Part 14: Night Out
Two weeks passed without a sign of the Master.
The Bronze remained empty; the remains of the factory were condemned
by the city and bulldozed. The number of people who didn't make
it home though if anything increased. Spike guessed that old bat
face was trying to rebuild his numbers and Angel agreed. They captured
a few fledglings and questioned them before dusting them, but none
of them knew anything useful.
Spike kept himself busy; he went out every night killing, mostly
on his own though the Slayer and Angelus -- oh sorry Angel-- tagged
along sometimes. He enjoyed himself, slaughtering demons and vampires
indiscriminately. Up until the little fracas at the Factory it had
been years since he’d really let loose and had himself a proper
massacre. Prague didn’t really count – he’d been
too worried about getting Dru away to really enjoy the carnage.
It almost, but not quite, kept his mind off not being able to feed
properly. Pigs’ blood was nasty stuff and the occasional bag
of hospital juice only helped a little. But a deal was a deal.
The Slayer was a dab hand at destruction. He reckoned she was easily
the match of the black one he’d done in New York. She was
bloody fast and brutally practical. He knew that if they ever got
the chance to dance it would be quick and deadly. The years of slaying
had made her into a weapon, cool and deadly, if a bit grim. Her
prey never got so much as a smile out of her before she staked,
stabbed or bludgeoned them back to hell.
Angelus had been a little rusty at first, still recovering from
his imprisonment, but he got back into the swing of things fairly
quickly. Spike had to admit that he was impressive. The soul hadn’t
made him forget anything he knew about snapping necks or tearing
things apart with his bare hands. Nothing sophisticated about his
technique, if the Slayer was a sword, Angelus was an axe. Got the
job done, was all you could say for it.
Giles was worried and Spike agreed he had a point. The watcher
invited him to his apartment to discuss the matter. It was just
the two of them; the Slayer was out on patrol. Merrick had moved
to the Sunnydale Day’s Inn immediately after his Waterloo
with Joyce. Angel was still staying with Cordelia, whose parents
were still away. Joyce had an apartment of her own now.
“Not that I’m not enjoying the mayhem,” he said
after tossing back a glass of Giles’ excellent whiskey. “But
Heinrich’s a nasty bastard. If he’s laying low he’s
planning a surprise. An unpleasant one.”
Giles nodded. “We need information.”
“Yeah, so I figure I’ll go hang out at Willy’s.
Find out what the rumors are.”
“Won’t they know about you? You’ve been fairly
active over the past few weeks.”
“Yeah, but dust tells no tales. Even if someone’s heard
about me bein’ on the rampage they’ll just figure I’m
taking advantage of the chaos to get revenge on the Master’s
Giles nodded. “Fine.”
“I’ll need someone to go with me. Joyce would fit the
“What?!” Giles snapped.
“Well, you can’t do it – every vamp in town knows
you and your happy crew. So that leaves yours truly to do a reccy.”
“Yes, but why do you need Joyce to go with you?”
“’Cause it’d look suspicious if I sat alone in
Willy’s for a couple of hours without getting drunk or in
“Whereas you being with a human wouldn’t look suspicious
“Don’t come it. Plenty of humans date vamps, you know
that.” Maybe it hadn’t been his best move to bring that
up, since it didn’t usually end well for the humans involved.
“C’mon Rupes, not gonna hurt her.” And that was
the bloody truth.
“Fine, ask her then.” Giles said, waspishly.
Spike did just that the next day when the White Hats assembled
at the library for their meeting he drew Joyce aside and explained
the situation. After the party she’d been a bit tense with
him but he’d been on his best behavior with her since. Not
an entendre, not an improper word had passed his lips. He kept his
desire buried deep down. On the surface he was friendly, polite,
and helpful; treated her like his – well not his mother, no.
And eventually she’d relaxed around him. Let herself smile
at casual compliments, even joked with him. She talked to him like
he was a person, not a useful tool. So he wasn’t surprised
when she agreed.
The watcher had been so sure she’d say no, it was a delight
to see his expression when she told him.
“You don’t have to feel an obligation,” Giles
said earnestly. “I’m sure that Cordelia…”
“Cordelia will not be going to any bars with the retro-coiffed
undead, thank you very much,” Cordelia declared sharply. Spike
noticed Angel nodding in agreement with her. That was -- interesting.
“Giles, I think I can handle sitting in a bar for a few hours
with Spike,” Joyce said calmly. “Besides, I could really
use a night out,” she added with a sparkle of mischief in
And that was that. The Slayer and her pals made a few more protests,
but Joyce was unmoved. He wasn’t surprised when as they were
leaving for patrol Buffy blocked him into a corner and held a stake
to his chest. Her grip was loose, her stance sloppy, he could have
had the stake out of her grip and buried in her gut in an instant,
but he’d made a deal.
“You know what happens if anything goes wrong, right Spike?”
Her eyes glared into his. Funny how mother and daughter had almost
exactly the same color eyes, but what was warm as whiskey in her
was cold ditch water in this one.
“Yeah, yeah. No need to get your knickers in a twist Slayer,
Joyce’ll be safe as houses with me.”
“She'd better be,” she snarled, and let him go.
The next night he went to pick Joyce up at Cordelia’s place.
He had a bloody hard time keeping up his front of polite indifference
when he saw her coming down the stairs. He knew she’d borrowed
the dress from the chit, but the clingy copper synthetic followed
every curve of her body like it had been made for her. She’d
done something to her hair as well, it looked darker and a little
straighter and framed her face perfectly.
“You look smashing love,” he told her honestly.
She blushed and looked away. Cordelia gave him a distinctly unfriendly
look as she handed Joyce her purse.
“Be careful,” she told Joyce while tossing another
dirty look his way. “Use the cell if you need anything, kay?”
Spike made a kissy face at Cordelia. “Change your mind? You’re
welcome to come along if you like.”
Cordelia grimaced. “As if. Night Joyce.”
Joyce had a bad moment when she saw how clean Spike’s old
Dodge was inside and out. She could hear her daughter ranting: “I
can’t believe I didn’t figure it out as soon as I got
into the car, all the bottles and trash were gone, and that funky
smell. He had one of those tree-hangers and you could see out of
all the windows. Obvious much?” Then she dismissed her worries.
Since the party he'd been a perfect gentleman. He'd treated her
with nothing but respect, and no dammit there was no slight feeling
of disappointment at that.
Spike drove to the wrong side of the tracks, to a part of Sunnydale
Joyce had never been to in the three-plus years she’d lived
there. She’d thought downtown looked bad, but it was Disneyland
Main Street compared to this. Half the buildings were burned-out
hulks. The streets were completely deserted, cluttered with broken
glass and other trash. Screaming for help around here would be like
ringing a dinner bell. Spike parked under the nearest unbroken streetlight.
Before she could unbuckle her seat belt he was out of the car and
holding the door open for her.
“Thanks,” she said.
Spike opened the battered door under the flickering sign that said
‘Willie’s’ and waved Joyce inside the familiar
barroom reek of old beer and cigarettes washed over her. There was
nothing familiar about the clientele packed inside. There were demons,
many demons, all different kinds, big and little. A few could have
passed for human, with the right lighting and clothes, others very
much not. Joyce was relieved to see a few humans scattered through
the crowd. At least she thought they were human. There was an air
of nervous celebration in the air that reminded her of the hurricane
party she’d attended in the Florida Keys, once upon a time
when she’d been younger and a lot dumber.
With Joyce’s hand tucked safely in the crook of his arm Spike
headed for the booths at the back, cutting through the crowd like
a hot knife through butter. He raised an eyebrow at the pair of
shaggy creatures sitting in his chosen booth and they cleared out
in a hurry. Joyce slid in and Spike followed, sliding next to her,
throwing his arm along the backrest. She looked at him and he winked.
Right, they were pretending to be on a date.
She tried to relax, not easy with his leg pressed against hers.
She could feel the rough denim through the thin synthetic of her
dress and her mind kept dwelling on the flesh inside the clothes.
She'd never had these kind of thoughts about Spike before. Never--
well hardly ever. She was neither blind nor gay, but when she'd
first met him she'd thought he was as young as he looked and later
she found out he was a monster and he'd been in love with Buffy,
and before that with Dru, so she was pretty sure he hadn't thought
about her that way either. Just what the hell had she been thinking
wearing this dress in the first place? She must look like Joan Collins
on the prowl... And why was it that while sitting with a vampire
in a bar surrounded by demons her biggest worry was that she might
be mistaken for Mrs. Robinson. When the hell had she gotten so old?
“There seem to be a lot of, um, people here tonight,”
“Yeah.” He scanned the crowd again with a critical
eye. “It’s been a bit of a party the past few weeks.
The Master wasn’t too popular with the other breeds.”
Joyce frowned. “But he got away. Right?”
He signaled a waitress. “He did, but only after getting his
arse badly kicked on his own turf. Plus we wiped out a fair chunk
of his minions and most of those that were left have left town in
search of a new boss.” The waitress finally made it over to
them, she had huge pointy ears and a face like a shaved cat but
her body was attractively humanoid. She slitted her big green eyes
in an unfriendly way at Joyce before focusing her attention and
pointy-toothed smile on Spike.
“What would you like?” she asked bending over a little
further than necessary. Joyce thought they were quite impressive,
but Spike didn’t even spare them an ogle.
“What’ll you have love?” Spike asked.
“A glass of white wine please.”
Spike snorted. “Bottle of champagne,” he told the waitress.
“– The real stuff mind, and two glasses.”
“Spike. I don’t know…”
“Don’t worry, I’ll drink my fair share.”
Joyce sighed. “Alright.” She jumped when his head dipped,
cool lips ghosting along her cheek.
Spike winked. “Got to make it look good,” he murmured.
This was a bad, bad, idea, Joyce thought.
Spike smirked. “I'm guessing you never took a walk on Sunnydale’s
wild side in that other world, did you? So, what did you do for
No! Talking about her old life led to thinking about things she
wasn't willing to think about right now with Spike so she went for
the surefire divert. “Movies. I like movies. Old, new, whatever.
‘Angel Face’ was on last night.”
Spike frowned. “Bloody Hell, sorry I missed it. That’s
a great film that is. Dru always fancied Big Bob. She got him alone
at a party one time but…”
It was just like old times, back at Revello, talking about Passions
and movies. Spike had seen a lot of films over the past 90-odd years.
She guessed vampires had a lot of free time on their hands.
The waitress came back with their bottle and two glasses. Spike
did the honors.
“Cheers.” Spike’s very blue eyes glittered at
her over the glass. There was no getting around the fact that he
was a very pretty-- man. It was just as well they’d never
met back in her college days; she’d have gone blithely off
with the sexy foreigner and ended up as his dinner.
“Cheers,” she said raising the glass.
It was her turn. “Best femme fatale,” Joyce said.
“That’s easy. Barbara Stanwyck. The queen. All class
whether she was shooting or seducing some poor muppet.”
Joyce sighed as she put down her glass. “Nope. Jane Greer.
’You dirty, stinking, rat!’ It doesn’t get any
better than that.”
Spike shook his head sadly. “You disappoint me Joyce. And
there I thought you had taste.”
“Hey, I’m not putting Barbara down, you can give her
a lifetime achievement award if you like.”
“Har bloody har. Right then, my turn. Best couple.”
She had to think about that for a moment. They’d agreed to
keep to pre-1960’s films which left Dennis Quaid/Ellen Barkin
out. Hmmm. “Fredric March and Carol Lombard,” she said
finally, and waited.
“Yeah. Yeah, good one Joyce.”
This was their second- or maybe third?- bottle. And Spike’s
hand had at some point, taken hold of hers. She liked his hands,
they were surprisingly large and the black nail polish took her
back to her college days. His fingers stroked the back of her hand.
Ooops. That was not good.
“Don’t.” She pulled her hand away.
“Why not? You afraid of what the others would think?”
She thought about it. Was she really worried about the opinion
of a daughter that couldn't quite bring herself to admit that she
was her mother and a band of half-familiar strangers? Yes. No. Not
“So then what’s the problem luv?”
“Hey Spike, long time no see,” a familiar voice broke
Spike frowned up at Herman, not bothering to hide his irritation
at the interruption. The vampire’s ugly face was fixed in
a gap-toothed smile. Whoever’d turned the overgrown bastard,
they bloody well hadn’t done it for his looks, or his personality.
Spike knew him from the Bronze. He’d been a hanger-on, not
an official minion if he remembered correctly. He stroked Joyce’s
arm reassuringly; she was worried which was a normal reaction to
having something that big and ugly leaning over her.
“What’s this?” Herman leered, staring down Joyce’s
Spike instantly shifted to his true face. “Mine,” he
Herman straightened up with a surprised look. “Really? I
didn’t know you were into that. I mean, I thought you were
with what’s her name um Deborah? Darla?”
“Drusilla,” Spike said in a dangerously calm voice.
“Yeah. What?” He glared at his buddy who’d been
tugging urgently at his sleeve. He kept one nervous eye on Spike
while he whispered urgently into Herman’s ear.
“Oh,” Herman said turning back to Spike. The leer was
gone, replaced by a definitely anxious expression. “Sorry,
I didn’t know. Hasn’t been a good year for you Aurelians,
has it? What with your lady and what happened to the Master…
You heard anything?”
Spike shook his head. “About old batface? Nah. You?”
Herman shook his head and looked sly. “So, are you thinkin’
about what you might do if he stays gone?”
Spike let his human face out as he leaned back into Joyce’s
warmth. “No thoughts at all that way friend,” he lied.
“Just enjoying the Hellmouth atmo.”
Herman nodded like he believed him. “Just wondered. Well.
Guess I’ll leave you and your human alone then. C’mon
“Cheers mate.” He watched the hulk and his sidekick
walk away. Well, that was interesting. He wasn’t surprised
that someone had worked out he might be thinking about taking over
from old batface, but he was a trifle suspicious that Herman could
work it out on his own.
“What was that about?” Joyce said sharply. She’d
moved as far away from him as she could in the booth’s limited
space. He looked at her, surprised at her tone.
“So, how are we doing?”
“Do we know anything more about where the Master might be?
That was supposed to be the whole point of this, right?”
What the hell had gotten her knickers in a twist?
“Sorry he was rude to you pet.”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“Have we learned anything? Or are we just wasting our time
“Come to that, you haven’t answered my question either.”
“Why not?” He gripped her wrist, held on when she tried
to take her hand away. “Give me one good reason why not.”
“Spike—“ she sighed. “You vampire, me human.”
“Spike, you eat people.”
“Not you luv. Unless you ask nicely.” He let the tip
of his tongue show between his lips and felt her pulse jump and
her skin flush under his fingers for a moment. Then her expression
hardened and she yanked her hand free.
“I can’t do that. I can’t just close my eyes
and pretend everything’s alright just because you aren’t
killing people I know.”
Her sanctimonious tone irritated Spike. “Oi, I haven’t
killed anyone in weeks! I made a deal, didn’t I?”
“And when the deal’s up? You’ll go back to killing,
won’t you?” She stared into his eyes intently and he
couldn’t help being drawn into her gaze. Got so caught in
their soft hazel depths that he missed his cue to lie.
She sighed. “I think I’d better go home now.”
Well, that’s it then, he thought as he followed her outside.
Not like she was really all that attractive, not like there weren’t
more than enough birds, human and otherwise in this town who’d
be glad to have him. What the hell did she expect? He’s a
bloody vampire, ‘course he eats people. What’s he meant
to do, shift permanently to pigs’ blood and filching from
hospitals? Like bloody Angelus, the bastard. He can’t figure
out how the poof does it, wished he could believe he cheated, snacked
a little on the side, but he knows better. Silly bint. He’s
got no soul, and doesn’t want one. He’s happy as he
is. A vampire. A killer. The hell with it, soon as he's dropped
her off home he’s going back to Willie’s for blood,
alcohol, and maybe get his end away with that waitress. To hell
with this bloody stupid suburban …
Her scream cut through the air like a lash snapping Spike out of
his fuming. Sheer rage roared though him when he saw her struggling
in the grip of two vamps. Mine! His demon roared as he rushed at
them. He knocked one clear with a vicious kick to the kidneys and
put him down for the moment. Then he pivoted to strike at the second
one who was holding Joyce with her arm twisted behind her back –
and only then realized it was Luke.
The huge Slav sidestepped his blow, releasing Joyce so he’d
have both hands free for the fight and sending her staggering into
Spike’s grasp. Their eyes met for an instant then he whispered
“run” and shoved her clear just in time to parry Luke’s
counterattack. She gave him one frightened look over her shoulder,
and ran. Maybe she’d make it. Spike didn’t have time
to worry about it as Luke came at him.
A quick exchange of light blows and they faced each other again.
Luke smiled. Spike knew him of course: he was the Master’s
First. He’d been the vessel who’d made the evil old
bastard’s ascension possible. He was a right bastard. Luke
was huge, ancient, and if he’d ever lost a fight Spike hadn’t
heard about it. If he’d remembered to bring a weapon he might
have stood a chance. As it was, he was buggered.
“Spike,” he rumbled. “I’ve been looking
“Yeah?” Spike didn’t relax his stance.
“The Master requests the favor of your presence.”
“Does he?” Spike hoisted an eyebrow. “Well, sorry
my schedule’s fully booked for now, but you can tell him I’ll
get in touch.”
Luke stared at him with those dishwater blue eyes. “You misunderstand.
It isn’t a request.”
“Like I said, can’t make it. Need to see my date home.”
“Date?” The ugly bastard looked confused. “Ah.
The woman. Bring her if you like, the larder can always use restocking.”
“No thanks mate.” For half a moment Spike thought he
was going to get away with it until six more vamps emerged from
the shadows. They all looked to Luke, waiting for directions. Luke
Joyce ran, but when she reached the end of the block a vampire
emerged from an alley blocking her way. She dodged him but as she
stepped into the street another vampire appeared. Shit. Glad she’d
gone with the flats against Cordelia’s advice she reversed
and ran back towards Spike. He was standing and talking to the huge
vampire who’d grabbed her. She was almost there when the two
suddenly exploded into action.
She’d never really seen vampires fight before. They moved
too quickly for her to make much sense of the fight – it was
all hands and feet striking at each other in a complicated and deadly
dance as they came together in strike and counterstrike. Spike was
quicker but her heart sank as she realized that the blows he landed
seemed to have almost no effect on ugly-vamp while the ones his
opponent landed on him obviously hurt.
She looked behind her and saw the shadowy figures of more vampires
blocking any hope of retreat. When she looked back, Spike was down.
As he tried to lever himself up from the ground, ugly-vamp kicked
him and blood sprayed into the air, backlit under the streetlight.
Joyce fumbled in her purse desperately as ugly-vamp kicked him again,
and again. Her hand closed on the gun and she pulled it out and
ran yelling towards them. Ugly looked at her, his expression smug
when he saw the gun. Aim for the eyes, Oz told her. He didn’t
even flinch as the stream shot towards his face. Then it hit him
and he howled. Joyce gaped as he clawed desperately at his face
as smoke rose from his eyesockets.
She heard footsteps behind her and whirled around just in time
to catch the vampire from Willie’s across the face and neck
with another blast of holy water. While he screamed and pulled up
his shirt to rub desperately at his dissolving skin Joyce turned
back and saw that the first vampire she’d shot had staggered
away leaving Spike lying there like a squashed spider in the middle
of a slowly spreading red pool. The vampires who’d herded
her here were keeping out of range. Waiting for orders. The head
vamp was being helped by two of his flunkies. It wouldn’t
take long for them to figure out that she was almost out of ammunition.
She ran to Spike and stood over him, holding the water gun ready
in one hand while she grubbed desperately in her purse with the
other. Finally her fingers closed around it. She tucked it into
her cleavage while she shucked off her jacket, one arm at a time,
and dropped it over Spike’s battered head and shoulders. She
hoped it would be enough. She looked up and saw that the vampires
were starting to close in. Ugly growled as he shook off the worried
hands of his minions, she could see the gleam of one yellow eye
as he looked straight at her. Shit.
“Kill her!” Ugly snarled.
“Stop!” She shouted as she pushed in the stem and raised
it overhead. Warily they skidded to a halt, none of them wanting
to be first to find out if she was bluffing. Seven, six…
“Cowards!” His minions shifted uncomfortably, but didn't
“Fine! I shall do it!” He started for her, not running,
a deliberate stride which would end with her death when he reached
She threw herself across Spike, burying her face in his jacket.
Even with her eyes shut tight the flash registered and as the light
washed over her exposed skin she felt a soft prickle like the one
you get after about an hour on the beach. The light grenade itself
didn’t make any sound, but with the light came a hellish screeching
and howling, then silence.
She opened her eyes. The world was cloudy and dark and at first
she thought she’d been dazzled by the intense light. Then
she realized that the darkness wasn’t in her eyes but was
due to the blizzard of ash swirling in the night air, the black
flakes slowly drifting down to the street.
Spike hadn’t moved, and her jacket and face were damp with
his blood. But he was a vampire, and since she could still feel
him solid under her hand, that meant he could still be saved.
She pulled out the tiny cellphone Cordelia had insisted on giving
her and punched in Giles’ number. “Please,” she
said when he answered. “I need you to come get us. Please.
We’re near Willie’s…”
posted 09 February 2004