Link Here:

C Box:

Author's Note: Some dialogue has been taken from The Prom, the main plot of this replaces the original episode Crush. Because I don't have Spike falling in love with Buffy, that episode is rendered redundant, so I had to come up with an alternative. Enjoy.

Beasts of Hell.

"I'm afraid we can no longer prevaricate; the situation is much too dire," Wesley Wyndam-Pryce remarked before calmly lifting the china cup from its saucer and taking a sip of his recently brewed tea.

His colleague at Wyndam-Pryce Investigations was rather more stressed about the circumstances; a complete contrast. "Come on, mate, I thought we had loads of cases last month," Spike cried as he paced the office floor.

"Minor incidents and false alarms," Wesley reminded him. "Plus since your ownership of the Magic Box, I'm left to deal with everyone." He took another sip of his tea. "I've been considering firing you, but I must have at least one employee."

"Believe me, mate, I'd resign in a second if it would help you out," the chipped vampire replied, "but I still don't see why we have to have this party."

"A fund-raiser," Wesley corrected as his colleague noisily took a seat in the chair across from him. "And we have no choice. The rent's coming at the end of the month, plus the usual other bills have decided to charge us simultaneously, so we have to raise enough funds to pay off everything, plus earn a little profit, before the week is out."

"But where will we hold it?" Spike asked.

"The Bronze." Wesley replied. "I've discussed it with Xander, and he's already agreed to waive both the fee for the place, and the band, which will be Oz's anyway."

"So, now we just have to con rsvps out of Sunnyhell's big bucks set," Spike remarked, to which Wesley nodded, causing the vampire to groan. "Bloody exciting event this is gonna turn out to be," he muttered.

"The Slayerettes will be coming," Wesley pointed out, "it won't just be the two of us looking like idiots in black tie."

"That's a comfort, I suppose," Spike allowed before rising from his chair. "I better get back to the shop before Anya decides to release another troll from a crystal," he remarked by way of farewell before exiting the firm.

When the door closed behind his colleague, Wesley allowed himself to sigh, and add a drop of liquor to his tea. He leaned back in his office chair, trying to avoid catching sight of the large pile of red notices residing within his IN tray, all demanding payment on pain of financial death. This fund raiser had to succeed, otherwise he would be forced to close the firm, ending the only possible future for the slayerettes to earn some money out of saving the world from vampires, demons and hell gods. He smiled wryly at the last one, recalling what Willow had managed to do to Glory. At least that was one evil which would be out of action and unavailable to wreck this affair. With her out of the picture, the event might go very smoothly indeed.

Across town upon a largely neglected neighbourhood, the light from the Californian sunshine began to reach one of the many dingy suburban houses. Silently it drifted through the cracks in the door to the inside, almost skittish about giving light to the darkness which previously held reign therein. Nervously it shied away from the various piles of rubbish littered about the hall and front room, conveying the impression of a dump site rather than a typical American house, choosing to avoid surrendering to the natural curiosity which would warrant investigation into each pile of degradation.

Oblivious to the effect they were causing to the weather of the day, the owner of the house inserted a video tape into the VCR system of the front room. The screen flickered then turned into noiseless dots of blank space before the recording, causing the roaring to gather more power over the room.

The roaring originated from a large wire cage, which contained an ugly creature, who snarled at the owner of the house, his host, and the television screen, as it's picture transformed into the behavioural lesson for the day. His large claws wrestled with the corners, attempting to warp the wire restraining him.

His struggles became only more frantic as the sound from the recording kicked in.

On the campus of Sunnydale University, Oz opened his sleep laden eyes to locate the alarm and reached out a hand to de-arm the device before fully rousing himself. Quietly he rolled over to survey the condition of his companion, his solemn face becoming even more serious as he took in the conflict upon his girlfriend's face. Despite a week passing since the spell which sent Glory almost into space, Willow had yet to gain relief from the effects such powerful spell casting laid upon her. Every waking moment she suffered painful headaches, making her miss classes, whilst the night caused fractious suffering on her sleep deprived body. Together her and Oz had tried to keep this distress from the rest of the gang, but it was impossible to conceal it from the slayer, Angel, Xander or Tara, causing even the rest, including Elita to know.

As for the latter, she had become increasingly withdrawn since learning the true nature of her existence and arrival in Sunnydale under the protection of the slayer. Her arms bore faint yet very real scars of the self-inflicted wounds she caused upon discovery, while her mind remained traumatised by the knowledge and the battle with Glory at the hospital. Despite being the key, she was still a fifteen year old girl, confronted with a sudden need for a maturity she was not prepared for. The stoic calm of the terminally ill descended upon her, casting a dark shadow over life at the Mansion on Crawford Street, and the slayerettes in general. No one knew or could even imagine what thoughts were in her mind concerning her life, or what Glory wanted from her, or the feelings she felt every time the slayerettes risked their lives for her, and few dared to ask, fearing to cause a repeat of the wounds inflicted the first time. Buffy and Angel kept a deeper watch over her than before, ensuring that Jenny and Tara enchanted a force field over the house while they were unable to be present, and a alarm system when they were.

Willow murmured in her sleep, causing Oz to come out of his reflections. Gently he reached out and touched her cheek, inwardly frowning when she immediately opened her eyes.

"Hey," he remarked. "You feeling up for classes today?"

"I think so," she replied, as usual, belying the stress of headaches conveyed within her eyes.

Oz stroked her slightly fevered brow, noting minor improvement from the day before. "Take it easy," he pleaded.

Willow took the hand to her lips, kissing his palm. "I will," she promised, before cautiously rising from the pillows. Her hand went to her forehead as her head let a brief torment on her mind for allowing the body to make such an ambitious move, whilst her other reached for the pain killers on the beside table, swallowing the sugar-coated tables down with water before she attempted to leave the bed.

Oz watched her get up and slowly get dress, silently praying that she would be well enough for the fund raising party at the Bronze in a few days, so Elita would be comforted that none of them were feeling the effects of the latest battle with Glory any longer.

In the Mansion on Crawford Street, Buffy performed the same movements as Oz had, at roughly the same time; before rolling over to survey her sleeping boyfriend. Unlike Willow, Angel had recovered quickly from his injuries sustained in the battle with Glory, thanks to his still present vampire healing. Privately the slayer hoped that was a quality he would not lose when he eventually achieved his full Shanshu, along with the demonic strength which kept him fighting by her side almost every day. These, aside from her hope they would eventually defeat Glory, were her daily prayers before she assumed the responsibilities of normal life; college and slaying. She was actually enjoying the former, having proved better able to handle her grade average now than she did in high school. There were fewer classes, causing her the opportunity to attend rather than skip, and nearly all of her teachers respected her intellect, minus the professor of history, that is. She had Angel to help and advise her, as well as his presence on campus, along with that of her friends.

As for the latter, slaying was something of a major concern lately, due to Glory. In all her years as the slayer, Buffy had not met with a deadlier opponent. Instead of a rapid healing from her battles and the usual vampire dusting, she was now receiving very real, and very serious bruises, ones which required more healing than she thought her body capable of. It was a miracle her mother's boyfriend had not noticed when they came to dinner twenty-four hours after the last battle with Glory. Ordinarily Buffy would have called to cancel and explained to her mother why, but she did not want to further the concern her mother already felt over her daughter's wellbeing. The strength of Glory had caused everyone in the slayerettes to become concerned over her ability to defeat the god, to an extent that their own safety was almost immaterial. For herself, aside from worrying about them, Buffy was equally concerned with her own powers to defeat Glory. She was not sure how she could slay the god and protect Elita at the same time. The Watcher's test concerning that element was not the only thing which influenced her thoughts on this matter; for Glory's strength was enough to cause doubts within itself.

Buffy sighed and rolled over in order to rise from the bed and prepare for college. As she manoeuvred her legs down to the floor, two arms wrapped themselves around her waist, causing her to gasp as their owner added a kiss to the scar on her neck.

"Why didn't you wake me?" Angel asked her softly, the air created by his words blowing on to her skin, creating pleasurable sensations deep within her.

"I didn't want to disturb you," Buffy replied as he kissed neck again, before embarking on a long campaign of kisses to her shoulder blades. She groaned and tilted her head back in ecstasy. "I know you don't have classes till eleven."

"Still, I wanted to drive you to the campus," Angel replied, before using his hold on her waist to pull her on top of him. The fall into his arms made her laugh, along with his impromptu tickling session, before they caught sight of each other's eyes and fell into a deep embrace. Passionately Angel kissed the despondency of her dismal thoughts about Glory and Elita away, making Buffy forget everything but the love she found in his arms.

Then the snooze button switched itself off causing the alarm to ring again, forcing the couple apart.

Buffy groaned before reluctantly pulling herself out of bed. "As much as I want to quote Spike and say sod it to first class; it's history and you know what my professor is like."

"Only too well," Angel agreed, rising from the bed too.

"I'll see you at lunch," Buffy promised as she dressed. "Before the girls and I go shopping for our dresses to Wesley's fund raiser."

"I forgot that was so soon," Angel remarked as he pulled on his shirt and trousers. "I hope it drums up enough funds for him and raises the profile of the firm."

"He has been relying on us for demons to fight as of late," Buffy agreed, opening the door of their master bedroom to head into the hall and go downstairs. "You think though what with the hellmouth, that he'd be inundated with cases."

"Trouble is," Angel continued as he followed her into the living room, "the demons are more likely to be slayed by us before they become a problem for any clients to go to Wesley with."

"True," Buffy admitted as she walked into the kitchen, where their lodgers were already present, eating breakfast. She took in the bowl before Spike and then looked at the chipped vampire warily. "Please tell me that's not what I think it is."

"Alright," Spike replied in between mouthfuls, "it's not."

Buffy groaned as she retrieved her bagel from the cupboard to toast. "If you're going to vary your diet," she remarked, "could you at least do so when the rest of us aren't here?"

"You weren't," Spike pointed out.

"Elita is," Buffy retorted. "You're grossing her out."

"No he's not," Elita objected. "I'm a key, remember? Key's aren't affected by the strange eating habits of vampires."

"You might not be," Buffy remarked as she continued to make her breakfast, "but I am. He's put me off Wheetabix for life. What are you gonna do when Tara stays over?"

"Tara's a lot tougher than she looks," Spike defended, "and you seem fine with Angel's mixed diet."

"Angel's discreet," Buffy returned.

"I'll have you know I bloody am too," Spike added as he rose up to tidy his breakfast bowl away. "Now, are you lot ready for Wes' fund raiser?"

"Me and the girls are shopping for our dresses this afternoon," Buffy informed him, before taking a bite out of her bagel. "What about you boys?"

Unlike you lot, luv, we only need tuxes," Spike pointed out as he washed his bowl, a rule the slayer insisted on when he moved in.

"Can I come?" Elita asked.

"As Jenny and Giles are bringing Ellis with them, yes," Buffy replied. "We'll all be at the Bronze, so we can better protect you there."

"I think Glory will be out of action for a while yet," Angel remarked. "If the effect that teleporting spell had on Willow is anything to go by."

"I hope so," Buffy mused. "But Glory more powerful than any other evil I've defeated before. We still need to be on our guard."

Back inside the house where the light from the sun was afraid to investigate the piles of unknown origins scattered across the floor, the animal inside the cage continued to rebel against his confinement. Growling, its claws gripped the steel bars, trying to cause the cage to shake and move. His primitive Pavlovian brain registered the fact that his master- for lack of a better word, as few mortals possessed the strength to own these beasts -was absent from the house, whereabouts unknown. The caged creature did not care where the human was; he was gone, so he could escape. He repeated his attempts to shake the cage, rocking his prison against the floor continuously while his claws wrestled with the metal bars until he tore them apart by demonic strength alone.

Victory achieved the beast jumped free from the cage to growl at the room he was now in, casting his black pupils around the walls until he caught sight of the door, whereupon he leapt at the wooden barrier, raking his claws at the veneer. Shards flew about him as he tore at the wood in his frantic, desperate desire for freedom. Under this crazed frenzy, the door did not remain in tact for long. A hole appeared before him and the beast leapt through it. However, now he was outside his controlled environment, in unfamiliar surroundings, the beast was at a loss as to what to do next. He jumped on the spot, looking first one way, the other.

Suddenly, another beast drove past, making the animal stop and stare. He growled as recognised the species and set off to follow it. Sheer luck and a natural instinct for self-preservation on the part of the humans within the hellmouth's road systems above ground, saved the creature from meeting with an accident as it followed the metal animal into town.

The vehicle slowed as it encountered close quartered traffic, causing the beast to attempt to bite into its rear end, until the pain he encountered rendered his natural retreat. Yelping, he glanced around for fresh meat, until his eyes fixed on something else which his master had conditioned him to recognise and revolt at the sight. Summoning his demonic strength, he leapt at the large shop window before him, smashing the glass in one jump to land upon the sales floor. Ignoring the screams of paying customers, he went for the formal wear, his mouth salivating at the meal which awaited him.

"Right there," Xander remarked as he paused the footage from the surveillance tape which Wesley managed to secure from the shop. "See, it's like he just realised he forgot to put money in the meter or something."

"You know the part that totally weirded me out?" Cordelia remarked. "That thing had good taste. I mean, he ignores the casual clothes and went right for the formal wear."

"That's right," Xander retorted. "He left behind his copy of Monsters Wear Daily."

Cordelia frowned at him. "I'm serious. Look at the kid that the monster went after. Very smooth lines, 'til he was shredded."

"As much as I hate to agree, she's right," Anya remarked. "Let's play it again."

"I don't want to see it again," the slayer sighed.

"Buffy, I know it's horrible," Giles offered gently, "but if you're going to hunt this creature, you should study it."

"Think I got it," Buffy replied.

"She's right," Willow added. "I mean, you've seen one big hairy bringer of death, you've seen them all."

"If I'm not mistaken, this is a hellhound," Wesley declared.

Giles nodded. "Yes. It's particularly vicious. It's sort of a demon foot soldier bred during the Machash Wars. Trained solely to kill. They feed off the brains of their foes."

"Look!" Cordelia called out. "Right there, zoom in on that."

"It's a videotape." Xander pointed out.

"So?" The former cheerleader returned. "They do it on television all the time."

"Not with a regular VCR they don't, darlin'," Doyle replied.

"Perhaps we could stay on the topic for once," Wesley decided. "What were you doing this afternoon?"

"Shopping for dresses for your fund raiser," Cordelia replied. "For which now some of the funds raised will go to pay for my therapist," she added mockingly.

"What's that?" Oz asked. "Pause it."

"Guys! It's just a normal VCR." Xander reminded them. "It doesn't... Oh wait, uh, it can do pause."

"Hello, hellhound raiser," Angel remarked as the screen froze on a man outside the shop, monitoring the beast creating chaos inside.

"I think that's Tucker Wells," Oz replied. "He used to be in my chem lab."

"Let me guess," Wesley murmured. "He was quiet, kept to himself, but always seemed like a nice young man."

"He didn't seem the murderous type anyway," Oz replied. "Something must have happened to him."

"Ooooh!" Willow cried as she clicked her mouse. "I got into Tucker's e-mail account. Listen to this message Tucker sent to this guy David Metz last week. 'The Wyndam-Pryce Investigative lemmings have no idea what awaits them. Their big night will be their last night.'"

"David Metz," Oz mused, "another fellow lab colleague."

"So, Tucker is planning on attacking my fund raiser!" Wesley cried, outraged.

"Once again, the Hellmouth puts the special in special occasion," Oz murmured.

"Why do I bother to hold these things, I ask you," Xander remarked with a groan.

"I Wonder if I can take my dress back?" Anya asked.

"Don't you dare," Buffy replied.

"But Tucker is going to..." Tara began before she was cut off.

"No!" Buffy cried. "You guys are going to have a good fund raiser The kind of event that everyone should have. I'm going to give you all a nice, fun, normal evening if I have to kill every single person on the face of the earth to do it. Besides, these are hellhounds. We've had a god up until now, I think we can handle a few dogs in need of a good behavioural school." She paused to make sure she had everyone's attention. "Okay, Wes, why don't you and Spike go to Tucker's house. He's probably not there, but it's worth a shot."

"Alright. What about the others?" Wes asked.

"Oz you said you know this David kid that Tucker e-mailed? Why don't you and Will track him down? See what he knows, if he's involved?"

Willow nodded. "We're on it."

"And Xander and Anya, could you two check the magic shop records before Spike purchased the place?" Buffy continued. "See if anyone's been buying supplies to raise a hellhound."

"Gotcha," Xander replied. "Or check and see who's been stocking up on hellhound sausages. I hear those pups will do anything for a tasty treat."

"What about me?" Elita asked.

"You will be staying here," Buffy replied. "Where you are safe." She turned to her watcher. "Giles, you said this thing eats brains. Any brains?"

"Um, I suppose," Giles allowed.

"Then Tucker must be feeding it, right?" Buffy persisted.

Giles nodded. "He must be. Why, what did you have in mind?"

"You know," Buffy remarked to her boyfriend as they entered the meat packing plant, "six years ago, this place would have grossed me out. Now, I don't even flinch. What does that say about me?"

"That you're not afraid of anything the world or the hellmouth throws at you?" Angel suggested, causing her to laugh.

"No, there are still some fears which the slayer can never conquer," she replied, "lesson tests being one which comes to mind."

"Can I help you?" The supervisor asked them.

"We're from Wyndam-Pryce Investigations," Buffy replied, flashing the business card. "We're investigating the guy behind the wild dog attacking April Fool's store."

"Oh, yeah, that sounded awful," the supervisor remarked feelingly. "What can I do to help you both?"

"Do you know this guy?" Angel asked, handing him the yearbook photo of Tucker Wells.

"Yeah, yeah," the supervisor added after a moment of thoughtful staring. "This kid orders cow brains a couple of times a week. Goes to this address," he took a note from the clipboard in his hand and gave it to Buffy. "Good luck. He's a weird kid."

"Thanks," Buffy replied, "thanks a lot." She waited for Angel to retrieve the photo, then they shook hands with the guy before exiting the plant.

"Zeroes all around, luv," Spike remarked as the slayer returned to the Mansion.

"Sorry," Willow added for the whole of the team.

"Make not with the long faces," Buffy replied, brandishing a piece of paper. "I got the address. Now the party starts in a little while. I want you guys to go on and Angel and I will catch up with you as soon as we put a lid on this jerk."

"What?" Xander shook his head. "No way."

"We can't just leave you, luv," Spike agreed.

"Buffy, they're right," her watcher weighed in. "You need..."

"To see taillights," Buffy interrupted. "Hit the door. I have everything under control."

"Buffy," Oz tried, "it makes sense to ..."

The slayer glared at them. "Have. A. Nice. Time."

"Okay then," Willow conceded.

"See ya," Cordelia added as the slayerettes rose up to depart en masse.

Buffy caught Giles and Spike's arms on their way out. "Keep an eye on them until we get there."

"We will," Giles promised before leaving.

At the house where even the light was afraid, the owner stood before a cage holding his other beast, ready to release him for the night's festivities.

"You're ready to go," Tucker declared.

"Sorry, new plan," Buffy announced as she came upon him from behind. Using her slayer strength she tossed him aside from the cage. "The fund raiser's a go and you're pathetic."

"Maybe," Tucker shrugged. "Maybe not." He brandished a vase and broke it over the slayer's head.

Buffy merely brushed the shards off her jacket. She glanced at the piles of video tapes sitting on top of the television whilst he chose to wave a screwdriver at her.

"So that's how you did it?" She remarked. "That's how you brainwashed the hounds to go psycho tonight?"

Tucker grinned. "Neat, huh?"

"I don't get it." Buffy replied. "What kind of sicko wants to destroy a fund raiser?"

The boy flinched inwardly as he remembered being refused for a date to attend. "I have my reasons."

Now it was the slayer's turn to shrug. "Whatever. Every maladjusted has his reasons. Luckily for me, you're an incompetent maladjusted."

Calmly, she wrenched the screwdriver from his hand and tied it to his other with the help of an electrical cord. Opening a nearby door, she shoved him infront of her. "Now I'm gonna lock you in here and then I'm gonna party like it's..." she trailed off as her eyes adjusted to the relative darkness of the room, catching sight of the three empty cages before three blank television sets.

Tucker was smug. "Gotta have a redundancy system. Any incompetent knows that. My three fiercest babies are on their way to the dance right now. You think formal wear makes them crazy, wait 'til they see the mirror ball."

Buffy vented her annoyance at the complication by shoving him into the nearest cage. "Fair enough," She remarked, as she looked him inside. "So I have to deal with three hell beasts. At least they'll pale in comparison to the hellgod I've been facing recently."

Angel drove her and himself to the alleyway which held the entrance to the Bronze, bringing the car to a halt when they caught sight of the three hellhounds loping towards the nightclub front door.

Buffy vaulted into the rear passenger seats, and grabbing her crossbow, fired a direct shot at the slowest of them.

The beast went down with a yelp. As it nursed it's wound, the other two turned, growling at her.

Angel restarted the engine, and the hounds began to chase them.

"That's right," the slayer mused. "Follow Buffy. Good dogs."

However, they had barely reached the turning of the main street before the opening music echoed through buildings, calling the beasts away from the car.

"Oh, come on," Buffy groaned. "That song sucks."

"I'll park," Angel remarked. "You go."

"See ya there," Buffy acknowledged before vaulting out of the car and running after the beasts.

She followed them into the backstage area of the Bronze, where the dressing rooms, toilets and old props from past band performances were located. Grabbed a large banner from the wall, Buffy pounced on one beast, wrapping the hellhound inside it, before grabbing the other to wound it with her knife.

The first beast wrestled free of the poster just as she finished stabbing the second in the chest, and she made to grab for it.

The door leading from the dancefloor opened and a guy entered the corridor.

"Get back!" Buffy cried as she grabbed the beast. With one swift movement she snapped the dogs' neck, then looked up at the shaken guest.

"Bathroom?" He asked nervously.

"That way," Buffy directed with her hand.

"Th-th-tha..." the guy tried to say.

"You're welcome," Buffy preempted him.

When he was gone, she grabbed the beasts, dragging them outside.

Angel met her at the back door. "Sorry, it took a while to find a parking space," he apologised as she let go of one beast for him to carry.

Together they hid the dead animals in an abandoned warehouse nearby, then retrieved their own formal wear from the car to change, before returning to the Bronze.

"Hey guys," Buffy remarked as she and Angel entered, causing the scoobies to make their way over to them.

"Everything taken care of?" Wesley asked anxiously.

"Beasts killed," Buffy replied, "Owner impounded. We've hid them in the warehouse. We'll dispose of them after the party."

"How it's going?" Angel asked as they surveyed the band and the dancing guests.

"Very well," Wesley replied. "So far I've raised enough to clear my debts. Now we just need a profit."

"Any sign of Glory?" Buffy asked.

"Nope," Tara replied from her place at Spike's arm. Every girl of the slayerettes had gone for long gowns in varying shades of colour; her's a deep blue silk which contrasted well with her pale skin. Cordelia had gone for dark red, whilst Willow chose a light grey. Elita wore pale yellow and Anya wore green, while Buffy went for the purple gown Angel had given her a few weeks ago, before the full danger of Glory was discovered.

"Come on," Doyle said as the music changed to another slow jazz piece. "Let's show everyone how it's done."

One by one the guys whisked their girls out on to the floor, as they lost themselves in the well earned victory party.

Unnoticed by them, a figure stood at the threshold of the dancefloor, watching the woman who had been responsible for foiling his brother's plans, vowing silent revenge.

The End
To Be Continued In

I Was Made TO Love You.