Disclaimer: Don't own, etc., etc. Joss Whedon rules supreme and retains pretty much everything. Only written for personal enjoyment and because this plot bunny just wouldn't die, even after some serious staking…

Summary: Sequel to Vampirus (Non) Domesticus. Wherein there is a lot of heated debate and pithy comment…Rating PG13.


Chapter 1 – Demon Hunting De Rigueur

"GUNN!" Wesley hurled the axe and it spun lethally towards the black man –

- Who caught it effortlessly in one hand, bending at the waist under a tentacle as thick as a man's wrist with the smooth grace of a dancer, before rising up to lash out with his new weapon and slice smoothly through the thing like a hot knife through butter.

The Ethulak shrieked at a decibel level that made them all flinch momentarily before they resumed the attack.

Wesley threw himself to one side as another tentacle whipped overhead and hit a support pillar with the force of a steel cable, blasting a huge chunk of plaster and brick into fine powder, "I hate tentacles!" His sword amputated another threshing reptilian limb – "Spike!"

But the blond vampire had already seen the danger and simply wasn't there, displaying his kind's incredible speed of movement. Despite their ferocious battle with something ten feet high and four feet wide – possessing tentacles to match - Wesley glanced around at his friends and saw the same emotions on every face: a mixture of unyielding determination and fierce exhilaration.

Even Fred, who, lacking the strength and speed for direct battle, circled the Ethulak lobbing small grenades to explode where it was already wounded with deadly accuracy, had a berserker's battle glaze in her eyes. Gunn was grinning hugely, Lorne's eyes pulsed with ruby fire, and Angel and Spike briefly shared feral grins in a rare moment of total accord. Wesley's own heart was pounding like a fast heavy-rock drum solo and he was nearly dizzy with adrenaline; sometimes being able to mix it up like this was the only way you knew you were truly aliveUh oh. "Get DOWN!"

The Ethulak screeched again as everyone either dived for cover or simply hit the floor instinctively, but not in triumph. Suffering a score mortal wounds and maddened beyond rationality, the powerful mystical energies that had enabled it to manifest physically in this dimension in the first place discharged wildly and uncontrollably, reaching critical mass. The Ethulak swelled another three feet, then exploded with a deafening thunderclap that shook the building, ripping plaster off walls and sending up clouds of dust.

"Hu-gh-hu-gh." Wesley clambered up coughing, futilely brushing at his clothing, looking as if someone had up-ended a bag of flour over him.

"Wes." The plaintive complaint made him look up sharply.

Moving stiffly, his face a rictus of dismay, Angel shrugged out of his customary knee-length black leather coat and let it fall to the floor without touching it. Not surprising considering it was smothered in disgusting, bile-coloured…gloop.

"Yeah, English," Gunn grimaced, holding out the battle-axe as far from his person, and his Gucci suit, as he was able, wincing as more gloop dripped from it in oozing, ugly greenish-yellow blobs. "How come you never mentioned there would be slime when we killed this thing?"

"Ewwww." Also looking like the victim of a frat-house flour prank, Fred whispered her opinion, which pretty much summed it up.

"That's my favourite coat," Angel complained, peering at the garment from which faint wisps of smoke were already beginning to rise.

"It's a demon," Wesley protested, "slime comes as standard. I didn't think that needed mentioning. Besides, Angel has a corporate account at Dolce & Gabbana on Rodeo Drive –"

"I do?"/"You do?"/"He does?"/"Doesn't surprise me, he's always been a clothes-horse." Came back simultaneously, though they all broke off and glared at Spike, who'd uttered the last insouciantly, having somehow managed to escape being covered in either powdered plaster or demon slime.

"Er, do we need to get rid of..?" Fred pointed a finger at the gory remains of the Ethulak.

"No," Wesley assured them, "the Ethulak's remains will disappear from this dimension within the hour, and this garage will just look as if someone really couldn't parallel park."

Angel led the way towards his convertible and they all clambered in. Fred climbed in the front passenger seat, relaxing in the space, but with significant glances at each other, Wesley, Spike, Gunn and Lorne mutely crammed a la sardines in the back seat without complaint. Although breathing rapidly from the exertion, Fred's face was not flushed red but rather had taken on a sky-blue hue that gave warning – Illyria might be content to remain quiescent within Fred's body for now, but should it be irritated enough to take control...However, it wasn't far to Wolfram & Hart, Wesley consoled himself as Angel pulled away from the sidewalk…and hesitated.

"Do you think Dolce & Gabbana will still be open?"

To be continued in Chapter 2…

© 2004 C. D. Stewart