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


by John Cope







Part One

Spike lay flat on the roof felt, binoculars pressed to his eyes. He was dressed all in black, the familiar duster, trousers and shirt supplemented by a black woollen hat pulled down over his blond hair. It had only been with threats of violence that he had stopped his partner in mayhem, James Cahill Browne, from plastering his face with camouflage cream that was a step to far into the vetala's bizarre world.

The warehouse roof he was on was in Fullerton in Central L.A, the building he was surveying was a supply building for Dawes-Neilson Medicare, one of L.A's richest pharmaceutical companies, a company rich through its more exclusive business the supply of blood -- to vampires.

In the month and a half he had been living in L.A, Spike had been a customer, but now he and the vetala had become settled, established enough hiding places it was no longer their intention to pay for human blood, from now on what they didn't get from abattoir or people the Slayer wouldn't miss they would steal, but only from supplies destined for their brethren.

There was a small truck in the loading bay, containers were being placed into it by vampires whilst two humans with clip boards stood by. Spike had been expecting a van, the plethora of plunder the vehicle below might contain had him salivating.

Slowly he edged back towards the ladder he had climbed to get up to his vantage point. Once he could kneel without the risk of being seen he slipped his binoculars into their case and turning picked up the silenced MP5 that Browne had managed somehow to get for him. A Heckler and Koch like the one he had used at the Mansion but a damned site more expensive, the suppressor was built in.

Spike had decided that he hated the vetala, ok not enough to kill him, the bloke was bloody useful but still he hated his new acquaintance with a fiery passion. His usefulness was offset by the fact the vampire was far to bloody annoying by far. The blond had spent two centuries learning to annoy he knew what he was whining about.

Tonight was a bloody good example, he could just picture the smirk on the git's face when he heard they had hit paydirt. The vetala had tortured that poor bloody vampire for hours, Spike had fumed at him for wasting their time, then five minutes after he had walked out swearing he was off back to Sunnydale the bugger had cracked and here they where.

About to knock off the biggest shipment of blood ever sold to vampires, by anyone, anywhere.

"Somedays unlife can really get on yer tits!" Spike mumbled to himself as he descended. "Fuck it I think I'd almost rather have to put up with Angel than 'im."

"I 'eard that!"

Startled Spike almost let go of the ladder. "Fuck, you idiot what you tryin to do? Give me a coronary?"

"No mate." The vetala had come up the ladder, tired of waiting down the bottom. "Your dead, the old ticker don't work no more, good thing, too, with the way you smoke." The smirk appeared. "So mate, is I right or is I right?"

"Yeah, you're right." Spike said it with an air of resignation. "Can we get off the ladder now an' go and knick it?"

"To right we can." Browne went down the few steps to the street. "It's all gonna be kushti just like I said it would. Stop torturing the poor fucker indeed, good job I......."

"Alright!" Spike hissed as loudly as he dared. "Lets just go cap the bastards shall we? I'm famished!"

"Keep yer 'air on mate." The vetala didn't really like Spike, ok the bloke was handy in a fight, and though he had traveled alone round half the globe he had gotten used to company. But Spike! The guy brooded over Buffy, when he wasn't brooding over Buffy he kept telling Browne how Buffy would want stuff done. Browne was of the opinion that he was perfectly capable of slaughtering vamps without Spike or Buffy's advice, he was starting to feel thoroughly cheesed-off about the enforced relationship. "We'll go get the claret now."

Of course the Buffy situation was a difficult one for the vetala, he was her sworn man, Spike was her mate. This meant Browne had to tolerate the bugger and not stake him, unlife sucked!

Stepping back he allowed the blond to step onto the street beside him, Browne was similarly dressed to Spike, all in black. He wore a balaclava hat which left only his eyes and mouth uncovered though, Spike had pissed him off completely an hour before by pointing out that. "Everyone is gonna know who bloody done it!", to which the vetala had fired back. "This is a fuckin' bank job, face masks is traditional, stone the crows mate, I can't believe you come from London an' don't know that!"

The drive over had been loud. If Buffy hadn't have liked the bloke so much, Spike would have staked him.

"How many sentries then?" The vetala had his weapons in the trunk of their stolen transportation, the two Uzi's where still there with a crossbow for quiet work, if they had to make a racket Browne was the vamp to do it.

"Their security as tight as I expected?"

"No, I think their trying not to be noticed, just four blokes." Spike drew a stake from an inside pocket of his duster. "The two nearest ain't paying much attention either."

"Tik hai." Browne threw the straps of the Uzi's over his shoulders and then drew a steel noose from his coat pocket. "Let's get to it."

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Travis had been a vampire for some sixty five years and in that time he had a lot of fun, and a few evenings as tedious as this, he was leaning back against a wooden fence across the lot from where his brethren were hard at work. Nobody was going to come after the shipment, there had been no loose talk.

A shotgun lay on the floor beside him, a stake was thrust through his belt but his hands were in his pockets.

The steel barely brushed his ears as the noose dropped down over his head, Browne threw himself off the packing case he had climbed up onto to get above his prey, the steel biting into his gloves as it took the vampires weight before the line went slack and the noose cleared the fence.

Hauled off his feet by the vetala's greater weight Travis had died without a sound, his head shorn off by the tightening metal.

On the other side of the lot by the gateway Lauren was smoking her eighteenth cigarette of the night when suddenly she stiffened, a whistling was coming down the street behind her,*White Wedding!* Turning her hand dropping to the butt of the CAR-15 she had casually slung over her shoulder she called. "Who's there?"

"Friend luv." The carbine barrel came up, then eased down a little. "Hullo cutie, what are you doing out here all on your own?"

The urge to go game disappeared from Lauren's mind, a vampire stalked towards her from the darkness. He was five foot six or so and clad in a really sexy black coat, but what drew her attention was the peroxide blond hair, the fine cheek bones and the blue eyes that were running up and down her body even as she watched them.

And the smell the guy was giving off, coming from his mouth, and the flecks of red on his chin, blood!, human!

"I'm not on my own Mister, I'm here on business." Lauren was mesmerized, she had to think hard to remember what the hell she was doing here. "I'm guarding, stuff."

"So that's why you have that big old gun eh?" Spike moved to within inches of her, she had a pretty face and long dark hair, hazel eyes looked up at him, in fact if it hadn't have been for the Slayer.....but still. "You want to go to a party luv? We could catch us a couple of mortals and have a bath in their blood," he gave her a smile that spoke volumes about what would happen after than. "Fancy it pet?"

Trying hard not to throw duty, firearm and clothing to the wind the vampiress bit her lip, before answering. "Look if they finish here in time I'd love to, do you wanna hang?" Then there was something else, it would be rude not to mention it. "You have some blood on your chin Mr....."

"Name's William, luv," Spike had been deliberately messy with the nice bag of O-negative he had completed his 'Disguise' with. "Why don't you lick it off?"

She was perhaps an inch shorter than him, but their faces where level due to the heels on her shoes. When the tip of her cold tongue traced a pattern across his chi,n Spike almost lost the will to slay, almost. His left hand went to the back of her head and twined in her hair pulling her brutally against him as he ravished her mouth with his tongue. Pressing himself forward he drove his hard length into her stomach, she tried to whimper round his tongue and gun and duty forgotten grabbed his shoulders with both hands.

Easing the stake from the back of his pants with his right hand Spike some how broke clear of the vampiress, she was visibly panting. "Give me a quarter of an hour William and......." Then her eyes widened and she disappeared to dust.

Catching her carbine as it fell Spike looked down, regretfully. "Sorry kitten, but if it's any comfort if I feel the need to jerk off tonight, I won't be thinkin' about Buffy."

Hurrying back the way he came, Spike picked up his own gun from where he had left it when he had seen the sex of his intended victim. Then he set off to look for the vetala who stepped out in front of him before he had gone ten yards.

"What would 'er majesty think?, 'er secondary squeeze with 'is tongue in another girls gob," Browne had the look of a vamp who might tell. "An what a cruel trick to play."

Flashing Browne the finger Spike walked past him. "Them as can does, them as can't stand around making stupid comments. Two weeks, two whole weeks and you still 'aven't even grown the bollocks to talk to her. An it's not like she hasn't been throwin' you enough disgusted glances either."

A dangerous growl emerged from Browne's throat, and his voice raised as he responded. "Leave it out, I've told you I'll speak to her in me own good time, I don't need advice from a whelp like you!."

"Whelp!" Spike nearly shouted, but then switched to a low hiss. "May I remind you I'm sixty-seven years older than you are and I think that entitles me to a little respect!"

"Bollocks!" Browne's sneer was practiced to give the maximum disdain. "You were the most immature twenty-four year old on record, still wet behind the fuckin' ears when that Irish nonce put the bite on you. I on the other 'and was a non commissioned officer in 'er Majesty's armed forces who....."

"Who couldn't keep 'is cock in 'is pants an got turned for 'is pains." H's went out the window as Spike got angrier, his hand started to inch towards a stake. "Why if I 'ad my way......"

Two head's jerked round at a shout from the lot. "Travis, Lauren! Where the fuck are you two? I catch you balling when you should be guarding and it's the branding iron up both your asses!"

"Rats!" Spike brought his smg round to his front. "It's a bit much when a bloke can't even enjoy a good argument, don't ya think."

"Bloody right." The vetala loaded his crossbow. "Fuckin' yanks won't let you 'ave a minutes peace."

Looking back onto the lot Spike saw that one of the two remaining guards was stood in the middle of the open space, his colleague was positioned back by the truck the four minions doing the carrying where sat round idle, waiting to go.

"I'll take the near one," Spike flicked his selector switch to three round bursts. "You take the bloke further back."

The vamps moved out, rapidly reaching firing positions they nodded to each other.

About to open his mouth again to shout the nearer vampire took Spikes burst in the head, he dropped not dead but no longer undead either, his brain destroyed he would no longer hunt or do much of anything else. Before the vampire behind him could even begin to turn the barrel of his gun towards the muzzle flash a cross bow bolt thudded into his heart and his weapon rattled on tarmac.

Screaming the Englishvamps charged down on the unarmed minions, one tried to run for the dropped weapon, bullets raked him before he got five yards then it became hand to hand.

Neatly dodging a vicious kick launched at him from the loading bay Spike swept his opponent's legs from off the concrete. Unbalanced by the missed kick the minion hit the ground hard. Springing up to join him Spike's steel toe capped boot broke the creatures jaw as it tried to rise. A second kick to the head left the minion defenseless and the blond readied a stake to finish the creature.

As he stooped a hard blow took him in the back, driven forward he lost his wooden weapon, turning he deflected a kick aimed at his head with both hands, the minion facing him fell back adopting a fighting stance as he waited for the Englishvamp to make a move.

The vetala's khyber knife gleamed in the light's from the loading bay, already his opponent was slashed a couple of times blood dampening his clothes. Whimpering the minion looked round frantically for somewhere to run, there was no escape.

"Come on son, come to daddy." The vetala beckoned with his left hand, screaming the minion tried to run past him.

The knife blade sank into the creatures neck, stolen blood spouted. There was no need for a stake the vampire slumped to the ground as the blood stained the ground, then slowly he crumbled into dust.

Spike faked a palm strike at his opponents head, but instead landed a vicious kick on the minions right knee bones broke audible. Mouth open in a soundless roar of pain, the vampire tumbled forward onto a stake Spike had extracted from his coats numerous pockets.

Quickly the two vampires finished off their undusted victims, then Spike ran for the truck door, as he had hoped the key's were in the ignition. "Come on mate, let's get our arses out of here!"

He looked round, the vetala was stood on the loading bay looking down at the still form of one of the human workers. "Fuck!"

Running back Spike grabbed hold of his colleague in crime. "I though I told you no scoffing the help, they're in the same line of work as we are......oh now that is nice."

The girl was beautiful, she had her blond hair cut in a bob and the lab coat she was wearing seemed to be covering a very fine figure indeed.

"She fainted old son, I never laid a fang on 'er." James regarded the girl whistfully. "But I can't 'elp but think that if things don't work out between me an 'erself then..."

"We don't have time to bring her round an ask for her phone number do we?" Ripping the name tag from the girls coat Spike thrust it into Browne's hand. "Get yourself a telephone directory mate an who knows."

"Sarah Connor." Frowning Browne ran the few yards to the door. "That rings a bell." Then he dismissed the thought as he realized that both he and Spike where on the same side of the vehicle. "I'm drivin', it's my turn."

"No way," Spike shook his head. "You drive slow enough to drive Miss Daisy, I'm the get away driver, it's official, written down in black an white in the rules."

Drawing back Browne dropped his hand to his knife's hilt. "Curious you didn't think that at the airport my laddo, who was drivin' when you 'ad your tongue down Buffy's throat?"

"YOU PEEKED!" Spike realized he had shouted loud enough to alert the whole of Central LA to what was going down, he didn't have time for this. "All bloody right then, drive!" His voice once more became a hiss as he added, "But don't you go thinkin' this is over."

They shot out of the lot and back onto the open street, Browne was smugness personified and paid his usual low attention to the very late night traffic.

Seeing the oncoming headlights, Spike turned to the vetala with a smile. "You know what would make us real inconspicuous mate?"

"What's that son?" the last word was spoken with an emphatic contempt.

"You trying to remember which side of the bloody road they drive on over here."

Horn hooting the vehicle sped towards them whilst Browne frantically spun the wheel, "Oh fuck!!!"

"Let you drive......"



Part Two



Sunnydale cemetery was supposed to be a haven of peace and tranquility, a garden of remembrance, some very occasional nights it was, tonight wasn't one of them.

Buffy wheeled sharply her body graceful in the night air, her foot slammed viciously into the vampires head throwing it off its feet, spinning round she landed back on both feet and the second the vampire touched the ground Mr. Pointy was plunged into his heart.

Twenty six new vamps had come into town and Willy had sent them here, and now the scooby gang were slaying.

Game faced Buffy attacked two more of her adversaries who where stood open mouthed wondering what the hell they had stumbled into. Nearly half the vampires where already dust, the Slayer had firm plans for the rest to join their friends.

Willow rammed a stake home, she was supposed to be fighting back to back with Xander, but in the confusion of the battle the friends had become separated. Still she was slaying the vampires regarded the Slayer and Angel as the greater threats and so they where only coming at her one at a time.

Turning she watched the vampiric Super-Buffy launch herself into the air and drop two vampires with a double side kick, then a sudden movement to her left yanked her attention back to her own situation, only by throwing herself down did she avoid a plank that was whistling round to take off her head.

Stake lost, Willow looked up helpless as a vampire of to her perspective huge high and girth swung his weapon up to deliver a two handed blow.

"OH GODDESS!" She screamed to shocked to think of a spell, she was about to die.

A roar of triumph turned to a howl of pain, the vampire dropped the plank and jerked round hands frantically going behind it. As it turned Willow could see the whole of the back of it's jacket was on fire, a blazing arrow jutted from the creatures charring flesh. Frantically Willow rolled clear, a burning vampire was not something to have land on you.

Finding her stake, she stood and cast a smile and a wave toward the roof of the Law tomb. "Way to go Oz!"

Her lover was hastily extracting another arrow from his quiver, his perch was a little precarious but as the four areas of blackened grass in the graveyard showed it was commanding.

Oz looked at his girl jumping up and down with excitement and might have joined her, where it not for the fact he would certainly fall off the roof and break his neck. Since the fight had gone to close quarters, he had found it difficult to get clear shots, he was so glad there hadn't been a monument between him and the vampire who had been about to take his Willow from him.

On his left arm he wore a leather bracer, to stop the whip of the bowstring striking him, his right hand was protected by a two fingered glove enabling him to draw the bowstring to his mouth. He notched the new shaft and waited for a fresh target to appear.

Angel was fighting two vamps near the middle of the cemetery, Xander was holding his own against one in a nearby group of headstones, Buffy? Oz flinched as she crushed a vampires skull with a foot stamp before wheeling sharply and staking another as it made the suicidal mistake of charging her.

"Where's Giles?" The Guitarist frowned as he looked round, he couldn't see the dude anywhere. Then his attention switched back to his girl she was still jumping up and down, but in a pointing kinda way.

Then he heard the claws, he dipped the oil soaked rag tied round the tip of the arrowhead into the tin can beside him, it containing a lit candle and as fire took hold he raised his hands a little and with feet apart began to draw the bow.

The draw was steady and smooth, the initial strain taken by his left hand and wrist, and then it rippled across the muscles of his back and shoulders. Oz felt the weapon come to life in his hands, it was a good feeling, but not as good as a guitar.

Pulled back into an arc the bow was vibrant with pent up energy, the string pressed against Oz's lip as he waited and sure enough the expected vampires head appeared over the front of the tomb it's claws grappling for purchase on the slates.

"Hi!"

The vampire looked up and Oz loosed, the arrowhead plunged into the vamp's right eye taking the fire straight into its brain. Ablaze the creature toppled back out of Oz's sight.

Angel was in trouble, it was only his second excursion into the slaying fields since his leg had healed enough to fight properly and he was rusty. A right cross sent the attacker in front of him spinning, but then his second opponent jumped onto his back, claws sank into the fabric of his coat even as fangs sought to tear off the ensouled ones's ear.

With a snarl Angel reached back with both hand's and taking a firm grip on the vamp's throat ripped him bodily from off his back and threw him to the ground. Turning to relocate the vampire he had just struck down Angel found it to late to dodge a sharp kick, it struck him on the right thigh, the still weakened leg and with a gasp of pain he struck the ground as the limb gave way.

Snarling in anger, blood running down its face the vampire launched a savage kick at Angel's head, then spun round in the air. Even on his ass Angel was a match for the creature facing him, catching the incoming foot with both hands Angel put all the strength he had into turning the vampires leg twisting him off his feet.

Pouncing Angel drove a stake into his opponents heart, turning to locate the other vampire he took a solid kick to the chest that sent him sprawling back on his ass. Angel looked up as his enemy plunging down towards him stake in hand.

Then something flew through the night air, and a stake appeared in the vampires chest. Smiling Angel morphed back to human features and looking behind him shouted.

"Thanks Buffy......." Then realization hit him. "I could have handled him ok, I didn't need your help."

"Ok," Xander drew another stake from his belt. "So let me see that's thank you very much Buffy but hey Xander I could have killed that dude from here on my ass, interesting deadist double standard there . Remind me so not to bother next time!"

As Xander turned to go he noticed Angel struggling to get up, with a sigh he went back and offered his hand. "Come on Angel, don't be a hardass all your unlife."

Regarding the hand with suspicion Angel tried to rise again, but couldn't. "Ok, help me up......please."

Grunting with the effort Xander couldn't resist a crack. "You sure bloods low cal? Or was that just a line you spun Buffy?"

Willow was frantic, no Giles, she ran around the graveyard battlefield, no sign of the Englishman. Looking round for help she found none, Angel was hurt again and Xander was helping him, Buffy? Demoness in full control, Buffy was busy pounding a vampire's skull against a granite headstone, Oz was stuck up on a roof, her dumb idea but still. "Guess it's down to me then."

Resolve face at full strength Willow ran back to where the gang had dropped their crossbows after the initial volley had cleared some space for the hand to hand stuff. Snatching one up at random she hastily loaded up a bolt and headed away into the cemetery. Then stood stock still listening.

Growls, coming from the north wall. She ran towards the sound.

Giles was there, unharmed, but backed against a wall, three vampires stood in front of him trying to summon up the courage to charge, the heap of ash in front of him and the kukri in his hand explained their hesitation.

Aiming carefully, not wanting to put her friends life in danger Willow put a neat shot into the heart of the vampire furthest from the ex-watcher. His two fellows wheeled round open mouthed in shock and Giles cut them down before they realized the fatality of their lapsed concentration.

Hesitantly Willow walked over towards her friend, she recognized the set of his jaw and what it meant. "G..Giles you ok?"

Smiling, Ripper slipping away easily the Englishmen looked up and sheathed the Gurkha battle knife. "Yes, thank you very much Willow your arrival was fortuitous I think these chaps where about to gather enough courage to rush me." He took of his glasses and gave them an absent minded wipe. "How goes the battle Willow? Went the day well?"

*Ok, remember to check his head for contusions.* Walking over Willow retrieved her bolt and answered. "We slew, though I think someone needs to drag Buffy off the poor guy she's pulping."

"Good.....yes....you go do that whilst I rake these fellows over for valuables." Giles began to toe through the ashes despite the look Willow threw him. "After all, we do have to cover expenses."

*Ever since that damn vetala arrived it's been like this,* Willow mused as she walked back. *We used to just slay and walk away, now we stop to loot the enemies dead.* She stole a guilty look at the antique ring on the second finger of her left hand. *Well it's not like that vampiress actually needed it anymore.*

Buffy was still pounding, Willow was surprised the vampire hadn't combusted with the punishment he was taking. Her friend game faced was never a sight the witch liked to look at, and with that many fangs showing, the grin was way to broad. "Buffy, I think maybe you could stake that one now."

"Hey Will." Turning yellow eyes on the hacker Buffy smiled and almost made her friend faint. "You think?"

Morphing effortlessly Buffy looked down and wished she hadn't. "Eeeeww!" Undusted vampire brains and borrowed blood were spotted on her pale hands and arms, she was so glad she had chosen to wear a vest top and left her jacket in the car. "That is so disgusting."

A cloud of dust later and Buffy looked round. "We won, where's Giles?"

"Over there." Willow pointed back over her shoulder. "Looting!"

"Well you know what the vetala says, 'Bloomin' loot, that's the way to make the boys git up an shoot.' Slayage is expensive." Buffy waved at Oz and shouted. "You were great!"

"He was wasn't he." Willow abandoned ethical argument of the post battle kind to hasten over to set the ladder up that would get her favourite werewolf off his firing platform.

Aware that she was skanky with blood Buffy hesitated in approaching Angel at first, a girl likes to look her best, then she saw how her lover was leaning on Xander and she set off running.

"Angel!" Buffy caught him in her arms. "You ok? hat is it? Is it the leg?"

"Yeah," Angel looked at Xander, expecting to see a smirk at him being mothered like this, but the teen just looked away. "Guy just kicked me in it, but I coped, dusted the bastard myself."

"And then Xander saved my life." Someone mumbled.

"Ok, Xander saved me." Sincerity written all over his face, Angel managed a smile, just. "Thanks, ok."

"No sweat," turning Xander suddenly found a Slayer pressed against him. "Ok Buff, a thank you would have been enough."

Looking up with that familiar mock pout she rooted him to the spot with her hazel eyes as she whispered. "So you don't think this is nicer?"

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Setting the ladder up Willow beamed up at her lover, he smiled back down at her. "Oz you almost slew as many as Buffy tonight, I'm real proud of you."

"You were real brave Will." Oz looked down at Willow and couldn't believe his good fortune, she was the smartest, prettiest, coolest girl ever. "All I did was stand up here out of harms way."

"Oh no you don't, no selling yourself short." Willow caught the cased bow Oz threw down to her. "You majorly contributed, we need fire support in these kind of battles, and yours was supportive....and fiery. I think your the best shot ever with that bow."

"Thanks." Dropping lightly off the ladder Oz swept Willow up into a deep kiss. "Can I e-mail the old guy tonight?"

"See's the Fox." Picturing the old Lakota's workshop, the tools, the weapons and jewelery and the laptop Willow couldn't help but smile even wider. "I bet he'll love to hear how you counted coup tonight."

Then having had enough of talk for now Willow kissed Oz back.

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Giles got back to the scene of the main fighting three minutes later, he was two wallets and a fake Rolex to the good, not like vampires carried much cash but greenbacks were greenbacks. The team had drifted back together, weapons gathered for transit to their respective vehicles.

"A good nights work I think." Giles smiled around the circle, everyone ok. "Now if you'll excuse me I have a..a social function to attend with Karen."

"And if you were late she knows all about the vampires anyways." Willow was throwing out a very definite aura of. 'Curious how it's ok for you to tell people but we can't.'

Giles responded with a half smile. "As I've already explained Willow, Karen figured it out for herself, I merely confirmed her well founded suspicions about certain events."

The witch tried not to look sullen as her mind raced with. *Yeah, I lived here for a little over sixteen years and probably still wouldn't have known about vampires if it weren't for Buffy.* But contented herself with a, "Ok, I hope you kids have fun."

"Oh I say, yes, you kids...." Giles grinned, his happy was major over his new relationship. "Goodnight, I'll see you all.....well all except Angel.....at the store tomorrow."

The Slayer smiled as well, at the spring in her Watchers step, he still grieved just a little for Jenny but he was in love again that was plain to see, and she was so very happy for him. Turning to her vampire she gently took him by the arm. "Come on Angel let's get you home, I'll get some ice on that leg, and then I'll make you forget all about your pain."

As they left Angel wasn't exactly having to be dragged.

Willow looked at Oz, then at Xander, he was going to be left all on his own again, her folks were away for a few days and........

"I'm okay," Xander beat her to it. "I'm gonna search round amongst the remnants of the fallen, perhaps one of these guys had a gold bar in his pockets, then maybe....maybe I'll phone Anya."

He expected the usual angry hurt look, it didn't come, instead Willow drew in a breath and burst forth with;

"That's totally ok, I think she really loves you and I'm cool with that if you are, I promise not to call her evil girl anymore and I won't be mean to her ever again. I don't think Cordie's coming back you see and I hate the thought of you waiting for her and being alone, so yeah.....please if you want to call Anya."

Willow felt Oz's hand on her shoulder and turning caught his quiet but beaming smile, and she knew that she had done good, laughing the two set off to the Rosenberg's house. They would be at the store tomorrow, just not very early.

"Friday night in a graveyard." Xander looked round at the ash piles. "No on second thoughts skip it, Willow is cool with Anya." He shrugged. "I guess that means I should be to."

Searching his pockets for change, his weapons bag over his shoulder he headed for the cemetery gates, whistling a not un-jaunty tune.



Part Three

The pile of boxes was staggering, Spike couldn't believe how many had been crammed into the vehicle. He and the vetala where both sat resting after only half emptying the truck. "I think we've got enough here to last us way past Christmas." He said looking round at the open box's all containing nicely cooled blood bags.

"Not with the way we knocks it back." The microwave had been busy, both vamps had five bags each, both felt a little sick though neither would admit it. 'Can't even 'old 'is blood!' they could both hear the line emerging from the others mouth if either threw up. "An not if you goes invitin' the family over."

A briefcase sat between them, it had been secured by a very expensive lock, now it wasn't. It's contents had been a small packet of diamonds and a wad of fifty dollar bills. Whoever was buying the goods it didn't look as if Dawes-Neilson wanted their check passing through companies books. It was as Browne had so eloquently put it. "One 'ell of a fuckin' result, Doyle finds us a good fence and we might clear three quarters of a mill."

College money, well Joyce could afford Buffy's education but the principle was there. Weapons expenses, if Buffy wanted to slay with high powered lasers now she could. Investment in Giles business, no only if the bloke wanted to be investigated by the IRS, DEA and FBI as a money launderer.

The Spike retirement fund.....a little sunproof hideaway somewhere nice where two blondes could try real hard not to grow old together. He smiled as he pictured that.

"Come on son," the vetala broke in on a delightful daydream involving Buffy, a bath full of whipped cream and banana's. "We've still got some more stuff to shift, truck's still 'arf full."

"What....oh right." Unwillingly Spike went into the back of the truck, the sun had already risen outside and he was tired.

"If we clear's this row out then we should see right to the back." Reaching up Browne grabbed a box by its carrying handle and easily lifted it down, Spike followed suit with the next one along.

"Ullo," Standing on tip toe Browne looked over the top. "The ones on the next rows twice the bleedin size of these, shit son I fink we could almost go into the blood bank business ourselves."

"Son!" Spike growled, his tiredness had made serious inroads into his preparedness to put up with Browne. "Are you deliberately tryin' to provoke me?"

"Temper temper." Lifting down another box the vetala seemingly ignored the threat. "You want's to get more rest mate, spend less time wankin' over thoughts of dear sweet Buffy. Though I admit she'd go a treat with a bit of chocolate sauce." Spike sprang -- into a face full of packing case. "Ooops, sorry mate."

Dropping his weapon near the stunned vampires head, Browne pulled down another. "Terribly sorry for callin' you son, an now why not help me pull this big bugger down?"

*An then I'm gonna beat your 'ead in with it,* Spike struggled upright and reached up beside the vetala for the second carrying handle. Both vampires had to strain to get the box to move. As it swung out over the edge of the box below it they let it slide down into the cleared space on the row beneath.

"Go on then 'Old chap', you do the 'onours." Browne watched Spike intently, he was unlikely to be forgiven that sneak blow, but it had sure felt good.

Looking for an opening for a punch up the throat Spike found none, instead he opened the catches of the lid and lifted it up, and instantly forgot all animosity. "CHRIST!"

Startled by Spike's horrified expression Browne looked in the box, and shrugged. "What is it mate, never seen shrink wrapped meat before."

He picked a piece out, then went pale, even for a vampire. "Oh my good gawd!"

Staring at what Browne was holding Spike shuddered as he gasped out. "Yeah, but not a human forearm an a hand."

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Two vampires sat on boxes cigarettes in hand, a small pile of dog ends lay before each of them, they were silent, staring at three open containers in front of them.

Spike cleared his throat then broke the silence. "I don't like this, not one bit, whatever we've stumbled onto its major trouble, trouble we don't need."

"I agree, its iffy, not a good easily understood shoot an stake em proposition. But trouble is me middle name......alright Cahill, but you gets me point."

"The blood, I'm fine with that, I don't have any problem with it. But nine boxes packed with scrag end of mortal, all nicely packaged, wing, thigh and breast, well that I find freaky."

"Agreed, if I needed to piss I'd 'ave let loose a blue streak over that one myself, but I fink the 'eart's is worse."

Spike had been trying not to 'fink -- think -- about the hearts. They were in two separate boxes, very nicely packaged and stored damned carefully too, not thrown in any old how like the other flesh.

The vetala flicked a fag end in with them. "Dessert, no me'thinks their for someone special."

"Maybe Angelus is back and getting Buffy a nice surprise," he shook his head at the vetala's shocked expression. "You had to be there. However I'd like to take box number three for fifty."

Both vampires regarded the third box, and the two plastic wrapped packets inside, one of them showing a small knife hole. traces of brown powder surrounded it. "You absolutely certain that it's heroin? It could be baking soda or the remains of a brown piece of chalk."

"They grew a bit of opium poppy up in the mountains even when I was there." Browne hadn't believed what was in there either at first. "Now they grows a lot more of it despite the Taleban, it's 'eroin. Though why the fuck do they need it?"

"Certain segments of the underworld who had dealin's with the undead have been suffering accidents recently. They are growing mightily pissed off, other folks as dealt drugs to kids and such who didn't know about vamps have found out, but only briefly, that we exist. We're not popular, nor are vampires in general, that was probably someones ticket into someones good books."

"Maybe." Browne sent his accomplice in vampire histories most successful but spooky armed robbery a sideways glance. "What do we do with it?"

Pulling a switchblade he kept for emergencies from a pocket Spike picked up a package. "Come an join me by the kharzi."

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Looking down at the water in the porcelain facility Spike was glad they hadn't torn it out. He'd kept it in case any of the mortal Slayerettes had come calling, Browne? Browne had been all for that idea in case Cordelia needed it, early in the morning after an all night stay.

"Willy could probably get at least five hundred grand for this." The vetala said it regretfully. "An after what happened last time the Slayer isn't gonna....."

"Find out," Spike smiled at the memories. "The thing is that the night after Buffy went to the hospital and cried all over poor Willy, then promised never to hit him again her demoness called round and told him next time it's your elbows, he'd confess to her if you so much as sneezed a way he thought she wouldn't like."

Gently Spike slit the plastic with his knifes blade and watched the powder pour out into the water in the toilet bowl. "I know we're vampires but with or without conscience there's stuff that's wrong, if your suggesting that we deal this stuff then......"

"You 'old on there," the blade of Browne's knife sliced his own parcel open. "As if I'd fink of bein' that evil a bastard, it's just it's money, you know what I mean?"

"You 'ave to be the most adhesive vampire I've ever met." Spike had become amazed at the vetala's skill in finding goods to steal. "Dump you in the desert and you'd find shelter, a blood bank, and a fortune in gold within half an hour." He thought back to the vampires travels. "In fact I bet you did."

"Alright Khimo Sabi, what now?" Browne watched intently as Spike flushed a fortune, still at least they had the diamonds. "I get the impression this lot will be missed, an we don't understand what's 'appenin' at all at all."

"Giles." Spike looked at his watch. "He'll sort this out, you go get some kip mate, I'll ring him in a couple of hours."

Spike's look of friendly concern for his fellow vampires well-being turned to a frown at the wink the ugly brute threw back at him. "What's that in aid of?"

"The stores open now, why would you be wantin' to wait two 'our's?" Another wink and a lecherous sneer later. "Of course Ms Summers will be there by then, it bein' Saturday an all. So once you finish talkin to me old unrespected adversary, off she goes with the phone an you gets to talk all lovie dovie to 'er."

"An so what?" Spike suddenly remembered the crate. "At least I 'as the guts to talk to my bird, an if you ain't careful she might hear what you 'ad to say regardin' chocolate!"

"I though I was workin' with a fellow master vampire," James hissed low and dangerous his demon starting to show in his face. "Picture my surprise to find I'm actually sharin' accommodations with a WEASEL!"

"WEASEL!" Spike shouted back, blue in the mouth with anger, his face an inch from Browne's. "THAT'S FUCKIN' GOOD THAT IS COMIN' FROM A VAMPIRE WHAT PEEK'S!"

Continued

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