Chapter 1: here
Chapter 2: here
Chapter 3: here
Chapter 4: here
Chapter 5: here
Chapter 6: here
Chapter 7: here
Chapter 8: here
Chapter 9: here
Chapter 10: here
This is all I have for now. I am hoping that all the attention will get the muses out of hiding and pounding away at the keyboard.
Beth answered the phone on the second ring. She almost dropped the phone when she heard the voice at the other end. Beth hadn't been expecting a call from Spike, but it made her shiver with pleasure.
"Hello, luv." Spike's deep voice trickled through the phone line. "How's m'favorite girl?"
"I wasn't expecting to hear from you, and I'm doing okay," Beth answered, "I miss you."
"I miss you, too, pet," Spike said quietly. There was worry evident in his voice. "How are things going in Sunnyhell?" He figured it was best to feel Beth out on the local activities before he hit her with the news about the new threat to her life.
"Going fine," Beth answered, "I went shopping in Los Angeles. That was lots of fun." She nibbled on her lip, and she twirled the phone cord in her fingers. "Jack and I went to an art gallery opening with zombies."
"Care to run that one by me one more time, luv?" Spike chuckled. He flopped back on his bed as he tried to ignore the sounds of Dru shagging her new protector in the room down the hall. <I>They could have at least found a soundproofing spell.</I>
Beth laughed. "Jack and I were supposed to meet Giles to look at primitive masks, and he brought the whole gang. Then a zombie showed up and we smashed the mask to make them go away."
"Sounds like a right fun time," Spike said, "Sorry I missed it." He stopped to think about how to approach the real reason on his mind. "Sweets?"
"Yeah, Spike?" Beth answered. She heard the trepidation in his voice, and she knew whatever he was going to say wasn't going to be of the good.
"You need to warn the Slayer and the Specter that the vamp that took the hit out on us is coming their way," Spike announced, "You need to be extra careful, too, pet. They were after you last time, too."
"I will be," Beth promised in a little girl voice. Her mind raced with the news that her secret counterpart was once again on someone's hit list. Beth supposed it was the price she was going to have to pay for still doing her duty despite her undead status.
"I know you will. It's the Specter I worry about," Spike sighed, "She's the one out there risking her life all the time."
Beth suddenly felt jealous of her secret counterpart, which made her feel totally ridiculous. The question was out of her mouth before she could stop it. "What do you feel for me, Spike?"
"I've fallin' madly in love with you, Beth." Spike admitted. "From the first moment I saw you, you've been takin' over my heart."
"Me, too." Beth confessed, "But what about the Specter?"
"I don't know, luv. She's carved her own notch out in my heart. You both have qualities I love. You are sweet and gentle, while she's wild and fierce. You give me calmness while she challenges me. At times I can't be sure which of you is real. 'm confused, pet. I'm a one woman kinda guy. Maybe" Spike paused for a moment, "Oh Hell, it would be so much simpler if you were one woman."
Beth gasped. Surely Spike didn't realize just how close to the mark he was? They talked for another hour about a little bit of everything, but Beth was careful that she didn't give anything away. Whistler had told her that it wasn't time for Spike to know. When would be the right time? How much longer could she go on with her dual identities before she gave something away on accident?
When Spike hung up, he promised Beth he would call sooner next time. He said he felt like the Poofter, only calling when trouble was around. He told her once again that he missed her, and he hoped that he could be able to see her again soon. While Spike closed his eyes to try to sleep, many thoughts kept running through his mind on repeat. Something bothered him about their conversation. He knew he was missing something, but he wasn't sure what it was. He finally gave up and let sleep claim him.
The Specter made her rounds, but her mind wasn't really on her patrol. Instead she was busy thinking about what Beth and Spike had spoken about earlier. She was pleased that he was attracted to all sides of her, but it also gave her quite a problem. The Specter was sure that Spike would be happy to find out that she and Beth were one in the same. However she couldn't say the same about how he would feel about her secrecy. How would she be able to explain her reasons for the secret? Would he understand her reasoning?
When the Specter approached the Happy Burger, her senses tingled beyond anything she had ever felt. That included the time she had fought the Master over a year before. The Specter noticed a black limo stopped at the drive thru window, and much to her horror the restaurant employee's feet were hanging out the limo window. She was saddened that it was already too late for the young boy. From the open car window, the Specter heard something that didn't please her at all.
"The Slayer is all yours, Kakistos, but Mayor Wilkins is very displeased with your ambitious plan to take over Sunnydale by sending the Order of Taraka to our gates." The words drifted out as the car screeched out of the parking lot and down the street.
The Specter tried to catch the license plate of the limo. It was traveling so fast that even with her enhanced eyes, she was unable to catch the numbers. She had a bad feeling about this, especially coupled with Spike's warning from earlier. It was time to have a little visit with the Slayer and her Watcher.
The Specter entered the alley behind the Bronze just in time to watch a dark haired girl jab the vamp that was about to bite her in the face. The vampire staggered back and allowed the girl to jump up on a crate. The girl kicked the vampire in the face just as Cassie approached the scene.
"It's okay. I got it," the dark haired girl sang out, "You're Cassie, right?"
Cassie nodded as the vampire grabbed the girl from behind. The girl snapped her head back to butt him in full in the face.
"I'm Faith," the girl announced. She twisted the vampire around and shoved it into the chain link fence.
No one had noticed that the rest of the Scoobies had entered the alley behind Cassie until Oz deadpanned, "I'm gonna go out on a limb and say there's a new Slayer in town."
The group continued to watch Faith fight the vampire for a few more minutes before the dark haired Slayer asked Cassie if she could borrow a stake. Cassie casually tossed her stake to Faith who caught it, and she promptly turned the vampire to dust. Faith handed the stake back to Cassie.
The Specter came out of the shadows. She clapped her hands as she approached the group. When she stopped in front of the group, she tilted her head to study the new Slayer. The Specter could tell this one could be trouble if not handled properly. Then she greeted each of the Scoobies with a nod of her head before she turned to Cassie. The Specter tapped her wrist and she opened her hands like a book.
"You want a meeting with Giles, Specter?" Cassie asked casually. She watched Faith out of the corner of her eye. "Tomorrow after dark, okay with you?"
The Specter nodded. Her eyes flared when she heard something behind her in the alley. The Specter looked over her shoulder to study the darkness. She had the stake out of her waistband and hurled through the air before either Cassie or the new Slayer Faith could react. Then she turned her attention back to the group.
"Faith, this is the Specter," Cassie started to introduce the two girls.
"Wicked throw you have there," Faith interrupted. "Bet I could do better."
The Specter laughed, made a comment in her harsh lilting voice, and appeared as if she disappeared before their eyes. Cassie and her friends continued to chat as if it was a normal thing. This left Faith wondering just what was going on in this weird town.
"Can any of you tell me what the hell she said?" Faith asked. She stuffed her hands in her back pockets in an attempt to appear cool and collected.
"Nope. Only one to understand her is Spike," Xander informed the new Slayer, "And he's down in Brazil with his crazy sire right now."
The next night the Specter entered the library through the back access. She could hear Cassie and Giles talking about some vampires that had attacked the other Slayer. When the Specter heard the name 'Kakistos' being thrown around, she prowled out of the stacks and into the library. Faith looked as if she was about to bolt out of the library until she saw the Specter, and then her face hardened into resolve not to let anything frighten her.
"Taraka," the Specter growled her second word of English ever.
"What?" Giles stared at the Specter, "You're saying that this Kakistos is the one that sent the Order of Taraka after us?" After the Specter's slight nod, Giles continued, "How do you know this?"
"Beth talked to me earlier today, Giles," Cassie answered the question for the Specter, "Spike heard about it down in Brazil. He called to tell her to be careful and to warn us."
"Who the hell is this Spike you all keep talking about?" Faith demanded to know. She blinked when three sets of eyes turned to look at her. "It was just a question. No need to get all bent out of shape."
Before Cassie or Giles formulated a reply, the Specter was already growling, and her eyes flashed. "Spike mine." Cassie and Giles stared at her in astonishment. That was an unexpected surprise.
A male voice voiced called out from the library doorway, "Somehow I don't think Beth would care to hear you say that, Specter." Xander and Cordelia entered the library hand in hand.
The Specter turned her golden gaze on the dark haired teenage boy, and she growled again, "Beth mine."
"Who here knew she spoke English?" Cordelia asked harshly.
"Yes, um, quite right," Giles spluttered, "When Spike asked the Specter to guard Beth, I assume that this caused aggressive protective feelings in her." He grabbed the notebook he kept just for his Specter notes, and he quickly jotted the newest developments down.
The Specter looked at the group, but she hid her confusion. What the hell just happened? It wasn't like she could claim herself, could she? That damned Whistler never said anything about claiming herself. If she ever got her hands on that smelly little demon she'd be wearing his ribcage for a hat. The Specter felt a sudden surge of power as the first time her vampire being and her Slayer being embraced each other. Sure, she had known she was more powerful than the average vampire or even more powerful than she had been as just the Slayer, but now she could feel the excess power radiate through her entire being; girl, vampire and Slayer.
"About this Kakistos," Giles informed the group, "It means the worst of the worst. It's also the name of a vampire so old that his hands and feet are cloven." Giles looked at the Specter. "You're sure that he's the one that got the Order after us?"
The Specter nodded tersely. She grabbed a piece of paper off the table, and she wrote down exactly what she had heard coming out of the limo window. The Specter handed the paper to Giles who immediately read the note.
"The mayor is involved, too?" Giles sighed, "This can't be good. Especially if Spike heard about it down in Brazil. Can we expect a visit from William the Bloody anytime soon?" He glanced back and forth from Cassie to the Specter, both of whom shrugged. "He's a good ally to have in a crisis."
"Guess it's just us then," Cassie declared, "We really should find Faith someplace to crash besides that fleabag motel that she's staying in." She gestured to Faith and the Specter. "Come on, you two. We need to collect Faith's things and figure something out."
"Look, the room's eighteen dollars a day. That's every day and roommates are extra," the hotel manager tried to tell Faith. His beady eyes flitted over the three girls, and he licked his puffy lips in glee.
"Keep your eyes to yourself, buster," Faith muttered, "I'm checking out as soon as I'm packed." She began to throw her things into her duffle bag.
Cassie and the Specter grabbed the manager. The two girls gripped his arms firmly, and they hustled him out of the room. The Specter slammed the door behind the man.
Faith paused in her packing, and she got a faraway look on her face. "He's the one who did it. Kakistos. He killed my Watcher. Actually they don't have a word for what he did to her."
"Together we can take him down, Faith," Cassie assured the other Slayer, "The two of us, plus the Specter, are a force to be reckoned with."
Cassie was interrupted by a knock at the door. When she looked through the peephole she saw the manager who acted very funny. Cassie was about to open the door when the Specter grabbed her arm and growled. At a nod of the head, the two female warriors opened the door, grabbed the struggling manager away from his captor, and pulled him into the room.
"Faith," Kakistos growled. He was immediately blocked from his goal by the other two girls. "Oh, the other Slayer and the Specter, too. Three birds with one stone. Lucky me."
Cassie slammed the door in the vampire's face. She locked it and put on the safety chain, but Cassie jumped back when Kakistos jammed his fist through the weak wooden door in an attempt to grab her.
Faith panicked when she saw the ancient vampire. The memories of what he had done to her Watcher rolled over her and caused her to start screaming. Her eyes blanked out, and she keened in terror.
Cassie and the Specter looked at each other. Cassie grabbed Faith's arm and the Specter grabbed the manager's arm. They pulled their two burdens into the bathroom where Cassie broke out the window, and she went through first. The Specter pushed the terrified manager out the window first, followed by the almost catatonic Faith. Then she climbed out the window herself.
"Let's go," Cassie yelled. She grabbed Faith's arm again. Cassie looked first one way and the other. She noticed a gang of vamps marching down the alley towards them. Cassie waited until the Specter had the hotel manager's arm before they moved as swiftly as they could down the alley away from the gang of vampires.
When the Specter came to a fork in the alley, she glanced down one and then the other before she indicated that the left one was the safest. She could hear Mr. Trick, Kakistos' right hand man, give orders to his minions behind her. The Specter motioned a warehouse doorway to Cassie, and between the two of them they easily broke the door down.
"W-what's going on?" the hotel manager stammered.
Cassie and the Specter ignored the man as they moved closer to Faith. The Specter didn't particularly like the newest Slayer, but her kind heart won out over her dislike. She grabbed one of Faith's hands while Cassie grabbed the other.
"I-I was there when he killed my Watcher, and I saw what he did to her." Faith paused in her narration as the memories overwhelmed her. "What he was gonna do to me. I tried to stop him, but I-I couldn't. So, I ran."
Cassie stroked the hand she was holding, and she whispered in Faith's ear, "First rule of Slaying? Don't die. You did the right thing. Okay? You didn't die. Now come on, do the math. One of him, three of us."
"No, I can't do this," Faith's voice became more panicked.
"Yes, you can. You're strong, Faith," Cassie said, "You're a Slayer now."
The Specter looked away from the Slayers, and she noticed several dead bodies in a corner of the room. She growled to get Cassie's attention. Then, she indicated the bodies to the blond Slayer, which made the brunette Slayer look, too.
"This is his place," Faith commented. She studied the bodies carefully.
"He drove us here," Cassie announced. Growling got her attention just as a vampire came through one of the doors. Cassie grabbed the manager, and once again the girls were on the run.
Two more vamps appeared, and they tried to head off the three girls and one idiot man who was still asking questions when he should have been running for his life. The Specter grabbed things she passed by to fling at the vampires, and soon the other girls had joined her. If the situation hadn't been so serious it would have been funny to see the vampires dodging the things coming their way. The Specter finally got tired of this type of fighting, and she took a stake from her waistband. She growled as she advanced on the vampires.
Cassie paced along side the Specter, her stake in hand. She reached her first minion that she gave a full frontal kick right in the creature's most tender spot. As he doubled over, Cassie could see his companions wince and their hand involuntarily move to cover their own private parts. The blond Slayer casually staked the hunched over vamp in the back while she moved on to the next vamp.
Faith quaked with fear when she saw Kakistos enter the warehouse. She shivered in terror when he fixed his gaze upon her. Faith backed up as the ancient vampire advanced on her.
"Faith! Don't die!!" Cassie yelled. She grabbed a crowbar lying on the table next to her, and she tossed it towards the brunette Slayer.
Faith caught the crowbar, but before she could use it Kakistos punched her hard enough to knock her into a pile of large wooden beams leaning up against the wall. When she fell to the ground, the beams fell with her. Faith cowered into the wall when the ancient vampire slowly stepped towards her. She screamed when he grabbed her by her shirt and lifted her off the floor.
The Specter growled when Kakistos' pet vamp, Mr. Trick, entered the warehouse. Something about him rubbed every one of her senses the wrong way; both vampire and Slayer. The Specter walked gracefully towards the dark skinned vampire. Her growl grew louder with every step.
Cassie leapt at Kakistos, and she attempted to stake the ancient vampire. His thick skin was impenetrable. So, it had no effect on him except to take his attentions off of Faith and to turn them on Cassie. She yelped when he grabbed her by the hair and threw her away from him.
Mr. Trick took an unneeded breath of air when the Specter kept moving towards him while she ignored the rest of the room. Something about her glowing golden eyes scared him, and that was not something he liked at all. He began to back up towards the door that he had just entered the building through. Mr. Trick ordered the minion standing with him to attack the Specter, but to his astonishment she wasn't even fazed by the distraction. She simply staked the vamp while she continued her advance.
Cassie stood up from where she had landed. She cracked her neck, and she announced, "Now that pissed me off, goat breath." She backhanded the ancient vampire, and then she punched him. When he tried to hit her back, she ducked and staked him again. The stake slid in further this time, but still not enough to dust him.
"I guess you need a bigger stake, Slayer!" Kakistos cackled crazily.
The Specter tilted her head to study the now cowering Mr. Trick. The only thing she could think about was how much she wanted the evil creature to turn to dust. She growled the word in her harsh and lilting language. Her eyes widened as the vampire crumbled into ashes before her eyes. The Specter stood there staring at the pile of cinders on the floor. That's never happened before, the astonished girl thought to herself. I wonder if it has something to do with all sides of me merging more?
Faith noticed that one of the beams had broken off and now was basically a 'big stake'. She jumped to her feet, grabbed the beam, and lifted it up onto her shoulder. While Kakistos' attention was still on Cassie, Faith rammed the huge beam through the ancient vampire's chest. She laughed at him when he looked down at the huge rod of wood in astonishment. Faith gave the vampire a little wave when he looked back up at her, and he exploded into dust. She heaved a few breaths before she turned to Cassie.
"You hungry?" Cassie asked. She continued to stare at the pile of dust.
"Starved." Faith answered. The two Slayers walked over to the Specter who was still staring at her own pile of dust. "Who's that?"
The Specter looked at the two girls, and she shrugged her shoulders to indicate that it was no one important. She followed the Slayers out of the building, but they parted company with them when they got to the Bronze. The Specter wanted to go home, take a hot bath, and slip into her cool bed where she would have pleasant Spike dreams.
Across town, Mayor Wilkins was less than pleased to find out that the vampire he had planned to be his right hand man had been destroyed by the Specter. He was especially intrigued by the eyewitness' story that the girl had dusted the vampire with the sound of her voice. The Mayor nodded to his minions, and the hotel manager who had been so forthcoming with his information for a price was nothing but a fading memory.