Pairing: Spike/Connor/Lester, Angel/Becker
Word Count: This part: 4,697 (total:13,458)
Summary: Lester’s children come to stay.
Notes: #9 in the Spike at the ARC series- full list here. This whole series is set in series 3.
Houseguests, pt 3
Twenty minutes later, they were pulling into the grounds of the school. So far there was no sign of an anomaly but the hand held detectors still insisted that it was here.
“Up there,” Connor said, pointing to the teacher at a second floor window, knocking on the glass and trying to tell them to keep away. He got out, heading for the doors, only to be stopped by the school’s caretaker.
“Don’t open that, lad.”
Becker and his soldiers came closer. “It’s okay. This is what we do,” he assured the man. “Now, what happened?”
He didn’t know where the anomaly had appeared as he’d been sweeping the gymnasium at the time, the caretaker told them, but there had been these odd animals. They were about the size of Great Danes, but with scaly skin and huge teeth. There hadn’t been many pupils in the gyms or workshops at that time and so the teachers had managed to get everyone up to the second floor, closing off the heavy fire doors behind them. He had come back out this way to lock the outer doors and call for help.
“I called the RSPCA,” he told them. “I thought, they catch strays and things, don’t they?”
“Not these kinds of strays,” Connor told him, turning to Becker. “It doesn’t sound like anything from the database, unless it’s an entirely undiscovered species. Or it could be from the future, not the past. I need to get a good look at one of them.”
They couldn’t just wait out here all day; they had to get to the anomaly and lock it down before anything else came through.
“Okay, folks,” Becker called to the teams. “I want everyone carrying tranquiliser guns and live ammo; we have no idea what these things are and we can’t risk them getting loose with the kids still in there. Tranqs first,” he said, seeing Abby’s disapproving look. “Live rounds only as a last resort.”
Moving around to the front of the building, they cautiously approached the door into the foyer, the windows allowing them to see that the area was clear of creatures. It was unlocked, but closed in order to keep the creatures contained.
“We go in here,” Becker told them.
Danny brought the vehicle closer, pulling up as close to the entrance as he could, climbing out, his hand on the back door handle. At Spike’s nod from inside, he pulled open the door, as Connor opened the one into the foyer. Under the cover of heavy blankets, a faint trail of smoke following them, Spike and Angel to make a dash for the door, racing inside out of the sunlight. Becker’s men moved in after them, spreading out to secure the area as the others followed the two vampires in.
Abby and Danny both had tranquiliser guns at the ready, going to join Becker’s men as he ordered them into search teams. Connor was already on his way to the offices with the caretaker, in search of the fire plans for the school. It would help them to have a floor plan, to make sure they didn’t miss any corridors where the creatures could slip by them.
“Becker, where do you want us?” Spike asked.
Becker instructed them to join the search teams but Lester opened his mouth to object. Then remembering his earlier promise not to step on Becker’s authority, he closed it again.
“Sir? If you’d prefer something else, it’s fine. We can handle the search.”
Lester smiled at Becker. “I was thinking that I should perhaps go and speak to the teachers upstairs, let them know what’s happening.”
Becker nodded. “Spike, go with him. Angel, maybe you should keep an eye on Connor.” He looked to Lester. “Go and make sure she’s alright,” he said quietly.
Lester and Spike set off toward the main stairs as Becker and the others waited for Connor to get back with the plans before setting off toward the gymnasiums and few classrooms on that level.
As they walked onto the second floor corridor, people watched from the small square windows in the classroom doors, eager to see what was going on. Moments later, a teacher emerged from one of the classrooms, looking each way down the corridor nervously before she stepped out fully.
“You really shouldn’t be here at the moment,” she said. “There are some animals loose-”
Lester smiled. “It’s alright. Myself and my colleagues downstairs are here to deal with those creatures. Who first saw them? It would be helpful if we could speak to that person.”
She pointed to the classroom on the far end of the corridor. “Janet Leeming. She was taking a PE lesson in Gym 2 when those things appeared. When we evacuated the ground floor, I saw her take the kids into the end room.”
Thanking her, Lester and Spike set off again, Lester pausing a few steps later. “I don’t suppose you know where form group 10F are at present, do you?”
She shook her head. “Sorry.”
The end classroom was packed with terrified looking children in sports kit, two teachers trying to calm them down. When Lester tried the door handle, one of the children squealed as though expecting to find one of the creatures trying to get in. A woman in her twenties in a tracksuit and trainers hurried over.
“Are you Janet Leeming?” Lester asked. When she nodded, he indicated for her to step outside. “We need to talk to you about the animals. I gather you were the first to see them?”
“I was. Look, I’ll be happy to answer whatever you like, but I’m not going out there.”
Spike shut the door and followed her to the desk at the front of the room where it was a bit quieter.
“Mr Lester? You’re Jessica’s father, aren’t you?” the other teacher in the room said, coming to join them. “What are you doing here?”
“My job. My team are downstairs tracking the creatures but I need a few things, such as where they first appeared, and how many there were.”
The PE teacher thought for a moment. “I think saw five of them, but I can’t be certain that there weren’t more. Or less; they all looked the same. To begin with we didn’t see them, but we could hear them. The door was propped open, into the corridor, and we could hear something coming, like a dog walking on tiles with that clicking sound. Only bigger, much bigger. Then one came inside.”
Spike had his mobile phone out, relaying the information to Becker and the team. Listening for a moment, he turned to the teachers.
“Is everyone accounted for?” he asked. “Is there anyone left down there?”
Mrs Leeming fell silent for a moment, her eyes going to Lester.
“Jessica and five others got separated from us. They were near to the equipment cupboard, getting the volleyballs out and so rather than run past the animal, they locked themselves in there. I thought it would be safer.”
Spike could see Lester clench his fists at his sides as he glared at the teacher. “You just left my daughter down there? You had better hope she hasn’t a scratch on her, or you will never be teaching again. I’ll make certain of that.”
“We couldn’t go back for them!” she protested. “More of those animals appeared and if we didn’t move then, we wouldn’t have been able to get past them.”
Spike turned on his heel and stormed out, dialling Becker again as he filled them in on the situation.
“Where are you going? It’s not safe out there,” Mrs Leeming called after him.
Glowering at her, Spike paused. “No, it’s not, which is why we’re going to get Jessica.”
When he and Lester reached the end of the corridor that led to the gyms and classrooms, they found Angel waiting for them, along with Connor and Abby and a floor plan that had been printed off the computer.
“There are more of them down there than we thought,” Angel reported. “They’ve caught three so far, but Hils said they’ve managed to get through a fire door and into the main hall. Unfortunately, that means they’ve got access to the rest of the building.”
“So downstairs has been cleared?” Lester asked. “Good.”
He pulled open the door and marched through, following Connor’s directions, heading down to the lower level. It seemed that, although they had tranquilised the creatures that were down there, they hadn’t yet shut down the anomaly.
“Connor, find it and get it closed,” Lester snapped at him.
Connor hurried off with Abby at his side, gun raised to fend off any creatures that might come through as he locked the anomaly. They kept out of sight of the creatures as he followed the hand held detector to the classroom in the middle of the corridor.
“They’re definitely in there,” Angel said, looking at the storeroom door.
Beside him, Spike nodded. He could smell the fear radiating from the room, the girls trapped in there terrified of the creatures currently clawing and scratching at the door. Lester didn’t need to know that, though, and so the vampires kept quiet. He leaned out, watching as three of the creatures sniffed and clawed at the wooden door marked ‘storeroom’. Suddenly, one of them charged at it, head-butting it hard enough for the wood to creak, although it didn’t break. There was a squeal from inside the room, hastily cut off as though someone had clamped a hand over the screamer’s mouth. The smell of fear increased.
“We need a distraction,” Lester said, as they slammed into the door again and again. The wood was starting to buckle now, the metal handle bent and mangled after taking a direct hit.
“What we need is a gun,” Spike amended but their only gun was with Abby and she was still looking out for Connor as he locked the anomaly.
Or two pissed off vampires, Lester thought later. When the pair of them let their vampire side take over, faces changing and fangs showing, they were a sight to see. The second that the creatures saw them, they charged, snarling and attacking. In a way, Lester felt sorry for them as the two vampires fought together, taking down two of the creatures with brutal precision, going for their softer underbellies or throats. Spike snapped the neck of the last one and went over to the door.
The lock had been twisted under the assault leaving it unable to be opened, and so he aimed a booted foot at it and kicked, hard, sending the door slamming open. Six girls in shorts and t-shirts sat huddled together at the back of the room, squeezed under the shelving. When Spike barged in, the one nearest to him let out a whimper and tried to back away further. He frowned, then remembered, quickly shifting his face back to normal. The girls now watched him suspiciously, as though not really believing what they’d just seen.
He smiled, crouching down in front of Jessica. “Hiya, pet. Ready to get out of here?”
The other five girls looked at Jessica in surprise as she smiled and scrambled out, throwing her arms around Spike and hugging him.
“Your dad and Angel are just outside,” he told her.
“With the animals?!”
He shook his head, addressing the rest of them too. “The animals outside here are dead, and the rest of them have been tracked down and dealt with. It’s safe.”
With that, Jessica let him go and ran outside to her dad as Spike and Angel convinced the other girls it was really safe to leave, taking them out. When they saw the dead creatures in the corridor, they paled, trying not to look at them. One girl started crying.
“Hey, come on. You’re not supposed to cry when you get rescued,” Angel teased lightly, trying to keep his body between her and the dead creatures. “Swooning over the handsome heroes who did the rescuing, maybe, but not crying. Well, one handsome hero, and Spike.”
Spike turned and glared at him. “I can out-hero you any day of the week,” he grumbled.
“I notice you didn’t argue about the ‘handsome’ part,” Angel retorted.
“Oh, get stuffed.”
Angel sniggered. “What an eloquent response, William.”
“Don’t call me that, Liam.”
Their bickering was having the desired effect, taking the girls’ minds off the creatures. Jessica and the others went to get their clothes from the locker room, getting cold in just their shorts and t-shirts, hurrying as though expecting the three men to have left them again when they came back out. By the time they re-emerged, Connor and Abby had caught them up. Connor gave Jessica a hug, waving hello to Kelly, the friend Jessica had introduced him to that morning when he’d dropped her off at school. Becker and the rest of the team met them at the top of the stairs.
“All clear?” Lester asked them.
Becker nodded. “They’re all down; we’ll need Connor to open the anomaly so that we can shove them back through. Any more down there?”
“All dead, though we probably should remove them,” he said. The rest of the team headed down to deal with them, Becker staying behind to make sure everyone was alright.
“Clean-up in aisle five,” Angel muttered under his breath, causing Spike and Jessica to laugh.
She was looking a little less wide-eyed and jittery now, as were the others, and she gave Angel a smile.
“Angel? Thank you for coming to get us.”
Angel grinned back. “Any time.”
He saw one of the girls nudge her in the ribs and she turned. “Who are these people?” she whispered.
Jessica nodded. “That’s Angel, Spike, Connor and Becker. Spike and Connor live with my dad,” she announced proudly.
“Becker’s cute,” the girl whispered, oblivious to the fact that their entire conversation was being listened to by not only the man in question - who was currently blushing a nice shade of pink- but everyone else, too. “I bet he’s got a girlfriend, though.”
Jessica shook her head, smiling at the momentary look of delight on the other girl’s face. “Actually, he’s got Angel.”
Her friend looked them both over speculatively. “You mean they’re, you know, like boyfriends?”
Spike took in the embarrassed expression on Becker’s face and laughed. “Looks like you’ve got some competition,” he told Angel.
Becker just blushed even more and made the excuse of having to go and check on his team, hurrying off toward the gymnasiums again.
The creatures were sent back through the anomaly, even the ones that Spike and Angel had dispatched, and the headmistress informed that the building was clear. As the anomaly was still present, they were going to have to leave someone to watch it until it disappeared, keeping that classroom locked and off-limits until it did.
“I would also like to make a complaint regarding the fact that one of your teachers abandoned six children with those creatures. When we arrived, the creatures had almost broken through the door and into the room where the girls had sought refuge,” Lester told her. “Had we not gone to find them when we did, I doubt they would all have been here, unscathed, right now. When I leave my daughter in this establishment, I do so with the understanding that she will be looked after. Your staff have a duty of care to the pupils, one that does not include running away and hiding whilst they are in danger.”
As the headmistress attempted to apologise, he cut her off mid-sentence.
“My formal letter of complaint regarding Janet Leeming will be in the post tomorrow. Good day.”
Outside, Spike and Angel were waiting with Jessica and the other girls. Though they had calmed down, none of them were willing to leave their rescuers’ sides just yet. A young man in a slightly shabby grey suit was standing nearby, and Lester recognised him from the last parents evening as Jessica’s form tutor. When Lester came out, he held out his hand.
“Mr Lester, it’s good to see you again. Not the circumstances, of course. It’s been an eventful day,” he mused. “I called the girls’ parents to come and collect them. Lord knows what I’m going to tell them when they get here.”
Jessica, still almost leaning against Spike’s side, looked up at her dad. “Does that mean we can go home?”
He smiled at her. “Soon, love. I need to stay here for a little while longer, but Spike and Connor could take you home if you wanted.”
Spike nudged her gently, whispering, “If you say yes then we get the afternoon off as well.”
Jessica smiled. “Okay. But you’re coming home soon, aren’t you, dad?”
“As soon as I talk to the other parents.”
Mr Farrington, the form tutor, looked relieved to have some help explaining this. Especially as, so far, the headmistress hadn’t even emerged from her office to check on the girls, Lester noted.
A few minutes later, Connor came in through the main doors to tell them that they were ready to go.
Jessica, Spike and Angel followed him out, the two vampires keeping in the shadows as far as they could before tugging their coats over their heads and making a run for it, scrambling in through the door that Connor had left open for them. Jessica followed at a normal pace and climbed into the back to sit next to Spike, frowning at them.
“You two are weird, you know that?” She got comfortable and clipped her seatbelt on, before asking hesitantly, “Spike? When you first came into the room, why did your face look strange?”
Spike glanced at Angel over her head, looking for some help fielding this one. He didn’t know if Lester intended to tell her what Spike was, but the girl was asking now. And, as he’d said to Lester days earlier, she was likely to be more annoyed if they kept things a secret from her. Unfortunately, he couldn’t exactly get back out of the car and go speak to Lester without the braving the sunlight again. He really didn’t want to do that.
Angel looked up as Connor approached the car, pointing it out and sidetracking Jessica from her current question. Hopefully, getting home would make her forget about it for at least a few hours.
“You guys mind if I tag along?” he asked Spike and Connor. “Hils is going to be busy for a while here and he’s kind of my ride home.”
Jessica was nothing if not persistent. She managed a whole hour before going back to her earlier question and Spike and Angel’s deflection of it.
“Why don’t you eat?” she asked, seeing Spike and Angel with only a mug of tea each as she and Connor devoured a turkey, lettuce and tomato sandwich each.
“I eat,” Spike protested. Just not food, he added silently.
“Well, I’ve never seen you,” she pointed out. “And that door was like, super heavy, and you just kicked it open. That was cool, by the way.”
She really was her father’s daughter, Connor thought as he watched the two vampires squirm under her questions. She was like a dog with a bone when she set her mind to something and he had a feeling that she wasn’t going to back off from this until she had an answer she was happy with.
“Okay, pet,” Spike said. “Here’s the truth. Me and Angel are vampires.”
The look she gave them reminded Connor of the one he used to get from Lester, the one that said ‘stop playing silly buggers; it’s getting annoying’.
“Vampires? As in, blood and fangs and turning into bats and can’t go out in sunlight-”
She paused, thinking as she said that last part, remembering all the times that the two of them had raced across sun lit areas, with coats or blankets over their heads.
“No, you can’t be, because they don’t exist except in those dumb movies.”
She fell off the end of the sofa as Angel’s fangs lengthened and his face shifted, backing up as fast as she could. Getting to her feet, she raced over to Connor, clutching his arm as she half hid behind him.
Connor took her hand and eased her out from her hiding place. “It’s okay,” he promised. “Ignore what you know from the movies- this is Spike and Angel, the same people you’ve been hanging out with all week.”
It took a while to convince her that the two vampires weren’t actually going to hurt her, but eventually she sat back down on the sofa again. She kept watching them nervously, but after a while even that faded.
“So, you’re don’t kill people?”
Both of them shook their heads, and Connor heaved a sigh of relief. Now was not the time to start telling her that mere decades ago, the pair had been thought of as two of the most vicious bloodsuckers of their time.
“We both have souls,” Spike told her. “Though some of us had to actually earn them,” he added with a pointed glance at Angel. “See, when a vampire is made, a demon takes over. It kills and hurts people with no sense of right and wrong because there isn’t a soul, a conscience, in there too. Me and Angel got our moral compasses back when we got our souls.”
Jessica nodded. “That makes sense. You know, up until a few minutes ago, I thought those weird animals attacking the school would be the strangest thing to happen to me today.” She pondered it a moment longer. “So, if you’re really vampires, can you fly?”
“Do you sparkle if you stand in the sun?” she asked.
Angel made a disgusted sound. “No we damn well don’t. Real vampires do not sparkle; we get caught in the sun and we burn, plain and simple. Sparkle! Bloody Twilight.”
“Yeah, that woman wouldn’t know a real vampire if it jumped up and bit her,” Spike agreed. “Honestly, since that sodding film came along that’s what everyone thinks we are- a bunch of namby-pamby sparkly wusses.”
By the time Lester got home an hour later with Becker and David, Jessica’s initial fear had vanished completely. She looked up as David came bouncing in, telling them about how fantastic his football practice had gone after school but then he stopped. Glancing around at them all, his gaze finally settled on his sister.
Jessica looked up at Spike and Angel, eyes asking her silent question. At Angel’s nod, she beamed.
“Spike and Angel are vampires!”
He just rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right.”
“Really. Spike, show him.”
David let out a rather girly yelp as Spike let the demon in him come to the surface, insisting that Spike had just surprised him and that he wasn’t scared, thank you very much. Like Jessica, his fear vanished quickly given that he knew his dad wouldn’t let them be around Spike or Angel if they were dangerous.
“This is awesome. So, you’re like real vampires? Do you drink blood? Can you turn into a bat? Do you sleep in a coffin?”
Spike glanced over at Connor, thinking that there was something really familiar about this, remembering a year ago when he met a strange young man on the Forth Bridge. One who also asked way too many question.
“Do you sparkle?”
Both men turned and glared, just as Connor clapped a hand over David’s mouth.
“We don’t mention the T word,” Jessica told him with a giggle. “They get a bit cranky about it.”
Lester headed for the kitchen, indicating for Connor to follow him.
“How is she?” he asked. “She seems a lot happier than she did back at the school.”
Connor turned to watch as Spike pulled vampire faces for David while he and Angel fended off the kind of questions that only an eight year old could come up with. Things such as: if you only drink blood, do you need to use the bathroom? Or, how do you do your hair if you don’t have a reflection? That one was from Jessica, but he had to admit it was one of the first things he’d asked too when he met Spike.
“She’s fine. You’re not mad that we told her, are you? She’d seen Spike back at the school, seen his face, and she kept asking.”
Lester shook his head. It had to happen sooner or later, just as he’d needed to tell her that he was involved with the two men. Whether or not he would have told David was another matter. He wasn’t worried that his son would be scared of them, quite the opposite in fact. David had a knack for letting things slip that he wasn’t supposed to mention. It came in handy when one of the children had broken something and he wanted to know who but, when it came to keeping the existence of two vampires a secret, however, that wasn’t a good thing. He was likely to see it as something cool to tell his friends rather than keeping it quiet for the sake of Angel and Spike.
“I’ll have to talk to him about keeping this to himself,” he mused aloud as they went back into the living room. “Okay, you two have homework,” he told the children. “Go on, you can annoy Spike and Angel later.”
Angel stood up. “Actually, I think Becker is getting impatient so I’d better go,” he said, following Becker out of the door.
“Gee, thanks,” Spike grumbled, realising that he was being left to fend off the next round of questions that the kids would likely be thinking up when they were meant to be doing their homework.
A few hours later, Lester looked around at the now-empty living room, the children gone off to their beds, and sat down on the sofa, exhausted. It had been a dreadful day, that moment of fear upon hearing that it was his daughter’s school under attack from the creatures, and then seeing her terrified and cowering in that small room with the others.
“It’s okay,” Connor told him, sitting down beside him, as he voiced that weariness. “She’s fine. She didn’t get hurt- none of the kids did- and it’s safe again at the school.”
Lester nodded. “I know that, but she’s just a child; she shouldn’t have to be dealing with my world.”
“But she had to, and she handled it pretty well,” Connor pointed out. “I’ve seen adults fall apart when they come face to face with the creatures, but she didn’t. She’s definitely a Lester,” he joked.
“Look, maybe its better this way,” Spike added. “It’s like everything else; she was going to find out sometime. We had a talk on the way back from the school and she’s not going to tell her brother about the creatures, or about us, for that matter.”
Lester heaved a sigh of relief. “Good, because I don’t intend to have that conversation with him for another few years at least.”
Spike looked at the clock on the wall and stood up, holding his hands out to both Connor and Lester.
“Come on; bed.”
Both followed, Lester not even protesting that the children might see as he followed the other two into Connor’s room. Right now, he just wanted to go to sleep, knowing that the children were safe and that he had Connor and Spike there with him, and rest.
Tomorrow, he would have to call Amelia: informing his ex-wife that their children knew about the vampires (and actually telling Amelia that one of the men living with him was a vampire); that Jessica now knew about his living arrangements; that she had been attacked at the school by possible future predators.
If he thought talking to Jessica about his living arrangement had been scary, it was nothing compared to breaking the rest of the news to his ex.