Part Seven: Why
He felt a rush of anger. Did the people who sent him here know? Did they know that she was still alive, fighting an impossible battle alone? A battle that had turned her into this embittered shell of herself. He turned his newly recovered book in his hands and studied the title again...if they did...Spike would take his revenge...after they got what they needed from this thin volume...they would all die.
*Spike leaned against the railing in the neon strobed darkness and watched the writhing mass of humanity far below. The club was packed, money pouring into Spike’s accounts as he cheerfully watched. An old warehouse, some black paint, a complicated lighting and sound system, the odd piece of uncomfortable furniture, and booze, lots and lots of booze. A bloody gold mine this place was and he owned a part of it. No matter how much time passed, young humans always craved a dark place to congregate, to drink and be merry.
Spike’s off handed investment in an acquaintance’s line of clubs a few years before had made the vampire fairly rich. Rich enough that he rarely bothered with his bounty hunting business any more. Only when the need to kill and rend overwhelmed him did he accept a job. The rest of the time he spent trying to think of new ways to waste his wealth. Cars, expensive clothes, first edition books, he had a dozen meaningless hobbies he indulged. Funny how none of them could keep his attention for very long. Not for the first time he contemplated the irony of having eternal life and no way to fill it up.
The first hundred years, it hadn’t been that way. His existence was all blood and battle, carefree and full of endless amusement. He knew when and why that had changed but knowing didn't make it easier to bear. She had changed him and he couldn’t go back. Why did he go on then? He didn’t know, except for pure bloody-mindedness and a refusal to let go of anything willingly, he would have walked into the sunlight decades ago. A bitter smile curved his thin lips as he saw a man on the dance floor chase after a young woman who had spurned him. Some things never changed and Spike didn’t fancy himself much different than that stupid bloke below.
Love made fools of all men.
“Excuse me,” came a precise English voice behind Spike. “Might I have a word?”
Spike turned and cocked one brow at the intruder. “Who might you be, English? Don’t get your type in here much.”
The well-dressed Englishman just stood there waiting. He didn’t come any closer to the vampire than necessary and Spike realized this one knew him for what he was. Was that a small cross poking out from behind the Italian silk tie? Yes it was.
Spike smiled broadly and beckoned the young man forward to join him at the railing. Reluctantly, the man complied and stepped forward. Spike noted the bulge in the tailored lines of his dark wool suit. A stake too. Spike was flattered. Thought he was dangerous did he?
“So..” Spike asked, “How’s th’ little bint in South America doing? Recovered from her little ordeal? I confess I got a little carried away with that one but she was just so bloody cocky. I like that in my lunch.”
Spike laughed mockingly at the shocked expression on his companion’s face.
“I didn’t come to discuss your odd habit of stalking Slayers and leaving them to die...” the Watcher began.
“Live...Leaving them to live...big difference, pup.” Spike corrected, motioning a scantily clad waitress over to their secluded spot.
“Be a luv and get us a bottle from my private stock, hmm?” he instructed her.
She gave him a hungry look and nodded before rushing away.
“It’s been a bit of a chase tracking you down...Mr...Spike. The clothes, the hair...you’ve changed your look.” the Watcher continued.
Spike shrugged indifferently and threw himself down in a brushed steel chair a few feet away. He motioned to a second chair and the Council representative sat down also.
“Well, I change everything every couple of decades...just t’ cut down on the boredom. Eternity is a bloody long time after all,” the vampire explained, smoothing the lines of his brown leather blazer.
“I’ve tracked you halfway across Australia in the past few months, why did you stop here in Sydney?” the Watcher asked, accepting a small glass of golden liquid from the newly returned waitress.
“Business. Looking in on an investment I made a few years back,” Spike replied. “Let’s skip the bloody small talk, what does the bleedin’ Watcher’s Council want with William the Bloody. Come t’ hit me up with a bill for th’ medical expenses on yer little Slayer?”
“No. I’ve been sent to ask for your help,” said the young man with an unhappy look.
Spike choked on his expensive whiskey. “Help! That’s a good one. ‘Cause th’ Council is always askin’ vampires t’ lend a hand in their noble struggle against th’ forces of evil. Newsflash, mate...I am th’ forces of evil.”
“We have reason to believe that isn’t entirely true, Spike. Aside from the disturbing little obsession with Slayers, one doesn’t hear too much about your exploits anymore. Except with demons, apparently you kill plenty of those.”
Spike just fixed a cold blue stare on the human promising pain and death to the unbeliever.
The Watcher pushed his chair back a few feet and his hand crept to the concealed cross at his neck. This vampire was not the tamed creature he had been told to expect. He drew a sheaf of yellowed papers from his case and handed them to Spike.
Spike looked askance at the Watcher. “Paper? Not very modern old boy. The Council is in need of some updating...”
“They are quite old. If you would take a look you might see why I brought them,” the Watcher urged.
Spike leafed through the stack for a moment before shooting a sharp look at the nervous man across from him.
“Giles? His what? His journal papers. Why show me these? I bloody lived it, mate.” Spike threw them back in the Watcher’s face.
Getting to his knees to gather up the precious records, the Watcher explained. “Mr. Giles recorded your obsession with a Slayer about seventy five years ago, one Buffy Summers. Before he returned to England to work for the Council once more in 2002, he documented your very odd behavior...odd for a vampire anyways.”
Spike snorted. “Giles didn’t know the half of it. It didn’t get interesting until after he left.”
The Watcher returned to his chair, papers tucked safely away again. “In any case, these documents came to light when Mr. Giles’ estate turned them over to the Council last year. After reading them, the current Council leadership sent me to find you.”
Spike narrowed his eyes in suspicion. “Why you?” He looked the young man over, twenty-five or so, brown hair, tall, no glasses but no one wore them any more since the surgery had been perfected. “Grandson?” he asked.
“Great...actually. Great grandson and the first to pursue the family calling of Watcher in this century,” the younger Giles answered.
“Spike shook his head. “So they send a piece of my past to beg me for help. What could the Council possibly want with me?”
Giles the younger leaned forward, his face growing grave. “You know what's happening...around the world. The demons are growing more numerous...humans are encountering them everywhere. If this isn’t stopped, eventually humans will be the minority. We haven’t the ability to fight them all off.”
“And there is only one Slayer. I know all of this. The world is getting worse, an’ I get to sit back and watch. So what?” Spike growled.
Giles looked down at the comment about the Slayer but kept talking, “ We know why it’s happening. Someone is letting demons through the Hellmouth... In Sunnydale.”
Spike felt a pang at the name. “Again...so what?”
“There is a way to close it, the Hellmouth, close it for good.”
“Kinda like closin’ th’ door after th’ horse, mate. What’s th’ point even if you can do it?” Spike asked with supreme indifference in his voice. He poured himself another splash of whiskey; suddenly self-medicating seemed appropriate.
“If we can stop any new demons from entering this dimension, we could fight the ones that are here already. It’s the constant influx that is turning the tide against us.” the Watcher argued, trying to get his last hope to listen to him.
Spike tossed back his drink and shrugged. “Why are you telling me? Just close it then if you know how.”
“The ritual we need to seal the Hellmouth is out of our reach. We have just discovered, from some of my great grandfather’s work in fact, that it may be possible if we get the Adoperis manuscript...” Giles said excitedly.
“Adoperis...Latin for closure. What’s an Adoperis?” Spike tried not to look intrigued.
“A book, long lost to the world but Giles...the elder Giles uncovered a reference to it before his death, sadly no one knew the significance of his discovery until now. The problem is the book is in Sunnydale.”
“So? Go get it. I still ain’t heard where I come in.” Spike felt a twinge of unease, where was this conversation headed?
The young watcher cocked his head curiously. “How long has it been since you spent in any time in that part of the world?”
Spike hurled his glass past the Watcher’s head barely missing his ear. It shattered against the iron railing. “Seventy-five bloody years, mate...an’ not near long enough. If you don’t mind, this little ‘pry into the sad little vampire’s psyche’ bit is over. Whatever your problem is, find some other sot t’ solve it. No way in hell or earth I’m goin’ back t’ that damned place.”
“That’s the thing though,” Giles said, showing admirable courage in the face of Spike’s growing rage. “It is hell...on earth and damned to boot. No human has set foot in that town and lived in over fifty years. The demons own it entirely. I f we could go in and get the book we would but we’ve lost four good men trying. We need that book and you...are known and feared throughout the demonic world. You might have a chance.”
Spike shoved himself to his feet and paced back and forth, shooting angry looks at the Watcher from beneath his black hair.
“Why...would...I ...bother?” he demanded of the human. “Why would you even think I would do it?”
“Because you loved her.” Giles said softly. “Truly loved her...and the sister, and this was her town, her duty. For her sake...”
“For her sake?! For her bloody sake I left. Swore I’d never return to mess up her sunny little life. An’ I didn’t, just like she asked. I can’t...” Spike hissed, hands clenching and unclenching.
A vision came to him as he wrestled with the demands of an underused conscience. Little children, blond and brown hair flowing behind them, fields of gold and ceruleans skies. Buffy’s children, Dawn’s...they deserved a world where they were not the hunted. He saw a host of demons slinking through the tall grass, slavering mouths, and razor teeth. Hunting, waiting to rend and kill. To destroy the legacy of the women he loved.
“Where is it?” he whispered, head bowed.
“Pardon?” the younger Giles asked, leaning forward to catch the vampire’s words.
Spike turned his head sideways to gaze at the man who had torn apart his comfortable half-life. “Where...is...this bloody book?”*
Buffy moaned in her sleep and Spike stroked her cheek to calm her. She would be waking soon, leaving the hell of her past behind to greet the hell of her present. Spike’s gaze floated over her slender form, the slightest hint of golden skin visible where her sweatshirt drifted up from her jeans. Had that Watcher known? He had looked away when Spike said there was only one Slayer in the world. Spike laid a hand on her bare skin, absorbing her warmth into him. He had to find a way to reach her because he wasn’t leaving this place without her.
Continued in Part Eight: Last