Spike sprawled in his ratty armchair and lifted the bottle once more to his lips. "Bloody bitch! Bloody government scientists too, while I'm at it. Should be me takin' out the slayer, not playin' cheerleader for those bastards. I earned the right."
Spike remembered Buffy's rolling eyes as he gave the thumbs up to the soldier boy, admitting he was Hostile 17 and declaring that if the Initiative really were trying to kill the Slayer, then more power to them. It made for a dramatic exit, or so Spike had thought at the time. The memory of Buffy and her little witchy friend and their eye roll Olympics took a bit out of it though. "Don't really want that lot takin' out the Slayer though. Needs to be a proper fight with a worthy opponent--Me! If I just didn't have this diet enforcer in my noggin, I'd do it, too!"
Spike's ego had been shredded lately and he was tired of just taking it. Bad enough the Slayer had taken the Gem of Amara from him, but then the same soddin' Nazi group that tried to use him as a lab rat in the forties had finally cracked his skull and implanted their bits and pieces, making it impossible for Spike to get a decent meal.
Going to the Watcher had been an act of desperation that may have earned him salvation from starvation or recapture, but the price tag had been his self-respect.
Being handed over to the smart-mouthed boy with bondage issues and then forced to dress like Jimmy Buffet without the benefit of a tumbler of margaritas to take away the sting had been humiliating. Having the Watcher hint that he was somehow fated to play at being one of the Round Table knights in the Slayer's little army had been disquieting, even though Spike had pretended to not hear the suggestion.
But the real kicker was the Slayer herself! They had always had a healthy respect for each other as enemies to be reckoned with. Now the bitch teased him with her neck and her verbal taunts. "Flaccid, my ass! I'll show that bitch how flaccid I'm NOT." At least Spike wasn't chained in the Watcher's bathtub any longer and she couldn't flaunt herself at him. She'd made it clear where he stood through her words, actions and eye rolls.
He wasn't about to admit, even to himself, how much it had hurt to have her look disgusted and wipe furiously at her mouth, crying out, 'Spike lips! Lips of Spike!' as if he were a cockroach or some such when the redheaded witchling's spell was broken. Worse, Spike wasn't even willing to admit how he still dreamed of those hours with a lapful of loving Slayer, hours that brought him closer to happiness than anything had in his entire unlife thus far. No, Spike just wanted the damned chip out of his head and a good shot at taking out Slayer number three or so he told himself as he threw back another drink.
The smallish female watched the vampire's barren crypt with avid intensity. "He might just be the perfect way to deal with that request! Nothing like a healthy bit of hate to make a body creative." Fuamnach chuckled to herself and smiled with glee, "Of course, tweaking that haughty Halfrek will be icing on the cake, not that she's paid much attention to the career of this William since she set him loose on humanity. Yes, this might serve many purposes."
She tucked in her wispy wings and edged closer to the marble tomb. Taking a deep breath, the female timidly knocked on the heavy oaken door.
"GO AWAY!" Spike was in no mood for visitors, especially of the Slayerette variety. Anyone actually knocking would have to be either the Watcher or the little witch, anyone else would simply slam the door open and come in.
The knock sounded again, a slight bit louder this time. 'Must be the Watcher then,' thought Spike, 'Witch'd probably scurry off in fear from bein' yelled at.' "I said 'go away.' Somethin' wrong with your ears this time, Watcher?"
A responding knock, firm this time, was the only answer. "Right, then, have to open the door just to slam it in the git's face to make the point, I guess." Spike rose from his comfortable slouch and ambled to the door. The rapping continued, further annoying the antisocial vampire.
"Look, told you I'm not interested in bein' recruited in any grand army against evil, you bloody moron." Spike stopped in mid rant, for the sight on the other side of his door was anything but the tweedy Watcher.
"Well, what have we here?" Spike walked around the slight female on his doorstep, looking at her from all angles and delicately sniffing in an attempt to make out just what sort of creature had disturbed his reverie. "Not human but not quite demon either, I'm thinkin."
"Spike. William the Bloody," the girl smiled up at him. She stood no more than three feet in height and looked fragile as a matchstick. She showed no fear whatsoever. Indeed, she looked rather like a cat with canary feathers in its mouth.
"That would be me. What would be you?" Spike couldn't keep the amusement from his voice.
The waif handed him a standard business card and waited patiently for him to read it.
"Fuamnach of the house of Arashmaharr,
specializing in demon justice.
'Even the evil deserve justice'
To contact: perform proper ritual in the sacred circle"
"Very nice. This supposed to mean something?" Spike held the card out to her and suppressed a chuckle at the way the little minx seemed to puff out with pride.
The female visibly deflated at Spike's nonchalant attitude. "I'm a justice demon. Well, actually not a demon, but I work for D'Hoffryn. I handle all requests for vengeance made by demons and other non-humans. I was a fairy originally, so I can't do humans." She sighed as if that fact brought her distress. "Too bad, because I'm really creative! That's how I got this job. I turned my faithless husband's other so-called wife into a fly and even Midir couldn't find THAT appealing! Anyway, I get to provide a bit of justice for demons who've been wronged."
Spike struggled to get his mind fully sober. This was important somehow, he knew it, and he didn't want his friend Mr. Daniels mucking anything up. "Finally! Someone noticed how wrong it is to put a vampire off his food!"
"What?" The girl exclaimed, "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm here because I heard you talking about what you wanted to do to the Slayer while you were drinking in that filthy hole that passes for a pub."
"Yeah, and when I get my fangs back I'll be glad to show I'm not all talk too!" Spike was fully sober now. "I just wish I'd taken care of the bitch when I first got into town instead of playin' with her. Better yet, I wish I'd come to Sunnyhell even sooner and had that face-off before she lost her baby fat!"
"Wish granted!" The girl grinned from ear to ear as Spike disappeared in a puff. Fuamnach sighed in satisfaction. The gray mists of the Nowhereland that appeared when an alternate timeline was created wrapped around her like a comfortable blanket. Time was in stasis as alterations took place. If a human had looked on the scene, it would appear as if time had come to a full stop. "Well, that was simple enough. The vampire just said the magic word and my contract's fulfilled."
"Not quite, fairy girl. You really need to work on research." Halfrek shook her head in disdain. "You should have found out more about why William hadn't already killed this Slayer before you jumped into the wish granting. He won't be able to kill her then any more than he could now. You sent him back with a chip in his head that keeps him from killing humans!"
Fuamnach looked at her fellow dispenser of justice with wide eyes and a sinking stomach. "But surely he's already killed her! Wait! What chip?"
"Go see for yourself," Halfrek replied. "You're going to have one very unhappy customer and D'Hoffryn is none too pleased himself. That's why I'm here: the boss wants to see you right away."
The Hall of Supplication was filled with tittering vengeance demons waiting to hear the dressing down Fuamnach was sure to receive. D'Hoffryn had become quite partial to the former fairy after his erstwhile favorite, Anyanka, had left the family. There was more than one jealous demon salivating at the thought of possible punishments.
"Can you please explain how you managed to mess up a simple vengeance wish? You could start by explaining just why you chose a third party to make the actual wish." D'Hoffryn was angry enough to have smoke come from his ears.
"My Lord, the demon had just cause to seek the demise of this Slayer. I know that we cannot involve ourselves in matters between a Slayer and her kills ordinarilybut in this case, the demon, a S'Gampos made a widow because of the Slayer's actions, had a valid claim! You know how they are; she was unable to make a wish or even speak for another decade until her mourning period passed!" Fuamnach looked pleadingly at her master.
"Yes, I see why a third party was needed, but I am still unclear as to why this S'Gampos qualified for your services in the first place. We do not interfere with the balance in this way. Slayers kill vampires and demons, vampires and demons kill Slayers. It is all a part of the natural order of things!" D'Hoffryn huffed.
"Yes, but this wasn't natural at all! The Slayer started working with this group of soldiers. The S'Gampos was taken captive by them when the Slayer helped subdue him. They experimented on him and vivisected him. There was nothing natural about it. His widow is expecting their first spawn!" Fuamnach explained. "I overheard the vampire rant about the Slayer and these soldiers and thought he'd be the perfect one to make that wish. How was I supposed to know he couldn't kill her? Who ever heard of a vampire with a computer chip? That sounds like science fiction, not reality!"
"Research," muttered Halfrek, disguising it behind a cough.
D'Hoffryn glared at the doe-eyed justice demon, then turned back to his current favorite. "I fear Halfrek is correct. You should have looked further into things instead of just sending this vampire back in time and expecting him to kill the Slayer thanks to the element of surprise. First, you will explain to the widow why the contract cannot be completed and refund her sacrifices. Secondly, you will spend the next millennium in our research department learning the importance of gathering all necessary information before granting wishes! Dismissed! Oh, and Halfrek, perhaps you would stay a bit and explain your interest in this William the Bloody to me?"