“Uh-huh,” Lucy said distractedly, stepping out of the car. “Wait till you meet Luke!” she exclaimed. “You two will hot it off, I just know it!”
Trick managed a small smile and circled around the car to stand behind Lucy. He grabbed her by the arms, then thrust her gently forward. “Why don’t you introduce us inside?” he asked. “I’d love to meet this—vampire, you say?”
“That’s what daddy called him. Well, not exactly that, he actually said a lousy excuse for a vampire…I don’t think he likes Luke too much, do you?”
“Hmm,” Trick mused. “Well, let me meet this clubbin’ vampire of yours, and I’ll decide for myself. This Spike doesn’t sound like someone I need to trouble myself with.”
“Ooh, but you’d love daddy!” Lucy exclaimed. “I know I do! He’s got an absolutely wonderful sense of fashion and the most beautiful eyes. It’s too bad he has to have such terrible side effects from being a vampire, though. Terrible sallow skin, and that horrible mutation when he changes to a vampire! Oh, the poor man! I’d hate to see him photographed looking like that. I was going to have Tom take some pictures of him—well, not Tom actually since he was arrested, but whatever photographer took his place, John something I think, but then I realized that half of the time he looks really terrible, and besides that, none of the photographers work late enough to shoot him, since he can’t go out in the daylight, you know. Well, he could, but it probably wouldn’t be too good for him, would it?” She broke into gales of laughter.
Trick sighed. “It’s a shame you’re a human, honey. You’d make one hell of a vampire. Let’s get going,” he said, impatiently tugging on the woman’s sleeve. “We don’t to keep your friend waiting, now do we?”
“Oh, no, no, no!” Lucy exclaimed, and rushed forward to let them into the club. She stopped with her hand on the doorknob, and gave Trick an appraising look. “You know,” she purred. “You’re awfully handsome. Almost as handsome as Spikey.”
Trick smiled, displaying a row of finely pointed teeth. “We’ll see who you like when I’m through with you,” he said, and swept Lucy into a tight embrace. He pulled her to him, and kissed her with all he had. After a moment, Lucy pulled away, panting heavily.
“Wow,” she said once she’d caught her breath. “That was—amazing. Don’t you ever have to breathe?” she asked incredulously.
“Vampires don’t have breath, Lucy,” Trick explained. “I could kiss you forever.”
“Well, why don’t you just prove that?” Lucy asked slyly, and leaned
in for another kiss.
They were interrupted suddenly by the swing of the door. Lucky stood in the doorway, clearly shocked. “Lucy!” he cried. “What are you doing here?” He cut off, staring at Trick. “Who’s this?” he asked shortly.
“This,” Lucy said, putting an arm around the vampire’s waist, “is Mr. Trick. He’s a friend of ours. Yes, a friend,” she said, noticing Lucky’s wary expression. “He’s going to help us.”
“Help us what?” Lucky asked.
“Hunt the slayer,” Trick piped in.
Lucky grinned. “There won’t be a need for that,” he remarked. “She’s with Spike.”
Trick remained still as Lucy entered the club. He caught Lucky’s sleeve as they boy turned to follow her. “You say that Spike has the slayer?” he asked.
“That’s right,” Lucky said. “Come inside, and I’ll tell you anything you want.” He stopped Trick in the doorway, a frown creasing his brow. “Lucy isn’t a vampire,” he said quietly. “Spike didn’t want to change her. He had some reason for it.” Trick only nodded. “Then why is she with you? Doesn’t she realize what we are?”
“Oh, yes,” Trick said with another sly grin. “She’s quite excited by it, as a matter of fact.”
Lucky looked away, embarrassed. “Yeah, I saw that,” he muttered. A thought came to him, and he smiled again. He glanced over his shoulder at a girl leaning over the bar. “See her?” he asked.
“The red-haired girl?” Trick asked. “I see her.”
“Her name’s Willow,” Lucky said dreamily. “She’s a friend of the slayer’s. At least she used to be. Now she’s one of us.”
“Wonderful,” Trick commented. “What’s your point? I certainly hope you’re not wasting my time, boy. I have better things to do than play matchmaker with two teenage vampires.”
“I don’t want you to play matchmaker,” Lucky said, exasperated. “I want you to play cupid.”
“Yeah, you know, charm her or something. You had to have done something to get Lucy to kiss you, man. She does have eyes, you know.”
“Well, it’ll help if the young lady over there doesn’t,” Trick shot back. “You’re s**t out of luck if she does,” he said with a shrug, then hurried over to join Lucy by the bar.
Lucky watched him walk away, his shock fading with each of the vampire’s steps. Finally, after a long mental debate, he ran after him. “Hey Lucy,” he said as he came to a stop beside her.
“Hey, kiddo,” Lucy replied, smiling broadly. “Do you get a chance to get acquainted with Mr. Trick? Didn’t I tell you he was a nice man—or vampire? Whatever,” she added with a slight laugh. “Isn’t he nice though? I told you he was. He’s going to help us with Buffy, that is, if Spike ever decides to let us play with her. You know, I haven’t actually met this so-called slayer, but she doesn’t seem all that bad. I mean, a nice, young fashionable girl isn’t any danger to us, is she?”
“She’s not any danger to you,” Lucky agreed. “But she wants to kill the rest of us. She’s a vampire slayer, Lucy. She considers it her job to annihilate vampires altogether.”
“But why?” Lucy asked innocently. “You all seem nice to me. Why does she want to kill you?”
“Because vampires are destructive,” Angel explained, appearing behind Lucy. He sipped a cup, brimful with blood, then grinned, his red teeth glaring hideously. “Pretty girl like that. It’s a shame she won’t just join in the fun.” He glanced meaningfully at Willow and the recently vamped Xander. Xander was trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to lure a rat out of its hiding place. Willow only watched with a mirthful grin on her face. “Would you believe they use to be friends of hers?” he asked incredulously.
“I don’t believe we’ve met,” Trick said carefully, extending his hand to Angel. “My name is Mr. Trick. You seem familiar to me, but I can’t think of a reason why.”
“Angelus,” Angel said firmly, shaking the hand offered to him. “You’ve heard of me, I’m sure. I have quite a reputation in the vampire department.”
“Oh yes, Angelus. I’ve heard a great deal about you—Angel, is it? Yes, I’ve heard many stories about you. You slept with the slayer didn’t you?” Trick questioned.
Angel pondered the question for a moment, then smiled slightly. “I didn’t,” he responded. “Angel did. That was a different time, Trick. Times have changed. I’m not the man that Buffy Summers knows me as.”
“I see. So a few months in hell really took the luster out of you, did it?”
“Hell?” Lucky interrupted. “You were in hell?” His eyes were wide with horror.
“Let’s not get into that,” Angel said smoothly. He looked sternly at Lucky. “I thought you were going to help Luke with the party plans.”
“He asked me to run a few things over with you first.”
“It’s the guest list,” Lucky explained, reaching into his pocket. “He wanted to know if there was anyone else you could think of to invite. It’s sort of a short notice deal, so we may need to invite few extras, in case people decide not to show up.”
“Yes,” Angel agreed. “We need a packed house tonight.” He glanced over the list Lucky handed him, and nodded a few acknowledgements. “I can’t think of anyone else—“ He broke off suddenly, a thoughtful look crossing his face. “Well, maybe not. There’s one other person who we might want to add.”
“Okay,” Lucky said slowly. “Who exactly were you thinking of?”
“Not one of your father’s friends,” Angel said. “It was someone I saw in one of those newspapers that you showed me.” His brow creased as he frowned, struggling to remember the name that stubbornly eluded him. “Cassadine!” he exclaimed after a moment, snapping his fingers. “He’s just what we need to spruce this party up.”
Lucky sighed. “I thought we were looking for potential vampires,” he said.
“We are. Why? What’s the problem?”
“You can’t turn a vampire into a vampire, can you?” Angel only appeared confused. “Forget it,” Lucky said with another sigh. “Just forget I said anything.”
Trick grinned wickedly. “We already have.”
“Okay!” Luke shouted, coming out into the main room. “The little peach and I finished the party preparations, and I called everyone on that list there.” He turned to the vampire at his side. “Dru!” he cried, throwing his arm around her shoulders. “Now that you and I are done making the party favors where don’t you hunt down your blond-haired companion and we can get this party started.” He chuckled faintly. “I’d hate to see him miss out on anything. Oh, and tell him to bring his slayin’ friend!”
Dru nodded, and walked to the club’s entrance, a faint smile playing at the corners of her mouth. “Watch that bottle!” she said sharply to Luke just before leaving. She turned to Angel, her smile spreading. “It’s a present for you, Angel. I hope that you like it.”
Angel returned the smile, and watched with faint amusement as the vampire exited the club. “That’s Drusilla,” he said to Trick. “Spike’s companion. She’s an interesting vampire. I made her,” he added with a tinge of pride.
“Delightful,” Trick said, then rubbed his hands together, his eyes scanning his surroundings. “Alright everyone!” he called. All eyes focused on Trick. “That’s right. I got your attention now. Let’s get this party cooking!” He shook his head, an inevitable grin splitting his face. “This is going to be so much fun!”
“Unbelievable,” Nick muttered.
“What?” Emily asked anxiously. “Did something happen? What is it? Nick!”
Nick turned to the alarmed girl, his expression amused. “Nothing’s wrong,” he said. “As a matter of fact, things seem to be going our way.”
“What precisely do you mean?” Giles inquired, rubbing his glasses on the inside of his shirt.
“Well,” Nick said. “Unless I’m mistaken, that vampire that just entered that building was the one that Buffy described to us earlier. Spike, I think it was. She suspected that he might be the one behind the mischief here.”
“Well, that’s great,” Emily said. “What good does it do for us to know that?”
Rachel nodded glumly. “I hate to admit it, Nick, but she’s right. It’s really good to know that, but what good does it do to know if we still can’t do anything to stop him? Even the four us together couldn’t take him out, if what Buffy said about him is true.”
“That’s right,” Giles added, unable to hide his disappointment. “Spike has already killed two slayers that I know of. I can only imagine what might become of us.” Panic came into his eyes, and spread rapidly into Rachel and Emily’s as well.
“If you’d let me finish,” Nick said irritably. “I might have completely imagined this,” he said quietly. “But I swear he had the slayer slung over his shoulder.”
“You’re kidding,” Giles said, clearly astonished.
“Like I said, Giles—“
“No!” Giles said sharply. “That may just be possible. If he has Buffy—“
“We’ve got to get her out of there,” Emily said adamantly.
“That’s right,” Nick agreed. “I have to agree with Emily. It’s not safe for her to be in there alone with him, and besides, she’s our only hope in beating these things.”
“Alright then,” Emily said, then drew in a deep breath. “Let’s do it.” She smiled weakly at her three companions. “Why do I have the feeling I’m about to make the biggest mistake of my life?” she asked quietly.
“We feel the same way,” Rachel assured her, then took the girl’s hand in her own. She looked up, surprised, when she felt Nick’s strong hand engulf hers. Giles linked hands with Emily, and the group walked toward the run-down warehouse in front of them.
“You’re not going without us?”
The group turned as a whole, and their eyes fell on another small group. “The more the merrier,” the Dutchman said with a faint smile. “Isn’t that the expression?”
“That’s it,” Nick said, and nodded briefly at each of the three newcomers. “Thanks for coming, Derek,” he said. “You’re just in time for the fireworks.”
“Fireworks?” Derek asked.
“We’re going in for the slayer,” Nick explained. He turned to the group assembled beside him. “Giles, Emily,” he said, “the man talking is Derek Rayne. The two with him are Alex and Philip. They’re associates of Rachel and me.”
“Nice to meet you,” Emily said, and Giles nodded his agreement.
“There’s time for further introductions later,” Derek said firmly. “Now let’s take care of this vampire business.”
“Let me go!” Buffy shouted angrily.
“I only want to play, slayer,” Spike drawled. “Can’t we have a little fun? Vampires have to get their kicks too, you know.”
“You want your kicks?” Buffy asked. “Fine, I’ll give you just what you want then!” Throwing her weight back, she readied herself for the force she would exert. Spike leaned over her, his face morphing into its vampire form.
“We can be together forever,” the vampire said, baring his fangs. “Just you and me.”
Buffy remained curled up on the bed, and smiled tightly at the blond-haired vampire looming over her. “What about Dru?” she asked. “I bet she isn’t too thrilled about that idea.”
“Screw Dru,” Spike said, and went in for the bite.
Buffy seized her opportunity. She threw her legs out in front of her, landing a solid kick in the unsuspecting vampire’s groin. Spike groped his crotch, his pale face contorting in rage and pain. Buffy ran from the room, unable to hide her mirth over Spike’s condition. She quickened her pace and sprinted through the warehouse toward the hidden entrance they had come in through.
She reached the door, and peeled back the curtains that concealed it.
She threw open the door and found herself face-to-face with a very startled
Nick. “Hurry!” Buffy cried, glancing over her shoulder. “We don’t have
much time!” The two left the doorway and emerged again into the cold night.