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Project: Initiative

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Summary: What if the Initative was descended from an older military project, Weapon X?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > Willow-CenteredLucindaFR15213,018486,2783 Jan 033 Jan 03Yes

Project: Initiative

Author: Lucinda
Rating: Pg 13
mentions Willow/Oz, no current Willow pairing
Disclaimer: I do not own anyone from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Distribution: Charity's site, others please ask
Set beginning in season 4, will diverge into AU shortly.


Willow was lying on her bed in the dorm room she shared with Buffy. She was feeling miserable. Oz was gone. Oz had slept with that Veruca skank. He had slept with Veruca and tried to hide it from her. He had turned into a wolf and killed Veruca. He had left Sunnydale and her rather than talk about what had happened. She was alone. The one person that had seen her as desirable was gone...

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in." Her voice was dull, thick with the pain and misery she was feeling. Willow didn't even think about the dangers of calling out an invitation on the Hellmouth. She sat up, and began to approach the door.

Spike burst through the door, immediately shutting it behind him. He stalked towards Willow, his face ridges, eyes feral and hungry. A threatening growl emanated from him as he approached the redhead.

He couldn't bite her.

Oh, he tried. He threw her on the bed, and lunged for her throat. It didn't work. Something caused him the most agonizing pain he'd ever experienced. Spike tried two more times to rip her throat open, but had the same results.

Willow was certain that this was another sign of her complete undesirability. The blood-thirst vampire couldn't bite her. She wasn't even good enough to eat. To Willow's surprise, Spike tried to assure her that it wasn't her fault. He even remembered the outfit she had been wearing a year ago when he had locked her and Xander in an abandoned factory while in a drunken haze. Willow was oddly flattered.

Then the power went out, and masked figures with guns knocked down her door. Willow shrieked in panic tinged with a bit of annoyance. How many people were going to barge into her room tonight anyhow?

When the smoke finally cleared, Spike was gone.

Willow didn't see Spike the next day. Buffy was there, and had found the commandos breaking into their room. She had helped to chase them off, but hadn't gotten a good look at the other person, the one that had run away. Then, Buffy had told Willow that Parker had dumped her as soon as they had slept together. He had used his handsome face and a pretense of sympathy to lure her into his bed, and she had fallen for it.

Buffy was miserable, bemoaning her loneliness that had made her vulnerable to Parker's come-ons. She railed against Angel's departure, which had made her alone to begin with. She had colorful but unpleasant things to say about the gypsies that had designed Angel's curse and included that happiness clause. Buffy was trying to find the reason why there were no good men in Sunnydale.

Willow's only comment had been "They either die young or run away." Buffy had agreed, to focused on her own pain to notice Willow's pain and misery.

Everyone was too busy to realize the depths of Willow's pain. Thanksgiving was almost here. The gang was going to have a turkey dinner at Giles' apartment. They had decided this because Buffy's only family was her mother, Joyce, who would be joining them. Xander had said he would rather lock himself in a room and watch six hours of teletubbies than attend another Harris family Thanksgiving brawl. Anya had no family, having been a vengeance demon for over a thousand years. Willow's parents were in Dallas. Or possibly Houston. Willow wasn't quite certain where her parents were, or how long they would be there.

She was sitting in a chair, leafing through a book of demons that included pictures when there was a commotion at the door. She marked her spot - right at the Ik'Tarin demon, a large creature with tentacles and jaws like a crocodile. Whatever was causing this commotion... was swearing with a British accent. Spike?

It was Spike, wrapped in a smoking blanket, and looking rather unhealthy. He had been pale before, but now his skin looked unhealthy pale. His eyes had dark circles under them, and his cheekbones were even more prominent. He was swaying slightly as he stood.

"I want you to fix whatever your bloody commando pals did to me! How in the bloody hell is a vampire supposed to go about his unlife with whatever the hell they did to me! I want my life back, you daft bloody slayer!" He sounded hostile, and possibly a bit afraid underneath.

Giles and Buffy didn't trust Spike. He ended up in the chair that Willow had been sitting in, tied up like a turkey. He was still cranky, but was starting to consider the possibility that maybe the slayer really had no idea what he was talking about. He had explained to them that something had been done that made him unable to feed. Nobody had wanted to believe him, until Willow mentioned the dorm room.

The focus had shifted to everyone yelling at her about how foolish she had been to invite someone into her room without knowing who it was. How could she do that... didn't she realize the danger she had put herself and the Slayer in with her unthinking words? Willow had cringed at the explosion of criticism. She meekly replied that she hadn't been thinking, she was very sorry, and since Spike seemed to be unable to bite anyone, Buffy wasn't really in any danger. She then made it very clear that she had not invited the commandos into her room.

The debate about what to do with Spike had continued until the small gathering was attacked by Indians. Giles and Buffy had gone forth to deal with the source, while Xander was lying on the couch, somehow instantly stricken with syphilis. Anya was tending him. Willow and Spike had been ignored in the assignment of tasks. Spike was still tied to the chair. A few arrows were embedded in his torso, thankfully missing the heart. He was now muttering threats about what he intended to do to them when he got his bit back and questioning if he would be able to feed from Xander's corpse if he died from his sudden illness.

"Spike? I don't have anything to do right now, maybe you could tell me what happened to you? Maybe I could help figure out how they did... whatever. If they are local, they might have a computer system I can access." Willow's quiet words distracted Spike from his ranting threats.

"When I get my bite back, you realize that I intend to kill you and the rest of the Slayer's little friends, right? I am not my soddin' ponce of a Sire, all nice and helping the slayer," Spike's words were whispered, as if he was trying to keep anyone from hearing the possibility Willow had hinted at.

If she found out what they had done to him, he could find someone to undo it. He could have his bite back, and get bloody revenge on everyone.

Willow was carefully removing the arrows from his body when she answered. "I realize that you aren't our friend. I will offer you this deal, since I know about the one you made with Buffy about Acathala. You will tell me everything you can about what happened. I will try to figure out who these commandos are, and what they did to you. In return, when you come after me to kill me like all the others, I want you to make it quick. And make certain that someone will find my body, I don't want to be left rotting somewhere and need my corpse identified by dental records."

Willow's reply chilled Spike to the marrow of his undead bones. Not because she assumed he would kill her, he had known that she was the smart one of the group. It was the calm way that she had mentioned it, as if her death held no importance, no dread for her. The way she spoke of not wanting her corpse left to rot as if she had given the matter a great deal of thought. She didn't care if she died right now. She was willing to help him because it would give her something to contemplate other than whatever was going on inside her head that had lead her to calmly bargaining over the manner of her death.

Spike began to tell her what he remembered. He also made a promise to himself - he wanted to know what had brought her to this state of empty pain. Her unconcern was baffling, he wanted to understand. Why hadn't her friends done something about it, anyhow?

end part 2

The next two weeks witnessed things settle into a slightly awkward routine. Spike was staying at Giles' apartment. They had started by keeping him chained up and lying in the bathtub. He was being fed, although he kept insisting that cold pig's blood from the butcher shop was not even close to the same thing as fresh human blood, right from the throat. For the most part, his complaints fell on unconcerned ears.

Spike learned about how Willow's boyfriend Oz had been a werewolf. He had cheated on her with a she wolf from another band. The other wolf had tried to kill Willow, Oz-Wolf had killed the she wolf, and Oz had been shot with the tranquilizer before he could maul Willow. Oz had been gone the next day, having left town. He had sent for his things. It had explained to Spike why Willow had been an abject picture of heartbroken desolation in her dorm room that night. That had been the day she learned his things were gone. That he wasn't coming back to this place, to her. Reflecting back to his own reactions to the many times that Drucilla had left him, Spike had been forced to admit to himself that he understood how she had felt. Completely abandoned and alone. It had never sent him into a suicidal depression before.

Willow was either feeling suicidal, or had moved past that to a place where she felt her life or death truly didn't matter. Spike wasn't quite certain which it was. It bothered him. He had spent a lot of time talking to the shy redhead over the past two weeks. She had persuaded the Watcher to let him out of the bathtub, and eventually out of the chains as well. The chains had been a gradual process, and the watcher still snapped a pair of handcuffs on him when he was annoyed. Spike had decided that it really wouldn't be safe to tell him that with his vampire strength, he could easily snap the handcuffs. The whole reasoning behind his freedom from the tub and chains was to make it easier for Willow to try to determine what had been done to him.

Willow had listened to Spike, and to Buffy's reports about her nightly patrols. They had pieced together some of the story. The commandos were called the Initiative, and were only part of some sort of secret military project hidden inside or near Sunnydale. There was a base that the patrolling commandos reported to, and Spike had remembered seeing many scientists in a very well equipped lab facility. He didn't recall seeing any windows, and has escaped through a long, sloping tunnel. Because of that, they were suspecting some sort of at least partially underground facility.

So far, they hadn't found the actual location of any installation of that magnitude. The military base that Xander and Cordelia had stolen the rocket launcher used to destroy the Judge was too far away to be the location of the initiative. Willow had found no documentation of any facility that fit the requirements they were looking for in her perusal of the Sunnydale City records. Spike had actually been impressed by Willow's researching on the computer. He had known damn well that hacking like that was illegal, and hadn't know the redhead had it in her to just calmly ignore laws like that. She was starting to grow on him.

"I think I found them. Not a location or address or something physical like that, but I think I found their computer systems. If I'm right, I can just slip right in and see what they've got in their computers. They have to have files on what they did and how they did it in there somewhere." Willow's gleeful voice sounded alive again. She was almost giddy from solving the difficult problem.

Spike was interested in her discovery. Of course the big, bad commandos had computers. Trend of the recent decades to have computers. Red had found theirs and she'd get their secrets in a trice... what in the world was on her screen now?

"hmm... They have protections against people just slipping in. Makes sense I suppose, but it will slow me down slightly. Spike, you do realize that I have no idea what sort of organization they will have for their files? I doubt they will have one called 'What we did to Spike' followed with 'how to fix it in three easy steps'. Can you pass me those blank CD's over there? I want to copy their files, it will be safer to browse them later from my computer than to stay in the Initiative systems." Willow's voice was thoughtful, her mind already moving ahead to the next steps of the problem.

Her words calmed his immediate delight. He wouldn't have kept a file labeled 'how to fix the bloke I messed with', why would they? The fact that they had never even asked what his name was... actually, that had really annoyed him. Spike watched as Willow copied vast amounts of computer files onto the disks, labeling them with what looked like file names as they finished. The labels didn't really help Spike have any clue what was inside, but they did make it easy to tell the disks apart.

After she had copied everything she could, she exited the Initiative systems, and took her computer off the internet. She had her data, now came the part that was tedious researching.

------------------------------

He had ended up playing minion for the watcher. He even had his very own key to the apartment now. The watcher had given him a grocery list and sent him off to the store while he ran off with his tart. The slayer and her pals hadn't even figured out that Red was more than a bit mopy about dog-boy leaving. He was really starting to wonder how they had managed to defeat so many evil dangers. They really were pitiful at reading people.

When he got back to the apartment, it was quiet. There was only the soft hum of appliances, and a single heartbeat. Red was on the computer, looking through those files. Spike put the perishables away into the icebox and crept over behind Willow, hoping to startle her. When he looked at the screen of her computer, there was a diagram of the human body, with the bones highlighted. There were chemical formulae on the sides, and complex mathematical equations. An instinct deep inside of Spike told him that this was trouble. Other than that, he had no clue what in the hell it meant.

"Red?" His voice was barely more than a hoarse whisper.

"I found the history of the Initiative. They trace back to another operation called Project X. It did experimentation on humans and mutants in the areas of biofeedback, biochemical alteration, and skeletal modification. They had a ninety five percent casualty rate with their subjects," Willow's voice was quiet, no louder than his had been. She was clearly disturbed by her findings. "The Initiative is the new, Hellmouthier version of the same idea. They are using demons and vampires to work on behavioral control."

"They implanted a microchip into your brain.. I found a placement diagram back here a bit. It receives a signal by satellite and prevents you from acting aggressively against humans. They used a neurosurgeon to install it, Spike. Unless you want the risk of permanent brain damage, it'll take a neurosurgeon to remove it."

Willow paused, licking her lips nervously. "If it's any consolation, you have one of the first generation chips. It only prevents you from feeding or hurting humans. The second generation of behavioral chips is listed as currently in testing. Those will let them actually make you do things that they want you to do."

end part 3.


Spike was very thoughtful as Willow spent the next few days searching the Initiative files over the next few days. The Watcher had implied that they would help find a solution to Spike's problem. The only person that had even tried to find time to look had been Willow. The Slayer's suggested solution was to stake Spike.

Frustratingly, Spike was getting a feeling of a greater moral good. It wasn't just his problem anymore, it was something bigger. He hated these moments of moral responsibility - the last one had led to his making a deal with the slayer to prevent the demon Acathala from sucking the world into hell. He was getting a sinking feeling that this would lead him to more complications.

He couldn't just ignore the fact that the Initiative was experimenting on demons and vampires. Even if Willow found a spell that would let her just conjure the chip out of his head, the Initiative would still be there. They would have to be actively stopped. He had looked at the files Red had copied. They were committing horrible tortures in the name of Science. Hell, they had records of doing things that had turned Spike's stomach, and he had once been infamous for torturing people with railroad spikes. It was clear that the Initiative had to be stopped.

He just didn't have a clue who would help him do it.

Spike had tried to talk to the Watcher about the Initiative. Rupert Giles hadn't seen why Spike was so concerned with the Initiative. He didn't see the danger in a group that was capturing demons and vampires. Spike hadn't been able to communicate the depths of torment the researchers were inflicting on their captives. He hadn't even got through to him when he tried to reason that the Initiative would eventually move on to humans. His talk with the Slayer had gone worse. She had laughed derisively, and said that if they were getting demons off her streets, she didn't care what they did with them.

Spike sat in the chair in front of the television. He needed to distract himself. What to watch... There were several soap operas to choose from, with tales of passion, manipulation, and settings of luxury and wealth. There was MTV with new music and half clad women writhing around. Or he could watch the History channel, maybe catch something about a bloody, violent war.

Spike was pulled from his thoughts of quality television programming by an odd noise from Willow. It was part squeak, part gasp, and part dismay. That was an odd noise. Perhaps he should see what she found that would cause that sort of reaction.

"There are survivors, Spike. After the Weapon X Project was shut down, they tried to make the evidence disappear. Only, the evidence included the survivors of their nasty super soldier project. There were two that they didn't manage to kill." She did something with her computer, and the screen was filled by two pictures. On the left was a large seeming man with oddly dark eyes and a wild mane of blondish hair. Letters under his picture read Codename Sabertooth; Creed, Victor. On the right was a different man, with shorter dark hair and blue eyes. He would blend in with a crowd in most places in America, and many in Europe. His caption read Codename Wolverine: Logan, John.

Spike was thoughtful. He had the nagging feeling that he had seen the man on the right before, somewhere. He was trying to place the man when he sat down for the evening news. He might as well catch the sports scores while he thought about it. There was a segment on the 'Mutant Menace' that included live coverage of a group of Mutants in New York fighting a large purple robot...

"Red!" Spike bellowed at Willow, having thought something about one of the mutants looked familiar. She darted into the room, and saw the segment he was watching.

"That's Wolverine. I was just looking at the file on him..." They sat in silence through the rest of the segment, many thoughts flickering in their minds.

"Spike? I know we'd figured that you'd kill me after I found the reason that you couldn't bite, but... I think this is important. I think we have to get rid of the Initiative first. What they are doing isn't right. It's wrong on so many levels... If it isn't stopped, it's going to get bigger and uglier." Willow's voice was soft, her words following some of Spike's thoughts.

"Nobody here sees it that way, Red. The Watcher just sees that they are working on demons and lets it go at that. They aren't human, so it isn't his problem. The Slayer only cares that every demon or vampire they catch is one she doesn't have to worry about. I sure as hell want the Initiative to go down, permanently. But we can't do it alone. Where are we going to get the reinforcements to pull this off?" Spike was hoping that Willow had a plan. He didn't have one. Hell, even an idea would be more than he had.

"well, that was Wolverine in New York. I think if he knew there was another program like the one that put him through months of excruciating agony, he would want to shut them down. He wasn't on the camera alone either, he had people with him in the same uniform. They might help. If anyone knows where Sabertooth is, I think he might want to help also," Willow's voice was determined, with a hard tone behind it that he had never heard before.

"If it comes down to it, I'll take down the defenses and we'll break Magneto out of prison to help take this place down. I can guarantee that he won't let a place like this stay in operation."

Spike stared at her, astonished. He had known she paid attention to the news, so he wasn't surprised that she had placed Magneto in the category of heavy firepower. He wondered if she could actually break him out of the prison he was residing in... But foremost he was puzzled. "Red? Why would Magneto not stand for the Initiative?"

"Because he's Jewish." She glanced up at Spike, seeing his continued puzzlement. "Spike, Magneto is Erik Lenscherr, a Jew from Poland. He was sent to a concentration camp by the Nazis. That was publicized in his trial."

Spike still hadn't made the connection.

"Nobody that went though that sort of hell would ever let something like it happen again. Neither would anyone that lost someone to the Holocaust. The idea that it's okay to do horrible things to demons because they aren't the same as you will only lead to the idea that it's okay to do horrible things to people that are a bit different, with a different religion, or ethnic heritage. People would stand back and let it happen because it wasn't them, until it was them, and by then there wouldn't be anyone to stop things. I won't stand back and let another Holocaust begin."

Willow's explanation suddenly made sense to Spike. He also found himself seeing the matter from that perspective, and her words made a dark and terrible sort of sense. People would stand back and let things happen as long as it didn't interfere with their lives. Spike also suddenly found himself remembering that Willow was also Jewish by heritage.

There was another Holocaust brewing, and the forces against it were a chipped vampire, and a Jewish hacker that had dabbled in magic. God help them.

end part 4.

Willow's life had gradually reshaped itself over the past few weeks. She had barely noticed that her friends were spending as little time with her as they possibly could. They hadn't been there much since Oz had left. Xander was too busy with his new job as a construction worker and with Anya. Buffy... Buffy thought that Willow should be over Oz leaving by now, since it had been a few weeks since he had left. The fact that Buffy still got all depressed and miserable because Angel had left Sunnydale and Buffy nearly six months earlier didn't lend any strength to her argument.

Why did Buffy still get to be miserable that Angel had left her? They had had serious problems, everyone except maybe Buffy had seen that. Angel had left because if he had stayed, he could wind up loosing his soul over Buffy. Again. He hadn't cheated on her, he hadn't just vanished. That was Oz, and somehow, she was supposed to magically be over him now.

She had tried to convince Buffy, or Xander, or Giles to understand her reasoning that the Initiative wasn't all good. Buffy had told her that she was just worrying about his so she wouldn't be moping about Oz. Xander had explained in very short words and the tone of someone explaining to a small child that demons were bad. Making them go away was good. End of story, that's all there is to it. Giles thought that she was over-reacting.

"There isn't a single person in this whole damn town willing to help us stop this!"

Willow's angry declaration rang through the apartment. The only person to hear her was Spike. He was a bit surprised. Red wasn't known for swearing or shouting. He sauntered over, standing outside of her reach.

" I already figured that one out, Red. No one here in Sunnyhell cares. Hope you have a plan B. Or a neurosurgeon. With a surgeon, I could get this chip out, and then I'd make them care..." Spike was curious. He had already known nobody else would help. Planning anything more complex than 'We go in, kill them all. Go home and party' was something he hadn't been practicing lately.

"You still have that car? If nobody will help us here, I say we go to New York. Once there, we find Wolverine, and explain to him and his friends what we found. Then, we either get more reinforcements, or have enough firepower to destroy the Initiative completely," Willow's answer was steady, with a firm plan. She was also mentioning destruction and that was normally a plus in most vampires’ opinions.

"Sounds good to me, Red. Pack a few things, we can be out of this town tonight." Spike was grinning, looking forward to taking down the commandos. The fact that he'd have to cooperate with mortals again to get it done was something he could deal with.

They were out of Sunnydale by ten. Willow had packed some clothing, and her laptop, along with all the files she had copied from the Initiative. Spike didn't have much to pack. He ran over the 'Welcome to Sunnydale' sign on the way out. For tradition.

* * * * *

The trip across the country had been interesting. They had learned more about each other, and had actually achieved a tentative balance that could almost be called friendship. Now, they were finally in New York. Unfortunately, he had no idea where to find this Logan character. Turning to ask Willow if she had any ideas, he saw that she had pulled out the picture she had printed out of his face. He was about to tease her that now wasn't the time to be getting a new crush when she started to chant something that sounded Latin.

A small green light, about the size of an eyeball appeared in front of her. It then move ahead, passing through the front window. Spike wasn't sure what to think.

"Follow the light. It's a locater spell, and it should lead us to Wolverine," Willow gestured at the floating light as she spoke. The casual display of magic had surprised him. Dru had dabbled a bit with magic, but had always made a fuss over it, talking to the stars and saying she heard whispers from the moon. Something like this would have left Dru a bit lightheaded, and tired. Willow looked as if it had been nothing.

The pair of them ended up at the locked gates of an impressive mansion, with manicured grounds with flowers and hedges. There was a basketball court to the right. Spike was contemplating how to break the chain on the gates when Willow whispered a few more words in Latin.

The padlock opened itself, and the chain slithered around the bars like a snake, leaving the gate unlocked. She then pushed open the gate and smiled at Spike. They drove up to the mansion.

end part 5.


Scott Summers was running a basic check of the security systems when one screen, showing the school gate, had a dreadful looking black car pull up. The car was old, and the paint was scratched. A woman got out of the passenger side and seemed to look at the gate, before just pushing it open. He didn't see what had happened to the chain. This was not normal, even for here, so Cyclops contacted the Professor to inform him what was happening.

When the red haired young woman and the bleach blond man arrived at the porch, the X-Men were there waiting. Scott opened the door, looking at the pair of them.

"Why don't the two of you come in and explain why you are here." The Professor's voice carried well.

The pair entered the mansion, glancing around them a bit as they did. Willow moved slowly, almost staring at the surroundings. Spike sauntered in, looking more with an eye for exits and possible weapons than admiring the decor.

" I'm Willow and this is Spike. umm We came here searching for John Logan, also called Wolverine. We have a problem that we wanted your help with," The redhead spoke, her words setting off a reaction among the X-Men.

"How did you get through the gates?" The man with the visor demanded.

"What sort of problem do you have, and how big is it?" The red haired woman, trying to get a sense of how sincere the strange pair was.

"How the hell do you know who I am, and how did you find me?" Logan's demand cut right to the point of his concerns.

"What'd you want us to do for you anyhow?" Marie wasn't supposed to be there, but she was anyhow.

As the questions were tossed out rapidly by all the X-Men at once, the redhead drew slightly closer to the blond man. They hadn't answered anything, but they had scarcely had time.

"Enough. I'm certain that Willow will answer our questions, but she must have the time to do so. Let us all go to the dining room and discuss this," Xavier's voice carried, and rang with an odd weight. Everyone quieted, and the whole group went to the dining room, Spike and Willow trailing a bit behind the others.

"I came here to ask for your help in getting rid of the Initiative. Before you ask, it's a secret government project experimenting with mind control and behavioral modification chips. I hacked into its files to get information on it after they experimented on Spike. The Initiative traces back to a program called Project X or Weapon X. There were some files from that, and they listed you, John Logan, codename Wolverine." Willow looked directly at Logan with her last words. She also passed him the printout of the picture she had used earlier.

There were gasps and expressions of dismay all around at Willow's words. The implications were ominous, and troublesome.

"What sort of experiment did they do to you?" Marie's soft question was directed at Spike, whom she had somehow ended up sitting across from.

"Why come here for help? Why not someone closer to home?" Scott was curious, slightly suspicious.

Spike was grinning at Marie, and reached across the table, catching her hand in his. He rubbed his thumb over the back of her hand, apparently unaware of the shocked glances from all the X-men as he did so. He seemed to be trying to flirt with her.


Willow glanced as Spike and sighed. That wasn't any help to her. "We tried to get the people closer to home to help us. They refused because they didn't see why we were so concerned. Unlike the Weapon X Project, they aren't making soldiers disappear, and they aren't making ordinary people vanish. They are experimenting on individuals that won't be missed, that nobody cares about enough to worry. I think that if they aren't stopped, the project will grow. If nothing stops them, they will be everywhere, and people won't be able to stop them. Everyone will probably end up with chips in their heads to make them think it's all okay." She was clearly upset by the end of this explanation. Her audience was pretty upset as well.

"What do you mean, they weren't concerned?" Logan was clearly furious.

"They are just abducting people and nobody is concerned?" A dark skinned woman with striking white hair and a hint of an odd accent. She looked worried, and a bit nervous.

"Experimentation on mutants?" Xavier was unhappy, and troubled.

Spike looked up at the gathered individuals. "Thing is that there's a bit of an argument about the 'personhood' of the individual's they're grabbing. I don't know if they got any mutants, but they have been grabbing vampires and demons."

Willow and Spike had expected the expressions of disbelief and denial from everyone. Logan had only frowned thoughtfully, and sniffed the air. Everyone else was going on interrupting each other, voices overlapping, insisting that there was no such thing as vampires.

"Bloody hell, do you people have to see everything before you believe? Then take a look at this!" Spike bellowed at the group, his features shifting to his golden eyed vampire face.

Silence fell. Everyone was hushed, staring at the blond before them. They were trying to figure how he had done that. Jean attempted to probe his mind, and could barely locate his presence, and the sense that she got was of age and danger.

"Is that why you could touch me? Because you aren't really alive?" Marie was the first to speak, her words directed at Spike.

"He smells off from a normal person. He hasn't got a pulse either." Logan was looking thoughtful. Something was teasing at him, the shadow of a memory. "I believe them."

"If he is a vampire, which I still have some doubts about, " Jean was speaking now, " why is he working with Willow? What benefit is there for you? How can we know that you aren't a danger to our students?"

Spike sat down on the chair again, his arms folded over his chest and scowled. "I got a damn chip in my head."

Willow looked at the attentive group, and decided to elaborate a bit. "Spike was implanted with a chip that prevents him from committing any violence against humans. I promised to try to help him get rid of the Initiative. I have their files, up to about a week ago." Willow hefted the case with her copied files.

It was eventually decided that they would help Spike and Willow. Jean talked Spike into letting her run a few simple tests on him in the lab, which he only agreed to do if Willow was present. After that, Spike and Willow both went to guest rooms to sleep.

end part 6.


They had spent the next afternoon explaining about demons and vampires to the X-men. It hadn't been particularly easy, and most of the team was reluctant to believe, even after Jean's tests. Spike had demonstrated his strength, he had changed his face multiple times. Finally, he had growled at them, saying he didn't care if they believed in demons or not if they would help them get rid of the Initiative.

That had led to several hours of Willow explaining why and how she had got the files, in detail. She had used the large screen in the war-room to put up some of the pictures included. The detailed, though somewhat partial files on the Weapon X program had matched the information they had already found, and then, once she had their attention, Willow had pulled the heavy ammunition out. She had put up the files on some of the more brutal testing done at the Initiative, complete with the film footage on file showing the reactions to certain types of physical trauma.

"This is what we want you to help us stop. You say you want to help make a world where a few differences in someone’s DNA doesn't count against them. Why should some major differences in someone’s DNA and physiology mean that they aren't worth rescuing? Not all demons are safe and peaceful, some are outright dangerous. But this isn't right."

It may have taken some ruthless argument, but Willow had finally convinced the X-Men to help her and Spike take down the Initiative. She was still working on convincing Jean that Spike's chip had to go. They had started discussing plans on how to find the actual base afterwards, and with the setting sun had actually meandered out of the mansion. Willow, the Professor, Jean, Scott, and Logan were involved in the debate.

They were discussing the possibility of getting satellite imagery of the Sunnydale area to determine the most likely location of an underground complex when they were interrupted. Sabertooth pounced right at Logan, knocking Jean down with Logan's body. Scott was trying to blast another person who kept making the most astounding leaps. The assault had completely interrupted Willow's efforts to get planning done, and she had had enough.

Her eyes went dark with power, and Willow punched Mystique right in the face, dropping the blue mutant to the ground. "THAT IS ENOUGH! I have had one interruption too many!" With a gesture, Toad was pinned to the side of the mansion with an unseen force. Logan and Sabertooth both froze in the middle of trying to claw each other to bits, both feeling the power emanating from the redhead.

"I do not have time for you to kill each other. You... Sabertooth. You are either going to help me destroy the replacement to the program that rebuilt you into a killer or stay out of my way. Logan already said he would help me destroy the Initiative, so you can't kill him."

The sheer unexpectedness of it brought things to a halt. Scott and Toad were both looking at Willow as if she had lost her mind. Sabertooth and Logan were very carefully separating from their fight in such a way as to not appear to be quitting or backing down. They were both certain that Willow was dangerous right now, intensely emotional and unpredictable, with apparent power to back her will. Mystique and Jean were both unconscious on the ground, and the Professor was trying to figure out exactly what was going on in Willow's head.

"Initiative?" Sabertooth was the one that had finally spoken.

"Yes. You and Logan were both in a secret military program called the Weapon X project. You are now the only survivors from those experiments. However, after the Weapon X project was shut down, the files weren't completely destroyed. I don't know how, but someone got a hold of the files, and now there's the Initiative. They are mainly trying to develop mind control, with terrible torturous experiments on the side. I hacked into their files. They have to be destroyed."

The Professor was now very worried. He had already been concerned because of the horrible things the Initiative was doing. Now, he was concerned for Willow. She was undeniably intelligent, but emotionally she was in terrible shape. He could sense that she had suffered some sort of painful betrayal, and felt all the expected shock, grief and outrage from that. He wasn't certain where the sense of despair had come from. He could tell that this focus on the Initiative was possibly the only thing holding her together in a semblance of sanity.

Very cautiously, they all went inside to figure out what was going on, and so that Toad and Sabertooth could ask some of the questions they had about the Initiative. Scott carried Jean, muttering something about Logan being trouble, and always trying to get his girl, while Sabertooth was carrying Mystique, stroking her hair gently.

end part 7.


They had proceeded into the mansion, and now the Professor was watching the group of people in the war room. There was Logan, scowling at the room in general while Spike asked for details on the violence. Toad was in the corner, looking around suspiciously. Sabertooth sat in one of the chairs, still holding Mystique, who was now starting to come awake. Willow was pacing along the wall, muttering something under her breath about it not being the time or place for the violence. Her eyes were still a disconcerting black.

"What hit me?" Mystique's odd voice, a bit quiet, drew attention back to the reason why they were here, in Xavier's mansion.

"The redhead did. You okay?" Sabertooth answered her, his voice unexpectedly tinged with concern.

"I want to know what this Initiative is, and why you want it taken down so badly." Toad was not happy about being here, and was still glaring at Willow.

"The Initiative is a secret government research project that performs horrible experiments on demons and vampires while trying to develop behavioral control chips. They have a base in Sunnydale, California." Willow's voice was tense as she activated the controls to put images on the screen again. "They also have information from an older experimental program called Weapon X, which was used to alter both Sabertooth and Wolverine. After the Weapon X project was closed, they attempted to kill all survivors of their project. You two were the only ones they didn't successfully kill. It looks like they have based some of their work is directly building on research from the Weapon X program." Willow proceeded with the full explanation, something that she had lately been getting a lot of practice with.

The questions from Sabertooth and Mystique were more serious than some of the ones from the X-Men. They didn't waste time trying to figure out why Spike was helping Willow. They didn't have to be convinced that the experiments were wrong. What was more of a concern for them was why she had approached Xavier and his people with this.

Willow had explained that nobody in Sunnydale would help, nobody in Sunnydale cared what was being done to demons and vampires. She had found the information on Wolverine and Sabertooth and thought that either of them might have an interest in getting rid of the next generation of illegal experimentation, but the files had no information on their locations. Spike had then seen a news broadcast that had shown the X-Men, and had recognized Logan, which was why they had come to New York.

Meanwhile, Spike had left the room while Willow explained all this, again. He already knew this. He wanted a nice beer to drink. He stopped outside the kitchen, listening to the voices inside.

"She's dangerously unstable. I know the information seems to be genuine, but can we trust her? Is it possible that she could have faked the data?"

"Too much of the information on Logan matches what we've been able to discover. She obviously found valid information. However, we have no way to be positive that this operation is still current."

"We can't take the risk of ignoring this. There could be real danger for all of us if this program actually exists."

"I don't trust that Spike. His mind is difficult to read and full of violent impulses."

Suddenly, a beer didn't sound as appealing. It didn't sound like the X-Men would be particularly helpful. Damn.

end part 8
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