It was a slightly ridiculous statement given that people were already obviously shrinking back towards the edges of the large room. Spike could see Mena working her way over to them as well, her taser also drawn.
Oz was hanging back, not really sure of what he could do. He didn't have a taser and adding another werewolf to the situation seemed like it would be decidedly unhelpful. Spike, Xander and Mena set about trying to herd the werewolves out the door.
It occurred to Oz that the situation was somewhat peculiar. Werewolves kept turning up, and it wasn't near the full moon yet. Clearly, something was going on. He wondered whether the others had put it together. The fact that they were carrying tasers suggested they might have, but they weren't prepared to try and do anything beyond chasing the werewolves out into the street. They didn't have any tranquilizer guns, as far as he knew, so they couldn't really stop the werewolves from doing damage elsewhere.
And, besides, the Council wasn't exactly a public organization, so it was not as if Xander had any authority to be shooting people with tranquilizers, even if they were in werewolf form. After all, pretending to be animal control officers would probably be a short-lived ruse. Oz glanced around and noticed a broom leaning in the corner. He grabbed it and entered the fray.
Ten minutes later, they had chased the werewolves out of the club and down the street but had eventually lost them down a series of dark alleys. They all pulled up, slightly out of breath, except for Spike.
"You've probably noticed, but it's not the full moon. There aren't supposed to be werewolves," Oz said.
"We know. It seems like they aren't targeting you specifically, though. I mean, they keep turning up where you are, but have never actually attacked you," Xander replied.
"It seems a little odd, though, that Willow would have seen Oz and not whomever they're actually attacking," Mena said.
"Willow has an arguably greater connection to Oz than that lawyer or the people in the club. Spike's been there both times, as well, but it makes more sense that she'd see Oz, or at least as much sense as any of this can make," said Xander.
"At least no one's been injured," said Oz.
"There's a coincidence beyond just Oz and I being there both times. Lawyers. That bloke we saved in the alley was a lawyer; it said so on his card. And I was standing almost exactly where those lawyers I met earlier had been standing when the werewolves showed up in the club," Spike said, fishing around in his jacket for the lawyer's business card.
"Does anyone know what the lawyers were doing when the werewolves appeared?" Mena asked.
"My attention was focused entirely on the wolves," replied Spike. "Not even sure the lawyers were still there. Next time we get close enough to one of the wolves, when there aren't any bloody bystanders around, we've got to stun one of them and find out exactly who the person in wolf's clothing is."
Both Xander and Mena fell into bed as soon as they got back to the motel, barely taking time to brush their teeth and change into their pajamas. Spike took his shoes off and laid down on the bed, listening to Xander quietly snore. He felt a little silly going to bed while there were still a good number of hours before daylight; he was a vampire after all.
As he had done the night before, he started flipping through the channels on the television. Soon after, however, a severe summer thunderstorm started to unleash itself on the city. The storm was making the television flicker a bit, and the noise was getting annoying while he was channel surfing. Not that there was anything good on, anyway.
After about ten minutes, Spike was fed up and decided to head back out. Maybe he could figure out what was going on with the werewolves, even if it was rather unlikely that he'd stumble upon the information. He started wandering around the city, much like he had when he found Oz the first night, but this time, he went in the other direction.
Eventually, once he was completely soaked by the raging storm, he discovered that he'd circled around and ended up back near the diner and the club. Not all that surprisingly, he hadn't learned a single scrap of information about the werewolves. After a moment's consideration, he decided that he would go into the club and make use of the pool table he remembered noticing earlier.
Lisa had tried to chat with Matt Lawrence, the Wilde and Williams lawyer who specialized in real estate law, while they were at Excalibur, but they found the noisy club was definitely not conducive for intelligent conversation. They had decided to go to a diner where they could get some coffee and pie and discuss things in a more quiet setting.
Jack had told her to go ahead because he wanted to talk with some of the tax lawyers, himself. Once they had their fill of the music and dancing and drinking, he was going to suggest heading back to the Wilde & Williams offices where they could not only talk, but also refer to the charts that had been used in the workshop that afternoon at the seminar.
So when the werewolf attack had taken place at Excalibur, Lisa and Matt were safely discussing the intricacies of real estate law at a diner near the club. Lisa's "handler" had not sent her the phone call trigger yet. He was waiting for the perfect opportunity. Meanwhile, he monitored her via the device implanted under her skin and a "bug" that had been dropped into her pocket by one of the W&H operatives who had tailed the lawyers to Excalibur.
The operatives had found it extremely easy to "bug" each of the lawyers because everyone at the crowded club was being jostled by other crowd members. Later, these same operatives had also gathered up the discarded clothes from the deserted back room where the lawyers had received their phone calls and transformed into wolves. They had not, of course, expected Spike's team to chase the wolves out of the club. So they tracked the wolves, shot them with tranquilizer guns, which caused their transformation back into human form, and left their clothes beside their naked human bodies.
When they awakened, the mind-controlled lawyers would remain in a semi-hypnotic state until they had dressed themselves and returned to the Wilde and Williams offices, where they had earlier agreed to meet up with some of the Wilde and Williams lawyers. The elaborate scheme of controlling these unsuspecting lawyers had turned out to provide endless fun for their Wolfram and Hart "handlers" who were very much enjoying their roles as puppet-masters. They would be sorry to see this particular job come to an end.
Lisa and Matt suddenly realized how late it had become, paid their bill at the diner, and began to wrap up their conversation.
"I must say that I'm a bit weirded out; our firm has started taking on some very strange clients," Matt said.
"Wolfram and Hart has apparently done that for years. Although I haven't worked there very long, I've already had some dealings with many of their demon clients. Some of them are really great people, and others are just downright creepy. I don't think this storm is going to let up any time soon. We might as well resign ourselves to getting wet."
Lisa and Matt prepared to open their umbrellas as they neared the diner exit.
"Well, I should probably head back to the hotel. It was nice talking to you," Lisa said.
"Yes. We should do it again sometime. I'd be interested in meeting Jack," Matt replied.
"I'll call you sometime soon to see if we can find a convenient time before Jack and I head back home to San Francisco. Good night," Lisa said as they walked out of the diner and went their separate ways, he turning right and she left.
Lisa was less than half a block away when her phone rang. She fished it out of her purse and answered, "Hello. This is Lisa."
The same low buzzing as before sounded twice. She clicked off the phone and dropped it into her purse before the werewolf transformation began once again. She set her purse on the pavement and covered it with the umbrella, then began removing her clothes and piling them under the umbrella as well. As soon as the metamorphosis was complete, she bounded down the block after Matt.
As Mena lay down on her bed for what she hoped would be a much needed, restful night of sleep, she silently prayed to anyone that would hear her to not let whatever had occurred last night happen again. It had been completely unnatural, and it brought her fear of ghosts right back to the forefront.
It didn't help that it was raining. The storm raged outside, with heavy rain pelting her windows and intermittent thunder and lightning adding their loud pyrotechnical effects. The violent storm was doing enough on its own to prevent sleep from coming, but dealing with whatever it was that haunted this hotel was pushing Mena to her limits. She closed her eyes, in hopes that sleep would claim her and bring a better day, but more importantly, end this night.
She closed her eyes tighter, thinking that maybe she'd imagined everything the night before; things were fine now, and she could rest. Only five minutes later, the banging started, just as it had the night before. Endless banging.
She shut her eyes tighter with each noise, wishing it would just stop or at least fade away and never come back. The last one was very loud, loud enough to make her jump out her bed in one quick motion, tossing the sheets to the floor and taking deep breaths as panic rose within her. The banging had stopped, and it was now eerily quiet.
"Sleep tight "
The words echoed in her room as the only sound, sending a shiver down Mena's spine and giving her the creeps on a whole new level. She would definitely not be sleeping tonight.
There's nothing here, there's nothing here, there's nothing...
Her thoughts were cut off when the lamp on the nightstand began to click on and off. Slayers weren't supposed to be scared; she knew that. There were handbooks that said so. Yes, they were very old, but they wouldn't lie, and if she was destined to slay vampires and demons, and stop apocalypses, then a poltergeist shouldn't be making her act like some little scared kitten.
The lamp began to quake, shaking towards the edge of the nightstand. The televison suddenly clicked on, the sound blaring and the screen revealing that it was right in the middle of the film Poltergeist. Mena was frozen in her spot, too scared to move, scream, or call for Xander.
Then the connecting door to his room opened, and he stuck his head into hers.
"Mena? I couldn't..."
He was cut off as the rattling lamp shot off the nightstand and crashed to the floor. There was the evidence, as plain as day. And yet, Xander still didn't want to believe there were ghosts. There was no way Mena could have moved the lamp when she stood more than five feet away, staring at the sudden mess of broken glass and ceramics in horror. If she didn't do it, who did?
"Now, that wasn't nice "
The mysterious, ghost-like voice spoke again, and Mena could tell that Xander heard it by the way he jumped. He was at her side in mere seconds.
Mena gave him a look of feigned innocence that held just a bit of smugness. "But I was just overreacting, wasn't I?"
As Spike neared the diner, he looked up in a flash of lightning to see what looked like a werewolf coming straight at him. The lightning from the storm had interfered with his night vision, so he did not see Matt lying on the ground just behind the werewolf. For the second time that night, Spike pulled out his taser and faced the werewolf.
This time he was determined not to let it get away; he had had enough of the strange werewolf attacks. He set the taser on its highest level. Just as the werewolf was about to run headlong into him, he zapped it with the taser a few times. While it was still stunned, he grabbed it and rammed its head into the wall of the building with as much strength as he could muster. It fell to the ground in a crumpled heap.
Spike decided that he should call Xander and Mena right away. He hoped that the werewolf would be unconscious long enough to either turn back into a human or for Xander and Mena to arrive, so that the three of them could figure out what to do.
The wave of adrenaline from fighting the werewolf began to pass, and Spike smelled blood. Human blood. At first, he thought it might be from the werewolf. It wouldn't be surprising if it was bleeding, and he was pretty sure werewolf blood was very close to human, just not exactly human. But no. This aroma was very definitely of human blood.
Spike looked around some more and found Matt Lawrence lying on the ground, mauled rather badly. Spike wasn't entirely sure what to do, as Matt was bleeding fairly heavily from various places. He pulled out his cell phone, which had been provided by the Council and was proving to be very useful, and dialed 911.
"Need an ambulance. Just found a guy who looks like he's been mauled. He's at the corner of Dearborn and Ohio."
"Very well, we'll send one shortly. Please stay at the scene until they arrive. Don't move the body, but if you think it's necessary, try to staunch any serious bleeding."
"Thanks," Spike muttered as he hung up. He just realized that there was one flaw in this plan. There was an unconscious werewolf lying just yards away. That was going to be difficult to explain to the paramedics when they arrived.
He phoned Xander, muttering "Please pick up; come on, pick up" as the phone rang, and he attempted to stop Matt from bleeding quite so much.
"Hello?" Xander answered, sounding anxious. .
"You'd better get over here now. I'm outside that diner by the club. I've knocked out one of the werewolves, but it's mauled this bloke, and the paramedics are going to turn up, and I don't know how to explain it to them."
"Uh, Spike, we had another nasty visit from the ghosts here. Mena's
"Need some back-up here, Harris," Spike ground out. Sympathy
"See that she's settled, then haul your ass down here," he
Xander muttered a few choice expletives under his breath.
"I'll be all right, Xander," Mena said bravely. "If Spike
Xander stood debating for just a few moments, then hurried into his
"So where's this werewolf?" Xander asked.
"Just over there," replied Spike, looking up and pointing.
Except the werewolf was gone.
They looked further down the block and discovered Lisa, who had walked calmly down the block to where her clothes lay and was already half-dressed, although still under a hypnotic trance.
"Deal with him, will you?" Spike said and hurried down the block to take a look at Lisa. He was shocked to realize who she was.
"Hey," he said to her, just as she finished dressing.
Lisa shook her head, still quite groggy, but now out of the trance. "What happened?" she asked.
"Not sure, Lisa. Just found you. I think you were mugged," Spike said, trying to lie as best he could.
Lisa seemed to buy it because her purse and umbrella were lying on the ground at her feet, and she was totally drenched. Spike could only hope that she didn't notice Matt.
"What's the last thing you remember?" Spike asked. He would hazard the last thing she did before he knocked her out was attack Matt, but he kind of doubted she remembered that.
"I was having coffee with Matt. We were just leaving..." Lisa trailed off as a look of horror came over her face.
Spike assumed maybe she did have some memory after all. She looked more closely at him and ran away, screaming, leaving Spike standing there, looking after her. Then he realized that all the blood had brought out his vampface. He shook it off, determined to follow her and explain that he was a "good" vampire, and that, whether she knew it or not, she was a werewolf.
The rain started to fall in heavy drops, cleaning the asphalt of dirt and...blood. Blood of an innocent. The dark red fluid was quickly washed away by the sudden downpour.
"Looks like the higher powers don't want the evidence to remain very long," Spike said, looking up at the sky and allowing the huge raindrops to also cleanse and refresh his face.
Lightning tore through the darkness of the night, reflecting in the windows of the buildings and illuminating Spike's figure for a moment. The bright silver light reminded him of another blinding brilliance - the united light of the sun and his soul. That light had saved the world and given the chance for a better life to the only girl who had believed in him and who he loved more than anything.
This thought suddenly reminded him of another girl, all alone somewhere on the Chicago streets. A girl who needed his help right now.
Spike blinked and looked back at Xander, who was kneeling beside the injured lawyer, examining the man's wounds.
"Stay with him, Harris, I'll see to the girl," the vampire shouted over the loud thunder as he ran off in the direction that Lisa had disappeared some moments ago.
"Spike?!" Xander turned his head toward the origin of the voice, but he couldn't see anything through the heavy rainstorm. "Great," he grumbled, wondering what he would tell the paramedics.
Spike could still detect Lisa's scent; however, it was getting weaker as the fresh early summer rain cleared the air. His platinum blond hair was totally soaked from the pouring rain, and streams of water were rolling down his cheeks and neck, beginning to work its way beneath his collar. He didn't care.
All he could think of was the frightened girl, devastated by what she had unwittingly done. He had seen the horror and shock on her face; she definitely shouldn't wander about the streets in this state of mind.
Quickening his speed, he finally spotted her, stumbling across the sidewalk on the other side of the street. He began to cross the pavement, nearly catching up to her, when the sudden sound of a horn broke the silence of the night. Startled, Spike whirled around just in time to see the blinding headlights of a car rushing towards him through the pouring rain.
"Bloody hell!" he jumped back with a yell, just in time to avoid being run over.
The car sped away, splashing even more water on the already soaking wet vampire. Grumbling a bit under his breath, Spike looked again for Lisa.
He spotted her standing several meters away, watching him in terror; and when he moved to approach her, she immediately turned around and started to run back across the street again. Since she was already exhausted, he easily caught her in the middle of the street.
"Lisa!" he grabbed her arms and forced her to look at him. The girl's face mirrored desperate fear.
"Am I - Am I really h-her?" she gasped; her eyes stared pleadingly at Spike. "Am I really Lisa?"
"You are," he reassured her in a soft voice.
The fierceness of the storm started to subside, but it was still raining steadily.
"Better get you out of this rain," Spike suggested. Looking around, he noticed a fast food restaurant at the next corner.
"Let's sit down there," he said. "We'll have a cup of tea or hot chocolate, whatever you want. And you can tell me everything about the recent events, okay?"
Lisa stared, frightened and uncertain of him. Her lips were trembling so much she could barely speak. So she didn't. She just kept gazing at him with wide, wondering eyes, her confusion and bewilderment very apparent.
"I want to help you, love," he added.
"But I saw your face. You're a vampire."
"I know, but I'm a good vampire, pet. You ever see one of those Wesley Snipes movies where he plays that Blade character?"
"Well, I'm not exactly like him. Can't walk in the daylight. But I do save people from the vampires and other nasties who would kill them. You can trust me."
After another moment of hesitation, she nodded.
"Good girl," Spike smiled and reached out to her. "Come on, I won't bite."
Lisa rolled her eyes at Spike's attempt to lighten the moment with humor but grabbed his hand, and they ran toward the restaurant to find shelter from the rain.
Once inside the restaurant, Spike removed his jacket. Huge drops of water dripped from the material.
"So much for trusting the weather forecast," he grumbled, running his hand through his soaked hair. "They bloody forgot to mention this sodding summer storm."
Spike ordered two cups of hot chocolate at the counter, while Lisa tried to wring some of the moisture from her suit jacket. She sat down at a free table, as far as possible from the other customers. Returning with their drinks, Spike handed a cup to the girl and settled on the seat opposite her. Lisa looked like a very drenched and frightened little animal.
"Feel better?" Spike asked with concern. His hair was still dripping from the raindrops.
"A little bit," Lisa whispered.
"Drink this and you'll be right as rain." Spike pointed at the cup.
Lisa raised her eyebrow at his last word.
"Okay, maybe not rain, but right as..." he chuckled, not finding any suitable comparison.
"That's all right. Don't strain yourself for a better expression. I get that you're trying to make me feel more at ease," she managed a slight smile, pushing back a wet lock of her hair. She took a sip of her cocoa.
"Ouch! It's really hot."
"It will do you good," Spike smiled. He waited a moment and then continued, "All right, love, tell me what happened."
Spike was still trying to understand how this girl, this prim and proper lawyer, had actually turned into a werewolf without benefit of a full moon. But he had witnessed it with his own eyes.
The girl's expression became grim again.
"I d-don't know. Everything is so muddled." She stared at the table, trying to recall the events. "Feels like having memories of two different people - but both of them are me." She very purposefully stressed the last word.
"Just calm down, love. No one is rushing you," Spike leaned forward.
Lisa nodded. "Confusing images come to me...with sharp flashes," she said as she flinched in pain.
"Are you all right?"
"I've had this pounding headache ever since it happened. It gets worse when I try to remember what I did."
Spike gave her a compassionate look, then gently urged her to continue.
"Sorry, pet," he murmured. "I don't want you to suffer, but we have to figure out what's going on with you."
She shot a thankful glance at him and replied, "Don't worry, I'll survive."
The vampire nodded. "That you will. I'll do everything I can to make sure of it."
"There are things I clearly remember: coming out of the diner, Matt Lawrence and I said goodbye to each other, then I was talking to my mom on the phone for a while..." She rubbed her temple to ease the pain. "And then I see myself doing things that I don't remember having done. And these things are..." She closed her eyes in horror.
"No. That's not me. That can't be me," she whimpered.
Spike watched her helplessly. He would have done anything to ease her mind, but there was really nothing he could say that would make it all go away.
"What are you remembering?" he put his hand on her arm as a teardrop ran down her cheek.
"Oh, God," she sobbed, "I've done something horrible."
Her desperate look met his anxious one. But he already knew the truth.
"I was about to kill him."
"Him? That man with you?"
"Matt Lawrence. He's a lawyer with Wilde & Williams."
As Spike listened to the frightened girl, he was puzzled by several things. She acted like she wasn't aware of the true nature of her beast. Werewolves know what they are. They feel the bloodlust, the instinct to hunt and kill. But Lisa was apparently terrified and shocked that she had wanted to kill someone. Something was really wrong here.
"Lisa," Spike sighed and his eyes narrowed. "Have you ever heard about werewolves?"
The girl's eyes widened at the question.
"Yes. Anyone who doesn't notice that there all kinds of monsters and demons in the world is simply not paying attention, although some people prefer to just hide their heads in the sand and pretend they don't exist. But what does that have to do with me?"
Spike sighed again. He was afraid of this. "You really don't remember, do you, love?"
The girl just stared at him, clueless. "Remember what?" Then her face flinched, and she gasped.
Dark thick fur...sharp claws and teeth. "Oh, my God," she suppressed a scream as terrifying images flashed through her mind. "What the...?"
Spike swallowed. It was time to reveal his cards.
"Remember the minutes just before you ran away? I was across the street. I saw you saying goodbye to the lawyer and turning to go your separate ways. In the next moment, something attacked him. And you were nowhere in sight."
Lisa continued to stare at him, still puzzled. Still not connecting the dots.
"But the werewolf was," Spike continued. "I had to stun it." He bowed his head for a moment, then taking a deep breath, he looked up and into her eyes again.
"The creature was lying there on the ground, unconscious. Seconds later, it disappeared, but you were there. Lisa, love, I hate to have to tell you this, but I'm afraid you and that wolf are one and the same."
Spike's last words kept echoing in Lisa's mind. Her eyes widened in shock; she almost dropped her cup.
"What - what did you say?"
"Know it's upsetting," Spike spoke cautiously, trying not to alarm her anymore than he already had, "but it's true. I saw you."
"Oh, my God," Lisa gasped. "What's going on with me?"
Spike shook his head. "Don't know, love. But don't worry. We'll get to the bottom of this bloody mess."
A pained look flashed across the girl's face as she desperately tried to remember the previous events.
"I don't understand how I could possibly be a werewolf. Don't you have to be bitten by one in order to become one? I've never been bitten!"
"Right. That's usually the way it happens. If you don't remember being bitten, let's try focusing only on what happened tonight for now. You told me you remembered leaving the diner, yeah?" Spike searched her eyes.
"Y-yes," she nodded, still confused.
"I was having a phone conversation with my mom..."
Spike's brow furrowed as he concentrated on her recollection.
"And then suddenly, you were there," she continued.
" No memory of attacking this Lawrence bloke?"
Lisa shivered and shook her head in earnest. "No! I only remember the phone call."
Spike sighed. "Sorry to say this, love, but that conversation with your mum that you think you remember? It couldn't have happened," he explained. "You attacked him just moments after you both left the diner. He was lying on the sidewalk only a few yards from the diner's entrance."
"Are you trying to tell me I'm insane?" she snapped at him and jumped up, intending to leave. Spike grabbed her wrist.
"Sorry, love, didn't say that to hurt you," he said regretfully. "Please...Lisa, sit down. Let's try to sort this out. Something right strange is going on, and it's not your fault."
With tears in her eyes, Lisa sat back down and stared at the table.
If that conversation with my mother never happened, why do I remember it so vividly?"
"Don't bloody well know," he admitted.
After a long moment lost in thought, Lisa looked at Spike with renewed determination.
"But there was another phone call. I remember it clearly. After saying goodbye to Matt, I got a call on my cell phone."
Spike raised an eyebrow and watched her intently.
"It was a strange one, though, just a buzzing noise and..." She closed her eyes for a second. "And everything is so jumbled up since then."
"May I see your phone?" Spike asked.
"Of course," she fished the cell phone out of her purse and handed it to him.
Spike examined the object carefully. It was an ordinary set, nothing unusual about it at all. He was about to check the call history log, when the phone started to ring. Startled, they both sat there gazing at the phone, which continued to ring loudly. Lisa shot a questioning look at Spike, who kept staring at the display.
"Damn wankers," he exclaimed, "should have known those bloody bastards would be behind this."
Lisa moved to answer the phone, but Spike stopped her.
" No! Don't answer it."
" Why?" her eyes narrowed in confusion.
"Because if I'm right, love, the bloody Senior Partners have got you on speed dial," he stated angrily.
" What? I don't understand a word..." Lisa murmured. "Who are you talking about? Are they your partners?" she asked innocently.
Spike laughed, then replied with disdain. "No bloody way!"
Lisa stared at him even more confused than before.
"Well, security guards must have senior partners that they get their assignments from and that they report to within their company? Isn't that right?" she asked.
Now it was Spike's turn to become confused. He wasn't quite getting what Lisa was talking about.
"Security guards?" he cast a puzzled look at the girl.
"You told Jack and me that you were working in security," she rolled her eyes. "you know - in the diner - when we first met -" Lisa elaborated in response to Spike's clueless expression.
" Oh, yeah!" Spike laughed, remembering the first encounter with the lawyer girl and her boyfriend. He had completely forgotten what he had said to them about his line of business.
"You have a bloody good memory, love," Spike noted and took a sip of his cocoa.
"Well, if you're a lawyer, having a reliable memory for details is pretty standard and definitely useful." Lisa smiled, then added, "Especially if you work for the most successful global law firm of Wolfram & Hart."
At the mention of the firm, Spike almost spat out his mouthful of cocoa. His eyes widened in dismay, his penetrating glare fixed on Lisa.
"What firm did you say?" His voice was low and very serious in reaction to the unexpected surprise that suddenly made perfect sense. It somehow seemed only natural that Wolfram & Hart might be involved in werewolves attacking lawyers from another firm. Spike was already formulating in his mind that Matt Lawrence's firm must be a rival law firm.
Not understanding the reason for the sudden change in Spike's attitude, Lisa cautiously repeated the name in question.
"Wolfram and Hart..."
" Those bloody evil pillocks!" Spike growled with anger. "Should have guessed. The Senior Partners usually use their sodding law firm's employees to play out their dirty games."
Scared by his sudden, heated outburst, Lisa just stared at the blond. The more she heard, the less she understood what was going on. Noticing the girl's frightened appearance, Spike realized there was no other way but to introduce Lisa to certain necessary facts about the evil law firm that employed her.
"Sorry, love," he tried to regain his calm manner. "I hate to tell bad news to pretty girls, but - " he sighed. "But I'm afraid your employers are more than likely responsible for this werewolf thing."
Lisa's eyes widened in shock. "W-what do you mean? Wolfram & Hart is world renowned."
"I happen to know a lot about this firm," he claimed, and seeing the girl's dubious expression, he quickly added, "it's due to my job...you know, the security business. I've had very bad experiences with the top echelon of that firm, both when I was in L.A. and since I left that bloody town. I swear to you, Lisa, they are using you and maybe others in some evil plot against a rival firm."
"You mean Matt's firm, Wilde & Williams?"
"Reckon so. Could be others, too. Need to gather more information to be sure."
This explanation seemed to be sufficient for Lisa, as her suspicious look was replaced with an inquiring one.
"So you're saying that my law firm has found some way to turn me into a werewolf and use me to attack and maybe even kill other lawyers?"
" Look I know it sounds bloody bizarre, love, but I'm more than sure that they are behind this whole werewolf thing. Don't know how they did it, but I do know they can achieve their aims at any price. Don't ask me for details, love. Can't explain it all yet. But you must believe me."
Considering his words and all the strange, otherwise unexplainable things that had happened, Lisa reluctantly nodded.
"No matter how ridiculous and unbelievable your words sound, there's something telling me that I should trust you," she said. "You're very convincing. And if anyone knows that there are always secrets in the world of law or business, it's a lawyer. I believe you, Spike, and I won't try to persuade you to give me more information until you're ready. But please help me make certain that I don't hurt anyone."
Spike gave her a grateful smile and a nod of assurance. " I promise you my security team and I will do everything we can to help you. "
Lisa returned a slight smile, but in the next moment, her face flinched in pain again. This time, it was apparently more intense than before.
" Lisa?" Spike anxiously rushed to her side.
"This headache, I can't bear it anymore," she whimpered, tears of tremendous pain were rolling down her cheeks.
Spike felt helpless, and that feeling just increased his rage toward the evil law firm.
"Everything will be all right, love. I promise. Those wankers won't get away with this. In the meantime, let's get you something for that headache."
Considering the state of confusion that Lisa was in, Spike didn't want to leave her alone, so he decided to take her back to their hotel. At least there he could keep an eye on her and keep her safe until they could suss out the situation.
It was nearly 3:00 AM when they reached the door to his room, and Spike could sense immediately that something wasn't quite right. Opening the door cautiously, his fingers fumbled to find the switch on the wall. He switched the light on just in time to see Xander and Mena, armed with huge pillows, rushing towards him.
"Oh, bloody hell!" he swore, quickly ducking out of their way, dragging Lisa along with him. "Are you two completely daft? What in sodding hell are you doing?"
Xander and Mena stared at their vampire teammate first with shock and then with relief.
"Oh, thank God. It's just you," Xander exclaimed, dropping the pillow he was holding.
"And you were expecting, who else?" Spike grumbled with a frown. Then, raising an eyebrow, he added, "What are you two doing up, anyway? And hey! Who messed up my bed?"
"We heard those voices again," Mena started to explain timidly. "And I was so scared. I know Slayers shouldn't be scared, but I can't slay something I can't see. Something that isn't really even there, except that it is there, but it isn't! You know what I mean, Spike? Anyway, I just couldn't stay in my room alone. Xander said I could nap on your bed until you got back, since, so far, nothing seems to happen in this room. I didn't think you would mind."
Spike sighed. "It's okay, pet, I don't mind. But why did you two try to attack me?" he asked.
"We thought you were one of them," Xander replied. "Figured we'd defend ourselves."
"With pillows?" the vampire laughed out loud. "Right. Those dangerous, deadly pillows would have dealt the beasties a right lethal blow." He shook his head in amazement as he continued, "Anyway, it doesn't matter; we have more serious issues to deal with right now."
Spike glanced at Lisa, who was huddled quietly near the wall.
"Everything's all right, love," he said gently. "These two aren't half as crazy as they seem. I promise. They're actually my partners in our supernatural security business, if you can believe it." He stressed those two words carefully to be sure Xander and Mena had listened.
"Lisa, meet Xander and Mena. Mena is the Slayer I told you about. The one with superstrength and expert fighting skills. Xander is just a normal human, but he's had a lot of field experience. And guys, this is Lisa."
Lisa smiled meekly and whispered, "Hello".
"Hi, Lisa," said Mena as she pulled out the desk chair so that Lisa could sit down. Then both Mena and Xander sat down on Xander's bed, facing Spike.
"Any news about the werewolves?" Xander inquired, giving the girl a puzzled look. He hadn't quite figured out why Spike brought this girl back to their room, and he wasn't sure he really wanted to know either.
"Actually, yeah, I do have news, and poor Lisa here has the misfortune of being part of it."
Spike sat down on the edge of his bed and proceeded to tell them everything he had learned in the last few hours.
Xander and Mena listened intently to him, completely engrossed by the story, but worried about Lisa, too. They tried not to let on that they were more than a little leery about having a werewolf in their room.
"So anyway," Spike concluded, "Lisa is going to stay here as long as necessary. I entrust her to you, Watcher."
"But what if she transforms and goes all Big Bad Wolf on us?" Xander asked quietly, as he pulled Spike aside.
"As long as she doesn't answer the calls, she is safe, and so are you," Spike assured him. "Speaking of the calls, are we all up to speed now on what that business was about with the computer stuck on the website, playing that song over and over, while the phone rang non-stop? I put it all together when I realized Lisa was being triggered by the phone calls."
"Wait a minute," said Xander. "What does The Friendly Giant theme song have to do with mind control triggering? I watched that show all the time when I was a kid."
"What are you talking about?" asked Mena. "What friendly giant? Early One Morning is just an old English folksong."
"Bloody hell!" exclaimed Spike. "The song on that pub website played Early One Morning?"
"Yeah," said Mena, and she began to sing. "Early one morning, just as the sun was rising..."
"See. That's what I said. The Friendly Giant TV show's theme song," said Xander.
"You stupid git! That's the same song The First used as my trigger. If you'd only told me what song that website was playing then, I would've figured the bloody thing out right away."
"Hey, dead boy! You never told me what song The First used on you! So, then you're saying the hotel ghost was helping us?" Xander asked, very puzzled indeed.
"I don't think the hotel ghost has a friendly, helpful nature," argued Mena.
"No, I don't think those clues came from the hotel ghost," confirmed Spike. "I think they came from a completely different source."
"You mean the spirit of one of your friends who visited you in the Vapor Caves?" asked Mena. "You still haven't told us much at all about those visions you had during your vision quest."
"Yeah, I know," said Spike. "Still sorting that all out in my mind. Maybe I'll tell you more about that later on, but right now, we need to focus on this werewolf situation."
Suddenly, Lisa flinched in pain, almost losing her balance and falling off the chair.
"Are you all right, love?" Spike rushed to steady her.
"It's just that terrible headache again," she whimpered as she rubbed her head.
"I'll bring her some painkillers," Mena offered and left to get her cosmetics bag.
"Better lie down and have a rest, pet," Spike said as he moved her to his bed.
"I'm okay," she protested. "I can't just sit here and wait as long as Jack is still out there somewhere. He stayed behind with a few others from the tax law workshop, including the group leader from Wilde and Williams. Matt and I chose to go to the diner, instead, so that we could talk more quietly and get a bite to eat."
Mena came back with some pills and a glass of water.
"Here you are," she handed them to Lisa. "Maybe this will make you feel better soon."
Lisa took the pills and the water, giving Mena a grateful look. "Thank you," she whispered.
"All right now, you lie down and get some sleep," Spike soothed as he eased her back on the pillows.
"No, I can't!" she insisted, "I have to warn Jack and the others. They might kill someone or get killed themselves."
"That's out of the bloody question," Spike rejected firmly. "I'll take care of it."
"Then I should go with you."
"No, Lisa, you're safe here. I'm not taking any chances on you getting yourself hurt. Besides, if Jack has turned, he may not recognize you, anyway." Looking at the Slayer, he continued. "Harris will look after you, and Mena can come with me."
"Mena?" Xander raised his eyebrows. "I'm not sure that's such a good idea. She's never dealt with werewolves before."
"Mena's got Slayer strength and Slayer instincts, remember? We'll take all the tasers but one," Spike said, implying without saying so that Xander might need it himself. "Besides, we'll pick up Oz. I'd say he's got firsthand experience. And he might know where we can pick up some more weapons."
Spike turned to Lisa again. "Just tell me where can we find your friends."
Realizing that Spike was right, and there was no sense in arguing with him, Lisa relented and told him the address for the law firm of Wilde & Williams .
"We should hurry," Mena suggested. "Only a few more hours till sunrise."
Spike nodded. "Harris, take good care of this girl. We'll be back as soon as possible."
"Uh...sure. I'll do that, but try to hurry. Okay?"
The vampire gave one more reassuring look to Lisa and with Mena at his side, left the room.
Oz had always been a bit of a night owl and was enjoying a drink with the Excalibur's manager when Mena and Spike arrived.
"Sorry, guys, we're closed," said the barman, as they wandered across the dance floor towards the bar.
"We're mates of Coppertop there. Just need to have a word," Spike answered.
Oz turned at hearing Spike's voice and looked puzzled. "Since it's a little late for encores, I guess you're not here for the music. What's up?"
"Like I said. Need a word. In private."
"Well, beauty sleep and the handsome blond over there call. Not to mention the lovely girl. I'll see you, Danny. Thanks again for the gig, man."
"No problem. You guys can play here any time. I'll be in touch," Danny answered, smiling and shaking his hand.
Oz picked up his jacket and guitar and began to follow Mena and Spike out of the club.
"Nice to see you again, Oz," said Mena. "Sorry it has to be under work conditions."
"Always happy to see you, Mena." As Mena blushed, Oz turned to Spike to ask, "What's with the cloak and dagger?"
"Having another spot of bother with the hairy brigade. It's definitely not at all a matter of the full moon with this lot. But then, you already know all about that. Someone is controlling these werewolves by phone call commands."
"What? No way."
"It's really weird and wild, isn't it?" added Mena.
"Mmm," Spike murmured in agreement. "Looks like they might be on the prowl tonight and all primed for mayhem. Got any hardware?"
"Wait. Let's head back to the club. I know Danny's had trouble before. He's got weapons in the back."
They all did a one eighty and walked quickly back to the Excalibur. Spike helped himself to a beer while they briefly explained their problem, then Danny led them to the back storeroom.
"Oh, God, yeah," said Danny. "We had a whole pack of werewolves here tonight. You're the guys that ran them off, eh? Now and then we get the Kretora demon bikers coming to town, too. They like the music. Trouble is, we often have occasional barstaff, who don't know the ramifications, and if you give a Kretora demon..."
"Whiskey, they grow an extra head and become murderous, rampaging gits?" Spike interjected.
"You know them?" Danny asked, surprised.
"Not exactly. Been to a couple of parties, back when I had a bike. Nice blokes, but get them on the Scotch, and they're bloody brutal."
"Tell me about it. Anyway, after that we've tended to stay well prepared, just in case. Take whatever you need."
Oz shook his hand. "Thanks, man. I owe you two, now."
"Don't worry about it. Just keep them away from my place."
Danny let them into the storeroom, and while Mena began to pick up swords and axes from the impressive array, Oz pulled Spike back to speak to him in private.
"Look, Spike, I want you to know that I'm cool. You can trust me. I don't really understand what the hell is going on with these other werewolves, but what happens to us, it's just the nature of the beast, you know? It can't, or shouldn't be turned on and off at somebody's whim. It's bad enough that it happens against our will with every full moon."
"I hear you, mate. Without free will, you're not really your own man."
"I've spent years and gone to great lengths to learn how to restrain my wolf, but it can still be a bitch under extreme circumstances. So if there are some mad scientists, or whoever, orchestrating the transformation of humans into werewolves, well, that's an abomination. And it must be stopped. So as for me, whatever you need, man."
Spike patted him on the back. "Thanks, mate. Know a thing or two about being used against your will, myself. Really sucks. This whole werewolf-on-command business is bloody bollocks, that's all I can say. It reminds me of... well, something I'd rather not be reminded of."
"Looks like we're ready, Spike," said Mena.
"Right. Better get our butts over to the offices of Wilde & Williams as quickly as possible, so we don't also have to worry about me bursting into flames. Keep your eyes peeled and your noses alert."
Mike and Tom had stopped by their hotel room (the same hotel where Lisa, Jack and the other Wolfram & Hart employees were staying) for a quick change out of their wet clothes and into something dry and more comfortable, before returning to their assignment of keeping an eye on both the vampire and the werewolves.
That task had turned out to be daunting indeed, especially when the werewolves had all scattered while being chased by Spike and his colleagues. The storms had not made things any easier. How it could be warm, sunny and bright during the daytime and then so much colder and rainy each night was one of those aspects of the job that really grew irksome after a while.
They had watched enough of the Weather Channel to realize that living in the Great Lakes area meant widely variable weather, but this was ridiculous. It didn't help that Chicago was right on the Lake Michigan shoreline and thus susceptible to the high winds that earned the nickname the Windy City.
Mike's cell phone started to ring. "Damn, why don't you talk to him this time?" he asked.
"Hey, it's your cell phone, buddy," replied Tom with a grin. "If he wanted to talk to me, he has my number, too, you know."
"Thanks a lot, partner. This is Mike," he said grimly into the phone.
"The female lawyer has begun remembering bits and pieces of things," said Sirk. "Her handler says she's unstable and must be neutralized immediately."
"Nice talking with you, too, sir," said Mike dryly.
"Pardon me, but were you under the impression that we share some sort of comradely relationship?" snarked Sirk. "I certainly am under no such delusion."
"Right, sir. Sorry, sir. I take it she's been bugged? Where is she right now?"
"If you had your eye on the vampire as ordered, you would already know that she's under his protection. Which makes the situation all the more precarious."
"We're on our way, sir. We know which hotel they're staying in. We'll neutralize her at our first opportunity."
"See that you do. It appears that Spike may be beyond your skills. New arrangements may need to be made if this situation isn't rectified."
"We're on it, sir. You can count on us..." Mike stopped speaking as soon as he realized that Sirk had hung up on him yet again. "Bastard."
"Are we in serious trouble, Mike?" asked Tom. "That son of a bitch could have us terminated without so much as a 'So long, and thanks for all the fish'."
"What? Is that another one of your sci-fi novel references?"
"It's from one of the best, Mike. But forget that now, what's the what?"
"We've gotta go. I'll explain on the way."
As Mike and Tom headed back out into the quickly fading night, Sirk made another call. He alerted all of the operatives on this particular Chicago mission to send the phone call commands to their specific werewolves as soon as they had manipulated all of them over to the offices of Wilde and Williams.
He also insisted that they rev up the level on the implants under the werewolf lawyers' skin, so that they could withstand higher degrees of the impulses generated by taser guns without passing out.
Next, he turned to his recently acquired blonde secretary, who was somewhat lacking in intelligence, but useful, nevertheless. He told her to call each of the Wilde & Williams lawyers on their hit list to inform them of a special and mandatory sunrise meeting at their offices.
"Sure thing, boss," enthused the pretty blonde. "I'll take care of that right away. I hope you're happy with my work so far. I'd really like to keep this job. I love working for Wolfram & Hart."
As the painkillers started working their magic on her headache, Lisa slowly drifted off to sleep. Xander pulled a blanket up over her and settled into the comfortable armchair in front of the window. He gazed out at the dim streetlights for some moments, then closing his eyes, he leaned back and tried to relax.
He couldn't keep his thoughts from wandering back to Spike and Mena, though, and the dangerous mission they were about to undertake.
"Damn, overbearing vamp," he cursed quietly to himself so as not to awaken Lisa. "If they get into trouble and Mena gets hurt, I swear I'm gonna stake him with my own hands."
Xander worried a lot about his Slayer's safety; not only because it was his duty to train and care for her, but he had grown to like Mena far more than he had ever expected to when she was first assigned to him. Yes, sometimes she was a bit hard to handle, a little impulsive and headstrong at times, but Xander knew she had a brilliant mind and a heart of gold. She was so eager to learn and to try everything.
They were really turning into quite a team. Even Spike! Xander could hardly believe it, but he was actually beginning to not only accept Spike as a team member, but also to sorta, kinda, almost like him. Sometimes. Maybe. Although he wasn't planning to admit it, at least not anytime soon, Xander saw both Spike and Mena as more than just partners. He saw them as friends.
In fact, as time went by, Xander started to consider Mena more like his younger sister, just as he used to feel about Dawn.
Now he could sympathize with Giles and understand the strong bond he had with Buffy. They were like father and daughter. Xander knew Buffy cared a lot about her Watcher, even though they sometimes very strongly disagreed.
Their relationship over the past year and a half had been strained at best. Buffy had been so stressed while preparing for that final battle in Sunnydale against The First, that the tension between her and Giles had escalated. Buffy's relationship with Spike had definitely driven a wedge between her and Giles.
The Watcher hadn't agreed with her sudden faith in the vampire or her protective attitude towards him, despite the knowledge that Spike had regained his soul. Giles had still considered Spike to be a dangerous liability, since The First had tried to manipulate him. He had felt that Buffy's feelings for Spike clouded her judgment and put them all at risk.
Of course, Buffy had been right about Spike, and Xander wondered how the rest of them, Giles and himself included, had been so wrong about the vamp.
But then, that had been a rough year for everyone. The First had been so damn good at raising doubt, tension and fear among all of them. It had effectively manipulated their actions and feelings so that their self-confidence nearly fell apart. It also tried to destroy the bonds of friendship that held them all together.
Recovering from these effects had taken a long time, and he guessed that for some of them, the guilt, regret, and doubts might never disappear. Buffy, Giles, Andrew, Willow and himself had all had a lot of healing to do. He suspected that none of them were completely healed yet. And Spike, despite the soul and his heroic sacrifice, would live forever with the guilt of his past life and deeds. That had to be tough.
But they say that time heals all wounds. Xander figured that though the groundwork had been laid, time still had some work to do in that regard.
Buffy and Giles seemed to have sorted out most of their issues; they were getting on fairly well again, as far as Xander could tell. He wasn't sure how things would go once Spike, Buffy and Giles met face to face, but he hoped it would at least be cordial.
Whatever Buffy and Spike had together was their business, and Xander no longer doubted that it was real. That talk he and Tori had in Gilroy really made an indelible impression on Xander. He had been doing some heavy introspection ever since, which had led to his ongoing, ever-so-gradual acceptance of Spike.
He also had managed to ease some of his grief and regret concerning Anya. It wasn't easy. He still missed her, but life went on, and becoming a Watcher had kept him busy and given him new purpose in his life. He was sure Anya was watching him and would be proud of him. She wouldn't want him mourning her forever. Despite her vengeance demon past, human Anya had never really liked seeing pain on people's faces. At least, not people she knew and cared about. She was frightened by that emotion. She always tried to be cheerful, herself, and wanted others to be happy, too.
Sometimes, Mena even reminded him of Anya, at least, in terms of her laughter, her love of life, and all the silly but sweet things she used to do.
So overall, Xander was glad to have Mena in his life now. He had never in a million years anticipated becoming a Watcher, but now that he had, he couldn't possibly have wished for a better teammate and Slayer than Mena. He had grown to care a lot about her, maybe too much, but he was certain that they had a special bond, and that she was very fond of him.
And of Spike! he thought with a lot less enthusiasm.
As much as he hated to admit it, Xander had always been a bit jealous of Spike and the way he had affected all the women in Xander's life. Buffy, Dawn, Anya, even Willow and Tara had all been drawn to the vamp's charisma. Now he was afraid that Mena was traveling down that same road. Back when Spike was evil, it was easy to hate him or blame him for everything. But now, Spike was one of the 'good guys', a handsome bad boy with super powers, and it was hard to discredit him for anything.
Xander regretted still having this jealous attitude towards Spike, especially after the vamp's 'Hellmouth heroics', but he hated playing second fiddle to him and being the butt of Spike's jokes. Xander had to admit Spike had a good sense of humor. He always came up with some funny or witty remark with hardly any effort at all.
But that was supposed to be Xander's thing. He liked being the witty jokester; it bothered him that Spike could often beat him at his own game. Maybe being British had something to do with that ability. The English, after all, had their own peculiar type of humor, and Xander never had really gotten it. Other than Monty Python, of course. Those guys were so funny that their humor crossed the pond and beyond.
Xander also wasn't too happy about the ease with which Spike seemed to take control of any situation and how Mena had jumped to follow his orders.
"She's my Slayer, he muttered. "She should look up to me."
Xander made a mental note to himself to remind Spike that, as he was the legitimate Council member and Mena's Watcher, he would need to be consulted on any mission she was involved in. Or at least he would try to convince him of that. Xander sighed, knowing that Spike would never really listen to him. Or that he'd listen, then smirk and continue doing whatever he wanted.
He glanced over at Lisa. She was sound asleep on Spike's bed. Satisfied that he had the situation well under control, Xander relaxed even more and didn't realize he was dozing off.
Just a short time after that, Lisa stirred in her sleep. Those horrible images were haunting her even in her dreams. Clutching the blanket, she tossed and turned, trying to escape the horror. All of a sudden, she woke up with a start, gasping for air. Realizing she had only been dreaming, she struggled to calm herself. Looking around the room, her eyes fell on the sleeping form in the armchair.
"Jack," she murmured, still out of breath. "I have to help him."
With this purpose in mind, Lisa slowly slid off the bed, and very carefully, so as not to alert her guard, tiptoed to the door. She cautiously turned the doorknob, and opening the door just a crack, slipped out of the room.
The slight creaking of the door awakened Xander at once. Blinking, he looked around and immediately noticed the empty bed.
"Damn it!" he cursed. "Lisa skipped off! Spike is gonna want my head for this!"
He jumped to his feet and without hesitation, ran after the girl, hoping she couldn't have gotten very far.
A dark green sedan was parked half a block down from the hotel entrance. Mike looked up from the depths of his coffee cup, noticing a woman exit the hotel lobby and run down the sidewalk.
"Hmmm, I think we may have a little problem," Mike noted as his eyes followed Lisa's silhouette in the early light of dawn.
"We better keep a damn good eye on her," Tom warned his partner.
"Yeah, I know," Mike agreed, but his thoughts were elsewhere. They had gotten the order to neutralize Lisa. Now that her cover was blown, she jeopardized Sirk's grand plan, so the only solution was to take her out of the equation.
Tom nodded, turned the ignition key and slowly drove off in the direction that Lisa had run just moments before. They would need to catch her alone, when no one was around to witness her execution.
Spike strode down the corridor and flung open the double doors to the conference room at Wilde and Williams, then he leaned his sword against the wall and put his hands on his hips.
"Well, well, well. Looks like somebody forgot to wax ever! Looking a little hairy there, guys, wouldn't you say? Even for such a very early morning meeting."
As Spike pulled his taser out of his pocket, he grabbed his sword again with his other hand and began twirling it around in a great imitation of Errol Flynn. Of course, to Mena, he looked more like Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom. She and Oz followed Spike further into the room and flanked him on either side.
The assembled werewolves began to snarl but kept circling around the back of the room rather than advancing on Spike, Mena and Oz. It appeared as if the werewolves didn't recognize them as their intended prey. Oz gripped his double-headed axe a little tighter and gulped.
"These guys look like they're high," he said.
"It's obvious they're being controlled," answered Mena, "or they'd be attacking us by now. It's like they're waiting for specific victims to show up. Or perhaps the controllers' power is receding?"
"Which this lot definitely aren't," Spike replied. "Remember, we want to avoid actually killing or maiming them if at all possible, so use your tasers whenever you can, and keep the setting on high. Use your cutlery only if necessary, but don't risk your lives. If you need to slice and dice, then have it. Up for a scrap then, ladies and gents?"
"Do I get a choice?" Oz answered.
"When did you ever? Ah, sod it. I always preferred cats, anyway."
Spike walked towards the growling throng of werewolves, swinging his sword around his head to try to get them to separate, so that they could be dealt with individually, and hopefully, stunned into unconsciousness.
As the battle commenced, Spike's game face appeared, and he growled. Oz tasered the werewolf nearest him, but when it kept advancing, he swung the axe. The flat side of the axe connected with the beast's chest, knocking it slightly back, but the edge of the blade still sliced the werewolf's arm.
The beast's scream pierced the air and enraged the others even more. Mena needed her Slayer strength to cope with the onslaught, but Spike was proud of the way the youngster held her own. She ducked and moved with speed and grace, tasering the beasts as often as she could.
Unfortunately, the tasers had little effect, even on their high setting. Those controlling the werewolves must have found a way to increase their strength or adrenaline. The tasers were hurting them but not stopping them. The other weapons were needed to keep the werewolves from getting close enough to bite or rip into Oz and Mena with their claws. They were so busy keeping the werewolves at bay, they didn't have time to use the tasers often enough to knock the beasts out.
Spike pinned one of the werewolves with its face and claws up against the wall, and glanced to his right, towards the door, as something caught his eye.
"Oh, bloody marvelous!" he grunted and slammed the hapless creature's head into the wall several times until it crumpled to the floor, unconscious.
"Lisa, what the hell are you doing here?"
"I..." she faltered.
"Xander! Where is that sodding whelp? XANDER!" Spike yelled, while trying to steer Lisa away from the fighting.
Xander appeared at the door, panting, to be greeted with an armful of confused Lisa.
"Take her, and keep her out of the way, would you, mate?" Spike asked, bringing up his fist to knock the werewolf behind him onto its backside. Spike kicked it as it began to rise and then began to taser it repeatedly until it stopped moving.
He should also have done that to the one he had knocked into the wall, because it was already stirring again. When Spike noticed that, he muttered, "Bloody hell," and stomped back over to it, raising his taser.
Xander picked Lisa up and carried her into a nearby office, slamming the door behind them. Lisa sat down heavily.
"What's going on, Xander? Is one of them Jack?"
"Don't ask me. I'm always the last one to find out anything remotely important," he spat, furious at Spike's attitude. His face softened when he saw her fear and confusion.
"Look, Lisa, it's getting kinda hairy in there, in more ways than one. You need to keep away from the rest of the Wolfram and Hart guys. Just in case. How many lawyers were sent from your firm, anyway?"
"I'm not sure. I know there were three others on the plane with us, but they must have sent a few more. It looks like there are about eight wolves in there."
Spike tasered the werewolf he had already knocked out once, until it, too, seemed out of commission. He allowed himself a second to relax, knowing that Lisa was safe, then turned again towards the door.
Staff members from Wilde & Williams had arrived for the non-existent sunrise meeting that they had received unexpected calls about, and the werewolves attacked again, with even more ferocity. These people were their intended prey, and somehow the beasts knew that. In amongst the new arrivals, Spike noticed Mike and Tom caught up in the fray. They had, of course, arrived to assassinate Lisa.
The wolves were fighting with renewed vigor. Blood and pieces of flesh were flying around the room as the beasts tore into their defenseless prey. The groans of the dying and the screams of the injured filled the room, but even though Spike could see they were losing the fight, part of him was still having a blast.
Xander left Lisa in the office with the instruction to stay put and went to the conference room, his taser in hand.
Mike was about to be pinned into a corner by two of the werewolves, and Mena could see that Tom was already dead. His body lay on the conference table, with its eyes wide open, his face stuck in a rictus of terror. His throat was exposed; torn apart by a werewolf's claws, and a pool of congealing blood lay below his head.
Xander burst in and joined Mena in tasering the werewolves that had cornered Mike, while Mike added his own taser to the onslaught. Once those wolves were down and out, Mike nodded at Xander and Mena. The three of them moved together toward the next closest werewolf.
Spike and Oz were doing the same, their tasers working in tandem to stun the wolves repeatedly till they could no longer move. The tasers buzzed and crackled, and the werewolves fell to the floor one by one.
Gradually, the unconscious bodies morphed into human beings again, and the team began to recover their breath.
As soon as Lisa recognized Jack, she ran to his side. He had been one of the werewolves who had been wounded with a sword or axe blade during the earlier part of the battle. Lisa tore off the sleeve of her blouse and used it to bandage Jack's wound.
Spike, Oz, Xander, Mena and Mike began to tend the wounds of the Wilde & Williams lawyers as well as the now naked Wolfram & Hart lawyers who had sustained the most damage during the fight. When the pile of men's clothing was discovered along the back wall, the naked bodies were draped with suit jackets until such time as they regained consciousness and could select their own clothes. Lisa was able to determine which clothes were Jack's and began to tenderly dress him.
"I appreciate your help, Spike, and that of your colleagues," said Mike. "I won't forget that you saved my life. I'll have to continue with my job or risk the kind of termination that's permanent. You know what my bosses are like. I wish I'd really understood that before I signed on."
"Yeah, that was a big mistake, mate. Don't envy your position, but you should find some way to lose yourself. It's a big country and an even bigger world."
"Can't do it. I've got a wife and two kids who would be killed in my place. Lots of other relatives, too."
"That really sucks. Hope you figure out a solution before too long."
"But I meant what I said. I won't forget that I owe you for my life. I'm just not sure how or even if I'll be able to repay you."
"I understand, Mike. Till we meet again."
"Yeah," said Mike as he picked up his partner's body and carried him out to his car.
Xander had called 911, but the Wolfram & Hart lawyers all awakened in time to dress and leave before the paramedics and police arrived. Luckily, none of them were hurt so badly that they had to remain for urgent medical care, so only the few dead and several injured Wilde & Williams' lawyers remained to deal with the inquiry. Although still fairly new to handling situations involving demons, the Chicagoans knew the ropes well enough to manage the authorities.
Back in the hotel, Mena relaxed in a fragrant bubble bath to remove all the dirt and grime from the fight. Afterwards, she settled comfortably in her bed and engrossed herself in some American television show on cable, while devouring some doughnuts.
The door to their adjoining room was slightly open, and Mena could hear Xander yelling at Spike to hurry up and get out of the shower so he could get one himself. He wanted to scrub the wolf smell and saliva off before it sank into his skin.
Then she heard him scream something about Spike not having a monopoly on the hot water, to which Spike promptly yelled, "Sod off, Harris!" For a moment, there was silence and then the inevitable sound of Xander pounding the bathroom door in frustration.
These two overgrown "babies" never ceased to amaze Mena, and she laughed as she heard Spike tell Xander to, "Keep your pants on; I'm almost finished!"
Stepping out of the shower stall, Spike dried himself with a towel, then wrapped it around his waist. He faced the mirror above the sink, as if he could see his reflection there, and ruffled his hair.
"Too bad I can't check out my rugged good looks," he pouted.
Shrugging, he opened the bathroom door, brushed past Xander and went into the room to search for some clean clothes to wear. Xander just glared at him in exasperation and went in to get his shower.
After spending a few minutes rummaging through his suitcase, Spike chose a pair of denim blue jeans and a red, long-sleeved, button-down shirt. He was still getting used to the luxury of having more than his signature black wardrobe to choose from.
He had dressed in black denim, black tee shirts and that black leather duster for decades, and it had suited him well. But he'd left the coat with the boy, Colin, back in L.A., and now he reckoned it was time to take on a new image.
Still, he thought, I miss that coat...wonder if I'll ever see it again?
As he dressed, he contemplated what Buffy might think of his new look. Would she like it? Would she even recognize him?
Thinking of her reminded him that he'd better give her a call and update her on their progress now that the mission was pretty well completed. He also needed to ask her about the next destination. Were they to go on to Cleveland as originally planned or had Giles come up with another assignment for them?
Spike and his team had been able to throw a wrench into the Senior Partners' plans to eliminate the rival law firm, but at a price. They hadn't been able to stop the carnage before losing a few lawyers from Wilde & Williams. And others were injured.
They had fought hard and incapacitated the mind-controlled werewolves, but, fortunately, Lisa and her companions weren't seriously injured. They had all been taken to a local clinic that Mena had found listed on the Watchers' Council's Internet list. Doctors there would handle their injuries discreetly.
Their wounds would heal, the physical ones, anyway. As for the emotional ones, Spike hoped that the Council would be able to get these people the special help they needed, as well as protection. Spike understood how devastating it was to know that you did terrible things against your will, while under the control of a powerful and evil entity.
Free will was a very valuable thing that most people took for granted. Until it was taken away from them.
Spike had destroyed the phones the Senior Partners had used for communicating with their unwitting hit squad, but the implants still remained and needed to be removed before Lisa and her friends could ever be free of the long arm of Wolfram & Hart. Hopefully, the Council doctors would find a way to remove those implants without damaging the lawyers' nervous systems. Spike certainly wished Lisa and Jack well. And those other poor sods, duped by Wolfram & Hart.
Spike picked up his cell phone from the bedside table and dialed Buffy's number.
Boy, these calls are getting to be quite a habit with us. He chuckled at the thought of how many times they had talked in the last three days. They had certainly been the most consistently pleasant conversations they'd had since they'd met. Her phone kept ringing and ringing, and it seemed forever before she finally picked up.
"I was beginning to think you saw my caller ID and didn't want to talk to me," Spike joked when she answered.
"Sorry, Spike, I was...occupied," she apologized in an unusually quiet voice.
His brows furrowed. He immediately suspected that something was wrong; his mind filled with dread.
"Buffy, love, is everything all right? You don't sound too cheery," Spike noted with anxiety.
All he heard was silence on the other end of the line. For a moment, he almost feared she had hung up.
"Buffy? Buffy, are you there, pet?" he was very worried now. He thought he could hear gentle sobbing. A quiet sniffle answered his question.
"Ye-yes," Buffy said, struggling to compose herself. "Spike, it's Kennedy. She...she's dead."
"Bloody hell," he exclaimed as he hung his head in sorrow. He had been sure that the Slayer would pull through.
"She, she took her own life, Spike," Buffy continued, between her sobs. "The doctors did everything possible, but their theory on the disease was that it was slowly shutting down her body's functions, and there was, there was no other outcome but a slow and painful death."
"My God. Why?" Spike uttered, his own voice slightly catching with emotion.
"I guess Kennedy understood there was no hope. She couldn't just will herself back into health. And rather than going through that hell, herself, as well as extending Willow's pain and emotional distress, Kennedy decided to end all the suffering for everyone."
"I'm so sorry, Buffy."
"She left a letter for Willow in which she explained her decision," Buffy's voice faltered, but she went on. "She wanted us to remember her as she was before, and not a helpless shell of herself that she would soon become. She thought that it would be easier for everyone, especially Willow, to accept her sudden death rather than prolong the agony."
Spike swallowed and whispered, "Again, I'm so sorry, love. I - I don't have the words to - Please give Red my condolences. And I'll explain to Xander so that she won't need to call him till she feels up to speaking. He'll want to call her right away, but I'll make him understand that he should wait till she's ready to call him."
"Thanks, Spike. I'll tell her," she replied gratefully. "Right now, she's extremely broken up, but I think she understands Kennedy's reasoning. I just think she's still haunted by Tara's death, and she keeps thinking that losing everyone she loves is her destiny." Buffy paused for a moment, fighting back another sob.
"Spike, I know I wasn't that close to Kennedy, but I still feel this pain, and I feel guilty for not being able to save her."
Spike sighed, helplessly. He couldn't bear to have Buffy put Kennedy's death onto herself.
"Buffy, it wasn't your fault. You're a Slayer, not God. You have special skills and powers, but there's no way you could control anything like this. Some things just happen. It was out of your hands, just like with that poor girl, Cassie, who you tried to protect. You did everything you could then, and you did everything you could now. Kennedy knew that, and so does everyone else. No one blames you for her death. You may need to assure Red of this same thing. There was nothing any of you could have done."
He hoped his gentle, reassuring words could help her feel better. Those last few years in Sunnydale, he had always been there when she was feeling down, and he hated that he couldn't be there with her now. Apparently, Buffy was thinking the very same thing.
"Why aren't you around this time when I'm miserable? You used to just show up, even when I didn't want you there, Spike. Even when I didn't seem grateful," she said wistfully.
She had once asked him something like that on the porch of the Summers' house. Seems he just had the knack of showing up whenever she was down, and her vulnerability was showing.
Spike laughed softly. "Guess I was always just tuned into your radar, pet. Just sensed when you needed some...company. I'm so sorry I can't be there with you now."
"I know. I just...I wish you were," she said.
Hearing her say those words filled him with joy. He loved her. There was no doubt of that, but so much had happened to him this past year, and he still had so much to sort out.
Spike had survived that final battle in L.A. and had another chance at life. He still didn't know why he was spared, or what his exact purpose in this world was. Those visions in the Vapor Caves were puzzling. Angel and Fred had revealed that both the Senior Partners and the Powers That Be had an interest in him. Fred had also told him that the Powers were protecting him for some reason.
Given his previous experiences with both sides, Spike was pretty suspicious about this attention, and not at all sure he liked it. But in order to find his purpose in life and get the answers he was seeking, he would have to figure out exactly what kind of game they were playing. That could be dangerous, and the last thing he wanted to do was drag Buffy into the equation.
Right now, his personal feelings for her could put her in danger. He would never forgive himself if she or the Bit were to get hurt.
He could hear her soft pleading. "Spike, are you there? Did you hear me? I said I wished you were here."
Her voice interrupted his thoughts, and he answered gently, "Wish I could be there, too, love. But I promised to complete these bloody missions. You know I'd be there if it was possible."
Buffy sighed and pouted. "I know. It's just I really need someone to hold me right now. No one else can do that like you do. You make me feel safe, Spike."
Spike felt a lump in his throat, sensing her desperate longing for comfort. Again, he found himself rejoicing that she needed and wanted his comfort, and he hated the thought of her being alone with her pain.
"God knows, I would gladly do that, pet, so why don't you hold on to that wish for my arms until I can oblige you. Okay?" he sighed.
He heard her own, responding sigh as she gave in. "Okay, but I'm holding you to it."
She was quiet for a moment, then continued, "The hardest thing is seeing Willow like this. I hope I can ease some of her pain."
"All you can do is to be there for her and let her know she has friends that care about her," he suggested.
Buffy nodded. "I'll do my best. Since I know I can't have my Spike here to comfort me, I'll try to be her Spike and give her the comfort you always provided for me."
"That's my girl," Spike encouraged her as he strove to save those last words of hers in his memory bank to savor whenever he needed reassurance in the future.
"Oh, my God," she suddenly realized, "I was so wrapped up in our problems, I nearly forgot to ask, what about Oz? And the werewolves? Is everything all right there?"
"Don't worry, love, he's safe and sound. The wolf problem is under control, and we managed to ruin the Senior Partners' grand plan," Spike claimed with a satisfied grin.
"Those evil Senior Partners were involved in this?"
"Oh, yeah. The young lawyers Wolfram & Hart used as werewolf hitmen are nursing their wounds in a Council clinic as we speak. But I'd feel a lot better if they could get some special treatment, courtesy of the Watchers' Council, and get those bloody implants removed. Think you could ask Rupert if the Council could see to that and then put them up somewhere? Would hate to see them back in the Senior Partners' clutches."
"I'm sure we can solve that problem. The Council has a few very special hospitals where something like that could be taken care of. I'll call Giles right now and ask for an emergency team to get to Chicago and pick them up as soon as possible. Andrew is here, nodding at me. He's dialing Giles' number now. We'll know the answer in a minute."
"Thanks, love. Sounds like Andrew's got the situation well in hand. Moving up in the world, and in Rupert's good graces, huh?" Spike smiled.
With Andrew jabbering in the background, Buffy replied, "He's trying to say hello to you, Spike, but I think he should do it himself," she smirked, glancing at the Watcher beside her and offering to switch phones with him.
Andrew's face lit up at the opportunity to talk to Spike; he really missed him. Sometimes Buffy thought Andrew saw Spike as his favorite Superhero.
"Spike?" Andrew gushed excitedly, as he grabbed Buffy's phone. He handed his own to her, signaling that Giles wanted to talk to her. "How's it going, Aragorn of the Vampyre world? How's the Xan-man and Mena, the exotic Kenyan Slayer? I hear you need me to get you some help from the Council."
Spike smiled at Andrew's enthusiasm. He wondered if the silly, but big-hearted git would ever grow up.
"Hey, slow down, mate," Spike chuckled. "One question at a time?"
Andrew blushed. "Sorry, Spike. It's just so good to hear your voice again," he noted. "I envy Buffy. She's been talking to you a lot lately."
The fact that Andrew missed him so much touched the vampire. Much as he hated to admit it, Spike actually liked the boy. In small doses.
"It's good to hear from you again, too," he reassured the young Watcher and could swear he heard a happy sigh on the other end of the line. "And you're right: I need you to get the Council's help for me. Well, actually for some people who need expert medical care."
"Consider it done," Andrew announced with pride. "I've just talked to Giles, and he assured me he'd provide all the help you need. He contacted the Council's elite medical facility, and a special ambulance team is being dispatched immediately to our Council clinic in Chicago, where I understand the wounded are currently being cared for."
"That was fast! Great job, mate," Spike noted, astonished. This boy never ceased to amaze him.
Andrew could barely contain his delight at Spike's praise. He was glad the vamp couldn't see him blush.
"Oh, gosh. Think nothing of it," he replied sheepishly. "It's the least I could do for you. You know me; I aim to please. Just call Andrew if you need something done," he grinned.
Spike laughed heartily now. "Thanks, mate. I'll remember that."
"I've gotta go now, Spike. Buffy is poking me. Owww! She says she needs to tell you something more," Andrew said as Buffy motioned for him to give the phone back to her. "It was really great bonding with you, Spike. We'll work together real soon, okay?"
"Right, Andrew. See you soon," the vamp answered as Buffy got back on the phone.
"Spike? I've just had a discussion with Giles. He said the medical situation is under control, so you don't have to worry about that."
"Great," he responded.
"He also informed me that the long-awaited information package will soon be sent to Faith. So your next destination is Cleveland after all. You need to meet up with Faith and help her out with a situation there that is getting more and more serious by the moment," Buffy said.
Spike raised his eyebrows. "Faith?"
"Don't worry, Spike. I explained your situation to her, and she's cool with it," Buffy reassured him. "In fact, I think she's really glad you're back."
"If you say so," he noted with a shrug. "Ought to be interesting, if nothing else. Is Wood still with her?"
Buffy smiled. "I know you all had some - umm - issues in the past, but everyone deserves a second chance. Right, Spike?"
Spike had to admit she had him there.
"You're right about that, love. Everyone deserves a chance," he said quietly. "So Cleveland, right?"
"Yes. I think I need to warn you, though. Another Hellmouth is still functioning there, so please be careful."
"So, back to the cradle of beasties and evildoers, huh?" Spike chuckled. "Sounds like fun."
"Spike!" Buffy pleaded, "I'm serious. Promise me you'll behave yourself."
"Okay, okay," the vampire laughed. "I know. Fun and business are two separate things."
"And be careful. I don't want to lose any of you. I've already lost too many people."
"We're going to be careful, pet. I promise," Spike replied softly.
"I trust you," she said.
Spike gulped. Those words just reminded him of how grateful he was to her for doing just that.
"I'd better go now," he decided, before he got too emotional. "I need to let the guys know the plans, okay?"
"Okay," Buffy agreed. "So don't forget to..."
"I know, I know. Cover our butts, right?" Spike laughed. "I know the drill by heart now."
"Good. And hurry, Spike. Giles said that Faith sounded very worried. That says a lot. So, I guess I'll talk to you later."
"Right then, and Buffy, take good care of Red. She needs you now," he added softly.
"Don't worry, Spike, I will. Didn't I say I was going to be just like you in terms of the comfort giving?"
"Yes, you did. Maybe I just wanted to hear you say it again." He smiled, barely able to contain his emotions. "Later then, love."
"Later, Spike," Buffy answered as she turned off her phone.
Spike sighed at the end of the connection and put his cell phone into
the pocket of his jacket. His imagination conjured up an image of Buffy
Breaking out of his reverie, he realized that he didn't hear the sound of running water anymore, so he hoped Xander was done with his marathon shower.
"That pillock has a lot of nerve telling me I hog the hot water," he grumbled as he knocked on the door to Mena's room.
Mena had already finished the doughnuts, and she was lying in bed, her head resting on her arms, watching TV.
"What do you find so bloody interesting in these stupid sit-coms?" Spike teased her as he took a look at the TV screen.
"They're funny," Mena glanced up at him, "and so typically American. Some of them are pretty good."
Spike snorted. "These?" he laughed with a sneer. "Bloody hell! These shows are crap. Passions! Now that's a good show."
Mena raised her eyebrows. "Passions? I've never heard of it. What is it?"
Spike wanted to respond, but Xander was faster.
"A terrible, daytime soap opera. Actually, it's Blondie Boy's favorite. He used to be totally obsessed with it," Xander chuckled, standing in the door of his room. "Spike would drive Giles crazy, whining about missing it when he was a guest in Giles' apartment. Giles refused to watch it."
"Guest, huh?" Spike snapped, then looked at Mena. "Don't believe anything he says, love. I was more like a bloody captive there. Unless you think that chaining someone to the bathtub is a gesture of hospitality?" he raised his brow, questioningly.
Mena's eyes widened; she looked at the guys back and forth in confusion. "Is that true?" she gasped, staring at Xander.
"Well," he rubbed his neck uncomfortably, "y-yes," he admitted, then added quickly. "But he was still evil and dangerous then."
"Dangerous?" Spike frowned. "Those sodding soldier boy Rambos of the Initiative had just put that bloody chip into my head. I was right helpless!"
"I have got to hear more of this story." Mena sat up and leaned forward eagerly.
"You will, love. But not now," Spike agreed.
Mena pouted in disappointment.
"Right now we have other business to discuss," he continued.
Spike sat down on the end of the bed and began to tell them everything he had learned from Buffy and Andrew.
Both Mena and Xander were filled with sorrow when they heard about Kennedy. Xander was at once worried about Willow. He wished there was something he could do to help her. He and Willow had always been close, and he loved her very much. Spike assured him that Buffy was there with her now, and that they would keep in contact to see if they needed anything. He made it very clear that Willow would find it too difficult to talk right now.
Xander reluctantly had to admit that there wasn't much any of them could do, but his heart still ached for his friend. Willow had, after all, been such a source of strength for him when he lost Anya. He tried to wipe the sadness from his mind as Spike related the rest of his information to them.
"So, we're going to Cleveland?" Xander asked when Spike finished his speech. "Guess it will be like going home again," he lamented, "only in another part of the country."
"We're really visiting the Hellmouth?" Mena bit her lip in excitement. She looked like a child learning about going to Disneyland.
"No, not visiting anything," Xander corrected her firmly. "The Hellmouth is a very dangerous place. Not a theme park. We need to be super careful."
"Your Watcher is right, love," Spike agreed. "Young Slayers tend to underestimate the power of evil. But when they do experience it's devastation up close and personal, they realize that their worst nightmares are nothing compared to the reality of the Hellmouth. So you'd better obey your Watcher and do what he tells you."
Xander stared at Spike in total amazement. This guy just continues to surprise me, he thought. Spike agreeing with him was as rare as snow in Tahiti. But this time Xander was glad for Spike's support.
"You scare me, guys," Mena said.
"Well, better safe than sorry," Spike noted with a smile. "Besides, I've promised Buffy we'd cover our butts."
Xander rolled his eyes. "Just cover your own butt. I can take care of mine pretty well."
Spike rolled his eyes and winked at Mena. He wanted to throw some smart comment back at Xander, but a loud knock on the door interrupted him.
Xander walked to the door and opened it.
"Hi, guys. Hope I'm not interrupting anything?" Oz was standing in the hallway. He looked extremely depressed.
"No, of course not," Xander smiled. "Come in."
"I can't stay long," Oz hesitated, then stepped into the room. "I just wanted to say goodbye before I leave."
"Before you leave?" Xander asked.
Oz smiled. "Yeah, I'm going to take a little time off. Got an e-mail from Willow. She told me about her friend. I think I...I need to see her. Maybe I can be there for her, in case she needs, you know, a shoulder to cry on. She's important to me, and maybe I can help her get through this tragedy. Wasn't there for her the last time she was so devastated by loss and grief. Maybe I can make a difference, you know?"
Xander looked a little surprised, but he remembered how close Willow and Oz had been. It was only natural that Oz would want to help her through this. In truth, Xander was glad Oz was both willing and able to do it. Brazil was not a quick trip to make.
Xander smiled at him thankfully. "She's got a real friend in you, Oz," he said. "Thanks for caring for her so much. Please tell her that I'm thinking of her, and that I'd be there in a flash if Giles didn't have me on another assignment already."
Oz smiled. "No problem. I'll always care about Willow. Thanks to all of you for checking up on me. Mena, it was nice meeting you, too."
"We owe you a big debt of gratitude for all your help, mate." Spike said.
"And for that night in the club," Mena added enthusiastically.
"Well, I'm always happy to show a pretty girl a good time, especially one who likes my music." Oz smiled at Mena.
Mena blushed and actually felt a bit weak in the knees at the thought that this cool rocker gave her a compliment. Oz shook hands with them all and headed out.
"Oz, please tell Willow that I'm sorry about Kennedy, and that I love her?" Xander looked at him with tears glistening in his eyes.
Oz nodded with a smile. "Sure, Xan, I will."
"Thanks," Xander said gratefully.
"You bet." Oz smiled at them once more and left.
"Aww, I can't believe it; he said I was a pretty girl," Mena gushed.
Spike chuckled. "We'd better watch her, Harris. She's turning into a right fawning groupie."
"Oh, I am not. It's just that bands are cool," Mena protested.
"Right they are, love. Maybe we'll see some more in Cleveland. Speaking of that fair city, we'd better be on our way. Buffy made a big deal about how worried Faith was."
Xander put their luggage into the back of the Land Cruiser. Spike was double-checking the ties on the Viper. He wanted to be sure that it was secured tightly to the trailer.
Just in case the Watcher decides to play "let's test the anti-lock brakes again", he thought to himself.
Since neither Spike nor Mena had much sleep the previous night, Xander insisted that they take a nap while he drove the first leg of the trip. Spike wasn't too enthusiastic about the idea, but knowing that he could annoy Harris into giving up the driver's seat after the first stop, he agreed to rest a little.
Pulling out of the hotel parking garage, they bade farewell to the Windy
City and headed for Cleveland.
From the Rocky Mountains to Oz rocking onstage in Chicago,
will there be any more rocking at the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of
Fame? Will Faith and Mena share a Slayer bond or be divided by their noticeably
NOTE: The next episode will be March
15, not March 8.
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