DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. 'Angel' and all related characters are the creations of Joss Whedon and copyright of 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy, Inc.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This chapter is pretty much spoiler-free, however it contains some violence, since it focuses on the battle.


A Promise of Tomorrow
Chapter 3: Strategies and Weak Points

By Shadow's Mirror


"I'm... okay..." Spike could see Angel's words came at a cost.

"No, you're not. You've got a whopping great sword sticking through your chest." He was distracted for a moment as a demon charged in for an attack. Spike barely paid it any attention as he easily blocked the move and used the dagger in his other hand to separate the demon's head from its neck. He returned his attention to Angel, as the demons opposing him stepped back to regroup and reconsider their strategy. Normally, Spike would have chosen that moment to charge them and inflict some serious damage, but he was more interested in watching Angel try to fight with a massive sword sticking out of him.

"I've had worse. Where did you get the dagger?" Angel winced as he brought his sword up and around in a not-quite-smooth arc. The attack was a little slow and clumsy perhaps, but it still did the job. His opponent, whose sword was currently stuck in Angel and therefore no use at all for defense, made a startled sound. The demon's body fell to the ground. His head followed a moment later.

"I've given you worse. Took it from one of the big green guys a minute or so back. There's another one over here. Want it?" For once, Spike was happy to share. His attention was caught by a whisper of movement. He turned in time to duck a sword thrust and grinned as he returned the attack, only with more skill and speed. His opponent fell, but there were three waiting to take the demon's place.

"Big green guys... wait a minute... You defeated a Porithnas demon? I don't believe it!" Angel sounded both annoyed and incredulous.

"Gee... thanks for the vote of confidence, mate. Just for that, you can get your own dagger." Spike huffed in indignation at the slur on his fighting skills. After a moment's thought though, he added, "You're just jealous 'cause I got the dagger and you didn't." He smirked and plunged the dagger in question into his opponent's chest, slashing his sword at another demon at the same time.

"Actually, no, I'm just surprised that the Senior Partners would go to so much trouble to get Porithnas demons involved in this." Angel paused for a moment before adding, "Then have them attack you instead of me."

Spike's smirk grew. "So it is a jealousy thing! I knew it!" He laughed and swung his sword and dagger simultaneously, slashing through the air several times in quick succession. Four demons fell to the ground, but there were six more behind them, waiting for the path of attack to be clear. Spike barely managed to keep from groaning. "Just how many of these things are there?" he muttered to himself.

"No! I am not jealous!" Angel paused and Spike felt him move but couldn't spare a glance. He had his own problem at the time. Actually, problems. Six of them. All of them with huge swords and... quills? Spike blinked. Well, that wasn't something you saw every day. "I just think that if the Senior Partners were that desperate to use them, then you'd think they'd want them to attack me! After all, I am the one they've been up against for the past five years!" Spike blinked again, this time at Angel's tirade.

"Are you gonna be going on about this for much longer? Only I'm facing six things with quills and..." Spike swung his sword and frowned when it merely glanced off the armour of the creature in front of him. "Uh oh."

"Uh oh? I hate it when you say 'uh oh'. That was what you said that time in Denmark. We nearly got staked." Angel paused and the irritation in his voice shifted to concern. "Did you say 'quills'?"

"Uh... yeah..." Spike didn't have much attention to spare for the conversation. He barely managed to dodge one of the creature's sword thrusts. These things were fast. Much faster than what he'd been dealing with so far. He remembered thinking at one point that the battle was going pretty well. Spike had a sudden sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. "Hey Angel, I think we've been set up."

"If the guys with quills also have impenetrable armour and long furry snouts, then we have been."

"Yeah. They do. You know these guys?" Suddenly, it was all Spike could do to keep himself out of the range of the more serious sword blows. It was as if the demons had been toying with him up until then.

"Only by reputation. Knashifesh demons. They're born strategists. When they're involved in a battle, they like to stay at the back and watch the fighting until they know their opponent's moves. Then, when they think their opponents are starting to tire, they step in and finish off the fight."

"Oh. Great. Reputation only, huh? So you've never actually fought one before?" Spike ducked another blow, but in doing so moved straight into the path of two others. He barely kept from crying out as his arm and shoulder were badly wounded.

"No. But I heard a rumour that their snouts were their weak points. Oh, and they're supposed to be weak against water in some way. Not sure of the details though."

"Well, lot of good that does us then." Spike sighed and looked thoughtfully at the creatures moving in around him. "So, snouts it is!"

He put all his strength and skill behind the blow, and managed to land a good solid strike directly across the fur-covered snout of the largest creature opposing him. The Knashifesh demon, who looked rather like an eight foot cross between an anteater and a porcupine, with dark grey scale armour covering his head, chest and lower body, snarled and lunged forward, catching Spike's arm in his powerful jaws. The vampire yelled out in shock as he felt the creature's sharp fangs biting deeply into his flesh. "Ow! Let go, you blasted thing! That hurts!"

His other hand moved quickly, his dagger slashing at the demon. Spike was in a bad position and he couldn't put much strength behind the attack, so he was startled when the creature gave a gurgling sigh and collapsed on the ground in front of him. The other Knashifesh demons were apparently just as surprised, because they immediately paused in their attacks before retreating a few steps. It was as though they were suddenly afraid of Spike. He didn't mind the break. It gave him a chance to study the creature he'd just killed.

"For the record, mate, it's not the snout that's their weakness. It's the patches of bare skin on the sides of their necks!" He had barely finished speaking before the other five demons charged him.

"Oh. Yeah. Come to think of it, you're right. The snout thing is for Kaldelesk demons. It's an easy mistake to make. Sorry about that."

"Angel... remind me to kill you if we get out of this."


To be continued...