Disclaimer: I don't own BTVS or any of its marvellous characters.

Chapter 25

Spike took a deep drink of the vodka in his glass. He smacked his lips and swirled the amber liquid in the glass. That's good stuff. It was a pity; he could've enjoyed living in Moscow if it wasn't for the fact that every day it mocked him for failing to succeed in his mission. Dracula had apparently gone to ground, and knowing the bastard like Spike did, that couldn't possibly be a good thing. Nevertheless, the vodka was great and the women were beautiful. It wasn't a bad place to be humiliating yourself in. When he arrived over a month previously, he'd been confident of a swift success. He wasn't stupid; he knew it would be difficult. Dracula was no fledgling and he was as smart as hell. Still, Spike didn't think it would take this long. Fucking wanker. The situation with Dracula was more complicated. The vampire was keeping low key, which was enough to ring alarm bells. It wasn't like old Vlad at all. The prat was always so full of himself and didn't believe in one minute he would be caught. Having lasted as long as he did, Spike could understand the arrogance. The problem was arrogance usually could lead to mistakes. Dracula hadn't made any yet he could take advantage of. Sitting still and doing nothing was not Spike's idea of fun. So, he patrolled every night and visited the demons bars. He kept his ear out for any gossip from the friendlier demons. Most of the undead and the demon world kept clear of him. He often heard mutterings about how he was a traitor to his kind for taking up with Slayers. He missed the time when he had a low enough profile to be able to navigate the seedier places in town with confidence.

An irritating but familiar voice interrupted his musings, "Spike!" Andrew peeped his head around the door. "Vi is calling a meeting."

Spike sighed and drained the rest of the glass. Why was he always the sidekick and never the one calling the shots? Even the baby Slayers were bossing him around now.

"Come on," Andrew said. "It's important."

The two men made their way through the corridor down to the sitting room, where the meetings were usually held. .

An hour later, Spike rubbed at his temple in a vain effort to get rid of his headache. They were in the middle of a strategy meeting and it was chaos. Kennedy was bitching about the lack of action and she wasn't the only one. He could sympathise; the boredom was getting to him too. Since Spike had arrived in Moscow, the Slayers were all require to patrol in groups of four or five. Dracula was good but he wouldn't be able to thrall five at the one time. It was working well so far. Vlad had no chance to take advantage of the Slayers and none of them had been bitten since this method had been introduced. However, it meant that Drac had gone deeper underground and there had been few sightings of him in the recent weeks. You win some, you lose some so to speak.

"I just think that we should patrol in smaller groups," Kennedy said. "We have no way of getting to him if we continue to play scared."

"Safety comes first," Vi insisted. "To be reckless would be stupid. You should know better. You've been a Slayer a long time. You were there back in Sunnydale."

Kennedy shook her head. "Burying our heads in the sand isn't going to solve the problem either."

"Damn right," Michelle said.

"We've got to do something," Beata added.

Vi gave Spike a pleading look. He just smirked and ignored her. She was the boss. Let her deal with the Slayerettes. 'Sides she was well able when she wanted to be. Giles wouldn't have given her the position if she wasn't.

Kennedy didn't back down, "If Buffy was here, she wouldn't be pulling her punches."

Eventually, he waded into the discussion sick of listening to the whinging and moaning of adolescents. "Well, Buffy's not here is she and sides I don't think the Slayer would disapprove of Vi's methods."

"Forgive me if I don't take your word for it when she was cheating on you behind your back."

Spike stood up angrily but before he could utter a word Kennedy spoke again. "Sorry – that wasn't called for. I just need to be doing something and right now we are just sitting here letting that asshole get the better of us."

"This fighting amongst ourselves is exactly what Dracula would want to happen," Vi pointed out.

"Vlad might be a wanker but he's a clever one. We suddenly stop patrolling in numbers, he'll stay away because he would know we were up to something. But I do agree we need to do something."

The meeting broke up with little achieved except plenty of arguing. Spike went outside for a much needed smoke. He was leaning against the wall when Vi came out to join him.

"Can I have one?" Vi asked.

"Didn't know you smoked," he remarked handing her a cigarette.

She took it from him and he pulled a lighter from his pocket and lit it for her.

She shrugged, "I don't smoke very often. It's more of a social thing or if I'm really stressed."

"You know," Spike said. "You're a different girl to the one I met back in Sunnyhell."

"Surprised you noticed me. You only had eyes for Buffy back then."

"I noticed a lot of things."

"Sure you did," she said sarcastically.

"Definitely a different girl. You were afraid of your own shadow back then."

She laughed. "Everything changed when Willow did the spell. For once I was something special…" She paused. "When I ended up in Faith's group she saw something in me. She started giving me more responsibility and before I knew it I was second in command."

"Faith's a good bird," Spike remarked.

She nodded. "She is. Can I ask you something?"

"Go on, then," he said.

"Bird? Why would you think any woman would like to be referred to as bird?"

Later that night, Spike's cell phone rung. He assumed it was Dawn when he heard the sound as they were exchanging weekly phone calls. He was surprised then to see Giles' name come up on the screen when he managed to fish it from his pockets.

"Hullo, Rupes." There was a loud sigh on the other end at the nickname and Spike smirked.

"Hello, Spike."

"To what do I owe the pleasure?" As much as Spike had come to respect the Watcher needling the man was still great fun – soul or no.

"I've been waiting for a report from you that never came," Giles explained.

"Bloody hell. Was that meant to in last week? Sorry – you know me Rupes. I'm not the best at that sort of thing."

Giles snorted. "You forget William. I've seen your work. You can't pretend to be an uneducated heathen with me. I can understand you forgetting but if you could get a written report in by the weekend, I'd appreciate it."

Defeated, Spike rolled his eyes. "Okay. Is that it, then?"

There was silence on the line for a moment before Giles continued, "I suppose you've been informed of my illness."

"You suppose correctly, "Spike replied. "Sorry to hear it mate."

Giles coughed nervously. "Thank you, Spike. And I do wish to apologise for my ill-advised remarks to you regarding Buffy."

"Already forgotten."

"Good… good." Spike could hear Giles cleaning his glasses on the other end of the phone. "Are there any new developments on the Dracula front?"

"Fuckin' wanker's keeping low," Spike said. "If I didn't know him better I would think that he had left Moscow. The bastard never gives up so I know he's still around. All we know is a bloke that goes by Dracula's description has been seen asking around about the Gem. 'Sides, I 've heard of sightings of the Three Sisters and old Drac's never far from his pets."

Giles sighed. "I was hoping there was more news."

Spike's expression darkened. "It pains me to admit it. I was sure I would have run to him by now."

"Losing your touch?"

"Oi you cheeky bastard."

Giles chucked on the other line. The laughter was catching and soon Spike was laughing along with him. There was no point in treating people with kid gloves when they were ill. The last thing Giles needed was somebody treating him any different. He would be getting enough of that in the medical profession.

Spike did as he was asked and he had the report in to Giles by the weekend. He would have preferred to write the damn thing with a pen and paper but everything was done by email now. It was faster of course and he knew his way around a computer by now. It had taken longer than he had expected and that was mainly due to Andrew hanging around like a bad smell. He kept asking what Spike was doing and asking if he could help and generally tempting Spike to tear his throat out. Eventually, Vi dragged the boy away and Spike was free to finish the report in peace even if he as bored as hell. He might as well pop on one Giles' tweed jackets and take to smoking a pipe. He was a vampire turned Watcher. How fucking depressing? He decided he would take a break from patrol and just have a few drinks. He was careful to sneak out without the boy following him. The bar he generally favoured to visit was only a fifteen minute walk. Clancy's was a typical Irish bar and it was a good place to go to and watch Man United play. Living in the UK he had gotten used to watching the Premier League football season and he was able to get his fix in Clancy's.

Spike turned into the street where the bar was situated. He muttered a curse as he saw a man pushed up against a wall and a female vampire with long, dark hair about to tear his throat out. Can't even have a night off.


When the vampire turned he immediately recognised the game face. "Dru!"

He froze for a moment in surprise but he the yelp of the terrified man brought him back to his senses.

"Let him go, Dru."

Drusilla didn't seem likely to release the man, so Spike made his way over, pulling out his stake as he did so.

She tilted her head to look at him but kept a tight hold on her victim. "You wouldn't dust Princess."

Spike raised the stake to his sire's chest. "Try me."

She loosened her grip and let the man escape.

Spike brought his demon to the fore. "Run away!"

The man duly obliged and ran off into the dark. Spike still held the stake at Dru's heart. He was bluffing; he knew it and she knew it.

He pulled the stake away from her. "What brings you to Moscow, pet?"

She walked towards him. "The fairies told me an old friend was here."

He narrowed his eyes. "You talkin' about old Drac or me?"

She didn't reply just smiled mysteriously. They stood there staring at one another. It could have been a minute or five, Spike didn't know, before he brought himself back to reality.

"You best be off, pet. Don't want to dust you. I know I should." I really should.

He wondered if she was even listening to anything he was saying.

"My poor prince." She ran a hand over his face. "The nasty sunshine burnt you to a crisp."

He pulled her hand from his face. "I don't want to hurt you, but I will. Don't make me. If you stay here I won't hesitate next time."

She whimpered. "You were made to smash and to crash. Instead, you fight your own kind." She shook her head sorrowfully.

"Got me a soul, pet."

"No – that's not it. You changed when you met her." Her tone was sharp, accusing.

"Buffy's history now, pet. We're not together anymore."

"History and future, my prince." She started to sway to some invisible music. "Didn't we have some good times together, my Spike?"

"That we did, pet," he agreed. "But I don't love you anymore and haven't done in a long time."

"The sunshine ruined you."

"Maybe she did but I wouldn't change it for the world."

Drusilla moaned.

He ignored her and continued, "'Sides I'm fighting the good fight these because it's the right thing to do. Buffy's not my sun anymore. I'm my own man." She was trying to distract him he knew. "You need to get lost sharpish. I'm feeling merciful tonight but I won't be as kind if I see you around here again."

Dru clucked her tongue. "William the hero."

Spike knew there was no way he should be letting the vampire go. Any blood she would shed would be on his head. He knew he would have to keep this quiet from the slayers, they would never understand. Family meant a lot in vampire circles and killing your sire was tantamount to patricide or matricide. Of course he did have experience of the second and he didn't want to go through with that again.

"You damned me when you sired me," Spike said. "Yet at the same time you taught me to live. I'm lived more as a vampire than I ever did as a human. For that reason I don't want to stake you; it doesn't mean I won't."

The crazy bint just laughed at him. He watched her back as she retreated into the shadows, hoping she would leave the city. It was hard enough to deal with one crazy vamp, not to mention two.

To be continued….