The last of the puppets free, Anita sent the man off with the group. She went to see what trouble her boys had got themselves in.
Angel watched. His father. He was with Spike. He stood between Jean-Claude and Spike. This wasn't right, a voice in the mist called to him. Father was dead and had never met Spike. He likes him better than me, Angel was jealous. If he could, he would be brooding. But all he could think about was how to do something to please his father.
Spike tapped the knife on his teeth in a drumbeat as the demon talked. The bugger had spouted every bad guy line in the book. "You will be my slaves for life" blah blah "All powerful" yah dah yah dah! He gave Drusilla an encouraging smile.
Asher stood, unable to move. His Julianne was touching Spike. Jean-Claude was on her left. He could hear her finish off her spells. Wanting to run and hug her familiar, long missed aura to him.
It readied itself. The ritual part was over. I had done the playing with its victims followed by the gloating. Spike licked his lips nervously and put the knife away in his duster.
Anita's mum had met the closest to a son-in-law she was ever going to have. Anita should be wearing white and holding flowers. How would Jean-Claude cope with a church wedding? She thought. I'll have to get him sunglasses. She smiled. It was just so perfect.
Calling the power.
Blue sparks came from the marked.
All their voices, the power, the rush.
It was bloody amazing.
Jean-Claude's mind was as the sea on a calm day. On the surface, not a ripple. Below, predatorial as a lone hunting shark. He glided through and swamped Spike's mind.
The demon screamed with frustration. Everyone with a cut on his or her thumb spoke.
"Spike says, kill that bastard"
Edward's vision of his granny faded. He had the distant memory of lollypops and targets. The foggy magic drained from him. The old warmth gone, he pulled the cold trigger. Anita started firing, they didn't stop until their guns were spent.
Spike fell to the ground and smiled as he passed out. That was fun.
"So what happened?" Cordelia asked. She was tired of missing all the action. "I'm tired of missing all the action," she complained.
"I'm tired of being involved in it all the time" Anita complained.
"Just get on with telling her what happened. If we don't get going soon, we are going to miss the long journey, where I get to ride home in trunk of the car." Angel brooded. He was supposed to be the big hero. He looked down on the unconscious Spike. Brooding.
They had decided to leave as soon as possible. They didn't want another Master vampire annoyed because they were doing good in the wrong territory. It was getting closer to sunrise.
"Jean-Claude distracted the demon long enough for Spike to get his mojo working" Asher gave them the short version.
"I don't get it" Cordelia didn't get it. See. Spike was, well, Spike. "How can he call power?"
"His power base is sarcasm. For sarcasm to work you must have a vision for the truth" Jean-Claude filled them in. "The truth hurts"
"But how did that help anything?" Cordelia asked.
"He sees the truth. The demon had no power to be-spell him" Edward looked at Spike. He was lying at his feet. He turned his back to him.
"How did he call the power?" Cordelia was still none the wiser "I'm still none the wiser"
"That's obvious" Asher quipped. Laughing into his sleeve. Anita slapped his arm. Cordelia scowled at him.
"He gave those people the equivalent of the first mark"
"Is that even possible?" Anita was worried. If a vampire could do it so easily, how would it ever be stopped?
"Fear not, ma petite." Jean-Claude put his arm round her. "Such marks are temporary and very dangerous, for all involved"
Spike was awake. But keep his eyes closed. Knew that was sodding well more dangerous than he made out. That's what made it fun, he thought with a little smile on his face.
"So then he got Edward to kill the demon?" Jason asked.
"No one got me to do anything," Edward growled. Jason stepped back, smiling.
Anita put her hand on his arm. "It was a powerful spell, Edward. Even got the vampires under" she got a group of pissed off looks. "For a little while. With such strong minds you would have got out of it soon anyway"
Yeah, right. Spike thought. He risked a peek around. They were ignoring him. Business as usual.
Spike got up, the car was close. The door was open. The keys were there. It was about time, he thought, due a sodding break.
"Well. I could say its been fun. The fighting and the blood" He pushed Edward into Anita and they knocked into Asher. "Always fun" Spike made for the car and was away before they had a chance to pull their guns.
Edward and Anita detangled themselves. Asher stayed on the ground. Staring up at the stars. "You let him go." He said. "Jobs done" Edward shrugged. Anita smiled. "You have no idea how slow we had to be just then to let him go." She clicked the safeties back on her gun.
Spike was about an hour down the highway before the thought occurred to him see what was worth nicking in the car. There was a bag on the floor. Inside a bottle of whiskey, a Tupperware container, a wad of money and a roll of tin foil. In the glove compartment, a tape of the Ramon's and Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett. Spike smiled. It wasn't a thank you. "Or a sodding sorry" He added. But it would do.
He took a sandwich from the box and reached for the tape deck. Glancing at the road and chewing on the sandwich. The tape started.
"You right bastard" He said through a smile.
The car made its way back to Sunnydale, Dolly Parton playing out the window.