Spike in the City of Angels, Episode One: A Soul


by John Cope





Part Thirteen





"It's an early type of lobster pot helmet, probably early 16th Century," Giles was talking through a handkerchief, the helmet even sans it's hastily buried contents still reeked, which was why Giles had been banished to the rose garden to look at it. "Yes, I do believe we're looking at something from the Tudor era."

"Great, methinks that my beloved is proven right when he did take me four times, that was four by the way, to see Shakespeare in Love," Buffy gave a scowling vampire a sideward look before adding. "What thinkest thou my Angel, will we not now be able to hold conversation in good part with these rapscallions even as we smite them hip and thigh."

"I thinkest M'Lady that thou hast at times a vipers tongue, yea and thou art apt to use it on the worse of occasions." Angel was examining one of the two swords. "Thy joking would be taken in better part were we in a place of comedy, not one of council!"

"Guys!" Willow tried to interrupt, but Buffy her voice raised sallied forth again.

"Thou art a fine fellow to so lecture me, so sour and humourless art thou that I am amazed that ye could recognize a joke if it bit you on the butt!" Buffy cursed herself for that slip. "Yet for all that when today you fled the field, thy enemy in hottest pursuit, it was a moment of the most meritorious comedy that hath ever delighted mine eyes."

"That was a home run Buffy," Xander was looking back and to between the couple like he was at a tennis match. "Go on Angel pitch her another........ow, what was that for."

Willow had swatted him on the arm, he didn't get an answer just Willow's resolve face.

"Will you all please just grow up?" there was a clatter as Giles threw the helmet on the ground. "You could have been killed today Buffy, and there could be more of these bloody things coming here right now. Do we put our heads together and try to figure out what the hell is going on?, no! We play silly beggers whilst Sunnydale potentially burns!"

"Sorry Giles." Angel didn't really like playing that game anyway, Buffy was too good at it. But for her to start it in front of there friends.

Buffy pouted and glared just a little at the nasty old Watcher. "Sorry, Mr Grouchy, and I hope you haven't dented my helmet, I want to keep the smelly old thing as a souvenir." Giles just raised an eyebrow. "Ok what the hell are two old dead guys from four hundred years ago doing attacking me?"

"The early 16th Century would be five hundred actually," said the room's history geek, everyone ignored her except Oz, who gave her arm a reassuring pat.

Xander was looking at the swords, and his watch. Before the code red he had been off to the hospital to relieve Anya, since the bad guy was an old and not dead bad guy he didn't need someone with slaying capability, all Anya needed to do was scream at him and wait for security to come running.

"You know something those are damned big swords." Xander tried to lift one, it didn't come up easy.

Speaking as someone who had one of the afore mentioned damned big swords aimed at her head Buffy snapped, "You don't say, Xander we'd absolutely failed to notice that, what is your point?"

"Well faced with a damned big sword situation wouldn't it be logical to start by thinking about guys who used damned big swords?" Xander looked around, yep everyone was looking at him. "Well it's just a suggestion."

"And quite a good one, unfortunately damned big swords were quite common place in the period we're considering." Giles took off his glasses as he went into research mode. "From their style of dress I wouldn't say they could be Landsknecht."

"Huh?" Came from three of the teens in the room.

"German mercenaries of the early fifteen hundreds." Supplied the fourth. "You'd have known if they'd attacked you, they wore real bright colours."

"You know the decoration on this blade looks familiar." Angel was looking at the long dagger that Buffy's Zombie had been carrying.

"I said exactly the same thing just as the guy was gonna ram that in my gut," Buffy came over to look. "Familiar design, it's rather nice actually, you know this being such a castle type building maybe we should hang all this stuff somewhere."

"Let me see." Giles had a careful look, age had not done the engraving any favours, but still. "Celtic, possibly a lot older that the swords. Ireland? Angel do you think they might have been Irish?"

"Their robes where the right color," Angel shrugged, "But they weren't exactly wearing shamrock."

"Did either of them speak?" Giles looked between the two vampires. "Sometimes zombies can articulate, despite the legends."

"Mine didn't say a word." Angel had been running to hard to listen anyway.

"Amacshenny, amickshenny, whatever, my dude shouted." Buffy picked up one of the swords, the blade was five foot long, the hilt added another foot, thank god for super strength. "And he had major halitosis issues to."

"A MacShenny!" Giles looked at Angel. "One of the clans of Ulster I believe, which would potentially mean those zombies used to be...."

"Gallowglas," Angel put the dagger down like it had suddenly gotten very warm.

"Gallow who?" Buffy looked at Willow, but the hacker shrugged, this was something even she hadn't covered.

"Around the end of the fifteenth century large numbers of Highland Scots established themselves in Ulster, they hired themselves out as mercenaries to the various feuding lords of Ireland," Giles patiently explained. "They were known as the Gallowglas. I suppose you could compare them to samurai, if you were into pointless historical comparisons."

"Does this mean anything to you Giles?" Oz asked. "Any bells ringing there? Some bad guy springing to mind?"

"None, but at least now I know where to start looking." Giles grabbed up his jacket. "Right I'm off to the lib....dammit the store, I suggest you all go about your allotted activities. But Buffy take an edged weapon, you need to dismember or decapitate a zombie. I suspect those two were just a recognizance party, a test of your strength"

"Edged weapons," Buffy looked at her living room table. "Not a problem, they brought more than enough to go round."



Part Fourteen

The MacSheehy stood facing out towards the sunlight, the tunnel mouth was so near, and yet he did not walk forward, his demon held him back, overpowering as ever the thoughts of the remaining tortured shreds of his humanity.

But it would be so easy.

*Patrick Donald MacSheehy, a fool.* That was how he described himself, *Immortal yes, but an immortality that comprised an eternity of slavery, an eternity of darkness, was it worth your soul my laddie, was it worth the lives of loyal men who followed you into death."

He was a tall man, standing at five feet eleven inches, his hair was black as was the goatee and mustaches that he wore. His clothes were of another age, for he had come from the realms of Hell were style of dress was scarely noted. His face was that of a twenty five year old, but his green eyes were deep sunken, he would not be recognized as one born in 1522 but still to one who knew of such matters they would betray centuries of pain.

The black wolf skin cloak he wore kept out no cold, he did not notice temperature since the demon Murchad had arranged his turning. But he wore it still, even though it was thread bare with age, as a reminder of old times when he was a lord of his own folk, not a demon's lackey.

Dermot and Shane were gone, gone to their rest. Others would join them he had no doubt ere Murchad had his way. That very morning he had watched the demon tear the heart from a captive who he had himself half drained, though his demon had reveled in the matter something in Patrick's mind had cringed at the sight.

His hand fell to the hilt of his rapier, he wore it even as the cloak for comfort, as a mark of what he had been.

*Lord, let me be numbered amongst the fallen of this battle, Lord let me know release.*

Patrick had no soul, he had sold that to Murchad, but he had still his self conscience, bound within him by some mischance, a witness to every dark deed the demon who occupied his vampiric form committed.

Punishment can take many forms, Patrick could not conceive of a crueller, Angelus had been lucky.

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Marcus was on his knees, it was a suitable place for a vampire to be in front of a Demon Lord, even a low ranking one like Murchad could burn the skin from a vampire with a look. He had made his report and now he awaited his new masters reaction.

"You have done well," Murchad sat on a throne of black iron, the demons skin was red as blood, its eyes black pits, its mouth was lined with sharp teeth. It had a look of supreme arrogance on its face, clothed in black velvet it sat serene. "I am pleased with thee, therefore see my generosity."

The sides of the throne room were lined on either side by zombie's, each stood silently, some twelve remained out of twenty that Murchad had acquired so long ago. Vampires drifted around, two distinct groups could be made out, one the demon's servants who had come with him from hell, the others the local boys.

A demon lord in LA, the news had spread slowly. Under Bakull it would have been regarded as an invasion an attempt to take territory and a violent response would have been organized. Now, now things were different, Spike and Browne had been the iceberg, Murchad was the life raft, every vampire who could was clinging to him.

The demon smiled down as two vampires dragged a struggling tied figure into the room.

"See you my beloved servants what rewards await those who do their duty." She was young and blond, a freshman probably, she wore the remnant of a blazer from a private school. "Thy first minion Marcus, take her, do as you will, from this day you are minion no longer a Master."

Marcus was a city boy, not a vampire given to using fine manners, but he bowed low and in awe answered. "Dread Lord, I thank you."

Waved away he departed the fainting girl limply thrown over his shoulder.

*Fool, how long do you think you will keep her, some other will take such a pretty toy from you the instant you pass from my protection. Or else she will grow strong and clever and one day turn upon you and make you her servant.* But Murchad smiled at the excited chatter amongst his new followers, now he had their attention, loyalty was a thing so easily purchased.

Murchad turned his black eyes on a vampire stood behind him, the vampire was dressed like the zombies even down to the chain mail. He looked out of place amidst the leather and denim clad denizens of the city. "Con, go find thy Sire the Lord Patrick. I would have council with him."

"My Dread Lord." Con MacSheehy backed out of demons presence and went to find his kinsman. Jealousy coursed through him, a minion exulted, oh to be rid of this damned demon, to be granted a chance to use the power over four hundred and fifty years of life granted him instead of being a lackey. Still he went and did as he was told.

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A Lord of Hell had fallen, Balthazar was dead, the news had spread through the under realm like wild fire, that a Slayer, a mortal should accomplish such a feat.

Murchad had smiled when he had heard the news, and gallowglas had girded on their swords.

It had been a time of war since then, each of the remaining Lords fighting one with another for Balthazar's territories, expending thousands of souls in hideous conflicts that employed all the weaponry carried to that realm throughout the ages, plus some weapons that even man had never dreamed of.

Lord Patrick had expected battle, but Murchad had held back, and then the digging had begun.

What had been opened was no Hellmouth, it was more like a keyhole, but still wide enough to squeeze through between the realms. How the entry way was sealed, soon Murchad would have control of the main gate and any demon lord who would not bow to him would find that gate slammed in his face.

*And the girl! If Balthazar could not kill her what chance has he,* he looked whistfully toward the sunlight again. *A queen she is now, a creature of true unbridled power.*

"Kinsman."

Patrick snapped his head round, it was just his cousin. The guilt at what he had done to him flooded through him again, making his demon laugh. "Good Connor, what is it that you desire? You do disturb my contemplation."

"Our Master!" Con spat the word. "Requires you presence."

"Aye no doubt he does." Patrick headed back to the thrown room.

The tunnels were old, carved by a clan dust centuries before. They had come here from far afield, and built the tunnels for shelter, the priests of the Conquistadors had taken no time at all however to recognize them for what they were and fire, stake, crucifix and sword had left the complex sealed and empty. Till now.

As always Patrick looked to his Clansmen first, it wrenched at him to see them standing there so lifeless. The price of his 'Immortality' had been heavy, thirty of his fathers men to serve as a bodyguard. He had thought they were to be vampires like him, how little he had known.

Ten he had turned from amongst the still bodies, Murchad had struck them down with a burst of green energy from his red hands. Then the clearing in which they stood had closed in, a wave of black flooding through the night air as with necromancy Murchad raised the dead, his own damned servants now, no longer the MacSheeny's men.

Their number had been reduced over the centuries, as was his minions of whom but four survived, yet still they were a force to be reckoned with, his army had he but the strength to lead it.

"Dread Lord you sent for me." Patrick bowed to the occupant of the throne. "Our plan worked I am informed."

"Yes," Murchad noted the lack of expression on his servants face, immortality was wearying him, no matter he would be needed for not a great while longer. "Her strength is revealed to me, she is turned, and as such a more dangerous opponent that ever she was before. We will act as you suggested, gather all the potential forces of the dark in this City to our banner and await her attack, then proceed to Sunnydale over her dead ashes."

"Lord, you have a terrible power within thy grip." Patrick suddenly saw it like some road opening before him. "Let me beg a boon of you, let me have the girl."

"WHAT!? Are you run mad, she would destroy you siree!" Murchad regarded his servant coldly. Blue fire crackled at his fingertips. "Explain your meaning instantly."

"You took my soul with but a touch of your hand," it had been more that, even four and a half centuries later Patrick could still remember the intensity of the pain. "You have but to touch her in the same way...."

"And make her what?," Red glows began to appear in the center of the two black holes in Murchad's face. "A powerful rival for my dominion here, a new mistress for thee, thou could'st not rule her that is sure."

Certain of how close he was to destruction, but not caring if he died the vampire lord spoke up again. "You Sire could bind her to obey me, and I would take her far away, to mine old lands. We would not challenge you, but be rulers only of one small island, its King and Queen of darkness."

"You have served me long and well," the fires dimmed. "Today I handsomely rewarded one who had served me but briefly, bring her to me then Patrick and the deed shall be done. She will hate you for eternity but she will be thine."

He smiled benevolently as the Irishman bowed deeply. "To work now, the two traitors how shall we destroy them my champion?"

"Better Sire to make them run like dogs back to their Mistress." The MacSheehy opened out his arm as if to embrace the whole room. "They have faced naught but a rabble since they destroyed Bakull, let them now see what a well lead force can do, let them take a tale of fear to chill her heart."



Part Fifteen

Very early on Monday morning Buffy quietly let herself in through the door of 1630 Revello drive, she was burdened down with a large over heavy chunk of metal she would prefer her Mom not to see.

"Hi Buffy," Joyce was stood at the top of the stairs. "What on earth is that your carrying?"

"Hey," Buffy looked up startled, usually she managed to sneak in post Angel weekends without any difficulties today of course had to be different. "You're up early, and it's nothing, the thing I'm carrying just a......a claymore, a true one that is, not a claybeg, look ask Giles about that, he has books he can show you, let's just say that basically....it's a sword."

"Why do you need a sword?" Joyce instantly took on the worried look that Buffy had grown to hate. "What is it this time?"

"Nothing," Damn that wasn't going to work, Buffy prepared for the wiggins. "Ok zombies."

"Zombies!" Joyce's face lost all color. "After what we went through last time, do you remember how long it took me to get this place straight after that. Does it have to be zombies? I had to quit the book club cause of what happened to......"

"Zombies, yes, but I'm kill them someplace else, I won't invite them round for tea and scones." Buffy put her left hand up to her forehead. "Why would I want to do that anyway, I really have to spend less time with those damned Brits!"

"Speaking of whom, Spike called five minutes ago." Buffy noticed her Mom's raised eyebrow. "Guess that would explain those early morning phone calls to LA, why don't you ring from the Mansion I wonder?"

"No particular reason," Buffy kept a straight face, and it being really difficult to blush was a total boon at this point. "He doesn't like talking if the poof.....errr Angel is listening. And I need to get his reports to know what the boys are up to. What other reason would I have to talk to him?"

"None," Coming downstairs Joyce headed for the kitchen. "I'm gonna make breakfast, if you want some human food come and join me once you've put your sword away."

Running upstairs Buffy went into her bedroom, dropped her bag on the floor, threw her sword on the bed and sitting cross legged by her bedside cabinet picked up the phone and punched in Spike's cellphone number.

"Come on, come on pick up......Hey Spike, how are you?"

"I'm ok Kitten, other than that bloody idiot nearly blinded me last night but I'm peachy."

"Huh, what's he bein' doing this time?"

"The silly sod was messin' about with garlic....."

"Garlic!"

"Yeah, suicidal normally but of course the crafty old bugger got himself some chemical warfare gear an there he is putting garlic into hollow point bullets. Course I walk into the garage and the bloody fumes were right up my nose....."

"Ok, you're alright though?"

"I'm Ok, I'm missin' you ducks, but aside from that."

"I know, I miss you to. But you know how it is.......So you do anything last night?"

"Met a film producer, wants us to do some stuff for him in the killin' line, before you ask, nasty pieces of work you won't miss. We're gonna do that after we sort out a hot lead Whistler passed us about that dead meat shipment we stole."

"Good cause two zombies tried to fricassee me and our beloved sire last night, and before you ask not a scratch."

"The poof ok?"

"The ponce......err Angel, he's fine. You could ask me that like you care by the way."

"Sorry, you know I say a special prayer for the wanker every night."

"That he'll die suddenly and I'll come cry on your manly shoulder, it won't happen if I can help it. You want to here what he did tonight?"

"I don't need to hear about your sex life baby, not unless....."

"If you seriously thought I was gonna discuss mine and Angel's sex lives you're wrong, I meant a funny thing he did."

"Oh, go on then, astound me."

"These two zombies attacked us ok, armed with these big swords, the duffus threw his weapons into the dude who went for him's legs, tried to trip him up, didn't work so guess what? He has to run right round the Mansion with this zombie in hot pursuit."

"Must 'ave bin rivettin' but I thought that zombies just lurched?"

"These guys moved like lightening, be careful Spike. Giles thinks that they some real powerful demon who raised them, he's trying to find out which one."

"You know luv all we seem to talk about these days is shop."

"Well what do you want to talk about?" Buffy gasped and added mock shocked. "There are 1-900 numbers for that kinda thing you know, why do you need to know what I'm wearing?"

She listened smiling, "No nothing like that, I just got back in,....... you'd like me to wear what!?!.........Vampire you are so strange, a jar of syrup!......yeah well if your teeth rot don't be surprised."

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Spike lay back on the mattress he normally kipped on in this particular hideout, he was on the floor in the second bedroom, they hadn't bothered furnishing the place, they weren't intending to be in it often, and with the experiments the mad professor got up to in the garage that was a bloody good thing.

The magazines of bullets were laid out on the kitchen table, each wrapped in a plastic bag to prevent contamination. Spike considered them to be an utterly dirty trick, which was why he was looking forward to using them.

He sighed, his phone conversations shouldn't be depressing, but they were. She wasn't gonna leave the wanker for him of that much he was now virtually sure. The shop part of their conversation had been worrying to.

"Why just send two blokes, it doesn't make any sense, still never mind when we hit em tonight they're gonna know they bein' hit."

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Buffy had a call to make before she went to college, her jeep so speeded up her life that it was more than worth the looks she sometimes got. That S.O.B Riley Finn had scarely had his jaw unwired than he'd been at it again, asking people what kinda special treats she must have shown her rich older guy to get that kinda present.

One day she was gonna kill that guy.

Now however she parked in the lot of the Alibi Room, Willy needed to be asked questions. He hadn't given the slightest hint of last nights incursion, he needed to be asked why?

"Whaddya want Slayer?" Willy was sat by the bar, two walking sticks lent up against it, his hair had greyed a little since the torture, Buffy felt a trace of guilt, but just a trace.

"Willy can I ask you something?" Buffy walked slowly towards him with a predators grace. "You ever see 'Devil in a blue dress.'?"

"No," Willy licked his lip nervously. "Why the hell are you askin me that? Why are you lookin at me that way? Giles made you promise not to hurt me again."

"True but Giles ain't here," Buffy ran her hand along the smooth surface of the bar top. "Other than Mr Washington looking so fine, there's this scene where this barkeep is holding out on him, so Denzel takes a hammer to this marble bar top that the guy is real proud of." Hazel eye's turned yellow. "Such a pity you don't have a marble bar top Willy."

"What do you want to know Buffy?" Willy cowered back, he would have fallen off the stool if she hadn't have grabbed the front of his shirt. "You know you just got to fuckin' ask me, but you ain't asked."

"Didn't I, shit I'm sorry." Buffy smiled, fangs gleamed in what little light there was. "Did any naughty people come in here last night, tall silent types, in armour?"

"No," Willy was relieved. "I'd have noticed people like that and called you, all I had in was one of Trick's old servants, dude came in here shakin asked for a whiskey and a pint of blood, drank it and got the hell outta here."

"He say anything?"

"Some crap or other, he was spouting off about how he wished he'd never seen her, never set foot in the damned Silver Snake. How if she hadn't of been recognized then La La Land wouldn't have gone to hell." He noted that the Slayers attention had drifted, she was really smiling. "Buffy that mean anything to you."

"Can you draw Willy?" Buffy gently straightened up the snitches shirt front. "Cause I want everything you got on this guy on paper, I so want to meet him again."



Part Sixteen



"You know something Mate I don't like the look of this place one bit." Spike was peering through the front window of his De Soto towards another warehouse, they so often seemed to shelter vampires in the cities. This one was the alleged stronghold of the blood runners they had clashed with recently. "It's hardly a busselling with activity is it?"

"Yes, but they h'aint exactly gonna 'ave a big neon sign h'outside h'are they." Browne was trying to learn to talk, 'Proper,' this to him entailed adding h's, where they had no right to be. "But h'I h'expects that for once you might be h'actually be right."

"Whaddya mean it's not a trap........oh," Spike had got so bored by the conversation about Cordelia on the way over that he had stopped listening properly. "Your bloody agreeing with me, that's good, now if you'd just stop talkin' like a pillock we might get somewhere."

"Pillock!" Browne, cursed under his breath, he was never gonna get the hang of this laddie da talking. "Alright then somewhere out there some bugger, and about thirty of 'is nastiest friends is waitin' to jump out and fuck us over, our task is to find their hidin' spot and do em first. Back this big bastard up son, we go in over the roof tops as planned."

"Fuck," Spike reversed the car. *Just my luck to be stuck with a soddin mountaineer, why couldn't I have got meself a bloke with bloody vertigo stead of 'im.*

*God 'e's bleedin worse than useless sometimes,* Browne thought morosely as Spike backed the car onto a deserted lot. *Next fing you know 'e'll be whinin' about bein' a'feared of heights or 'is feet 'urtin' from the walkin', why didn't I 'ave the presence of mind to turn a couple of those pushtun an' fetch em away with me, they'd 'ave been up on that roof like a rat up a drain pipe.*

"Well then old mate." Spike readied his smg. "After you I'm sure."

"No please mate," Browne had come prepared, adding an assault rifle to his usual weapons. "After you, I insist."

"Alright," Spike got straight out of the car, he felt like a walking armoury, stakes, some carefully sealed holy water bombs, his switchblade and a pistol plus his bloody smg. Ten mags of ordinary rounds plus three of the special brand where fitten to his belt in canvas bandoleers. Heaven help him when the new crossbows arrived with their next Sunnydale visitor, Browne would probably make him carry that to. But still he walked towards the ladder on the back wall of the warehouse resigned to his fate.

The complex was large, but being some distance out of town not yet fully rented. Several lots stood vacant and security was rather lack. Still since the buildings were close together the vetala had decided in his wisdom that in the event that things looked, "Dodgy," they would take the high ground. Upwards and onwards they went therefore.

The view wasn't any better from up here either. "Not a creature was stirrin' not even a mouse." Browne murmured as he looked round. "Come on then, lets 'ead for the next roof."

The gap was ten feet wide.

"I thought you said their was next to no fuckin' gaps between these warehouses." Spike looked over the edge and wished he hadn't, it was a three storey drop to cold hard concrete. "How the fuck do you expect me to clear that carryin' all this crap?"

"Watch an learn boy." Taking a few steps back Browne set off at a flat run, leap out into open space and tripping over his feet fell forward slamming hard into the surface of the next buildings roof, he moaned loudly and seemed to curl up into a fetal ball.

"Bugger it," Spike shook his head and as loudly as he dared shouted. "Browne, Browne damn you, what the bloody 'ell is going on?"

No reply, with a heavy reluctant step Spike went back twice the distance Browne had, his heart was almost pounding undead or not as he braced himself. Looking straight ahead at his compatriot, Spike leapt, he almost flew over the drop his vampiric strength helping him to launch himself forcefully forward and up.

Landing on his feet but with a tremendous clatter Spike looked round, no sign of movement, the only noise a low groaning coming from the vetala. "What's up mate? How bad are you hurt?"

Spike gently tried to turn Browne over, there were tears running from the vampires eyes. "Me bundook, it slipped.......I landed on the barrel and the butt caught me......right in the knackers."

The blond tried to keep a straight face, he turned and looked away, but the snigger still broke through, followed close behind by a giggle, then by a horrendous belly laugh.

"You bastard, this isn't bloody funny," Browne managed to make it up to his knees, though he still clutched his hands to the source of his pain. "I ain't done me matrimonial prospects any favours at all, I 'ope I ain't bent me gun barrel........stop bloody laughin."

"Bent.....your.....gun......barrel." Spike managed to gasp out, tears were streaming down his face as well now. "Stop it you bastard, before I do meself a mischief'."

"You'll laugh a damned sight more that when I chucks you oft this fuckin' roof," Browne snarled through gritted teeth as he struggled to his feet, he staggered off towards the ladder in the far corner. "Fuck this for a game of soldiers, bugger the bloody high ground, terra bloody firma here we come."

*I told you so!* Spike's demon urged him to shout it, but he didn't he had to work with the vetala on his beloved's behalf, but still this had been a good night. Something had finally gone wrong for Browne, it was a red letter day for Spike the old bastard had proven fallible at long last.

"Watch an learn." He said it just loud enough to be heard.

"FUCK OFF!" Browne screamed, before closing with Spike and hissing. "Now look what you went an made me do, 'alf of southern California will 'ave 'eard that, look sod Whistler, let's call it a night eh."

It was so quiet out here that Spike was really starting to think Whistler was wrong, in which case he could be getting on with that job for Sol, that list of names was burned into his subconscious, he wanted to get to work.

Once again they clambered down a ladder, this time Spike led, the vetala was still winded and was slow so as he dropped the four feet from the bottom of the ladder to the concrete it was Spike who first saw the dark shapes that bore down upon them.

They were twenty yards away and closing, certain they were unlikely to be friendly Spike emptied a clip straight into them, they barely seemed to notice. "Oh my god, it's the bloody zombies."

The alley way lit up with muzzel flash as Browne let rip with his assault rifle, the light revealing hidious faces long dead, the high velocity rounds spun the zombies round and dropped them, but they struggled back up again. Browne smuzzlewn the ladder and dropped beside his friend. "Leg it mate, juldi."

They ran their adversaries in a tangle as some tried to get up whilst others tried to leap over them. From beyond the zombies came the noise of more running feet, and excited shouts, with American accents.

Having gained some ground the Englishvamps turned at the entrance to the alleyway and loaded new clips.

"Let em 'ave it." Browne was on the right hand side, Spike the left, both vamps blazed away, seeing their enemies drop once more. Then the world exploded.

Automatic weapons blazed in response, one was even loaded with tracer, Spike saw green lights heading towards him and dived back. To shoot Browne had to expose his whole left side, so he wasn't able to get clear as fast and bullets ripped across his ribs and thigh.

"Bugger this," Not seeming to care about the bleeding or the pain Browne reloaded, then put on the safety catch. "Spike, throw us your bundook."

"No fuckin' way," Spike held onto his gun for dear life. "What's wrong with yours?"

"I 'ain't got no garlic for it, reload and swap," Seeing Spike still hesitate he threw the automatic over. "Come on, you know your gun fires straighter than me Uzi."

"All right then." Ripping the plastic seal off one of the special magazines Spike loaded it, then tossed the weapon over, Browne caught it with a grin. "Get ready."

Dropping down to the floor, Spike took the safety catch of the CAR-15. He didn't aim, he just held the gun around the corner of the wall and let rip.

The local boys had been creeping forward using the zombies for cover, though the gallowglas made no sound as the bullets tore through them the vampires did and another concentrated deluge of return fire accompanied the screams of pain.

These were nothing to what happened when firing left handed to keep his exposure to a minimum Browne opened up. Smoke billowed from struck vamps who hit the ground feet kicking or ran clutching steaming wounds. Others dropped to the ground untouched but unnerved by this deadly onslaught.

"Run mate!" Browne shouted bolting for the car.

Spike was right behind him and the Zombies behind Spike, he didn't therefore appreciate it when the vetala stopped by the car and pulled out his khyber knife. "Beheadin' that's what does for zombies isn't it?"

Spike went straight for the car door, "Come on......damn you?"

The zombies had stopped, their faces were twisting into parodies of smiles even as their hands went over their shoulders and they began to draw their swords.

Browne had a bad day, a self induced rifle butt to the bollocks, a humiliation in front of Spike and a number of gunshot wounds. This however was going to far. "Start the car Spike......I fink we're gonna die if you don't."

The zombies however made no move, they stood there just oozing quietly from gunshot wounds, grinning.

Then the cars engine roared into life and Browne bolted.

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

The MacSheehy followed by his clanvamp's walked amongst his dispirited troops, they had been ordered just to scare the two vampires, instead they had engaged the Englishry in battle and been bested, how he could not understand.

One of the wounded vampires staggered past holding an arm from which white smoke was seeping, holding out a hand to his chief minion Lord Patrick sharply demanded. "A dagger good Connor."

The hilt of a blade was placed in the MacSheehy's palm. "Hold him." He commanded.

Ignoring the scream's he proceeded to dig out the bullet, he held it in his gauntleted hand and let the stink of the foul substance in it wash over him. "Barbarity!"

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Bandaged, drunk, totally brassed off and muttering murderous sounding curses in Pushtun, Farsi, Hindi, and for all Spike could tell a dozen other languages Browne was digging through his trunks.

"Found it," he suddenly shouted pulling a long canvas bound object from one of the cases. "Me Katana, bought it in a second hand store in Brixton in the fifties, always knew it would come in handy, right lets go shall we." He looked at Spike eagerly. "Nip back now an we can polish the buggers off and still be home by dawn."

"We ring Whistler," Spike had reached a decision, he was the oldest vampire, the Master, it was time to exert his authority. "We tell him to get Doyle and Cordelia to a safe spot, then you an I Color Sergeant Browne are gonna fall back to Sunnydale, regroup, reinforce and come back an slaughter the bastards. Am I making myself clear Color Sergeant?"

Open mouthed for a second, Browne just, only just, resisted the urge to snap to attention. "Yes.....Spike, crystal."



Part Seventeen



Giles was still researching, running the store restricted his work during business hours leaving him to do the true book work at night. He would be even busier tomorrow, ordered from the wholesalers by an overly enthusiastic, (In Giles opinion), Willow the paperback fiction would be arriving.

Now however he and Karen where searching through the numerous and convoluted legends of Ireland.

"Dark Fairie, the wee folk, elves both dark and light, giants, demon's," Karen read the contents page of the volume she had just picked up. "And that's just the first seven chapters, there are ten more. Ireland sure does seem to have more than it's fair share of spookiness."

"Celtic mystery," Giles looked up from the volume he was studying. "The Romans of course were the first in Europe to identify the chosen one and laid the roots of what followed, an organized system to support her. Their records of battles with Nostferatu are still to be found in the Watchers records. Ireland of course never became part of the empire and so became somewhat of a haven for demon's, vampires, etcetera."

"Oh," Karen looked across at her friend as he bent his head back to study. "To think Rupert that your heir to all that history, all that responsibility, handed down over centuries, it must make you proud."

"When I have to place two of my friends as guards over a wounded Slayer it makes we wonder how on earth things sank to this level......" Giles saw how his words weren't adding to the moment and added. "Yes I am proud, proud of Buffy, proud of the others kids and proud of you, you could have left town, found another school but instead you stayed to help."

"What else could I.....oh look this seems interesting." Karen was suddenly drawn to her own book. "The legend of the thirty, disappeared without trace on St Patrick's Day in 1547, their horses found abandoned in a forest clearing."

"Let me see," Giles got up and leaned on the table beside Karen, close enough to smell the shampoo she used on her hair, the perfume she wore, and quite by chance as she leant back to catch a quite unintentional look down her blouse.

He blushed like a school boy, Karen just smiled.

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Anya was sat reading a book, as Xander came back with the coffees, 'The Silver Wolf' by Alice Borchardt.

He stood and watched her for a few seconds before gently asking. "Does this mean I'm gonna have to watch you round Oz when he gets older?"

Worried for a second Anya saw him smile, and realized that for almost the first time that he had said something to her that intimated to her being his girlfriend, not just a friend who was a girl. "No, I think I'd rather grow old with you.....and...and that's a major thing to say, if you used to be immortal like me."

"Wait around here long enough we might both wind up living forever." Xander handed her her coffee and sat down beside her. "Only without the slightest hope of ever getting a good tan."

"I'd still love you," Anya's eyes widened as she realized what she had said. "What I meant was....."

Then Xander kissed her and she said no more.

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Trying to get some air, and taking a quick look round for vampires, Willow broke clear of Oz's mouth. "Nope, no vampires."

"Good," Oz returned to what he had been doing. The werewolf and the witch were covering Buffy's patrol circuit. Zombies or not the two teens had decided to treat Buffy to some quality time with Angel, but with how quiet Sunnydale Cemetery was these days that didn't mean they couldn't have the same.

"Oz," Willow whispered. "With it being so late and the grass under the trees being so dry......do you think we could......?"

Oz just smiled, and took Willow's hand.

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

Having made sure that the wine was perfectly chilled and the candle lit Angel surveyed the dining table, it looked perfect, Buffy should be here from 'Patrol' in ten minutes, they were making up for time lost on Sunday nights code red.

Slipping a black velvet jacket over the white silk shirt he was wearing Angel looked forward to what looked like being a promising evening, Buffy was going to be wearing something 'Special' he wasn't sure what exactly she meant.

Then the doorbell rang.

"Good she's early," Angel smiled, or half smiled anyway and hastened to the door.

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

Buffy had her jeep parked in the small layby just down the road from the mansion. She was in the back seat, slipping her panties down over her ankles.

Placing her underwear in the bag with the rest of her garments she picked up the outfit she was going to replace it with. Buttoned it on and tied the belt around her waist, then slipped on the black stilettoes she had smuggled out of the house.

After her previous embarrassment she had cringed at the very thought of trying this again, now though. "Hell why not, Angel here I come!"

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

Angel's smile crumbled when he saw who was on the doorstep. "What the fuck are you doing here?"

"Charmed I'm sure," Spike was stood on the doorstep, a hold all in each hand, a cigarette in his mouth and the usual know it all grin on his face. "I'm conducting a tactical withdrawal, in other words we came a bit unstuck and we've 'ad to leg it, not having time to sunproof a motel room an it bein' a weekday I knew you wouldn't mind us crashin' here."

"I do....." Angel began but Spike was already through the door.

"Browne's wounded, I'll just go help him in." Spike dumped the baggage on the floor. "He's not badly hurt you understand it's just the shock of stuff goin' tit's up has hit him badly and he's pissed as the proverbial rat."

Angel was barged past again, Spike looked back at him from the doorstep however, "If your goin' out Angel don't let us stop you, we'll just make ourselves comfie in our old rooms."

Angel looked at his watch and bolted for the phone, he rang Buffy's cellular, and got the messenger service. "Oh shit!"

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

Sneaking in through the back door, Buffy began to work on buttons, Angel was gonna be so surprised. Then she heard rapid footsteps heading for the kitchen. "Sound's like he's eager, oh boy."

Angel crashed through the kitchen door, an ice bucket in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other to the unexpected sight of Buffy naked except for a short black raincoat and stilettoes, a short black open raincoat.

"Boo!" She said before launching herself at him.

Pinned to the wall, mouth full of Buffy tongue, pants being unfastened by Buffy fingers, Angel knew he was in trouble.

Somehow he managed to force out two words. "Spike's here."

"Huh!" Buffy pulled back from him, mouth open. "You didn't just say that Spike's here did you?"

Angel nodded, Buffy stared at him in horror. "Shit not again!"

Then the coat got buttoned up, fast. Buffy ran through the corridor and up the stairs heading for Angel's room and her emergency clothes. "This damned coat, it just has to be cursed."

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

"You and me son, we should go..go..go back and sort the basteeerds, the baaasteerds, the buggers. What do we need with a girls 'elp eh, we can sort the........I think I'm gonna be sick."

Spike stood well clear as Browne spewed an unhealthy mixture of pigs blood and cheap whiskey into one of Angel's rose beds. "There there mate, better out than in." A light went on upstairs, he frowned. "Bet the buggers hidin' the bloody silver, cheeky git."

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

"This is the drill," Buffy had most of herself covered, a teeshirt and sweat pants had replaced the discarded coat. "You get the boys in and settled, I sneak out, I come back and find out what the hell is going on."

"Good plan." Angel was looking out of the window and grimacing. "Browne is spewing all over my damned roses."

Pondering for a moment Buffy looked at the dark-haired vampire speculatively, then her hands went to the waist band of the sweats. "Which gives us a clear ten minutes, Angel would you kindly lock the door!"

Continued

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