Spike came out of the room he was hiding in. Anita was already setting Edward free.
"Shush now. Everything's ok" She cooed. She was baby talking the most dangerous human she had ever met. Edward whimpered in her arms. Only completing half the things he was trying to say.
"Spike, check the corridor" she instructed him. She finished with his left foot. She kicked the chains away from him. Edward hugged her.
Spike returned "All clear luv. Shall we?" He indicated to the door.
"Edward?" Anita tried to pry him off her. For one he was covering her in snot and for the other, he was holding her shooting arm too close to her body to be of any use. "Edward. We need to go"
"Are we playing a game?" He asked. Letting his arms drop from her. He wiped his nose. His eyes shining. Anita looked blankly.
Spike took over. "Yes. It's a game. We are going to play… em… Spike says. Until your all growed up again"
"Will I get a present?" Edward's eyes shone with glee.
"Better than a present!" Spike promised. "Now. The first thing, stand by that door. If anyone is heading this way, tell us."
Edward looked excited, he liked games. He stood pacing from foot to foot. Spike stared at him expectantly. Spike pointed at the door. Edward stood where he was.
Sighing, Spike said "Spike says, go to the door and tell us if someone comes this way" Edward scuttered over to the door.
Anita and Spike searched the desk for more weapons.
"You think it'll wear off?" Anita asked Spike.
"Reckon so" Spike shrugged "But if not, where do you want young Eddie here to go to school? We should consider these things early, waiting lists and all"
"Home schooling. You can teach him gardening. I can teach him killing."
"If I ever have kids you can be the mum luv" He took a step closer to her. "Talking of…" he smiled in a suggestive way.
"Some how I don't see Jean-Claude being a very happy uncle." Anita pointed out. Taking a step back. She knew Spike didn't mean in any harm by his comments. She didn't know how she knew.
"Strange" she said.
"What?" he stopped looking through the desk. Looked at her. Head tilted to one side. Studying her.
"Most vampires make me nervous. Especially with the reputation you have"
Spike looked all puffed up and proud.
"Don't finish that sentence pet. You can tell me I'm a cute cuddly vampire after we are done killing this thing. "
"Count on it" she started to search again.
Opening another drawer, he found Edward's gun in the drawer. "Bingo" he pocked it and grabbed the letter opener. It didn't have an edge to it, but it looked point enough "It looks pointy enough. Should do the job"
"We have to get moving" Anita headed towards the door where Edward stood like a statue watching the corridor.
"Which way now?" Cordelia asked.
"Follow the chanting." Asher could hear the voices coming up the dark corridor.
Angel looked down at his feet. He was brooding over the fact he couldn't use them to itch his ears any more. What am I thinking? He thought. Using his hand he slapped at the left over fleas and sighed.
"Don't you start Angel" Cordelia warned. "We will write a letter when we get back to LA"
"Who you writing to pet?" Spike, Anita and Edward appeared from the left-hand corridor.
"Stake company. Spike. Having a stake with your name on made." Angel punched the words at him.
"Didn't know you cared mate" Spike grinned and nodded at Asher.
"I don't." Angel glowered at the smirking vampire. Spike always did know how to rub him up the wrong way.
. "Where is Jean-Claude?" Anita asked, ignoring the bickering pair.
"Behind you ma petite" the French vampire had appeared from the shadows.
"I have told you before" Anita waved her gun at Jean-Claude. He stared into her eyes. "Don't go sneaking up on me"
"As you like" he drew her to him and kissed her deeply.
Everyone sighed. This was no time to get all touchy feely. The thought echoed round the group.
"Ok. Who thought that?" Cordelia asked. The voice breathed silently in their heads. Enjoying the confusion and the anger.
Jean-Claude released Anita. "I am Jean-Claude. Master of the City of St Louis. I will be "touchy feely"" he copied the speech of the thought. "As I wish to be"
"Show yourself" Asher demanded.
"Who was that?" Edward asked. He was still child like and held Anita's arm, almost hiding behind it.
They all heard the laughing in their heads. Looking from one to another the silently agreed to split up and be less of a condensed target.
Angel heard his voice. "Son. Why are you here?"
"Who are you talking to?" Asher asked. Taking a look round, he couldn't hear or see anyone near. Everyone had scattered through the maze of tunnels.
"Don't you hear him?" Angel wanted to know. Asher listened. He heard her voice. A voice, that had only just stopped haunting him.
"Asher. He is wrong in the head. He wishes to hurt me my love."
"They will never hurt you again." Asher growled. He saw Angel as the enemy. Angel was too busy feeling guilty about not being the son he should have. He flew at him.
Anita saw the figure in the light of the doorway. Instinctively, she knew it was mom. She felt safe. Mom would make it ok. The voice in her head screamed. She knew her mommy was with the angels. Family. Even meanest person could have a week spot for family. This must be how it got Edward.
"Get away from me" Cordelia yelled. The demon was closing on her. It was croaking at her. "Please." She said sarcastically and angrily. It tried to tell her to feel safe with it. "You are about as safe as putting plaid with stripes" She swung the chair at it and backed off towards another corridor. Backing into Jean-Claude, she squeaked with alarm. "Jeez. Lurk much. What is it with vampires and not making noise."
Jean-Claude grabbed her arms. "Hey. What you doing?" she struggled in vain. The monster smiled.
It laughed in the heads of its last victims.
It had its fifty.
They were arranged in five rows of ten. It was like some strange school assembly. But instead of arranged by height or age the group were mixed. Old, young, tall, short, man, woman and child.
"What are they waiting for?" Edward looked on amazed.
"Getting ready for the big game, Eddie ma boy" Spike made his face look all excited. For the sake of the boy. Inside he was bricking it. He had seen everyone in the rescue party be brought in. Smiles on their faces. It's never good for that many people to be smiling.
Spike and Edward were behind the altar. Looking at the puppets. Except there was one puppet who didn't look like her strings were working. Cordelia was shaking Anita on one side of her and trying to get Angel's attention a row and two along from her.
"Spike says, take this gun, follow me." Spike ordered Edward
Spike made his way to the back of the hall. The bad guys were doing what all bad guys do when the bloke on the white horse arrived. They were in the other room sorting out their socks in to pairs from the washer.
Sure, they claimed to be making the final arrangements for taking over the world, but when was the last time you saw an evil mastermind with odd socks? I rest my case.
"Spike!" Cordelia hissed. "Over here"
"Really?" he said with his left eyebrow raised.
"Yes really. Untie me already" She held her tied hands at him. Spike slapped her and grabbed his head. The chip had zapped him. Cordelia kicked him. It would have been harder but her feet were manacled to the stone bench. "I am not infected. That's stage two."
"Ok pet. Going to untie you. Just don't kick a man while he's down" Spike knelt down and pulled the chains away from the stone.
"Aren't you glad to have a big strong bloke about now little lady?"
"Hands Spike. We don't have the time to pander to you ego"
"How come you ain't in lala land?" Spike asked as he untied the knots. "Like these other buggers?" he pointed at the smiling statues around them.
Cordelia rubbed her now freed wrists.
"Innocence" the old man next to them spoke. Edward turned and pointed the gun at the man. He watched Spike. Waiting for the order to pull the trigger. Then ice cream. He smiled.
"What's that got to do with anything?" Spike looked down on the wrinkled and greying face that he would never have.
"Only the innocent make suitable sacrifices." The old man's face struggle with the effort it took to speak these or any other words. Spike felt him crack through the heavy curtain of magic that was in the chamber. He nodded. It was always the innocent.
"So I take it our host, warty chap next door, zaps people to when we were innocent."
"I was never a innocent" Cordelia protested "Ah" she said with realisation "Being a super bitch so rules"
Edward squealed in a childish way "She said a bad word"
"Not in front of children" Spike chastised her. She frowned at Spike.
"There must be someone of great power here. I feel its grip weaken." The old man shook his head.
"Probably takes a lot of juice trying to find innocence in three vamps and a zombie raiser," Spike said thoughtfully. "We should make it harder"
"Good plan" Cordelia agreed. "Em, how would we do that then?"