Natural Enemies by Djinn

Once upon a time there was a beautiful young girl, A girl sweet and pure, and gifted with the sight, But the day came when a fallen angel looked down on her in desire, And so this unstained rose became an evil thing, Insane and dark and wickedly skilled, And she roamed the world with the angel of the blackened soul, And with his wicked consort, the golden one, And where they went, evil followed, But the girl grew tired of being alone, So she made another in their image, A boy so beautiful it made the heavens weep to lose him, And this boy became known as the Bloody One, And when one day the dark Angel vanished, And the golden one left them all alone, The girl and the boy clung to each other, And in a world gone mad, they were the only safe harbor the other would know.

"The embellishments in this tale get in the way of the facts. Are all the watcher's diaries like this one?" Spock turned the page of the old tome in disgust.

"Not all of them, but remember, some of these were written in the 19th Century. The writers back then tended to be more flowery." Christine reached into the carton and pulled out some more books. They were a gift from Peter Wyndam-Pryce, the young watcher that had helped them rescue Kirk and Uhura from the master vampire Drusilla. He was now reassigned to Earth, and had taken it upon himself to outfit his new friends with as much information as he could find on Drusilla. He was an unlikely ally, being a hereditary watcher and very traditional, but he had proven himself a steadfast friend. Christine saw a note sticking from one of the books and pulled it out. It was from Peter. She read it aloud.

"Slayer." She could imagine the way he would say it, as if it were an honorific. "I have been transferred to Earth as you predicted, and am now working in the Council of Watchers' headquarters. I can't imagine how much trouble I am going to get in for sending you these books, but hopefully you will have them back to me before the Council notices that they have gone missing. I decided it would be more conspicuous to scan the volumes than to just parcel them off to you. So, when you get a chance and are near Earth, do ring me up, and I'll come round to collect them. In the meantime, I would suggest you take some time to study the relevant passages. There's quite a lot of literature thanks to many watchers, one Rupert Giles in particular. Well, I must get these off to you. Good luck and I hope you avoid meeting Drusilla until you have had time to prepare. Perhaps she'll run into a nasty ion storm and save us all a lot of trouble. I remain, etc. Peter Wyndam-Pryce."

"An old-fashioned man," Spock observed.

"Yes. The kind that I would normally despise. But on him, somehow, it's okay." She put the note back in the book. Another sheet of paper sticking out of the pages caught her eye. "There's more, Spock."

He moved around to read over her shoulder. This note was hurriedly scripted, as if written at the last minute. "Just found out some additional information. It seems that after Drusilla left the Moon, she did not take off directly for uncharted space. She doubled back to Earth, or so it appears. We have an eyewitness account from some English lads who claim to have seen a woman matching her description beam down to a soccer game, collect a man from the stands, and beam back up with him. No one is completely sure who the man is, but according to the witnesses he was of medium height, slight but fit build, and youthfully handsome with white- blond hair. I wish I had more information to give you. P.W-P."

Spock moved back to the table and picked up the book he had discarded. "'A boy so beautiful it made the heavens weep to lose him. And this boy became known as the Bloody One.' Do you suppose that this is the man she took with her?"

Christine nodded. "It's possible, I suppose. But who is he?"

Spock nodded at the volumes. "I imagine that once we have gone through these texts, we will find that out."

Christine sighed loudly, as she reached for the closest one. Grabbing a data padd to make notes on, she found a comfortable seat, opened the book and began to read. She could tell that Spock watched her for a moment before he selected another book and took that and the one he already held to the end of the table to begin work.

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

A cry of frustration filled the cloaked ship.

The young man looked up at the dark-haired woman, scowling slightly. "I don't know what you're whining about, Dru. It's not like you've spent the last several centuries pining over me, now is it? I mean you left me for a chaos demon. As if my wanting to save your life was a bloody crime."

Drusilla was pacing agitatedly. "You made a deal with a slayer. You went against Daddy when he was at his most powerful. When he could have ended the world."

"Yeah, well, I like the world. It has people and lots of other yummy stuff."

"That's not the worst of it, Spike. You almost killed me for love of that slayer."

He shrugged. "I've done far worse since then. You really don't want to know."

"You've gone soft," she observed mockingly.

"Gone soft? You try living with a chip in your head and tell me if you stay on your game."

"Not just a chip." She laid her hand on his chest. "A soul, too."

He turned away, his face surly with irritation. "Yeah, look at all the good that's done me."

She grasped his hands, brought them up to her lips. "Don't be cross, love. I've missed you so."

"Oh, sure you have. First the demon, then you picked up with a firespawn. You tried to get that swaggering do-gooder, Angel, back. You had a moment when you spared a thought for me and then you were right back in the game, weren't you?"

"Well, you did threaten to kill me, Spike."

"So? You're going to hold a grudge over something like that?"

She shrugged.

"Then you founded an entire dynasty of your own, all the men eventually becoming your playthings, the last ones I remember being Anticles and his tiresome get Markosius. You think I don't know what you've been up to? You should've just left me at the football match, Dru. Because I'm not likely to forget that you walked away from me, and it doesn't look like you're going to be any better at forgiving me for the things I've done." He pulled away from her and flipped on the vidscreen, ordering up the 1999 season of Manchester United.

"You can't possibly intend to sit through every game?"

"Watch me, princess." With an annoyed grimace, he turned away from her and sprawled in the chair in front of the vidscreen.

She stared at him angrily for a moment, then her expression turned mournful. "Spike. You loved me once. You loved me more than anything. Please, I want that back. I want _you_ back. The others...the others were never enough. They were never you."

When he did not respond, she walked back to the bridge. If she had turned around, she would have seen him watching her, a longing expression on his face.

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

"William the Bloody." Christine lifted her gaze from the book she was reading as Spock announced the young man's identity. "Get of Drusilla, although this book notes that other experts claim he is descended from one Angelus. But they agree that he is William the Bloody, more commonly known as Spike, for his vicious tactic of killing with railroad spikes."

"It can't be Spike." Christine went back to her book.

Spock waited for her to explain. The silence grew until finally she looked up at him. "He was killed. A long time ago."

"How do you know this?"

Christine sighed in frustration. "It's something we're taught. The major bloodlines. His died out before I was born. But since he was linked to Drusilla, we studied him too. He was killed."

"By whom?" Spock asked doggedly.

"By Buffy. She killed him several years after she first encountered him. It's in all the records. Spike is dead."

Spock nodded. "Then who is this young man?"

"How should I know!" she snapped. "I'm just one slayer, not the entire Watcher's library. Ask Peter if you don't believe me." Throwing the book and the padd she had been working with down on the carpet, she leapt out of the chair and made for the door.

Spock caught her before she reached it; his hands clenched her tight shoulders. "Christine, what is wrong? Perhaps there is an error in the records and this Spike is alive? Or perhaps he is in fact dead and Drusilla collected someone else. Why does it matter so much?"

She let her shoulders relax. "God, Spock, I'm sorry. I'm just so sick of this. I never thought I'd be back here, studying these damn books, trying to figure out what to expect from the next evil thing to come down the pike. I'm retired, damn it! That should mean something."

He pulled her away from the door and palmed off the light. At her surprised look, he explained, "We have done enough studying for tonight." His hands were gentle as he maneuvered her into his bedroom. His lips however, were not, as he used their passion for each other to at least temporarily erase her frustration.

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

Christine woke slowly. Spock lay pressed against her, his arms wrapped around her, still asleep. This was still so new for them, this gentle yet intense passion that they had found with each other. Christine worried that her temper, so long repressed, would chase him away. Yet he was steadfast in his support. He had never wavered once he discovered what she was. And he had easily slipped into her life and her bed. She was not quite sure how it had happened, he had done it so smoothly and effortlessly.

*Good morning.*

This too was new. This ability to communicate mind-to-mind. Christine found it exhilarating. And frightening too. She had never known this level of intimacy with anyone. She had never thought she would want to.

She turned in Spock's arms, reaching her lips up to his for a gentle kiss. *Good morning.*

His eyes were full of humor as he caressed her face. *You are happy.*

*Yes. You make me happy.* She smiled as his pleasure at her words traveled down their mental accord.

*As you bring me great satisfaction.* His fingers melded them even closer. He let her feel the intense emotion he was experiencing but barely showing.

*Satisfaction?* She let the humor she felt cascade over him. *Such a typically Vulcan response.* She kissed him slowly, gently. *I know I've been difficult lately. I'm sorry.*

*These have not been easy times for you, Christine. You had created a persona and were living that life. To have to take back a life you had left behind has been jarring for you. But to hide what you truly are could not have been easy either.*

She nodded. *I wouldn't have made it through this without you.*

*Nor would this ship have made it through this without you.* He pressed her down on the bed.

She smiled. *We'll be late.*

*No. We will not.* He kissed her deeply.

She surrendered to the sensations the combination of his touches and the emotion she felt from him were causing; secure in the knowledge that he would not let them be late, even if he had to time it to the millisecond.

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

Kevin Silver looked at the young man standing in front of him. "I'm disappointed in you, Peter."

"Sir?"

"You didn't tell me of the possible Drusilla sighting? I had to find it out from the duty logs. Sloppy, boy. Very sloppy."

Wyndam-Pryce nodded quickly. "I'm very sorry, sir. I assumed someone else would tell you. I'm still feeling my way here. I guess I didn't think you would be interested."

"Oh, I'm interested. If it has to do with Christine Chapel in any way, then I am very interested."

"I'm not sure I understand, sir."

"She's trouble, Peter. Always has been. But I'm counting on her to track down Drusilla for us. We really don't want Starfleet involved in this any more than necessary. Chapel has somehow gained the loyalty of the command crew of that starship she serves on. A crew that will cover up for her if necessary. And with a master vampire loose in space, we're going to need that kind of loyalty. Yes, my boy, I'm afraid that Chapel is our only hope to stop Drusilla before she cuts a bloody swath through inhabited space."

Peter nodded. He'd come to that conclusion some time ago.

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

Uhura turned from the screen. "You can see that she's been a busy little monster."

Christine looked at the others at the table. Spock with his normal thoughtful expression. Kirk and McCoy clearly holding back anger. And not a little bit of fear. She looked back at the map that Uhura had compiled. "I can't believe you did all this?"

"You thought I would let her just make her way through our Federation? That bitch is psycho." Uhura's look dared her audience to argue with her. When no one did, she began to give the details of the path she had drawn on the map. "Upsilon Minor, two people killed, three missing. Eridani Eight, five people dead, two missing. Cana Ceti Two, three dead, one missing, and a bloodbank broken into."

Spock looked at Christine. She shrugged, "Maybe they're stocking up for a long dry spell?"

Uhura continued. "Centauri, two dead, two missing. Rigel, one dead, no missing. Here's where it gets weird; yesterday, a Federation ship sighted an unidentified vessel drifting in space near the Pollux system. No life signs but transporter signatures were detected. A Kaldori vessel was seen near it, then it fled the scene."

"Kaldori?" McCoy looked aghast. "What the hell are they doing out of their system? I thought the quarantine was in effect?"

Uhura nodded. "It is. These were clearly in violation because the Federation ship took off after them. They escaped back to their system. When the patrol ship returned to where they had left the damaged vessel, it was gone. The descriptions of the ship matched the shuttle Drusilla was preparing on the Moon."

Kirk scowled as he looked at his communications officer. "You think she had a run in with the Kaldori?"

"Yes. I analyzed the patterns of beam-ins and -outs that the Federation ship was monitoring. It matches a standard raid pattern. The Federation ship decided they didn't steal anyone because there were no life signs in the transporter readings. But in this case, there wouldn't be."

Spock looked up thoughtfully. "You think they stole some of the vampires?"

"Well, it's what they do, isn't it? Steal unsuspecting travelers?"

McCoy corrected her. "Unsuspecting *male* travelers."

Christine smiled grimly. "Drusilla would have no way to expect that. The Kaldori are strong and fast and they are used to conducting lightening raids, wasting no time. I doubt that she could get them to stand still long enough to mesmerize them."

Spock nodded, "With the number of transport signatures monitored, they could easily have stolen eight or nine males."

Christine felt a chill at the fate of these males. As with many populations, the Kaldori had destroyed their world and their future through war. Several violent planetary conflicts had left the ground and the males sterile. The females could give birth but only when healthy seed from genetically compatible donors was used. Donors that the Kaldori tricked, kidnapped, and otherwise enticed to their world. Only a few of these males proved viable and they had to undergo painful and often deadly modifications to allow them to mate with the females. The Federation had put a stop to the Kaldori habit of luring travelers in, but some were still kidnapped on these raids. Most of these males did not prove viable, and found themselves in the Kaldori mines digging for dotrinium, the only export the planet had. It was a harsh life, but only slightly shorter than one spent servicing the monstrous Kaldori females. Kaldor was a planet that evoked nightmares for nearly all males. Even male vampires, Christine guessed. The Kaldori would test for biological compatibility on their ship. Those proving to be fertile and a match would be sent to special underground pens for surgery. Those unsuitable would be beamed directly to the mines. In neither case, would the creatures see the sunlight. A mixed blessing for the vampires. Christine was not sure which were the bigger monsters, the vampires or the Kaldori.

Uhura continued. "So the question is now, where did Drusilla go? I'm going to keep an eye out for her, but until she stops to eat again it's going to be tough to locate her."

"Not so tough, duckie." The familiar voice sounded just seconds after the intruder alert began alarming. They all whirled unbelieving.

Kirk was the first to react. "How in the hell."

"Time to strengthen those wards," Drusilla said cryptically, as she gave him a sly smile. "And reset your shields, while you're at it, love. Luckily, I won't need to come back". She pulled a communicator out, "As we planned boys. Three to beam up."

Christine was moving, even as Drusilla began to dematerialize. The sight of Spock and McCoy disappearing stopped her dead. She heard Kirk echo her cry, "Spock!"

Uhura was closer to McCoy when the transporter began. Seemingly without thought she jumped at him, wrapping her arms around him.

"Ny!" Christine's cry was anguished, as she watched the three of them disappear.

Drusilla's mocking "Ta-ta" seemed to linger long after she too had vanished.

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

For a stunned second neither Kirk nor Christine could move. Then he was off running, with her close behind. The turbolift dumped them onto the bridge only minutes after Drusilla had disappeared.

Kirk's voice was harsh. "Find that ship, Chekov."

"It is found, sir."

Christine spun to look at the screen. Drusilla's shuttle was right in front of them.

Kirk hit the comm on his chair. "Transporter room? There is a shuttle dead ahead. Three crewmembers are aboard. Lock on to their life signs and beam them out of there!"

There was a long pause, then the transporter technician came back with, "Can't get a lock, sir. Their shields are modulating and I can't get through them."

Kirk sank slowly into his chair. "Why haven't they left?"

"Because I need your help." Drusilla appeared on the screen. Her three prisoners stood behind her restrained by female vampires but otherwise unharmed.

"Our help?" Kirk was incredulous.

"Yes. I think you know why, don't you, Slayer?"

"The Kaldori took someone that you want back." She paused for effect. "Wouldn't be Spike, now would it?"

Drusilla looked startled for a moment, then smiled benignly at her. "Marcus always said you were a smart one, Christine. Yes, they took Spike. And I want him back." She motioned to someone off the screen. "Now, if you want your friends back, I suggest you follow me."

"Follow you to Kaldor?" Kirk was clearly not in favor.

"'Afraid so, my dear Captain." She gave a mad laugh and looked at some distant point. "We're coming, darling." Twirling she looked up at them, eyes narrowed as she prepared to cut the connection. "Last one there's a rotten egg." Her laughter rang over the bridge as the screen flipped to an exterior shot. The shuttle pulled away.

Sulu looked back at Kirk. "Follow that ship?"

Kirk nodded grimly. "And make it snappy."

Turning back to his console, Sulu agreed, "Aye-aye, sir."

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

Drusilla turned and surveyed her prisoners. "Take them away," she told the guards. She walked back toward the control chairs but spun around when a desperate voice called out.

"Wait!" Uhura struggled in the grips of the vampire guards. "I need to speak to you privately."

Drusilla nodded and watched as Uhura walked toward her. "What is it, dearie?"

Uhura leaned in and whispered, "I noticed that you have an all new crew. I'm betting that they don't know the first thing about running this shuttle."

Drusilla cocked her head and scowled. She leaned in closer. "You're right, they don't. But they get rather cranky if you mention that fact." She leaned back and smiled innocently at her henchwomen.

"Maybe I can help you?"

"Help me?"

"With the ship. You can't just waltz into Kaldori space you know. There will be challenges to get past, and that's after you evade the Federation blockade."

"This ship has a cloak," Drusilla said smugly.

"The Enterprise doesn't. I don't suppose you've forgotten that it is right behind you?"

Drusilla ran her hand down Uhura's cheek. "You are so like a doll I had. I called her Miss Oleander. She was dark and dangerous like you. You would make an extraordinary vampire."

Uhura pulled her face away. "You need my help."

"Ducks, I'd be a fool to take it. You'd sabotage this ship in a moment if you could." She watched as McCoy and Uhura exchanged a glance. "Or maybe you wouldn't."

She grabbed Uhura's arm and led her none too gently to the helm. "All right, then. Steer this thing. And don't run us into a planet or I'll kill your boyfriend. Or maybe I'll do worse. Do you get the idea?"

Uhura nodded helplessly as Drusilla walked over to McCoy. He tried to look away from her intense gaze, but her eyes held him captive. "Be in me. Be in my eyes." Within seconds he was hers.

"He'll stay that way now until I release him." She moved over to Spock. "But this one. He has some sort of tie to the slayer. Something stronger than my power." Her hand tousled Spock's hair then she grabbed it and pulled his face down to hers. "I'd like to break that tie, but unfortunately for me, I need you alive. You are my hostage for her good behavior."

Spock pulled away, managing to maintain his dignity as he did so.

She nodded to the other vampires. "Take him to the room we prepared. Make sure he is well shackled." They pulled Spock out of the room.

Drusilla walked back to Uhura, stood behind her and clapped her hands gleefully. "All right then. See if you can't get a little more speed out of this thing, won't you? All this talk of love has made me lonely for my Spike."

Wondering what she had gotten herself into, Uhura managed to urge the little shuttle to go faster.

Drusilla wandered to the main viewport and stood with her hand resting on the screen. She whispered, "I'm coming, Spike. I'm coming."

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

Christine couldn't stand it anymore. She started to pace the back of the bridge. Kirk's voice finally called her back to his side.

"I'm worried about them too, Chris. But there's nothing we can do."

"That's just it. There _is_ nothing we can do from here. Their ship is cloaked. They'll get through the blockade. We never will. Drusilla knew she needed my help. But she needs me on that ship. I have to convince her."

He nodded. "Try." He looked over to the ensign at communications. "Open a channel."

"Channel open, sir."

He nodded to Christine, who took a deep breath. "Enterprise to Shuttle."

A moment later, Uhura's voice answered back. Everyone on the bridge looked up in surprise.

Christine swallowed her relief, "Drusilla, this is not going to work. We need a better plan. You can't take this ship with you into Kaldori space. You need my help. Beam me over."

They heard Drusilla's voice order Uhura to give her visual contact. The vampire seemed very small and frail. Christine realized that Drusilla too had realized she needed a new plan.

"What new plan do you have in mind, Slayer?"

"You need to beam me over. I can help you from there. Together we can get your friend out."

Drusilla laughed merrily. "And then, when we're done, we can have a tea party. Oh, Christine, how gullible do you think I am?"

"You have Spock. I can't do anything while you have him." Christine watched as Drusilla thought this over.

The vampire walked over to the computer. She hit a switch, "Computer, transfer all major controls of this shuttle to my voice authority only."

"Affirmative."

She walked back to the screen, stared at Christine for a long time. "I don't trust you." She walked slowly around her small bridge, muttering to herself. Then she looked up suddenly. She laughed evilly as she walked over to McCoy. "You are a doctor are you not?"

McCoy answered woodenly, "I am."

"Then tell me, Doctor. In your medical opinion, would a Vulcan be biologically compatible with the Kaldori?"

McCoy considered the question for a moment. "No."

Christine felt her heart fall at his answer. No, not Spock.

Drusilla looked at Christine. "You're right. We need a new plan. And here it is. You will wait here. Look busy, I don't want you attracting any undue attention. I will go and drop off a little present for the Kaldori. Your lover will be taken to where Spike is. He will help us find him. Once he is there, I will return for you, Slayer. With the Vulcan down on the planet with Spike, I know that I will be able to trust you to help me find them."

Christine felt helpless anger envelope her. "No, Drusilla, this is a terrible plan. This is not the way to get this done."

Drusilla clucked her tongue at her. "On the contrary, dearie. The fact that you object so strenuously tells me that it is exactly the way to get this done." She reached over to cut the connection and the screen went black.

Kirk's voice was gentle, "What should we do?"

She shook her head. "What can we do? We wait."

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

"Is he ready?" Drusilla stood over Spock. He lay restrained on a small diagnostic table, his shirt open to expose his chest and abdomen. His vampire handler nodded and moved away. Drusilla laid her hand on his stomach and purred, "Any idea where to put the beacons?"

Spock replied evenly, "They will probe me for compatibility. There is doubtless nowhere on my person that will be safe. Moreover, you must put them close to the surface so I can extract the one for Spike and place it under his skin. I would suggest midway down the torso. If challenged, I will say they are devices that prevent severe allergic reactions."

Drusilla leaned over him, studied his face. "You're taking this awfully well, Vulcan. Why are you being so helpful?"

"There is no logic in being difficult. You will kill my shipmates if I do not assist you."

"Yes, I will." She gave him a sly smile. "I may kill them even if you _do_ assist me."

"I am well aware of that. But my best chance is to help you."

She nodded and inserted the beacons. Then she jumped away as green blood began to well up in the entry site. Her expression was clearly one of disgust.

He looked at her in disbelief. "You are a creature of the night, a feared monster from ages past. And you are afraid of a little green blood?"

"Who said I was afraid?" She glared at him as she moved slowly back to him, picking up the dermal regenerator and healing the entry site. She backed away from him. "Let him up."

One of the vampires undid the cuffs. Refastening his shirt, Spock eased himself off the table. His guards immediately restrained him and led him to the bridge. Drusilla explained as they walked.

"The beacons won't begin to transmit until they receive a signal from us. We don't want them giving their presence away too soon before we get there. Do you think you'll recognize Spike from what I've told you?"

"Yes, I believe that I will know him. White-blond hair, blue eyes, cocky mannerisms. He is a vampire but one that cannot harm anyone because of a behavior modification chip in his brain."

"Yes, but knowing my Spike that won't stop him from giving the guards a hard time. Luckily, we heal fast. Find him, tag him, and then wait for us. That's all that's necessary, Vulcan. Do you understand?"

"Completely."

Drusilla made her way to Uhura at the controls. "How long until we're there?"

Uhura checked her readouts. "Twenty minutes."

"Good." She clapped her hands like a child. "This is my best plan ever."

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

Spock stood in the feeding chamber of the cave looking for Spike. Drusilla had launched his escape pod into space, and the Kaldori had picked him up several hours later. He had given them the story that his ship had been destroyed. Truthfully, they had been far more interested in him than in his reason for being in their space. They had run some rather humiliating tests that had confirmed his biological incompatibility, a fact for which he felt immensely relieved after seeing them up close. He had had some tense moments when he thought they might remove the beacons, but at the end they had left them in, and Spock had been beamed directly underground. He had been on Kaldor less than three hours but he was already feeling the effects of the mine. Dotrinium vapor coupled with the odor of very ripe miners left him feeling slightly nauseous. He decided to forego food and started a circuit of the dimly lit dining chamber trying to locate the blond vampire.

He found Spike at the second to the last table. The vampire looked up at him with hostile eyes.

"You got a problem with me?"

"You are Spike." Spock moved closer. "Drusilla sent me. My name is Spock. May I sit?"

Spike nodded. The vampire sitting across from him snarled when Spike motioned for him to leave. Spike's face transformed into the demon face. "Shove off." The other vampire left.

Spock sat down, fascinated with finally seeing this horrific transfiguration up close. He was almost disappointed when Spike's face reverted to normal.

"Sorry. He's touchy since he's the last of the group."

"How many of you were taken?"

Spike shrugged, "Eight, counting me. Now we're down to the two of us. The others got hungry and went for the prisoners. Guards didn't take too kindly to losing workers. In case you were wondering what they do with those swords they're wearing, they use them to whack off heads. Bad luck for us vampires, eh? Don't waste time with condolences, though. Can't say I liked the buggers. Dru could really have done better, if you ask me." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a package of paper-wrapped cylinders. He stuck one in his mouth and grabbed one of the candles off the table to light the end.

Spock was surprised to see smoke come from the vampire's mouth and nose.

Spike noticed his reaction. "Hard to believe, yeah? Had to come all the way out here to get a decent smoke. Just bloody great. I can tell you that staring at those big uglies"--he nodded at the closest Kaldori--"is not worth the pleasure. Those blighters make Fyarl Demons look graceful. Ugh." He took another puff and leaned back into his chair. "So, what's the plan?"

"Drusilla has given me a homing beacon. I have one for you, as well, hidden for now. Once the ship comes in range, they will activate a signal that will start ours transmitting. Then I presume Drusilla and Christine will attempt to rescue us."

"Who's Christine?"

Spock decided to tell Spike the truth about Christine and how Drusilla had captured him for use as a hostage for the slayer's cooperation. "I imagine Christine is beaming over even now."

Spike seemed impressed, "Shagging a slayer, huh? You don't look the type. But then there's no telling what they'll fall for." He looked smug for a moment. "Why, I knew another humorless fellow that did real well with them. Dunno why they insist on falling for the dour ones." He stubbed out the cigarette on the stone table. "So, okay. We need some privacy for the beacons, right? Well, lucky for you, our mealtime is over and the work shift has begun. Follow me, we should be able to find an isolated deposit."

He got up and Spock followed suit. Spike started to walk away then turned back to Spock, "And if you happen to see any rat-like creatures running around, try to catch one and kill it for me. I'm a bit peckish."

"You cannot kill it yourself?"

"Can't harm a living thing. Not any living thing. Not even these bloody Kaldori. But I can enjoy things that are already dead, so if you could help me out, I'd be obliged." He gave Spock a sarcastically forced smile and headed out, the Vulcan trailing him down the corridor.

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

They had been waiting too long, Christine thought. Something must have gone wrong. She sat at Spock's science station, scanning the surrounding space desperately. The incoming hail made her jump.

"Drusilla to Enterprise."

Kirk's voice was steady, "Enterprise here."

Drusilla appeared on screen. "Your Vulcan is now down on the planet. It's time for your part in this little drama, Slayer."

Christine rose, "I'm ready."

Kirk interrupted. "Drusilla, you're going to need some weapons. Brute strength won't be enough this time. Christine is bringing them over with her."

"I have weapons here, Kirk. And I don't plan to arm a slayer with your little fire guns. So get rid of anything you are carrying, Christine. That includes stakes."

"I can't fight the Kaldori unarmed, Drusilla."

"I wouldn't ask you to, precious. I have plenty of knives for you to use. Just no swords or anything else that could be turned on me."

Christine decided not to mention that, according to the old lore, one Slayer--Buffy, if she remembered correctly--had actually cut off a vampire's head using only a tiny utility knife. How much better would a dagger work? she thought grimly. She handed the phasers back to Kirk. She didn't have any stakes with her, had figured that the vampires could easily screen out wood in the beaming process. The little packet of holy water in her pocket would hopefully make it through since the transporters were used to water being an integral part of the human body. What she would do with such a small amount of the stuff was beyond her, but it made her feel better to have at least a little of her arsenal with her. "I'm ready."

She saw Drusilla nod to someone, Uhura, she hoped. Then she felt the familiar dissolve of the transporter. Seconds later, she was on the bridge of the shuttle. Uhura gave her a relieved smile.

"Welcome to my little home." Drusilla was relaxed in the command chair, her vampires around her and to the side guarding McCoy who was sitting expressionlessly at an auxiliary command post. She looked over at Uhura. "Let's go then, my sweet."

"Aye-aye," Uhura responded out of habit. She turned to the controls and the ship's walls distorted for a moment as the cloak settled into place. "Best speed to Kaldor."

Drusilla smiled at Christine. "Isn't she wonderfully useful? I really think that I may have to keep her when this is all over."

Over my dead body, Christine thought but didn't say. "Let's just focus on getting our men off the planet, shall we?"

"By all means, Slayer. By all means."

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

Spock stopped work to wipe away the sweat that was dripping into his eyes. He looked over at the vampire, who did not look affected at all. Blow followed powerful blow of the pickax, as Spike cleared a channel to the dotrinium. Fresh vapor escaped into the small chamber, and Spock struggled against the sick feeling that the gas provoked in him.

A Kaldori guard had decided to stand just outside the entrance to their chamber. Every now and then, he looked in on them. They had been waiting for over an hour for him to lose interest and move on.

Spock lifted his ax and began to clear the mineral vein in front of him. More gas was expulsed. "How do you stand it?" he asked Spike quietly.

"Stand what?"

"The smell of the vapor. Does it not bother you?"

"Oh, that. It's like this; I don't have to breathe if I don't want to. And the only time I want to is when I'm smoking. I don't even notice the smell."

"So you do not have a sense of smell?"

"Sure I do. Just different, more a sense than actually smelling things. Like right now I can tell your blood is different than a human's, because it just feels different. I can tell that there is fire around. I can smell fear and despair from the other miners. But it's not like smelling a flower or a pint of stout or a woman. Sometimes I miss that."

"You have been a vampire a long time. Yet you seem different from the others that I have met."

"Just my sparkling personality." He turned to see Spock's eyebrows rising skeptically. "Okay, maybe not." He thought for a moment as he traded his pickax for a more precise instrument. He began to chip away at the deposit. "I think it may be that I've never stopped having fun. Nothing I like better than a good fight, or a good shag. Even after several hundred years, I've never once not wanted to get up in the morning, or the evening anyway."

"You were never sad?"

"Oh I don't mean that. I was despondent when Dru left me." At Spock's look of confusion, he tried to explain. "You know slayer lore?" At Spock's nod, he continued. "Back in the late 1990's Buffy was fighting an ex-lover called Angelus. He wanted to free this demon that would swallow the world. Dru was all over the plan. I had a problem with it though because frankly I like the world. Didn't see the point of living in a world with just demons. Anyway, I basically offered the slayer Angelus in exchange for her letting Dru and me get away. And it worked, slayer sent Angelus to hell with the demon, I took Dru and left. But Dru never forgave me. Left me as soon as she could for a chaos demon. Have you ever seen one of those fellas?" When Spock shook his head, he continued. "Well, they're not pretty, I can tell you that. Lots of mucus."

"Did you try to get her back?" Spock found himself drawn into the vampire's story despite his desire to stay objective.

"Of course I did. Hey, give me a hand with this?" He put down his tool and started to pull the piece of dotrinium out of the wall. Spock put his ax down and grabbed the other side. They both pulled and the chunk began to move. Spike continued. "But does she give me the time of day? No, sir. Keeps saying I had gone soft. And this was before they put this bloody chip in my head. And long before I got my so--"

Whatever he'd been about to say was forgotten as the chunk pulled completely free, and they carried it together to a small sled in the corridor. Setting it down, they moved back to work in the room. Spock frowned. "So you were not expecting to be taken by Drusilla."

"You can say that again, chum. Surprised the hell out of me. Not that I wasn't glad to see her, mind you. You've seen her, right? She's a beauty...my black beauty. Always has been, always will be. But I didn't let on. You know how it is. I wanted her to suffer like I had when she didn't want me."

Spock gave his piece several strong blows until the sides were all exposed. He changed to the smaller instrument. "But you still love her?"

"You don't forget your first love, you know? I mean we've had our differences. I even tried to kill her once. But that doesn't change how I feel. I'd walk through broken glass for her."

"Or dig dotrinium?"

Spike looked over and punched Spock in the arm. "You're all right, Spock. Strong, smart, and funny. And you don't talk too much. I like that in a partner-in-crime." Spike began to whistle a catchy tune, and soon Spock found himself wondering what it would sound like on a Vulcan harp.

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

Poor Spock, Christine thought as she watched Kaldor come into view. Trapped on that hell with Drusilla's monstrous consort. How was he standing it?

Uhura sat next to her, making small course corrections every now and then. She was also doing something with the communications module that Christine couldn't figure out at first. She seemed to be working with recordings of Drusilla's voice. Uhura was extracting some of the words and placing them in new sequences. Suddenly, Christine understood. Oh clever, clever girl, she commended silently. Uhura looked up at her and Christine realized that she probably needed more samples of Drusilla's voice.

Christine swiveled in her chair and faced Drusilla. "So how is this going to work, exactly?"

Drusilla seemed to be very far away. She finally turned to Christine. "We go down there. We find our lovers. We take them back."

"And the Kaldori that try to stop us?"

The vampire looked at her quizzically. "It will be the last thing they ever try to do, of course." She went back to her musings, her look becoming distracted again.

"Is something bothering you?"

Drusilla sighed dramatically. "Slayer, you're beginning to get on my nerves."

"You just seem a bit pensive, that's all. Somehow I don't think it is the prospect of the rescue that has you upset. We are going to be fighting side by side. Don't you think you can tell me?"

Drusilla laughed loudly, "Oh, that's too precious. You want me to confide in you?"

Christine straightened angrily. "No, Drusilla, I really _don't_ want you to. But we can't afford any distractions on the surface. So what the hell is the matter with you?"

Drusilla rose angrily and began to pace. She finally stopped in front of Christine. "You're in love with the pointy-eared one, yes?"

Well, she hadn't exactly told Spock that yet, Christine thought, but yes, she was. She nodded.

"What if he didn't return your affections? How would you handle it?"

Christine laughed bitterly. "He didn't return my affections for years. I finally gave up hoping that he ever would."

"But what if now that you have those feelings from him, he suddenly stopped, didn't want to be around you anymore?"

This was a tougher question. Christine tried to envision what it would feel like to lose Spock's love after experiencing the days and nights she had spent with him. Her expression must have become utterly stricken because the vampire leaned in.

"Yes. That is what I mean. You understand." Drusilla walked away.

"You mean Spike doesn't love you anymore?"

Drusilla sank back into her chair. Her expression was bleak. "So it would seem. I tried everything, but he just ignored me or told me to leave him alone. I can rescue him now, but I can't ever get him back."

"You don't know that, " Christine comforted, then wondered what the hell she was doing. Something about the fragile woman's face was just so pathetic. "I mean, maybe he's just playing hard to get?"

Drusilla brightened. "You mean paying me back?" She thought about that for a moment then kicked her feet out in front of her and laughed merrily. "Yes, you are right. He's just trying to make me think he doesn't love me. Oh, you are a smart one, Christine."

"From nurse to slayer to relationship counselor," Uhura muttered.

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

The guard had finally moved off. Spike checked the corridor. "It's clear."

Spock selected a sharp tool and carefully dug one of the beacons out of his abdomen. He looked up to see Spock watching the blood with a shocked look.

"It's green. That's disgusting."

Spock cocked an eyebrow at him. "You call this disgusting? I would think you hardly have room to criticize. You drink blood."

"Hey, I drink red blood. That stuff you're seeping is enough to put a bloke off his feed for a year." Spike tore a long strip from his undershirt. He ripped a small piece off and handed it to Spock. "Use this to stop the bleeding." Once Spock had complied, Spike wrapped the longer piece around Spock's waist, holding the other piece in place.

Spock nodded his thanks then handed Spike the beacon. "It is self implanting. Just hold it against your skin."

Spike looked dubious. "You know, I haven't had the best luck with chips and such. Maybe I could just pin it to my shirt?"

"The guards could find it that way. Or it could become damaged. If you are unwilling to do it, I will implant it for you."

"You calling me a ponce?" Spike jammed the beacon against his stomach; it immediately disappeared under the skin leaving behind a small hole that began to heal at once.

"Fascinating."

"Yeah, one of the fringe benefits of being a vampire. Not that I'd know about most of the others these days." Spike picked up his axe again and began to work.

"Ah, yes, the chip." Spock too returned to trying to extract his dotrinium chunk.

"You say it like it's nothing, man. Well, this stupid piece of circuitry changed my life. I used to think it was a curse. Then I got all zen about it."

"I do not understand."

"Well, you know, sort of an everything happens for a reason kind of thing. One day I woke up and instead of being mad that I couldn't kill humans anymore, I realized I was looking forward to taking out some real bad guys. Guess helping the slayer rubbed off on me or something. I left most of the demons I came across alone. I mean, they were just trying to make a living, same as anyone. But the real big bads. Those I went after. And it was fun. Never knowing if a fight was going to be your last. I worked alone mostly too. Oh sure, I helped out the slayer. Got kind of fond of the little tart and her pack. Well, some of them, anyway. But I had my own gig too, you know."

Spock nodded, although he was not entirely certain what Spike was talking about. "Why do the books say that you died?"

"Oh, that. Well, the Watchers.you know them?" When Spock nodded, the vampire continued, "After some time, they got it in their heads to take me out. Couldn't believe I'd turned over a new leaf, I guess. I think one of the demons I was after gave them my name. Suddenly, everywhere I turned there was some bookish guy with a pretentious accent waiting for me with a crossbow or a stake or a sword. Got old real fast. Buffy got the idea to officially 'kill' me. She did me all up with dark hair and a beard and clothes that screamed loser, and I went underground, so to speak, for a while. She let it out that my chip had malfunctioned and she'd had to kill me. It worked too. I continued fighting the bad guys only looking a lot less cool. Once enough time had passed, I went back to my old look. But I've kept a low profile ever since. Secret identity kind of thing."

"So you are good?"

Spike grabbed at his heart. "There's no need to insult me. Just when I thought we were getting along great." He laughed out loud. "Yeah, I guess I'm good."

They were quiet for a while as they worked. Some minutes later, Spock said, "My people used to be savage. Now we are not. But there is always the beast in us. We keep it hidden, but it is there. There are times it comes out. We cannot stop it, no matter how logical or meditative we are."

Spike gave him an approving grin, "Then you can relate."

"Yes. I can." He started to pick at the wall then turned back to Spike. "If you could have your chip removed, would you?"

The vampire put down his ax and gave Spock a penetrating look. Lighting up a cigarette from the torch in the chamber, he mused, "That's an interesting question. I'm at peace now. But I can remember what it felt like to run wild, to be free to act any way I wanted to. I loved being a monster." He took a deep puff, blew out smoke. "I don't know what I would do if I had that back. I guess I'd probably kill people. That's what vampires do. Even with the chip, if it hadn't caused me so much pain, I'd have kept on doing it."

"There was a time that I reverted to the savagery that was ancient Vulcan." At Spike's questioning look, Spock pursed his lips. "I liked it." When Spike nodded in understanding, he continued, "Interesting. I have never told anyone that."

"No? Well, that's why we make such a good team." He offered Spock one of his cigarettes. "In this corner, Spock of Vulcan and William the Bloody. Look out, universe!"

"Exaggerated but possibly true, nonetheless." Spock replied, feeling the vampire's optimism rubbing off on him. He tentatively reached out for one of the strange sticks, then walked to the torch to light it.

"Go gently, or you'll choke on the smoke," Spike suggested.

Spock managed to get the cigarette lit and after a few coughing fits got the hang of the inhale-wait-exhale rhythm. He looked over at Spike.

"A bloody excellent team, that's what!" Spike grinned at him.

They smoked in silence for a while, until Spock asked, "Can you show me how you get it to come out your nose?"

Spike laughed. "Sure. And after that I'll teach you how to blow smoke rings."

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

"You go first," Christine said skeptically.

Drusilla gave her a look of amused forbearance and held the beacon up to the skin of her stomach. It burrowed into her skin. The small hole left behind began to heal seconds later. "Your turn."

"Right." Christine held the transmitter to her skin. There was a moment of pain then nothing as the beacon's anaesthetic went to work. She was bleeding rather strongly. She saw Drusilla's nostrils widen as the vampire stared almost mesmerized at the sight. Just when I was starting to almost like you, Christine thought, you remind me what you really are. She gave the vampire her most determined look. "You go all vamp-face on me, and I swear I'll kill you right now."

"I'm just glad it's red." Drusilla laughed and the tension was broken. "Temper, temper. Here let me fix that up for you." She reached for the regenerator, but Christine got there first.

"I'll do it myself, thanks." She held the small device over the entry wound and watched as the hole completely disappeared. "Okay, then. Let's do it."

Drusilla led her to another small room where she had supplies stockpiled. Breaking into one of the cartons, Drusilla brought out a leather box. Inside was a collection of very lethal looking knives. "Take your pick, Slayer."

Christine chose three long-bladed daggers. Drusilla dug deeper into the box and found some arm and leg sheaths. They both strapped them on, then the vampire selected some small knives to put in hers. She studied Christine a moment then handed her two more knives and a double wrist sheath. At Christine's look of surprise, she retorted, "Well, I didn't bring you all the way out here to have you die halfway through the adventure for lack of weapons. We've wasted enough time, let's go."

Christine followed her back to the bridge. Uhura turned as they entered.

"Ready to initiate homing beacon at your command."

Drusilla beamed at her. "Do it."

Uhura bent over the console for a second, then a pinging sound rang out over the monitors. "That's it. Two beacons received." She studied the readings for a moment. "They are definitely in two different people now."

Drusilla's ecstatic laughter filled the room. She twirled in happiness, then grabbed Christine to include her in the euphoria.

For a moment, Christine allowed herself to be pulled along by the other woman, spinning wildly as she had not done since she was a child. No! She wrenched away. This has to stop. She's a monster. She looked at Drusilla. The vampire gave her a hurt look then walked over to Uhura. "Can you beam them out of there?"

Uhura tried several settings for the transporter then sat back in resignation. "No. As we expected, the dotrinium seems to be interfering."

Christine walked up to stand next to Drusilla. "Then how do we get in?"

Uhura brought up a schematic of the caverns. She pointed to a large chamber. "This appears to be some sort of common area. The dotrinium content is much lower here. I'm relatively sure I can get you in here."

If it was possible, Drusilla went whiter than her normally blanched complexion. "Relatively sure?"

Uhura looked up at the other women. "This isn't my specialty. I know I could get you to the surface with no problem. But then you'd have too far to go. This is your best bet. And you'll have to return to this room for me to get you out. Comms will be intermittent at best anywhere but that chamber. I'll be monitoring your progress but without command of the transporters I won't be able to beam you out. You will have to do that, Drusilla. Unless you want to transfer control of the transporters to me for the duration?"

Drusilla laughed. "Not likely, little one. What reason would the slayer have to help me rescue Spike, if she wasn't dependent on me to get us back?" Uhura slumped back disappointed. Drusilla patted her shoulder. "Oh, don't be sad, ducks. It was a good attempt."

She motioned for Christine to precede her to the center of the room. The other vampires watched them both intently.

"I'd prefer to take you with me," Drusilla told them. "But I need you up here to guard the prisoners." She took a quick last glance around the bridge. "Computer, energize."

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

Seconds after the vampire and Christine disappeared, Uhura hit a button on her console. Drusilla's voice, scratchy as if with interference, rang out. "Computer. Transfer all major controls back to the shuttle."

"Specify."

Uhura saw the vampires begin to move toward her. She hit another button and Drusilla's voice rang out again. "To Uhura."

"Affirmative."

Uhura spoke frantically as the first vampire growled and reached for her. "Computer, execute program Uhura314. Now!" The vampires all disappeared. She stood up shakily. She had not been sure this plan would work. At first, Drusilla had said little to her and watched her constantly. But over time the vampire had become more and more bored and had loosened up. Talking more and giving her the chance to lay the groundwork for the plan. She looked over at McCoy. He had not moved at all through the whole operation. Walking to him, she grabbed his shoulders. "Len, wake up."

Nothing. She shook him but there was no response. "Leonard McCoy, this is for your own good." She slapped him hard across the face. No effect. She raised her hand to hit him again, and his own reached out and stopped her.

"Is that the way you say hello to the man that loves you?"

She hugged him happily, then filled him on what was happening.

He groaned as he rose from the chair, muscles screaming from lack of use. "So, where are the vampires?"

Uhura gave him an evil smile. "I beamed them into space."

McCoy checked the viewscreen. There was only empty darkness in front of them. "Where are they?"

"Not that part of space. I'm afraid my calculations were a bit off. I sent them to the sunny side of the planet."

He gave her a conspiratorial smile, "You need to work on your math, my dear. As a physician, I feel compelled to remind you that I am in the business of saving not taking lives."

"But they're dead already."

"Well then, problem solved." He hugged her close. Then they both turned to the monitors where four lights were coming closer together. "What can we do for them?"

"Nothing," Uhura replied in frustration. "That dotrinium is interfering with our ability to beam them out of the smaller chambers. And it's playing havoc with the sensors. I have no idea which light is whose down there."

"I hate to just sit here."

She grinned at him. "Then don't. I'll stay here and monitor their progress. You scour this vessel for anything at all that could be used as a weapon against them. I want Christine and Spock to have the best advantage we can give them when they get back."

McCoy nodded and left the room to forage. He didn't hear Uhura whisper as she turned back to the confusion on the screen, "If they get back."

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

Christine and Drusilla materialized between two tables in what appeared to be the dining hall. The room was empty except for some prisoners cooking in the kitchen off to the side. The smell of food combined with dotrinium vapor made Christine feel sick.

Drusilla pulled Christine into the shadows as a guard appeared in the corridor. He did a quick check on those preparing the food, then turned to go back to the miners. The vampire stepped in front of him.

What the hell is she doing? Christine thought furiously.

Drusilla seemed to shrink in on herself, every inch a frail and helpless human female. "Please, sir?"

Now I know why she's lasted all these years, Christine realized. The guard was actually falling for her act.

"How did you get down here?" The Kaldori's hand was on his sword, but he hadn't drawn it yet. He looked Drusilla up and down, then released his grip on his sword as he dismissed her as a threat.

"I'm lost," her voice became soothing. "I'm so lost." Her eyes bored into his until his mouth went slack and he stood motionless.

Damn, she's good, Christine thought.

Drusilla stood very close to the guard. "I've lost some people. A Vulcan with pointy ears and a human with very light hair. Do you know where they are?"

The guard seemed to struggle against her control for a moment, but he quieted as she stroked the side of his face. Finally he spoke. "They are in the tenth chamber from this room."

"Thank you, my sweet." Her other hand stroked the opposite cheek. Suddenly she tightened her grasp and twisted. The guard fell to the ground, his neck broken.

"Did you have to do that?" Christine asked as she helped Drusilla drag the body into a shadowy recess. "We could have used him!"

"No, he was fighting my control. He would have sounded the alarm." There was not a tinge of remorse in the vampire's voice. She peeked around the corner into the corridor, pulled back abruptly as a contingent of Kaldori came striding past. "The corridor is full of guards."

"Well, now what? We don't exactly blend in here. We can't just stride down the hall?"

Drusilla gave Christine a satisfied smile. "If we can't get to them, they'll just have to come to us." When Christine looked puzzled, she tapped the slayer's forehead none too gently. "Use that mental connection you have with the Vulcan, girl. Do I have to think of everything?"

Christine mentally kicked herself. She had completely forgotten that she could call to him that way. Was the ability that new, she wondered, or would she never get used to relying on someone other than just herself? She hoped that their proximity was enough to facilitate this. She'd never tried it from so far away before.

*Spock?*

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

Spock stopped mid swing, his ax trembling as he felt Christine's mind voice call to him.

Spike looked over. "Something wrong with you?"

"They are here," Spock said, as he also sent back a message to her * Christine.* He felt her relief come coursing back to him. *We are both here.*

Her mind voice was strong, *Hold on for instructions.*

*Understood.* Spock turned his attention back to Spike, who was bouncing around him, peppering him with questions.

"What do you mean they're here? Can you hear them? Where are they? Why don't they just beam us out? I thought that's what this stupid beacon thing is for?"

"Hush," Spock said firmly, as he tried to sense Christine's thoughts.

Spike scowled at him. "I'll thank you not to take that tone with me. I thought we were mates?"

Spock looked genuinely startled. "If I have given you the impression that I was interested in you romantically, then I must apologize."

"Huh?" Spike started to laugh. "No, mates is a word for you know, buddies, compadres, comrades-in-arms." His smile turned to a glare. "Hey, did you think I was a poof? I can't believe that! Not that I have a problem with that, if that's how you swing, you know. I just like birds, okay?"

Again, Spock had no idea what Spike was talking about but he decided to simply agree. "Okay."

"All right then. So how do you know that they are here?"

"I can speak mind-to-mind with Christine. She is with Drusilla."

"Good for them. What are we supposed to do?" He stopped talking as Spock's face took on the far away expression he had displayed when the slayer first contacted him. "Bloody weird, is what I say."

*Spock?*

*Christine. What should we do?*

*We are in the dining room. We are too conspicuous to come down to you. Can you try to make your way to us? We will help you if you run into trouble, but you need to make it as far as you can on your own.*

*Stand by.* Spock turned to the vampire. "We have to go to them. They are in the dining area."

Spike looked over at the sled. It was nearly full. "If we get these last two pieces in, we can push this to the storage area. Then it's a hop, skip, and a jump to where they are."

Spock nodded agreement and explained the task to Christine. He and Spike turned their attention to the dotrinium, working double time to get the last few chunks out so that they could fill the sled. Finally they were done.

*We are ready.*

*Be careful.*

He and Spike carried the dotrinium out to the sled and began to push the heavy load down the corridor. Either of them could have done it alone, but they pretended to strain as they moved the sled slowly past the other chambers. They stopped at the storage room. Down the hall they could see the entrance to the dining room.

The Kaldori at the door to the storage area cuffed Spock roughly. "Get back to work."

They started to unload the sled, watching as more guards filled the corridor. Finally there was a moment when most of the Kaldori were elsewhere. Spock looked over at Spike, who nodded understanding immediately. He got up to move, but the guard grabbed hold of his shoulder. Spike's arm swung back in an instinctive reaction, and he immediately clutched his head in pain as the chip took control.

Spock reached over and despite the massive Kaldori shoulder muscles found the right spot. The guard crumpled.

Spike stood amazed. "Handy, that. Think you could teach me?"

"Later." Spock said as several other guards came rushing down the corridor. "Run!" He and Spike took off for the dining area. But before they covered half the distance, more guards rushed into the corridor from that end, effectively blocking their way. Several of the guards unsheathed their swords.

"Now what?" Spike asked a bit desperately.

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

"Aaaiiieeee!" Drusilla's scream of fury echoed through the corridor. She swung the sword she had taken from the dead guard. The head of the nearest Kaldori went flying. Two others turned toward her.

Christine saw another guard emerge from the shadows behind them. His sword was drawn as he advanced toward the unsuspecting vampire.

"Dru!" Spike yelled out in warning. "Behind you."

Before Drusilla could turn, Christine had drawn one of her daggers and launched it at the guard. It caught him in the throat. He fell to his knees, clutching at the knife. Then he fell over silently.

His sword dropped at the vampire's feet. She picked it up, turned and looked at Christine with a speculative glance. Making her mind up suddenly, she tossed the sword to Christine. "Here. Just don't use it on me." Shaking her head, as if not believing her own actions, Drusilla flung herself into battle with the next guard.

Christine spared a moment to see Spock pick up the sword still in the sheath of the guard lying on the ground near them. He pushed Spike behind him to keep him safe from the advancing Kaldori coming down the opposite end of the corridor.

I hope we know what we're doing, Christine thought wildly, as she raised her sword in time to parry a blow from a nearby guard. Her other hand had already pulled out a dagger, which she thrust into his chest. The guard grunted twice then went down.

*Christine!* She whirled in time to see a dagger flying toward her chest. She had no time to move, but another dagger flew through the air, knocking the first one off course. Christine looked over at Drusilla, who shot her a feral grin before going after the thrower of the knife.

Motion near Spock caught Christine's eyes. It was Spike, and he was moving the half-loaded sled of dotrinium. He pushed it past Spock then upended it between them and the Kaldori. The pile wasn't high enough to block them completely but it was making it tough for them to advance with any kind of ease. Spike and Spock rushed down the corridor toward the dining area.

A handful of guards stood between them and the women. Christine saw a guard lunge for Spike and witnessed Spock in an unusually vicious move grab the Kaldori and snap his neck.

"Thanks, mate!" Spike pointed to Christine, who was facing three guards. "You might want to help your girl, eh?"

Spock advanced from behind, taking out one of the guards before he knew what hit him.

Christine made short work of the other two, using the dagger to stab one in the heart, and nearly beheading the other with the sword. She turned to check on Drusilla.

The vampire was playing with the last guard. There was no other word for it. Like a cat with a mouse, she would slap him down then let him rise and nearly get away before knocking him down again. Christine felt vaguely sickened, even given her dislike of the Kaldori. "Finish it," she yelled. "We don't have much time before reinforcements arrive."

Drusilla turned, her face in full vamp mode. She snarled at the slayer. "I'll be done here when I say I'm done."

"Dru. Baby." Spike moved closer to the woman. "Let's go then? You got what you came for right. You came for me?"

She turned to him, her face reverting back, a lost look in her eyes. "Spike?"

"Yeah, baby, it's me. Let's go, okay?"

She nodded and looked down at the guard. He was reaching for something in his pocket. Her foot connected with his head and there was a loud snapping sound. He fell to the ground, permanently stilled.

"Nice," Christine observed dryly.

Drusilla reached into the Kaldori's pocket, drew out a small hand weapon, held it up for the rest to see. "He could have taken us all out with this." She pointed it in Spock and Christine's direction. "Now it will just be used on you two."

Christine felt her mind freeze as she stared down at the weapon. She frantically tried to come up with a plan, felt Spock's mind in the background of her own trying to do the same. *It's no use,* she thought to him desperately, *I don't think we're going to get out of this one alive.* She felt her body tensing for the blast of the gun. Instead she heard Spike's voice.

"Oh, for god sake's, love, use that brain of yours." When Drusilla looked at him in confusion, he continued. "We could use these two with us. That crew you picked up is useless, these two, once you make them like us, will be far more reliable. And you've gotta love the irony of turning a Slayer." When she began to smile, Spike continued, "No need to kill them now, Dru." He reached over and gently took the gun from her and stuffed it into his own pocket. "Let's get out of here."

Christine felt her muscles relax and was afraid for a moment that she wouldn't be able to stand. Spike had just given them the chance they needed. And she believed, and she could tell Spock did too, that somehow the vampire knew exactly what he had done.

As the four of them hurried to the dining area and found their places, Drusilla touched her communicator and firmly said, "Shuttle, four to beam up."

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

Uhura watched as the four points of light moved quickly to the large chamber. "I need you," she yelled to McCoy. When Drusilla's voice came over the comms, she pushed the buttons to activate transport. She analyzed the readings in the buffer, McCoy looking over her shoulder. "This is definitely Vulcan," she pointed to part of the string of code, "And this looks substantially different from the other two."

"I agree. Do it."

Uhura made some adjustments and the transporter whined, leaving a surprised Spock and Christine in its wake.

"What the.?" Christine looked over at her friend and broke into a broad grin. "You, Nyota Cambugi Uhura are my hero!" She walked to the other woman and gave her a big hug. She was shocked when Spock pushed both her and McCoy out of the way. "What is wrong with you?"

"Get him back."

Uhura looked up at him uncomprehendingly. "Who?"

Spock's normally stoic face was rife with irritation. "Spike. Release him from the buffer. Now."

She looked at him helplessly. "I don't think I can. How do you tell them apart?"

He moved to look at the readings and Uhura hurriedly vacated the chair. Slowly he tuned the data, finally settling on the reading he wanted. "The chip. The chip sets him apart." He moved to beam Spike into the shuttle.

Christine's hand on his stopped him. "Spock, what's got into you? He's a vampire."

"Yes, he is, but he is one that I have grown"--Spock stopped to choose his words carefully--"fond of." He pushed the button.

"Okay, then, now we can all get out of here." Spike's voice trailed off as he took in the four humans staring at him. He looked around for Drusilla. "Where is she? What the hell have you done with Dru?"

Spock moved forward. "There is much to talk about."

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

As a flabbergasted Christine looked on, Spock led Spike off the bridge and to the medical room.

"She's not dead, is she?" the vampire asked angrily.

"No. She is in the transporter buffer."

"And why is she in there?" He reached into his pocket, pulled out the little weapon. Suddenly he turned it on Spock. "Don't make me fire, owwwww bollocks!" The vampire dropped the gun and fell to the floor in pain.

Spock picked up the gun and moved it out of the way. "Spike, you don't want to hurt me."

"The hell I don't. That's my girl you've got in there. And I want her back."

"Yes, that is what I want to talk to you about." Spock reached for a medical instrument, "But first I need to scan your brain, see exactly what this chip is doing to you."

"You can do that? Cool." Spike hopped onto one of the diagnostic tables, and sat still as Spock began to scan his brain.

Spock worked for a few moments, then turned the machine off.

Spike relaxed and reached into his pocket, drawing out his package of cigarettes. He pulled one out then offered the pack to Spock.

"I do not think that Christine would approve of this habit."

Spike leaned forward. "Christine isn't here, mate." As the Vulcan pulled a cigarette out, Spike winked. "We'll need something to light it."

Spock picked up an instrument and reset it. He lit his own cigarette, then handed the instrument to Spike.

Spike handed it back. "So what do we have to talk about?"

"Your future. Yours and Drusilla's."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean to offer you a choice. A choice for how you want to live in the future. Do you want to be good or to be savage?"

Spike pointed to his head, "Not much choice, friend. But I appreciate the sentiment."

"What if we could remove the chip?"

Spike looked up in shock. "Remove the chip? Nobody has been able to."

"What if we could? There are planets in this galaxy that are inhospitable to humans but that you and Dru could live on. You would have to get used to feeding on blood of different colors." Spock lifted an eyebrow at the vampire.

"Real funny." Spike's face became serious. "You'd do that, put us down there and just strand us there? Sporting of you and all, but not that smart an idea in my opinion."

"There is another option." Spock took another long drag off the cigarette then blew a perfect ring toward the ceiling.

"Hey, good one! So what's this other option?"

"We give Drusilla a chip too. And perhaps some work on her mental state. I would have to have Dr. McCoy check her out to see if we could do that, but from my initial scans of you I believe we could at least create a chip for her."

Spike looked skeptical, "So you put the chip in her, then what?"

"Then we observe her for a while to make sure it works, that it does not cause additional problems."

"And then you just let us go?"

"That would be my recommendation to my captain, yes."

Spike hopped off the bed, stubbed out his cigarette on the covering. The smell of melting plastic filled the room. "I need some time to think about this."

"Yes, I anticipated that."

"What the hell is that smell?" McCoy came barreling into the small medical room.

Christine was not far behind him. "What are you doing, Spock?"

He took another deep drag then dropped the cigarette on the floor and stamped it out. "Quitting."

Christine gave him a disbelieving expression. "What's come over you?"

"Just some late life rebellion. I believe I am over it now." He turned to McCoy, "I would like you to run some scans on Spike's chip to see if it is possible for you to replicate a copy to be put in Drusilla."

McCoy looked at him astounded. "I'm a doctor not a machinist, Spock." He smiled over at Spike, who had laughed out loud at his comment. "At last, an appreciative audience. Figures you're just visiting." He grabbed the scanner. "Just relax, young man, and let's see what's up there."

"I like him," Spike told Spock.

"Yes, well, there is no accounting for taste." He joined Christine at the door. "Let me know when you have come to your decision."

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

"I don't understand, Spock." Christine paced ahead of him as they made their way to the bridge.

He rushed to catch her, grabbed her arm so that she spun around into his arms. "Christine. Do you not trust me?"

"I used to. But the Spock I trusted doesn't sit around bonding with vampires. And what was that thing you had in your mouth?"

"I was smoking. And perhaps you do not know me as well as you think. Just as you do not really know Spike."

"And you do?"

"I think so, yes. Time will tell." He pulled her chin up so that he could find her lips with his own, effortlessly switched from words to thoughts. *I had no doubt that you would come for me.*

She kissed him back, reluctantly at first, then more energetically. *You are trying to distract me.*

*Is it working?* His mind voice was rich with tender humor.

*Yes. You son of a bitch.*

*Leave my mother out of this, Christine.* Spock pulled her closer. *I know that you have been trained to see vampires as bad. But perhaps there are varying degrees of bad?*

He felt her disagreement, *I thought that about Drusilla, but every time I started to trust her, she did something else to remind me that she is a demon, pure and simple.*

*But she is not a demon, pure and simple, if she could do something to make you think she was not. Or perhaps being a demon is not as straightforwardly evil a thing as you want to think?*

He could tell he had reached her, that she was considering his position.

He let her go and grabbed her hand for a moment as he led her to the bridge. "Shall we go see where Lieutenant Uhura has decided to take us now?"

Christine laughed as she let his hand drop. "Who knows what kind of monster we've created there."

"Indeed," he said, as he looked at her fondly.

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

The shuttle had just cleared the Federation blockade. They were waiting until they were safely away before hailing the Enterprise. Uhura had offered to give up the helm to Spock but he had refused.

"You appear to be enjoying yourself far too much for me to deny you."

She laughed as she turned back to the viewscreen. "Why thank you, Mr. Spock. You're an officer and a gentleman."

"And a bad boy, too," Christine chimed in. She and Uhura laughed, and Spock's stern glance only set them off more.

"Enterprise to Shuttle."

They all snapped to attention. Uhura hit the comm switch. "Shuttle here."

Spock interrupted, "Enterprise, how did you know we were here?"

Kirk's voice came over the line. "We've been watching for anything and everything. Are you aware that there are three beacons going off somewhere in your ship?"

Spock exchanged a sheepish look with Christine. "We will attend to those immediately, Captain. Thank you for the information."

"I take it everything is okay?" Kirk's voice was curious and just a bit wary.

Spock surmised that the captain would be running scans to make sure his friends were coming back alive and not undead. "Yes, sir. But there is a bit of a complication. I will explain it to you when we get there, which should be in approximately three point two hours."

"We'll be expecting you then. The shuttle bay is ready. Kirk out."

Spock looked over at Christine who had already extracted her beacon. She handed him the tool and he soon had his out as well. He hailed the medical room. "Spock to Dr. McCoy."

"McCoy here," the doctor answered cheerfully. Whistling could be heard in the background.

"Doctor. Please be sure to remove Spike's transmitter. It is located."

"I know where it is located, Spock. I was just about to take it out when you interrupted me. Now, if there isn't anything else?"

"No, Doctor."

"Then McCoy"--they heard another voice in the background, then chuckles from both men--"and Spike out."

"Speaking of creating a monster." Christine laughed.

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

An hour later, McCoy came onto the bridge. He looked over at Spock, "He wants to talk to you."

Spock rose immediately and found Spike in the medical room smoking another cigarette. The vampire offered Spock another one, but this time he refused with a gentle look. Spock noticed that McCoy had set the vampire up with a petrie dish to stub out the cigarettes. Spike saw him glance at the makeshift ashtray and said, "He told me not to wreck any more furniture."

Spock moved to stand across from Spike. "I take it you have made your decision?"

"Yeah. But it wasn't easy." The vampire waved the cigarette at him as he talked. "I mean, to go back to being the way I was...that is so tempting. To be afraid of nothing and nobody. Able to do some damage again." He got a wistful look. "Able to drink blood that's not reheated. Oh yeah, that would be great."

Spock prompted, "But?"

"But, well, I sort of left something out when I told you my story. It has to do with a soul."

"A soul?"

Spike nodded. "Bigger pain than the chip ever was, as it turns out. But I'm stuck with it. And I guess I've gotten used to this being good gig...sort of like it, in fact. So yeah, I'd like the chance to roam the galaxy with Dru. That is assuming she will forgive me for this. I remember how angry she was with me the last time I made a deal with the white hats and this is going to be a good sight worse in her book."

"She may never forgive you. What will you do then?"

"Same as I did before, I guess. Go on without her."

Spock nodded his approval. "We will be at the Enterprise shortly. We need to do this quickly so that she can get acclimated to her new state before you two move on."

"Do you really think that your captain will just turn us loose? From what Dru said she gave him a pretty hard time."

"Yes, she did, but I believe that I can persuade him, provided there are no problems with the chip."

"Well then, let's do it. You'll need me to help you subdue her. And I think you'll find that the good doctor made up a knock out drug based on my specifications." He smiled in satisfaction when Spock held up the hypospray. "So let's get to it, eh." Now that he had made up his mind, Spike seemed in a hurry to get the whole thing over with.

Spock nodded and they walked together to the bridge, stood near the small transporter pads. He turned to the others. "Christine, we may need your help. Dr. McCoy, please stand by." He waited until Christine came to stand at his side. "Lieutenant Uhura, you can let Drusilla out of the buffer."

Drusilla appeared in front of Spike. She threw herself into his arms, "Spike, love, I thought I'd never get you back."

He rubbed her back, all the while kissing her passionately. "Shh, baby. Shhh, Dru. You know I love you, right?"

"I wasn't sure. You were so mad at me."

He stroked her hair off her face. "Yeah baby, just like you were mad at me. But we're done being angry with each other, yes?"

She smiled up at him. "Forever and always, my darling." She stiffened as she felt Spock push the hypospray against her neck. "What are you doing?" She was out before she could say anything else.

Spike caught her, picked her up and carried her back to the lab. He eased her down on the bed. "Forever and always, Dru."

The others followed, leaving Uhura at the controls.

McCoy went to the counter and picked up a small device. "Took the liberty of making this while we were waiting. It's just like yours, Spike. Pretty remarkable technology for the 20th century."

"Military."

McCoy looked at the chip with disgust. "Figures." He saw that Christine had already gathered the instruments he would need. "Just like old times, Chris."

She didn't smile as she handed him the first tool. "Not quite, Len."

The operation took virtually no time. "Should work just like yours." McCoy said with satisfaction.

"Except for that whole insanity bit," Christine interjected. She ignored the glare that Spike shot her.

McCoy reached for another instrument. "Well, let's just see if we can do something about that." He worked for some time, not even noticing when Christine left. Finally, he turned off the instrument and looked at Spike. His expression was grim. "I'm sorry, son."

Spock watched as the good humor that had filled the vampire throughout the procedure deserted him.

"There's nothing you can do?"

McCoy shook his head sadly. "It's not a chemical imbalance. Maybe, in time, with lots of therapy."

Spike stroked her face. "No, Doc. She's just this way." He stiffened his shoulders. "But that's all right. It's not like I ever knew her when she wasn't crazy. I mean I fell in love with her and maybe I wouldn't if she were sane."

McCoy just smiled grimly and began to clear up the instruments. He shot a glance at Spock. Shook his head helplessly.

As he went to help Uhura and Christine with docking, Spock tried to ignore the sound of Spike crooning to Drusilla.

"Forever and always, Dru. Forever and always." It seemed to echo down the corridor.

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

Once the little ship was safely inside the shuttle bay, Spock and Christine moved Drusilla to a holding facility in the brig. Spike assured them that the forcefields would keep her inside the chamber.

"I know from experience, and those were only 20th century forcefields."

Spike refused to leave Drusilla's side, waiting for her to wake up. Christine and Spock stood outside with several hyposprays.

"So what if this works, Spock? What do you propose doing with them?"

"If all goes as planned, I will recommend that they be allowed to take their ship and go."

She looked at him aghast. "You can't be serious!"

His expression did not change as he watched the vampires. "I am."

"They're vampires, Spock. Why can't you get that through your thick Vulcan head?"

"You sound like Doctor McCoy, Christine. They are vampires that cannot harm anyone. Moreover, Spike has no desire to harm anyone. I believe that changes the equation."

She sighed long-sufferingly. "This isn't going to end well, Spock. I can feel it in my bones."

He did not look at her. "Then let us hope your bones are wrong."

They were saved from degenerating into a real fight by Drusilla's waking movements. Spike rubbed her arms, murmuring to her. She stretched languorously, then stiffened as she remembered what happened.

"You! You betrayed me."

"No, Dru. It's not what you think. I had to do it. For us, baby. For you and me. Forever and always, remember."

"You had to do what?" She rubbed her face. "Ohhh, my head feels funny. What did you do to me?"

Spike looked out at Christine. She handed the hypo to Spock and dropped the force field.

"Drusilla. It's going to be all right." She braced herself for the expected attack.

The vampire did not disappoint her. She practically flew at the slayer, screaming at the top of her lungs in anger. Before she even got close, her screams turned to shrieks of pain. She fell to the floor, curling into a small bundle as the chip spread searing agony through her head. Spike rushed to her, motioning for Christine to leave.

"Well, we know it works," she whispered to Spock.

"How could you," Drusilla moaned. She hit Spike's hands away from her. "How could you? I would have searched the entire universe for the means to get that chip out of your head. And now you let them put one in me? Why?" She whimpered into the floor. He reached to comfort her and again her hands hit out at her. She sat up, "What's this? I can hurt you?" She gave him an evil smile, then aimed a furious punch at his head. He ducked. She went for him again, her screams becoming louder, her words more and more incoherent.

Spike looked over at Spock a little desperately. "Now would be a good time, chum!"

Spock handed the hypospray back to Christine who worked her way around to Drusilla's back. Just as the woman had her hands around Spike's neck, Christine pushed the hypo against her neck and let the drugs rush into her veins. Drusilla jerked once then dropped nervelessly into Spike's waiting arms. He set her gently on the bench and rubbed his neck gingerly.

Christine took in his dejected look. "It's going to be hours before she wakes again. Why don't you take a break?" She ignored Spock's look of approval, as she said, "C'mon, I'll give you a tour of the ship."

"Not really in the mood." Spike looked back at the now sleeping Drusilla.

"There is nothing you can do here. Come, I will teach you the nerve pinch." Spock's tone was gentle.

Spike perked up noticeably. "That would be right handy, given my situation. You really think you could teach me?"

Spock motioned the vampire out of brig. "We cannot determine that without further study."

The vampire turned to Christine. "Can't say anything the easy way, can he? Sounds like a watcher sometimes."

"Bite your tongue," she ordered. But even she was beginning to get caught up in Spike's infectious energy.

"I'd rather bite yours, slayer." He gave her a lascivious look, then, at Spock's disapproving glare, he protested, "Hey she's a good-looking woman but it's not like I'd try to take her away from you, mate."

Spock astounded Christine by saying, "It is not like you could."

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

Two hours later, Christine walked into the gym expecting to see just Spock and Spike but there was a small crowd on the mats. She pushed herself through until she could see what was going on. Lying on the ground were about half a dozen men. Several were just waking up; the others were all in what looked like peaceful slumber. As she watched, another crewman walked up to Spike and said, "I'm game."

Spock positioned him so he was facing the vampire, then turned to Spike. "You must learn to do this from all directions."

Spike grinned at him and reached for the man's neck. He slumped immediately. Spock caught him and dragged him to where the other volunteers were lying.

Spike saw her standing there. "Hey, Christine! You wanna give this a shot?"

"Not on your life." She looked around, "How in the hell did you get all these helpers?"

Spock lifted up a small pad. "I have a number of rations saved up. They are an effective inducement."

"You're bribing them in other words?"

Spike looked at her in annoyance, "Yeah, that's what he said. She's a sticky one, mate." He looked around. "Okay, who's next?" Several hands went up and Spike picked one at random. This went on for several more rounds until Spock was satisfied that the vampire had the technique down. They waited for all the stunned crewmen to wake up, then walked back to Drusilla's chamber.

Spock looked at Spike with approval. "You are the first human that I have been able to teach this to."

"No, I'm the first vampire you've taught this to. You shouldn't think of me as human in this instance."

He shouldn't think of you as human in any instance, Christine thought grimly, as she trailed along behind them.

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

Drusilla was just waking up when they got back. She glared at Spike as he entered the room. "Don't touch me, you!" She sat swaying slowly from side to side, singing a song so low that none of them could make out the tune. Every time Spike approached her, she hissed at him like a cat and said, "Get away from me."

He looked at Christine and Spock. "Better give us some time alone. We can work this out. I know it."

They left him. For the next day, he spent every moment with Drusilla, trying to console her, trying to get through to her. McCoy, Spock, and Christine took turns stopping in to see how he was progressing. Each time it seemed the same. But late in the evening, while she was working out in the gym with stakes and a punching bag, Christine got a frantic hail from the brig.

"You've got to come. She's better!" Christine found herself smiling at the vampire's obvious joy. She hailed Spock but he was already on his way. She met him in the corridor.

"Stakes, Christine?"

She looked down at the ones stuck in the pockets of the loose pants she exercised in. "I was working out." At his nod of understanding, she continued, "From the sound of Spike's voice, I won't need these with either of them."

"So it would seem." He gave her one of his rare half-smiles as they entered the brig. Drusilla was sitting quietly in Spike's arms. He was speaking to her softly, tenderly smoothing her hair off her face.

He really loves her, Christine realized. Maybe this will all work out for him.

Spock dropped the barrier and they approached the couple.

"She's not happy about what's happened, but she can live with it," Spike told them. "We're going to be together now. The way it should be."

"No!" The horrible cry that came from Drusilla startled them all, she launched herself again at Christine, apparently ignoring the pain she was obviously feeling.

Without thinking, Christine had the stake out and ready when Drusilla crashed against her. At the last minute she tried to pull it back, causing the stake to not quite penetrate the heart.

The vampire stared at her and a look of peace crossed her face. "Slayer and vampire, caught in the moment of conflict." She turned her head to look at Spike. "This, my love, this is the way it should be."

To Christine's horror, she felt Drusilla push into the stake, forcing it the final few inches. She turned to dust immediately.

"Dru," Spike's wail was the most tragic thing Christine had ever heard.

"I didn't mean." She looked desperately at Spock, his eyes held no censure, just immense sadness. "I didn't mean to." She walked to Spike, he looked at her with hatred for a moment, then he broke down. Tears streamed down his face. He looked so lost that Christine took him in her arms and rocked him, all the while repeating, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

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

Hours later, Spock found the vampire on the observation deck. He was staring out into space. Spock joined him, standing next to him and studying the star pattern, wondering what Spike was seeing.

"I have talked to the captain. He agreed that you should be allowed to go. He expresses his sympathy for your loss."

Spike laughed bitterly, "Oh yeah, I'm sure he's real sad to see her gone."

There was nothing to say to that, so Spock asked, "Where will you go?"

The vampire shrugged as if it didn't matter, as if it would never matter again. "Dunno."

"You will be safer now. The nerve pinch should serve you well. I have also added a small cache of neural paralyzers to your ship. They can only stun, not kill, so you should be able to fire them."

Spike turned to look at him then. "Why are you doing this? Who appointed you my champion?"

Spock returned his gaze. "I find that I cannot explain it logically. But I see myself in you. I see my situation in yours. I see Vulcans in vampires. I resonate with your predicament in ways I never expected to." He floundered for words. "As I said, it is not logical."

"That's why you gave me a choice."

"There was no choice."

Spike looked at him confused. "What do you mean there was no choice? I was there, remember? You gave me the choice, I chose to be good."

"Yes. I told you there was a choice. But there was not. I knew that as soon as I scanned your brain. The chip has been in place too long. It is part of your cerebral cortex now. To remove it would kill you. There was no choice."

Spike looked stricken. "Why?"

"Because I wanted you to choose to be good. I didn't want you to be good just because of some chip in your brain. I wanted you to turn away from the beast that is within you of your own accord."

"You wanted me to be like you?"

Spock nodded silently. Then turned to the vampire. "I have caused you great harm. I can never make amends for this."

Spike put his hand on Spock's shoulder. "No. It's nobody's fault. Drusilla could never live this way. She was the perfect monster, because she was lost to reason, to sanity. I loved her, and I will love her till the day I go up in a puff of dust. But I was a fool to think she could live like this." He let his arm drop. "And, in a way, I'm glad you lied to me. I'm glad I thought I had a choice. Because now I know. I know which way I choose to be. And I wouldn't know that without you." He pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

"You cannot smoke those onboard."

"Says you and what army?" The vampire laughed recklessly as he lit one up. "C'mon, walk me to my ship?"

As they entered the shuttle bay, both were surprised to see McCoy and Christine waiting for them. He was supervising some crewman loading medical supplies onto the shuttle, and she held a wrapped package in her hands.

"I was worried about your blood supply. I'm giving you some that is freeze dried. That way, if your refrigeration goes out." McCoy trailed off uncomfortably. "God, son, I'm so damned sorry. This is not the way it was supposed to turn out." He shook the hand that Spike extended and then hurried out of the bay.

Spike turned to Christine.

"I thought you would want this...to remember her."

He looked at her in surprise, then unwrapped the present. It was a small portrait of Drusilla, obviously rendered by a loving hand. "How did you find this? I painted this centuries ago. It was lost."

"It still is. There was a small picture of the original in one of the Watchers' books. I had the computer blow it up and restore it to some semblance of its original state. It was the least I could do." She looked away, embarrassed and more than a little guilty.

"For a slayer, you're all right, you know that?" He pulled her to him and gave her a quick kiss. "Now get out of here, you two. Don't you have some shagging to do?"

Christine looked at Spock in confusion.

"I will explain later," he assured her.

"Live long and prosper, Spike." Spock saluted him in the Vulcan tradition.

"Don't have much choice on the first, but I'll do my best on the second." Spike held up his index and middle finger in a 'v', "Peace, kiddies." Then he disappeared into his ship.

As the shuttle's doors closed, Spock and Christine retreated to the safety of the observation deck to watch as the bay doors opened and the little ship powered out.

"That was kind of you."

"He's not so bad, for a vampire." She could see his amusement. "Besides, I feel incredibly guilty about Drusilla."

He urged her out of the room, his hand on the small of her back. "Why? She wanted you to do it. It was the way she lived, and the way she died. Yours was the hand she chose to carry her death. I understand that. And Spike does too. Now you must accept it."

As they made their way to his quarters, she was thoughtful. Once inside, she dialed up the comm system to place a subspace call. When Spock gave her a curious look, she smiled at him with a trace of the old evil smile. "One more thing I have to do."

"Silver here."

She could see Peter Wyndam-Pryce standing in the background. "Kevin. Oh hello, Peter, so you're on Earth now? Look I don't have much time, just wanted to report in. Our mutual concern is no longer a problem."

Silver gave a grunt of satisfaction, "Then she's taken care of?"

"She is. And the other rumor, the one about her long lost boyfriend. No truth to it. He died a long time ago."

"So who was it?"

She shrugged, "Just another vampire. You know how it is. When you've met one vampire, you've met them all. Chapel out."

She turned to bury herself in Spock's arms. "You know I don't mean that. Not anymore."

"Of course I do. Spike changed us all, I think."

She grinned at him, "Some of us more than others. Now, tell me what this shagging is."

He pulled her close. "I'm afraid I can't describe it." His lips found hers, and as he kissed her she heard his voice in her mind. *It is something you have to experience for yourself.*

FIN