Disclaimer: Since my name is not Joss Whedon, neither Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel, or any of the amazing characters associated with either show belong to me. I also don't own the story line - that is taken from gidgetgirl's 'Mr Spike Challenge' (details below). The kids at the day care centre belong to me.

~*The Mr. Spike Challenge*~

Set in Angel season five. When the head of the Wolfram and Hart daycare service for employee children (both human and non-human) dies, Angel decides to kill two birds with one stone by puttiing Spike in charge of the daycare.

Requirements:

One of the kids must be a slayer. One of the kids must do magic At least two kids must be entirely mortal. One child should remind Spike of someone he saw a hundred years ago.

Author's Note: By the way, this story takes place when Spike is corporeal - Let's face it, a transparent caretaker would never be able to control children.

Words in / / = Thoughts.

Words in * * = Italics.

*

Chapter 1.

"No way!"

"Yes way. Now that Mrs Murray has so inconveniently expired" Angel suppressed a grimace at the thought of the genial middle aged woman's messy, untimely end. "I need you to fill in, at least until a replacement can be found."

"Bugger off, Peaches!"

"As long as you're hanging around *my* firm, you will make yourself useful."

"Can't I help out in the lab?" Spike asked, a note of genuine desperation in his voice. "Or maybe your commando squad could use a little extra muscle?"

"Spike," Angel glowered at the younger vampire. "You *will* run the Wolfram and Hart daycare centre and you will *like* it!"

* * *

Half past eight, the next morning.

"You must be Spike." If the falsely cheerful young woman who greeted him at the door to the daycare centre's smile had been any wider, her face would have cracked in two. "I'm Laura, Mrs Murray's assistant."

Had Spike been capable of breathing, he would have exhaled in relief. He had been afraid that he would have been left alone with the rugrats.

"Dear me." Laura tsked, regarding Spike's ensemble with a disapproving eye. "So much black! I know that it's not my place to criticize, but perhaps the children would respond better if you wore something a little more colourful. Like this." She gestured to her sunshine yellow T-shirt and blue checked shorts.

Spike gave an involuntary shudder and clutched his long black leather duster closer to him, half afraid that she would try to take it from him.

"My clothes are fine." He snapped, sounding crosser than he had intended. "So how many brat . . . *kids* am I dealing with here."

Laura gave him another cheery smile. "You're in luck. The after school program and the nursery for the babies are already staffed, so you just have to deal with the preschool group. They're all under six. Except Chad." She added as an afterthought.

Spike calculated the number of people working in various areas of Wolfram and Hart and came up with a rough estimate of how many of them probably had small children.

His face turned ashen pale.

"And I have to take care of *all* of them?" He asked hoarsely.

"Dear me, no." Laura gave a little tinkling laugh that grated on Spike's already frayed nerves. "Most of the firm's employees have their children in daycare centres outside the firm, or else they employ nannies. The children here . . ."

"Are the ones that noone else can deal with." Spike finished dryly, wishing that he knew the exact details of *how* Mrs Murray had died. "You didn't tell me how many there are." He told her. "Do I want to know?"

"Don't worry." Laura gave another of her supremely annoying laughs. "It's not as bad as you might think. The daycare centre is equipped to handle up to twenty children . . ."

"Twenty?" Spike interrupted incredulously. /Stake me! Stake me now! /

" . . . But there are only nine children enrolled at present." She beamed at Spike as if she was giving him the best news in the world.

As far as Spike was considered, nine small children was nine too many.

"So do you want me to introduce you to the children?" She asked cheerfully.

"Would 'no' be an acceptable answer?" Spike asked hopefully.

She laughed again.

Spike wanted to tear out her throat.

"Don't be silly!" She took his hand and, opening the door, pulled him into the daycare centre.

Spike wanted to vomit.

The walls were covered with a brightly coloured mural depicting various fairytales and Disney characters beloved by small children and loathed by all self-respecting vampires.

A cluster of small children, including a four foot tall version of what Spike thought was a Feoral demon, were either running around the large, sunny room or playing with the impressive stash of toys supplied for their amusement.

"Children." Laura clapped her hands to get their attention, speaking in a cloying, sickly sweet tone that made Spike want to hit her. "Can I have everyone's attention please?"

The kids looked up from their various occupations, completely uninterested in whatever she had to say.

Laura pulled a very uinwilling Spike forward. "Children," She beamed down at them. "This is Mr Spike. He's going to be taking care of you and playing with you, now that Mrs Murray is . . ." She paused, trying to think of a suitable word. " . . . gone."

One of the children, a chestnut haired boy of about five, yawned. The others turned their attention back to their own activities.

"Come on now." Laura prompted them. "What do we say?"

"Hello, Mr Spike." The kids chorused, completely devoid of enthusiasm.

Laura looked as pleased as if they had given her a standing ovation.

Spike was wishing that he hadn't tried to stop himself crossing over to Hell.

"Come on," Laura tugged at Spike's hand. "Let me show you the ropes and introduce you to the gang."

Spike pulled his hand away, wiping his fingers on his duster in disgust.

"This is David." Laura caught a small boy with jet black hair and a distinctly Asian look who was running around the room and pulled him forward. "This is David." She patted his head patronisingly. "He's three, aren't you, David?"

The little boy popped his thumb in his mouth, regarding Spike curiously, sizing him up. "I'm a wolfie." He finally announced.

"Werewolf." Laura elaborated unneccesarily. "He's a good boy, aren't you?" She ruffled his hair.

Bored with the conversation, David pulled away from Laura and went back to tearing around the room after another little boy.

"Delia!" A small girl about David's age came forward at Laura's call. "This is Delia." Laura told him unneccessarily. "She's three."

"THree and a half." The little girl corrected indignantly. "Hiya." She held out a small hand to the blond vampire, brushing a lock of dark hair away from her face with her other hand and looking up to reveal silver eyes. She smiled sweetly at Spike. "The stars told me that a pretty tiger is going to come an' 'tack us."

Before Spike could recover, Delia had drifted back to the couch and was playing happily with her doll, as if nothing untoward had happened.

"Delia's a Seer." Laura informed the new director of the Wolram and Hart Daycare Centre in an undertone. "Unfortunately, she's also got a very vivid imagination, so you never know whether to take her seriously or not."

"Mr Spike?" The miniature Feoral demon crept up behind Spike and tugged at his duster.

Spike looked down, amused. "And who are you?"

"This is Chad." Laura chimed in.

Spike raised a questioning eyebrow. "A Feoral demon called Chad?"

She shrugged apologetically. "No one can pronounce his full name."

Deciding that asking the boy was infinitely preferable to conversing any further with Laura, Spike looked down at Chad with what he hoped was a friendly and non-threatening smile. "And how old are you?" He asked, trying to sound interested.

"Sixty-eight."

Spike suppressed a laugh. The boy didn't look any older that four or five. "I'll take your word for it."

"Run along now, Chad. Mr Spike has to meet everyone."

Judging from the expression on the small demon's face, he was about as impressed by Laura's cloyingly sweet tones as Spike was. He trooted off obediently to the corner of the room where a cluster of beanbag chairs were set next to a large bookshelf and settled down happily with a comic.

Laura pulled Spike over to the toy kitchen towards the back of the room and the two small blonde children, a boy and a girl, who were playing with it.

"These are Sarah and Damien."

The two children were so alike as to leave no doubt as to their relationship.

"We're twins." The little girl smiled up at him. "We're four." She paused, looking thoughtful. "You don't want to be here, do you, Mr Spike?" She patted his hand sympathetically. "Don't worry. We won't be *too* bad, since it's your first day and all."

"Their mother is one of the firm's telepaths." Laura informed him. "They take after her. Let's see," She looked around the room. "Who haven't you met?" Without waiting for an answer she walked over to a small girl who was huddled in the corner with a book almost as large as she was.

Spike had a sinking suspicion that it was a spell book.

"This is Morgan La Fay."

Spike snorted in derision. "You're kidding, right?" /Please let her be kidding. /

"It's just a nickname." Laura reasssured him, seeing his look of apprehension. "She's four." Morgan cleared her throat warningly. "Four and a half." Laura corrected herself sheepishly.

Morgan, a very intense looking child with jet black hair and eyes so dark that her pupil's were indistinguishable, looked up at Spike with a solemn expression on her pointed little face.

"Do you want me to turn her into a frog?" She asked, pointing at Laura. Shje was deadly serious. Spike badly wanted to say yes. "Because I will."

Laura obviously believed that the child was capable of carrying out her threat, because she moved away so quickly that Spike had to hurry to catch up with her.

To Spike's intense relief, the next child he was introduced to was a tiny, quiet looking toddler with shoulder length, slightly curling auburn hair, curled up on the couch with a rather bedraggled pale blue blanket and a well loved stuffed rabbit.

/This one doesn't look too bad. /

"This is Livia." For the first time, Laura's smile was halfway genuine. "She's the youngest - she was two last month. She's never any trouble."

As if to prove Laura wrong, the two year old sprang up from the couch and charged at Spike, her sapphire blue eyes flashing.

"Bamp-eye! Bamp-eye! Bamp-eye!" She pummelled Spike's thigh, the highest part of him she could reach, striking furiously with her tiny fists. "Livvie no like!"

"Let me guess," Spike spoke in a dry, sarcastic tone. "Slayer?"

Laura nodded in confirmation.

Slayer strength or not, Livia's two year old fists were little more that an annoyance and he was able to lift the toddler up easily, restraining her without difficulty.

"Now, Livia," Laura reproved her gently. "Mr Spike is a *good* vampire. He's here to take care of you."

Livia frowned as she considered this, fixing the vampire who held her with a suspicious gaze. "Pwomise?"

"Promise. Cross my heart."

"Livvie down!"

Spike obediently set the little girl on her feet.

Livia glared at him, her hands on her hips. "You be bad, Livvie state you." She threatened, before stalking off, frowning her displeasure.

"Now," Laura broke through the awkward pause and led the way over to Spike's last two charges. "These are Bradley and James."

The two boys, both of whom Spike estimated were aged about five, merely nodded in greeting, before returning to their game of 'Snakes and Ladders'. They were completely unalike - Bradley had chestnut hair, green eyes and a pale skin liberally splotched with freckles, while James was dark skinned with black hair and deep brown eyes - but they were clearly inseperable allies.

"These two are the biggest troublemakers in the place." Laura warned, frowning at the boys, who were completely unaffected by her glares.

"What are they?" Spike half dreaded her answer.

"Human."

* * *

Ten minutes later.

". . . And this is the dormitory." Laura opened the door to a long room lined with two rows of brightly painted wooden beds with colourful quilts. "The kids sleep here for naptime and overnighters."

"Overnighters?" Spike was horrified.

"When the parents are working overnight." Laura clarified cheerfully. "It happens quite often here. If it does, the kids stay in daycare overnight. Now, there are two nap periods; from eleven to twelve and from half past two to half past three. Unless you want to deal with cranky kids for the afternoon and evening, I suggest that you get everyone to take the afternoon nap and whatever you do, don't let Livia miss either the morning or afternoon nap. David sometimes goes down at eleven if he's tired, other than that, they all stay up bar Livia. Now," She held out her hand to shake his. "I think that's everything that you need to know. Have fun."

Spike gaped at her, horrified. "You're leaving?"

Laura laughed in derision. "Please! You think that I'm going to stick around now that you're here? I am taking a long overdue vacation! I won't be back."

Before Spike had a chance to protest, she was gone.

"Mr Spike?" One of the kids - he didn't know which - called from the playroom. "I'm thirsty."

"Bloody brilliant!" Spike huffed, reluctantly heading for the playroom.

/Peaches, I am going to kill you for this! /

*

TBC.

Author's Note: This was just the introductory chapter. I promise more mischief in future chapters, plus, Spike will be getting help in a future chapter.

Please review and let me know which kids you think that I should concentrate on. Any activity suggestions will be most welcome.