Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Beta'd by the wonderful no_promises.


Two monks race down a corridor, panicked and throwing terrified glances behind them. One of the monks stumbles dropping his load of books and candles. The other man helps him up and they continue running down the corridor. They careen through a set of doors and slam them shut a beam is slid across the doorway. "They are coming, they will kill us all!" The monk who fell screamed in Czech.

"Our lives aren't important. We must complete the ritual. The key must be protected." Another monk responds as he starts setting up the candles in a circle.

"The Guardian has contacted us. Kaledena has disappeared from the Deeper Well. She will arise at the hellmouth we must send the key there." The senior member starts to chant as hammer-like blows start against the door. All three monks join in the chanting and just as the doors crash open the monks finish. The candles in the room blaze bright with flame, the youngest of the order falls back scrambling away from the intruders bursting into the room. The candles are still burning when a gust of wind flows into the room. They seem to ignite the air, through the smoke a small figure crawls out of the room. Gaining his feet he runs for the front door. Everyone left in the room is quickly incinerated in the blaze.

Buffy is out patrolling the warehouse district when suddenly she is slammed into a chain link fence. Buffy ducks the punch the vampire throws and he misses her head. Turning Buffy sees that he is a huge burly biker type.

"I've always wanted to kill a slayer." Biker vamp intones.

"And I've always wanted piano lessons." Buffy punctuates her words with blow after blow, knocking the hulking vampire back. He manages to get in a powerful hit to her face sending her reeling. She blocks his second punch grabbing his arm and twisting it until she has the vampire trapped between her and the fence. With precision she pulls her stake and slams it into the vampire's back, as his dust settles she slides the stake back into her pocket.

A shouted, "Hey!" has Buffy spinning around to see a night watchman approaching. As he approaches Buffy can see the name tag on his uniform, it reads Trevor Sherwood.

"You shouldn't be here. This is private property miss. I just chased a girl outta here last night. What is it with you kids anyway? Why do you want to hang out in empty warehouses anyway?"

"Sorry. I'll just leave." Buffy turns to go when the flashlight the man was carrying shines on something on the ground.

"Oh, hey hold it miss. Take your…. Whatever this is with you." Bending down the man picks up a glowing ball and hands it to Buffy.

"Oh, um, thank you. Have a nice night." Buffy leaves as the night watchman continues with his patrol.
§

In the basement of the burned out Sunnydale High School a lone figure stands in a circle of lit candles on the glowing sphere of the hellmouth. Muffled screams can be heard coming from down the hallway. "Kaledena, mighty goddess I am your faithful and devoted servant. I offer my life in service to you. Possess this body to do your will. Kaledena possess this body that you may take your rightful place here on earth." With a shudder the woman falls to the ground. Her body twitching as her heart slows and then stops. A red light suffuses the body, spasms making her stiffen. The light dissipates as the reanimated bodyslowly rises and walks out of the room; soon the screams from the hallway are no longer muffled. A few minutes later all is quiet again.

The next morning Buffy is making breakfast for her mother when Dawn comes in the kitchen. Buffy smacks Dawn's hand as the younger girl reaches for a piece of bacon that's on the plate. "That is for mom. She isn't feeling well. Keep your grubby paws off it!"

"Who died and left you in charge?" Dawn huffs.

Joyce walks in forestalling Buffy's reply. "Oh, is that for me?"

"It's the pamper mom platter." Is the sweet reply from Dawn.

"You two did all this?" Joyce asks.

"Oh, Buffy helped." Dawn gives a cheeky reply.

"I did not help." Buffy shoots a scathing look at her little sister.

"I'm sure you did Buffy. This all looks wonderful. So no one is pregnant, failing school or under indictment?" Both girls shake their heads "Just checking."

"We know you haven't been feeling well so…" Buffy answered as she pours her mother a cup of coffee.

"Yeah, the headaches they said would go away, well they came back and brought friends with them." Joyce answered as Dawn reached over to grab a piece of bacon off the plate.

Buffy had to look over Dawn's head to speak to her mother. "What did the doctor say?"

"Take four of some pills a day and come back for tests." "Oh! Isn't today Giles' big day?"

"It's his grand opening. Shoot I should have been there already!" Rushing out of the kitchen Buffy pauses to kiss Joyce as she leaves.

"Bring me back a flying broomstick!"

"Oh mom those never really work." Dawn admonished her mother.

The bell over the door jingles when Buffy walks into the Magic Box. She is surprised to see quite a few customers already in the store. She walks aimlessly around the displays and shelves waiting for Giles to be free.

At the first break in customers Giles joins Buffy at the table in the center of the room. It takes her a moment to notice that he is there. "Buffy are you alright dear?"

"Mom's sick and we have no idea what is wrong."

"Has she seen a physician?"

"Yeah, she has a highly trained medical staff working round the clock to tell us exactly diddly."

"I'm sure she will be just fine Buffy. Let the doctors do their job." Giles is interrupted by the bell on the door as Willow and Riley come in.

"Giles where is your hat and cloak?" The red head asks.

"Actually I have a little Scooby-centric deal to deal with." Reaching into her bag Buffy pulls out the glowing ball she found last night. "I put this before the group. What the hell is it? I found it in the warehouse district last night after I dusted a vamp."

Giles takes the proffered globe "It appears to be paranormal in origin."

Willow leans forward to get a better look, "How can you tell?"

"Well, it's so shiny." Is Giles' chagrined reply.

While everyone was busy looking at the globe Riley surreptitiously places a small object on one of the shelves.

"There may be more where that came from, I say we go back out again tonight."

Buffy shares a look with Giles before answering. "Um, sure. I'm going to go home and check on my mom. I left her with Dawn and she isn't feeling too good right now." She quickly leaves before she has to explain to Riley that he isn't much help on patrol since he has been off the army drugs.

Buffy arrives home to find her mom on the couch in the living room moaning in pain. Running upstairs she bursts into Dawn's room. "Get dressed, were taking mom to the hospital. I thought you were checking on her, she's downstairs in pain on the couch!"

Dawn tears up at the rebuke but rushes to put on her shoes and grab her mother's purse and car keys. She runs downstairs in time to hear Joyce tell Buffy she doesn't need to go to the hospital.

With tears in her eyes Dawn begs her mother to go. "Please mom? You shouldn't be in this much pain."

Joyce relents, the pain is getting worse. Buffy gets her mother in the car but Joyce refuses to let Buffy drive. Instead Joyce drives them to Sunnydale Memorial Hospital. When they arrive Joyce is taken into the Emergency Room and Buffy calls her friends to let them know what is going on. The gang arrives and they all sit in the waiting room for news.

"I've got to stretch my legs. Anyone want anything from the vending machines?" Buffy asks the group. After taking their orders Buffy walks down the hallway. Turning the corner she bumps into a sheet covered stretcher pushed by an orderly and a female nursing assistant. "Oh sorry!" She says as the sheet slips and a body is revealed. The two pull the sheet up quickly to cover the remains but Buffy notices something first, she saw someone wearing that uniform last night. The security guard from the warehouse had on a uniform like that and the nametag on the remains read Trevor Sherwood just like the man she saw. The two hospital employees continue down the hallway pushing the stretcher towards the elevators.

"Oh man that's creepy!" The orderly says.

"The remains were found in an abandoned warehouse. They must have been there for years for there to only be bones left. It's funny that his clothes are still intact though." With a shrug they enter the elevator.

Buffy arrives back to the waiting room just as the doctor walks in. "We've had your mother under observation for a little while now. And quite frankly I can't see anything wrong other than she was having a migraine. I've prescribed some pain medication and if it doesn't help we can have her come back and do some more tests. Your mother is being released right now and you can take her home." Without waiting to see if they had any questions the doctor leaves the room.

Buffy and Dawn get their mother settled in at home. Leaving Dawn in her moms room Buffy goes downstairs to call Giles. "Giles, I want to go look at that warehouse I was at last night. I'm pretty sure the night watchman that showed me that glow ball is dead. When I was at the hospital I ran into a stretcher with a body on it that some aide's were taking to the morgue. Only the bones and the clothing were left but that was the same uniform the guard was wearing. I think I need to check it out. I don't want to leave mom alone with just Dawn here. Can you come over? Yes? Thanks! See you soon."

Well this was a queer turn of events. But D'Hoffryn was adamant; the demons in Sunnydale deserved a few vengeance wishes. No deaths of course, there is a slayer in town but Halfrek was certain she could help out a few of her brethren. The military had been on a scorched earth campaign while they were here and scores of demons had been hurt or killed. Their families were crying out for vengeance and D'Hoffryn was bending the rules to meet their needs. They were simple, no killing and only one wish per demon nothing she couldn't work with. Hallie was under orders, no chip removal for the demons that prey on humans. Even so this had to go above and beyond the call of duty. Here she was trudging through the sewers to grant her next wish. Oh well, her boss was happy and she was basking in his praise.

"Damn Scooby gang! Damn the Slayer and her boy toy too! Beatin' on a defenseless vamp. Soddin' chip in my head! Ha ha, look at Spike the Slayer of Slayers all impotent! The bint goes for the nose every bleedin' time. Too bad they don't have to deal with the headaches. I just wish they had to, might have a bit more sympathy for us demons then." Spike paused during his angry rant to draw a breath before continuing. "'Specially the whelp and Captain Cardboard, Slayer and her watcher too. Can't forget Red, throwing spells all over the place. Yeah wish they could feel the pain when they're hitting on me."

"William!" Halfrek startles Spike mid rant.

Spike stared in confusion for a moment. "Cecily?" "How? Shouldn't you be dead? Seeing as how we haven't crossed paths in over 100 years."

"Halfrek, Vengeance Demon" Morphing her face to show her vein-y countenance. "How long have you been a vamp?"

"Since the last time you saw me. Dru turned me that night. Names Spike now."

A twinge of guilt struck. Halfrek remember exactly what happened that night. A sly smile graced her face. She could try to make up for it. "So Spike, how about I grant your wish?"

"Since when do Vengeance Demons grant wishes for other demons? Thought that was against the rules?"

"Well D'Hoffryn felt the demons in town deserved it. The soldiers really did a number on them. I can't kill anyone, so no chip removal, but other than that I can grant any wish I want."

"So pet, feel like granting mine?" At Halfrek's encouraging nod Spike thought of just how to word his wish. "I wish that any human that hits me will find just how the chip works. Especially Buffy and her Scooby gang. Don't forget her boy toy Riley Finn."

Halfrek was almost bouncing with excitement; no one had ever had the privilege of granting a vengeance wish against a slayer. She was going to be famous in the demon world! Halfrek has no trouble with granting this wish, D'Hoffryn never said she couldn't grant a wish against a slayer, with a quick flash her face changed and she announced "Wish Granted."

"Ta' pet. You might want to keep a low profile. Slayer finds out your in town granting wishes to demons she'll probably come after you."

Halfrek said her goodbyes and continued on her way to grant her next wish.

Spike couldn't wait to see how the precious Scooby's would react and headed out through the tunnels towards the slayers house.