Not Long to Wait

Ch 106 – Eviscerated

"A little warning would be nice next time, Bleach Boy." Xander stuck his finger in his ear, trying to work out more of the demon goo, then he swatted irritably at the small ball of light that was flitting around his head.

Spike stopped swiping at the slime dripping down his duster long enough to smirk at Xander. "Bite me, whelp. Not like I have any control over the soddin' thing, do I? I'm just the buggerin' battery, remember? And the blast came from you anyway, so next time, warn yourself."

Willow giggled as she followed behind the demon guts covered group that was making its way slowly back up the tunnels. Her position behind the boulder had spared her the worst of it, with only a few chunks of exploded demon managing to find their way into her hair. "Actually, the blast or whatever came from all of us; it just looked like it came from Xander because he was the one standing closest to the demon thing."

Dawn nudged Spike. "That weapon was pretty spectacular, but I hope it doesn't hurt you like that every time we use it."

"It won't, luv. The pain wasn't caused by usin' the weapon; it was caused by the sudden influx of knowledge about it. Gaia inserted every known species of demon and what the weapon will do to 'em into my brain all at once."

Duncan muttered with a smirk, "Tight fit, huh? Did it push out all that weird music you like?"

Spike's two finger salute was chuckled at as Dawn continued, "Can you imagine the mess it would have made if that thing had been outside when we blew it up?"

Spike nodded. "Probably would've buried Vegas a meter deep in demon goo." He smirked at Xander. "That's 'bout three feet for the Colonials in the room."

"Bite me, Evil Dead. I know what a meter is."

Spike chuckled. "Good thing most of it blew back into the pit or we'd probably be tryin' to swim to the surface 'stead of takin' a nice, leisurely stroll."

Xander vainly swiped his gore covered hand against the tunnel wall then spun and held it out to Willow. "Can't you do that clean-up spell and get rid of this?" He swatted again at the light that was hovering just above his head. "And get this thing to leave me alone!"

Willow shook her head as she twitched her fingers toward the light ball, guiding it to hover closer to the ceiling. "I could maybe get rid of some of it, but there's a lot of different substances on you guys that I don't know all the words for. That thing seemed to be made up of a bunch of different demon parts, some I've never even seen before."

Spike said, "Probably been absorbing whatever unlucky sods managed to find their way down here. Saw a pair of Fyarl horns and a Polgara arm spike."

Willow nodded. "Who knows how long it's been down there? It could have been almost as old as the earth itself, just absorbing whatever fell or was thrown into its lair until it was time for the prophecy."

Dawn shook a glob of some kind of phosphorescent green slime off one of her pistols, flinging it against the wall of the tunnel with a splat. "At least we got our weapons back." She holstered the pistol and pulled the other one, using her pinky to swab a furry bit of demon out of the barrel. "And it's not the first time we've been covered in demon yuck, Xan. You should be used to it by now."

Xander sighed, "I am used to it. Doesn't mean I like it." He waved at the darkness of the tunnel that was outside their little circle of light. "And we've got hours before we can get anywhere to wash this stuff off." He looked hopefully over at Willow. "Hey! Can't you transport us back to that room?"

Willow bit her lip as she looked around at the group, their hopeful faces making her just a little nervous. "Well… I might be able to, but I've never transported through solid rock before… through open space is easy, but rock? And some of the stuff you guys are covered with is giving off a magical signature… I don't know how that would react with my magic, and I…"

"But what about those crystals? They were magica…" Xander wrapped a gooey arm over her shoulders. "You know what? Never mind, we'll walk. Don't really want to end up on the moon or in Idaho or anything."

A faint noise coming from the darkness in front of them brought the group to a halt. Angel stepped to the edge of the light and peered into the gloom with his demon eyes then sniffed deeply and stepped back, whispering, "There's a demon headed this way. It might be friendly, but…"

Spike unsheathed his sword and stepped into the middle of the tunnel, giving himself plenty of space to swing as he took point. "But knowing our luck, most likely not."

Willow extinguished the light and everyone pulled weapons as they spaced themselves throughout the tunnel. They stood in silence, listening intently for the sounds of the approaching demon. The echoes off the stone walls made it impossible to judge the distance, but after several long minutes, a faint glow could be seen moving quickly along the tunnel in their direction.

Spike tensed as the light closed on his position and twirled his sword menacingly then he stopped and slipped it back into its sheath as the creature behind the bobbing flashlight came into view. It was Wendell. The tiny demon smiled hugely then kissed his fingers and touched them to his forehead. "Master Spike! You have done it! Saved us all! Thank you!"

Spike smiled and waved at the group stepping up behind him. "We all did it, and you're welcome. And I thought I told you to drop the Master bit. Just call me Spike."

Wendell kissed his fingers and touched them to his forehead again. "I'm sorry, Master Spike, but I can't. The title is required."

"And just who or what requires it? 'Cause it's not me."

"The laws and traditions of my people." His eyes cut warily from side to side as he leaned close and whispered, "And my mother would be… unhappy… with me if I were to disrespect you in any way. You really don't want to see her unhappy, Master Spike. Really."

Spike looked around the dark tunnel then whispered back, "Your Mum isn't here, mate."

"No, but she knows things, Master Spike. She just knows." He cut his eyes around the tunnel again then kissed his fingers and pressed them to his forehead, adding a small bow for good measure.

Spike sighed, "All right, Wendell, carry on. Don't want to get you in trouble with your Mum." He leaned back against the wall of the tunnel and started digging in his pockets, looking for his cigarettes. "So, to what do we owe the pleasure of your visit? Got somethin' else down here needs killin'?"

Wendell shook his head. "No. Our forces took care of the followers and acolytes. Once the creature was dead, the acolytes lost all their power and we were able to easily defeat them."

Willow nodded. "That must be how it kept getting new demons to absorb. As huge as that thing was…" she motioned back down the long tunnel stretching away into the darkness, "I seriously doubt that many demons managed to get lost enough to end up down here."

"You are correct, Mistress Willow." He kissed his fingers and pressed them to his forehead. "We'd been monitoring their progress toward raising their master for some time, but we weren't strong enough to do more than prevent a few sacrifices. Our efforts delayed the raising for a few months and gave you enough time to complete the tasks necessary to the prophecy before the creature had the chance to escape to the surface."

Dawn leaned on the wall next to Spike, snagging his smoke and taking a drag before handing it back. "And that would have been bad. God, if that thing had made it out, it would have started sucking up people left and right. I wonder how many people you guys saved by keeping it down here?"

Xander smiled at the tiny demon. "So we're not the only heroes, Wendell. You guys should pat yourselves on the back. You helped save the world today."

Wendell's bright orange color darkened somewhat across his face as he did the kissing and pressing thing again. "Thank you, Master Xander. You are very kind."

"Kind's got nothin' to do with it, mate. He's speakin' the truth." Spike took a drag, blowing the smoke out through his nose. "So what brings you down here then? We could've done the rehashin' and back pattin' when we returned."

Wendell smiled. "I came to get you for the celebration."

"Celebra…" Spike staggered slightly as the wall at his back disappeared and he reached out to grasp Dawn's hand as a wall of sound and light washed over him. He blinked in astonishment as a roomful of demons suddenly popped into existence all around them. "What the hell?"

Willow reeled, clutching at Angel's arm. "Woah." She looked around then smiled at Wendell. "You have so got to show me how you do that! I would love to have that kind of control!"

"Of course, Mistress Willow."

Xander stepped away from Willow, holding out his nice, clean hand. "And he got rid of all the yuck. You should definitely get him to show you how."

Spike raised his hand to his mouth then frowned at the lack of cigarette pinched between his fingers. "Oi! Where's my fag?"

Wendell chuckled quietly, "I do apologize, Master Spike, but there's no smoking in the ball room." He shrugged. "Humans and their silly rules."

Xander laughed. "Ok, you definitely have to show Wils how you did that. Stealing Captain Peroxide's smokes? Hell, I'd like to learn that trick."

"I'm sorry, Master Xander…" Kissing and pressing. "But I cannot instruct someone with no magical ability." He turned toward Willow. "I will, however, train you at your earliest convenience, Mistress Willow." He kissed and pressed as he nodded at Dawn, "Of course, Mistress Dawn. Please excuse me for a moment." He disappeared in his customary puff of orange smoke, reappearing almost immediately with a stunned Trevor standing by his side.

Trevor stumbled then smiled gratefully at Angel as his arm was grasped firmly, steadying him. "Thanks. Uh… what just happened? Where are we?"

Wendell kissed his fingers and touched his forehead. "Master Trevor, I apologize for the abruptness. We're in Las Vegas at the Luxor." He motioned to Dawn. "Mistress Dawn wished for your presence at the celebration, so I retrieved you."

Dawn's mouth fell open. "You knew that? How? I just barely thought it and bam, you poofed him here!"

Wendell shrugged. "It is our way." He dipped into his ratty bag again and handed Willow a slip of paper. "Call that number when you're ready to train, Mistress Willow. Thank you all again. We owe you our lives. Please enjoy the party." And he disappeared.

They stood, looking around the room at all the demons that were looking back at them. The room had gone quiet shortly after they'd popped into it and it seemed as if the demons were waiting for something. A table off to their right, groaning under the weight of all the food piled on it, secured Xander's attention and he grabbed Duncan's hand then dragged him toward it with a heartily bellowed, "Let's party!"

That seemed to be what the demons had been waiting for and the room erupted into laughter and applause. Somebody turned the music back on and the demons started milling around, eating, dancing, and talking. Dawn and Willow both smiled at Xander as he filled a plate, chatting easily with the huge demon bristling with short pink spines that was attending the table. Xander wrapped an arm around Duncan's waist and leaned up for a kiss then pointed out some of the tastier human foods… most of them containing some type of chocolate. Willow nudged Dawn and chuckled, "That ritual gave Xan a huge shot of chill. Look at him! All lovey dovey with his honey in a room full of demons."

Spike chuckled, "Most of which probably would've been tryin' to eat him by now if they'd run across him in Sunnydale."

Dawn laughed as she reached for Spike, pulling him close to her side. "Are you sure that's not Pod Xander?"

Willow smirked as she started tugging Angel toward the table. "I'll do a spell later to make sure, but I think this is the new and improved Xan. Mr. Cool as a Cucumber will take a little getting used to, but not wigging about every little thing will probably save him a fortune on Pepto Bismol."

Spike wrapped his arms around Dawn, pulling her back against his chest as he nuzzled her neck. She leaned her head back on his shoulder with a contented sigh. "Today was a good day, wasn't it? You get to go out in the sun now and we saved the world… again."

Spike nodded then nipped at her earlobe. "All seems a bit… anticlimactic, though, doesn't it? I mean, the fight took less time than gettin' down there did, and nobody got hurt, aside from that bit of rock in my arm. I've worked harder dustin' fledges fresh out of the ground."

Dawn shrugged. "Maybe it is a little, but I'll take it. After all we've been through; I think we deserve some anticlimactic apocalypse aversion. Maybe the Powers are finally cutting us a break."

Spike chuckled, "Seriously doubt that, luv, but you're right. Anticlimactic or not, it's a win, and I'll take it."

Trevor was standing there, wide-eyed and gaping at the multi-colored horde of demons surrounding him. Several of them had shaken his hand, thanking him for his part in the defeat of the creature, and he'd nodded blankly then continued to stare. Spike laughed then reached out and snagged his arm as he nudged Dawn toward the table. "C'mon, Trev, let's eat."

Trevor blinked. "What?"

Spike pointed at the table. "Food. Eat."

"Oh. Um… I'm not hungry. What kind of demon is that?" He pointed at a Fyarl that was mowing through a plate of something that looked like octopus parts.

"Fyarl demon. Big. Fairly stupid. They work well as hired muscle, but watch out for the snot."

Trevor laughed. "Thanks for the tip. So what did the demon look like? The one you defeated? Did it have any magical ability? Did it use weapons?"

Spike chuckled. "Better be careful there, Trev. The Council of Wankers just might recruit you if you keep askin' questions like that."

Trevor smiled. "They already did. My uncle called about an hour after you left and asked me to work for them because I already know Dawn. If… you know… the world didn't end."

Dawn frowned. "No offense, Trevor, but I don't need or want a Watcher. I'm not going to work for the Council. I'll help out if the new Slayer needs it, but we work for Gaia now."

"I know, and that's what I told my uncle, that you wouldn't want a Watcher. So… I'm not technically a Watcher – especially since I don't have any training – I'm just your liaison to the Council. I'll pass on anything they find out and take notes on what you kill for the archives, but I'm not going to tell you what to do or anything. If that's ok."

Spike smirked. "Well, pet, guess you'll be moochin' off me after all, since you just quit your only payin' job. Don't imagine Gaia pays much in the way of wages, so it's a good thing I've a bit of dosh."

Dawn smiled mischievously. "Nuh uh. We're married now… as much as we can be… so there's no such thing as your money and my money anymore. It's our money, so I won't be mooching if I spend it… and I feel a shopping spree coming on."

Spike groaned, "Oh balls," then smiled over at Trevor. "Hey, you need an assistant to help with your sculptures? With the way Bit here can spend money… think I'm gonna have to get a job."

XXXX

Several hours later, the six members of Gaia's superhero squad and their still slightly shell-shocked human companion finally extracted themselves from the throngs of congratulatory demons that had been accosting them with praise and showering them with gifts. Clutching armfuls of jeweled weaponry, decorative clothing, and in Spike's case, bottles of rare and expensive liquor, they made their way to the suites they'd been given for as long as they wanted to occupy them.

Spike stopped at the door to his and Dawn's room then waited for the rest of the group to locate their rooms before he cleared his throat and said, "Everyone, I have somethin' to say to you all…" They all turned to look at him, clearly expecting him to say something profound and heartfelt, then they burst into laughter when he growled, "I promised violent evisceration," he nodded to each of them in turn, "to anyone who disturbs us. See you in a week."

A few minutes later, he poked his head into the empty hallway and hung a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the doorknob as he grinned at the two identical signs hanging on two other doorknobs.

Before the sun had reached its zenith, the hotel's management had cleared the other guests off that floor to stop the complaints about the screaming, roaring, and growling coming from the three rooms at the end of the hall.

Nobody was eviscerated.

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And that's the end. I want to thank everyone who reviewed, favorited, or followed this story. I really appreciate all your support.

I hadn't planned on an epilogue, but if there's something you want to know or some loose ends you feel need to be tied up, please let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Thanks again and I hope you've enjoyed it!