Disclaimer: I don't own any of the members of the Coven, nor do I own the Coven's allies, or the various members of the Gathering

Feedback: I'd appreciate that, trust me

AN: If you haven't read my story 'The Coven of Reformed Supernaturals', do so now before you read this; it provides more information into the 'team' that Cogliostro mentions

AN 2: Just to clarify, the Spawn here comes from the movie; I don't know enough about the comics to write about that version of Spawn effectively, and it all sounds very complicated anyway

The Gathering of Supernatural Psychopaths

In a distant street in a crowded American city, a tall man wearing a long blood-red coat pulled up around his face, a wide hat jammed down over his head to the extent that only his eyes were visible through the shadows, walked through the mass of humanity around him, his eyes constantly scanning his surroundings for the figure that he had come here to seek. It had been a long time since there had been activity that would merit his attention on this scale, and, as much as he would deny it under oath, he was eager to give his powers a chance to tackle a foe that he could fight with no restraint necessary once again.

It's been too long since this bastard tried something… the man thought to himself as he glanced around, his eyes piercing his surroundings as he scanned for the tell-tale face paint that would give away his intended target for this search…

Then he saw the man in question, standing at the corner of a nearby alley, chuckling slightly as he looked in the seeker's direction. The seeker didn't bother to dignify the target with an actual response; he just clenched his fists (Still stuffed in his pockets) and turned around to walk towards the target, who, annoyingly enough, didn't even seem that intimidated by his presence.

Eventually, the two men were standing right next to each other, although the target was still looking up at the seeker; the target, after all, was at least a foot and a half shorter than his opponent, even if he was at least twice as wide.

"You got a lot of guts coming out here after what happened the last time," the seeker said, growling down at the target.

"Oh, really?" the target replied, chuckling up at the other man. "I'd hardly call it gutsy to come after you, girly-man; you only beat me last time by a fluke."

"Yeah; I cut your fucking head off while you screamed like a girl and made pathetic threats that you had no chance of carrying out," the seeker growled back, flexing his fingers in his pockets as though he was itching to get them around this guy's throat and squeeze. "Real 'fluke', if you ask me. What makes you think you'll be able to stop me this time?"

"Oh, a few things," the target replied, as he chuckled up at his foe. "Care to come and find out just what makes me so confident, Simmons?"

Sighing, the man formerly known as Al Simmons, but now generally thought of by all as Spawn, glared down at his target as he removed his hat and turned down the collars of his coat, revealed a hairless head with brown, badly burnt skin and shockingly green eyes. In most cases, the mere sight of such a head would have sent people running, mainly on the grounds that anything that could remain standing after taking the kind of damage that would cause such an appearance was definitely not a force to be trifled with, but, unfortunately, the target was not one of those.

Of course, given that the foe in question was the demon known as the Violator, who spent most of his time on Earth in the form of an overweight man in blue-and-white face paint (Earning him the mocking nickname of 'Clown', naturally), the appearance of the former US assassin had little effect.

"Look, Clown," Spawn said, glaring at his old nemesis, "why don't we just bypass all this dumbass 'foreplay' and just get down to the bit where I kick your ass once again, huh?"

"Oh no, little Spawny," a voice suddenly said from off to one side, "it isn't nice to hit clowns, you know. I'm afraid I'll have to punish you for that."

"What the…?" Spawn said, turning to look in the direction of the voice and suddenly finding himself up against the wall with a demented-looking brunette glaring at him with a look of dementia in her eyes as she smiled up at Spawn.

Clown chuckled as Spawn looked in confusion at the woman.

"May I present my latest ally?" the demon said, chuckling as Spawn stared in confusion as the woman bared a remarkably long pair of nails and grinned at Spawn, revealing abnormally sharp canine teeth. "This is Drusilla; over two hundred years of total insanity, brutal murder, blood-drinking madness, and a body count that makes most wars look small. If she wasn't technically dead, I'd try and do her."

Spawn coughed and choked slightly as Drusilla squeezed. He'd never been able to ascertain whether or not he actually needed to breath any more- after all, he was technically dead, but he still seemed to have a heartbeat and other details that generally indicated the presence of life-, but even without any confirmation of that, it was still uncomfortable having this woman's hand around his throat.

Of course, her razor-sharp nails might have something to do with that

"Well…" he muttered, as he glared at the woman, "As good… as it is… to meet her… get… her… OFF OF ME!" he roared, as he lashed out with one of his chains at his new adversary, smiling in relief as she reeled back, one cheek and a shoulder bleeding profusely.

As he landed on the ground once again, Spawn quickly shrugged his coat off, revealing a predominately black costume with a large elaborate white M on the chest that might have been called skin-tight if it wasn't quite so obviously bulky. The most distinctive features about Spawn's new garb, however, was the large red cloak that swept out behind him almost like a living creature, and the black mask with large white 'eyes' that had suddenly covered his head.

Under the new head covering, Spawn grinned in enjoyment. This thing may still be a bit uncomfortable at times, but the rush he got in battle was something that could never be taken away from him.

"Let's go," he said casually, as he raised his arms, large blades popping out from around his arms as he shifted into a combat stance. Before either of his opponents could retaliate- he certainly wasn't willing to go head-to-head with Clown in demon form when he could end the fight far more easily right now- he had charged forward, slashing at them both with rapid blows that left both of them bleeding profusely from injured arms, even if Clown's 'blood' was a bright turquoise-coloured slime.

Just as Spawn was about to attack again, however, something dived down from above, hitting Spawn with such force that he flew back into the alley with a speed that would have made most bullets seem slow.

As Spawn staggered to his feet, his cloak sweeping around him as though it itself was angry, his eyes fell on his new opponent, and he winced.

This sucker was definitely not pleasant to look at…

At first glance, it appeared to be a man of average build, around six feet tall, wearing a long coat that stretched down to its legs and a wide-brimmed hat, with a stained shirt that had one been white and an equally dirty pair of brown trousers underneath the coat. However, closer inspection revealed that it had a face that bore close resemblance to Spawn's own, but with sharper teeth and gleaming red eyes, and long bat-like wings extended from its shoulders. Closer inspection also revealed that its clothes were hanging loosely on its body; it was almost as though the creature was thinner than normal humans, almost as though it was anorexic or something similar.

Geez, and I thought I was ugly, Spawn reflected, as he stood up to glare at the new foe. This guy makes me look like Bard fucking Pitt…

"And you are?" he asked, glaring at the monster critically.

"This is the Creeper, my little Alli!" 'Drusilla' said, grinning over at Spawn; he was rather surprised to note that she was wearing a long blood-red dress with a top that hugged her rather generous curves. How was she expected to fight in that thing…?

Then he realised what she'd just called him, and glared angrily in her direction.

"Don't call me 'Alli'," he said, as his armour's chains lashed out in her direction…

Only to be caught by the 'Creeper', who glared at Spawn as he yanked at the chains, sending Spawn flying over the Creeper's form to land roughly on the ground in front of Drusilla. If Spawn had been human, the blow would likely have crushed one of the vertebrae in his neck; as it was, his armour managed to adjust itself so that his cloak bore the brunt of the impact, shielding him from the immediate damage. He was just about to get back to his feet and try again when something suddenly landed on his chest, grinning at him and holding a glowing dagger…

When Spawn looked at it, however, he almost couldn't stop himself from bursting out laughing at the utterly ludicrous nature of the sight.

It was a child's doll, maybe about two feet high at best, dressed in a blue-and-red striped jumper and blue denim dungarees. The doll had red hair and blue eyes, but its face was an absolute mess; it looked like someone had torn the doll to pieces and someone had stitched it back together in a rather inexpert manner. Indeed, if it weren't for the twisted dagger in its hand, the doll would almost have been rather comical, glaring at Spawn as it was.

"Y-you are?" Spawn said, unable to stop himself from chuckling slightly as the doll glared at him.

"They call me Chucky," the doll said, as it glared at Spawn. "And I think you might want this."

He drove the dagger into Spawn's chest, and the man once known as Al Simmons screamed in agony; it felt as though he was back in Hell all over again, except that all the pain he'd felt down there was suddenly concentrated in his lower abdomen…

Then something lashed out at the doll, sending it flying back at a rapid rate as the dagger was pulled out of Spawn's gut. Glancing up, Spawn was relieved to see his mentor and friend Cogliostro standing there, the blade that was the only real remainder of his original Hellspawn armour sticking out of his wrist.

"Ah boy… you!" Clown yelled, glaring at Cogliostro in frustration. "Can't you stay out of my affairs?"

Cogliostro smiled casually as he shifted into a combat stance.

"That depends on whether your affairs involve my friends," he said, as he stared at Clown and his new allies. "Are you interested in tackling both of us?"

Clown studied Cogliostro and the already recovering Spawn briefly (Spawn had torn the dagger out as soon as Chucky had been kicked off, and the armour was already healing his injuries), as though trying to come to a decision, and then shrugged casually as he grabbed the Creeper and Drusilla, Chucky leaping onto Clown's shoulders.

"Sorry; gotta blow!" he said, as a brief burst of fire surrounded him and the others before they vanished.

Sighing, Coglistro turned to look back at Spawn, raising an enquiring eyebrow as he hauled his friend back on to his feet.

"Are you all right?" he asked the man once known as Al Simmons, as Spawn picked up the dagger that Chucky had used on him and stared at it.

"Yeah, I'm good," he replied, before handing the dagger over to Cogliostro for inspection. "Any ideas what this is?"

Taking the blade, Cogliostro studied it for a few moments, before nodding and slipping it into his pocket.

"A Brimstone dagger," he said, as he looked back at Spawn. "An effective means of hurting hellspawn; they are traditionally forged in the fires of hell, much like the hellspawn themselves, which gives them an extra potency against renegades like you and I. The principle is rather similar to the theory of sound waves cancelling each other out; since the two objects have such similar powers, the dagger effectively negates the powers provided to the hellspawn by their armour, making it easy for the Spawn to be injured."

"Ah," Spawn grunted, as he winced and clutched his side briefly, before smiling and straightening up as he looked at his friend. "Anyway, any ideas why Clown was working with those guys?"

Cogliostro nodded. "Unfortunately, yes," he replied, as he and Spawn began to walk further into the alley, away from anyone who might try and listen in on the conversation. "I have heard reports from certain supernatural contacts from the old days that the Malebogia, with the aid of his superiors, has begun to organise a team to strike against the world, consisting of some of the deadliest killers that this world has ever seen."

Spawn couldn't contain a slight chuckle.

"You've gotta be kidding me; a doll is one of the worst murderers in history?" he asked, staring incredulously at Cogliostro. "What, did he slaughter the teddy bears' picnic?"

"That doll," Cogliostro said, glaring at Spawn critically, "is possessed by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray, the Lakeshore Strangler from the nineteen eighties, and has been responsible for the deaths of several people even after he transferred himself into a doll when he was killed in 1988. Trust me, he's dangerous."

Spawn sighed as he glanced down at the fading scar in his armour that was the only indication of Chucky's earlier attack.

"Well," he grunted slightly as he looked at the injury, "if he could do this to me, I suppose I shouldn't underestimate him."

He glanced over at Cogliostro. "Any ideas who else is in the team?"

Cogliostro shook his head. "I have heard rumours, but it is another contact of mine who knows the information that you seek," he explained. "His name is Leo Wyatt; he was formally an army medic in World War Two, but he became a guardian angel- well, that is the closest analogy of what he is- for witches after he died in the battle of Guadalcanal in 1942."

"You know an angel?" Spawn said, staring at Cogliostro in surprise. "I would have thought they'd stay away from guys like us."

"Leo hardly has much choice; he recently became a member of a group that consists primarily of reformed supernatural individuals," Cogliostro explained, as he and Spawn stopped at the end of the alley to continue talking. "In fact, that is part of the reason I was looking for you; Leo has heard about you, and, with this new situation, coupled with your in-depth knowledge of Clown, he might be interested in offering you a place on the team in question."

"Really?" Spawn said, grinning slightly as he glanced back at Cogliostro. He had to admit, the possibility of being in a team to tackle this new problem was tempting, and he certainly wouldn't mind spending time with people who might actually understand what this kind of life was like…

But did they really understand?

"What are the other guys like?" he asked his mentor, looking at Cogliostro curiously.

"An intriguing group, really," Cogliostro said, smiling as he looked up at the sky briefly before looking back at Spawn. "Their membership includes three part-vampires, a private detective who also runs an exorcism service, a demon who fights for a special division of the American government, and a former demon God-King who was transferred into the body of a young woman. There is Leo, of course, but he mainly serves as their contact with the higher powers, and takes less of a front-row involvement in their main combat situations."

Spawn nodded thoughtfully as he listened to Cogliostro. He had to admit, the group certainly sounded interesting, and it couldn't hurt to have some company…

But he'd still prefer to know more about the situation before he started trusting them.

"What happened to make them reform?" he asked, deciding he might as well cut to the chase and attend to business.

Cogliostro shrugged. "Many things," he explained. "The demon in the American government was found when an infant and raised to be a hero, but there still remains a darkness in his soul that could overwhelm him if given the chance, and he refuses to allow that to happen. Two of the vampires were cursed with their souls back after almost a century of committing atrocious murders due to the demon that controlled them, and now seek atonement for what the body did while they were absent. The third was a half-vampire from the moment of his birth, due to his mother being bitten in the ninth month of her pregnancy, and has constantly fought with his lust for blood ever since it struck during puberty. The God-King at first sought to conquer our world, but, with the aid of the friends of her host, she has come around to the side of good. The exorcist was at first a selfish, narrow-minded individual who only sought to escape Hell after a suicide attempt nearly condemned him there for all eternity, but after he averted an attempt by the Anti-Christ to unleash the apocalypse, he acquired a greater understanding of his role in the world than he had previously possessed."

Spawn smiled slightly as he turned over the information he'd just received. He had to admit, the team certainly sounded like they could help him cope with his new role in the world, if nothing else; he was adjusting to being an unofficial warrior for the side of light against the forces of darkness, but he still wouldn't mind some company who could also understand what he was dealing with nowadays…

He smiled over at Cogliostro, his mind made up.

"Still got a few things I wouldn't mind knowing, but I'll ask them that myself," he said, as he nodded his acceptance. "I'm in; where do we go?"