Coffee and Webs
Peter balanced two trays, carefully dodging the people around him as he set down the meals at the nearest table. He stopped in his tracks when he heard her voice, forcing his feet to move and desperate not to stare at her. Her companions fell still as he approached. There was an older man, who quickly put his hand and the glasses in it over the file he’d been showing her. There was a second guy, mostly noticeable for wearing his hair in cornrows. There weren’t many white men who could pull it off, but it seemed to work for him. He’d even managed to avoid getting sunburn on top of his head. When the guy turned around for a second, Peter noticed he was wearing an eye patch and not the carnival kind either. It was rough and worn, and clearly for practical reasons rather than because of a fascination with a pirate look. He’d probably look tough and scary if he hadn’t been fiddling with his spoon, playing shave and a haircut. He instantly dug in as soon as Peter set down his lunch, Peter wondered for a second how used to hunger he would have to be, to actually like the diner’s food. A second girl merely lifted her newspaper to let him put down her plate, before continuing with what she was doing. There were a stack of newspaper print outs in front of her. From the look of it, Peter could guess that all of them were about him. He gulped and prayed she hadn’t noticed.
She just stopped him from dropping their drinks and picked off her own soda.
“So do we assume he’s human?” the older man asked with a heavy degree of doubt in his voice. Peter wondered what else they could possibly think he was, not like he actually built a nest on top of the Empire State Building or anything.
Peter made a quick grab for the empty glasses, barely managing his tray as the blond threw something over to her friend with the eye patch. It proved to be nothing more than a piece of chocolate.
“Can’t be? Crawling up walls like that,” One-eye said. “I’ve seen vampires do that.”
It’s almost like they’d forgotten he was even here, just a part of the scenery. Keep thinking that. .
“He’s strong too Xander.”
“How strong?” One-eye almost lit up with excitement.
“Stronger than Adam at the least, maybe even as strong as Glory.”
The one-eyed guy, Xander, dropped his spoon. It spluttered stains all over his shirt.
“But you said that suit was just material, right?”
“Well yeah, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a demon. Lots of demons wear regular clothes. Helps them fit in.” Hadn’t her mother ever taught her not to speak with her mouth full? The blond repeated the words after a glare from man with glasses.
Peter stood there, staring at them with his mouth, wide-open, ignoring the noise and the business behind him.
“Yo Parker, stop waiting for a tip, you got other customers.” Victor was yelling at him from behind the counter.
Peter quickly left holding his tray, shooting one quick last look back at the table. The group kept talking, but no longer loud enough for him to listen in.
The blond placed a knife on the table, a big knife.
Oh shit. He started cleaning the table next to them, desperate to listen in.
“I don’t know Buffy, he doesn’t seem dangerous. I mean, sure the Bugle paints him as a monster, but if you look between the lines, all he’s been doing is saving people. Including those people on that train.”
Peter glanced at the young girl and smiled at her, she smiled back and he quickly got back to work. Too bad that his shift lasted a few more hours; by the time he was free to go after them, they would be long gone. He really should try to take detective lessons - did Daredevil take sidekicks?
The place was crammed full by the time Spike came in; it was already a full hour after nightfall and all the demons came out to play. He narrowly passed by one of the tables. Two big blue skinned demons, with long purple horns in the middle of their face, were sitting together with a leprechaun, a lizard like Slilth and a small furry Raspullan. Of all of them, the Raspullan was the most dangerous, for all that it looked like a bloody Ewok.
“It’s unnatural I tell ya!” The Irish demon’s fist hit the table, nearly cracking it in two, one of his tablemates had to make a quick grab when he nearly saw his bagload of kittens escape to the floor and two others rushed for their glasses before they tumbled over, the fourth demon wasn’t so lucky and ended up with a full beer glass of yak piss poured all over his shirt. Not that he minded too much. His tongue just reached down and sucked the drops off of his burlap shirt.
Spike ordered another bloody Mary and stared at it for a second.
“What kinda piss did you use this time Morty.” He said to the demon who’s real name was Philip. Not that Spike cared.
“No piss Spike, it’s fresh of the tap, virgin even.”
Spike grabbed the demon bartender by the collar, pulling him over the counter, bringing them face to face even though the half demon was a head taller than the vampire pulling him in.
“Virgin sheep you mean? There’s no way this piece of tap-water has ever even been touched by a human, let out been in one.”
“I’m sorry, sorry…”
Spike threw him back against the wall, breaking a few bottles in the process.
“It’s that blasted spider I tell you. Used to be, you just went on the street, grabbed a few runaways, and you’d be set for weeks. Now, whenever I send someone out, they either come back empty handed, or that Spider guy sends them out to the vault. It’s a disgrace and horrible for business.”
“I barely got away. And you know the worssssst of it, he isssss human.” Another demon hissed out.
“Can’t be, I saw him lift a car, no human could be that strong.”
A Fyarl growled in agreement, muttering something about nearly losing one of his horns to the little pest.
“I smelled him.” The Raspullan growled “I tell ya, bit of the spider in him, but other than that, he’s all human, soul and all.”
“It just ain’t right. What’s the world coming to? Super powered humans, witches coming out of hiding, hundreds of slayers patrolling all the world instead of one or two Hellmouths and vampires with souls thinking their some kind of saviours. It’s like someone made a wish to a vengeance demon and they actually turned the whole planet upside down.”
“Don’t remind me,” one of the vampires yelled, forgetting that he was trying to hide from the Slilth who would just as easily eat a vampire as they would a human. “I met that damn spider two days ago. Kept me from a meal I’d picked out. I spent over half an hour chasing that broad and just as I’m about to pick her up, he shows up, jumps right out of the sky and kicks my ass. And you know what’s the worst of it? He didn’t even kill me. Just left me there in one of his webs, waiting for the cops to arrive. Which they didn’t even do, if they’d had I would have at least had a meal out of it.”
Spike had taken the opportunity while everyone was busy, to fill his glass with some of the bourbon the bartender had accidentally left standing within his reach. Not that the half-demon would have said something if he had noticed. It had been over two decades since Spike had been in New York, but no one in town had forgotten how he’d hunted down Nicki Wood and took her coat as a trophy after snapping her neck.
She’d been one of the best Slayers New York had ever seen, and he’d defeated her. No demon in New York was likely to ignore that. Of course it helped that none of them had a clue that he’d fallen of his pedestal years ago. After the chip, being unable to eat humans, Buffy, then the soul, and eventually fighting alongside Angel and his crew… Things had gone downhill years ago, but he couldn’t be bothered to regret a thing.
He fingered the pendant around his neck. It shielded him and his soul from being detected. A last gift from Angel that was supposed to hide him from Wolfram and Hart, it felt like cheating. Angel had grabbed his shoulders and told him to damn well wear it before he got himself torn to pieces.
It was one of the few times in Spike’s unlife that Angel had ever shown concern for him. Spike had tried to refuse, but he couldn’t find it in himself to do so. Putting the pendant on, he hadn’t taken it off since. He wondered where Angel was now. He hoped the grumpy old bastard was still around, making himself a pain to humans and demons everywhere.
“We could take him.” One of the demons yelled. “Kill him!”
The others snorted at the very arrogance of it.
“We could take him and eat his carcass.” The demon tried again.
“If even the Slayer doesn’t stand a chance against him, what hope could any of us ever hope to have.” A second vampire muttered. He was currently hiding behind his mate that had caught the Slilth’s attention.
“Yeah one of them came to town last week, she ran into the spider last night. Got her ass duly kicked by him as well.”
The stench of fear spread around the room, and that's literal seeing as how one demon pissed in his pants. Not that that said much, seeing as how his species was likely to do that at least once a day, but still...
The Raspullan played with the fur on his chin, standing up on its chair. Its wicked red eyes stared slowly in front of him. The room almost seemed to grow colder in response.
“What if we made him one of us?” All stared at the diminutive demon.
“Get one of them half bloods there to turn him.” The vampires seemed to crawl back even more. “Not right away, get the Slayer to exhaust him first and then when he’s weak and almost defeated, we kill them both and have him turned. Imagine a vampire with the power of the spider. There wouldn’t be a Slayer in the world that could stand against him!”
Spike stopped breathing and slipped out before anyone remembered he’d been there. He prayed to god that he could find the slayer they were talking about. He was almost too distracted to realize he’d ran right into a bunch of vampires in the middle of a feeding frenzy. Three corpses on the floor already, a fourth, bleeding from the neck, about ready to be sucked dry and a little boy frozen in the dirt, hiding something behind his back, eyes wide open in terror.
They all looked up when they saw him.
“Get your own meal!” one of them shouted.
It was too late, he shouldn’t get involved, shouldn’t risk it.
Spike let out a stake before he could stop himself. The vampire holding the teenager burst into dust. Two of the others turned to him, killing them was all too easy. But the fourth, he was huge, not to mention old, it took two shoves to get the stake through his chest and it still didn’t reach the bastards heart. Spike couldn’t help concluding that it had to be all the bastard’s fat that got in the way. The brute had topped him by two heads, but Spike didn’t let that stop him, shoving a third stake in the vampires leg and slamming his feet against the other’s chest, finally managing to push the two stakes into the vital organ in question. The last vampire screamed as Spike got rid of him. The teenage victim had fainted from bloodloss.
Spike knelt down beside her when he heard a soft thump landing at the entry to the alley. He was ready for an attack when he noticed the dark black spider on the red and blue covered chest. A red webbed mask with huge white eyes covered the man’s entire face. Spike laid down the girl, almost unconsciously making sure not to let her head drop to the pavement.
Someone ducked out from behind the dumpster, it was the kid, holding on to a pet dog. Spike startled as the kid hugged him. He didn’t even know what he was supposed to be doing here, uncomfortable holding a kid like this, and he wasn’t even planning to eat him.
What did humans usually do at a time like this?
He finally pushed the kid over to the superhero.
"Go bring back the kid hero, saving little nibblets like these is bad for my reputation."
Spider-Man seemed unsure to respond and Spike took another sniff, definitely human, but the way he’d landed, the way he’d crouched down in some almost unnatural position, as if his knees bended farther than should have been humanly possible, his every move fluid, fast and filled with strength that went almost without effort.
Spike pulled out a cigarette and lit a match on the side of the wall. He managed it in one try and knew he was far too pleased about that. Not that it stopped him from smirking. Nothing ever did.
"Wouldn't want people to think that the Big Bad had gone soft, now would we?"
Making sure he made the right impression, Spike turned and walked away, his coat billowing in the wind. Well not so much billowing as being annoyingly stiff. God he missed his real coat, these Italian ones just weren’t the same. He kept on walking until he was sure he was out of sight and he watched the Spider-Man shoot up in the sky. Some kind of threads shooting from his hands as the child was tied to his chest and the girl held in his arms. The added weight didn’t even seem to bother him.
Now that was just neat.
He was about halfway up to the next bar when he realized something. Spider-Man, vampires, attempts at turning the hero.