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After his little speech about vampires and dying, Mona wasn't very enthusiastic about accompanying him to Baylor House. She gave him the keys, showed him the door and asked him to call if he wanted the place. Then she bolted the office door and shut the windows. At 2pm in the afternoon.

He was now at Furton Street, and Baylor House stood before him, tall and imposing. Compared to the other warehouses that Mona showed him, Baylor was comparatively small. The other buildings around Baylor House were very much abandoned - exposed windows appeared as baleful eyes glaring at his intrusion.

After some research, he discovered that Mona was correct -- a few bodies had appeared around Baylor house since the early 80s. The total body count so far: 20. And Wesley noted the condition of the bodies discovered: drained of blood, strange bite marks on the neck.

Police officers that have ventured into the house to investigate often reported strange noises and movements in the basement. None had dared to venture into the cavernous depths of Baylor House's basement. In 1984, two policemen disappeared, never to be seen again. It had gotten so bad that people began to leave Furton street in droves. By 1991, Furton Street was a ghost street.

Charging into the house unprepared was probably a very bad idea.

Frankly, Wesley was surprised that Baylor House was not abandoned by the owner. It looked like the owner was willing to settle with anything, as long as he got something out of the dump. That something amounted to $4,240. An amazingly ridiculous price that would make sane people look twice. Wesley, however, was nowhere near sane right now.

After all, he planned to wipe the vampire nest in Baylor House all by himself. He was not a Slayer, just an ex-Watcher who happens to know a few ways to kill a vampire. But he also knew an avenue that could turn him into something close to a Slayer.

His name was Gavin Rice, and he was, by profession, a warlock. Unlike many of his line, he didn't go for the white or black magic label. He liked to call himself a practicer of neutral magics; though with a little monetary persuasion he could go a little dark once in a while.

The door creaked open. Gavin lifted a blonde eyebrow and watched as his visitor walked in. His other eyebrow shot up when he realized who it was. He shifted a little on his velvet settee and placed his glass of bourbon on the side table beside him.

"My, my, my ... I never thought I'd have the likes of you in my abode twice in my lifetime -- all 500 years of it," he said, his upper-crust English accent smooth as honey.

His visitor looked around the plushy surroundings absently before gesturing towards the swords hanging on the wall on the far right.

"The swords of Amondias. Quite a catch. Did you bribe it off a customer?"

"Nothing so crass, my dear Mr. Watcher. Oh, I must apologize. It's Mr. Big Boss of Angel Investigations now, isn't it??

Wesley gave him a sharp glare.

"Oh, has that changed too?" Gavin asked innocently. "News travels a little slow around these magically shifting parts. So?" he picked up his wineglass once more, "-who are you now? Frankly, it's tiring to keep track of you do-gooder types-"

"Shut up Rice. You know what I want," Wesley hissed.

"Do I?" he took a big gulp of the drink and settled it down. He got up and walked towards the ex-Watcher who flinched when he came too close.

"Granted I have significant powers in mind reading, and my mind reading talents tell me this. I sense much darkness in you, Wesley," Gavin said gravely, his brow heavy with a frown. Then he smiled brightly. "That was my Yoda impression. Good eh?"

"I'm not here to banter with you, Rice. I want..." Wesley swallowed and turned away abruptly.

"That's a good boy, Wesley. Turn away while you still can."

Wesley quickly turned back. "I'm not going to."

"Why not? Because what you're proposing is quite insane, by the way. I may be a beigish sort of warlock, but this will destroy you for certain."

"Since when were you concerned about my welfare?"

"You're right. Why am I concerned? Oh wait, how about I don't want you to come back and bite me in my arse when this is all over?"

"I won't."

"Hah!" Gavin clapped his hands and laughed out loud. "So says the man who proposes to dabble in magics he has no understanding of." His tone became serious. "I was not lying when I said that you have a lot of darkness in you. I've not seen such anger, hatred and bitterness in a man for a long while -- maybe in Hitler, and see how *he* turned out? I can see it in my mind now," he closed his eyes. "-a big, swirling ... fire. Green fire at that. Never a good sign, green fire. The most uncontrollable of the lot, you know."

"Are you going to open me or not Gavin?" Wesley snapped, impatient.

Gavin's eyes flew open and the warlock stared at him, speechless for a moment at Wesley's tone.

"Well," he finally said after a while. "Let it be stated in the contract that I did warn you. It's not going to be a pleasant experience, by the way."

"I know," Wesley said softly. His hands turned cold at the thought of what he would endure.

Gavin broke into a strange smile and shook his head, his long, blonde hair tossing around him eerily. Magic crackled around him as he did so -- this man was soaked in magic, Wesley thought.

"Not as much as you think, Wesley. This-" he snapped his fingers and a flash of light erupted; "-is just static. Now, before I 'open' you up, there is a matter of monies?"

"I have it."

"Angel Investigations paying you that well, Wesley?"

Wesley removed something from his long coat, and Gavin was honestly taken aback by what he produced. He touched the long blade reverently. "The blade of Karnak. How?"

"Questions later." Wesley placed the knife back into the confines of his long coat. Gavin watched the knife longingly, then gave a small laugh.

"Dear boy ... you have changed, haven't you? When I first saw you, you were a reed of a Watcher, you and that Rupert fellow. You were trembling in your boots when both of you came to me for some 'information'," Gavin mused, tilting his head aside. "I wonder what has brought you to such desperation? If it is that undead creature and those pathetic mortals you 'hang' with, I have some news for you. They are not worth this trouble. If it is revenge you want, I can cook you up a decent cocktail of unpleasant illnesses or even call my good friend D'Hoffryn for a few of his vengeance gals. This is really madness, Wesley," his voice turned strangely gentle. He placed a hand on Wesley's shoulder. "Turn back now."

Wesley stared at the hand on his shoulder and smiled humorlessly. "Do you want the blade of Karnak or not?"

Gavin removed his hand as if he just touched acid. "Right then. When shall we begin?"


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