbed her head back and too slowly as she listened to her vampire purr. *Unlife sure is good......sometimes.*

Continued

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