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A Little Hope

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Spike was looking for dinner.

His first night back in Sunnydale, after making a fool of himself by being extremely drunk, and then doing a sloppy job of dealing with his kidnapped captives, he decided to avoid arousing the Slayer's suspicion by avoiding the obvious feeding sites, and instead opted for the beach.

He knew of some people who hung around by the pier, ones who had no homes, and were usually as high as kites. One of them would be fine...

***

"Nay; I am the very pink of courtesy."

Spike stopped as her heard a snippet from Romeo and Juliet. Intrigued, he followed the voices into the school, and walked along the halls until he found the drama room. Inside, alone was a female, reading all of the play aloud.

"Need help?" he asked quietly, almost mesmerized by her voice.

"No, not really." She had dropped the book, being startled. "You're a vampire, aren't you?"

Spike nodded slowly. "How did you guess?"

"It's easy to identify one of your own," she said.

"I see. Who's your sire?"

"I have no idea. I was sired, then left to fend for myself. I came here," she said, gesturing around the room, "because it was a comfortable place when I was alive."

"And Shakespeare is a comfort, I know."

She nodded. "What is your name?"

"William the Bloody. But most call me Spike. And you?"

"Hope. My parents are...were old hippies."

"But it's a beautiful name. And even vampires need hope."

She nodded, then looked out the window. "Well, I'm all out of it, and all alone to boot. Now what am I to do?"

"Come with me," he said, holding his hand out to her. "You can stay at the mansion. And I'll even allow you access to the library."

She accepted and smiled. "How many books are there?"

"Too many to count," he replied, laughing a bit and almost forgetting his hunger. Almost. "Are you hungry?"

She nodded. "Very much so." She followed him as they walked to the beach, quoting Shakespeare as they walked.

***

Hope smiled as they approached the beach. "Going to feed off the potheads?"

He smiled back at her. "How'd you guess?"

"I used to be one. I know these guys...they don't know I'm dead. Just play along." She pulled on his arm a little, and he followed.

"What do I need to do?"

"Act stoned. And laugh when everyone else laughs. And, um...be really close to me." He nodded and responded by throwing his arm around her shoulders.

"Close enough?" he whispered into her ear as they neared the group.

"Yeah." The small group, about five teenagers, turned their heads and looked at the incoming people.

"Hope!" a boy wearing a wetsuit and chilling by a bonfire yelled, hastily standing up and walking towards her and Spike.

"Derek!" she said smiling at him. "Don't kill him," she said to Spike. He nodded, and watched her hug her friend.

"Who's this?"

"My friend. Goes by the name of Spike. Hey, uh...Derek, why don't you head on home, and get some sleep? I'll be the designated driver tonight."

"You sure?" He asked, and got a nod in response. "Okay, then. I'll jet. See ya tomorrow?"

"Probably not," she said, kissing him on the cheek before he walked away. She sighed and spoke quietly to Spike. "I always liked him. And it's hard not killing him, because I'm really hungry."

"But I think you would have regretted it too much," he said.

"True. So, now what?"

"I say we eat."

***

They walked over to the bonfire, and actually had interesting conversations with the potheads, on various topics that normally don't come up.

"Hey, Spike." Spike looked over at one of them, a girl named... Hallie, he thought. "Got a smoke?"

"Pot or cigarette?" he asked, watching as she detached herself from her boyfriend Joel's tight embrace. Joel was talking to another girl, Maureen, while Hope was off walking with her ex-boyfriend Phil. Who, Spike mused, would probably not be coming back.

"Cigarette. Just need to smoke," she said, a bit jittery.

Spike pulled out his pack of cigarettes, and she took one. Pulling out her lighter, she lit up and inhaled. "Thank God," she said after she'd smoked about a quarter of her cigarette.

"Don't you do the stuff they do?" Spike asked curiously.

"Me? No, I just smoke. Joel...Joel does all this shit." She took another drag off her cigarette, and pushed her waist length blonde hair out of her face.

"And you let him?"

"Can't stop him, or he hits me," she said, surprised she was admitting this to a stranger. Of course, he was with Hope, so...

"The bastard hits you? I mean, I'm all for a good round of torture and all that, but I'm not for a man beating on a girl who can't fight back. And I don't think you can." Spike said. He was a vampire with screwed up morals, but he had some nonetheless. As the Judge had said, he stank of humanity.

"You're right; I can't. And then he's like that," she said, gesturing to Joel, who had pulled Maureen onto his lap and was trying to kiss her, "around me, but if I so much as talk to a guy, I get a fist in the face."

Spike shook his head. "Fucking bloody unbelievable. Look, you, go home."

"Can't. I've been kicked out."

Spike looked at her in surprise, and felt a twinge of pity for this girl. Just a twinge, but it was enough to keep him from feeding off her. "Do you believe in vampires?"

"Yeah. I guess. Why?"

"Well, just wondering. If one were to offer you eternal life, would you take it?"

She looked back at the others, and then back at him, her violet eyes showing a glimmer of...hope? "At this point, yeah."

Spike vamped out, and before she could do anything, he bit into her neck, and fed hungrily. As she was about to cease existing, he pulled out a small switchblade from his pocket, cut his wrist, and forced her to drink.

Lapping at the blood, he waited for her to finish and then laid her down on the ground. She would be safe there until he'd drank his fill.

"Hope?" he asked as he watched the girl come towards him.

"Yes?" she asked.

"Have you eaten?"

"Yes."

"Could you watch her?" he said, pointing to Hallie.

Her eyes widened slightly but she nodded. She stood back and watched as Spike moved in on what was left of the group, pulling her brown hair away from her face. Her green eyes glowed as she watched the carnage in front of her. As the others pulled back, she took a good look at Hallie.

"Well, sis, I'm glad you got turned," she said quietly

"Sis?" Spike asked, completely shocked. Hope looked up and saw he'd returned.

"Yeah, we're sisters. Well, stepsisters. But we care about each other as much as real, blood sisters," she said. "We both got kicked out, and...well... It's not like our newly married parents really care. My Dad's an ass, and her mom's a bitch, so we hate them both."

"I see," Spike said. Slowly, a smile built on his face. "I believe we have two openings in the ranks. There's much to teach you about surviving as a vampire." He took a critical look at her. "And we need to get you a change of clothes. I think we'll start off by me teaching you how to have a clean kill, but we can do that tomorrow."

"I know a place, to get some stuff. I know the owner...he won't mind if I steal some clothes. He owes me for the crack I gave him," Hope said. "I'll go get something."

"Be quick. Daylght's going to hit in a few hours, and I'll need your help to get your sister settled."

Hope nodded and went away from the beach. An hour later she returned, wearing a goth style dress and carrying a bag. "Ready."

"Here, help me lift her up." Hope helped get Hallie off the ground and around to the car Spike had driven them in. "Now. Off to the mansion."

"You mean the old rundown building?" she asked, and he nodded. "Cool."

"We'll start your training tomorrow while we wait for your sister to wake up," he said. "And then we'll hunt."

"Cool," she said again, this time wth a smile on her face.

***

When Hallie woke up and insisted on starting her training to be a vampire, Spike was impressed. He'd stayed away from siring, more for the responsibility factors than anything else. But he was surprised at what fast learners Hallie and Hope were, and he was proud.

Still, when he was alone, or asleep, his heart ached for Dru. And he dreamt about her. Though Hope and Hallie filled his thoughts and occupied his time at night, Dru haunted him during the day, when he slept.

Being the master of the mansion, he had his own bedroom, and permitted his childe and adopted childe to stay there with him. But while the other vampires believed erotic things were going on in there, there were no such going ons. Three separate beds for three separate occupants.

But the two girls knew about his dreams; he'd been truthful with them. And he'd occasionally woken up, calling for Dru, and one of the two would comfort him until he went back to sleep.

The other vampires lusted after them, but would not approach them. They were not considered equals to the minions, based upon the way they held themselves and the way they acted. Also, the fact that their sire was the leader scared them off a bit.

One night, about a month after the two females had been turned, it was pouring outside. Hope, Hallie and Spike had decided to bypass hunting for the night and just walk. Maybe food would come to them...if not, then they'd hunt.

"So, Spike...what's been going on in those dreams of yours?" Hope asked.

Spike shook his head. "Nothing important."

"That's a lie," Hallie said. The two females did not hesitate to correct their sire when they were alone with him, and he did not mind the corrections. He'd been so preoccupied lately...

"Earth to Spike!" they chorused, rousing him from his reverie.

"What?"

"Food," Hallie said, pointing to three teenagers waiting for a bus.

"Loves, what would I do without you?" he said, smiling a malicious grin, as they went to attack the prey. After filling up, they headed back to the mansion. There was no use being in the rain if they weren't going to be getting any more food. The door was open, which was curious, and the three crept in quietly, hoping for the element of surprise.

Not that it was needed, as a breathtakingly beautiful vampire walked out and Spike's jaw hit the floor. When he could trust himself to speak, he said but one word.

"Princess?"

Everything moved slowly for Spike. Dru lifted her head up and smiled at him, but catching a glance at the wet, leather clad vampiresses next to him, a flash of anger entered her eyes, which disappeared as she turned her attentions back to Spike.

"I'm home."

Spike slowly let that seep in. "You're home?" he repeated.

"Yeah, that's what she said," Hallie said.

"Don't correct my Spike!" Dru said, that previous flash of anger coming out in full force. She went to hit the girl, but Spike stopped her.

"Leave my fledglings alone, sweet." He glanced at them, and motioned for them to move away from Dru. Nodding quickly they headed to the room.

"Great. Now nothing will be the same," Hallie said, eliciting a nod from Hope.

"I wonder what's going to happen," she replied quietly as the door shut behind them.

***

They didn't have to wonder long. Dru took over the room, kicking them out. They quietly moved their few possessions to one of the other rooms. She made them wear different clothing than that which they'd been accustomed to, and slowly, their anger built.

Spike wasn't blind; he saw the tremendous changes in how his children were treated. But if he wanted to keep Dru, he felt there was no other choice. He still taught them, and they were quite frank with him about the way they were being treated. Every sire has the urge to coddle those that they create, and Spike had to fight that urge very hard. If he showed any sign that Dru might interpret as preference...

"She hates us," Hallie said one day, almost three months after Dru's return. She and Hope were sword fighting, a skill they had become very proficient at.

"She doesn't just hate us, Spike. She despises us." Hope added. Only when they were by Spike could they wear their old clothing instead of the awful dresses Dru made them wear.

"I know that, loves, I'm not daft." He sat by the wall, watching the two sisters.

Hallie and Hope ended their mock battle and touched swords. "We want out, even if you are our sire," Hallie said, and Hope nodded in agreement.

Spike looked up in shock. "Are you serious?"

"You're a good teacher, and I'm sure, given the right time and place, we could have learned a lot," Hope said. "But...we may be vampires, but even the Slayer treats us better than Dru does."

"And we feel degraded. Dru takes up more and more of your time. We may not be the best vampires around, but we're not getting any better, waiting for her to let you come teach us," Hallie added, leaning on her sword pummel a bit.

Spike looked at the two girls he'd grown to care for in the last few months. They were as close to him as blood children, and he didn't want them to leave and run the chance of being killed. Not until they were at least as good at surviving as he was. "What do I have to do to get you two to stay?"

He'd expected to hear anything from kicking Dru out to staking her, but was surprised by their chorused answer: "Stand up to her."

"But she's Dru, my Princess."

"And she's making our lives hell. I mean, we're not saying toss her out, but just...remind her you're the Master vamp, and it's not the other way around," Hallie said.

Spike nodded slowly, then motioned to their other outfits. "Burn those...you both looked ghastly." He kissed the hand of each of the two girls. "I knew there was a reason you were put here, at this time," he finished before heading to Dru.

"I hope she takes it well," Hope said ten minutes later.

As a scream and a barrage of curses in a high female soprano filled the mansion, Hallie shook her head. "I don't think so."

The two girls stood their ground as Dru stormed into the library where they trained, Spike following her, limping slightly. "You two. You're taking my Spike away from me. I hate you!"

"We're not taking anything away from you, Dru. However, you're taking away our dignity, and we're not going to take it anymore," Hallie said.

"Yeah. We're not like your dolls...you can't move us around to suit your every whim," Hope finished.

"Spike! Are you going to let them insult your Princess like that?"

Spike closed his eyes to avoid the hypnotic look he knew was in Dru's eye. "Love, sweet, I agree with them."

Slowly opening his eyes, he saw that Dru was looking at him with a quizzical look on her face. "Do you not love me?"

"Pet, I love you. Very much. But...they're my children. They deserve to be treated better. And you know it, too."

She nodded. "But you love me? Not them?"

"I love them like daughters. Because, well, they are."

Hope interjected a thought. "Besides, you were all he talked about from the time we got turned to the time you came back."

"Really?" Dru asked.

Hallie nodded. "Yeah. He used to dream about you. He missed you...he doesn't want you to leave."

Spike knew what they were doing. "Pet, I want you here. There just have to be some...changes. Like, let me be the one in charge. I am the Master Vampire here. And, with those two, I make the final decisions on anything."

Dru nodded, still touched he had missed her. "Whatever you say, my Spike. I won't leave."

Spike held out his arm to her, and they walked out of the room. Before they were out the door, Spike turned around and mouthed something to the girls as the door shut behind him and Dru.

"What did he say?" Hallie asked.

"He said, 'Have a little hope.'," Hope said, smiling. "Maybe things will get better soon."

"They better." The stared at the door for only a few minutes more before grabbing a book and sitting down to read.

***

It had been ten years.

Spike and Dru had left, being chased by one of the two Slayers, Buffy. Before they left, he made sure that his minions knew that Hope and Hallie were to take over as Master vampires. And then, the two lovers got into their blacked out car and sped off.

The two sisters had done a very good job, ruling the minions. In fact, there had been more than ten Slayer replacements alone because of those sisters, who, with joint kills, far exceeded their sire, with a new record: 12 Slayers.

Spike had heard about them, all the way in London, where he and Dru had finally ended when Buffy stopped looking. He radiated pride, because the two girls made sure to let it be known that their sire taught them all they knew. And they're sire became even more notorious then before.

When he heard that the Slayer and her friends had moved on or moved away, he and Dru came back, ten long years later. The first thing they did was go to the mansion, hoping to find his children.

But it was empty. Clean, but empty.

They roamed around the town, looking for someone who knew what was going on. Finally, they cornered a vampire about to kill his victim, and asked him.

"You mean the sisters? I'm sorry to tell you this...they're gone."

Spike looked in shock. "How? Who killed them?"

"Oh, no, they weren't dusted. They split up. One runs the minions in San Diego, and the other one is in Los Angeles. This Hellmouth...it got closed up."

Dru nodded and smiled. "I want to see your daughters."

Spike smiled as well. "Let's get ready to drive, love. I want to see them too."