BYLINE William Walthrop, 1941

(Spike's Leningrad tale...told to Buffy and the spirit of Buffy Rebecca, in part XIV of "In for a Penny...")

Spike and Buffy with the spirit of her robotic "sister", Buffy Rebecca, wait at the Greenwood crypt where Spike and Buffy Rebecca had spent their brief "married" life together...

They are not there to remember happier days...

Buffy, now a vampire by the actions of Darla, still possesses her human soul, thanks to the quick action of his "sister" in helping to block her from being supplanted by her vampire demon...

Giles is on his way...Knowing that Buffy's soul is still present the gang has the barest of hopes that a way can be found to save her...

Spike, now trusted as the redeemed "brother-in-law" to Buffy, knowing that Buffy Rebecca would persuade Buffy to head to Greenwood, has arrived at the best possible time to trap Buffy and her demon...Daylight...

To accomplish this, Xander and Willow had heavily swathed him in bandages...a la "the Invisible Man"...

Buffy is in despair...Her mother dead, her dad, transformed by Darla and used to defeat his daughter...now also dead, Dawn near death and transformation, saved for the moment only by the power of her Key life-force and the ministrations of Ben the young doctor...aka Benedictus the powerless God of Mercy and Healing...currently still performing house calls in Sunnydale...

Spike is comforting her and Buffy Rebecca...Sure that they will find a way...But...

Buffy desperately seeks distraction...And her "sister" knows how to get it...

"William?...You never did tell me that story about you and Dru in Russia...During World War II?..."

Spike needs no further prompting...Ah, Leningrad...

Buffy Rebecca knows this will be a long one...

"Russia?...World War II?..." Buffy asks with faint curiosity... "With Dru?..."

"He was a freelancer for the Times..." Buffy Rebecca manages to inject just the faintest note of pride...Not too much...She can guess how he became a freelance journalist... But it should get him rolling...

"Ah, Leningrad..."
***
There was no problem at all about transport...No one moved during the day...to avoid Nazi air attacks which were almost constant...and almost completely unopposed...

Unless absolutely impossible, everyone traveled on the roads by cover of night...

So...there was nothing curious about the two British journalists insisting they would travel back to Leningrad by night...
***
The defeat had been foreseen but was still terrible...for a few short weeks the Nazis had been held on the Luga River, about 150 miles from the great city...hundreds of thousands of ordinary civilians digging trenches, constructing barricades...fighting in the lines to replace the enormous losses of the army...

All to no avail...

The Germans had regrouped, brought up more and fresh men, planes, and tanks and now smashed through...And in the beautiful summer weather they were rolling on to the USSR's glorious Imperial city, the former capital, now renamed after Lenin...

The Soviet Red Army was in ruins, its commanders dead, incompetent, or at best tied fast by the commands of the Leader...Great Stalin...who ordered hopeless counterattacks, insane stands, and was demanding the execution of all who dared retreat...

While the Germans steamrolled on...

And, in the wake of the ruined, retreating army...two British journalists...a freelance writer, one William Walthrop...and his assistant, a photographer...Drusilla Rogers...

She liked Ginger Rogers films...And affected an American accent whenever forced to briefly deal with the human Russians...

***
Dru...She had demanded it...

Not that she hadn't loved the war in England...The Blitz had been a time of ecstasy for her...So many terrified people...crowded into little shelters...wet with fear...So tasty...

And she'd done her bit...At Spike's urging...The silly boy had had some ridiculous notions that they should help "Mother England"... Wartime and all...Everyone does their bit...

Even vampires...

So...she'd helped him...Digging people out of blasted homes...Sighting Nazi planes...Eating downed Nazi pilots...And in the final analysis, she'd probably saved more people than killed...

She could only eat so many people, after all...

What a jolly time...But...

Then the Blitz let up...Herr Hitler had other business for his Luftwaffe in the East...England would be starved out...by U-boat...

And that was no fun for Drusilla...

So...she demanded they go...where the action was...

Russia...
***
She had "found" a dead correspondent...who had been about to travel to Russia...

Spike could possibly believe that...But...

Also "finding" a dead photographer and his credentials...That was pushing it...

However, if she really wanted to go...That badly...

***
They had been "welcomed" at the Arctic port of Murmansk after a hazardous crossing...By the NKVD...Who were overjoyed to see Western reporters...Overjoyed...

Still, Allies are allies...

Under guard they'd been transported to the Luga front...To be shown how Great Stalin's brilliant strategy had stopped the Germans in their tracks...

Just in time to join the rout...
***
They were riding back to Leningrad in one of the few trucks available...

Anything for Our Beloved British Allies...

It was autumn cold...Dru tried to sleep...Since Spike had sworn her to good behavior...

Allies, after all...

A truck full to overflowing with officers...None of whom looked at the other...Great Stalin was not likely to be pleased with them...

One lieutenant, heavily swathed in blankets and the overcoats of several of the others...had been assigned to the British journalists...Liaison officer...Transferred from "staff"...

No doubt NKVD...

Spike sensed something...From the heavily bundled Comrade Lieutenant...He could swear...

The Comrade Lieutenant unbundled the layers of clothing...To reveal...

A young blonde woman of medium height...Who regarded them with a certain repressed hostility...Which was not an unusual attitude in Stalin's USSR towards foreigners...But somehow...it was something more...

The Major who had supervised the bringing of Spike and Dru from Murmansk to the front introduced them...

"Comrade William Walthrop...of the famous London Times...Comrade Drusilla Rogers...likewise of the famous newspaper..." He nodded at the young woman...

"Comrade Lieutenant Sarah Orlova Geller..."

She nodded stiffly...

Slayer?...thought Spike...

"She will take charge of you during your time in Leningrad..." The Major stated...

***
They reached the outskirts of the great city...Little had been done regarding evacuation...

After all Great Stalin had said...
***

They disembarked...The officers headed out to meet their fates...Mostly in the form of NKVD execution squads...

The Comrade Lieutenant led her "charges" into the city...To what was left of the Astoria Hotel, finest in the city...

The Germans were not far behind...

***
"Comrade Walthrop...Comrade Rogers...These will be your quarters..." Lieutenant Geller waved them into a reasonably tolerable hotel suite...Just the place for such capitalist swine...

And...No...She firmly repressed the thought...Comrade Stalin had proven by the application of Marxist dialectic in his "Marxism and Proletarian Superstition" that the wampire was a capitalist bogeyman...Used to frighten the workers into docility...

There are no wampires...

And she is not the Slayer...
***
"You will call me if there is any difficulty...No?...You will call me when you wish to travel...You will call me when you wish interviews...You will call me..."

Spike interrupted...

"We will call you..."

Dru grinned at her...

"Hey doll...Wheere cana gal get her hair done round here?..." Her best American accent...

Englishwomen...All crazy...thought Comrade Lieutenant Geller...

She directed Dru to the hotel concierge...Just released from a camp to give the Astoria a badly needed "touch" for the Allied representatives and journalists who would be coming to support and report on the Motherland's heroic efforts against Nazi tyranny...
***
But she was troubled...

Later in her room she could remember the face of her long dead Watcher...Pavel...

Denounced by her...Eight years ago...At his urging...To protect her...

But she'd come to accept the indoctrination she'd been put through afterwards...

She had no special powers...That belief would foster a cult of the individual, opposing the Party will...There were no wampires...Great Stalin had settled the matter...

***
Still these two "British journalists"?...They felt unmistakably... like...

Nonsense...But...They could be spies...Yes, they could be Nazi spies...

Still, Allies...Questions would be asked...Proof demanded...

Real proof...Not Purge trial proof...

Well, proof she would get...

Comrade Lieutenant Geller reflected that there was no crime in killing two possible Nazi spies...And, if she used a wooden stake...in order to avoid the noise of a pistol...It would be no violation of Comrade Stalin's dictum...She was not killing them as wampires...There were no wampires...

But she needed to consult with Party Commissar Comrade Mikoyan...Her superior...
***
"When do we eat?..." Dru asked Spike...

"Soon, Dru soon...Give the Nazis a chance...They'll be here soon..."

"I want to eat now...What about that Slayer?..."

"You got it too?...An actual Slayer ..."

"Let's eat her now..."

"Allies...Dru...Allies..." Spike sighed...
***
BYLINE William Walthrop, 1941...Part II

Comrade Lieutenant Geller was informed that the British journalists were "resting" from their journey and would not be going out that morning...

Lazy capitalist swine...

But...It couldn't help strengthening her vague uneasiness...

Fortunately there were more pressing matters...

The Nazis were encircling the city...

She went to see Comrade Mikoyan...At NKVD headquarters...

To discuss the "handling" of Spike and Dru...And test her "spy" theory...

***

Spike was admirably industrious...Hard at his story for the Times on the gallant Luga stand...

It being wartime he naturally did not dwell on the rout at the end...

Dru was getting tired of her "good behavior"...She wanted a night out and a hearty meal...

***
Despite the crisis at the front, Comrade Mikoyan always had time for Comrade Lieutenant Geller...

And listening to her description of the two "journalists", he sensed as he always did when Comrade Lieutenant Geller's "special instincts" were aroused that she had more than the usual NKVD officer's suspicion of potential suspects at work here...

But if these were British citizens they could not simply be declared spies and executed...As most of those the Comrade Lieutenant had a "special instinct" about were...

With crossbows rather than the usual machine guns...

Not that anyone was suggesting wampires existed...In defiance of Great Stalin's dictum...It was just...

Some of her suspects had a high lead tolerance...

***
"I simply have a feeling about them, Comrade Mikoyan...And it is strange that two 'British journalists' should arrive at such a critical time"...

She made a slip there he thought...Critical time?...When Great Stalin had declared the Leningrad front secure?...When he had ordered the transfer of vital war materials to shore up the Moscow front...Denied any need for mass evacuation?...

"What critical time, Comrade Lieutenant?..." He looked at her guardedly...Warning...

She caught the hint...

"I mean of course the war..."

"Ah yes, but our Allies must be allowed to see our heroic defense so that no false reports of defeat can flourish..."

"Yes?...But still Comrade Commissar..."

He trusted her instincts...After all he was a Watcher of sorts...Who had penetrated the Council for NKVD intelligence...Passed on reports of their activities...Which were of course dismissed as nonsense...But he couldn't help retaining a Watcher's instincts...Just as Comrade Lieutenant Geller...

Of course one day he would be shot for such thinking...It was curious that he hadn't already been...But in the meantime...

"It would be wise to watch them carefully in any case...There is always the possibility that they are spies, Nazi or otherwise...And if that were to be proven..."

She nodded in satisfaction...
***
The Germans had reached points three miles from the city...All railways were cut to the south and east...In the north, the Finns threatened the city and cut all communication...Only air and a dangerous journey by boat across the vast Lake Ladoga remained to keep Leningrad in communication with the rest of the glorious Motherland...And the lake would soon freeze...

Millions were trapped in the city...And food would soon be running short...

But the principal threat for now was the German advance...They were gearing up for one last huge push right on in...But time was a problem...

Hitler wanted Moscow before late winter...And he needed the tanks and planes at Leningrad to take it...So any major push had to be now...Within four days...

Else it would be a siege...

***
Comrade Lieutenant Geller had returned to "check" on her British charges...She noted their room followed blackout regulations to an extreme...

Comrade Walthrop was busily at work...And pleased to see her...He offered her some of his latest story to read over...

Comrade Dru Rogers did not seem quite so occupied...However she made an effort to look like she was fussing with her camera equipment...And occasionally cast hungry glances at the Comrade Lieutenant and her escort, a tall soldier...Yummy looking...

"Comrade Walthrop?...I see that you fail to give proper credit to Comrade Stalin's analysis of the Nazis' intentions in the battle...His brilliance in ordering a strategic withdrawal to the city outskirts where the exhausted Germans will now be cut off and destroyed..."

Cut off?...Destroyed?...I was being generous to say that the army retreated in good order...Spike thought...

Dru wondered if perhaps...the tall soldier would escort her to the dining room...As they were not allowed to leave their room without permission...

"Perhaps...Comrade Rogers...You would like to have an opportunity to take some photographs...Outside?..." The Comrade Lieutenant could not help feeling a little satisfied with that one...

Let us see if the Englishwoman enjoys the outdoors...On a bright sunny morning...

Dru looked nervously at Spike...Outside?...

"Well, Dru's specialty is night photography..." Spike began quickly...

A massive German air raid now saved the day...All fled to the hotel shelters...

Herr Goring to the rescue...

***

BYLINE William Walthrop, 1941...Part III

Part of the air raid shelter collapsed...A dozen people were buried alive...Including a British photographer...A Miss Drusilla Rogers...A tragedy...

But Dru loved playing corpses...She'd gotten very good at it during the Blitz...And always so jolly to spring up in an ambulance...Or the morgue...

And now she would be free to roam the city...By night...

As the bodies were dug out...Comrade Lieutenant Geller decided to offer a little sympathy to the "stricken" Comrade Walthrop...Obviously the two had been lovers...And until she had definite proof as to their spy status...

"My sincere apologies, Comrade Walthrop...I am sure Comrade Rogers will be remembered as a heroine of the struggle against the Fascist beast..."

Spike did his best to seem the grieving boyfriend...But, with Brit pluck...one can carry on...

He asked a little anxiously...

"Where are the bodies being taken?..."

They would be stored in the hotel basement for the present...Until transport could be arranged...Probably only at nightfall...

To Comrade Lieutenant Geller's surprise...Comrade Walthrop asked to resume his journalistic activities that night...When transport would be possible...To tour the front, meet the people and troops...

His Dru would have wanted it that way...

Ah...British pluck...
***
Comrade Lieutenant Geller returned for him just after dark...She had arranged transport up to the front lines, plus several carefully supervised interviews with leading figures, soldiers, "ordinary citizens"...To give Comrade Walthrop a proper impression of the Soviet peoples' unbreakable will to resist the Fascist beast as one man...

She also planned to watch him...carefully...

As for the disposal of poor Comrade Rogers' body...she had consulted Comrade Commissar Mikoyan...

It was a little unusual to arrange to have bomb victims cremated but...What the NKVD demands...the NKVD gets...

She did not find it necessary to inform Comrade Walthrop of the details of his beloved's ultimate disposal...
***
Herr Hitler had been a bit more broad-minded in dealing with vampires than Comrade Stalin...

A special corps of SS troops had been created...For night operations only...A true "Death's Head" brigade...

They had proven quite useful at several critical junctures...

Now Army Group Commander von Leeb had need of their services again...The River Neva was the last major natural obstacle to breaking Leningrad's eastern defenses, away from the factories and destroyed buildings that would hamper an advance in the immediate south of the city...But it was well defended...And he had only three days left now before his tank corps would be lost...

Could the brigade possibly seize a bridgehead across the river?...At night?... And hold it until morning?...When his forces could cross in strength...

Their commander felt they could...
***
Dru enjoyed being carried, dead, to the transport trucks...She anticipated her "resurrection"...the panic...the horror of the onlookers...that lovely smell of terrified humans...But...

Her clairvoyant abilities put her on guard...Something was not quite right here...She sensed...And then smelled...Gasoline...Fire...

She jumped up and off the truck as the guards desperately fired at her...

Unfortunately those NKVD troops trained in dealing with prisoners with "high lead tolerance" were already dead or at the front...

Or escorting a British newspaperman around town...
***
They had met with several officials, some heroic workers, and were headed on to the front...A relatively quiet sector outside the city...At the Neva River... "So...Comrade Lieutenant?...You don't mind being out after dark?..." Spike asked the Comrade Lieutenant who shrugged...

"In wartime...it is perhaps the safest time..."

"But what about...werewolves?...demons?...vampires?...ghosts?...the bogeyman?..." Spike grinned at her...He was curious nonetheless...A non-Slaying Slayer?...

"Such nonsense is for children...in capitalist countries perhaps...Here we believe in facts...realities..." she frowned at him...He was obviously baiting her...He suspected something...

She couldn't help noticing he was an attractive man...for a wam...for a spy...she corrected...

Facts thought Spike...Like those "confessions" the NKVD was grinding out of even the best officers and most loyal Party officials...Realities...like the current military situation, declared by
Stalin to be "favorable"...

She looked at him...Almost my age in appearance...But I wonder...No...No... There are no wampires...

"You are a young man, Comrade Walthrop...Yet I would guess very experienced to have merited such an important assignment..."

"You're rather young yourself, Comrade Lieutenant...To be such an accomplished Soviet officer..." he smiled back at her...

"One is given responsibility early here..." she called to the driver to halt...

They had reached the "relatively quiet" Neva sector judged safe to show a foreign journalist...
***
Meanwhile, across the river, the finest specimens of the Master Race, vampiral, were massing...

In the "relatively quiet" sector...

***
The local front commander was nervous...Just talking to a foreigner was usually cause for arrest and execution...as a spy and traitor...Even if one had been ordered to do it in the course of one's duty...

But...Anything for Our Beloved British Allies...

Spike wanted to meet some of the soldiers in their dugouts...Get the "feel" of the front line...Comrade Lieutenant Geller waved the commander's objections...To exposing their distinguished guest...

NKVD Lieutenants outrank Red Army Generals...no question...
***
The soldiers of the front line dugouts had been briefed and prepped...just in case...

They provided Spike with suitable patriotic sentiments...Proper appreciation for their gallant British allies...

He sighed...

Comrade Lieutenant Geller couldn't keep a slight smile from her lips...No defeatist sentiments on this part of the front...But she liked his persistence... Surprising...in a capitalist stooge...especially a...No...No!...she reminded herself...Only a spy at worst...

Instinct...she thought...So unLeninist...

***
"Comrade General Fedunsky?..." a young soldier called to the commander from his observation slit...at the top of the dugout where Spike, the commander, and Comrade Lieutenant Geller were on tour... "I see several rafts bearing Nazis...May I request your permission to open fire?..."

"This is a quiet sector..." said Comrade Lieutenant Geller... "He must be mistaken..."

"Let me see..." said the commander... He went to the top of the dugout...

"I think you'd better start firing..." Spike suggested...

"The High Command has declared this a quiet sector..." Comrade Lieutenant Geller replied..."We should get confirmation...And proper authorization..."

Gunfire opened up from the rafts and the opposite shore...The commander fell back from the observation slit, dead...

"We have confirmation..." noted Spike... "Maybe you should get authorization..."

***

BYLINE William Walthrop, 1941...Part IV...

Nearly 200 Nazis were now pouring across the river bank towards the dugout where Spike and Comrade Lieutenant Geller were touring the "quiet" sector of the front...

Strangely, they seemed rather resistant to machine gun fire...Oh, it knocked them down...But they soon struggled back to their feet...

They were overruning the Soviet positions...And broke into the dugout...
Vampires...thought Spike...Well, if I was bent on world conquest, I'd make use of all my tools...

Wampires?...thought Comrade Lieutenant Geller as she shot at several point blank with little effect...No, impossible...There are no...

Spike tossed her a wooden stick pulled from the dugout wall...And with one of his own, went to work...

All for Mother England...And her Allies...

The soldiers, seeing the effect of the sticks on the rampaging Nazis, began grabbing their own...

But Comrade Lieutenant Geller was in a quandary...To stake or not to stake...Still, a weapon is a weapon...

Just more of those "high tolerance lead" types...

***
Between them, Spike and Comrade Lieutenant Geller had accounted for 40 "Death's Head" Nazi vampires...Not to minimize the efforts of the soldiers...

Within half an hour the remnants of the "Death's Head" brigade was in full retreat back across the Neva...

There would be no crossing tonight...

***
As she finished several remaining Nazis, Comrade Lieutenant Geller watched Comrade Walthrop carefully...He has killed his own kind...she marveled...A wampire in the service of the cause...Impossible...

Besides...there are no wampires...

"Nice work, Comrade Lieutenant..." Spike grinned at her...

"A strange combat team, Comrade Walthrop...May I ask?...How did you come to choose that peculiar form of weapon?...Curious..." she stared at him...

"Oh, I've run into their kind before..." he smiled at her... "Medical experiments I think..." he was clearly baiting her again, she thought...

"Indeed...Most interesting...You must tell us what you know about these 'medical experiments'..."

More troops and several NKVD officials arrived...

They congratulated the heroic troops...Comrade Lieutenant Geller...their distinguished British guest...Photos were taken...

Then Comrade Lieutenant Geller and Mr. William Walthrop, British newsman and possible Nazi spy...Were arrested...And brought back to NKVD headquarters for intensive questioning...
***
"Comrade Walthrop?..."

Spike found himself looking at a bespectacled slight middle-aged man...In a plain Soviet official's tunic...

He had refrained from tearing throats during the arrest for forms sake and at their destination a group armed with crossbows had kept him covered...Until he'd been chained up...

To a bed in a small room...Where he had been "intensively" grilled for most of the night...As to his activities...And his connections to the Nazis...And to Comrade Lieutenant Geller...

"I am Party Commissar Mikoyan...I am Comrade Lieutenant Geller's superior officer here..."

"At...NKVD headquarters?..." Spike asked...

"Quite correct...the Lieutenant was one of our best young officers...A pity your association has compromised her..." Mikoyan regarded Spike intently...

"Our association...She took me on a tour of your front and we killed some Nazis overrunning your lines..."

"Yes, quite heroic...I believe you saved the front from immediate collapse...However your methods were quite unorthodox...As you seem to be..."

"I'm simply a good Ally..." Spike looked at Mikoyan... "Seems rather unkind treatment for someone who 'saved the front from immediate collapse'...Or is this routine for heroes before
they receive medals?..."

"Sadly, no, Comrade Walthrop...You see, the Comrade Lieutenant has been under suspicion for some time...By those in authority..."

"For what...dislike of Nazis?..."

"She is suspected of being part of an unLeninist, anti-Stalinist opposition movement...She has been accused of attempting to carry on this activity under the guise of a crusade against mythical forces of darkness..." Mikoyan continued to regard Spike carefully...

"You mean Slayers are not welcome in the workers' paradise..." Spike glared at him...

"I am surprised by you, Comrade...Your attitude is unusual...for one of your kind..."

A compromising statement, no doubt...Spike thought...An attempt to offer trust?...

"My kind?...Well, we Brits are generally reluctant to get involved with strangers but Comrade Lieutenant Geller's case interests me..." Spike smiled at Mikoyan...

"I believe we both know what kind I am referring to...Comrade..." Mikoyan stared at Spike over the tops of his glasses...

"Well, why don't you tell me?..." Spike smiled back...

"Shall we simply say...a victim of the same 'medical experiments' as those Nazis you dealt with tonight?..."

"And you want...What?...An army of the same for yourself..."

"No, my dear Mr. Walthrop...I want Comrade Lieutenant Geller saved...If possible...Free to try and continue her efforts to whatever extent she can..."

***
Dru had found Leningrad a fun city...People in constant fear...Of Nazis and their air raids...of the upcoming siege and possible starvation...And of their fellow citizens...

She'd gorged quite nicely, thank you...And was ready to rejoin her silly little boy...Wherever he'd got himself to...

She felt her way to him...In the center of the city...But not free...Held...Confined...

Not having a jolly time at all...

Well, Mother Dru would take care of that...

***
Mikoyan explained the situation in terse terms...If Spike would confess as a Nazi spy, Comrade Lieutenant Geller would be able to make a case that she had simply been following a likely spy...Not pursing some ridiculous myth...As a cover for nefarious activities...

If not they would both be shot...And he could assure Comrade Walthrop, bullets would not be used in his case...

On the other hand, if he confessed...A ten year sentence in a camp from which it would not be surprising if someone with his abilities managed to effect an escape...quickly...

And Comrade Lieutenant Geller would be awarded the order of Lenin...And more importantly, released...

"May I see her?..." Spike asked...

"I would not advise it..."

"Then...tell her...she's one hell of a Slayer..." Spike grinned... "And next time we meet, it may not be as Allies..."

Mikoyan smiled back at him...

"Comrade Walthrop...I am sure she is well aware of both those things..."
***
Comrade Lieutenant Geller was quietly released that night...And in a public ceremony the next day, was awarded the Order of Lenin for her heroic fight against Nazis crossing the Neva the evening before, aided by a treacherous spy posing as a "British newsman"...

***
Dru reached NKVD headquarters in the early evening of Comrade Lieutenant Geller's big day...

It was not difficult for her to penetrate the building after she killed a female officer on the street outside...

But she was anticipated...

***

Spike in his cell had been expecting either a return visit from Mikoyan or a quick rush to a waiting truck bound for his camp...

Instead, a rather well-known NKVD official entered his cell that evening...Even to an Englishman...Beria, the head of the NKVD...flown in through the Nazi blockade...

And just to make his acquaintance...
***

"We have important matters to discuss, Mr. Walthrop..." Beria looked at him...Not an especially impressive man by any means, Spike thought...But the top boys usually aren't...Excepting of
course the head dog, the Leader..

"I thought my affairs were settled..." Spike looked at Beria and the six goons covering him with crossbows...

"Yes...There has been a change in plans...You are to be brought to Moscow...For an important consultation...In my charge...As my guest, of course..."

"I see...And if I don't like the new arrangement..."

"You shall, of course, be executed...But perhaps of equal importance would be your associates...Comrade Lieutenant Geller, Party Commissar Mikoyan...the men of the 20th Battalion whom you assisted...and of course, your Englishwoman, Miss Rogers...Who seems to have made a miraculous recovery from death..."

"Dru...You have Dru?...Very unlucky for you, I'd say..."

"We suspected her death was staged...A bit too convenient...Then when we heard a wampire was active in Leningrad...We assumed she might try to reach you..." Beria leered at him...

"The capture itself was quite easy..."

"I want to see her before we go any further..." Spike looked at him...

"But of course, Comrade..." Beria always enjoyed this part...The prisoner seeing his or her loved one undergoing excruciating torture...Always certain to bring about an immediate confession...Especially if a child was involved...

Dru was heavily chained down...Surrounded by guards with crossbows...and was being tortured quite brutality...

Even for Dru...
***
Spike accepted Beria's gracious invitation to Moscow...On condition that all the humans involved be released and Dru's torture be stopped...She would accompany them, Beria told him, in a heavily drugged condition...

***
They were flown out the next day...to Moscow...Which was preparing feverishly for the new German onslaught...

Spike and Dru were taken to the Kremlin...Dru, still under sedation, was dragged to a holding area in the basement...Chained and again watched...

Spike was brought to the offices of another Soviet bigwig...Comrade Molotov, Stalin's right hand...Devoted friend...Whose wife was under arrest as a spy...

But a dedicated revolutionary at all times...With an important proposal for Comrade Walthrop...

"It is of world-historical importance that Comrade Stalin be immortal, Comrade Walthrop...To carry through his great plans to complete the building of our glorious socialist state..." Molotov told him...

"Especially considering the current world situation..."

You mean considering his little empire is tumbling around his ears, Spike thought...

"Your friend will suffer should you fail us..."

Yeah, thought Spike...I have a feeling your torture boys are in for a surprise...

He was brought to Stalin's office...

Where the short Leader awaited him impatiently...
***
"Ah, Molotov...Good...So...This is our Comrade Vampire, Walthrop...Or should I say Wilhelm the Bloody?..." Stalin was a man for detail...

"William...if you don't mind... And I thought you didn't believe in vampires..."

"The masses are incapable of properly appreciating the great issues of life and death, Comrade Walthrop...One must protect them at times from dangerous knowledge..."

Stalin smiled at him...So this is a vampire?...The living dead...The Immortal...He should know Stalin is not easily fooled...

"The situation requires that Comrade Stalin be made immortal..."

"Judging from the way people talk around here, Joe...I figured you already were..." Spike grinned at him...

Stalin smiled coldly...Just the lips...

"The legend must become fact...Comrade Stalin must be made immortal...To carry on the great work of Lenin...and Stalin..."

Well... thought Spike...Another little human afraid of death...Great Stalin my ass...

"It hurts you know...And you may find it difficult to carry on your work in my condition..." he grinned...Stalin "steel" in Russian...didn't look like he hold up that well as a vampire...

Spike didn't think he'd have lasted too long in his own torture cells...

A commotion was heard... in the halls below...

Dru had overcome her medication...And was anxiously looking for her little boy...
***
Dru was killing her way through the Kremlin halls...Most of the guards were much too fearful of Great Stalin's anger to shoot...Until it was much too late...

Not that it would have stopped her anyway...

Fire guns?...In the Kremlin?...They would all be arrested for conspiring to kill Great Stalin...

She was on her way...Impelled by mother love...

Sort of...

***
The guards around Stalin had moved a bit at the sounds of Dru on the march...

Giving Spike his opportunity...He broke free and hurled several of them around the room...

Stalin and Molotov ran for the back as fast as their little legs could carry them...

Dru broke into the room...

"Silly boy..." she laughed at Spike... "Ready to go?..."

A few guards massed around Stalin with bows...

Spike and Dru dodged the few fired...They were conserving them in case an attack was made on the Leader...

But Walthrop and Rogers felt they had gathered enough news material...It was time they agreed, after a brief chat, to head for new locales...As soon as Spike filed his stories...

They started to leave...From the end of the room Stalin saw his immortality slipping away...

"Comrade Stalin must be immortal..." Stalin whined... "Comrade Stalin must be immortal.."

"Like hell, Joe..." Spike laughed... "I'll watch you drown in your drool..."

They left the Kremlin and headed east...
***
The few surviving guards were of course shot...on suspicion of an attempt to kill Great Stalin...

Comrade Lieutenant Geller survived the starvation and misery of the siege of Leningrad and was decorated again in 1943 as a Hero of the Soviet Union...

Commissar Mikoyan starved...

In 1949, Comrade Lieutenant Geller was arrested with other prominent Leningraders during the course of the infamous "Leningrad Affair"...Great Stalin felt insufficient credit had been given to
him for his brilliance in single-handedly saving the city...And those who might possibly think otherwise must be dealt with...

She died of starvation and abuse in a camp in 1952...
***
Spike looked at Buffy...And therefore at Buffy Rebecca...

"That's the story?..." Buffy Rebecca asked him...She never thought it would be quite so...

"This is supposed to raise my spirits?..." Buffy asked...

"Well...it had a happy ending for me and Dru..." Spike said...

He brightened...

"And I didn't kill the Slayer...That time..."


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