Bat Outta Hell

[SPOILERS up to Angel 5.04, 'HellBound'.

[Further warning: little or no actual Who content, barring TTR and several


"Um, hi." Gaia said. "I'm here to pick up Nails?"

Harmonia continued filing her fingernails, ignoring her.

Gaia counted backwards from ten. "Could you please tell Genius that I'm here to
pick up Nails?"

"Mm?" Harmonia said, looking up. "Oh, hi, Gai! I'll just tell Genius you're

Gaia counted backwards again while Harmonia spoke into the intercom. Long
practice in meditation techniques were often the only thing standing between
Harmonia and a quick banishing.

Plus, Gaia really, *really* didn't like being called 'Gai'.

Moments later, Genius entered the lobby, amulet in hand.

"Gaia." he said.

"Mr Genius." Gaia said.

Genius's eye twitched at the name.

"Here." he said, handing Gaia the amulet.

"Um... where's Nails?" Gaia asked.

"Judging by previous record, in the Practical Science Department with Pina."
Genius answered. "Harmonia, put a call through, will you?"

"A call to who?" Harmonia asked.

Genius shot her one of his famous Looks. "The Practical Science Department."


Genius visibly restrained himself from jumping across the desk and banishing
Harmonia himself. "Tell them Gaia's here to pick up Nails."

"_Oh._" Harmonia said. "Oh. Right. Right away, Mr Genius!"

Genius sighed, and turned to Gaia. "You know, they'll tell you faeries are
soulless, marauding monsters, and that's true, but what they _won't_ tell you is
how many of them are unbelievably, mindbogglingly, staggeringly _dense._"

Gaia looked at Harmonia. "Um..."

"Blondie- I mean Nails - um, he's on his way now." Harmonia announced.

"Case in point." Genius muttered.

Gaia wasn't sure if he was talking about Harmonia or Nails, and, all things
considered, wasn't sure she wanted to know either.

Moments later, Nails's head rose up through the lobby floor, followed soon after
by the rest of his body.

"Hey, witchy." he said to Gaia, ignoring the other two. "We ready to go?"

Genius sighed. "You never change, Nails."

Nails looked the other faerie up and down. "Neither do you, Fabian. Now, if you
don't mind, me an' witchy-girl over there got someplace to be going."

"Fine, fine, just swagger on out like you're emperor of the world..." Genius

"I wish." Nails said. "Then the first thing I'd do, I'd outlaw poncing 'round
like a poof." He snapped his fingers. "Hey, wait, isn't that your schtick? Guess
it is..."

Genius closed his eyes. "Gaia, get him out of here before I do something he'll

"...Okay." Gaia said. "Come on, Nails."

Nails flashed one of his trademark smirks at Genius. "See ya later, beefcake."

"Why me?" Genius asked the world at large. "Why me?"


Gaia and Nails stepped out onto the streets of Ostia, the crowds bustling around

"Good day at school?" Nails wondered.

Gaia sighed.

"Get it off your chest, sweetheart." Nails coaxed. "Ol' Nails's always here to
lend a friendly ear. Kids getting you down?"

Gaia sighed again. "It's not that... well, not much, anyway. Um. Well. It's
more... it's just a lot of little things all together, you know?"

"Like Magnus?" Nails said, eyeing her.

Gaia twitched. "Well, not so much _him_... I mean, he's a good magician and all,
it's just... I mean, _yes_, he believes in keeping your word, keeping to
contracts, that sort of thing, and that's important in magic. It's just... he
doesn't seem to have much else in the way of a moral code. Which means it's down
to Tara and me to tell them about magical ethics. Assuming we're lucky enough to
actually get them in our classes."

"You could always try PSE." Nails suggested. "Magical ethics an' what-have-you.
Sounds like a perfect fit."

"We _try_..." Gaia said. "And I think maybe we're getting through. Trouble is, I
think it's more because they hear 'bout Guinessa and Willow, learn what they
did... except I think they walk away with the wrong idea - or an incomplete
idea, anyway."

"Black magic equals bad, is that it?" Nails inquired. "As long as they stay
away, they'll be fine?"

"...Pretty much." Gaia said. "But it's not that simple. It's about living with
the magic, about deciding when to use it and when _not_ to use it, about when
enough is enough, and dealing with the consequences, and..." She trailed off.
"It's a big thing. It's not just the magic, it's the responsibility it brings
with it."

"Being responsible for your own messes, huh?" Nails said.

"That too. But being responsible in how you use it, too." Gaia shook her head.
"I don't know..."

"Hey, buck up, kiddo." Nails said. "Something goes wrong, you'll know what to do
'bout it, right? Know how to handle it. Can't think of many others I'd trust
teaching that kinda stuff."

"Thanks, Nails." Gaia said, flashing him a smile. "That's sweet of you to say -
even if I'm not sure _I_ always trust me."

Nails shrugged. "Hey, if I can get you smiling, then it ain't been wasted, has
it? C'mon. Looks like this's our stop."

Gaia startled momentarily. "Oh. Right."

They stopped by a parking lot, looked around, and went in.

Seconds later, the gates momentarily glowed with a faint blue light, which just
as quickly faded.

No-one noticed.


Several hundred miles away, just the other side of an unremarkable pub that
stood just outside a small town on the British coast, two swirling blue vortices
opened up, and two almost identical couples stepped out of each one.

The vortices promptly closed up behind them.

The man in both couples was of medium height, with smoothed back platinum-blond
hair, sharp cheekbones, piercing blue eyes that seemed to contain a shard of
sapphire, and a scar over their eyebrows.

The only way it was possible to tell the difference between them was in their
clothing styles. One wore a long black duster, a black shirt, and black
trousers. The other wore much the same - at least to most eyes. Those who knew
anything about Roman history, however - which around here was rather more than
might be expected - would have recognised the overall look as harking back to
first-century Roman fashion.

Virtually the same went for the woman in both couples - both with long dark
blonde hair, blue eyes, heavy eyelids, and a curvaceous figure, differing again
only in their fashion styles. One looked like she'd just escaped from a New Age
shop, while the other looked as if she'd just escaped from a New Age shop in
first-century Rome.

Virtually every "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fan would have been able to place the
two in the 'modern style' couple - Spike, aka William the Bloody (originally
Bloody Awful Poet, but very few said that to his face), former vampire with a
soul, now free-floating essence anchored to a certain amulet, and Tara Maclay,
student, hereditary witch, and temping conscience for the Slayerettes.

The two in Roman-esque style would have caused a bit more trouble.

_These_ were Nails, once a faerie with a soul, now a free-floating essence
anchored to a certain amulet, (and a bloody awful poet), and Gaia, student,
hereditary witch and temping 'psyche' for a group of faerie hunters once based
in Rome.

Both of them were from Paul Gadzikowski's imaginary series 'St. Pudentiana the
Fairy Bane', which restaged 'Buffy' in a setting that mixed southern California
with the first century Roman Empire - complete with 21st century technology -
and, as could probably be guessed from the narrator's overuse of the 'virtually
identical' concept, they were Spike and Tara's equivalents in 'St. Pudentiana'.

Their present location, however, was a good distance from either of their home

They were currently the other side of the road from an apparently unremarkable
pub - unremarkable, that is, but for two things. One was that immediately
adjacent to the pub was a day care centre, which in turn was adjacent to a high
school, whilst opposite to the pub, behind the quartet, was a large, airy
building with a brass plaque on the gates that said 'DUNVWORPIN: The Retirement
Village Outside Continuity'.

This was not a common sight.

The other was that the pub's parking lot contained a mixture of cars, spaceships
and police telephone boxes, with one or two even weirder things - including a
wardrobe and a submarine on wheels - to be seen.

This wasn't a common sight, either.

However, _this_ pub happened to be This Time Round, the infamous pub Outside
Continuity, and uncommon sights round here were two a penny.

And, thanks to one of those odd chains of events prevalent Outside, it was the
quartet's current local - they currently shared a house in Nameless, the little
town just down the road from the 'Round.

Anywhere else, such a setup would have been ridiculous by virtually anyone's
standards. Outside Continuity, however, it was pretty much par for the course.

"Home sweet sodding home." Spike muttered.

Tara glanced up at the darkening sky. "Um... so where now?"

"Home." Spike decided. "If'n I pop in there" - he nodded to the pub - "you can
bet some twat's gonna come up to me and saying 'ooh, you're so brave, giving up
your chance at a body to save a cute mad scientist'..."

Nails nodded. "Yeah. Last thing we need."

Spike glanced back at the pub. "When Poker Night rolls 'round, though..." His
eyes sparked dangerously. "Oh yeah, ol' Spikey's finally back in the game."

Nails grinned. "This is gonna be _good_."

Gaia and Tara shared a Look.

"Cheer up, luv." Nails said. "We'll bring you back a kitten, yeah? Can't say
fairer than that, can we?"

"Yeah." Spike said. "Only fair, isn't it?"

Gaia pinched the bridge of her nose. "Nails..."

Tara sighed. "We've been over this, guys. We don't /do/ kitten poker. ...Who
came up with that, anyway?"

Spike's expression lit up. "Ah, now _there's_ a story-"

"SPIKE!" shrieked a voice from across the road.

"Ohmigod, there're _two_ of them!"

"Hands off! I saw them first!"

"Don't be mean! There's more than enough to go round!"

"...Oh _gawd_." Spike moaned. "Fangirls."

Tara rolled her eyes. "Want us to handle them?"

"Nah, luv. This's our problem, we'll handle it." Spike stepped forward into the
path of the oncoming fangirls, and raised both his hands. "Hold it, hold it."

The oncoming fangirls stopped.

"Thanks." Spike said. "Now, anyone here been keeping up with 'Angel' this


"Come on, girls." Spike coaxed. "I _know_ you're not gonna miss your fix of
Spikey goodness, are you?"

"Well, no..." was the general rueful consensus from the fangirls.

Spike nodded. "Right. And you know, thanks to the Whedon Power That Is, I'm
currently off-limits. No can touch, see?"

He walked back to Tara, and stuck his hand straight through her.

"Spike!" Tara hissed through gritted teeth.

"Play along, luv." Spike advised, sotto voce.

He withdrew his hand. "See? No jumping the Spike. And before _someone_ gets the
bright idea of bringing up Buffy - or whatever your favourite ship is - Slayer
and the gang're taking a well-earned vacation, 'cause quite frankly they need
it. Me, I've still got a series - and the Grand Poof to be tormenting - and
that'll do me for the moment. Plus, me and the gang've a history, and that's not
somewhere we need to go right now."

One fangirl's hand rose.

Spike pointed. "Yeah, luv?"

The fangirl lowered her hand. "Um, my name's Christy, and um, I was wondering,
what about you and Angel?"

Tara did her best to keep a straight face.

"Non-corporeal, luv." Spike said. "Maybe I get physical, _we_ get physical, but
I'm just as much in the dark 'bout what's coming up as you lot. Same goes for
anyone who's got an 'Angel'-ship-of the-moment in mind."

Another hand went up.

"Yeah?" Spike said.

"What about you and Tara?"

"/Deb!/" another of the fangirls hissed.

Gaia choked, while Tara blushed furiously.

Spike chuckled. "No, fair question, fair question." He ticked off on his
fingers. "One, non-corporeal. Two, despite my astonishing power in fanfic as a
sex magnet with the ability to draw all to me regardless of gender, wicca here's
still officially lesbian, so _that's_ not going anywhere. Three, we've got that
whole 'Will and Grace' thing going, 'cept I'm a ghost and wicca's a witch."

Christy raised her hand again. "Um, so why aren't you at Wolfram & Hart?"

"Home away from home." Spike explained. "C'mon, can you see me and Captain
Forehead putting up with each other for that long without going nuts? It was bad
enough the _first_ time..."

Christy's mouth curved up into a smile almost against her will.

"What about the other two?" another fangirl asked.

"Them?" Spike said. "They're our counterparts from another setting. Started off
here, so this's where they hang out." He raised his hands again. "And much as
I'd like to spend the rest of the evening chatting with you lovely ladies, we've
gotta be getting on home."

That brought several disappointed 'awww's from the fangirls.

"Now, now." Spike chided. "No use moping over it, is there? 'Sides, now you know
you can find me here when you like. _That_ ain't nothing to complain about, is

General 'uh-uh's from the fangirls.

"There you go, you see?" Spike said. "C'mon, guys, car awaits."

The fangirls parted to let them through, some few daring to risk touching Spike
or Nails.

Then they were past and into the car park.

"That was _smooth_." Gaia said admiringly.

Spike grinned. "Six years' practice. Even _I'm_ gonna learn something 'bout
fangirls by then."

Tara chuckled. "Mine aren't that bad, thankfully. It's the extreme Willow/Tara
ones I have to watch out for - and I mean _extreme_." She paused. "Even apart
from that, though, Kennedy's still taken a lot of bashing for becoming Will's

Spike raised an eyebrow. "Only _you_, wicca, could feel sorry for that kid.."

Tara shrugged. "I remember when I first showed up - I was _horrified_, seeing
all the things they were writing about me. 'Spineless', 'character-less',
'two-dimensional'... and that was the mild stuff. And, well, I wasn't exactly
confident about myself - or Will - back then. It's... not easy, especially when
you're coming in after a major relationship..."

"Mm." Gaia said.

"Besides," Tara said, "they've got a chance now, and I'm not going to begrudge
them that."

"Mm..." Spike said, raising an eyebrow.

Among the various vehicles was a black '60s DeSoto, and it was here the quartet

Tara pulled out a key, and opened the door.

"Think I'll drive this time, luv." Spike said. "Been waiting to get behind the
wheel again."

"Shotgun!" Nails yelled.

Gaia and Tara shared a Look which communicated something fundamental about men
and cars, and women's opinions thereof.

"Okay." Tara said. "Ready?"

Spike nodded, and took the key from her hand.

The other three got in, while Spike slipped behind the driver's wheel and
slipped the key in ignition.

"There there, babe..." he crooned, caressing the wheel. "Daddy's back, yes,
Daddy's back... I know, I know... couldn't believe it myself... but Daddy's
back, and he's not gonna let anyone else lay a finger on you..."

Tara's expression was one of long-suffering humour. "You've really wanted to do
this, then."

"'Course. Been wanting to do this ever since I found all I had to do was _want_
to do this." Spike said. "And presto! I'm back with my baby again!"

"You can touch things, but they can't touch you." Tara said.

Spike grinned. "Yeah. Isn't it great?"

"Just remember, Spike." Gaia said. "You and Nails may not be physical - but last
time I looked, Tara and me _were_. And we're not in any hurry to see Limbo

Spike's grin grew even wider. "Don't worry, luv. Now I'm back at the wheel,
ain't nothing gonna go wrong."

Gaia and Tara looked at each other, then promptly fastened their seatbelts.

Spike revved the engine, reversed the car out of its parking space -

- and promptly screeched off into the night, leaving scorchmarks on the road.



End (for now)


Disclaimer: TTR was created by Tyler Dion, Spike and Tara by Joss Whedon/Mutant
Enemy, and Gaia, Nails and Genius by Paul Gadzikowski. Anyone else is mine.

For those wondering, here's a rough outline for the names of 'Angel's
equivalents in 'Genius', its 'King Arthur In Time And Space' counterpart, where
Nails is currently co-starring:-

Angel - Genius, Spike - Nails, Wesley - Coel, Lorne - Mnester (all from Paul's
work or suggestions), Gunn - Gladius, Fred - Pina (short of Proserpina), and
Harmony - Harmonia. (all mine)

As for how the quartet ended up together... I've got an idea-in-progress about
that. Just wanted to get a set up story done before I fell behind on current

Summary: A glimpse at how two of the "Buffy" characters settle in round the


Copyright 2003 Imran Inayat