Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters you recognise only the ocs.


Chapter 23

When Spike, Vi and Andrew arrived at the headquarters there was a welcoming committee of six young women. Bloody nosy bints. He should be used to it by now – the fascination with which he was regarded by the baby Slayers. He knew from experience that it would blow over in a couple of days, although knowing it didn't make it any easier especially since patience wasn't his strong suit.

The eyes of all the women in the room were on him – some wary, some curious and others admiring.

"Everyone, this is Spike," Vi announced to the gathered Slayers.

"And I'm Spike's personal assistant," Andrew saw fit to introduce himself.

Spike rolled his eyes at the boy's exuberance. He was sure he was going to rip the boy's throat out before this was over.

He puffed out his chest and put his hands in the loop holes of his jeans before turning to Vi. "Are you going to introduce me to the gang?"

Vi smiled. "There are only seven of us." She pointed all six out in turn. "Michelle, Beata, Svetlana, Stella and Francesca."

He nodded at them all in turn, trying to memorise the faces. These young girls with super strength, had their lives changed by their decision to mess with the nature, the one girl in the world born to defeat all the vampires no longer alone. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but with hindsight that decision had taken the will of many girls and made them Slayers. At least these girls had a choice; Buffy never did, neither did Nikki Wood or the Chinese one he had offed during the Boxer rebellion.

"Spike, I need to go the bathroom," Andrew whined.

Spike eyed the boy in disgust. "What are you telling me for? You don't need to ask me if you want to go for a piss. Just go!"

He really didn't understand that boy. It had only been a couple of hours and he was already fit to murder the wanker.

"I'll show you," Vi offered.

The pair left him alone with the Slayers feeling uncomfortable. One of the girls in particular was staring hard at him. He wasn't sure if she was aware she was being obvious or if she didn't care. Beata, if he remembered correctly.

"Have I grown a third head or something?" he asked.

She flushed under his gaze. "Sorry, I didn't mean to stare."

"Somethin' bothering you, pet?"

"I was just wondering about you," she said.

"Is that so?"

"You're strange, for a vampire. I mean…why would you go against your own nature and fight against your own kind?" She reminded him of Anya, forward to a fault.

He chuckled, not sure why he felt the need to answer her, but he did anyway.

"At first it was for selfish reasons," he admitted. "Then it was because it's the right thing to do. 'sides, always loved me a good brawl."

He smirked at the girl and she smiled back. The rest of the girls were milling around the room and Spike settled back on the comfy sofa to watch them. Vi walked back into the room and sat down beside him.

"So, what do you think?" she asked, an earnest expression on her face.

"Haven't a clue yet, luv. Get a bloke time to get his bearings." He leaned over and whispered conspiratorially, "Promise you won't stake me if I kill Andrew."

She shook her head. "Andrew's something alright."

The boy walked back in at that very moment. "Did I miss anything?" he asked.

"We haven't started yet," Vi replied.

Spike was getting impatient. "Can we start now, cos I'm not listening to any more teenage gossiping?"

Vampire hearing could be both a blessing and a curse. Right now the vampire was classing it as a curse. The conversations of the young girls couldn't be heard by the two humans next to him, but he could hear the whispers about his relationship with Buffy clearly.

Clearing his throat loudly, Spike gathered the attention of the room. "My personal life's none of your business. In case you've forgotten I'm here to work. Keep your noses out of my business and I'm sure we'll get on just fine." He looked around at the wide eyed audience. "Now – why don't you all fill me in on me old pal, Dracula."

"Before we start, can someone get Spike some blood?" Vi asked.

"I'll do it," the boy volunteered. "I'm here to be his assistant after all."

Spike raised a brow. Looks like the bloke will be easier to manipulate after all, he thought. He doesn't seem to know the difference between common lackey and assistant.

"You might need some help finding everything," Vi pointed out.

"Oh right," he said. "Can somebody help me?"

"I will," a blonde Slayer named Michelle offered.

Spike sniggered. Maybe having the boy at his beck and call could be fun after all.

It took an hour for Spike to be apprised of all of the developments in the case of Dracula. Giles didn't tell him the half of it or if truth be told he had only skimmed the files the Watcher had given him, so it was possible he could have missed some of it. Spike watched all the Slayers milling around the room from his place at the table. He was on his second mug of blood and he could see that the Slayers were uneasy. Vi, having known him from Sunnydale, took no notice, however the others looked disgusted, although their disgust didn't stop them for scoffing down pizza. Andrew was sitting beside him with a notebook, in which he had been scribbling furiously.

"Spike, do you think you'll be able to stake Dracula?" Andrew asked, drawing his attention once more. "I mean - I know you're old and all, but he's even older."

"What do you know you, boy?" he growled. "Of course I can beat the wanker." He leaned back on his chair, the trademark cocky grin on his face. "In fact I'm looking forward to kicking his arse; I have a score to settle with the bastard."

The boy looked a little sheepish. "Of course - I never doubted you," said the liar.

Spike just about refrained from rolling his eyes. Hoping he had silenced the boy for now he emptied his mug of blood and licked his lips clean.

The boy was staring intently at him. "Do you have any powers to influence people?" Andrew asked.

He noticed the heads of the Slayers go up at this question. "No," Spike replied.

One of the girls in particular seemed very interested in their conversation. The dark haired slip of the thing was sitting separately from the other girls and he wondered why. He made a note to ask Vi about her next time they got a chance to speak privately.

Noticing the small bandage on her neck, he asked, "So, you're the silly bint that got herself bit?"

She looked at the ground.

"No need to be embarrassed, pet. Older and wiser women have been fooled by that ponce, even the great Buffy Summers."

She looked up at that. "Really?" she asked.

He nodded. "The bastard's a snake."

She gave him a small grateful smile and he nodded, before deciding he needing a smoke. He stood, looking around at the room at the baby slayers as he did so. Vi was the only seasoned Slayer in the group, having served at the Hellmouth. These other girls had their work cut out for them if they were to go up against Dracula. He had a lot of work to do.

Spike until noon the following morning, recovering from the long trans-Atlantic flight. Kennedy had arrived by the time he rose. Vi had suggested they wait until Kennedy arrived before making any plans. Once she had been settled into the fold, the meeting began.

"There are some things that you need to know about my old pal," Spike said. "First – he's nothing more than an amateur magician, using smoke and mirrors to appear more powerful than what he is. You're Slayers. You can sense vampires and even if you can't see him, it doesn't mean he isn't there. I make off he has some sort of Invisibility Cloak."

"Like in Harry Potter?" Michelle looked at him eagerly.

"Next thing you'll be saying is that JK Rowling's a demon," Kennedy scoffed.

Spike shrugged, "Stranger things have happened."

"Like Billy Idol stealing your look," Andrew interjected.

Spike smirked, "Exactly!" He clapped Andrew on the back. "At least someone's paying mind to me."

Andrew looked very pleased at his words.

Spike lit up his cigarette. "So – ladies. Any ideas what the ponce is up to?"

"There have been rumours about the Gem of Amara," Vi replied.

The idea of Drac with his hands on his gem made Spike insides boil with rage. "That wanker," he growled. "That gem was supposed to be mine. Poked holes in Angel trying to get hold of it. Plan worked and all until my minion decided he wanted to be Mr. Sunshine instead and stabbed me in the back."

However, the more he thought about it the Gem wasn't really Dracula's style and Buffy told him that Peaches had destroyed the gem. There had been rumours of more than one gem but the bastard must have some excellent insider knowledge as he wouldn't waste his time on a pipe dream. He must have some plan, and Old Vlad with a plan wasn't a good thing.

"Wonder what he wants it for?" Spike mused aloud.

Stella snorted. "What vampire wouldn't want to walk in the sunshine and be impossible to kill?"

"No – if Dracula wants to get his mitts on the gem, then it's for some other reason than the obvious. He's an old vamp – older than me and Angel. He's been around a long time and he already thinks he's invincible. He's up to something."

The silence in the room was deafening.

Spike had turned his concentration to work, his relapse had taught him he needed to concentrate solely on himself and it seemed to be working too. He had been in Moscow only a few days and the high levels of oestrogen were getting to him already. It was stupid really considering that things were much worse when he was in Revello Drive living with a whole army of Slayers. Still, a bloke needed some alone time when he was being assaulted by talks of tampons and bras. Back in his day that sort of talk was very much held behind closed doors and never in the company of a man. That was why on the Friday after he arrived in Moscow he jumped on the excuse to get out for a few drinks. He could check out the demon bars and keep his ear to the ground to see if he could get any news on Drac. The only problem was the little shadow he inherited from Giles; Andrew insisted on accompanying him and the women were vocal in their support of this idea wanting the boy out from under their feet. He knew he has been jonesing for male company but that boy hardly counted and he was sure to say something foolish and ruin potential information gathering from other demons. He would never admit it but one the reasons why his temper was so tetchy around the boy was that he reminded him of his human self in some ways. He was eager to please, very naïve and a bit of a laughing stock to everyone else. It made the vampire uncomfortable to be reminded of how much of a prat he had been in the past. The two walked down the avenue, Andrew practically running to keep pace with the vampire.

"Where are we going?" he asked.

"To find a demon bar," Spike replied shortly.

Andrew let out a whimper. "Will I be safe?"

"You're the one who insisted on coming," Spike pointed out.

"Oh yeah."

"Now stop pestering me with bleedin' questions."

"Ooh - I could pretend to be your pet," Andrew suggested, his eyes wide.

Spike stopped so suddenly that Andrew almost ran into the back of him.

"No!" Spike snarled.

"Okay. Jeez, it was just a suggestion. I'm trying to be helpful here."

"That'll be the day," Spike muttered.

As predicted the night was a failure. Nobody wanted to speak with the vampire, accompanied by the annoying human. He decided taking Andrew on a patrol was probably not a good idea since the boy was already drunk after two drinks. He filed away the information for future reference; Andrew didn't handle his spirits well. After dumping the boy in his room, Spike went into his own. Arriving in the door he remembered to check his cell phone and noticed there was a missed call from Dawn. He picked up the phone and listened to the voicemail. When he heard Dawn's voice on the other end he could tell immediately there was something wrong from the hitch in her voice. "Call me back as soon as possible. I need to talk to you."

His immediate thought was that something was wrong with Buffy or one of the little bits. Fingers trembling he dialled the number and waited for her to pick up.

She answered almost immediately, "Spike!" She must have been waiting for his call since it was late.

"Lo, Bit," he replied. "What's wrong? You sounded upset on the phone."

There was a sniffle on the other end of the line.

"It's Giles," Dawn said. "He's sick."

Spike's mouth dropped open. "Oh?" he managed.

He could kick himself for not realising there was something up with the old man. All those pushy moments before he came to Moscow made sense now. Giles was worried about Buffy and wanted her to be happy in case anything happened him.

"What's wrong with him?" Spike asked.

He heard Dawn take a steadying breath on the other end of the phone. "The doctors think it might be cancer but he needs to undergo more tests. He had a growth and they need to see if it's benign or not. He won't know the results for a while." She sobbed, and Spike's undead heart clenched at her distress. "What am I going to do if it's cancer? First Mom and now maybe Giles."

Spike wished he was there to comfort the Bit, but he would have to settle for words of comfort instead. "You don't know the results… Could be that everything's absolutely fine and you've been worrying your little head for nothing. Whatever happens we'll take it when it comes. No point getting worked up about what ifs."

She sniffed again. "I'll try."

Spike hung up the phone and with a pang of realisation that he would miss the old wanker should anything happen to him.

To be continued…

Author's note: This was shorter than I planned but I have quite a bit of Buffy to fit in, so I'm going to move to the next chapter. As always thank you all so much for reading and especially those who have taken the time to leave reviews.