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O Vienna! (M: Mature Readership: Implied Prostitution and Drug Abuse): Giles- OMC.


Nov 23, 2019
Westchester, England: 1997: The Watchers Institute

As Doug watched the funeral service conclude, he felt numb inside. India Cohen had saved his life last year, but he hadn't been there for her when the Wanderer Mummies had abducted her watcher Kit and their puppy Mariposa. He felt angry- angry at the Institute itself for the first time, given that he wasn't out in the field yet, angry at himself for being so inexperienced and angry at the inexorable, depersonalised line of succession as one slayer followed another. He decided to spend some time in the combat room to work off some steam.

An hour or so later, he'd laid waste to several of the props and gave a guilty start when Dr Alessandra Nortion, the Institute's head, walked in alongside Rupert Giles:
"Douglas? Are you all right?"
"Nah, Doc. Not even remotely. Yeah, I know that there are a string of Chosen Ones, and India was the latest. But she saved my life from that leech Spike. It hurts. It hurts like hell."
"Look, Rupert has a proposition for the Institute. It won't bring India back- nothing can do that. However, you've scored highly when it comes to inhouse combat training. The time has come for you to test yourself out in the field."
Doug blinked. In a bitter voice, he said: "But she died. The slayer who rescued me. Why couldn't this have happened a month ago, Doc?"
Alessandra Norton sighed and clasped his shoulder: "I'll miss her. She was an excellent slayer and it was thanks to her that the Institute was established in the first place. I know you wanted to get out in the field and serve alongside her. Unfortunately, sometimes the lives of our slayers are brief but incandescent."
"So why me? Not that I mind, but Wesley Wyndham-Price aced me when it came to endurance out on the moors last week."
Giles rolled his eyes: "That's only one index, Doug. Anyway, when it comes to theory and practice, you outscored most of the others. You're ready. You're ready now. So put a suitcase together and pack combat gear. We're going vampire hunting in Vienna. "
"And Doc? Look, I didn't mean to give you a hard time. "
Alessandra sighed: "There's no need to apologise, Doug. Believe me, there was a bitter row on the Watchers Council after India passed away. I mourn her as much as you do. If there'd been an opportunity to have experienced Field Agents serving alongside her, I would have taken it. I tried. Unfortunately, that pompous fool and our 'beloved' president Quentin convinced the conservatives on the council to vote against it."
"Is it disloyal to say I can't stand him?"
Giles chuckled: "Ah, you're not alone there, Douglas. And there's something else."
"Yeah, I meant to ask that. Who or what are our quarry?"
"You'll like this. William Kent, otherwise known as "Spike." And his sire, Drusilla."
"Bring it on. It's time that peroxided bastard learnt that when you stomp someone, there's payback." As Doug stalked intently away, Alessandra looked away:
"I hope we're doing the right thing, Rupert."
"I can understand how he must feel. And so do you. Nikki didn't deserve to die so young, all those years ago. Doug may be inexperienced, but he has to be blooded sometime.:"
"I know, Rupert. That's part of it for me, too. I loved Nikki too. And Douglas is good. Since he first turned up here after Spike nearly battered him to death, he's committed himself to study and training for his role. One day, he'll make an excellent full-time Field Agent. It'd be asking too much if he managed to stake Spike, but at least he'll probably give him a good return volley."

Vienna. Rupert Giles had been there three times, but was fascinated at Doug's reaction as he looked around the medieval city. He looked askance at the decorous surroundings of the hotel they were assigned in: "Bit elaborate, isn't it?"
"What, you were expecting a ratfest in Ungarisches Haus? Too obvious, given its connection to Elisabeth Bathory."
"So, she was really a vampire?"
"Oh yes. And unfortunately, she also murdered a novice slayer, Ildiko Gellert, in November 1609, before she was brought to justice."
"In that case, where else? Elisabethstrasse? Hoher Markt? The Gurtel Ring Road? Praterstern?"
"Someone's been doing his homework."
"Nothing so elaborate. Hell, I just backwinded to which areas I would've ended up in if I were still doin' junk and on the game. So which one is the likeliest?"
"Probably Praterstern. I hate to resort to stereotypes, but it's full of alcoholics, drug users and the homeless."
Doug considered this: "Yeah, logical. It'd give the leeches an easy run at those that they consider vulnerable prey. Which is disgustin' enough in itself. They think they have the right to kill 'disposable people' that they consider 'weaker' than they are and who can't fight back. Makes me sick."
Giles nodded: "Don't go out without me."
Doug shrugged: "Hey, you know this city, I don't. Don't worry, I'm not that cocky. I won't take unnecessary risks."
"Interesting emphasis there..." Giles riposted.
Doug grinned: "Right, I'm goin' to grab a shower, do inventory on our gear, work on my camo and we can go out huntin'. "
"You're looking forward to this."
"That leech and I have history."

Karlsplatz, Stadtpark, Schwedenplatz, Leopoldplatz ...Praterstern. The area was a transport hub in a former imperial capital. Built in 1981, the area was full of off-license bottle stores and food stalls, as well as secluded areas for particular ... transactions, one of the latest such twilight zones in Vienna. City administration had wiped out and paved over its predecessors, but Praterstern's centrality and function as a transit hub was a drawback to its analogous demolition and redesign.

Doug observed: "So the police are keeping an eye on this area? Figures."
"And CCTV surveillance. Which, unfortunately, vampires don't show up on." Giles observed
"Doesn't look too bad. Bit industrial. But a lot like the railway station back in Wellington, although not with the Victorian frontage. No graffiti either."
Giles indicated a group of alcohol abusers scattered on a park bench:
"Let's do some checking first. Look, are you sure...?"
"I've been doin' AA for the last six months, Rupert. Relax, mate. And one thing about the wiccan side is that I can do multiple languages. Don't worry, I'll see whether I can find any gen on our quarry."

"G'day," Doug said, settling down on the park bench, hair dishevelled, stubble obvious and eyes reddened," hey, I'm new here. Where's a safe space to sleep?"
"You're not a cop, are you?" A young, redhaired woman with a stroller filled with assorted household items said
Doug shook his head: "Why, are the Bundos * or the Bahnies ** gettin' rough?"
"Yeah, well, you're too thin an' good lookin' to be a Bahnie and too rough around the edges to be a Bundo, even undercover. Want a swig?"
Doug shook his head: "Nah, I scored some vino on the way here. What about you?"
"Tah. Sorry, but you have to be careful. Not the cops, with some of the psychos around here."
"Hey!" complained one wild-eyed older man, spat at her feet and then headed away.
"Rudie! Hey, mate, I didn't mean your usual schizo folks! Damn."
Doug waited until the young woman had downed a fair share of her wine (a chemical substitute thereof):
"Hey, that was good. Nita."
"Dietmar. So what'd you mean about the aggro?"
"Ah, there are supposed to be CCTV cams up and about but the Bahnies never use them to apprehend anyone who has a go at us."
"So, what about selling yer arse?"
Nita raised her eyebrows: "Ach, you're a strichejunge? Never would've guessed it. Aren't you-"
Doug lowered his voice: "Nah, I'm eighteen. Look, I don't normally do the streets, but I got kicked out of the Kaiserbrundl (3) for sellin' it, and they told the Apollo, and..."
"Yeah, I know. I do hookin' on Gurtel when I need to score. Not regularly. I'm a bit intimidated by some of those Nigerian ladies, although some of them are okay."
"I hear this is a safe city."
"Yeah, most of the probs are with the hardcore rauschgiftsuchtige, they're so high they get into fights with punters and cause police crackdowns on the rest of us. Them and the drogendealer who push the stuff around here. Just watch out for them."
"Would you like the rest of the bottle? So what are the areas to avoid, then?"

Spike kept his hat down, with Drusilla in her wheelchair, still sick after what'd happened to her in Prague. He realised that he had to do some hunting so that she could feed, and checked the time by his wristwatch. It was a question of whose loss would cause the least disruption, who wouldn't end up on a missing person's list somewhere, so that meant 'junk food.' Back in Victorian London, shortly after he'd been turned in 1880, it had been overdoing it that had gotten Darla, Angel, Dru and he kicked out of the city by the "elders." Through more than his fair share of scar tissues and healed wounds over the last one hundred and twenty years, he'd learnt to keep inconspicuous, unless they were in a war zone, in which case anything went. Over the last few years, Bosnia had been good feeding, especially following the militia around. But then bloody NATO had to stick its oar in and Dru and Spike beat a hasty retreat to adjacent areas of the post-communist world. Prague had looked okay, but then Dru had made a rather public killing and was nearly staked by an angry mob, then abducted and tortured by some anti-vampire vigilante. Spike had gotten her out of there, killing her tormentors, but she was still weak. In order to make it to the Hellmouth over in California, he'd have to do something about that. With a chilly kiss, he left Dru in a shrouded room, as the sun disappeared below the gothic and modern admixture skyline and he could emerge from the Gurtel Ring Road precincts.

Giles nodded to Doug as he left one of the Praterstern loos, with a slightly tattered white-t-shirt, torn jeans and unpolished Doc Martens. He'd emphasised one or two of the pierce points and needle tracks from his past, and looked more gaunt than he was:
"Someone's done the negative glamour well."
"Yeah, well, I couldn't take the chance that the cheap Billy Idol wannabe would recognise me, Rupe."
"Ouch. Aren't you a little young to be making retro pop culture references?"
"I'm just surprised the original doesn't pull intellectual copyright on Captain Peroxide."
"Almost time to get into position. He's probably trying to keep as inconspicuous as possible, given what happened in Prague."

About fifteen minutes later, Giles caught sight of Spike, with his duster collar pulled high around his neck and face. Behind a concealment spell, he nodded to Doug, who downed a fake bottle of Stiegel and did a deliberate stumble as he looked around for an adjacent toilet that hadn't been vandalised. With his face glamoured into someone more cadaverously thin and with some obvious needle tracks on his arms, Doug looked around, pretending he hadn't clocked Spike already several hundred metres away. He chucked the bottle into an adjacent rubbish bin and entered an alleyway, unzipping his weathered jeans and started to piss.

"It's on" Rupert said quietly into his colleague's earbud. Doug was zipping up from his makeshift ablutions as Spike entered the alleyway. Doug turned:
"Can I do somethin' fer you, kamerad?"
"How much?"
"Forty euros."
"Kin'ell. It'd be thirty on the Gurtel."
"Sorry, kamerad, got prescription costs to fulfill." Spike nodded and stepped further into the alleyway, out of the streetlight. He almost felt sorry for the wasted looking bloke before him, but a meal was a meal. The bloke was standing at the wall where he'd just pissed, and was loosening his belt, probably preparing for what he thought was going to be the business end of this transaction. Spike continued to walk until he was body to body with the strichejunge. He pressed his thighs forward then tried to grab the other by the throat. To his shock, the body of the other man changed abruptly, becoming more muscular and with shorter-cropped hair. And there was something disturbingly familiar about him, at that. He was unprepared as the other broke the hold and flung Spike against the facing wall. He turned and Spike could finally see who it was:
"What the f-"
"Shut up, leech. This is one whore you won't have for dinner."
"No-one calls me leech and gets away with it, you little pr-" Spike ran hurriedly toward the other, only to be flung back again, as metal, wood and broken glass arose from around the alleyway and started to bombard him:
"You're a wiccan, you bastard. Right, you're in for a thrashin'..."
"Don't remember me, do ya? Wellington? Six months back?"
"You're that kid? I broke yer legs and you should've gone flatline from heart failure."
"The Watchers found me in time. Guess what? I turned out to have the Craft in my blood. Return engagement."
"You do realise I've been around for almost one hundred and twenty years."
"We all have to die sometime, leech."
"Shame yours was delayed then, isn't it?" Spike said, rushing the other again, as the bombardment hit him and bounced off his jacket. But as he reached out to grab at the other's throat, Doug brought his knee up and delivered a painful rebuff to Spike in the pelvic region. As the vampire doubled over in pain, Doug drove his fist into the other's face, temporarily breaking his nose. Then he brought a shoulder jab down with his elbow. But Spike delivered a vicious gutpunch to his opponent, who gritted his teeth and rebounded:
"I'm not the one who'll die here, tonight. Didya actually think I'd turn up here without reinforcements?"
"Ah. You're running on a metabolic enhancer spell, aren't you?"
Spike leapt, but Doug bent his head and nutted the vampire, lashing out with a stake:
"I've met lads like you before, always thinkin' they can nail me. None'a them walked away."
"There's always a last time." Doug said, as he kickpunched Spike in the midriff.
"Yeah, for you, you arrogant little b-" But then a stake thudded into the wall near him, and Spike realised with a start that this was a more equal battle than he anticipated. He needed to get ouf of here, before this bloke got lucky (yeah, right...not "lucky"...whoever had trained him had done so well. He was facing a disciplined streetfighter, not someone acted according to the more established Watcher routines and tactics, not someone polite and mannered and traditionalist. Then there was a cry from across the road:
"Watcher? I have your lehrer over here."
"Ignore him, Doug. Finish the job. Don't worry about me."
Doug hesitated, keeping his eye on the blood-soaked vampire's face and ripped t-shirt. He remembered Kiri in the alleyway back in Wellington where he'd met the leech opposite him the first time. It'd nearly killed him and it satisfied him to see the panting, obviously wounded vampire, who was looking at him with something like fear. But no, Rupert was far too valuable as a Watcher. And he was a friend: "This isn't over" Doug hissed.
"What, you'll finish the job next time?" Spike panted.
"Count on it, leech." Doug said, before running toward the melee on the other side of the road as Giles fought the Viennese vampire who was beseting him. In the tumult, Spike stepped awake. tasting his own blood in his mouth.

What the hell had just happened?



Nov 23, 2019
Coda: Sunnydale, 2002:

"Look, why do you keep calling Angel 'the Great Prancing Poof', Spike?" Willow asked.
"Point taken. His taste in music is too flamin' awful to be even remotely gay. And have you ever heard him sing?" Spike shuddered.
Willow nodded: "Wes told me. Isn't it a sign of transformation to Angelus when his voice mysteriously gets much, much better."
"Anyroad, I call him that to distinguish him from this other bloke I met, who was into men. I call that one the Bloody Scary Axe-Wielding Psycho Streetfighting Poof."
"Wait a minute. Yes! Spike, are you admitting that you got beaten up by this obviously seriously cool gay dude?"
"Hah. Well, I wouldn't call it beaten up. On second thought, I'll amend that. He was actually a Huge-Bollocked Bloody Scary Axe-Wielding Psycho Streetfighting Poof."
"So you still got beaten up by this alpha male type gay guy? This gets even better!" Xander enthused.
"And I bet you never got beaten up by a gay bloke then, Harris?" Spike retorted.
"Well, er, no, sort of not. Okay, there was Larry Blaisdell, but he hadn't come out before he beat me up."
"Doesn't change the fact he was bent to begin with, Harris."
"I'm going out to patrol with Buffy." Xander said, and the conversation was over.
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