[AN: More from the Buffyverse residents of Nameless.
[SPOILERS for Angel 5.8, 'Destiny', and afterwards.]
Thunder rumbled outside the house as rain came spattering against the window.
Tara shivered just a little. "Something big's going down."
"Maybe, maybe not." Nails said, watching the rain come down. "Keep an ear to
the ground, Spike and me. Would've heard if something was going down. Maybe it
blew up today - maybe - but this don't look like a climax to me."
"A beginning?" Gaia suggested.
Nails nodded. "Wouldn't be surprised. You'll get these traditional types, like
making a show of themselves, so they come in on the storm..."
"Pretentious gits." Spike added. "_Dangerous_ pretentious gits, maybe, but
pretentious gits for all that." He snorted. "Dracula was like that. All dark
and looming, portentous and foreboding, 'children of the night'..." He sniffed.
"Still haven't got that eleven pounds the bugger owes me."
"How come Dracula owes you money?" Tara asked, curious. She'd always wondered
"Thing you've gotta remember, luv - it never got pinned down Inside." Spike
explained. "Could've been anything. Me, I always liked the idea he welched at
Tara chuckled, taken by the idea. "Dracula welched at cards?"
"He's the sort." Spike said.
A thought occured to Tara. "Could it have been kitten poker?"
A slow smile broke across Spike's face. "Yeah. Why not? I can just see that
poncey bugger trying to play with kittens."
Tara and Gaia giggled.
"Still got this guy to deal with first." Nails observed, nodding outside.
Spike shrugged. "Eh. No problem. We'll just wrap up, then head off out."
It was exactly at this point that Buffybot chose to come in from the kitchen,
carrying a tray with four hot chocolates, complete with sprinkling of
"We're going somewhere?"
Spike and Nails groaned.
"Yes." Tara said, cutting off Spike and Nails's objections. "We're going on
"Patrol? Ooh!" Buffybot beamed happily, setting the tray down on the sitting
room table. "I haven't been on patrol in ages!"
"I wonder why?" Spike muttered.
"Another pair of hands would come in handy." Gaia pointed out. "Especially if
they think she's Buffy."
Buffybot frowned. "But I'm not."
"Yeah." Spike said grudgingly. "What's bugging _me_ is that everyone else'd
think she /was/."
"Everyone who?" Gaia said. "It's nine in the evening."
"Y'know. People." Spike gestured vaguely. "The kind of people who wander 'round
at nine at night."
"Like us?" Buffybot said innocently.
"I'm just saying." Spike said. "If people think me and the Slayer're in town
together, they're gonna descend like a swarm of locusts."
"True," Tara said. "But Adric suggested something that might be useful."
"Yeah?" Spike said sarcastically. "What?"
"Well, I meant to save it for the 'Angel' finishing party..." Tara said. "Hold
on a moment."
She hurried upstairs and into her bedroom.
Spike frowned in the direction she'd gone, before shrugging, sitting down, and
picking up his mug, Gaia and Nails following his move shortly afterwards.
"I've never had a present before." Buffybot said to no-one in particular. "I
wonder what it is?"
"A one-way ticket to the trash compactor, if we're lucky..." Spike muttered.
"I've never been there." Buffybot said. "Is it nice?"
Spike opened his mouth to say something, before being cut off by Gaia's glare.
Shortly afterwards, Tara hurried back down, holding something metallic that
looked to be about the size and shape of a potato.
"Here you go." she said, handing it to Buffybot and then picking up her own
"Ooh." Buffybot said, turning it over in her hands. "What is it?"
"A personal chameleon circuit." Tara said.
Spike and Nails splurted chocolate out of their noses.
"Say _what?_" Nails demanded.
"You have _gotta_ be kidding me." Spike said. "A _personal_ chameleon circuit?"
"What's it do?" Buffybot wondered.
"Apparently, they're from DWM." Tara explained. "What they do is they make you
look, sound and feel like someone else."
"Oh." Buffybot said. "I've never felt like someone else."
With uncharacteristic restraint, Spike kept his mouth shut.
"Let's see..." Tara said, fiddling with the chameleon circuit. "Here, here and
An energy wave spread out from the circuit over Buffybot's body. Where it
passed, her body _changed_
When it reached the final extremities of Buffybot's body, it dissipated.
Spike, Nails and Gaia _stared_.
The girl who sat in Buffybot's place was still small and blonde, although her
face was a little rounder, her hair a little blonder, and her figure a little
She was also wearing rather a lot of pink.
"..._HARMONY?!_" Spike shouted. "WHAT THE HELL'S THE BLOODY IDEA, WICCA?!"
"I needed someone people wouldn't get curious about seeing you with." Tara
explained. "Which meant either me or Harmony. And there're already three of me
running around town."
Buffybot was looking herself over curiously.
"It's not enough we have to put up with her at work," Nails said, "but now
you've gotta go and makeover the bot like her too?!"
"I'm open to suggestions." Tara said.
"Well, you _could_ always make it four..." Spike said suggestively.
"I don't _feel_ like someone else..." Buffybot said, and then paused,
processing what she'd just said. "I _sound_ like someone else, though."
"This's _all_ I need...." Nails muttered
"Three of us is more than enough, Spike." Tara said firmly. "Any more than
that - without good cause - and it just starts getting gratuitous. It had to be
"And I look very pretty." Buffybot continued on, happily.
"Great." Spike muttered. "Congratulations, wicca, you've managed to make
Harmony _and_ the 'bot even more irritating than before. What's the encore?"
Whitaker Drive was one of the more prestigious addresses in Nameless. The
people who lived here were 'old money', the kind of people whose families had
made obscene amounts of money in the past, and who felt obliged to carry on the
In keeping with this, the houses on the drive were generally Georgian or
Regency in style, the exteriors well-maintained, and the grounds in immaculate
The house that now stood close on the drive's corner, however, hearkened back
to a rather older school of architecture. It was a brooding, ominous Gothic
manor that wouldn't have looked out of place on a windswept moor somewhere, its
facade dark and crumbling and its grounds wild and overgrown.
Night-time, with dark, turbulent thunderclouds overhead, and rain sleeting down
as far as the eye could see, should have created the perfect backdrop for the
_Should_ have, if it weren't for the fact that it stood on a quiet suburban
For some reason, that seemed to lessen the desired impact.
"Now," Spike mused out loud, "if I were a pretentious Gothic git, where would
Tara had to admit he had a point. The house practically _screamed_ 'gothic' at
"I mean, yeah, sometimes there's playing _against_ type - and then sometimes,
you get someone who just goes overboard." Spike continued. "All it needs is a
big flashing sign that says 'GOTHIC PRETENSION HERE'."
"Could we get one for them?" Buffybot wondered.
"...Maybe later." Spike said.
He set off up the drive, the other four close behind him (Buffybot wrestling
with the umbrella).
The front door was old and thick and solid, with a heavy black door knocker
cast in the form of a gargoyle. A brass doorbell. was set at the side.
Spike peered at the door knocker. "You don't talk, do you?"
If the door knocker could talk, it certainly wasn't letting anyone know.
Nails went ahead and pushed the doorbell anyway.
From deep inside came a deep, reverberating CLONG.
The echoes took several seconds to die away.
Then, the door crreeeaked open slowly and painfully, as if every last
millimetre was agony, revealing a vampire standing in the doorway.
It was obvious she was a vampire; she really couldn't be anything else. Her
skin was pale and bloodless, her twin fangs came down in an overbite, and her
ears were pointed. She walked with a stoop, her shoulders hunched over, giving
her the impression of someone rather shorter than she should be. Her mass of
blonde ringlets was artfully arranged on her head, and her deep red velvet
dress flowed over her voluptuous body.
"Visitors!" she exclaimed, clasping her hands together. "Oh, it's-"
She stopped short and stared.
Gaia and Tara gave each other a Look, while Nails rolled his eyes.
"Don't think I've had the pleasure, love." Spike said, with the ease borne of
long practice. "And I certainly would've remembered such a charming face."
The woman dimpled. "Where are my manners? Ivana. Ivana Maliszenski."
"Well, you know me." Spike said. "This here's my alter Nails, these two lovely
ladies are Gaia and Tara, and the girl with the umbrella is Bot."
Ivana blinked. "Bot? That is an... interesting name."
"It is?" Bot wondered. "I never thought so."
"She's American." Spike explained.
Tara rolled her eyes.
"Ah." Ivana said, in understanding. "Please, do come in. You must be wet
"Thanks." Spike said, stepping inside and shaking off his beloved black duster.
One by one, the others followed, until all of them were standing in the hallway
(Gaia had to take the umbrella out of Bot's hands and collapse it before Bot
could come in).
The hall continued the Gothic theme, with dark-panelled walls, gas lamps at
regular spaces along their length illuminating the paintings below, and soft,
heavy rugs covering the polished floor.
"This way." Ivana said. She glided down the hall, stopping outside the first
door on the right and swinging it open.
The five housemates followed, taking in their surroundings.
"Check that." Spike murmured. "Not so much Gothic - more like Addams Family."
Tara's mouth twitched upwards, before smoothing her expression over as they
entered the sitting room.
The sitting room didn't let up on the Gothic style, its centrepiece being a
huge wooden fireplace with a blazing log fire cracking away happily. Various
artefacts and knick-knacks cluttered the room, the most noticeable being the
two cupboards set into the back cupboards, the piano set by the window, and the
various chairs scattered around.
"Dimitri?" Ivana called. "Nadia? We have guests!"
A dark shadow lifted itself from the chair nearest the fire, followed closely
by a smaller, paler one that lifted itself from a smaller chair.
As the taller shadow approached, it was revealed to be a tall, gaunt,
cadaverous man. Like Ivana, he had the traits of a vampire - two-fanged
overbite, pointed ears, pale grey skin, stoop. Unlike Ivana, however, he was
hairless, with red eyes - pure red, with no iris or cornea - and he wore a
buttoned-down black robe that made him seem even thinner.
The smaller figure was almost lost in the tall man's shadows, but as it came
closer, it was revealed to be a pale young girl, younger than Tara's students,
stooped over, with long blonde hair that came down over one eye, covering half
her face. Her features were delicate, almost fine-boned, and her black dress
came down to her feet, obscuring them completely, with white frills at the
wrist and a simple, unadorned bodice.
To Tara's mind, she resembled nothing less than a classic Gothic heroine.
"Master Spike." the tall man said. "Welcome."
"And you." Spike returned. "Dimitri, isn't it?"
The tall man nodded. "You have met my wife, Ivana." He gestured to the small
girl by his side. "This is our daughter, Nadia."
"Hello." Nadia said, in a small voice.
Spike's gaze locked on Nadia, then returned to Dimitri.
"Vampire?" he said.
"Of course." Dimitri said, with offended dignity.
Spike nodded. "Smells like it."
He paused a beat.
"So..." he said. "You gonna tell 'em what's up, or am I gonna have to do it
Nadia visibly flinched.
All attention focused on Spike.
"What do you mean, 'what's up'?" Dimitri said quietly, dangerously.
"Yeah." Spike said. "Or do _you_ wanna explain the smell?"
"What smell?" Bot wondered.
The shadows around Dimitri deepened. "You _dare?!_"
"I've dared a hell of a lot bigger and badder than you." Spike shot back. "You
think you can cover it up _that_ easy?"
"Cover what up?" Bot said.
Dimitri regarded Spike for a long, long moment, then turned away.
"Show them, my love." Ivana said quietly to Nadia.
"Mama-!" Nadia protested.
Ivana glanced to her husband, then back at Nadia. "Please, my little bat.
Slowly, Nadia lifted one hand up to her hair, and pushed it aside.
Tara and Gaia drew in a mutual breath.
The left side of Nadia's face had been seared away, leaving only scorched,
In the middle of the devastation, her left eye blinked back at them, untouched
by the flame that had burned her face away.
Then she let the hair fall back into place.
Spike lifted his head, locking on Ivana, but his next question was addressed to
"Who did that to her?"
"It was an accident." Dimitri said, not turning.
"That was no accident." Spike said. "_Who did it?_"
"_It was an accident._" Dimitri's voice was chill and cold and harsh.
"ENOUGH!" Ivana shouted. "_Enough!_"
She rounded on Spike. "Go no further. Here, and no further. You have dared far
"You are a _guest_. You would do well to remember that."
Then she turned on Dimitri. "And you! You are just as bad - no, worse! You are
too stubborn, too _proud_, for your own good! If _you_ cannot tell them what
blasted our daughter's face away, then I _will_!"
Dimitri remained silent, unmoving.
Ivana lifted a hand to her head, taking deep breaths.
"Mama..." Nadia might have been asking a question; Tara couldn't tell.
"I will be fine, batling." Ivana said. "I will be fine."
Nadia drew back, but stayed by her mother's side.
Ivana took another breath, then lifted her head, her eyes glinting.
"Master Spike speaks the truth. What happened to Nadia was no accident.
"We entrusted Nadia to a teacher - Dimitri's old teacher, one of the oldest of
our kind. He was wise, and learned in our ways.
"He was also insane.
"Years alone, years in isolation, had weighed heavy on his mind. He had grown
jaded, jaded and cruel. He made his students his slaves, bidding them fulfill
his needs - bring his food, dig his graves. Those who tried to escape, he
retrieved. Those who defied him, he punished.
"He would challenge them. If they bested him, they could leave. If not, they
would remain his slaves.
"And so, one young vampire _did_ dare to challenge him.
"A race, he said. A race to the top of a hill, and then back again before
Spike lifted his head, listening carefully.
Ivana took another breath.
"The young vampire lost.
"And the old master left him outside, left him to die in the sunlight."
"_What?!_" Spike shouted.
Ivana nodded. "Nadia tried to save the young man, but the old master stopped
her. He was older, and stronger, and..."
She shook her head. "She could do nothing.
"Finally, he said 'You wish to be with him?
"And he pushed her into the light."
"Oh my gods..." Gaia whispered.
"Bollocks." Spike said.
Ivana's eyes flashed. "I _beg_ your pardon?"
"Spike!" Tara urged.
"Bollocks." Spike said. "We're Outside. The sunlight doesn't do _squat_ to us."
"Will you tell my daughter that?" Ivana demanded angrily. "Will you look her in
the face and tell her the light will not touch her?
Spike looked at Nadia, then away again.
Nadia looked down at the hem of her dress.
"I'm sorry." she whispered.
"I believe the young man labours under a misapprehension, my love." The voice
was Dimitri's, and it came from somewhere far away. "Our race has many kinds,
in many realms, with many weaknesses.
"Here, in this realm, Master Spike's kind are immune to sunlight.
"In our native realm, however, we are not.
"Yes, Master Spike. You are immune here - but _we_ are not immune _there_."
Spike looked as if he were about to say something, but didn't.
"...Are you immune here?" Tara was startled to hear the sound of her own voice.
"We are hardly so fortunate." Dimitri said, still looking at the fire. "Our
kind's nature means that sunlight will always remain a threat. That is our
weakness - never to walk in the sun.
"I would imagine that some weakness of your kind's still persists. Such is the
nature of vampirism Outside - there is always at least _one_ weakness by which
we may be slain."
Spike lifted a hand to his heart.
"Were it not so, Outside would fill with the undead."
Dimitri finally turned his head back to face the others.
Tara let out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding.
"...Then why /are/ you here?" Nails said.
"I'm sorry?" Dimitri said.
"If you're not immune to sunlight, why _are_ you here?"
"Because we could no longer remain where we had been." Dimitri said. "And
because the people of this realm will accept vampires far more easily than many
"True." Spike admitted. "Put on a good cellar at the 'Round."
"Then we shall have to try it for ourselves." Dimitri said.
He closed his eyes momentarily, before opening them again.
"We have been ungracious hosts, I fear. Would you at least care to stay a while
until the storm abates?"
"Of course!" Bot said happily. "This looks like a nice place!"
Spike looked as if he'd rather have said something else, but went along
nonetheless, the others following his lead.
"I liked them." Bot said cheerfully as the little group walked home a couple of
hours later. "Can we meet them again?"
"Um... we'll see." Tara said carefully.
"Bot..." Spike said slowly.
"Yes, Spike?" Bot said.
"I just want to be clear on this. Why, exactly, didn't you slay them?"
Bot shrugged. "You were talking. I don't slay vampires when you're talking to
"...Right." Spike said.
"Besides, I could see they weren't our kind of vampire, and I didn't know how
to slay them." Bot paused. "I did like them, though. I don't think I'd like
having to slay them."
"No..." Spike murmured.
"Good job you told them about the blood bank, then." Nails observed.
Spike's mouth twitched. "Yeah." Seeing the expression on Dimitri's face had
been worth the suggestion.
"That poor girl..." Gaia murmured.
"Yeah..." Spike said. "I meant to ask, wicca. Any magic you could do for her?
Any spells or what-have-you?"
"Sorry, Spike." Tara said apologetically. "The mystical and the medical aren't
supposed to mix. If I tried something, it could make things a lot worse."
"So she's... what? Stuck like that?" Nails demanded.
Tara sighed. "I know, Nails. If I could do something, believe me, I would. But
"Shit." Spike muttered.
"Tell me about it." Tara said heavily.
"That wasn't what I meant." Gaia said. "Or, not _just_ what I meant."
"What did you mean?" Bot asked curiously.
"She's alone." Gaia said. "She can't go out in the daytime. That means she
can't meet anyone her age - well, the age she looks. She's all alone in there."
"Shit." Nails said.
"Sodding wonderful." Spike groused. "Nothing you can do?"
"Not without a lot of effort." Tara said.
She glanced back the way they'd come. "But the least we can do is drop in on
"Don't you have school?" Bot said.
"We'll fit it in." Gaia said. "But you could do it a lot more easily than we
"Maybe not for long." Spike said.
"Maybe long enough." Tara said. "Give it a try."
"...Yeah." Spike said, glancing back the way they'd come. "Couldn't hurt. Only
be a couple of weeks."
Tara caught the tight expression on his face when he said that. He didn't know
how he'd end up once 'Angel' ended - none of them did - so he couldn't plan
beyond the next fortnight. He might end up staying in Nameless, or hanging
round LA Outside.
He couldn't afford to make any other connections so close to his final fate,
not without putting them at risk.
But Spike being Spike, Tara thought, he had.
"You're a very brave person." she said out loud.
The others turned to look at her.
Tara suddenly found herself blushing furiously.
Spike _stared_ at her. "Where the Hell did /that/ one come from, wicca?"
"...I don't know?" Tara offered.
"...Right." Spike said sceptically. "Come on. Let's get home."
Summary: Tara, Spike and their housemates learn not all vampires are created
Disclaimer: This Time Round created by Tyler Dion.
Spike, Tara, Harmony and Bot are Joss Whedon's/Mutant Enemy's.
Gaia and Nails are Paul Gadzikowski's.
(Spike has actually met Dracula Inside - he mentions it in 'Buffy vs Dracula'.)
Everyone else is mine.
With thanks to Jill Thompson, for the 'Scary Godmother' comic book series, and
to Mags L. Halliday, for the 'Clash Fiction' fanfiction series, both of which
were major sources of inspiration for this.
Originality? What's that?
Copyright 2004 Imran Inayat