Title: Who ya gonna call?
Author: kirasmommy (BB)
Pairing: Xander/Spike&William and a surprise f/f pairing
Rating: R
Content: AU, Humor, Drama, Crossover, touch of angst/character death, William, Lots of pseudo techno babble and such.
Summary: Challenge response and plot bunny response sorta, Xander goes to stay with his Uncle Peter, in New York.

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I don't make money off this. They are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Inc. in association with Kuzui Enterprises, Inc./Sandollar Television, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Television & Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. (HA! Didn't think I knew who owned them didja?) Columbia Pictures industries, Inc. Columbia TriStar Home Video, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis owns Ghostbusters.
Distribution: Nummytreats Archive, KB's, anywhere else that's fine too just let me know where so I can go see it!
Feedback: is this a trick question?
Spoilers: Uh...clear up to The Body from Buffy...major spoilers for the first Ghostbusters movie.
Notes: price of chandelier...taken from a website for large crystal chandeliers...gee they are expensive! Slimer is pulled from the second Movie that is why he can't talk, written before the episode where Harmony and Cordelia met up in the Angel series.
Thanks to Valentine for information on the mansion. Dae for beta work...She is a my hero! And I took her suggestions very seriously!
Dedication: Scorpio...who loves the weird as much as I do and Saber ShadowKitten just because and Dae...hope life settles down soon.

Who ya gonna call?
By kirasmommy

Xander stared at the wall intently. He had a dull throbbing headache and had already taken as much Tylenol as he was allowed. He could hear the knocking on his door. He could hear them calling his name. He was ignoring them. Why couldn't they understand that? Obviously they knew he was in his apartment. Obviously they knew that he knew that they knew that he was in the apartment. So obviously if everyone knew this, than obviously he was choosing to ignore them and would therefore continue to ignore them, no matter how long they knocked or called him. He started to drum his fingers along the armrest of his chair. He counted silently in his head.

{One, two, three, four, five...}

"Xander! We know you are in there!" Willow's voice came through the door.

{Six, seven, eight, nine, ten...}

"Please! We need to talk about this!"

He could hear the others also. Talking in low tones. He could make out Buffy's small but insistent voice. He braced himself. {Eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen...}


He knew without turning around that his door was now on the ground. He could hear them come in. {A shame that only vamps need invites. The world would be a better place.}

He still didn't look up or say anything as Willow kneeled beside him. "Xander?"

Giles cleared his throat before he spoke. "Xander, we really must discuss this."

"Why?" He asked in a hollow tone. "Why? Will it change the fact that it happened?"

Giles gripped Xander's shoulder while Buffy kneeled down opposite of Willow. "No it won't change anything. But Xander please don't cut yourself off from all of us. We are here for you. Please let us help."

Buffy reached out and took his hand, squeezing it in her own. "Please don't try to deal with this on your own."

"It's my fault Buffy. She's dead because of me." Xander's voice sounded rough and he swallowed hard. "Once again demon magnet Xander gets possessed only this time..."

"Xander it wasn't your fault! You couldn't stop it..." Willow grabbed his other hand and held it to her face as she gave it a small kiss.

"I killed her. I killed Anya."

"NO, the demon that possessed you did!" Buffy held his hand tight enough to trap the blood in his hands and turn his fingers purple.

Xander sighed and looked back at the wall. "This was the end. It was too much. Every time I turn around they are being taken away from me, everything that gives me just a little happiness. It is just too much."

"Xander! Don't talk like that!" Giles lowered himself down also to his level. "You mustn't give up!"

Xander looked up at him as he realized how he must sound. "I'm not going to kill myself. But I can't stay here anymore. I need to get away. I need to go someplace...away from all things Hellmouthy. I need to go..."

They looked at him, stunned. Buffy found her voice first. "Maybe, maybe a small vacation..."

He shook his head. "Buffy...I love all of you. But this...I need to go."

"Where will you go?" Willow blinked back the tears.

"New York. I have family there. My Uncle Peter invited me down a few times, now I think I might take him up on it. Mom told me that he probably just wants free help." Xander shrugged. "That's okay...I need a free place to live. It works."

He returned to staring at the wall as the two girls cried quietly with their heads bowed over his lap. Willow weeping quietly while Buffy occasionally hit the armrest in frustration. There was nothing she could do to help fix the problem. Giles sighed and returned to squeezing his shoulder. He would miss them.


Spike threw the box across the crypt and listened in satisfaction as it hit hard breaking something inside. He was mumbling to himself softly as he searched another box. "Bloody useless gits. Keep forgetting I'm the Big Bad. I'm evil...grrr. Of COURSE I'm going to do something evil! It is my reason for being. Then they got the nerve to act all surprise when I double cross them or do them dirty. As Harm would say...DUH!"

He threw another box across the room.


He kicked a few things out of his way as he walked around his increasingly messy crypt. He had been searching for days. "I doubt the blonde bimbette would take it. Isn't her type of thing."

He scratched absently at his head as he tried to remember the very last place he may have seen it. He sat on his makeshift bed and concentrated. He felt his stomach sink as he remembered. {In the Whelp's basement.}

He closed his eyes pained for a second then jumped up and grabbed his coat.

They had never done an uninvited spell on the Harris resident. Before they had decided to cut all ties with him, Xander had already moved. He found the window with the broken latch and crawled through, wiggling as he went.

The basement was pretty cleared out. All that was left were obviously Mr. and Mrs. Harris' things. Spike checked regardless. He searched every place he had ever stashed anything in the basement. All of them were empty. "The little bugger must have took it with him."

As Spike jumped in his car to check the boy's new apartment, he went through all the things he could possibly say to get an invite. He considered different approaches: from threatening to outright begging, from lying to telling the truth. As he pulled up outside the building, he decided he would just go with the flow once he got to the door. He walked down the corridor slowly, straightening his coat and smoothing down his hair. He put his best grin on and knocked. There was no answer. He knocked harder and the door swung open. He pushed his hand against the air in the doorway and discovered that there was no barrier. He quirked an eyebrow and walked in.

"BLOODY HELL! He's moved again!"


It was no small matter to discover where the boy had gone. It took more than a week though. A week in which the people of Sunnydale were re-acquainted with the evil that was William the Bloody. He stole from those that he could steal from, he terrorized those he could terrorize and killed those demons that were unlucky enough to get that close.

Finally he had hired a demon to intercept the mail going to the Harris residence. Bills were allowed to continue on, he had no interest in them, but all personal mail was re-routed to Spike who would tear through them looking only for one name, Xander Harris. He was rewarded when after a week of terror on his part followed by hiding from the Slayer he was handed a letter from Xander to his mom. It was short and to the point. "Uncle Peter is NUTS!" But the most important thing was that it had a return address; New York City. He smiled. "Back to my old stomping grounds."

He shoved it in his pocket grabbed his keys and all but ran for his car.

The next morning, City workers were once again hammering the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign back up. Someone had crossed out dale and had written HELL above it. They couldn't understand why. After all...Sunnydale was such a nice town to raise your kids in.


Xander had not had a good week. It wasn't the most horrible week he had ever had, but it wasn't the best either. He looked at the trap in his hand. It was smoking a strange bluish green color and had the rankest smell he had ever smelled. And that was saying something having lived on the Hellmouth.

He had come to New York to get away from the strange, the bizarre and the dangerous. He had arrived with the address clutched tightly in his hand only to discover that he was standing in front of an old three-story firehouse a firehouse that had seen better days. Above the doors was a battered sign with what may have been a trapped Casper peering down.

He checked the address again to make sure and then back at the numbers. They matched. He tentatively opened the door and went in. His steps echoed as he passed what used to be an ambulance but had been decked out in technology he didn't recognize. The Casper logo that was on the building was also on the car and the license plate read Ecto-2. He came up to the desk as a woman with red hair talked into the phone. She had large glasses and she didn't look amused.

"So does it vomit pea soup or is it more of a clear slime? Uh huh. Well does it have eyes that you can see or does it...right okay...it has eyes, well I suggest that you close the door and don't make anymore broccoli until the guys can get there..." She looked into a large ledger. "Next Friday at 3 o'clock PM. Right good luck."

She looked up at him over her glasses and pressed her lips together. "May I help you?"

"Um, I don't know. My Uncle...Peter. Asked me if I would...come visit?" He half asked.

"DOCTOR VENKMAN! SOMEONE TO SEE YOU!" She yelled at the top of her lungs.

A middle-aged man slid down an old fire pole and landed with an annoyed look. "Why don't you use the intercom?"

"It's broke again. Slimer." She flapped her at in the direction of a machine that had seen better days.

"Well have Egon fix it." He turned to face Xander. "And you are?"

Xander put his hand out nervously. "I'm Xander...er...Alexander Harris. Your nephew."

Dr. Peter Venkman grabbed his hand enthusiastically. "Xander! How is my sister? She still putting up with that sack of shit dad of yours?"

"Um that would be yes." Xander nodded looking at his Uncle. Peter let his hand go and Xander looked in it to find it was filled with slime. Peter patted him on the shoulder leaving a slime trail on his shirt.

"I'm glad you're here! We can use all the help we can get." Peter kept walking as he led Xander to some stairs. "Let me show you where to put your stuff."

"What exactly is it you do here? Mom always just kinda...moaned and said that you were an exterminator but you don't exactly look like the Orkin man to me." Xander lifted his bag up higher on his shoulder.

"We are Professionals of Paranormal Investigations and Elimination." Peter said seriously as they passed a sign.

Xander stopped and read it. "Ghostbusters. We are ready to believe you."

Fifteen seconds later his Uncle Peter was dragging Xander back into the building after the boy did his best to run. He had him by the wrists, pulling him along behind him. "This is an excellent opportunity for you to widen your skills and delve into the sciences of the paranormal."

"NO! I've had enough experience. Thank you!" Xander was shocked by the strength with which his Uncle held him. "I've been possessed enough times..."

At the word possessed two heads popped up from around the corner. Peter gave them a stern look. "NO, NO brain samples! You will not be drilling holes in my nephew's head."

They looked disappointed as they retreated back into the room where Xander could hear little zaps of electricity. As they passed the room, he could see large and small machines and several bubbling experiments.

"Don't mind those guys. That's just Egon and Ray. They are harmless. But if they say the word sample...run. It is for the best really."

"So this is good!" Peter told him as he finally dragged him onto the second level where the bedrooms were. Once there was only one big room for the four men but after so many years they had built little rooms for privacy. He threw the bag into one of the empty rooms. "This is good I don't have to convince you that the paranormal exists."

"I came here to get away from the paranormal!" Xander sat on the bed heavily.

"Were you being paid?"

"Um...no." Xander looked up. He hadn't considered that.

"Good, you won't be here either."

Xander growled.

"Just kidding! You start getting paid after you are trained. Look, Egon says there is something big on the horizon. Seems to happen every decade or so around here. But we need some help on this. Anyone we can get. We've been running ragged for weeks now with no break. Lots of overtime. And Egon says that it won't be getting any better. Until this thing peaks..."

Xander groaned. "Been there done that. Only more with other...things. We mostly dealt with demons and vampires and stuff."

"Vampires? Cool! Egon would love to play with one of them. Think later we can go get one? Just the thing for the scientist with everything, his birthday is soon."

Xander looked at him incredulously. "Are you nuts?"

Peter considered it. "Would it make you feel better if I said no?"

"At this point, no."

"Then don't worry about it. Now stow your gear and we will get you a uniform. We have a job in half an hour. On the job training, of course you won't get paid until your training is over." Peter smiled.

"Mom was right. You are a cheap bastard."

"Hey I resemble that remark!" He shouted over his shoulder as he walked down the hall.

Xander shook his head and rolled his eyes.


Xander slid on the pack stumbling a little under the weight. {No wonder Uncle Peter is so strong.}

The uniform was a little tight around his shoulders. He smoothed the front where his Uncle had written Harris on a small patch with permanent marker. He climbed into the ancient ambulance reluctantly after putting his pack beside the others. Despite that there being five large adults in the vehicle there was still plenty of room. An older black man with just a touch of gray at the temples shook his hand.

"Winston Zeddemore. You must be Venkman's nephew!"


"First time out...nervous?" Winston smiled.

"I have issues with the paranormal. I killed my girlfriend recently while possessed by a demon." Xander told him bluntly.

Winston sat back. He blinked to himself and thought about what he had heard. Finally he nodded. "Now they can have issues with you. See that proton pack you just loaded up in here? That thing has the power. The power to make them have issues with YOU! Now you can fight back."

Xander turned around and looked at the machine. He said it to himself quietly. "I can fight back."

When he turned back to Winston, the older man smiled at him again. "You have the tools, you have the power."

"What do we got Ray?" Uncle Peter asked.

"Full Torso vapor apparition. No biggie. Just a quick zap and back." Ray cast a smile back at Xander. "Great for cutting teeth on."

"No sweat." Peter agreed.


"AHHHHHH it's going to get me!" Xander ran for cover under a giant table in the mansion.

"Aim high...too high!" Egon yelled at Ray.

"It's going to move it's going to move!" Ray yelled back.

Venkman smoothed his hair down as he passed a mirror. "Get him, get him! NOT ME! HIM!"

Winston tightened up on the stream. "Set the trap!"

"Xander throw a containment beam...at the ghost not the chandelier! The chandelier is not a ghost and won't fit in the trap." Egon told him.

"He's moving again. Xander duck!"

"OH GROSS what is this?"

"He slimed you." Peter told him pushing him to the side throwing another beam. "Ah got you, you little bastard..."

"Xander throw another beam just like Peter. Shorten the stream." Ray told him, throwing the trap again so that it was under the ghost and the twin beams. "Start bringing it down and don't look in the trap."

"What happens if you look in the trap?" Xander looked in the trap. "Oh spots...pretty spots!"

As the trap closed the five men breathed a sigh of relief.

"Uh, Egon? How much was that chandelier?" Peter asked.

"I would estimate...five thousand, seven hundred and eighty-five dollars Peter."

"And you ESTIMATE this? Never mind...tack on an even six thousand to the bill." Peter told him.

Xander blinked. "You are charging them for me destroying their chandelier?"

"Well it works like this Kid. You break it. We charge about what it would cost...they pay us...then we send them the money to pay for what was broken. Everyone is happy."

"In other words...they are paying to replace their own stuff." Xander looked disbelieving.

"Would you rather I took it out of your future pay?" Peter asked.

Xander thought about it a second. "Um...no...you have a system and it works for you. Wouldn't dream of changing a thing."

"I thought so. Egon...write up the bill." Peter smiled.


Xander slumped in his chair. He was getting better at handling the equipment and that was a plus. But he was so tired. They had been working almost non-stop, only getting a couple of hours of sleep a night before they were off busting another ghost.

Their rare moments of peace when they weren't were spent in Egon's lab where Egon was trying to figure out why Xander seemed a magnet for the supernatural. Ray insisted that Xander was an old fashioned medium. His natural ability to channel made him a target for those that needed a body to do their bidding. Egon wanted to see if there was a physical cause, something that made him different from other humans. So far they found traces of two of the prior possessions. They had identified hyena spirit and the spirit of a dead soldier. It worried Xander that there might actually be a reason that he attracted possessions but the equipment made him feel safer a little. The words Winston had said, "You have the tools, you have the power," comforted him. The fact that Ray and Egon went to such extreme lengths to understand every little detail was also strangely comforting.

Although Egon's strong desire for samples made him a little nervous.

But, all in all, after a week he was settling in. He did have the initial shock that the place was haunted by a little ghost nicknamed Slimer. It was almost reminded him of an overly friendly puppy and that slimed him every chance it got. He was also learning some tricks of the trade from his older and strangely wiser Uncle. Like throwing a hot dog across the room before entering the doorway. It helped. Well, it helped except for when he accidentally hit Janine with it. He had learned that day how fast he could run while wearing a pack.

He stole a moment to sprawl across a chair, relaxing in the brief peace before the next call would invariably come. A cigarette hung limply from his lips. A habit he had broken as a teenager, it had come back with a vengeance sitting day in and day out with three chain smokers and a large amount of anxiety. The Twinkie Theory of supernatural activity had him vaguely worried. The twinkie was getting bigger every day. He was just starting to doze when he heard Janine ask, "May I help you?" In her bored not really caring way.

"Maybe, Luv. Can you tell me where Xander Harris is?"

Xander stood up suddenly as the cigarette fell. "Ow!"

"There you are Whelp! You have something that belongs to me. A box about so big." Spike approached menacingly, holding his hands about a foot apart.

"Uh...no." Xander shook his head.

Spike growled and shifted his features.

"WHOA! Mother puss bucket...what the hell is that?" Peter asked coming in carrying a proton pack on his back. He had gone out on a job with Egon earlier while the others rested.

Egon adjusted his glasses. "Interesting!"

"Guys, this is a vampire!" Xander pointed at Spike, who turned with a growl. His growl faded into a confused sound when Egon smiled.

"Can I keep him?" Egon asked.

Xander shrugged. "Sure, I have no problem with it."

Spike turned back quickly and gaped in surprise.

"I wonder what a proton charge would do to a vampire?" Xander asked conversationally as his Uncle Peter thumbed the power switch.

"Now, now Whel...uh Xander. No need to be hasty! I mean it's just a box. You can keep the box I just want what is inside."

"Spike, I don't have your box. I don't even have MY stuff yet. A moving company has it. It hasn't arrived yet."

Spike shook his head and resumed his human features. "You don't have it yet? Why isn't it here yet? It's been a couple of bloody weeks!"

"It takes a while! Just because WE drive non-stop don't mean that they are on the same schedule we are! Besides how did you get here so fast?"

"My windows are painted black remember?" Spike said.

Spike growled as he threw himself into a chair. "Bloody effin Hell!"

Spike jumped when he felt Egon poke at his face. "Can I have a brain sample?"


"Just what the bloody hell is this thing on my head?" Spike asked.

The thing in question had been a colander in a previous life. Now, instead of straining pasta, it held various wires going into a larger contraption with a monitor. On the monitor was an outline of a creature that did not look like it had originated from Earth.

Spike looked at it and jumped slightly. It moved with him. "What the bloody hell IS that thing?"

Egon smiled. "That is you. Or rather, the demon that inhabits and possesses you."

It had ridges on its face and small horns on its forehead. When Spike opened his mouth wide, he could see the outline of large sharp fangs.

Xander looked closer. "You look a little like that when you vamp out. Only not so horny...I mean...So are you saying that it's more like possession?"

Xander tried not to look at Spike and willed the blush away.

"I have some theories. If you would just lift your arm..." Egon reached under Spike's shirt attached another wire to his chest with a white circular piece of tape. "I believe that vampires are not actually dead. More that they are held in a sort of suspension near death, not completely of course, but enough to keep them functional and from aging too fast, giving them the appearance of being immortal. I've studied pictures taken long ago of older vampires and compared them to pictures taken today. Do you know what I found?"

"That we are highly photogenic and star quality?" Spike asked.

"They had aged. Not to a significant degree, but enough that I could note a difference. If they were truly dead there would be no change."

On another monitor nearby there was a beep then silence. Egon smiled brightly. "And you are helping me prove my theory. Do you know what that beep was?"

Spike shook his head. "Not really, Mate."

"That was your heart. It just beat one time. Something that legend says does not happen. I also have some other ideas as well. Like the fact that I think your natural respiration is much slower and shallower than a regular human's but still exists. I have a test for that later it requires me sticking this hose down your throat."

It was a rather large hose.

Spike scooted back looking a little worried.

"Maybe later." Egon smiled. "But the fact that you smoke and talk leads me to the idea that you can at least voluntarily breathe. You take a breath before every word. I can see your chest move and you need the air to vibrate your vocal cords to make the sound. I think it is a skill you continued to use even after your supposed death."

"So you are saying that you think Spike here is alive?" Xander asked thinking about the implications. He suddenly didn't feel so well.

"In a word yes. Near death of course. After all if he were completely alive and well the demon would have had no way to get in and not completely dead or else he would be a zombie with no brain function and useless to the demon. The demon needs his host weakened but still functioning on higher levels."

Ray had been standing with his arms folded on the other side of the room, listening. "Could we exorcise the demon away? Perhaps if we had medical help ready for when the demon's presence was gone, he could be kept alive naturally. Unless he's been embalmed or something. OR perhaps even that would not be necessary since he seems in one piece."

"I wasn't embalmed..." Spike shuddered.

Egon shook his head. "No soul supposedly. Without his soul we would just have the equivalent to a coma victim. A lifeless shell."

Ray fiddled with some knobs and sighed. As the lone beep of the machine came again, he smiled. "But what if we got his soul back first. Had it waiting and when we got rid of the beast wham!"

Spike looked from one to the other. "You aren't talking about cursing me like the pouf are you? And need I remind you that I happen to like being evil?"

Egon raised an eyebrow.

"Angel...he's a vampire that is cursed with a soul along with his demon. He loses it when he gets happy and becomes evil." Xander supplied.

Egon shook his head. "No, nothing like that. What we are talking about is, in essence, turning you back into a regular human being...We think."

"You think?" Xander asked.

"Well we haven't ever tried it. And you can still be evil if you want as a human. I've met plenty." Egon defended. "Peter is a good example."

"Where would you find his soul? I mean it took a spell to curse Angel." Xander asked, bending down to look Spike in the eye.

Spike leaned back. "I'm not a bloody exhibit!"

"Ethereal Plane, that is where most the spooks and specters come from." Ray said.

"Or that is where they usually end up. Senfold had an interesting theory that in cases of complete possession such as this the souls that have been cast out trail behind their bodies. Unable to contact their body but unable to leave. Almost a personal hell, he believes that is where the misconception that vampire's souls go to hell came from. He believed that once the vampire was 'dusted' that the soul was released while the demon returned to the dimension that it originally came from. He had many interesting theories including that given enough centuries the human host to the vampire could act as a doorway from their dimension to ours thus creating a bridge over which they could overtake the Earth." Egon told them seriously.

Spike blinked. "What ever happened to this Senfold bloke?"

"He was attacked and eaten by a vampire." Egon shrugged.

Ray nodded, "It is believed that the first vampire appeared in Ancient Egypt. And it makes sense. The demons that make a vampire was originally minions of Ra the Sun God but they fell out of favor because they tried to betray him and he banished them to the demonic plane. They were to forever be denied the light of day as an additional punishment. Never to look upon the face of their former master nor he they. The Egyptians believed that man was made up of many parts. Depending on the translation you read it is Ba which is your personality. They believed that it stayed with the vampire but was submerged by the demon, there was the Ieb, which was the heart, which was the seat of the mind and power in their thinking. They considered the brain useless. Threw it away during mummification...but the heart they left in as important. Then there were the five parts of the spirit that were important. Akh which became immortal, Sahu which was a spiritual body in the neter-khertet and then two more Aufu and haidit which were also parts of the spirit and necessary for the after life."

Egon took up where Ray left off, sitting down. "Yes, the Ieb stayed with the vampire also and by staking it through the heart, the seat of the mind and power. The thing that gave the demon energy was destroyed and disrupted. But the interesting thing with vampires is the Ka. The demons displaced the Ka. The Ka is the soul and the double. They are linked together in many translations and believed to be one part. Your double is what you see when you look in the mirror according to ancient Egyptian beliefs. And you will also find in many cultures it is believed that your reflection is your soul staring back at you, it is why some more primitive cultures feel that having a picture taken of them is the same as stealing their soul. Because you carry it away, they don't understand the technology and think of it as a mirror."

"So if the Egyptians got it right," Xander started. "Then the reason that Vampires can't see their reflection is because this Ka is missing. It is their double and their soul and since their soul is missing then so is their reflection because it is attached to the soul."

"Exactly right. The demon displaces the Ka and takes its place. And since the body has not been killed it is still technically alive until the Ieb is destroyed or their head is taken. Which is actually important, by the way, because they need higher brain functions, which is why they need their victims alive. The Ka is forced to tag along according to theory because it can't completely separate until ALL the parts of the body are let loose. All the other parts of the body are still present in the vampire. So it is according to Senfold trapped and forced to forever travel as a sort of ghost behind the vampire. Watching itself kill and terrorize other humans." Ray finished up with a gesture at Spike.

Xander looked back at Spike. "So...William might be standing here with us right now? Unable to talk to us and forced to watch as his body..."

Egon held up the PKE meter and turned it on. The sides went up and blinked steadily. "It is very possible."

Spike looked at the machine and frowned.


Xander stared up at the ceiling. It looked a little rough and needed to be re- painted. It was a little flaky, but then a lot of stuff needed work around the firehouse. He sighed and realized that he hadn't had his daily dose of Slimer brand slime. He wondered briefly if perhaps the little ghost didn't like the vampire that was just in the next room. After a short debate, the scientists had decided they wanted to do further study and Uncle Peter wanted another free employee. Xander smothered a grin.

Spike had looked so shell-shocked when Uncle Peter had come in and said. "Still here? Well no one mooches; you start work tomorrow night. No pay till your training is complete. Stow your gear in the room next to Xander. You have night shifts."

Spike turned to Xander with his mouth open to say something and Xander had only shrugged. Spike never said another word about it. In fact, he had been rather quiet all evening since Egon and Ray's little talk. It made Xander's stomach twist to think that vampires were still technically alive. He had heard the heart beats himself. Slow, very slow, but they had a rhythm and they came in a pattern.

Xander closed his eyes and tried to sleep. The discussion as to why wooden stakes killed the Ieb still echoed in his brain. Wood was sacred in many societies, therefore it could be considered religious by itself. And the cross was a descendent of the Egyptian Ankh, a symbol of life. He could here a murmuring sound from the next room and after a few moments realized that Spike was talking to someone. After a few more minutes he couldn't stifle his curiosity and crept up to the thin walls.

"...I wonder if you can hear me. I never considered that you existed. Thought you were in hell or some place. Maybe that you had gone on to heaven or some crap like that. I'm really confused now you know. Never considered that I still actually had a soul. You know out of sight out of mind type thing. I guess there is something to the whole...reflection and soul bit. Haven't seen you in so long and all. I wonder what you look like. Or is that what I look like? Am I me still? Or am I only part of me and you are the other part?

Damn scientists. Every bloody time I get near one they play with my bleedin' head! One way or another! In Sunnydale it was putting the chip in it. Here it is making me think about you...me...us. Can you hear me I wonder? You know, been feeling a bit different recently. Like the demon hasn't had as much control. Chip makes it a bit hard for him to get his jollies. Have you been trying to get back in? Is that why I cared for Buffy? Or because the demon has been relaxing is my personality playing tricks on me? You know loving the unattainable just like before when you were in control? Why can't Angel see his reflection? He has a soul. Maybe because it is a magical curse and it isn't rooted. I hate thinking! That was always more your bit."

The low murmur stopped and Xander sat back onto the bed. It was still disturbing him that technically vampires were still alive. But he had heard the slow, very slow beats himself. Egon still wanted to stick a tube down Spike's throat to test his breathing. But so far Spike had refused or rather hid in creative ways. He had been rather impressed by the vampire's ability to cling to the ceiling earlier.

Xander sighed. {If Spike and other vampires are alive then is it right that we slay them? Aren't we in essence killing them at that point, isn't killing murder? Does that make Buffy really...Buffy the vampire murderer?} Xander had always avoided thinking about it before because if he thought about it too hard he knew that he would not be able to do it. He had always avoided getting to know Angel and Spike. In fact, he went out of his way to try and hate them. If he got to know them, then they would become people to him. And if they were people, then wouldn't that mean that vampires in general were people. People that they killed. And if they were possessed...shouldn't they be making more of an effort to help them?

Xander turned over onto his stomach. He had been possessed enough times to know how helpless it felt not to be in control. He turned his head and looked at the wall separating his room from Spike's. When he had been possessed, he had killed Anya. When the possession ended, his friends went out of their way to try and make him feel better. To tell him that it wasn't his fault and that he shouldn't punish himself for something out of his control. But isn't that what happened to vampires.

{We punish them for being possessed by killing them outright. We disrupt their Ieb, their heart, where the seat of power is, and kill them. Shouldn't we be looking more into saving them? We didn't even care where their souls ended up.}

Xander looked back at the pillow he was now clutching under his chest. {Poor William. I wonder what he thinks of this mess. I wonder what he was like.}


The next evening found a grumbling Spike waking up and a wiggling Slimer trying to cheer him up. Slimer had apparently summoned up his courage and had rushed the vampire. Spike, who wasn't quite awake yet, found himself thoroughly slimed. Spike cursed in every language he knew and made up words when he ran out. Slimer floated a short distance away and began to whine.

Ray came in and smiled at Slimer. "It's okay Slimer, he'll get over it."

Slimer shook his body from side to side and gibbered at them. He pointed not at Spike but at the space beside him. Slimer began to cry.

"What's wrong with spud?" Venkman asked as he walked in.

"I don't know. Spike cursed at him but when you do it, it don't make him cry." Ray put on a glove and patted the distraught ghost.

Egon entered the room and turned on the PKE meter. "Guys he isn't pointing AT Spike. He's pointing beside him."

Slimer bounced up and down. Xander took a breath and finally asked. "Do you see a ghost? One that we can't see?"

Slimer bounced up and down.

"Does it look like Spike?" Egon asked.

Slimer started to cry again and left the room.

"I think vampires freak the spud out." Xander said.

"Maybe Spike should try listerine." Venkman suggested. "Blood breath yuck!"


"First lesson...hey you! The one in need of a great dental plan, pay attention!" Peter told the uniformed vampire. "First lesson. We don't point the proton gun at anyone that seems solid. It can put an eye out. Well, truthfully, it can turn you inside out and scatter you across the state but that is beside the point."

"Right no pointing the gun at Xander like this." Spike pointed it at Xander.

"No blood for you tonight pal." Peter waved a finger at him. "And Egon was going to get you the good stuff."

Spike pouted and put the gun back in its holster.

Spike and Xander stood side by side dressed in the drab gray uniforms of the Ghostbusters. Venkman had written Capt. Blood on the patch that was for Spike's name tag.

"Okay lesson two, always charge double if the client gets sarcastic. Triple if they want to help." Peter told them.

"Oh and charge them for whatever we break!" Xander waved his hand like a teacher's pet.

"Good boy, Xander!"

Spike raised an eyebrow.

"Next lesson...if at any time someone asks you if you are a God...say YES! Believe it or not this comes up once in a while." Peter continued. "Avoid the press. Avoid the EPA. Avoid the police."

Egon stepped forward. "Don't damage the equipment. Each of you is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on your backs. And remember never cross the beams unless we tell you to."

Spike felt his face form an expression it didn't usually make. Fear. "What happens if it gets damaged?"

"You won't care if it does because you and half of New York won't be here to worry about it."

Spike turned to Xander. "Forget the box, I'm going home now."

Xander grabbed Spike. "Nope, you get to help. Something is coming, something big and we need all the help we can get."

"Right so let's go kick some ghost hiney!" Ray said enthusiastically.


Spike turned to Xander, "Would I be any less manly if I ran away screaming like a girl?"

"Yes! Aim a foot higher. I think it is going to move!" Xander told him trying to adjust his own beam. The ghost they were trying to trap zigged and zagged around the beams.

Xander growled to himself as the four-foot high specter raced around them. It was seriously getting on his nerves. After a few more minutes of throwing beams that only managed to damage walls, Xander finally hit the beast and held it. "Someone throw another containment beam!"

Ray threw a trap out under the ghost as Egon's beam entwined with Xander's to hold the ghost in place. "Start to lower it down."

Spike watched, fascinated, as Xander handled the equipment with a shine in his eye. As though, on some level, he was getting back at it a little.

The ghost was only a foot away from the trap when there was a rippling effect above them. It looked as though they were looking through water as a rift grew. A large creature leaned out of it. It was black with scales and horns. Four glowing eyes glared evilly at them as it reached down and grabbed the ghost away from the trap. It pulled itself and the ghost back into the rift that closed behind them.

The six men stared above them.

"Well that doesn't happen every day." Venkman said.

"What the hell was that thing?" Winston asked. "Spike? One of your relatives?"

Egon looked up from his equipment. "Fellas this is not good."

Spike and Xander both sighed at the same time. "Why me?"

"Why not?" Venkman asked following them out.

A beautiful blonde woman rushed them as the door closed behind them. "Did you get it? Was it mean? Will it come back?"

Venkman patted her on the back as the others started to load up the decrepit old ambulance. "We need to look into it some more."

She turned to the others and pouted. "I was hoping to have the place ghost free for my twenty-first birthday party."

She caught sight of the two newest and youngest looking Ghostbusters. Spike smirked and winked. She giggled appreciatively.

Venkman smiled falsely as he looked over to them. "Nice bunch aren't they?"

She nodded smiling. "Yes they ARE!"

"Yeah, you know the one with dark hair, he's my nephew." Peter smiled happily.

She looked up at him with interest. "REALLY?"

"Yes he and his boyfriend there moved here recently. Don't they make a LOVELY couple?" Peter asked as he waved at the two who waved back confused.

She stared at them in shock. "They...are...both...gay?"

"Hmm...well...you know these things happen even in the best of families." He put his arm around her. "But here's my card and if you need anything day or night...ANYTHING...I'll be there."

She smiled wryly. "Oh, okay."

Ray snickered as they got into the car. "You know, you are really lucky he's defanged."

"Not defanged just in denial." Venkman grinned.


"Okay Egon, what do we got?" Venkman asked as he sat down with his can of beer.

"What we got is a potentially devastating disaster on our hands." Egon said holding up one of his meters.

"As opposed to the many HAPPY disasters we usually encounter." Venkman said.

Egon ignored him. "According to this reading, a rift is forming between the ethereal and the mortal plane. And according to THIS reading..." He held up a different box. "The creature we saw was a demon from the demonic plane indicating that there is a similar rift between the ethereal and the demonic plane."

"Okay when you say plane, I take it we aren't talking about those we fly on?" Xander said with a twitch.

Egon looked from Venkman to Xander. "I can now see the resemblance."

Ray chuckled. "Think of the Earth as one level of existence, the Ethereal plane as another and then the Demonic plane as yet another level. Each plane on top of the other with a...sort of wall between each one. It is usually cracked allowing some out but holds the majority in."

Egon nodded, taking over from Ray. "Think in terms of water. Each level is an aquarium, each level filled with water and fish and flotsam. One level the highest has Sharks; the second has some piranha maybe some eels but mostly harmless fish, the third, guppies. By the way...we are the guppies. Each level still above the other with its glass wall keeping all the different fish separate from each other. Now imagine someone poked a hole at a crack between the first two levels."

Xander closed his eyes with a pained look. "The demons have spilled onto the ethereal plane. The demons are playing with the ghosties."

"Yes, now imagine that someone is starting to poke a hole between our level and the level above it..."

"We better clean up, looks like we are getting some company! Always when my house is a mess!" Venkman began to pace the room.

Everyone continued to ignore him.

Ray sighed. "Looks like something is attempting to take over all three planes of existence."

"Aw man!" Venkman groaned. "Every time we save the world we get SUED! I hate these freebie jobs!"

The men clustered around the table sipped their beer, their ability to tune out Venkman raised to an art form "So what do we do now?" Xander asked.

"We find out where the rift is originating from. We need to find out where to start closing it. Tomorrow we, well, we that can be in daylight without going up in smoke and flames, will canvass the city taking readings."

"The entire city? Do you KNOW how big New York is?" Xander whined.

Spike smiled. "I get to sleep while you lot run your arses off."

Xander rolled up a newspaper and hit Spike on top of the head. "Bad vampire!"

Spike looked up stunned. "You hit me?"

Venkman hit Xander with the rolled up paper. "No hitting those that can't fight back."

Before another word could be said, Slimer floated in full tilt attaching himself firmly to Spike.

"Aw...I think he likes you now." Xander said.

The friendly ghost whined and wiggled smearing slime all over the writhing vampire. "Get the BLOODY HELL OFF ME!"

Slimer floated away but hovered close to him. "At least he isn't scared of him anymore." Ray said.

"Spike, think of all the money you can save on hair gel having Slimer around." Xander told him.

Slimer hovered close to Spike but faced away from him. He gibbered at thin air. They watched him talking in the babbling speech no one really understood to no one.

"You think he's talking to William again?" Xander whispered to Egon.

Egon nodded seriously.

Venkman looked at the little ghost contemplatively. "Can't be that great of a conversation."


It was close to dawn when Xander made up his mind. "So I'm crazy. Nothing new there. Just go in and...do it."

He stood outside the vampire's room that was next to his own. "I mean what is the worst that could happen? He tells me to 'bugger off'?"

Finally Xander took a breath and walked into the room. Spike was staring up at the ceiling when Xander walked in. The vampire looked at Xander. "What the bleedin' hell do you want Whelp?"

Xander almost turned around. "Um, Egon and Ray, well we've been doing some experiments. They want to figure out how exactly I channel spirits and things...they've been interested in whether I could talk to a spirit without actually you know getting...possessed. Or slimed. So I was wondering..."

Xander broke off and looked around the tiny room. "Would it bother you too much if I sat here while you slept for a couple of hours and tried to talk to William?"

It was true. Ray and Egon were very interested in whether or not he could actually hone it into a skill that could be useful on the job. If he could contact the spirits they may find a way to help them leave without actually having to bust them. Less work, same amount of money was what his Uncle Peter had added to the conversation.

Spike looked at him in surprise. "You aren't going to bother me with a bunch of chanting are you?"

"No, no chanting. I promise."

"Well I guess. As long as there is no chanting involved. And no incense! That stuff stinks." He turned over on his side and closed his eyes. He could feel Xander move around the room and sit on the floor.

Xander closed his eyes and tried to open his mind. {William? William? Can you here me? I know you are in this room.}

He tried to do what Ray had told him and in an instant was met with a wave of sadness and grief. He could feel the presence near him, around him. He reached out blindly and met nothingness. {I am here.}

And though he got no verbal response he could feel a small change in the presence. He fell asleep wrapped in it.

A couple of hours later Egon and Ray looked in and smiled. Xander was curled up on the floor with his arms crossed over his chest as though he was holding something. Spike was looking down at him with an unreadable expression, his hand hovering above Xander.


The five normal human men slumped at the table, weary to the bone. They had been all over the city and it had returned with bad news.

"I can't believe it." Venkman said again.

"I knew that it was too easy." Ray sighed.

"Be glad that we had this long a break." Winston rubbed his face.

Spike carried his mug with him and sat down. "What the bloody hell am I drinking?"

Egon adjusted his glasses. "I'm trying to figure out which key component of blood it is that you crave. You are currently drinking only plasma. I would be most appreciative if you would tell me later how you found it and whether or not it kept you satisfied."

"It tastes like water to me! I don't like it." Spike mumbled to himself.

"Okay, what exactly does all this mean?" Xander asked. "I take it you are familiar with the building."

"Oh yeah real familiar. The building was designed by the architect Shandor. He was an insane genius that wanted to bring about the end of the world. The building in question is made of cold-riveted girders with selenium cores." Ray told Xander. "One big giant massive psychokinetic magnet."

"He was a worshipper of Gozer. We sent him packing about twenty years ago." Winston added.

"Gozer is also known as the Destructor, a real hell on Earth kinda...guy." Ray said.

"Well okay, we sent Gozer packing before we just need to remind him, her, whatever that they can't push us around." Venkman said. "No problem."

"Problem, Peter. According to these readings there is more than one gate this time. And we don't know where it is. Look at this map." Egon said.

Egon spread a map out on the table. "This is the building here. Strong readings here. On this side of the building no readings whatsoever. From North to South, again, weak to no readings at all, but heading West they are level readings going out of the city. I think Gozer planned a divide and conquer approach this time. Two gates with a rift opening between them and it would be impossible for us to stop them. Right now the barrier is weakened. It isn't opened yet but it will be soon. We have to find out where the other gate is and close it at the same time as we close this one. If we can find out where the new gate is, we can divide up into teams of three."

Xander looked at the map. "Well, is there anyway to find out what other buildings this Shandor has designed. I'm willing to bet that he's still connected somehow. And it would need another giant psychokinetic magnet right?"

Egon and Ray looked at him in surprise.

"Hey, I've spent the last few years of my life doing research. You pick things up." Xander folded his arms across his chest.

"Not too shabby." Venkman pounded him on the back.


Xander was quietly banging his head against the wall while Spike drank a cup of platelets mixed with plasma. Spike made a face and turned to Xander. "Does that help?"

Xander banged his head against the wall one last time and turned a little to him with his forehead still pressed against the wood. "A little. You should try it. It relieves stress."

"I think I'll stick to booze and blood and sex, thank you. It relieves my stress just fine."

"I don't wanna go back." Xander whined.

"It will only be to close the Hellmouth." Spike said patting Xander lightly on the back. His expression was unreadable. "Then we bugger off back here."

They had found the building that was the other gate. A building that Xander had himself helped blow up years ago. His former high school, the site of the Hellmouth. It was the only other building Shandor had built using the same material as the apartment building. The school was the perfect psychokinetic magnet. And if experience had taught Xander anything, it was that the building in question was the center to many weird happenings.

"Well I'm trying to look on the bright side." Spike told him.

"What bright side?"

"At least if we are in Sunnyhell, than the egghead can't try for anymore samples till I get back. Do you know he wants a bone marrow sample from me? Those HURT! He also wants to run daily blood tests and start to give me iron pills and all sorts of other rot. The man thinks I'm a guinea pig!"

"I think of you as a guinea vamp myself." Xander said.

"Sod off."

Xander jumped a little as Spike suddenly jerked and turned around. "Who?"

Spike looked back at Xander. "Did you just laugh?"

Xander shook his head. "No."

"Did you hear someone laugh?" Spike asked looking behind him.

"No." Xander said again. He closed his eyes and concentrated. He could feel a slight flutter around them.

Spike tilted his head as though he was trying to listen to something far away. "I could have sworn..."

Xander shook his head. "I didn't HEAR anything but maybe you..."

Spike looked straight for a minute then turned suddenly. He did it again a couple of more times. "Whelp, something very weird is happening."

"Something weird is always happening. Please be specific."

"You ever sometimes think you see someone out of the corner of your eye but then, when you turn around, nothing is there?"

Xander nodded. "Yeah, I see that lots of times."

"Well I don't usually. But all night I've seen something just out of the corner of my eye but when I turn to look, it is gone. And it isn't the slime ball either. It happened when he was in front of me." Spike said.

Xander closed his eyes and reached out the same way he had earlier. He felt the silent humor float toward him and he heard himself chuckle. "William is laughing at us."

Spike looked around him. "Where exactly is he?"

Xander didn't open his eyes as he pointed in the direction of the feeling of laughter. "Over there."

Xander pointed behind Spike, just past his shoulder. Spike reached out behind him and felt thin air. "He's getting stronger isn't he, Mate? The demon is getting weaker without being allowed to cause havoc and he is getting stronger? Will he try to take over?"

"Could be. Maybe your demon is withdrawing a little..." Xander began to suggest.

"It's HERE!" Ray interrupted. "Come see! You are going to LOVE this!"

Ray happily ran out the door only to run back in a second later. "Come on you two...you act like it is the end of the world! Well I guess...I mean...oh just come on!"

They both stood up slowly and walked out the door to the main floor where Ecto-2 was usually parked. Sitting beside Ecto-2 an almost identical car sat bearing the license plate Ecto-1. "We just got it back from the shop. Usually Winston does most the repairs but...anyway its back now...and SPIKE look what we got for you to ride in on the way to California!"

Ray opened the back to reveal a black coffin.

"A coffin. A...coffin? A coffin." Spike looked at it and tried to process what he was seeing. "I don't like coffins. They are too small and I like beds. Nice big comfy beds."

Ray smiled. "Well we could have put a bed in but you would have still fried come morning. And there is no trunk so we can't throw you in there. So this was the best thing we could come up with. It was a freebie from that job we did last night at the mortuary. Winston and I asked them about one and they gave it to us. We worked on it all day. But LOOK!"

Ray pulled out the platform that the coffin rested on so that it was half out of the car and lowered a stand to balance it. He opened the coffin. "We packed all the essentials. Since you can't smoke...nicotine gum and nicotine patches...your choice. A radio, CD player, even a cassette player, a small television," he pulled up the lining a little to reveal a hidden door. "The television attaches to a VCR under here."

He pulled at the lining on the side and revealed another door. "A refrigerator unit for keeping your blood. Egon is sending whole blood with you since he can't continue the experiments without you here." He snickered. "I'm sure you are crying tears over that, huh?"

"It will have to be eaten cold, sorry. We couldn't put a microwave in here. Not that we didn't try to figure it out!" Ray was like an oversized child showing off a toy as he opened compartments packed for the blond vampire. "Oh and nude magazines if you want them. Be careful, though. Peter will steal them if you aren't careful."

Spike looked at it in surprise. "Well if I have to be stuck in a coffin, I guess this one isn't so bad. It's almost big enough for two actually."

Spike felt his face heat up and looked away. Xander cleared his throat and looked away also then back at the coffin.

"Hell put in a toilet and I'd hang out in it!" Xander said peering in. "I might just do it anyway."

Ray punched Spike's shoulder. "Hey, nothing but the best for a Ghostbuster!"

Spike smiled.


Xander held onto the door tightly and wondered, not for the first time, if Vampires could get seasick, because if not, he was sure that Spike would be the first victim of it ever. His uncle refused to hand over the map or turn over the wheel to another driver. So Venkman was driving with his knees as he spread the map out over the dash and looked at it. "I think if we take this road here we might be able to get back on the highway."

He veered off into the other lane for a second as he moved the map a little then jerked back into his own lane just in time for a car coming in the opposite direction to go off the road. Venkman reached out and snagged a can of pop and opened it without ever really looking at the road. He had been a little miffed that Xander had dumped the beer out off the side of the road earlier in the trip. Venkman had gone to a lot of trouble to sneak that into the car.

"Uncle Peter PLEASE let me drive!" Xander whined as he saw lights coming directly in front of him. And realized that his uncle veered off into the other lane.

Venkman looked up and pulled back into his own lane without a look of worry.

"No need, I've got everything well in hand. Take a nap, you may feel better."

"No! No naps! If I die I want to be awake for it. I don't want to miss the life flashing before my eyes thing. I missed some parts the first time around and want to catch the re-runs."

"Suit yourself." Venkman said easily.

Somewhere on the edge of his perception he could feel someone chuckling. "Yeah keep laughing William!"


Interlude in LA...

Cordelia collapsed to the floor as the vision consumed her. She only vaguely heard her friends and the people she considered family surround her. As the vision left, she began to cry.

Angel stroked her back. "Cordy what did you see?"

"It was so jumbled! I-I saw Xander in a coffin. I think he was dead and there was music playing. I think it was his funeral maybe. And I saw Spike smoking a cigarette, driving an old car with a coffin in the back and some man tied up beside him. The man tied up kept demanding to let him go. I saw Spike drive over the Sunnydale sign and then the Hellmouth began to open."

Angel growled low to himself. "Spike!"

Wesley tried to help Cordelia up. "Spike must be going to kill Xander, take a hostage and return to Sunnydale to open the Hellmouth! We must stop him!"

Gunn looked up. "Whoa, is this more of Angel's family? Man! How many are there running around out there?"

Angel ignored him as he gathered up some weapons. "Come on, we don't have much time!"

End interlude...


"Now, was it really necessary for you to do that?" Venkman demanded. "And untie me! I don't see why you felt it was necessary that I didn't drive. All you would have to have done was ask nicely. I would let one of you drive."

"We did ask! We even stooped to begging. Then we stooped to tying. And as for the sign, of course Mate!" Spike assured him. "It's tradition! Almost like breaking champagne on a boat. Only here you knock those damn signs down."

"But did you have to get out and put a mustache and fangs on the smiling picture of the woman and child?" Xander asked, climbing out of the coffin and back beside his uncle whom he began to untie. He reached back and turned the CD player off before closing the lid.

Spike smiled. "Well, they ask for it! Safe place to raise your children...HA! I wouldn't raise a dog here for fear of it becoming a midnight snack!"

"We should go to the Magic Box. Let everyone know we are here. They might be able to help." Xander said.

Venkman nodded. "I guess a few more warm bodies...no offense there Spike...could help."


Strange things had been happening in Sunnydale recently. Not that strange things didn't normally happen, but it had taken on a stranger than normal feel. This found the remaining members of the group affectionately known as the Scooby gang sitting in the Magic Box late at night reading in dusty tomes trying to find if a prophecy was about to come true.

They all jumped when the door flew open and three men in gray walked in. Buffy stood, ready to fight until she recognized Xander. She tensed again as she recognized Spike. She didn't know the third guy and regarded him warily.

Venkman smiled. "I'm HERE! You may cheer but keep it to a dull roar. Girls wanting kisses line up to the left, guys wanting autographs may line up to the right and anyone else can watch me in awe from across the room."

Spike groaned. "And you lot thought I had an ego."

"Well hello cutie! Is that a stick in your hand or are you just happy to see me and a bit kinky?" Venkman slid up to Buffy.

Buffy looked at him mystified. "Who are you?"

Xander stepped forward recognizing the signs of imminent stakeage. "Buff, this is my Uncle Peter. He's harmless, well mostly harmless...no, no, um harmless...well to humans...the supernatural not so much."

Buffy held up a cross to Xander and Xander took his glove off and gripped it with a smile. "No, not a vampire. Neither is Uncle Peter. He's always been like this."

"God help us all." Spike intoned.

Buffy turned to him and glared. "What is HE doing here?"

Venkman smiled and patted Spike on the back before slinging an arm around his shoulders. "He works for me. He's here to help close a gate leading to...well it is basically end of the world type stuff. Xander tells me that you are familiar with that kind of thing. He's also here because the chicks dig him and he's a walking ad. So lets get cracking. Go to this school and call Egon and then close these gates and get home in time for Miller time."

Spike mumbled to himself. "If they 'dig me' how come I have YET to pick one up?"

Venkman quickly turned to Giles, "Come on. Let's go get readings to make sure that the school is the gate!"

Giles stood up and took his glasses off. "Um I'm sorry, we are still a bit confused. What gate? End of the world? What exactly is going on?"

Venkman visibly deflated and muttered. "Oh God."

He shuffled to a table and lay on it. "Xander, you explain it to them, they are your friends. I'm taking a nap."

Xander glared. "Do I get paid yet?"

"I'll start paying you when we get back home. We save the world and I'll consider the training of both of you done. Both of you will be paid." Venkman said never looking up.

Spike smiled. "I like the idea of getting paid, Pet." He pushed Xander forward, "So tell them all ready!"

Xander groaned. "Okay here is the deal..."

An hour later, complete with question and answer period, Giles paced around the room while Venkman snored lightly. "So you need readings of the area? What kind of readings?"

"Mostly PKE readings, some other types too. Don't worry. All three of us are trained in that kind of thing. Basically, we think that it might help if you guys would, you know, stake the nasties that try to stop us from dealing with the rift. We have to close the gate at the same time as the one in New York according to Egon. We can coordinate that over the cell phone."

"So, you guys kill ghosts?" Buffy asked as Spike turned on a PKE meter and started moving around the room with it held at an odd angle.

"No, not really, we trap them and then put them in a containment unit that is tied to another dimension. Basically, we usually trap them and send them home. You can't really kill something already dead. They are energy and energy can be transformed but not destroyed." Xander explained before turning to Spike. "Spike, all the meters have been adjusted to ignore you so we can get an accurate count. So don't worry about how you are holding it."

"Good, this makes my wrist hurt holding it like this." Spike said, continuing with the readings.

"Xander, Vampires are dead and I slay them." Buffy said in a condescending tone.

"Actually I've learned a LOT about them, and no, they are alive. You don't just slay them, you are killing them." He used the same tone back and turned around when she looked at him with a shocked expression.

"Is that what Spike told you?" Giles almost growled, watching Spike move the meter over the books.

"No, it is what I learned from Egon and from watching a bunch of experiments. All really scientific, kinda fun."

"Not if you are the one being experimented on." Spike muttered moving to the witches.

Giles and Buffy continued to glare at Spike as he moved from the witches to a very quiet Dawn. The meter went up and down, then blinked rapidly. Spike blinked back. "Never did that before."

Xander peered over his shoulder. "It's probably because she is the key. Clear the readings and continue. It doesn't have the signature of what we are looking for anyway."

"What exactly are you looking for?" Dawn asked she crossed her arms looking mildly disturbed that she produced a reading.

"Readings that will lead us to anyone connected to Gozer. Anyone possibly possessed with the Keymaster or the Gatekeeper. They usually precede the coming of Gozer. If we can find them first before the gate is opened, we have a better chance. Uncle Peter was being just a little...jump the gunish. We can't actually do anything until the gates start to open. Egon, Ray and Winston are trying to find the Keymaster and Gatekeeper in New York too. We aren't sure which location they may arrive at or if one will appear here and the other there. It is totally up in the air right now."

"Sounds pretty par for the course." Willow said.

Spike moved to Giles and took readings then moved onto Buffy. The sides of the meter started to go up. "Well, that can't be good."

Xander took out his own equipment and measured. "I don't think it is coming from her. Buffy could you move over to where Willow and Tara are."

She shrugged and walked away. The PKE continued to beep as they held it in place where she had been. Then it went down as the presence moved. They followed it and found that it had moved back beside Buffy.

Spike squinted at the meter. "Slayer, go back over to the Watcher."

She glared and walked back.

"AH! Don't move who or whatever you are! I'm trying to get a reading on you! William! Talk to it and tell it to stay still!" Spike said while he brought out another piece of equipment.

Xander closed his eyes and felt. "Definitely two in here. Yours and the other one, a shade, female. I can almost hear her. Lost it."

He opened his eyes and looked exasperated.

"You're right, she's a shade. Class 6 she won't cause no problems." He clicked both meters off.

"What are you two talking about!" Buffy raised her voice.

"You have a ghost following you. A very weak one, so no worries about it causing any problems. Most likely..." Xander broke off and considered his next words and caught Spike's eye.

"She won't be a problem." Spike said softly.

Buffy narrowed her eyes. "Care to explain that?"

Xander gently put his hands on her shoulders. "Sometimes people feel like their work isn't done. Sometimes they don't accept that they have died. Sometimes they care so much for someone that they can't bear to leave them behind. She can't leave you yet. She is worried about you and Dawn."

Buffy staggered back out of his grasp. "Mom?"

"She's here. She loves you so much. I couldn't hear her. I almost could like a whisper. But I could feel her." Xander followed her as she slumped against the counter.

"She..." Buffy began.

"Think of her as your guardian angel, Pet. She's looking after you. Maybe while we are here she can keep William company. Slimer tries but he can't talk really. Maybe he can have a bloody decent conversation for once. A bloody ATM machine message has to be more stimulating conversation wise than that green slime ball." Spike lit a cigarette and passed it to Xander then lit one for himself. Somewhere in the back of his head he could feel William chuckle. {He's getting stronger. Maybe he just needs stimulation or something. Maybe the bloody demon is getting weaker...why do I even care?}

"Look we need to try to get some readings. Why don't you just hang out here..." Xander told her as he headed to the door dangling the cigarette in his lips.

"Oh gross, Xander! You quit remember?" Willow said giving him her best disgusted look with her hands on her hips.

"Well you deal with phantoms, specters, ghosts and geists all day, day in and day out, and sit with four smokers and see if you don't pick up a bad habit or two." Xander crushed the cigarette out regardless.

He opened the door and lifted the meter as Buffy stood up straighter. "No, wait you needed us to keep them off your backs and that is what we will do."

She took out her stake and twirled it. "Besides stopping the end of the world has become part of my job description."

Xander smiled. Venkman popped up; rushing to Buffy's side and snorted. "Well come on little lady! Let's bust some heads!"

Spike groaned softly as Venkman tried to put his arm around the Slayer's shoulders. Xander shrugged.


"And we are in a cemetery, why?" Venkman asked as he looked down at his meter. "Do you have any idea how haunted these things tend to be?"

"I'm a vampire slayer. I need to make my rounds too." Buffy told him as she walked among the headstones.

"Well it isn't exactly MY idea of a romantic spot," Venkman said moving up next to her.

"Aren't you a little old? I mean for that kind of thing? I mean isn't there an age limit?" Buffy asked taking his arm off her shoulder.

"You're only as old as you feel." He smiled. He jumped over a headstone both feet in the air and landed with a flourish then winced as she turned away, holding his back and mouthing a silent 'ow'.

"Besides aren't you here to work?" She asked him as she turned around. He straightened up and smiled.

"Yes but I can't work here. Everyone here is already dead. I need to find potentially possessed live people. The gruesome twosome has no use for corpses. It's all about higher brain function. They need a brain to run everything. Zombies are useless to them. Zombies have to be controlled by an outside source. They need a vehicle to drive in. Can't do that from something dead in the brain. Kinda like your vampires. The little vamp demons need a host to do their dirty work. Can't do that if they are dead because they can't control from the outside. The host is their only link into this plane of existence. Bummer to the poor sap that is the host, a big hooray for the naughty demon that gets to take over."

"And where do you get YOUR information. Because I get mine from hundreds of years of observation from the Watcher's Council." Buffy told him.

"Ah, but see that is the problem...observation is not always a sign of true study." Venkman said. "You can watch something all your life but not understand it. The early humans watched the sun cross the sky. They OBSERVED it as you may say and what did they come up with? A God they have never seen pulls it across the sky with a golden chariot. Hundreds of years later we do research and discover that it is a big ball of gas in the middle of our solar system. Until you TEST something you can only make hypotheses' on things. What you have is hundreds of years of hypotheses by a bunch of Watchers that have probably never even talked to a vampire, much less asked them can we listen to see if you heart actually beats? Can we see if holding up an ankh is going to scare the crap out of you? Can we see if we can cure you? Honey, your Watchers are still wearing loin clothes and looking for the sun chariot while my guys are donning space suits and walking on the moon!"

Buffy turned on him. "How DARE you come here and act like your some sort..."

"HOW DARE YOU try to rationalize the wholesale murder of innocent beings trapped in a hell of an existence! How dare you!" Venkman yelled. "And if you even TRY to stake Spike I'm going to test OUR theory about what will happen when a proton charge is let loose on a human!"

Venkman turned away and stomped off. "And you are right, I have work to do. See ya!"


"I can't believe my uncle is hitting on Buffy." Xander moaned again as he looked down at his readings.

"Well...I can...sorta." Willow giggled. "I can REALLY see the family resemblance at least in the way you two act."

"Wills...don't make me shoot you. It wouldn't be pretty." Xander told her. "Oh look, another ghost."

She looked down at the meter. "That's kind of neat. It tells you what kind they are and everything?"

"Pretty much. Different types of ghosts have different readings. Lots of class 6 ghosts around here. They are just basically shades of humans. They haven't gone on but they aren't powerful enough to do much more than hang around and watch. Most of them is on the other side...just that one little shade, that one little part is still here."

"Like Buffy's mom?" Willow asked sadly.

"Yeah, like her." Xander agreed as he crossed the street suddenly.

"You said there were two in the room. You told Spike, his and the female. What did you mean?" Willow asked him while she stooped down next to him as he took a reading of the sewer. "Hey, what's down there?"

"Slime, and not your average pollution type slime." He pulled out a radio and turned it on. "Guys I've found ectoplasm in the sewer. I'm near the school."

"Heard you." Spike's voice floated out.

"On the way there." Venkman's voice said.

Xander stood up and took more readings. "Spike has a ghost that follows him around. All vampires do. It is their soul. Not really a shade like Buff's mom, though. Long explanation but basically the soul is forced to tag along and witness every atrocity that the demon that has hijacked their body does."

Willow covered her mouth. "That's terrible!"

"I know. We've been making contact with Spike's. We call him William. He's pretty nice. And he seems to get stronger with continuous contact. Like it is giving him more will or something. At first, when I used to try and feel him, he was always sad and full of grief. Now he actually laughs. So that is of the good." Xander told her. "He's actually gotten strong enough that Spike can sometimes feel him. I think that for the first time in a long time William is having some influence."

"You can feel him?" Willow asked.

"Yeah, I'm a medium according to Ray. It is why everything tries to possess me. I'm some sort of big beacon-y shiny thing to demons and spirits that say...hey easy access...vacancy please check in at the main desk." Xander said. "Pretty much explains the whole demon magnet theory too."

"That must be scary." Willow said giving him a quick one-armed hug. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be. See this thing? I can fight back now...and I'm learning control. William has been helping me a little."

"Sounds like you really like him." Willow smiled shyly.

"Yeah I guess I do. He...I don't know...he's special to me. So is Spike but Spike and William are nearly the same. So it is kinda the same...but the demon makes Spike do bad things...oh forget it!" Xander sighed.

Willow giggled. "I think someone has a crush."

"Don't tell any of the gang, but Egon is working on a way of ousting the demon and putting William back in the driver's seat. He's really excited."

Willow's face lit up. "Oh that must be exciting! A hundred and twenty years of no control watching something do terrible things with your body...I would be excited too!"

"Don't tell anyone!" Xander waved his finger at her.

Willow made the motion of zipping her lips and locking them and throwing away the key.

"I mean it!" Xander smiled.


On another end of town, Spike moved the PKE meter in a sweeping motion. Tara walked quietly behind him. "Don't know why they sent you with me. Most likely me keeping things off YOUR back! Bloody waste of time."

Tara crossed her arms over her chest nervously.

"Don't worry none about it, Luv. Bloody hell," he sighed. "This town is full of bloody ghosts. Can't walk twenty feet without getting a reading."

"Lots of bad stuff happens in this town." Tara said quietly.

"I'm impressed, no stutter." Spike said lightly moving down the street further. "Sorry luv, don't buy it. Bad stuff happens in every town. New York is one of the baddest and older than this place. Something is happening. Something is letting these guys slip through. Usually the barriers between the planes are cracked a little. Only a few should get through those cracks. This is ridiculous. The cracks are getting too big."

He snapped the PKE meter off in frustration. "We aren't going to find the bugger this way. William, can you see anything?"

He felt the niggling feeling in the back of his head and felt a negative answer. "Damn."

He walked back down the street the way they came. "Maybe we should snoop around Willie's bar."

Tara looked at him confused. "Who is William?"


"You?" She asked.

"Me, I'm William. Or I used to be. I guess I am mostly still him but he is the main me. We are William. I'm personality and he's the soul. Oh god I'm sounding like Xander...stake me now." He held his hands out offering his chest.

She giggled and shook her head.

"Figures, you lot love to see me suffer." He said bouncing off the curve.

He looked up in time to see Venkman coming down his way. "Oi, what are you doing here?"

Venkman strode up and grabbed Spike's shoulder. "You are NOT staying here after we are done here. So don't even consider it!"

"I wasn't planning on it, Mate!" Spike looked confused. "Why?"

"Never mind!"

Spike shrugged. "We were just on our way to Willie's to ask about. Nothing around this way."

"Willie's have beer?"


"Lead on!" Venkman smiled. "Hey sweetie, how are you tonight!" He put his arm around Tara who tried to smile and move.

"She's into other chits, Mate." Spike told him with a smile.

"Can I watch?" Venkman asked nicely.

Tara cleared her throat and blushed.


"Well, well, well. What do we have here?" Venkman asked as the blonde girl came up to the bar glaring daggers at Spike. Patrons of every shape and size and species moved away from the group as she came to stand beside them with her hands on her hips.

Spike rolled his eyes as he heard the low growl from Harmony.

Spike groaned a little. "Dr. Peter Venkman, allow me to introduce you to Harmony. She's a vamp."

"And a lovely one at that." He said kissing her hand as she looked at him in shock.

"Isn't he supposed to be going...AHHHH and running away?" She asked.

"He deals with the paranormal of which we are." Spike told her. "And by the way, what do you want? You said that you never wanted to see me again ever! And if you did it would only be...I don't know...you did that funny walking weird thing. So what do you want?"

"I was worried about you! I came to see you and you weren't there and it looked like someone had trashed the place. How dare you worry me!" She punched him in the chest.

"You...hate...me...remember?" He gasped.

"Well...I wanted sex...and you are the best one I know..." She started lamely.

"Anything I can help you with?" Venkman asked taking her hand again, patting it.

Her face morphed and she bared her teeth.

"What lovely fangs you have!" He said gleefully.

Her face snapped back to normal, as she looked at him confused. "What?"

Venkman put his arm around her. "You don't want Spike, he's...egotistical...he's selfish...he's, he's..."

"An asshole!" She supplied.

"Sure!" He agreed with a wink at Spike. "So why don't we just leave him to wallow in sadness and grief that he can never ever have such a beautiful, bright, intelligent, young vamp like yourself and I'll take you out to...well, wherever your little heart desires."

He put his arm around her waist and led her out the door.

As the door shut, they could hear her ask, "Are you really a Doctor? Like rich and stuff?"

Tara rubbed her arms. "Is he safe with her?"

"Luv, the question is, is she safe from HIM!" He shook his head as he headed in Willie's direction.

After a few minutes his radio crackled and he heard, "Guys I've found ectoplasm in the sewer. I'm near the school."

He picked up his own radio and thumbed it on. "Heard you."

A couple of seconds later he heard "On the way there." from Venkman.

"Come on Pet. Got to check out what the whelp found." He put his radio back on.

They came out the door to find Harmony snuggled up to Venkman. Spike looked up in surprise. "You like him?"

"He's just so...biteable!" She cooed.

"Oh kinky! I like that!" Venkman growled playfully.

Spike rubbed at his head and turned around a little. "Yeah I know." He said to the air, as Tara looked on confused.


They met up with Xander near the old school. "I traced it to the school and I've been doing some readings. This is definitely the focal point."

The other two men turned on their own PKE meters and started walking around.

"What is Harmony doing here?" Xander whispered to Spike.

"Your uncle." Spike answered.

"I should have known." Xander sighed. "Oh GOD, please don't let him MARRY her! She would be my AUNT!"

Spike grew a wicked smile. "Ah Pet, I don't think she's likely let him go. He's a Doctor after all. And he makes a pretty good living...I think you are in trouble, Mate!"

"Oh no...and add in the divorcee status...he's practically screaming...manipulate me into giving you money and a ring!"

Spike snickered. "Better him than me mate!"

"Oh sure, you can laugh! You won't have to refer to her as Auntie Harmony!" Xander groaned. "What the hell did he coat himself with this morning? Super Glue? She's like attached or something."

Spike let out a small giggle that he clamped down on quickly. Xander smiled. "I heard that."

"Did not. It was a...um wraith or something." Spike said.

Xander's smile faltered. "This is not good. These readings indicate that it the ectoplasm is spreading out from the school under the town."

"The sun is coming up soon." Harmony said. She clutched at Venkman's arm.

"Okay people, lets head back. Gotta get to shelter." He turned to Harmony and tickled her chin. "I wouldn't want my little night blooming jasmine to wilt under that naughty old sun."

She giggled and cuddled up to him as they started walking away.

Xander turned to Spike and mocked, "My night blooming jasmine? I think I'm going to be sick."

Spike muffled another giggle. Xander smiled and felt his heart thump. Almost embarrassed he said. "Well I guess I haven't too much room to talk."

Spike pulled on Xander's shoulder. "Come on, before the naughty old sun comes up."

"Yes, wouldn't want you to wilt too."


Giles looked up as they all tumbled in while Buffy glared at them.

"Did you, did you find anything?" Giles asked.

"Well no one possessed but we did find a bunch of ectoplasm. It is focused under the school and then spreading out under the town. Not of the good." Xander said.

"Are you sure no one is possessed?" Giles asked again, watching as Venkman made cooing noises in Harmony's ear.

"Naw, he's just got...strange...tastes." Xander said biting his lip. "It sort of runs in the family, I think."

"No way can she be here. Not only doesn't she have a soul but she doesn't even have a chip...she's too dangerous to be here!" Buffy stood up.

"Buffy, Tara, no offense Tara, but even Tara with OUT powers could slap Harmony down. I don't think she is that dangerous," said Xander.

"She is a soulless demon and a murderer." Buffy got into his face.

"She can change. Yes she can." Venkman continued to babble in baby talk. Harmony giggled and cuddled closer. "She just needs the right incentive to overpower her demon. How about a weekly allowance and a credit card?"

"She has no soul, she can't change!" Buffy started to raise her voice.

"Well actually, Pet, while our souls are not IN our bodies they do kind of tag along for the ride." Spike said in an offhanded way.

"She doesn't have a soul like Angel..." She started.

"Hey little girl, news flash! Charles Manson has a soul! Jeffrey Dahmer had a soul! Oh dear that must mean that they are GOOD by your standards! Oh dear we better apologize to the Dahmer family then because he didn't deserve all the fuss. I mean he mustn't have meant to EAT all those people! And, oh dear, that means we need to let Manson out because after all he has a soul and everything...oh good God! We should empty all the prisons because they are all human!" Sarcasm dripped from every word.

Buffy stood up to him. "I'm not saying that humans can't be evil, I'm saying that soulless demons can't be good!"

"Seems to be something of a sweeping generalization to me. Besides, if you want to get technical, their souls are right here. Just not in their bodies, but we are discovering that if the demon can be weakened and the soul properly stimulated and given power it can make a difference. The chip weakened the demon when it could no longer attack and cause much damage, which weakens the soul's will. Keeps the demon on top you see. Spike's demon has weakened and Xander and him have been making contact with William." Venkman pointed his finger at her. "And if we can work out the logistics we might be able to restore him. So keep that pointy stick to yourself, and don't you DARE stake my girlfriend! Because she might be able to be restored because she was never embalmed or had an autopsy!"

Buffy fell backward silent for a second. "You might...be able to restore them? Like Angel?"

Xander shook his head and glared at his uncle. "It was supposed to be a surprise actually, but no not like Angel. He still has a demon as well as a soul. We are talking, no demon and only a soul. A normal human being."

Xander left the room to get a drink still mumbling about people who tell everything they knew. "Tell a phone, telegraph, tell an Uncle Peter!"

Spike felt rage on one level, a level very deep inside. But on another level, he felt an excitement. He sat down hard as he thought about it. He realized that for the first time he could feel a difference between himself and the demon. For once the demon was a separate part of him instead of the merged being he had grown used to. He held his head as he felt a yell of rage rip through the inside of his head. {I wonder if this is how people with Multiple Personality Syndrome feel? Or maybe even Angel. No wonder the pouf is so...}

He didn't get to complete the thought as the door slammed open. {Think of the devil or angel in this case and he may just appear.}

Angel was standing with his coat softly billowing, a stake clutched tightly in his hand. Two men stood behind him, one white and one black. A girl that Spike vaguely remembered from when the Scoobies were in high school stood nearby with a crossbow in her hand and tears in her eyes.

"Spike." Angel said evenly as he raised the stake.

"Hi Peaches! What are you lot doing here?" Spike asked, lighting another cigarette only for Willow to snag it and put it out. "Oi! That's not fair!"

"Fair? Was it fair to kill Xander? I saw the coffin out there. It is the same as in Cordelia's vision!" Angel crossed the floor as Spike looked up at him in complete confusion.

"What the bloody hell are you talking about?" Spike asked standing up and ducking behind Tara.

"You know what you did! You know what you plan to do!" Angel's followers fanned out and took up different positions to make sure Spike didn't escape.

"You have gone bonkers, haven't you mate?" Spike pulled Willow over to him and stood behind both witches.

Venkman looked up and sighed. "You MUST be Angel. Spike's right, you need a cape or something."

Angel turned to Venkman. "Are you his minion?"

"No he's mine. He makes Minionwage." Venkman said with a smile.

Spike groaned. "If I had a brain I would let someone stake me."

"I'm happy to oblige." Angel raised his stake higher.

"Angel he's the one that Spike had tied up! In my vision!" Cordelia said excited.

Xander came out of the back with a sandwich in one hand and a drink in the other. Deli meat hung in half torn strips from his mouth and he had a dab of mayonnaise on his upper lip. He froze as he realized everyone in the room was staring at him. He talked through a mouthful of sandwich. "What's wrong?"

Cordelia launched herself at him full force, knocking him backwards as she hugged him hard. "My vision said you were dead! I saw you in a coffin and there was music and Spike had that man tied up...I thought you were dead!"

Xander started flailing his arms around pointing at his throat.

"FUCK! You stupid bint! YOU are going to kill him!" Spike got behind Xander and wrapped his arms around him while pulling up sharply. A piece of sandwich flew out of his mouth. "He was choking!"

Xander drew in a harsh breath, noting that Spike had not released him yet. "Nice to see you too, Cordy. Next time just shoot me; it will be faster!"

"Are you all right?" Spike patted him on the back while Xander coughed hoarsely.

He finally nodded. "Almost got to see that life passing stuff again. One more second and I could have seen my tonsillectomy from when I was nine!"

"Well not yet Pet. Still need you on this side of things."

"You are still alive?" Angel asked confused.

"Well last I checked but Cordelia almost got the job done." Xander said rubbing his neck he placed his other hand on Spike's arm to steady himself. His sandwich rested on the floor forgotten, the drink pooling around their feet. Xander squeezed the arm around him before he let it go and step away. Willow blinked and then smiled.

"Why are you still alive?" Cordelia asked.

"Because lucky me, Spike knows the Heimlich maneuver. Better luck next time Cordy."

"NO! I mean before now...the coffin out there...you should be dead. I SAW you in a coffin!" Cordelia pointed an accusing finger.

"Yeah, I was listening to the CD player!" Xander said.

"A CD player in a coffin?" Gunn asked.

"It's my coffin. It also has a television and a VCR." Spike told him.

"When I die and get buried...I WANT one of them!" Gunn told Angel.

"But what about him, he was tied up! Spike had him tied up!" Cordelia pointed at Venkman who was back to nibbling on Harmony's neck.

"It was for our self preservation!" Xander said. "That man can't drive to save his life, LITERALLY! He nearly killed us! I tied him up, Spike just drove and cheered me on!"

"Didn't know he had it in him." Spike smiled.

Angel slumped against the table. "So I don't get to stake him?"

"Are you going to work for me free?" Venkman asked

Xander smacked his uncle with a rolled up newspaper. "Bad parapsychologist! NO! You don't get to stake Spike!"

"What about the Hellmouth?" Cordelia asked. "What about that?"

"We are here to close it when it opens." Xander said.


"Well don't sound so happy!" Xander said sarcastically.

"Prophecy?" Angel asked trying to save a wasted trip.

"Kinda. Sorta. Not really. More a power play by a pissed off super demon type God who wants to take over the Demon plane, the Ethereal plane and our plane of existence. Other than that it is no big." Xander said conversationally.

"Well if all the excitement is over, I would suggest that we find a place and a way to get all of the vampires somewhere safe. The sun just came up. And I have to open the store...on no sleep!" Giles said.

"Cranky Watcher." Spike tutted. "You are a bit of a...demon...without sleep aren't you?"

Giles stared at him.

"No sense of humor." Xander said lightly. "They train it out of them at Watcher's elementary school."

"Mm, I thought so." Spike nodded. "I get the coffin!"

"What about me, my little Venky winky?" Harmony asked.

Xander turned green.

"It will be okay, my little Moon Pie! Maybe we could make three trips? Ladies first Spike!"

"Okay, show me a lady and I'll let her go first!" Spike grabbed his chest as Harmony punched him again. "Ow."

"Yes, yes you are quite right. Ladies first, Xander hop in!" Spike amended. "Ow. Xander hit me again!"

"You asked for it this time!" Venkman waved a finger at him.

"At least it wasn't the nose."

"Spike and I go on the last trip!" Xander said after a brief whisper from Willow.

"Where are we going anyway?" Harmony asked.

Everyone looked at everyone else.


Spike and Xander were the last to enter the mansion. "Hello."

Wesley shuddered, "I just had a Laverne and Shirley flashback."

Spike gave him the two-finger salute while Xander gave him the bird.

"Well that is a new record. I've been flipped off in two cultures." Wesley smiled. "The day is already looking up."

"Okay, so what is the plan?" Xander asked.

Venkman smiled. "A couple of hours sleep then we go looking for our possessed soon to be trouble makers."

"What are they going to be possessed by?" Wesley asked. Wesley picked up a book that he had brought with him.

"Terror Dogs. Horns, red glowing eyes...that sort of thing. Hey are you that other guy's son? You know...Mr. Cranky Watcher guy?" Venkman asked.

"Most certainly not."

"I would look into it. You two have a LOT in common." He turned to Harmony, "Come on my little Goddess of the Moon, I shall tell you stories about savings bonds and equity to lull you to sleep."

Xander winced as they left the room.

Spike smirked and started singing, "Auntie Harmie, Auntie Harmie, Auntie Harmie."

Xander walked out with his hands over his ears and Spike following close behind still singing. Left behind Angel, Gunn, Wesley and Cordelia looked after them with varying degrees of confusion.

"What just happened?" Gunn asked.


"Okay, now what was so secretive?" Spike asked as Xander bounced on the bed stirring up dust.

"Willow gave me something. That's why I needed to go last." Xander grinned. "She gave me a spell."

"A spell? What is so special about this spell and should I be worried?" Spike asked, eyeing the door.

"It is a spell to see William! She had run across it a while back after Anya died. She wanted to see if maybe..." Xander faltered a little.

"To see if Anya was a ghost?"

"Yeah, apparently she isn't. She has crossed over." Xander nodded. "Anyway, she gave me the directions and some stuff."

Spike sat on the bed slowly.

"Do you want to try?" Xander asked, uncertain.

Spike bit his lip for a few seconds. "Yes, what do we have to lose?"

Xander walked around the room trying to block out as much light as he could. "Light the candle in the middle of the floor."

"Hey, really flicky." Spike said as he lit it.

"Cool. Willow said it was her favorite."

They sat across from each other. "Okay, now what do we do?"

"We are supposed to clear our minds first."

"Not hard. I wasn't thinking anything anyway." Spike said.

"Clear your mind."

"But if I'm thinking, clear my mind, then my mind isn't clear because I'm thinking 'clear my mind' see it don't work. Now I'm actively thinking." Spike frowned.

"Don't make me hit you." Xander told him.

"Okay, okay. I'll try to clear my mind. Harder than I thought." Spike closed his eyes then smirked.

"What are you thinking?" Xander asked.

"About Tara and Willow doing 'spells together'"

"Stop that! Clear your mind!" Xander ordered.

"Okay it is clear...sorta...damn I just had a thought. Will that count against me?"

Xander did a passable growl. "Clear your mind or I'm going to knock you into a coma and we won't have to worry about it!"

"Okay...mind is clear...NOW!"

A few seconds ticked by. "Well, what now?"

Xander frowned. "I keep thinking...this is YOUR fault."

"My fault how is it my fault?"

"You made me think!" Xander pouted.

"Just clear your mind, Mate!"

It took another twenty minutes before both of them had a clear mind at the same time. "Now give me your hands and we hold them over the fire."

"Not in the fire? I tend to be very flammable." Spike said worried.

"No not IN the fire, OVER the fire. And maybe if you laid off the hair gel...Just give me your damn hands...Clear your mind!"

"Now you made me think about shopping!" Spike huffed.

"How did I make you think of shopping?" Xander asked confused still holding Spike's hands.

"I'm almost out of hair gel." Spike pouted this time.

"CLEAR YOUR MIND!" Xander yelled.

Xander closed his eyes then opened one, "Are you clear?"

"I'm clear, except that I had to think I'm clear to say I'm clear but I'll be clear as soon as I shut up."

Xander glared at him and gripped the vampire's hands tighter. He spoke softly in a language that Spike had not heard before, slowly at first then with growing speed. Spike closed his eyes and lost himself into the sound. He felt warmth flood him and opened his eyes as the candle flickered brighter than ever on the floor in front of them. He felt dizziness and a wind played across his face and back. Surrounding him, enfolding him, caressing him. He felt aroused, hot, in heat, he wanted release and looked across to find the same feeling in Xander's eyes as Xander continued to chant. Eyes dilated, sweat pricked up on the human's skin as wave after wave of desire washed over him making him catch his breath as the warm wind tossed his hair. Out of the corner of their eye they could see a figure take shape. Unable to break eye contact, they looked from their peripheral.

William kneeled down beside them and brought insubstantial hands to rest over their own. Stroking the air over them. Xander gasped, forcing the words to continue as he saw the man more fully. William leaned forward brushing faint lips over Xander's own. A chill passed over them and it was all that Xander could do to keep speaking. Spike began to tremble as the room began to spin as the ghostly form moved closer to him and ran a cool hand over his over heated face. William leaned forward and placed a similar kiss on his double's lips.

Xander began to pant as control began to give way to the desire, to the heat, to release. The candle blew out as William disappeared from view and both men felt themselves orgasm. They collapsed onto the floor, heedless of the dirt and dust under them.

Both were too shy to really look at each other.

Xander finally sat up and cleared his throat. "I think I finally understand Tara and Willow's interest in doing...spells together."

"I do too, Pet. Never felt anything quite like that before." Spike's voice squeaked a little and he cleared his throat too.

"Um we should get some rest." Xander said quietly.

"Yeah, uh, yeah." Spike stood up shakily and sat on the bed.

Xander bit his lip then finally sat on the bed too. Together they lay down and fell asleep.


Xander yawned and stretched as his uncle cracked his own neck. "Ready for a long day?"

"Yeah." Venkman rolled his eyes. "I just love working for nothing."

Xander chuckled then grew serious. "Uncle Peter, about Buffy..."

"I know, I know. She is a very sweet girl who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Vampire demons are essentially evil and something has to be done to control the ensuing chaos. But I just think she needs to learn to think outside the box. Look at it from the point of view that not only are there these little nasty demons that want to do harm but also a real human being trapped in a terrible existence that also needs help. I know Harmony could try to kill me. Not that I would LET her, but I also know that she is a pretty decent human. The demon has GOT to go though. It's a major bummer, but worth it if we can help her. This chick is the first one in a long time to get under my skin. And I'm not talking with her teeth."

"Yeah, uh nice hickey by the way. And about Buffy, I agree. I just think you've been a bit hard on her." Xander said.

"I'll go a little easier. I guess I have my own little hang up as that she acts like my ex. I'll do something about that. But I also feel that now is the time to worry with that girl. She is at a stage where she can easily become too set in her ways to change her views. That is dangerous. So far from what you've told me the reason she is the MOST successful slayer ever is because she has always been open-minded. From what I see, she is becoming narrow minded. That, in my honest opinion, is going to get her killed. Also I just have a real problem with not trying to heal people. I mean even with what we do...we advertise as paranormal elimination services but in truth we are more relocation experts. They aren't killed just returned to the Ethereal plane via the containment unit." Uncle Peter said as he packed supplies into a backpack.

"I really have nothing against her." Uncle Peter told him. "Now come on. We have demon ass of our own to kick back into hell."


Buffy picked her way through the school carefully. She ducked under a beam and reached out a hand to steady herself as she came down on a piece of brick. "Ow."

She pulled her hand away. "Yuck."

Green slime dripped off of her hand and she shook it vigorously. It flew off her fingers in long sticky strings still attached to the tips. She made a face and wiped her hand absentmindedly on her pants. She ducked her head again and went through a doorway.

"I don't see anything really." She sighed. "I want to help. How can I help if there is nothing to fight?"

She leaned against the wall banging her head against it. "I have NO idea what I'm even looking for."

She sighed again, looking miserable. "Maybe I should have waited for everyone else."

She gently pulled herself away from the wall groaning as she realized she had more slime on her. "Oh gross."

Suddenly she felt herself pulled backward against the wall. "Wha...?"

Buffy struggled against the arm wrapped round her middle, kicking back but meeting only the wall the arm disappeared into. "Let go!"

She pulled against it hard and almost broke away when a second, then a third hand, grabbed her and held her hard against the wall. She beat at them with her fists. "Let ME GO!"

One of the hands released her only for yet another hand to appear and hold her down. Across the hall a door flew open. She heard the low growl before she actually saw the creature. "You would be a Terror Dog, wouldn't you?"

It growled low in its throat again just before it jumped.


Angel pulled another book down as Wesley put one up. "There must be SOMETHING here. I mean we have books about everything else!"

"Perhaps we should look in Tobin's Spirit Guide." Wesley sighed. "It might have something in it."

Angel nodded, "Perhaps The Roylance Guide to Secret Societies and Sects would have something in it."

"I'll grab that one too." Wesley nodded.

Cordelia rubbed at her temple. "I need a drink. Kitchen?"

"That way, down the hall, turn left." Angel waved his hand vaguely as he pulled another book down.

Cordelia pushed a hand through her hair and grimaced. She felt tacky and gritty. "I need a bath." She said to herself.

Harmony was presumably still asleep, as was Spike. Cordelia KNEW what Harmony and that strange scientist guy had been doing last night. It was a little obvious with the way Dr. Venkman had bounced out this afternoon. But in her mind, she refused to contemplate Xander's similar bounce as he shut the door that he and Spike had seemed to share last night. {If I don't think about it, it can't have happened. Denial is a wonderful thing.}

She rolled her eyes to herself. {So what if they are kind of cute together, and I did NOT just think that. Shut up now brain. Think about water!}

She reached the kitchen and proceeded to open the cabinet doors. "And WHY did I think he would have glasses?"

She scoffed to herself not hearing the growl behind her. She cupped her hands under the faucet to get a drink. Slime poured slowly out of the tap into her hands. She shook them furiously. "OH YUCK! Oh great now I'm grimy, gritty AND slimy."

Cordelia continued to try and shake the slime off of her hands in the sink. She heard a creak behind her and turned to it slightly. "Your plumbing..."

Glowing red eyes met hers. It growled one word. "Zuul."

She didn't even have time to scream.


Angel glanced up a second when Cordelia walked in and then promptly returned to reading a book. "Did you get your water?"

Gunn walked in with another pile of books. "Man! How many books do you have? I thought you had the whole library back in LA."

"Are you the Keymaster?" She asked her voice low and sensuous.

"I've never made keys." Angel told her vaguely flipping rapidly through another book.

"I must find the Keymaster."

"Try on Fifth Street...that's where I had my keys made." Angel mumbled.

He didn't even look up as the front door closed.

"Well at least we can study in peace without all the moaning and complaining." Wesley said.

"Didn't she seem a little weird to you?" Gunn asked.

The other two men were absorbed once again in the books. Gunn shrugged.

All three men flinched when an overly perky Harmony bounced into the room. "HI! Where's Cordy? I thought we could gossip and catch up for a little while."

"She left to get some keys made." Angel said.

"Keys? What kind of keys? I mean she don't live around here anymore...why would she need keys?" Harmony asked as Spike walked in.

"Who is getting keys? To what?" He asked, still a little tired.

Angel glanced up at Spike, the indulgent purr in his voice catching his attention. Spike looked very relaxed and seemed to have that pleased afterglow. For a second Angel blinked to himself . {No way, no way! I mean...no way! Nope, he must just have had a good dream or something.}

Angel shook his head hard to rid the image of Xander and Spike together, "Um, Cordelia ran out to get some keys made. You know, come to think of it, she did act a little odd. She wanted to know if I was a keymaster. I have no idea where she got that idea from."

Spike and Harmony stared at him for a long moment. Spike felt his eye twitch before he found the morning paper and rolled it up. He whapped Angel on the head. "YOU IDIOT!"


"The KEYMASTER is a minion of Gozer!" Spike yelled.

He opened his PKE meter and took readings groaning. "Massive amounts of ectoplasmic residue and psycho kinetic energy. Damn! Cordelia is the new Gatekeeper."

"Where did she go? I mean we've got to find her!" Harmony said.

"Um, I sort of sent her to Fifth Street. To the key shop there." Angel said almost apologetically.

"What are we going to do? We can't go get her...the sun is out." Harmony paced. "She's going to turn into a big dog like Venkie's ex-wife did! He told me about it last night. I can't BELIEVE you let her go! I thought you were supposed to be...like...smart and stuff!"

Harmony paced the floor wringing her hands.

Spike called on his radio. "Guys we have a problem. The Gatekeeper is in town and she is on the loose."

Xander came back over the radio. "Yeah, problems here too. Buffy is missing. Willow thinks she went to the school this morning."

"Cordelia is the Gatekeeper. How much you want to bet that Buffy is the new Keymaster?" Spike asked.

"We've got to find them before they see some sign that Gozer is coming." Xander's disembodied voice came back over the radio.

"Look around Fifth Street. The Great Souled Pouf sent her to the Key Shop!" Spike bit out.

"Why the key shop? Never mind I don't even want to know."


Cordelia walked into the shop and looked at the little old man behind the counter. "Are you the Keymaster?"

"Yes ma'am little lady. I sure am. I make all kinds."

Cordelia sighed. "Your shell is not as attractive as I had hoped."

"Well gotta take what God gave you." The little old man said a bit miffed.

"Indeed Gozer has his reasons." Cordelia grabbed the little old man and pulled him into a passionate embrace.

"HEY! I'm happily married." He sputtered as he came up for breath. "Nigh onto forty years now!"

Cordelia regarded him coolly. "You are not the Keymaster of Gozer. You are a subcreature."

She turned around and walked off.

"No way to act just because I don't belong to no guild." The old man huffed straightening his clothes. He smirked a little as he smoothed back his thinning hair. "Still, nice to know I still have it."


Buffy ran around the park near the cemetery hunched over and smelling everything around her. The sun was still high in the sky but four creatures of the night hid in the shadows nearby. "What the hell is wrong with her?"

"I don't know. She's being weird." A vampire hiding in a small concrete tunnel said. "Uh oh, here she comes."

Buffy ran up to him and he cowered covering his heart.

"Are you the Gatekeeper?" She asked as she sniffed him.

He looked at his companions in alarm. "Are you going to dust us?"

"I am the Keymaster of Gozer, Vinz Clortho, Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia."

"No, you are Buffy the Vampire Slayer." A confused vampire said as another elbowed him.

"Shut up." She hissed at him. "Do you want to get dusted?"

"Are you the Gatekeeper?" She asked sniffing another vampire.

"No, but you are lunch!" A bold vampire smirked as he launched himself at her.

Buffy narrowed her eyes at him and then opened her mouth, hissing. He staggered away waving his hand in front of his face. "Damn, brush your teeth!"

The vampire's eyes watered as he gagged, staggering toward the end of the tunnel. He caught fire as he walked into the sun.

"Subcreatures, you will all perish in fire." Buffy said as she passed them.

"What the hell was that about?" the female vampire asked her companion.

"Don't know. But damn she needs some Listerine or something! Whew!"


Spike picked up his radio as he heard Xander's voice come over it. "Just found some vamps in the park hiding out from the sun. They say she came down this way earlier. She's definitely looking for the Gatekeeper. I think we can confirm that she is the new Keymaster."

"Great, the others talked to the old man at the key shop. If they keep heading in the same direction that they left in they should meet near...the Magic Box. The sun is almost down. Look, we will head to the Magic Box and work our way out. You work your way to it." Spike said as Harmony pulled on her jacket.

Angel folded up the map of Sunnydale and stuffed it in his back pocket.

"How did you do that? I thought it was impossible to re-fold a map like that." Harmony asked as she started out of the room.

Angel turned to Spike; "Did you really date her?"

Spike shrugged. "It wasn't for her mind!"


In the end, Willow and Tara found them. They heard a commotion coming from in front of a café and went to investigate. Tara was still blushing as they pulled and carried each woman back to the magic shop. Giles put the closed sign up as the rest of the group entered.

Tara and Willow let go of their charges and watched in fascination as Buffy and Cordelia practically wrapped themselves around each other. Trying to devour the other's mouth and rubbing up against each other.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Willow tried to pull them apart again. "No hot monkey sex in front of Giles. It might give him a complex. He's English, remember?"

Spike chuckled. "I'm English, I have NO problem with what they are doing! In fact, where is that camera?"

"No, no pictures!" Willow told him trying to wedge herself between the two women.

"It's for research, Luv! I have to take pictures. It is my duty as...um lab assistant to Dr. Spengler."

"I thought you were more his lab rat?" Xander asked.

"I'll hit you. Chip or no, make no mistake, I will hit you." Spike told him quietly, finally fishing out his camera.

"What is your problem you two!" Willow cried out in frustration, "Can't you two wait to do this in private?"

"We must prepare for the coming of Gozer!" Cordelia said. "The Destructor."

"Seems that the Gozer isn't the only one working on coming." Spike said with a smirk as he clicked the camera. "Oh this will make GREAT blackmai- I mean research material."

Willow glared at him and began to shake her finger at him. "Oh you just wait!"

"Can't we let them finish?" Wesley muttered then froze as he realized everyone was staring at him. "Oh my. I said that out loud didn't I?"

They all turned back to the girls trying to have sex on one of the tables. "Ack what do we do?" Willow asked.

"Well, if they were dogs, I would turn the hose on them." Gunn said trying to angle his head so that he could see better.

"Well, they are possessed by Terror Dogs..." Venkman started with a shrug. "And besides wet T-shirt..."

He grabbed his chest, "Ow, Harmony babe...I have eyes only for you, honest!"

Willow grimaced before her patented 'resolve' face fell into place. "Okay, lets hose them down!"

She raised her hands and began to chant quickly even as Tara tried to wave her down. "Wrong WORD!"

From the ceiling thousands of frogs and toads began to fall pelting all of them on the head.

"It is the sign!" Buffy said quietly.

Everyone in the shop began to chase the little amphibians as Giles roared. "Get them out of things!"

Everyone chased them, save Spike and Xander. Spike was too busy screaming and trying to smother Xander. "Get them off me! GET THEM OFF ME! AHHHHHHHHH Get them OFF OF ME!"

Xander held the bundle of terrified vampire in his arms as said vampire tried to crawl inside Xander's clothes. "They can't hurt you! They're just..."


"Okay I'm guessing you have a phobia!" Xander said as Spike abandoned his arms and hid under the table.

Unnoticed the two possessed women opened the front door and left quietly.

"Willow?" Giles asked finally calm. "I take it you were going for rain..."

"Well if it is any consolation, they stopped, uh oh...um...where did they go?"


They raced to the school as fast as they could while Peter coordinated efforts with New York's group over the phone.

"I can't believe you are scared of frogs." Xander whispered to Spike in the car. Spike glared back at him.

"It's okay really, I uh used to be scared of spiders. Especially hairy ones." Xander laughed at himself.

Spike looked down with a tight expression.

"You're scared of spiders too?"

Spike crossed his arms across his chest. "I'm still the Big Bad!" He said determinedly.

"Oh I believe it. You're scared of big bad frogs, big bad toads, big bad spiders..."

Spike crossed his legs and bounced his foot.


They stood in front of the school mouths hanging open.

"And no one has noticed this yet?" Venkman asked.

"This is Sunnyhell, Mate...No one sees anything they don't want to see. So what if a weird ass temple shows up in the middle of town. No big deal, go to sleep and hope for the best."

The temple stood on the ruins of the old school, suspended by unseen forces above the debris. In the center, stone pillars held up a white pristine pyramid. On both sides stood a Terror Dog in it's full glory. From past experience Venkman knew that the two women were trapped inside. A portal stood open inside and a duplicate temple shimmered within. Two temples, one inside the other, stood.

"That must be the portal between the demon plane and the ethereal plane!" Giles said, grasping the side of his car as he looked up.

A deep rumble caught their attention and they watched as a being stepped out of the inner temple. It was tall with the head of a bull and long horns. Its eyes burned a deep red.

"You know, you looked a lot better last time." Venkman called out.

"Subcreature, choose. Choose the form for the traveler has come. Gozer the Gozerian! Gozer the Destructor! Volguus Zildrohar! Choose and Perish!"

"Oh no...not again. We know your little tricks. Remember everyone, we warned you about this. Blank your mind. Think about NOTHING!" Venkman yelled.

Spike and Xander shared a panicked look remembering the last time they tried not to think of anything, they chanted to themselves. "Nothing, nothing, nothing..."

"The choice has been made. The Traveler has come!" Gozer declared.

"WHAT?" Venkman yelled. "Oh no...not again! Xander?"

"Not a thing honest!"


"I'm too scared to think!" He admitted looking up at the God from Hell.

"Then who?"

Angel looked down guiltily.

Venkman rounded on him. "What did you choose?"

Angel blinked down at him sadly.

"What the HELL did you choose?"

Suddenly in a booming voice they heard. "SINCE MY BABY LEFT ME...I FOUND A NEW PLACE TO DWELL..."

"Oh god, Oh GOD NO. We are about to be killed by Elvis..." Venkman moaned.

The creature stomped into view.

"Okay, that isn't Elvis...I'm stumped." Venkman said.

"Oh good Lord! It's the host from the karoke bar in LA. But he's dressed as Elvis." Wesley breathed.

Gunn turned to Angel. "I knew you were a sick sick man. But this...is far beyond..."

"Come on people snap out of it! We've got a gate to close!" Venkman yelled as he opened the line between them and New York.

"One, two, THREE!"

They pulled the beams together holding onto the guns tightly as it bucked against them. They held it together a long minute when the force of the weapons threw them apart.

They landed hard and looked up as Gozer flew threw the air and the Terror Dogs growled menacingly as they stepped down off their pillar.

"EGON! It didn't work! Our gate is still open!" Venkman yelled through the line.

"Ours too! It's the other gate...the one inside leading to the demonic plane. It is levering these two open. We need to close it before we can close these!"

Venkman groaned. "Egon that means we have to go to the Ethereal plane. That is a bad no no. Only dead people go there!"

"Not all of us...just three of us could close the gate."

Venkman set his jaw. "Let's do it."

Xander nodded then grabbed Spike kissing him deeply. "In case I don't come back."

He leapt quickly after his uncle into the portal. Gozer laughed tauntingly.

"Not without me Whelp!" Spike leapt into through the gate while the rest of the Scooby Gang ran interference with the god and the minions of Gozer.

Giles ran to Ecto-1 and threw the back door open reaching beside the black coffin. "Got to be something of use...YES!"

He pulled out a proton back like the ones the three Ghostbusters wore. "Thought they would have an extra laying about!"

He shouldered it on and ran back, panting under the weight of the equipment. "Let's see...they do this..." He flipped a switch. "Oh that is a VERY impressive sound..."

He aimed the wand then pushed another button and was almost thrown back by the force of the proton beam. It struck the 80-foot Demonic Elvis impersonator in the chest causing it to blurt out a flat note. "I think this will do very well till they get back." Giles announced.


The plunge into the Ethereal World was not like Xander thought it would be. It had looked a lot like Earth from the portal, but he found himself moving slowly through a thick gelatinous material, ectoplasm. Unable to breathe he held his breath. He felt himself begin to get light headed.

Spike moved carefully behind him while Venkman charged forward. He motioned with his hands and they each came forward. Xander struggled to hold his breath feeling his breath start to slip away. Behind them, they could feel Gozer following them onto the ghostly plane of existence. Out of the corner of their eye they could see demons and ghosts of every shape and size moving around them. Watching.

They raised their proton wands and pushed the triggers, loosing their footing as they were thrown backwards through the ectoplasm.

The gate began to collapse in front of them and Xander felt the last of his breath escape with a sigh as the demons around them were sucked into the next realm. He began to drown and grasped at Spike desperately as he felt the ectoplasm fill his lungs. He stared in shock for a second as he saw that Spike too was drowning and that a demon with the features of a vamped out vampire plus horns struggled to hold onto the bleached blond man only to be sucked into the spiraling vortex. His eyes began to slide shut as he felt the kiss and the whispered good bye. And in his mind, he hugged Anya farewell.

Seconds later all three men hit the ground on the Earthly plane. Xander woke up coughing and gasping as Willow breathed air into his mouth. "Spike!" he gasped. "Air...he needs..."

Willow nodded and moved onto Spike tilting his head back and began to blow into his mouth. Nearby he heard his uncle cough as Tara sat up and Harmony grabbed him to her chest. Tara wiped her mouth off and spit. "He tried to kiss me!"

In the background, Xander could see Giles still trying to keep the giant green Elvis impersonator in place while Angel, Gunn and Wesley herded the Terror Dogs into the school. "We've got to close the gate!"

Spike gasped beside him and Willow rolled him over as Spike began to cough up ectoplasm. Xander struggled to his feet and limped to his uncle. "We need one more...Spike isn't ready yet."

"YO! G-man come here!" Venkman yelled.

"Please don't call...never mind!" Giles yelled and ran to them.

Venkman jiggled the radio. "You guys there?"

"We're here." Egon answered.

"On three...One, TWO, THREE!" They held the proton wands together once again and threw the beams toward the gate. They watched as it finally collapsed. They fell in a heap on the ground while Spike slowly crawled to them. Over the radio, they could hear the cheering of Ray and Winston as their gate also collapsed. There was silence and then an explosion as the Traveler blew up into a million pieces.

"Oh gross! Elvis meat." Xander groaned.

"What about the girls?" Giles breathed.

"Oh! They'll be trapped...we got to get them out!" Venkman said but even before he had finished, Angel led the two disoriented women out of the building. They were ash covered and dirty from when the shells of the Terror Dogs burned.

Harmony wrapped her arms around Venkman's shoulders. "Are you okay, Venkie?"

"I'm fine Babe, no problem!"

Xander reached out and touched Spike. "Are you all right?"

Spike shook his head. He grabbed Xander's hand and placed it on his chest. He smiled a very tiny smile filled with hope.

Xander felt a powerful and steady heartbeat. A human heart beat.

Xander pulled Spike into a hug and held him close pressing his lips to the pale neck. "William."

The former vampire smiled and threaded his fingers through Xander's dark hair pulling him in for a kiss. "I'm back."


They almost had the car packed up and ready to go. They just needed to say their good byes.

"So you guys actually got to SEE Anya push us out of the portal?" Xander asked Willow.

"Yep. She threw you all out one by one, then waved good bye."

"I felt her but I thought it was a dream or something." Xander said in wonder.

Nearby he could hear Buffy harassing William. "Give me the film."

"I don't have the film." His voice held a much softer cadence than Spike's had but held the same wry humor.

"I REMEMBER that there was a camera. Give me the film and I don't have to hurt you!" She told him in a reasonable tone.

"But there really ISN'T any film, my dear child." He told her kindly.

She gave him a dirty look.

"It was a digital camera." He told her finally. "No real film."

"Fine, give me the disk." She held her hand out.

He handed it to her. "It is quite all right. Copies have already been sent via the Internet to Dr. Spengler."

"What?" she asked in a low voice.

He nodded, "Oh yes indeed. The research material involving you and Miss Cordelia has already been sent on to Dr. Spengler. As well as several websites, a division of research at the Watcher's Council, as well as several interested parties across the sea, and a copy has also been sent to My and Xander's respective e-mail addresses. You are more than welcome to the disk."

She stared at him for a second before he took off running with her close behind. "HUMAN CHEST, HUMAN CHEST...you don't stake HUMANS!" He yelled as she chased him out the door and around the building.

"She won't kill him." Cordelia said firmly with a smile. "Maim him maybe...kill no."

William raced back into the building hiding behind Xander. "Help!"

Buffy glared at him. "You...you...I thought that you would be NICE!"

"Uh Buffy, I hate to tell you this but he maybe a lot nicer than Spike as in...no wanton killing and stuff, but the basic personality was ALWAYS William's. So as ornery as Spike was...William was at least half as ornery. Kinda got to take the bad with the good." Xander stood firmly between the irate Slayer and William.

Cordelia patted Buffy on the shoulder. "Oh forget about them."

Cordelia smiled at Buffy and winked. "We have better things to think about."

Buffy blushed and nodded as she put her arm around Cordelia. "So where do you want to go for dinner tomorrow night?"

Tara and Willow smiled at each other and giggled.

Xander looked at his uncle. "You know that Egon is going to be pissed that we broke his vampire?"

Peter smiled, "Nah, don't worry about it. Right, my little Love Muffin? You're coming home with me!"

Harmony smiled and giggled. "Do I really get to go to all the big department stores?"

"Yes." Venkman smiled at her. "And then Egon is going to want to give you a physical to make sure you are as healthy as possible! And to run some tests and maybe then we can LIVE happily ever after."

Giles stepped forward. "Sp...William...I found something at home that I think might be yours. I think you left it after you moved from Xander's that last time. I remember you had it with you and left it. Then I forgot it. Here."

William took the box from him gently. "I left it at YOUR place?"

Giles nodded. "Yes, between leaving Xander's and moving into the crypt. You stopped by to flip me off and to call me a Wanker."

"Oh I remember that! Thank you for keeping it safe!" William smiled brilliantly then frowned a little, "Sorry about the Wanker stuff."

"No problem. I will chalk that up to the demon." Giles adjusted his glasses.

"Well, what's in the box?" Xander asked.

William opened it up. A pair of small glasses was on top of a myriad of small objects. "These were mine before I was turned. This lace kerchief was my mother's; the pressed flower was from my sister's wedding dress. Everything here is from before I was turned. It was all I had left of myself. It made me feel like I had a little piece of home."

Xander wrapped his arms around William. "You will always have a home with me. Ready to go home? To New York?"

"Oh yes more than anything." William smiled up at Xander. "Let's go home."


The End...

The Challenge:

A New Job
-tired of California and his life there, Xander heads to New York to live with his Uncle Peter. He is looking forward to a place with no Hellmouth and a lack of supernatural activity. Unfortunately, when he gets to his Uncle's home, he finds it to be a firehouse. A very famous firehouse the home of the Ghostbusters.

Plot Bunny...or...zygote of a plot bunny, maybe:
Um, just some random thinking...what HAPPENS to the souls of vampires when they are turned? Do they just go poof, and disappear? If so, where did Angel's come from when he was turned? Are souls personal, or are there like spare souls hangin around waiting to go into people's bodies? (silly!) Okay, so how about this - say, when a vam is turned, his soul leaves his body and hangs about sort of like a ghost, perhaps trailing after his vampy forepart. If you can grasp this, then maybe there's a sad little William soul following Spike around...(snippage)