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 putting Spike in charge of the daycare.

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 I: Writing this story has been fun and I hope that reading it has. I'd like to thank gidgetgirl for writing her amazing challenges.

Author's Note II: Sorry about the update delay. This is going to be the last chapter.

Author's Note II: I'd like to thank everyone who has reviewed this story. Your encouragement and suggestions meant a lot.

Chapter 16.

Five days later.

"It seems that all of the Krat'ma'hen's support base has dissipated." Wesley reported. "Demon violence against humans has returned to it's normal level."

"Which is still too high." Angel commented sourly. "What about the little girl? Livia. How is she?"

Spike, to whom this question was addressed, grinned. "Very pissed off that Goldilocks made her abdicate."

Buffy managed to resist the urge to stick out her tongue.

"A good thing you did." Giles comforted, taking off his glasses and cleaning them in a true Gilesesque manner. "Had we known that it was a rally of Grerrach demons, we might have gone with a different plan."

"Too kill a Grerrach chief is to take his place." Wesley elaborated. "Needless to say," He added dryly. "They have a rather high level of assassinations."

"It's not all bad though." Spike said cheerfully. "Livvie's going to be what they call a 'Friend and Ally' of the Grerrach. Mess with her and you have to deal with them. Could come in handy."

"Not bad for a two year old." Dawn smiled slightly.

"Will you be able to stay a little longer?" Although the question was addressed to all of the Scoobies, Angel's gaze was fixed on Buffy as he spoke.

" 'Fraid not." She responded. "We left Andrew alone with the other Slayers."

"I dare say they've killed him by now." Giles conceded.

"And we're sorry about that?" Dawn looked genuinely bewildered.

"We'll have to leave tomorrow morning." Buffy said.

"Will you be taking Livia?" Fred spoke for the first time.

"Absolutely not." Giles looked appalled by the suggestion. "She's more trouble than any other Slayer I've ever dealt with."

When she's a decade or so older we'll think about it." Buffy confirmed. "Until then, she's better off with her parents. Even if they are lawyers." She rose from the couch where she was sitting. "We'd better pack. We have to leave in the morning."

"And we should really get back to work." Wesley stood and helped Fred up.

"Spike," Angel spoke up as the others began to troop out of the room. "I need to talk to you for a second."

The blond vampire flopped down in a chair opposite Angel's desk. "What's up, Gramps?"

"Could you please stop calling me that?"

"Could, but won't."

"Do you always have to be so annoying?"

"I take after you."

Angel growled slightly. "Would you please be quiet? I wanted to tell you something."

"Spill it, then."

"I've been holding interviews for your replacement and . . ."

"You mean I can get out of the daycare centre?"

"I've got a supervisor and two assistants lined up. If you and Harmony want to leave, you can. Lorne's got an opening for Harmony in his department and she's accepted. I'm sure we can find something for you to do."

"What?" Spike scoffed. "Clean the toilets?"

"If you'd rather do that than lead the Black Ops division." His grandsire said dryly.

For once, Spike was speechless.

Half an hour later.

"Spike?" Buffy tapped his shoulder. "Are you okay?"

"Fine, Slayer." He looked up at her. "Just thinking."


"Captain Forehead offered me a new job."

"Are you going to take it?" She looked a little disappointed.

"Don't know yet."

She smiled. "Well, if you want to come back to Rome with us, I'm sure we can find something for you to do. There's a lot of new Slayers to train. Who better to train a Slayer than a vampire?"

The daycare centre.

"Mr Spike?" Damien, normally so silent, relying on his twin to do the talking for both of them, approached the vampire warily, drawing him away out of earshot of the others.

"What's up, pal?"

"Are you really going to be going away to Italy?"

"How did you . . ." Spike shook his head, exasperated. "Why do I keep asking that?"

"Are you?" The little boy clung to his leg. "I don't want you to go. I like you. And the others all like you too."

"You've got a funny way of showing it."

"We play tricks on people we like." The four year old told him earnestly.

"Wish you didn't like me so much then."

"But we do." Damien's lower lip started to tremble. "And we don't want you to go." He wailed loudly.

"You're going?" Bradley looked up from the game of 'Hungry Hippo' with James, Morgan and David.

"To Italy." Damien confirmed, outraged.

"You can't go." Morgan's dark eyes were fierce. "We won't let you."

"I won't read your mind anymore if you stay." Sarah vowed ferverently.

"And I won't bite you . . .Again." David piped up.

"We won't be bad anymore if you stay." James promised.

"It's not because of you." Spike tried to explain.

"We'll be really, really, really good." Chad vowed. "No tricks or nothing."

"No go." Livia drew herself up to her full, not very considerable height. "Livvie no let Mr Spike go." She announced impressively. "Livvie tween now and you no go."

Delia didn't say a word. Picking up her doll and clutching it tightly, she slipped into the dormitory and shut the door behind her.

"Look, you lot." Spike had no wish to face a nine-person temper tantrum or worse, a cry fest. "I haven't decided anything yet, so don't get your knickers in a twist, okay?"

"You mean you might stay?" James looked thrilled.

"I didn't say that." Spike interjected hastily.

"Mr Spike's staying!" Bradley started to dance around like a madman.

/Great. / Spike thought, irritated. /Now what am I supposed to do? /

". . . so now you've got to decide what it is you want to do. Look at the pros and the cons and . . ."

Spike considered it the measure of his desperation that he had gone to Lorne for help.

After threatening the flamboyantly dressed demon with the destruction of his CD collection if he breathed a word, he sang a few bars of a song his mother had often sung to him and sat back expectantly, awaiting direction.

Lorne hadn't stopped talking since.

"Do you know what you want?" Lorne pressed.

"Not the daycare centre." Spike answered immediately. "I've got nothing against the little platelets, but I'll strangle one if I have to work there much longer. Plus, even though Peaches is running a multi billion dollar law firm, the pay is sh--." He added indignantly, thinking of the disappointing check he had been given earlier that day.

"What about Rome?" Lorne asked. "Back to your old crowd."

"Yeah, that's just it." Spike said glumly. " 'Back'. After more than a century, I've learned that you can't go back. It never ends well. They don't need me there. Don't know if anyone except Buffy and Little Bit really want me there."

"So where are you needed most?" Lorne patted his shoulder. "Just listen to your heart."

Spike gave him an incredulous look. "Do you get all your inspiration from Disney?"

Two hours later, Angel's office.

"Are you sure I can't talk you out of it?" Buffy looked a little disappointed.

"Sorry." Spike clapped a hand on Angel's shoulder, ignoring the older vampire's glower. "Someone's gotta stay, make sure the big poof doesn't screw this gig up like he does everything else."

"Hey!" Angel scowled. "Not everything."

"Easy, crumbcake." Lorne said soothingly. "He's making the right call. Trust me. He's meant to be here."


Lorne nodded confirmation.

"Is she my new link to the Powers That Be?" Angel asked.

"Not yours, apple crumble." Lorne nodded in the direction of the younger vampire. "His."

"You're kidding." Spike was both amused and horrified.

"No." Lorne shook his head. "You've got a big destiny ahead of you."

Buffy smiled. "Have you decided how you're going to break it to the kids that you're leaving the daycare centre?"

Spike frowned. "Bugger!"

The daycare centre, the next morning.

"Those little guys are so sweet." Harmony announced tearfully, emerging from the daycare centre after saying her goodbyes. "I'm gonna miss them."

Steeling himself against tears and reprisals, Spike marched into the room.

"Mr Spike." Sarah beamed at him. "You're not going to Italy!"

"No, pet."

Delia's face fell. "You're not staying with us, though, are you?"

"No, love." Spike touched her cheek gently. "But I'm still going to be working for Wolfram and Hart. I'm not going far and I hear your new carers are really nice. Who knows?" He grinned. "I might even pop down for a visit, or to get your help if Mr Angel's driving me up the wall."

"We'll show him if he does." Bradley declared.

"I know you will."

"We made this for you." James trotted forward, awkwardly balancing an A3 card. "And we all signed it, even Livvie."

The toddler solemnly displayed her palms, which were covered in red fingerpaint.

"Thanks." Spike accepted the card. He nodded in the direction of the new director of the Wolfram and Hart Daycare Centre. "They'll keep you on your toes." He promised. He gave the children clustered around him a half-hearted grin. "I'd better get going.

"No go." Much to Spike's horror, Livia clutched at his black jeans, leaving less than welcome paint stains.

"There, there." The sensible looking thirty-something woman, the oldest of the three newcomers, and the one designated as his replacement scooped up the two year old. "Perhaps you'd better go." She suggested quietly. "We can handle this."

"Sure." Spike backed away as the new daycare centre staff gathered the children.

"Say goodbye to Mr Spike, children." The new director called cheerfully.

"Bye, Mr Spike." Their responses were unenthusiastic.

"Bye, guys." Spike left hurriedly.

As much as he hated to admit it, a part of him was going to miss the little brats.

The children, trying not to cry, made their way over to the couch and flopped down, not in the mood for any of the games the new staff were suggesting.

"It's not going to be the same without Mr. Spike." Sarah said mournfully.

"I wanted him to teach me to fight." Bradley grumbled.

"Me too." James seconded.

"Livvie want Mr Spike." The tiny Slayer kicked the small table in front of her.

"Don't worry." Delia smiled tranquilly. "We'll see him again soon. I know it."


Author's Note: That's all folks. I hope you liked it. Could you do me a favour? I want to do a little survey and I'd like to know which of the kids was your favourite. Thanks for reading.