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


by John Cope







Part Eighteen



After three days passed without the Slayer appearing in LA Murchad grew tired of waiting.

"Draw her out," he commanded the MacSheehy. "Light a signal fire such as she will not be able to ignore."

The Lord Patrick had simply bowed, and turned to leave. He knew what to do.

His numbers had been further depleted. One of the zombies had its leg blown almost totally clear at the knee, even Murchad's necromantic arts had been unable to repair the damage. With his own hand's Patrick had despatched the creature, it had once been a young man of his own age, born two days after him and bearing the same name in his own honor. He would have brought some other with him to the demon's service but the young man had got the intended sacrifice drunk and taken his place thinking that they were away on a cattle raid.

Now there were just fifteen left, half his thirty gone. The lucky ones? they were the fallen it increasingly seemed to their chieftain, and he longed to join them. But not yet.

His vampires were waiting now on a wooded slope along the side of Interstate 15, he had expected the support of LA's vamps to wane after what had after all been a defeat by the Slayers servants, but Spike and Browne had run. Their disappearance from the streets had led to a lot of rats emerging from the sewers all clambering to be on the winning side.

So now they waited in the roadside trees of the Cleveland National forest, waiting to catch a Greyhound.

"Light a signal fire," Murchad had ordered, if the MacSheehy was successful the flames color would be red.

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

Things had settled down in Sunnydale, Buffy patrolled nightly with Spike, Angel and the vetala, and every vampire who was still able to run left town. Whilst this was going on everyone else was able to research party at the store, Giles was still hunting his demon, and finding nothing. He knew the name and pedigree of every one of the Irish zombie's by now but not the identity of the demonic lord who had created them.

He was growing tetchy.

"Damn it," Giles slammed shut another volume. It claimed to list every demon capable of necromancy, it was very thick and quite utterly useless. "We're never going to find him at this rate."

"Or her," Willow added soto voice, in response Giles simply glared but Willow went on. "Well it's true, it could be a demoness, after all girl powers all the range these days."

"Or even an it," Oz was having no luck either, just one demon after another. "If it's a hermaphrodite."

"He, she, it." Xander was secretly reading a fascinating account of the deviant practices of the demon cult of Servilan, but was still paying attention. "G-man whadda we need to know its name for? Are we gonna put a tombstone over its mortal remains, no, we're just gonna kill it."

"If we know which demon it is," Giles walked round behind the engrossed teen, raised an eyebrow and none to gently slammed the book shut. "Then we know its powers and its weaknesses. We also find out if it's an all powerful invincible demon with the ability to kill a person with a look before we have to face it armed only with a can opener and a length of four by two. In other words Xander it's good to know thy enemy before you face him, and the Servilian cult was infiltrated by a Slayer and the demoness destroyed in 1968, they weren't the swinging sixties for nothing you know, so I don't think you need to read anymore of that."

"Yeah," Xander was conscious of everybody staring at him. "Why don't we just send the boys back to LA for another crack? All they need to do is ask a vampire, 'Who's the boss,' we look him up, we slay."

"And the boys get killed most likely," Nobody had heard Buffy come up the stairs behind them. "But Xand if you go with them for use as bait I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of this, do we have a volunteer?"

"Yeah," Xander picked up another volume. "For more research."

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

Buffy came into the kitchen the next morning to find her Mom sat reading the LA times. "Do you think we could invite Spike and James over tonight, I know you like Spike and I'm certain you'll hit it off with......" Then she noticed her Mom's sad, lost expression. "Mom what's the matter?"

Joyce turned the paper round and held the front page up for her daughter to read. She knew what the headline meant and dreaded her daughter's reaction.

"Hijacked Greyhound found abandoned in the Elsinore Mountains, Sixty two missing, LAPD, County Sheriffs officers and State Police baffled..........oh no!"

"I guess this means you'll have to ring in sick to college again?" Joyce saw the resolve in her daughters face and knew there was no way she could talk her daughter out of going into danger. "You go make the call."



Part Nineteen



Buffy didn't make the call, when she rang Giles he told her to go to college it was Friday after all so she might as well complete the week, they'd slay over the weekend.

"But Giles the people off the bus, we have to go save them........"

"I'm sorry Buffy but with the number of vampires who have joined this creature we must assume that their already dead, we don't know where to look, they on the other hand know who to look for." Giles paused then added words that silenced any further argument from the Slayer. "L...last time this happened you raced off to LA, and remember what almost became of you."

Sex slave to a probably very large number of vampires, Buffy put the phone down and went to college, but she packed a bag before she left the house.

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

It was Willow who found it, she and Buffy had raced for the store as soon as their final lecture for the day ended and shot past startled customers as they headed up into the 'Library'.

Whilst Buffy launched another frantic attack on the 'Name the demon' problem, Willow began an in-depth search into spooky occurrences in the Lake Elsinore area. "They couldn't herd that many people that far and not have been seen, they've a hide out and it has to be round there somewhere." Willow was going back through the Orange and Cleveland county records as fast as she could. "All we need to do is find it."

"Hurry it along Will," Buffy slammed another stack of books onto the reading table. "There were children on that bus, I want to kill the bastards responsible, slowly and soon."

"And I wanna help you do it," Willow had read the reports too. "This time your not leaving me in Sunnydale."

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

"Got it, I hope." Willow looked up from her computer screen. "Way back in 1569 a Spanish priest recorded bizarre events in the mountains above his mission station, a party of troops came up and dealt with the matter, reportedly it was monsters who preyed on humans, they were living in tunnels in the hills below Sitton Peak."

"It say where?" Buffy looked over her friends shoulder. "Of course it doesn't say where, that would be way to easy."

"This report is from research done in the 1960's Buffy, it says the account was incomplete, if true at all, the monsters it says were probably an aggressive tribe of Native Americans, and nothing more sinister." Willow gave her friend a sidewards look. "But of course we probably know different."

"We live in a town where different is the norm." Buffy read the report it was sparse. "That's a whole lot of country, and the cops, the forest service, the Marines from Pendleton and a hell of a lot of volunteers are combing it, guess we might have to wait for them to find these vamps for us."

"They won't, a demon strong enough to use the kind of magick needed to rise zombies will have cast glamours and made the entrances invisible." Willow quickly moved to a site carrying maps of the LA area. "We'll have to go in close enough to feel the madgick, and as your resident witch I guess that will be my job."

"We'll decide who goes and stays later," Buffy completely ignored Willow's disappointed expression at that. "The others will be here soon, the suns just about to set, I want to be in LA before midnight."

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

"So Angel, Spike, Browne, Willow and Oz and I go to LA find these guys and with all necessary force kill them brutally," Buffy had her troops gathered and was laying out her plan. "You other guys stay here and hold the fort."

Giles and Xander exchanged glances, but it was the teen who spoke up first. "Buff you're leaving the mortals to do the baby-sitting again, with the way that this burgh's been run recently Giles can handle things here on his own, I'm T guy remember I'm not missing out on the battle again."

"I don't see any reason why I should have to stop here either." Giles missed out on the fun far to often. "As Xander says other than that large party who arrived last weekend we haven't seen many vampires for months, bad news travels fast, and we're bad news."

"Sorry Giles," Buffy had pre-thought out reasons for the Englishman to stay in town. "You have your store to run, and we can't take the library with us, I need you to stay here as research guy. Xander you don't seriously think we can leave Giles to look after the Hellmouth all on his ownsome do you, so you stay to."

Xander opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted.

"Giles wouldn't be on his own." Karen was sat round the table with the others, she usually didn't say much, she certainly wasn't one of the gang, but she was there never the less. "I can fire a crossbow just as well as anybody else here, I've been practicing ever since I found out about vamps, I'll help Giles."

"And I already asked someone........" Willow went quiet as Buffy gave her the look.

"I thought we agreed Will, whatever happened at graduation we weren't going to drag any more of the class of 99 into this." Buffy had realized that her propensity for morphing in battle would make for uncomfortable explanations. "Who have you asked?"

"When I heard about the Greyhound I knew what we'd be doing so I e-mailed......someone," Willow was blushing. "He's not a student, he's more of an old master."

"You can't possibly mean......" Giles began.

"Isn't he kinda old........" Oz added.

"And therefore full of the wisdom and vampire slaying capability that age infers, See's the Fox is from all accounts an experience dude in the Slaying Fields." Xander finished. "Smart move Will, with three brilliant minds in charge Sunnydale is in safe hands, I'm coming with."

"Who goes or who stays, does it bloody matter," Spike had lurked with the other vampires but this had gone on long enough. "If the whelp wants to get himself killed let him, we need to decide what we're gonna do about finding the demon?"

"I suppose we could just trek around with Willow till she finds the glamour," Angel had no particular problem with the whelp dying either. "But that does bring up the problem of time, we can't search in daylight and that country is gonna be tough going at night."

"I gotta plan," Buffy pulled out Willy's hastily scribbled description. "I know a vamp whose been working for this demon, we get him, Browne does his thing." The vetala smiled, everyone else looked away from him. "We get a cross on a probably blood stained map and away we go to make the world safer for bus passengers everywhere."

"And we know just the place to start lookin', don't we Spike?" Browne gave the blond a wink, he had gotten over his melancholy quickly enough. Though it was noticeable that he had stopped calling the other vampire son.

"Yeah mate, I guess we do."

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

Even at one in the morning the Palomina was still full, vampires slept during daylight hours they therefore partied hearty all night long.

Buffy and Spike were sat at a small table towards the back of the restaurant cum bar-cum-vampire snack shack. She was looking around at all the idiots around her, who knew the risks they were taking but didn't care.

Spike on the other hand was just looking at her and asking himself when he had ever seen her looking lovelier, he hadn't.

She was wearing a plain black silk top with spaghetti straps and the tightest leather pants she could squeeze into. It was her undercover look, her vampiress look. Of course no one knew there where steel toecaps in the boots she was wearing or that Mr Pointy nestled in her shoulder bag.

"I think when we're done I'm gonna come back and break this place up," Buffy sipped at her blood cocktail. "It would look better decorated in a nice shade of ash, don't you think?"

"No luv actually I don't," Spike looked around, his presence had assured a wide space between them and the rest of the customers. "Every town needs a gaffe like this, somewhere for vamps to get pissed and blab what they're up to the barstaff, who can tell their employers, who as it happens are good friends of yours, kitten."

"You mean......" Buffy looked around again and grinned. "Well in that case it's a charming establishment, full of potential just like The Alibi, however did you come by it?"

"As soon as we heard about the place we got to thinkin', then we found out who really owned it." Spike looked back over his shoulder to the other half of the partnership who was sat nearer the door. "We went round to see the bloke, massacred 'is guards and made him an offer, if he signed the deeds over to us Browne would stop torturing him."

"He signed?"

"After a couple of hours," Spike sipped at his own pint of blood, he was glad he owned the place, he'd object to paying human prices for pigs blood otherwise. "We were damned lucky he didn't bleed on the deeds to."

"I hope this Marcus character shows soon, these losers give me the creeps," Pale girls and boys were looking at them interested, wondering what the couple were after. The vampires on the other hand refused to make eye contacted with them they could feel Buffy's power and they knew Spike. "Why the hell would they do it, get involved with a vampire........"

Spike saw the look of pain on her face and tried not to let his own hurt show. The ponce was outside in the van with the others, Spike and Buffy plus Browne and his date were here as a show of strength. When Marcus showed the sight of them would make him run straight into Angel's arms. If he didn't show word that the boys were back in town would run like wildfire and draw their enemies out.

"It's the sex luv, and the cuteness, let's face it master vampires don't tend to turn ugly people." Spike looked around him at all the hopeless cases. "And the danger, most people who find out that vampires exist have the sense to carry a crucifix and be fuckin' careful about alleyways, these kids, well luv these kids are the one's who yearn for the danger, or who just want to live forever."

"As a demon," Buffy smiled quickly enough to forestall any hurt on Spike's part. "Though that isn't always a bad thing."

Her left hand met his across the table, none of the scooby gang were in a position to see them. "I've missed being alone with you Spike, and this trip even LA isn't our special place. But hey that's how my life seems to go, I love two guys and of the three people involved I'm sorry you're the one who has to suffer the most."

"I've gotten used to it, ever since I found out he was living in Sunnyhell, it's been the same." Spike gave the Slayer a half smile. "I wonder how the others are gettin' on."

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

Cordelia had to admit that Browne had made an effort, he was wearing a reasonably fashionable suit, a black shirt and tie, his shoes shone from polishing and he was clean and he even smelt nice having obviously bought a very expensive cologne on her behalf.

But he still looked a lot more than twenty years older than her, people had stared, till they had realized who the scary looking dude was then they'd very carefully looked away.

She had argued long and hard over the appointment, 'Browne's date,' She had looked hopefully at Xander for support, and seen only a mocking smile. She had suggested Willow sit opposite the vampire, Spike had reminded everyone that that might reveal they had a madgick user on the team.

"Angel, why can't I sit in there with Angel?"

"Cause he's known amongst vampires luv," Spike had got in before his sire could agree with the ex-cheerleader. "An they'd know Browne was back even without seeing him cause I was there, and that make's four good reasons to not come out in the open for 'is demonship."

So here she sat, making small talk with a vampire. "I thought I'd get away from all these crazed monsters when I came here, you know cause from when Buffy got to Sunnydale it was one bloodthirsty killer after another, but of course she's cursed my whole life and there still wasn't any getting away from them."

"Oh right luv, you 'ad problems then." It wasn't going how Browne had hoped, but then maybe Spike was right, find a nice vampiress, settle down, forget girls who had a selfish disregard for everyone but themselves. He looked at Cordelia and couldn't help but wonder if Spike had her wrong for all that. "What 'appened?"

"First agent I go see, vampire!" Cordelia picked at her food a little as she spoke. "I spotted the guy straight off for what he was, real pale, veins showing, obviously he had no idea about acting or he'd have covered those up with a bit of foundation but hey what the hell. So he asks me to come back a little later and I can test for this role, he gives me this wink like you know, treat me right you get jobs."

"So of course I go back and boom no more vamp." Cordelia shrugged. "That's when I realized about the curse thing and got Whistler's number from Angel. He hooked me up with Doyle and here I am."

"You know luv you're really brave." James took a self conscious sip of blood, Cordelia didn't give him the eeeuggh look this time she just bit her lip then replied.

"Brave."

"You know over the vampire, you knew what 'e was but you went back, you could 'ave just found a proper agent an left 'im to it." Browne took in Cordie's increasingly broad smile and pressed on. "But no you fought about all them other gal's this git might 'ave got 'is 'and's on and you did for 'im, that's really brave."

"Well you know I guess you gotta do what you can do, I've always been way public spirited, there was this one time when Buffy........"

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

"What if there is a cure kitten, what if Wesley finds it, if you go back to bein' normal and the wanker leaves what about us luv, will we have a chance?"

"You know we would, it would sure piss Angel off but if he leaves me then fuck him, he was gonna do that anyway and sometimes I wish to hell that he still had, but only sometimes."

"So if...?"

"So if what Spike? There is no so if, there is no cure for being a vampire, you and I both know that Wesley is just off chasing some dream cause he feels guilty that this happened on his watch."

"There's no cure for me baby, but you're different, you're a bloody Slayer, you can walk in the fuckin' sunlight, maybe for you there is a cure. Why are you giving up hope like this? It's so not like you."

"I'm being realistic Spike honey, none of this is gonna happen, the old Buffy is gone she is never coming back."

"Hi, would you and your mate like to party?"

Two heads snapped round to the sound of the voice, two sets of eyes widened.

She was five foot six and tanned, her hair was shoulder length and highlighted, she was wearing two silk slip dresses and fairly obviously nothing else. Her body was shown off in all it's glory, a beautiful face, brown eyes, red full lips, a smooth unscarred neck well toned shoulders, heavy breasts and a flat stomach and her legs.......

Spike bit back the angry response he was going to make to her question. "No thanks luv, not tonight."

"Wait," Spike's eyes widened as he snapped his attention back to the blond 'Vampiress' across from him.

Buffy gently began to run the fingers of her right land up the inside of the girl's leg. "What's your name gorgeous?"

"Lauren," she smiled and opened her legs a little to let the beautiful blond vampiress's fingers get higher.

Buffy stopped just short of the point at which she would have confirmed the Lauren was knickerless, the warm smooth skin felt good to her cold touch, but that wasn't what she was here for.

"A pretty girl like you could find a party anywhere in town, there's a truck stand down the road where the guys would fuck you into a sweaty heap and be guaranteed to let you live, cause girlie there are vamps in here who would torture you just for something to do to pass the time." She flashed a look at the open mouth blond in front of her. "Maybe with a railroad spike."

"I'm sorry," Lauren backed away scared and confused, but she didn't leave the bar, she just went of to look for a more sympathetic hornier vampire.

With an apologetic shrug, Buffy drained her glass before speaking to her sometime lover again. "Sorry, I know you don't like having that mentioned these days but sometimes I wonder -- why do I bother with the slaying Spike? When there are stupid people like that making it so easy for vamps, why do I bother?"

She looked up at the door and froze, her eyes locked with a guy who had just come in, a guy who turned and ran.

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

Xander was behind the wheel of the van, it was a rental secured by dubious means so as not to bleamish Oz's plate's if they had to do illegal stuff. They were all four of them sat there impatiently waiting for something to happen.

Angel was sulking slightly, he really didn't like the though of his girl sharing a table with Spike even though there was absolutely no way she would even look at the guy in that kinda way, was there?

In the front seat Xander was profoundly regretting the glee he had shown in Cordelia's earlier discomfort. He could see her sat with Browne, see her sulk turn to a smile, and then to laughter, why was she laughing? And why did it still hurt him even though he had his thing with Anya?

It was a good job therefore that Willow and Oz were sat in the front of the van to, or in Willow's case sat and in Oz's case leaning between the seats, and saw the vampire enter, and then run.

"That's him, go Xander go." Willow shouted startling Xander from his thoughts.

Getting the van in Drive, Xander did a rapid turn even as he did so he saw Buffy, Spike, Cordelia and Browne hare out of the bar and their prey dive into an alleyway. "Go round the block Xander, cut him off on the other side."

Buffy and her companions were in hot pursuit down the alley, it whichly opened out into a broad bin lined route down the middle of the large block of shops and bars. Marcus was only just in sight.

Xander came round the corner and slammed on the brakes, a van was backing out of the alleyway ahead of them and a side door in it was opening. "Oh god!"

He slammed his foot on the accelerator and released the brake heading straight for the alleyway on the opposite side of the street.

"Xander what the hell?" Willow began, then automatic gunfire tore shop fronts they had driven past just seconds before into a million shining fragments. "Ok I see, drive faster!"

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

When the shots rang out, Buffy stopped running, "Oh god now what?"

She went for the two way radio, hoping like hell she would get through. "Willow do you copy, Will for god's sake answer, are you guys ok?"

"It's a trap Buffy, we got clear, get out of there."

"No shit it's a trap." Buffy broke the connection, wondering what the hell to do. Spike and Brown were arming themselves from the bags they'd had under the table. Buffy took the katana they threw her and rapidly unsheathed it, Cordelia stood there looking afraid but with a stake in her hand as the other two vamps loaded their smg's.

"Ok a trap, but what kinda trap?" Buffy stood with the blade pointed to the ground, she was ready to chop zombies all she needed where zombies to chop.

Then two metal doors opened in back of the buildings down the alley from them and the space filled with armed vamps.

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

The MacSheehy came out last, but took post in front of his troops. The Slayer stood flanked by her followers their weapons poised, the girl showed not a trace of fear, it did his undead heart good to see her so beautiful, so brave, soon he would possess her fire, so very soon.

"M' Lady put up thy blade and I swear no harm will befall thee or thine, make us fight and your followers lives are forfeit."

"If we're playing forfeits I'll take your head as my first bid," Buffy smiled. "My boys are loaded with the bad stuff, your gonna go away smokin win or lose, so you just back away south, we go north and we meet again another day, or we all die here! An idea I kinda like by the way "

Before the Irishvamp could reply another voice answered for him, a deeper, older commanding voice. "No child you will bow to me, or take the consequence."

A black cowled figure stepped into the street, covered completely except for blood red hands. It stood in front of the MacSheehy and green light began to glow around the hands.

"Hey, nice to meet you at long last." Buffy brought the sword up to an attack position. "Will you just tell me who you are before I kill you, my Watchers been researching his heart out trying to find that out you see."

"Bow girl," A green wall shot out in front of the demon's outstretched hands."Bow before thy new lord and master."

The wall engulfed the Slayer and her world went black.



Part Twenty

The corridor was long and white, Buffy recognized it instantly, a hospital, but a quiet hospital were nothing and no one moved, she was walking down the empty corridor alone, her footsteps echoing loudly in the still air.

Instinct or foreknowledge, she didn't know which but something made her stop before a door, turn the handle and step inside.

A familiar figure lay still upon the bed, but healthier that when last seen. Faith had lost virtually no weight and her face had color. An old man sat beside her, his hair was grey but braided with red string, his skin was dark, lines of red paint ran across his cheek bones and from his lower lip to the point of his jaw, he nodded to Buffy and said. "You have to be strong Slayer, the thing that you must face is terrible, do not let it destroy you. Remember always that you did what you had to do, what your body told you to do, nothing more."

Then, before Buffy could speak a word in reply, the old man faded away. Startled Buffy looked around the room and could see no sign of him, or any way in which he could have left, the door had disappeared. The chair remained though, so she sat.

She watched Faith for what seemed like an age, and felt almost as if she were drifting off the sleep when suddenly she realized that the brunette Slayer's eyes were open, and then her lips moved. "Don't lose track of who you are B, use the strength I know you have in you, always remember what you are B, now wake up."

And a blinding flash of white light tore her away from the scene.

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

Buffy woke up dazed and in the dark, she groaned at a pounding headache that felt like somebody was hitting her in the head with a damned big hammer. She tried to move her hands and couldn't, they were fastened together behind her back, she tried her feet, and jerked her wrists down, they were chained and linked back to her hands. "That explains why I think I'm gonna have cramps."

Her eyes adjusted to the darkness and she realized that she was lying on a hard chiseled stone floor, surrounded on three sides by solid stone walls and with the third face of the room consisting of a network of iron bars. "I am really starting to hate LA, every time I come here I wind up in some demon's prison, this constant deja vu sucks so badly."

She did a quick check list. "Clothing on, no unpleasant aches in intimate places, this is good. But then again this is the third time this has happened and nobody's even peeked, a girl could start to feel unwanted, unloved, unattractive, am I not as cute as I thought."

"Look luv will you put a sock in it." A weak voice spoke up from the darkness. "If it makes ya fell better I'll promise that if I ever take you prisoner I'll molest you to yer 'earts content, but currently I've got a fuckin' awful 'eadache an your not 'elpin it."

From her position of being chained up on the floor in was difficult for Buffy to look round but all the same she recognized the voice. "James, that is so sweet of you, you sound bad, are the others here? Is Spike?"

"Spike's comatose beside me, Cordelia's breathin', but she's spark out to, I seem to fink that tonight didn't quite go to plan."

"Oh I don't know, we're in their lair, now all we need to do is get free." Buffy tried to snap the chains on her wrists. "Ow, oooooohh, ok well possibly wait for them to foolishly unchain us before feeding us to their dark god, which I hope they do soon cause I'm hungry. Good thing we brought Cordelia along, she may come in useful if they don't come to torture us soon."

"Yeah, Buffy didn't you say I wasn't to feed on people you'd miss." Browne sounded puzzled and just a little afraid.

"I know I did, that's why I'm saying it's a good thing we brought Cordelia along with us, not somebody I'd miss!"

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

Outside the sun was beating down, even for this late time of year in was damn hot, Willow was seriously beginning to regret not bringing sunblock, she was gonna be as red as her hair at this rate.

Their enemies hadn't noticed the tail, she assumed that they had thought that without the Slayer her mortal followers would be to afraid to go on. They were wrong, the Slayerettes hadn't hesitated, guns or no guns they weren't about to leave their friends to die.

Willow was hiding amongst some trees facing an old abandoned looking garage. it backed onto a cliff face, tires had left tracks to and from the building in the dirt before the wooden double doors.

Oz was beside her, bow in hand, he was taking the structure on Willow's say so, he couldn't see the building, the glamour protecting it was that good, but he could sense something evil and he was ready to deal.

An hour before sunrise Xander had driven off, taking Angel back to the nearest hideout, hoping to find some firepower there being a consensus between T guy and the vamp that crossbows might not cut it.

"We should do something Oz, distract them somehow." Willow clutched her crossbow tighter, Buffy was a prisoner, they could be doing anything to her in there. "Shouldn't we?"

"We'd die if we did Will," Oz gently pressed her shoulder with his free hand. "Buffy's strong, she'll find a way out of there."

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

"Here ratty, good ratty, come to Buffy, she promises that she won't hurt you." Buffy was morphed and attempting to attract one of the cell's other residents near enough to strike, it wasn't working. "You know I really miss my box, it was comfie and clean and padded, and I hate rats, how come they come to you and not to me? I've been a rat, they should show more fellow feeling."

"Cause your not thinkin' corpse." The vetala had patiently explained the not talking thing several times, he had three mangled rats in front of his jaws, Buffy had none. "Just play dead, they'll come an look at you then, wait for one to go for yer eyes and whallop."

"I think I preferred my last cell to this, ok it had a moldy rotting corpse in it but no annoying know it all vamps. If the rats arn't biting then I suppose it's time to crawl round to Cordelia." A warning growl from the vetala made her raise an eyebrow and sharply respond. "Oh shit vampire, say it isn't so, not you as well, what is it with you guys? I turn my back for two seconds and you're all over the skanky........" A female groan suddenly interrupted the Slayer. "Cordie you're awake, how good it is to hear your voice again."

"What happened?" Cordie wanted to be sick, she had some words of a conversation about rats floating round in her mind and not much else.

"Shit happened," Buffy wasn't about to molly coddle a whiner. "We're prisoners, we're chained up, I wish Spike would wake up, are we sure he's alright?"

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

"Hour to sunset Will, the guys will be back here within two."

"I sure hope that gives us enough time."

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

Spike woke up with the worst headache he'd ever had, worse that anything he had experienced during his campaign to drink Brazil dry, worse even then when he'd come round after having a church organ hit him in the head.

There was a bloody cheerful conversation going on around him to, he lay there silently listening for awhile.

"What are they gonna do to us?" A tearful female voice enquired. *The bloody cheerleader, great."

"Well those of us who are technically dead they'll probably feed to the zombies whole." Buffy sounded pissed. "I suppose they'll start off by torturing you though, break our morale, try to make us do what they want. When we show the moral strength to resist that angle they'll drain you, feed your heart to the demon and then let you rot a little before they feed what's left of you to the zombies. You know that is a beautiful picture, I may delay my escape attempt, least till they've finished with the torture."

Cordelia began to quietly sob, even as another voice broke. "Don't listen to 'er luv, she's only teasin' 'onest, I won't let any of em touch you."

"What time is it,? Spike asked, his mouth felt like it was full of sand, bloody dry sand.

"A half hour after dawn fellow," a voice said from the shadows beyond the bars. "Time to meet thy fate."

"Good, this was really getting boring." Buffy smiled as the vampire who emerged from the shadows, a frown showing on his face at her defiance. "Hi Pat, yeah we researched, I have to say you are the worse host I have ever met, at least the last demon who locked me away had the decency to come gloat and stop me getting this bored."

"M'Lady you have my humblest apologies, but other matters pressed upon me." Lord Patrick motioned his vampires forward. "I shall make amends dear Lady fear not, we will render unto you the bounties due to so royal a being once thy straited condition has been eased."

"Gee thanks," Buffy felt afraid, it was the way he was looking at her, and his words. What was the demon capable of, she only wished she knew.

The cell door was flung open and the vamps came in. They lifted Cordelia to her knees and one of them pressed a cocked revolver to her head.

"I did note thy jesting with this mortal, but I do not believe thy lack of regard for her to be sincere." Buffy was unable to conceal the anger that crossed her face and Lord Patrick smiled once again in response. "If you make any attempt to assile me or mine her death is instant and certain. Release her ankles."

Cautiously a vampire unchained Buffy's feet and hauled her upright. The circulation restored little by little and she was pushed out through the door, two loaded rifles were aimed at her head as she was lead away. The clanking of chains revealed to her that her companions followed. "Keep quiet guys," she threw back over her shoulder. "I'll do the talking."

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

When they entered the throne room a babble of voices stilled, up to fifty vampires were waiting there all of them stared at the two vampires who were dragged in after the Slayer, and a growling began which rapidly became a roar that filled the room.

"Silence dogs!" Murchad's voice was the loudest noise any of the creatures in the room had ever heard, they shut up. "Lord Patrick, drive these vermin out, their eyes are unworthy to witness what is to come to pass."

No vampire protested as the more select members of the Demon Lords army pushed the toiling masses out down the corridor towards the exit. They had seen the price of defiance, they did not want the flesh burned from their bones.

"The vampire queen, as fair a lady as I had heard tell well met, art thou well," Murchad didn't rise, his black pits of eyes were expression less, but his numerous fangs were revealed as his lips formed into a cruel smile.

"Well enough, well enough to rip off your green fingers and shove them up your ass, red boy." Buffy felt the fear though, she was helpless at the moment she wouldn't be able to get to the guy holding the gun on Cordelia in time. She had to let her enemies have the initiative, for now.

"Hold her," Two Zombies grabbed Buffy's arms, their strength was such that she could not resist as they pressed her to her knees. Another set of course leathered hands reached down between them and firmly gripped her head.

"I would ask that you serve me willingly M'Lady, spare yourself this pain, but I know that you will not." Murchad rose now and walked towards her, the palm of his right hand held up and glowing red. "Therefore prepare thyself."

"What the fuck are you gonna do to me?" She struggled frantic as the glowing hand descended on her forehead.

Then it touched her, and she felt something rip inside her head, filling her undead lungs, Buffy screamed!

Continued

1