CHAPTER 4 - EXAMINATION
Saturday - Late Afternoon
He looked across the Bronze at Buffy, seeing her as he had that first time. She was dancing, alive and golden. She was laughing, surrounded with friends. Spike stood, cold and alone, worried sick in his gut about Dru's weakness, and he hated the slayer, hated her life and joy, the way she effortlessly moved among friends. He wanted that warmth and hated the way it made him feel, as if he, the Big Bad, was some damned orphan child outside in the cold. She had everything, strength, youth, beauty, friends, life and he wanted to possess her, to kill her and drain the warmth into his cold body.
And now Spike was feeling the warmth. He was pinning her against the wall, ramming himself deep inside her as she moaned with pleasure. Her legs were around his waist and her hands tangled in his hair. Now her mouth lowered itself to his and they were kissing with her warm breath on his face and his tongue probing her sweet mouth. He was warm and wanted and it was wrong.
"You came back wrong!" He was standing in the dark, yelling at her, and her eyes were wide and wounded. He hit her and now Spike could see her flesh bruise. Tears of shock and pain were filling those hazel eyes.
Which turned brown. He was standing in China, seeing the Chinese slayer walking through the bloody streets of the Boxer Rebellion. Now everything was in slow motion. She was a meek, obedient girl, following the orders of her elders and searching for vampires to kill. Around her, her world was dissolving in fire and war, torn by the evil of mankind, but she still dutifully hunted non-human monsters. An hour ago she had wept by the body of her Watcher, a stuffy Englishman, who the Boxers had slaughtered as a foreign devil.
Spike reached out and struck her, watching her flesh bruise. Her eyes said she was in despair, she wanted death. He grinned. He could deliver death. They were fighting now, a glorious dance of death and pain. His eyebrow stung where her sword slashed him. Then he was on her, drinking her blood, drinking her pain and despair. Her eyes were dying, flickering brown, then hazel.
And with a cry he realized he was drinking Buffy, killing her. He let go, but she crumpled to his feet, dead.
And she looked up at him, her skin dark, her face proud. But her deep brown eyes had that familiar look of despair and death. He had read the little blurb, buried deep in the back of the newspaper that her brother had died in a drive-by shooting and had known that she now belonged to him. She fought gloriously, strong and beautiful. He snapped her neck and stripped the long, black duster off her body. He strode off, then looked back at his glorious victory and saw Buffy lying dead in the subway.
So he ran back, sobbing, gathering her in his arms. He held her in the dark and pressed against her, whispering, "You belong in the Dark with me." She moaned and his hand reached up her skirt, pushing aside the panties. They were looking down at the dance floor of the Bronze, where he had first seen her. "You don't belong with them." The friends that had surrounded her and protected her were far below. He looked deep into her eyes, drinking the despair.
And he lowered his head and ripped out her throat.
And screamed. He was sitting in a bed, bathed in sweat, breathing hard with his heart slamming in his chest. Spike looked around wildly, then the memories came back and he realized that he was alive and still a prisoner.
Other memories poured in. He remembered allowing Dru to take his life and his soul. He remembered the pride and the glory of killing slayers. He remembered loving Buffy and the wonder of her entering the dark to give him her body. These were the best memories of his existence.
They tasted like ash.
The years of killing flooded his mind and he rocked in the bed as the pain and guilt washed over him. He had slaughtering people and before that stood aside and let Angelus torture and torment the helpless. Then the memories switched and Spike remembered torturing Angel.
Angel. He blinked. He had envied and admired his sire, then felt hatred when Angel had left to grovel in the gutter and eat rats while moaning about his sins.
Something cold was entering him, the cold, desperate will to survive that had driven Spike for over a century. The lowest vampire in a tiny pack, despised and ridiculed by all but his mad Drusilla, he had risen to power and had a name that vampires across the world had known. He was William the Bloody, the vampire who had killed two slayers. When the Initiative had left him chipped and helpless, he had slaughtered demons until the laughter had died and the others eyed him with fear and hatred. He couldn't kill people, so he drank pigs' blood, warmed in the microwave with spicy flavors and nibbly Weetabix. He couldn't kill the slayer, so he had loved her and for a few brief moments possessed her body.
Angrily Spike rubbed his eyes. He wasn't going to let this crush him. He wasn't going to grovel. The last time he had given in to despair, he had been slaughtered in an alley. He wasn't going to let these bloody bastards control him. If he had escaped from the Initiative, he could damn well escape from a bunch of sodding lawyers.
He staggered over to the door to his room, testing to see if it was locked. It wasn't. It opened and he saw two men sitting in chairs by the door. One stood up, towering over him. "You going someplace?"
Spike considered making a break. A quick survey of the hulking guard convinced him that he wouldn't make it. So he toughed it out. "I think its time your bosses told me why I'm here. Tell them I'm awake."
The other man stood up. He too was a bruiser. Spike surveyed Tweedledee and Tweedledum, impressed that so much muscle power had been hired to control one ex-poet. Then he noticed Tweedledum was pushing a wheelchair. "Sit." He started to protest and was firmly placed in the chair. They pushed him down the hall.
They entered a doctor's office. The doctor, a balding heavyset man, got up from behind the desk. "Mr. Spike, I'm Doctor Green. I'm glad to see that you are up and about. You gave us a scare for a moment."
Spike nodded, biting back the remark that they were still scaring him. Tweedledee and Tweedledum stayed in the room. Did they really think he was going to be able to overpower anyone in this weak body? On the other hand, if the doctor had a scalpel, it might come in handy. He decided to keep an eye out for opportunity.
"Before we can proceed further, we should make sure you have recovered from you, ahem, previous experience. I'm sure it was somewhat stressful."
"That's one way to describe being staked," Spike commented dryly.
The two Tweedles kept him from nicking anything useful. As they glared, the doctor poked and prodded. Since his last visit to a doctor, over a century ago, medicine had come up with a turn-your-head-and-cough routine. Also doctors now took blood. He gloomily contemplated the irony of humans draining him. However, doctors nowadays seemed endlessly fascinated with body fluids. He was given a flask and told to give a urine sample next time he went to the bathroom. He made the doctor repeat that one since it seemed like such a ridiculous thing to want.
The most interesting part of the exam, however, was when the doctor called over one of the bodyguards. "Try to hit him." Spike winced then realized that the command was for him to hit the giant, not the other way around. He hesitated, then punched the man in the arm. His head remained remarkably free of pain. His knuckles hurt like a son of a bitch. The bodyguard didn't even flinch.
He turned and stared at the doctor. "No chip?"
The doctor nodded. "It was dusted with your first vampire body."
"My first? What are you talking about?"
The doctor looked embarrassed. "You appear to be in good health, Mr. Spike. Are there any questions."
Spike had tilted his head, studying the man. Finally, reluctantly, he admitted, "I'm going to need some glasses."
The doctor was fascinated. "Really! Did you have vision problems as a vampire?"
"Not really. Demon vision, y'know."
The doctor had studied Spike, rather like a technician examining an interesting lab rat. "I wish we knew how that works. Unfortunately, vampires don't leave cadavers. Even when we collect specimens from living creatures, the samples turn to dust."
Spike's restrained a shudder. "Sorry I can't help you there. I just know that I seem to have the same lousy eyes I had before I was turned."
"Well, that won't be a problem much longer. But while you are here, I would appreciate you filling this questionnaire on the differences between your human and demon body. Can you read or should I read these out loud to you?"
Spike almost snarled that he had attended Oxford, thank you, and was probably more literate than the doctor was. Then he decided that it wouldn't hurt to have his enemies underestimate him. He had signed a contract so he couldn't claim to be totally illiterate but he hung his head and confessed that he had trouble with big words.
The session seemed to last forever and it was a relief when the bodyguards returned him to his room. They stopped at the doorway. Spike stepped inside and shut the door behind him. He leaned back against it and shuddered as he considered the phrases "your first vampire body," and that his eyes "won't be a problem much longer," Dear God! He thought, They're going to turn me back into a vampire!
It was strange, he really shouldn't mind. He hated being so weak and he missed his keen hearing and sense of smell. Bloody hell, he missed being able to see anything clearly. He had been a vampire for 120 years and should be grateful if they returned him to his old body. Dying might be painful, but he had done it before and could cope.
But he didn't want to be turned. Slowly it had dawned on Spike. If he were turned, then the demon that inhabited his body would use it to murder people. He remembered the trail of death he left behind and nausea swept him. The thought of going back to murdering people, ripping out their throats and swallowing their blood sickened him.
It would be wrong. He almost heard Buffy's voice saying those words. And for the first time he realized what she had been talking about all those months, all those years.
He couldn't go back to being a vampire.
Continued in CHAPTER 5 - DRUSILLA