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Alexander and Wesley walked through the door and the world seemed to form around them. A moment later Wil and Spike followed.
Giles was staring at them in puzzlement.
"What's Rupe doing here?" Spike asked casually.
"We came to help him close this door." Alexander said as he looked at Wil.
"You think the watcher would let *him* do something big like that?" Spike asked with a smirk.
"Giles is the watcher." Alexander said carefully.
"Bloody 'ell, this *is* one of them alternate dimensions ain't it?" Spike asked, sounding less cocky.
"I guess so. Who's the watcher you were talking about?" Alexander asked curiously.
"Rupe's dad. Danforth Giles. He wouldn't trust Rupe ta blow his own nose." Spike said, looking at Giles hesitantly.
"What is the meaning of this? It could take decades to sort out the repercussions of bringing a creature from another dimension here." Giles blustered.
"Who you callin a creature you bloody ponce?" Spike said before purposefully turning to Alexander and saying, "Rupe acts like he's got a pair. Is he a wanker like his old man?"
"I never met his father but... My guess is yeah, pretty much." Alexander said as he led his group toward the car.
Giles screamed, "Miss Summers went into the doorway behind you, we must retrieve her if we are to close..."
"He was trying to get me to close it with you inside." Dawn said coldly as she stepped out of the door.
"I'll kill him." Alexander said calmly as he turned and began to walk? toward Giles.
"Alexander, think about this." Wesley said as he grabbed Xander's arm.
"I am thinking about it, I'm thinking that I'm going to tear him into six separate pieces." Alexander said with a growl.
"Think of William." Wesley said with panic in his voice.
Alexander stopped and looked at his son who was watching his every move.
Alexander turned to look into Wesley's concerned eyes, then said in defeat, "Let's go."
"Poppa, can Spike come with us?" Wil asked in a small voice.
"Yeah, of course. What do you say Spike? We've got plenty of demon snacks in the car... but you'll have to drink the blood cold until we get a motel room." Alexander said with an inviting smile.
"Wha?" Spike asked in wonder.
"Come on, you can sit in back with me." Wil said happily as he took Spike by the hand and started leading him to the car.
"You can't leave, we must close the door." Giles called out hysterically.
Alexander stopped and looked at Giles with cold fury.
"We came, Wil found the door. Now we're leaving. You're not welcomed in our lives anymore. I hope your sense of duty keeps you warm at night, because it's driving everyone away from you." Alexander said then noticed movement behind Giles.
"Giles?" Dawn said in a quiet tone.
Giles turned to look at her.
Dawn became green vapor and flew toward the door.
Her etherial mist enveloped the door and it faded to nothingness.
Alexander, Wesley, Spike and Wil watched in wonder.
Dawn finally returned to her corporeal form and walked past Giles without a word.
When she reached Alexander and Wesley she asked, "You guys mind if I go with you?"
"If you don't mind it being a little cramped, we'd love for you to join us Dawnie." Alexander said with a smile.
"I won't take up much room, I can fit in the ashtray if I have to." Dawn said and became mist again.
"I'll be needin that ashtray love... if I can get me some smokes. What d'ya say mates, can I cadge a few bob for some smokes?" Spike asked hopefully.
"No, I'm afraid I can't allow you to smoke in the car." Wesley said firmly.
Spike got a look like he was going to fight when Alexander said, "We make plenty of stops. Wil and I can't tolerate the smoke, it messes with our skin and Wesley doesn't like the smell."
//What about me?// Dawn's voice sounded in all their minds.
"Um, Dawn, you *are* smoke." Alexander said with a tender smile.
//Oh, yeah.// Dawn sent in response with a smile in her mind/voice.
Wesley walked to Spike's side and said quietly, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound harsh. I'll stop for cigarettes at the first opportunity."
Spike got a look of surprise but covered it quickly and said, "That's right decent of you mate."
The group walked the remaining distance to the car in silence.
* * * * *
As they started down the road, Spike said, "You say you're Alexander, but you're human."
"I was born human, but now I'm part demon." Alexander said from beside Wesley in the front seat.
"You a fish demon like the other one?" Spike asked curiously.
Alexander turned in his seat to face Spike and triggered the change to his newly acquired demon form.
His skin darkened to a gray/green color and became slick. Large razor sharp teeth dropped into place and all his facial features became more pronounced.
"You mean like this?" Alexander asked quietly.
"Poppa, you look great!" Wil said in excitement.
"Yeah, like that." Spike said with wide eyes.
Alexander shifted back to his human form and said, "I am what I am."
"So, what's your story watcher wannabe?" Spike asked casually.
"My name is Wesley. I was a full fledged member of the watcher's council until I decided to leave. Now I'm a rogue demon hunter." Wesley said, keeping his gaze firmly on the road.
"That mean you want to stake me?" Spike asked warily.
"Only if you start decimating humans or threaten my loved ones." Wesley said firmly.
"Right, who's your loved ones then?" Spike asked in thought.
"The people in this car." Wesley said and flashed a tender glance at Alexander.
Spike looked at Alexander, then at Wil.
"What about you mate? Why'd you call me your father?" Spike asked Wil.
"Cause my father was William the Bloody, one of the Scourge of Europe, the Slayer of Slayers." Wil said proudly.
"Slayer of Slayers?" Spike asked in wonder.
"My father killed two Slayers." Wil said as he held Spike's gaze.
"You thought I was this Super Vamp what did all that?" Spike asked carefully.
"The Spike in this dimension did all that before he met his final death last month." Alexander said in a low voice.
Spike sat quietly and thought about what he'd been told.
* * * * *
The car came to a stop and Wesley asked, "What brand do you smoke? I can get your cigarettes while I pick up some snacks."
Spike pulled a crumpled cigarette pack from his pocket and handed it to Wesley.
Wesley looked at the pack and left the car.
"Anyone need the bathroom while we're here?" Alexander asked as he looked at Spike and Wil.
Wil nodded and got out of the car.
"What do you want from me?" Spike asked quietly.
"You're not the Spike that I knew, but you've got some of the same qualities so I just want for you what I wanted for him." Alexander said in thought.
"What's that mate?" Spike asked as he moved forward in his seat.
"For you to be happy." Alexander said as he looked into the night.
"Was you an this Spike bloke a couple?" Spike asked cautiously.
"Yeah, just for a little while. We weren't meant for that kind of relationship, we ended up as friends. But Wil was the result... I wish Spike could have known his son." Alexander said sadly.
"You mean you... and him... made a baby?" Spike asked with wide eyes.
"Yeah. Wil is our baby." Alexander said tenderly.
"You want me to be your kid's father?" Spike asked cautiously.
"No Spike, Wil has me and Wesley. It'd be good if you could be his friend, but I'm not going to push that. All I want is to help you make a life... unlife... whatever, for yourself that you can be happy with." Alexander said simply.
There was a knock on the door and Alexander turned to see Wesley holding a pack of cigarettes up to the window.
"This here is a good start. I know you lot don't like the smoke, but you stop, the watch... Wesley... goes and buys me the smokes. It says somethin to me. Like you care." Spike said before getting out of the car.
Alexander got out of the car and walked to Wesley's side.
"Poppa!" Wil called out from the side of the gas station.
All three men ran full blast to find Wil standing outside the restroom door, over an unconscious man.
"What happened?" Alexander asked with panic.
"Tha old bastard tried ta feel me up." Wil said with fury before kicking the man in the side.
"You didn't kill him did you?" Alexander asked as he knelt beside the man.
"No Pop, I kicked 'im in tha nuts, hit 'em a few times till he went down, then had me a little snack. He'll live." Wil said, not sounding too happy about that last bit.
"Okay, Spike, finish your smoke, we need to get out of here." Alexander said in thought.
"Why? Tha old pervert put his hand down my pants, if he wakes up an we're still here, I *want* 'im ta call tha cops. I'll tell 'em just what he did." Wil said indignantly.
Spike gave a full hearty laugh.
Wesley and Alexander looked at Spike curiously.
"Whelp's got 'im a pair of brass knackers fit for a bull." Spike said in delight.
Wil looked Spike in the eyes and let his demon form come into being.
"Watch who you're calling 'Whelp'. I may not be able to take you down, but you'd know you'd been in a fight fore I was through with ya." Wil said as his accent got thicker.
"How's bout 'Sprat'?" Spike asked with a grin.
Wil thought about it for a second before saying, "It means small fish... I'm still kinda small... and..." Then Wil held up his webbed fingers.
Spike took a drag off his cigarette, then said, "Tell ya what Sprat, when you an me get ta where we're goin, let's us 'ave a proper sparring match."
Wil smiled and nodded.
"We ready to get on the road again? I'd like to make it into California before we have to stop for daylight." Alexander said to the group.
"Yeah." Spike said, then looked back at the man laying on the ground.
"I'd like to have me a taste of that, but the Sprat's the one who earned that meal." Spike said then started walking toward the car.
"Tell you what Spike, next guy who tries to cop a feel, I'll knock 'im out an save 'im for you." Wil said from Spike's side.
"I'll hold you to that mate." Spike said with a laugh as he flicked his cigarette butt away.
* * * * *
"You doing okay Dawn?" Alexander asked, looking at the ashtray.
//Fine. This is Wesley's car isn't it?// Dawn asked with amusement in her mind/voice.
"Yes it is Miss Summers, why do you ask?" Wesley asked curiously.
//Because I went into the glove compartment where I could stretch out and... Wesley, you're the only one I've ever known who actually kept gloves in the glove compartment.// Dawn finished with a laugh.
Wesley smiled but said nothing.
"What's it like where we're heading?" Spike asked from the back.
"How do you mean?" Alexander asked as he turned in his seat to look at Spike.
"I get the feelin that I ain't gonna be goin back to the watcher's place to be his servent. So what are we doin?" Spike asked with slight irritation.
"Oh, um, we'll be staying with Angel." Alexander said hesitantly, watching for Spike's reaction.
"Angel?" Spike asked warily.
"Used to be known as Angelus." Alexander said in a low voice.
Spike got a wide eyed expression that was unreadable.
"He's been cursed with a soul and doesn't bite human's anymore. He's been helping us since Wil was born." Alexander said hurriedly, hoping to forestall any objection Spike might have.
"No. I mean, s'alright. Me an the pouf got along real good till he got dusted in Russia. If Angelus was still around in my world, the watcher wouldn't be able to keep demons as pets and slaves." Spike said in thought.
Alexander looked at Wesley with concern, then turned his attention back to Spike.
"You've said that a couple times. My counterpart didn't say anything about being a slave." Alexander said carefully.
"He ain't a slave, he's a pet. Watcher keeps 'im well fed an shows 'im off when his watcher buddies come over to chat. Alexander is the only one of his kind..." Spike trailed off.
"A pet." Alexander whispered, feeling disgust at the thought.
"Yeah. You mind if we not talk about it?" Spike asked uncomfortably.
"Sure Spike. What would you like to talk about instead?" Alexander asked quietly.
"What about the chit in the glove box?" Spike asked with a grateful smile.
Alexander smiled and said, "Dawn, do you want to tell Spike your story?"
//Sure... What do you want to know?// Dawn asked in a friendly voice.
"First of all, what are you? A genie?" Spike asked, not knowing where to look.
A giggle filled their minds before Dawn responded, //I'm a key. I can open or close doorways between dimensions.//
"And the sister of the Queen Slayer." Alexander added with a note of pride.
"Queen Slayer?" Spike asked cautiously.
"Yeah, there's about... what is it Dawnie? Twelve slayers?" Alexander asked in thought.
"Ten. Kennedy and Vi are dead." Dawn said sadly.
"Oh, yeah. There's ten active slayers. They're at the Cleveland hellmouth." Alexander finished and looked at Spike to continue.
"Ten slayers? Watchers've got a bloody army!" Spike said in astonishment.
"No, they don't. There really aren't any watchers anymore. We call Giles a watcher because he tries but... the council was destroyed by the first evil." Alexander said uncomfortably, not liking thinking about those days.
"This world's gonna take some getting used to... Ten slayers..." Spike drifted off in wonder.
"Spike." Alexander said, trying to catch his eyes.
Spike finally focused on Alexander's gaze.
"My family is a mix of humans and demons..." Alexander began and was interrupted.
"...and a couple drunken sots." Wil put in helpfully.
"...and an insane vampire seer." Alexander countered, looking at Wil with amusement, then turned to Spike and continued, "So the only thing I'm going to ask of you is to respect the people for who they are. I'm not saying you have to treat them nice, but... don't treat them bad because of their species."
"What are you getting at?" Spike asked in confusion.
"I believe Alexander is saying that you should get to know the people as people. If you dislike them, that's your business, but dislike the person, not the species they belong to." Wesley said helpfully.
"Are you askin me not ta hate humans?" Spike asked Alexander carefully.
"Sort of, I'm asking you not to judge someone before you get to know them. Just because someone's human doesn't make them automatically bad." Alexander said with a hopeful smile.
//Or good.// Dawn interjected.
"Or good." Alexander conceded with a nod.
"Yeah, I may have to work on that bit. I been feelin hate for humans for so long, it might be tough to let it go." Spike said seriously.
"Wesley's human, do you hate him?" Alexander asked, hoping Spike wouldn't say something awful to Wesley.
"Wesley's alright, he bought me some smokes. Said we was gonna take smoke breaks on the trip... which I'm about due for..." Spike trailed off with a puppy-dog look directed at Wesley.
"He can't see you in the mirror Spike. Save the look for when he can see you." Alexander said with a laugh.
"And all you need do is say that you'd like to stop and I'll pull in at the next rest area or filling station. I have no desire to make this journey more uncomfortable for any of us than need be." Wesley said simply.
"I got the best Daddy ever." Wil said proudly.
"Yeah, you do." Alexander said with a smile.
Spike looked at Alexander, then to Wil and finally nodded in agreement.