Ch23: An Unexpected Gift
Disclaimer: Xander, Buffy, and anyone or anything else that pertains to BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon. Dracula belongs to the estate of Bram Stoker, or Francis Ford Coppola, or someone I think.
Larry Talbot, the Frankenstein Monster, and some others may belong to Universal Pictures.
NCIS belongs to Belisarius Productions, and CBS.
Ghost rider belongs to Marvel Comics, Dimension Films, Crystal Sky Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, and Sony (Whew!), and was played to perfection by Nicholas Cage!
OCs belong to me, and as always I remain…the man behind the curtain.
Ch23: An Unexpected Gift
The White One stood before the mirror, he inspected his vest, idly flicking an almost invisible speck from it’s clean white surface. The Chinaman was such a bore! His waste of the resources provided for him was truly phenomenal. If the fool kept to his current course he would soon have eliminated more of his leaders than the white hat’s had.That in itself was actually unimportant.
The being that called itself The White One didn’t really care what that yellow fool did or did not do with those foolish enough to serve him. As long as the goal was finally achieved. The ‘Long View’ was all that was important there was no real timetable. He could stay here in this timeless fortress until his final goal was met, if he so chose. He was far more concerned with Buffy Summers, and her ‘sister’ Mina Harker. Those two and their thrice-damned minions could disrupt his oh-so-carefully laid plans. He had chosen this dimension because there WAS no Buffy Summers here, no Slayer at all! If the head was removed , however, the beast would die. In this case the beast had two heads. Ergo to kill the beast that was the Nighthunter/Team Slayer group, Mina , and Buffy must die! The Chinaman had failed to eliminate them, therefore, it was time for him to goad the dragon from it’s lethargy, and into action.
“With luck they may cancel one another out,” he mused. “If not well at least ONE of my adversaries will no longer be in play!”
ATLANTA; ONE WEEK LATER:
“Ok, so…New Orleans, London, Mexico City, where will they strike next? And who is it that keeps warning us? Why are they taking these particular items? Enlighten me anyone, please. Yes, Professor Burkle?” Mina sat looking perplexed, at the slim pretty archaeologist.
Winifred straightened her glasses ”The Staff of Baron Samedi, the ‘Heart of Ptolemy” Amulet, The Scepter of Sheba, The Cloak of Many Feathers, they are disparate items having nothing, on the surface, to do with one another. The staff was brought to New Orleans from colonial South Carolina in 1841 by an escaped slave. It’s origin though lies in Africa, by way of Haiti. Marie tells me that she knew of it in her lifetime in New Orleans, but that it was said to be destroyed in a house fire. It showed up again, however, during the First Great War in the hands of a Creole bokor called Papa Jean-Claude. It was donated to the New Orleans Museum of History and there it remained,” she paused for a breath. “ The Heart of Ptolemy,” she continued, “was discovered in the tomb of Cleopatra during the reign of Ramses VII, and was given to Queen Victoria I as a gift of friendship between Egypt and Britain in 1875. The Scepter of Sheba is rumored to be the very scepter given to the Queen of Sheba, by Solomon the Great of Israel, as a token of his love. The Scepter is made of silver, and is set with sixty perfect moon stones and is topped by a magnificent blue diamond,” she paused again looking at her notes. She leaned over and whispered to Sir Wesley, then leaned the other way and whispered to Professor Boyle. Laura Lee pointed to something on the paper that Winifred held. Fred nodded, and smiled shyly, then she continued, “I’m sorry I was a little flustered and seemed to have lost my train of thought for am moment. Sometimes I write so fast I have a hard time reading it later.” She blushed, and continued, “ The Staff of Baron Samedi is said to have power over all undead creatures, the power to bind them to it’s wielder…if the wielder knows how to use it. The amulet called the ‘Heart of Ptolemy’ supposedly holds power over all serpents, reptiles, and crocodilians. The Scepter is said to have been given to Sheba because of an incursion into her kingdom by an army of lycanthropes. It was created, as the legend goes, to subdue, and command all shapeshifters that are subject to the phases of the moon. The Cloak would have given the wearer perfect health, invulnerability, and a greatly extended life.”
“Are there other items out there that would confer the same traits on the user as the ones that the Cloak would have,” asked Xander?
“Oh…um…yes of course there are, but not just in one item,” Laura Lee Boyle answered this time. “For example The ring called the ‘Shield of Caesar’ is supposed to give the wearer perfect health, it was stolen from him by Brutus just before the Ides of March. It is now the property by the Tsarina of Imperial Russia Anastasia I.”
“There’s the dagger of Ghengis Khan in the Imperial Palace of Chin, in Peiping. That’s supposed to confer near immortality on the bearer,” piped in Lord Wesley. “I saw it briefly when I was stationed at the British Embassy there.”
“Alexander the Great’s breastplate was supposed to give the wearer invulnerability too, but no one knows where that is now. It was last seen in India before the First Great War,” mused Winifred.
“We could speculate all day, all week for that matter,” grumbled Mina, “ and still not figure out what their next target is.”
“Or I could tell ya’…for a price.” Said a voice from the shadows.
A young looking man with sandy blond hair, and pale blue eyes stepped from into the light. He wore a red satin shirt, blue jeans, and shiny black half boots. Buffy immediately knew his face if not his manner, “Spike,” she growled.
“Name’s William, love, William Charles Pratt, Spike is what that bint Darla called me. Her, and dear mad Drusilla that is. Never much cared for the name mi’self, but ya’ get what’s given. Anyway,” he said in a confident voice, “ the price is this redemption that everyone is talking about. I never asked to be a vampire. I wanted to be a poet, not some blood sucking fiend.’
Buffy called the Scythe into existence.
“Hold dear sister,” said Mina placing a hand on the Slayer’s shoulder. “His aura says that he is telling the truth. I see a small core of gold, surrounded by grey with a band of vampire red at the outer edge. I believe in time he could reach redemption,” she looked at him intently. “How did you come to this momentous decision…William the Bloody,” she asked?
“I was approached by some bloke made of golden light, while I was hunting alone last night,” William winced at her use of the name. “Gave me this big long spiel about redemption, called me a lot of names: Spike, Drusilla’s toy, Darla’s childe, Spawn of Aurelius…William the Bloody, and asked if I would fight the good fight, and join the White Hats. To tell the truth, the Chinaman uses minions up like they was dust rags, my Drusilla’s gone, Angelus is psychotic, Darla’s a tramp. So,I says yeah I’ll do it, and here I am!”
“And the information you came to give us is…” asked Xander his suspicion evident in his voice.
“Only available when I am given the promise of a chance to prove mi’self.” Spike answered openly.
Vlad sighed. “We may well give you that promise, I think, William, but we must converse among ourselves first. Accepting someone who heretofore has been a known enemy into out ranks is somewhat of a difficult decision to make on the spur-of-the-moment.”
“Take your time, Drac, I’ve got all day,” smiled William, earning a scowl from the Lord of the Undead..
“Victor,” Mina summoned the gigantic body guard from his station by the conference room door. “Please escort Mr., um, Pratt is it? Mr. Pratt to Mr. Blaze and Ms. Rosenberg. I believe they are in the Summoning Laboratory doing some research.” She turned back to William, “please stay with them until we send for you, I promise you will not be harmed unless you try to do something that will harm someone here.”
Once Victor and Spike had left the room Buffy began the discussion.
“I want to fair about this… suggest that we take into consideration everything that he has said, and the evidence of his aura, and after weighing the pros and cons…we behead him and cut out his heart with a dull butter knife,” her face graced with a blood thirty grin.
“Honey that would be cruel, I think that we could at least use a dull steak knife,” Xander said gravely.
Vlad nodded to both suggestions.
“Actually,” Mina said softly, “I’m inclined to take him at his word. He didn’t have to accept redemption and he has…his aura brightened even as we spoke. William was always the least evil of the Scourge. He has been known to show compassion to would be victims. I think we should give him a chance, after all what would have happened if WE had never been given a chance when WE first accepted redemption?”
Vlad gave her a bit of a hangdog look, his lower lip sticking out like a petulant child.
Buffy looked a little ashamed, not much, but a little. Xander just closed his eye, and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Only because it’s you Mina,” said Buffy, her voice almost a whisper.
Xander nodded slowly, “What she said,” he said.
“Ok,” said Vlad, “but only if he doesn’t call me ‘Drac’ again.”
“I shall put it in his contract dear,” Mina said with a tender smile, kissing him on the forehead.
IN THE SUMMONING LAB:
Willow eyed Spike with more than a little suspicion.
Johnny eyed him with more than a little amusement.
Spike sat in an ornate Edwardian style wing chair, his arms folded, staring fixedly at the tips of his half-boots.
“So, Mister, you are looking for redemption. Why now,” Willow asked with a bit of anger in her voice?
“Simple,” William answered, “ ‘cause now’s when it was offered” the blonde vampire noted.
“He’s tellin’ the truth, Red,” Johnny said matter-of-factly.
“Is that Johnny speaking, or the Rider,” Willow asked looking at her new boyfriend’s face.
She saw hellfire deep in his eyes, and a death’s head grin on his face, “Oh’” she said followed by, “ ‘meep’!”
The steel security door opened slowly.
Victor, and Kurt Lientz stalked in.
“Come with us, please, Mr. Pratt. The Lady wishes to speak to you again,” Victor said in his basso profundo voice.
Spike visibly swallowed, but he rose from his chair, and showing bravery, and a bit of a swagger followed his very large guards/escorts out.
TEN MINUTES LATER, CONFERENCE ROOM:
The conference door opened and in walked William Charles Pratt Victorian Era vampire/poet.
Prince Vlad indicated that Pratt was to sit in the chair at the foot of the table. Victor Mann, and Kurt Lientz flanked the chair on either side.
Dracula rejoined Mina, Buffy, and Xander at the opposite end of the table. The almost invisible side door to the room opened and in walked…Lady Drusilla Cassandra Harris-Hall dressed in a pure white Empire-waisted Victorian ball gown. She paused for effect and raised both an eyebrow and the corner of her lip at Spike, before taking her place at the head of the long table opposite him!