Title: Readjustment 8a/15
Rating: PG-13 for violence
Warnings: There is some killing in this chapter
Summary: Sequel to Reassembling. Principal Wood's arrival has repercussions no one could predict.
AN: this chapter got completely out of hand and I ran out of time, so you get half now, half next week. I apologize for the rush job
Spike watched the deal go down from a safe distance. Neither man aware of his presence, too focused on the money and drugs they were exchanging. It was incredibly boring but the chip had taught him patience if nothing else. A good thing too, finding a dealer had proved much more difficult than he expected. Time was that, if you knew what you were looking for, you could spot them on any street corner. The city had been sanitized since his last foray in the Big Apple. Times Square used to be prime hunting territory. Now it was a bloody Disney park. Still, the seamier parts of life would always be present and it had just been a matter of time to track down what he was looking for.
His sale completed, the dealer moved on again. After a profitable night he looked to be heading home, Spike might just relieve him of his cash and a couple pints of blood and start over tomorrow. He wanted the head of this particular organization, not this bait fish.
Turned out luck was with him. From the nervousness pouring off the kid he was headed to turn his money in to his boss. He trailed the dealer to a warehouse, He amused himself, thinking of how Xander accused vampires of being obsessed with such places. He never fully appreciated how convenient warehouses were, nice and public and needing no invitation for the undead. Perfect. He’d promised Xander he wouldn’t start killing again, but they agreed he could defend himself. If he provoked the fight that he defended himself during, well. Besides, killing these blokes was hardly the blood of the innocent on his hands.
He got himself a good view of the proceeding before he made his move. He wanted to know how many he was facing and where before the killing started. He ignored the petty posturing going on below while he searched the rafters for hidden snipers. Not that they could do much to him, but they were annoying and a head shot would be seriously inconvenient. The situation appeared to be a simple drop. The dealer Spike had followed traded most of the cash he’d taken for more drugs to sell. Seemed all he had to deal with was one middle manager type and two hired muscle.
Spike debated whether this was the end of the line for the evening or whether he’d follow these goons higher up the food chain. He bet Middle management down there holed up in a fairly nice place, with plenty of cash just lying about for an enterprising vampire such as himself. He might do for Spike’s purposes. On the other had, he’d have to deal with the big man sooner or later when he came looking for his money.
The night wasn’t getting any younger and Spike was tired of traipsing all over town after these twits. He wasn’t some vice cop on stake out here. He’d deal with the big fish in his own time, his own way, for now he was acquiring himself some fancy new digs. Spike had deliberated long enough that the dealer had made tracks. Pity, his larder was bare, never hurt to take home a doggie bag .
From the rafters he watched Middle management packing his money away in a briefcase while the muscle covered the door. Any protection detail worth it’s salt would cast a glance toward the rafters now and then, but not this low rent operation. He dropped down in front of the two hired muscle just to rub their lack of foresight in. Subtlety was not his goal and the sharp, heavy sound of his Docs hitting the concrete floor snapped all attention to him instantly. The hired muscle was startled and looked to their boss for orders, unsure he represented a threat. Seriously, if this was the kind of protection this guy rated Spike could own this operation in a week. “Evening gents,” he said agreeably enough. “Have a business proposition for you.”
Middle management didn’t wait to hear more, he gave a nod and the goon squad moved in to pummel him. Both of them were well over six feet and built to intimidate. Just watching them lumber over made it clear they were accustomed to their size and strength carrying them through, grace and style were significantly lacking. Spike ducked a clumsy swing without even thinking about it, bringing his right fist up under the swing to connect with goon one’s chin and sent him sprawling. Goon two ogled his buddy on the floor instead of positioning himself to take advantage of Spike’s distraction. A casual twist of the wrist and Goon two’s neck snapped like a matchstick. The short, annoying sprint to overtake middle management before he rabbited out the back proved the most effort of the whole process.
“Now, now, no leaving the party early,” he insisted, pulling the squirming man against his chest. “I have questions for you.” He glanced over his shoulder where Goon one was picking himself off the floor. “First, I’m feeling a mite peckish.”
He twisted Middle management’s arm up behind his back where he could control him one handed and brought him stumbling over to Goon one, just as he succeeded in making it to his knees. This put Goon one at a nicely convenient height for Spike who twisted his head to the side and buried his fangs into the side of his neck. Middle management writhed in his grip, Spike felt the shudders ripple through him as he was pressed tight against his side. He stank of fear and sweat scant inches from Goon one whose struggles had grown weak almost immediately. Spike hadn’t exactly been delicate when ripping into his neck and the goon’s lifeblood gushed into his mouth and down his chin. Goon one was the best meal he’d had in years and he didn’t feel like rushing it so he twisted Middle management’s arm viciously to get him to hold still and stop distracting him.
When the last feeble pulses of blood slid down Spike’s throat he dropped the empty husk and turned back to his only remaining victim, he knew he was about to get anything he wanted out of him.
“Right, first things first, where do you live?” Spike asked while positioning his prey where he had a clear view of his face.
His prey blinked up at him, tears and snot streaming from him, with uncomprehending eyes. Spike applied a tiny bit more pressure and the mouse started singing. “Mid-town,” he gasped.
“Nice apartment, good view?” Spike asked, his blood stained face a scant few inches from the prey’s.
He nodded like a bobble-head.
“Have a wife, kiddies?” Spike asked in an amiable tone.
“No, no sir,” the prey babbled.
“Now see, if you had listened to my business proposition I would have told you how you could have made it through this little encounter alive.” Spike went fishing through the prey’s pockets until he came up with a wallet. He pulled out the driver’s license and took a look at the address. It would probably do. “As it is, you’ve only got one use I can think of.”
Without further preamble, he drained the twitching mouse. It was time to go check out his new home.
The apartment turned out to be perfect. It was a three bedroom, which Spike considered ideal, and was already outfitted with blackout curtains. Spike checked out of his hotel and moved into the apartment before the sun came up. He dumped the body of Steven Stiles, or so his driver’s license claimed, in a spare bedroom and availed himself of the king bed for a well deserved nap.
Steven was a sluggish riser, and didn’t appear to be a very promising vampire. Since all Spike required was that he be sufficiently cowed by his sire to show him where all the cash was hidden, the combination to the safe and other such matters it didn’t matter much. Steven fairly bounced with eagerness to show Spike how well connected and badass he was. For his part, Spike remained unconvinced, but it got him the information he needed. Once certain he had all the information he needed, Spike staked the fledge and settled into his new home. Spike loved getting rid of bodies this way, no better way to cover your tracks.
Over the next two weeks people came to his door wanting the money he’d snagged back. They were very persistent. It was better than ordering take out.
Eventually, he got tired of having his sleep disrupted, besides, the neighbors might start getting nosy. Not to mention, as convenient as the happy meals delivering themselves to his door was, disposing of the trash was a right pain. So he kept one of the next batch alive, and encouraged him to lead him back to the big man.
As it happened, his goons weren’t any better than the first ones he’d come across. So, after a hearty meal, he looked the place over. A quick once over decided him, too gaudy for his purposes. A quick grab of any loose cash left lying about and he headed back to his apartment and guaranteed peace and quiet.
He considered telling Xander about his bit of urban renewal. He couldn’t see him objecting all that much. As he recalled it, Angel had come crawling back to them, trying to get into Darla’s good graces. He’d fed on murderers and other rough customers, and that was after he got a soul shoved in him. So eating bad guys must be some kind of loophole no one had bothered to mention to him. He was sticking to his promise, no innocent blood was on his hands, but there was no sense clouding the issue when he was so close to being ready to make his move. Hell, he’d been performing a public service.
He wanted to wait another week before he sent his invitation for them to spend the holidays with him. He wanted to make absolutely sure no more men with guns would be coming to the door before he risked the family.
In the meantime, he was renewing old acquaintances, revisiting old haunts. It was good to see CBGB still in operation even though it had toned down from when he’d last been there. He fought enough to made sure no one wanted to mess with him, but not so much as to be a challenge to one of the courts. He didn’t need or want politics.