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Master by Aurora
Chapter Twenty-One- Preparation...Preparation...Preparation
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Chapter Twenty-One: Preparation… Preparation…Preparation

The house was quiet. A little too quiet for Spike’s liking.

Heading down the stairs, he spotted Natasha and Vincent standing together in the middle of the house’s large foyer. Their troubled faces, along with the fact that Damon wasn’t hogtied at their feet, told Spike that things weren’t good. He cleared his throat as he approached them, announcing his arrival.

“You look better,” Vincent casually commented though his expression remained concerned.

“Just needed some rest is all,” Spike distractedly responded as he scanned the downstairs rooms. His brow creased at the unusually low numbers of vamps sleeping in the darkened corners of the house.

Natasha quickly brought his attention back to them. “Yeah, well I hope you’ve gotten your fill of ‘rest’,” she sardonically remarked, making quotation marks in the air. Spike simply reeked of sex. There was no way that ‘rest’ was the only thing he had been doing while under Buffy’s care. “Because Damon’s missing and so is half of your clan.”

“What?!” Spike hollered in disbelief.

“Yes, Spike. I’m afraid it’s true. Damon has managed to escape and he has taken with him a large portion of the clan,” Vincent assured. “Those that have stayed loyal are mostly our minions, though Damon did sway a couple of them to his side. We’re still uncertain about our vampires in the different outposts. We don’t know if Damon’s gotten to them yet.”


Spike furiously threw a nearby chair across the room, making it smash into pieces upon impact against the hard wall.

“I told you he’d flip,” Natasha whispered in Vincent’s ear, wincing as another piece of projectile furniture flew over their heads only to crash into tiny bits right next to the first chair to have felt Spike’s wrath.

“That bloody fucking pillock!” Spike tossed an old chipped vase against another wall.

Just fucking fantastic! First the stupid spat with Buffy about her bloody freedom, and now this. It was bad enough that the bastard had stabbed him in the back by handing him over to the Watcher and his White Hats. Spike growled loudly. Damon couldn’t even face him, he just ran away with his tail between his legs, with all his brainwashed, treacherous, good for nothing vampires.

Taking in long, unnecessary breaths, Spike tried to get it together. He could say he hadn’t seen it coming. He could claim that he would have never expected half of his clan to abandon him. But Spike knew that wasn’t the case. He had ignored Damon’s unrelenting denunciations, and had somehow kidded himself in thinking that a few boasting displays of his own power would be sufficient enough to put an end to whatever uprisings the dark vampire might have initiated. The rift in the clan had started the day Buffy had been brought to him. He had been just too ignorant to have noticed.

“He’s clearly gathering his forces. Damon will retaliate,” Vincent stated when he noticed that Spike had finally composed himself.

The two vampires watched as Spike paced the foyer, his hands on his hips as he considered his next move.

“What d’you want us to do?” Natasha asked, growing impatient.

Coming to an abrupt stop, Spike turned to face them, having made up his mind. “Send out a few vamps. Get ‘em to find out what they can ‘bout the outposts. If Damon hasn’t gotten to the vamps there yet, I want ‘em brought back ‘ere,” he firmly ordered.

“Why bring them all here?” Natasha wondered, a little intrigued.

Spike smirked. “Damon wants a war, yeah?”

He didn’t wait for the obvious answer. “Then ‘m gonna need an army.”


On the outskirts of the dangerous part Sunnydale, an old abandoned farmhouse flirted with the edge of the town’s border. And just a few yards from this old, rickety house was a huge, unused barn; the perfect place to house a fugitive vampire and his group of loyal minions.

Damon stared down at the large group, sitting high above them on the wooden ladder that led up to the hayloft of the crowded barn. He could feel the excitement in the air as it hummed with the scents of fear that always accompanied new and untried endeavors. The buzz of their mingled voices prevented him from picking up on any one particular conversation but Damon knew exactly what they were all discussing. These blood lusting creatures below him were dying for some action, having grown bored and hungry from the lack of hunts and raids since the last one on the Bronze. The occasional human might have been captured but the thrill had left them and the perks of being a member of Spike’s clan had eventually become a drawback. Damon smiled to himself. He was going to give them just what they needed.

It was the dead of night, and the dim interior of the barn was patterned with gloomy shadows. There was no available electricity to tap into for lighting and torches just screamed bad idea in a place filled with dry, flammable hay. Yet even despite the lack of light, it was still a sight to be seen. A proverbial mass of game faced vampires, waiting for him to change their destiny, to return their lives to the way they should rightfully be.

Having decided that his new clan had waited long enough, he gestured to those vampires he had stationed at the doors to close them, sealing everyone in complete darkness. Relying on his heightened vision, Damon then signaled one final time. A wash of moonlight immediately illuminated him as the minion swung open the wooden shutter to the barn’s only window, high above the large timber doors. The natural spotlight drew every single vampire’s attention to their new leader, silencing them instantly. Damon waited, knowingly building up the suspense for when he finally decided to speak. However, his flair for the dramatic was incapable of stifling his impatience. It was show time.

“The dawn of revolution is upon us,” he began, his voice booming as it reverberated through the attentive silence of the barn. “The clan you once knew is no more.”

“I have brought you all here for greater things, to commence a superior, stronger clan from the likes of which the world has never seen. We will return to the ways of old, where I will lead you through a glorious age of carnage and bloodshed.

“The past clan was a travesty, a disgraceful amalgamation of the undead where there was not one single blood tie to our leader. Yet, all of you here are truly linked to me. I have either sired you or you have been turned by those I have sired.”

Damon paused when he noticed a few vampires suddenly appear extremely apprehensive. The pungent smell of their fear reached his receptive nose. He realized he had forgotten about the fledglings he had taken from Natasha and Vincent. The wheels in Damon’s head slowly began to turn as he stared down at them.

“For those of you who are not bound to me in any sort of way, yet still found it within yourselves to abandon the clan you have grown so accustomed to, it will be you who will find a place at my side. You will partake of my blood and I will make you my exalted Childers. It is this blind faith and unbelievable bravery which you have shown without any sense of reservation which will make you fine examples for the rest of this clan. Through this we will all be joined by blood and become a clan in the truest sense of the word!”

The hum of excitement rose once again, gradually escalading into numerous shouts of agreement and exhilarated exclamations of admiration. Damon soaked up the accolades from his gullibly devoted vampires. They were the perfect lot of minions. None of them exceeded him in age or experience. None would try to take the clan from him. All would look up to him in fear and awe.

Damon held up his hand, which instantly quieted the large group of vampires down. He wasn’t finished yet. “However, for our dreams to be realized, drastic measures must be taken. The clan we have abandoned, though considerably weakened, is still in existence. We must rid ourselves of them for they are a diseased limb of the vampire existence. And like all infected parts, they must be cut off before any growth is to occur.

“Spike has turned himself into a plague upon his own clan. He has ignored his duties and has become unworthy of the title of leader. I admit that I did try to claim the clan for myself but only in the hopes of returning it to its past glory. I know now that I had been a bit impulsive. I know now that a new clan had to built, one bonded by blood.

“Spike had also allowed himself to be captured and to be tortured by mere humans. He is weak and distracted. He has become blinded by his whore. His human pet who takes precedent over his own clan! It is because of this perverse fondness for humanity that he has neglected his fellow vampires, his own kind!”

Another burst of roars erupted in response to Damon’s rousing words. He motioned again for them to quiet down, a smile splayed across his lips.

“Tomorrow night we shall return to our old lair and reclaim it for ourselves. We shall purge this world of those we had once called brothers, for they have been tainted with Spike’s humanistic persuasions. They must all be destroyed. Nothing connects them; there is no blood between them. They shall scatter like rats the second true loyalty will be asked of them. The lair will be ours. The town shall be ours. We will achieve the glorious vision which Spike could have only dreamed of aspiring to. We will take back what is ours! We will see victory!”

Damon dramatically thrust his arm up into the air, the minions below mimicking his exact actions. His already bloated ego began to bloom even more as the vampires below him began to chant his name. Though elated on the inside, Damon only gave the crowd his sinister smirk as an indication of his appreciation. He did not stop them this time around from making as much noise as they wanted, especially when they were praising him as if he were a god.

A cornucopia of emotions materialized throughout the throng of vampires below. Zeal, anger, fear, hunger and even lust played across the faces of every undead bloodsucker within the barn. Damon chuckled a little. ‘It’s gonna be hard to get any sleep around here,’ he reflected as the scent of the looming sunrise filtered into his sensitive nostrils. Signaling to the vampire stationed at the barn window, he ordered for it to be closed, blocking out the moon’s iridescent glow. Many other vampires also sensed the upcoming dawn, gazing up in attempt to find their leader when he had suddenly disappeared into the darkness.

“The sun approaches and so comes with it our daytime slumber, my friends, for tomorrow we embark on a journey to reclaim what was once ours. We shall need our rest.”

Damon observed the large group slowly calm down, readying itself for sleep. He smiled to himself for the hundredth time that night. Who would have ever thought that those rhetoric classes his father had forced him to take as a teenage boy would have finally come in handy? Too bad he never got the chance to thank the old man before he died.

‘I was having too much of a good time ripping out his throat anyway.’


Giles remained transfixed in the basement corner as a whirl of activity occurred before him. To an outside observer, he would have appeared to be in deep contemplation, with his arms loosely crossed over his chest as he chewed on the tip of his specs. Yet he wasn’t. His mind was a blur, a mash of chaotic images that matched the atmosphere of this hectic basement.

After Spike’s escape, the Watcher had brought the entire team back to headquarters. The small group, his own mini-lieutenants, had been forbidden to discuss what had transpired while Spike had been brought into their inner sanctum. Giles had even banned them from mentioning that Spike had actually been captured. No one else had to know. The ex-Watcher did not want them to.

All around him the hustle and bustle of the town’s only demon hunting force did not stir him from his trance. Nothing seemed to wake him; not the group of teenagers sharpening stakes and making crosses from scraps of wood; not the technologically competent young men repairing and maintaining the taser weapons; not the collection of women restocking the first aid kits; not the more hulking group of young men who were sparing with each other; not Willow and her few apprentices as they worked on producing more of those ‘sun bombs’; not even Xander and Cordelia, with their constant bickering could shake Giles of his distracted state.

The Watcher couldn’t explain his sudden lack of concentration. It wasn’t as though his head was in the clouds. If anything he should keep his wits about him, considering he was about to send out some of his best fighters to get Buffy back. Perhaps he was just numbing himself to the experience, preparing for the worst by not allowing himself to think about anything at all. He wasn’t certain but he just prayed that the stone in the pit of his stomach was simply nerves and not some foreboding omen that they were about to fail. Giles didn’t know what he’d do if he lost any of them.

“Giles?” a small voice called to him through his mental fog.

Slightly flustered from the unexpected disruption, Giles looked down to see a concerned Willow as she tried to get his attention. “Wha…Huh…Hmmm…” Clearing his throat, he impassively answered her. “Yes, Willow?”

“Umm…The girls and I finished making the SB’s,” she informed him, dismissing his odd behavior.

“SB’s?” Giles wondered, thrown off by the unfamiliar abbreviation.

“Sun Bombs, Giles,” Willow explained. “Anyway, since that’s now out of the way, I wanted to go over what I saw when I did the locator spell on Spike.”

Willow’s words were like a splash of cold water to Giles’s consciousness, awakening him from whatever stupor he was in. “The torn shirt? It worked?”

The redhead nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah, it did.”

Giles noticed the rolled up maps in her hands. He gestured to the desk he’d been standing beside, helping Willow to roll it open on the desktop. There were actually two maps; one of Sunnydale, which had been marked red at the location of Spike’s lair and the other which made Giles eyes widen in surprise. “These are the blueprints to the main house. How on earth did you acquire these?”

Willow smiled broadly. “Went back to my roots,” she cryptically stated, causing Giles to frown in confusion. “I hacked into Sunnydale’s historical archive, and there it was, an entire file on the layout schematics to the old Mackenzie manor. I would’ve gone to City Hall to get it myself, but you know, wouldn’t have been able to get past all those vampires,” the witch gleefully elaborated, mentally patting herself on the back. “So I printed them up, taped them together and made us all a pretty nifty map.”

Giles smiled at her. He could always count on Willow. “Quite ingenious of you, Willow. Wonder why we’ve never thought of it before?” Giles commented as he stared down at the map.

Willow shrugged. “Well…we never really needed them before. It’s the first time we’ve been crazy enough to even consider going into Spike’s lair.”

“Yes, well, you were saying about the locator spell?” the Watcher inquired, trying to get back to issue at hand.

Willow nodded, pointing to the pencil markings in one of the rooms on the blueprints. “Spike spent most of the day in this room. It’s probably where Buffy is being kept.”

Giles gave a curt nod in agreement. The vampire would have wanted the girl by his side. Even in his battered condition, he would have wanted to ensure that she was safe and protected. That much Giles knew for certain. Wherever Spike was, so was Buffy.

“Has Oz returned with the scouts?” the Watcher asked as he continued to stare at the map on the table.

Willow frowned as she shook her head. “No. They’re not back yet.”

Giles also grimaced. He had sent out his best scouts, Oz included, to scope out the ruling vampire’s lair. The Watcher needed an assessment of what exactly they were up against. He knew it was risky and he would have never done it if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Giles had faith in Oz’s sense of judgment. He couldn’t picture the boy doing anything too foolish. Nevertheless, he couldn’t help but worry.

“We’ll just have to wait until he returns before making any brash decisions,” Giles told the troubled witch.

“How long do you think it’ll be before he gets back?” Willow inquired, her green eyes glancing back to the blueprints on the desk so as to not show Giles how worried she really was.

“Probably not until right before dusk. He will most likely want to inspect as much as he can while the sun is still up in the sky,” Giles reasoned, giving Willow a sympathetic look.

“I just hope he’s okay,” Willow quietly stated as she played with the tattered corner of the map.

“You hope who’s okay?”

Willow’s eye immediately brightened when she turned around to find her boyfriend standing right behind her, a slightly perplexed expression on his face.


The somewhat vertically challenged man had to stagger back a bit when he found himself with an armful of girlfriend. “Hey Will. It’s good to see you too,” he chuckled as he gave her a quick peck on the lips.

“I was just kinda worried. You’ve been gone for a while,” Willow explained sheepishly as she gave Oz a little more personal space.

Oz took her small hand in his, giving it a gentle squeeze as his warm gaze met with hers. “Hey. I’m okay,” he reassured.

Giles cleared his throat, slightly uncomfortable with breaking up the tender moment the two young lovers were having. “What have you discovered?”

Oz gave Willow one last smile before turning to Giles. “The guys and I staked out the house and we think we have an idea where Spike’s holding Buffy,” he began to enlighten them as his eyes fell on the map. “Is that the house?” he asked, pointing to the blueprints.

Willow nodded. “Remember how I started doing that locator spell this morning? Well Spike was in this room the whole time,” she clarified as she indicated to the map.

“Is that the room facing Mills Road? The one with the huge window?” Oz wondered earnestly.

“Yes it is. Why?” Giles replied, baffled at the young man’s uncharacteristic eagerness.

“That’s gotta be the room Buffy’s in. Spike’s scent is all over that side of the house,” Oz elaborated.

“Hooray for residual werewolf superpowers!” Willow happily cheered before her face scrunched up into another frown. “Hold on a sec. How close to the house did you have to get so you could smell it?”

Oz gave her a lamenting pout but he was interrupted before he even had the chance to respond.

“The real question is how could you have identified Spike’s scent?” Giles wondered, surprised by the new information his best scout had just given him. “You weren’t exposed to him long enough during his stay here for you to commit his scent to memory.”

Oz shrugged. “I just took a whiff of his shirt, you know, the one Willow was using for the locator spell? Sniffed it before we set out,” he offhandedly elucidated. “And even if my trail wasn’t the strongest, he’s the only vampire I know that smokes like a chimney.”

Giles grinned at the young man’s logic. “Well then, I would say there’s no time like the present. From what you’ve told us Oz, and from what you have derived from your locator spell Willow, we should put all our focus on that room and pull Buffy out before the sun sets,” the Watcher began to rattle off instructions, not noticing that his subordinate was not quite yet finished.


“Yes, Oz?”

“There’s some other stuff that you should know about,” he began to clarify, causing Giles’s forehead to crinkle in puzzlement. “When I was out there with Mark and Chris, we almost got spotted by a few vamps.”

Willow gasped at her boyfriend’s admission. “Why didn’t you tell us?” she asked, the worst case scenarios playing in her head even though the simple fact that Oz was standing right in front of her should’ve been evidence enough to nullify all her worries.

Oz gave her a comforting smile. “I didn’t want to worry you. Like I said, I’m fine, really,” he reassured. “Look, the point I was trying to make was that they didn’t see us and while we were hiding from them, we overheard something.”

Giles became troubled. What possibly could two lowly vampires have to say that would affect their mission to rescue Buffy? It was the Watcher’s turn to let his imagination run wild with worry. “What did you hear?” he urgently asked, his voice tense.

“Damon flew the coop and took half of the clan with him. They think he’s gonna come back tonight, with minions and all, to finish off what he started,” Oz explained.

“You mean kill Spike,” Giles filled in the blank.

“Exactly. So I’m thinking, if you wanna sneak in and snatch a Master vampire’s best watched possession, why not do it when his attention’s somewhere else?” Oz suggested, a grin forming on his face.

Giles appeared hesitant. “So, you’re saying we should wait until nightfall, when utter mayhem is bound to break loose at the main lair before getting Buffy out of there?”

Oz nodded indifferently. “Yeah.”

“Brilliant,” the Watcher responded with a broad smile.

Willow kissed Oz on the cheek. “I never knew you were such a mastermind strategist,” she teased.

“It’s a gift,” he stoically joked back.
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