It had started out as a fairly ordinary assignment, standard hunt and kill, the target being a member of the Order of Aurelius who had been spotted repeatedly in the Cleveland area.
Given that this 'Spike' was a Demonic vampire, as opposed to the far more powerful but less numerous monstrous vampires such a Dracula, that is, the real Dracula not the wannabe that vanished in Sunnydale several years ago, the threat level was relatively minor. To Van Helsing, this was the closest thing he ever allowed himself to get to an actual holiday.
Of course, as soon as the words 'should be a simple operation' left his mouth, he should have known it would be anything but.
The mission went surreal on a Tuesday, a young brunette barely out of her teens was being kidnapped by a group of twenty vampires and naturally, even though he was supposed to be keeping a low profile till they had found the target, Van Helsing couldn't let that stand.
For a start, a soon as he got close to the unknown young Lady, he began to see a strange green glow about her that made his head ache. That was perhaps his second clue that she wasn't untouched by the demons. His first clue was her staking two vampires on her won and managing not to lose her ice cream cone whilst doing it.
This he could handle, under twenty demonic vampires, a rescuee who knew what she was doing, he might not even start to sweat.
Then there was the 'rescue'.
The rescue was abrupt and involved a familiar bleached blonde dropping of a nearby roof and tearing into the vampires, racing his way to the brunette's side and defending her viciously.
Distracted and shocked by the fact that Spike, one of the most brutal demonic vampires in history was apparently trying to defend a mortal girl, Van Helsing, found himself knocked on his arse.
Embarrassingly, it was his target that came to his rescue, dusting in quick, practised succession the four vampires who had decided to take advantage of his distraction. It didn't help his mood either that between them, the brunette and Spike had managed to kill more of the vampires then he, in fact, Van Helsing would go so far as to say it was a disgrace.
Then the vampire recognised him and attempted to shake his hand, at that point, Van Helsing would freely admit that he lost his cool.
"Bloody Hell mate, was there any need for that?"
Van Helsing shrugged, pressing his stake a little closer to the undead vampires heart, "are you evil?"
"Oh yeah mate, real evil, you know, I got my name by my creative use of railway spikes…"
There was an amused snort from the as yet unidentified brunette, "oh yes spike, real evil. Remind me again, who was it that went and got their soul back for my sister? Who was it that destroyed much of the Firsts army at Sunnydale? And who..."
Van Helsing didn't miss the look of exasperation and affection that the brunette sent the Vampire; it was that which decided it for him. He was loved, and it was familial love not corrupt love, like Frankenstein before him this one would be allowed to continue to exist. Evil might rest in his heart after all, but he was not ruled by it, and that was enough.
"Was it that was tortured for hours but refused to give me up?"
He glanced at the Vampire with renewed respect; it took a lot not to give up under torture and for a monster to do such…
"Hey, I am still evil; I mean I am… err…"
The immortal vampire hunter's expression turned bemused as the female quietly suggested that the word he was looking for was 'whipped' and he found himself stifling a snort.
"No Little Bit, I am not whipped, I am evil, a creature of the night, revelling in the darkness."
"Of course you are spike, now invite the nice Hunter to tea so Buffy and Giles cane do the meet and greet thing and perhaps arrange some co-ordination of efforts,"
"Right," the Vampire replied, turning back to Van Helsing, "would you…"
"Yes, I would love too." He interrupted, his eyes dancing with rare amusement.
That gave Spike pause, the Vampire obviously catching the look and thinking over the last few minutes to find out why the stranger would be so amused. He caught it quickly and slumped, his expression turning morose, his eyes rolling towards the heavens in dismay, "I am so whipped,"
"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone," Van Helsing smiled at the vampire's grateful expression, "except the Pope in my next report…"
Spikes groan filled the dusty alleyway as the Vampire Hunter turned to follow the swiftly retreating form of the 'Little Bit'
Note: I do now own nor do I claim ownership of characters and / or concepts within this story.