SPOILERS: Starts after BtVS Season 6, Normal Again and AtS Season 3 Forgiving.
DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. I'm just playing with them.
SUMMARY: Spike gets staked! That's just the beginning of his troubles. S/B romance, S/D friendship, Angel crossover. Please read and review.
Wednesday - Evening
It probably wouldn't have happened if he still kept in touch with Angel.
But he was still on the outs with the old poof and they weren't in the habit of exchanging friendly warnings. Of course, torture will do that to a relationship. Angel still resented that incident with the Ring of Amara. And Spike had never quite gotten over Angelus stealing Dru and humiliating him for months when he had been crippled. For that matter, Angelus had probably still been steamed about the time back in the Thirties when Spike had helped Darla capture him and they turned him over to the Master. Yeah, Ol' Batface had been a bit rough, trying to starve and torture the git out of being so soulful and mopey, but it had been for his own good. It might have worked if Angel hadn't escaped a few months later. After that Spike had pretty much left him alone with his gutters and rats.
Still, a few incidents like that could ruin a friendship.
To be honest, however, even if Angel had passed on a warning about Wolfram and Hart, Spike would have probably been too reckless to pay any attention. He had been roaring drunk that night and feeling desperate.
It had been rough after Buffy had left him. That Wednesday was as bad as it got. He had dreamed of the Slayer, fighting and laughing and tumbling with him in his bed. Then he woke up in an empty bed and remembered once again that she was gone. He was a soulless monster and she had said, "I can't love you."
It's all Angel's fault, Spike told himself. Any chance he had with the Slayer was pretty well screwed thanks to his sire. Every time he had seemed to get somewhere with Buffy he found himself confronting the ghost of her first love. Angel had a soul. Angel had been dark and romantically broody. Angel had turned into a soulless demon and betrayed her love. Even when he had recovered his bloody soul Angel had managed to hurt the girl. He had left her.
Underneath the rage bubbled another thought, one that had to be beaten down. Maybe it wasn't his sire. Spike angrily swilled more whiskey. Maybe, when you came down to fundamentals, it was him. Someone, who, no matter how much he changed, no matter how long he shagged her and how mind-boggling the sex, in the end left her feeling as filthy as the grease from the hamburgers she grilled. When she looked at him, she had never seen her demon lover, just a weak, incompetent who had always been beneath her, even before he had been neutered. A convenient shag, not worthy of respect or love.
And that was a thought that was beyond endurance. With enough alcohol, he could blame everything on Angel. He tilted the bottle and the last few drops dribbled out, then he hurled the bottle against the wall of his crypt. He looked around at the burned, shot, scorched rubble. So much for pretending he didn't live in a sewer. The broken glass fit right in. He shrugged on his duster. Time to go out get some money. Time to put on a vamp face and demand spare change and scuttle away if anyone dared to fight back.
At least he wasn't too drunk when he saw Dawn standing in front of the McDonalds. He stood in the dark, looking at the bright lights and listened to the chatter and laughter.
Dawn must have followed her usual Wednesday routine, studying at the library with her friend Janice and then going over to McDonalds for a snack afterwards. The Doublemeat Palace had been closer but Buffy's watchful eye would have cramped the Nibblet's style. Sometimes she and Janice would meet some boys. Back in the summer when he had been looking after her, Spike would arrive and find Dawn in a little group of adolescents, giggling and flirting and acting like a normal teenager. He would give the boys his patented "touch this child and I will drink your blood" look and drive her home.
Tonight, however, there were no boys. She and Janice were standing in the parking lot, waiting for Janice's mom to give them a ride. He smiled and watched them, staying back in the dark. His vampire ears monitored the conversation, checking to see that the Li'l Bit wasn't losing her heart to some teenaged bundle of lust and hormones.
Bloody hell, he missed her. For five months he and the wiccas had practically raised the chit and now he was lucky if he was permitted to see her once a week. At least on Friday he had been scheduled to drive her and Janice over to a slumber party across town. If he could scrounge up some spare change he could treat the girls to some ice cream and get to chat with the Nibblet a bit.
Janice's mom finally arrived and the girls hopped in the car. He wondered how long it would be before Buffy decided that he wasn't good enough to associate with Dawn. He fought a wave of self-pity and snarled. It was time to go to Willy's and get roaring drunk.
It took an entire bottle of whiskey to beat back the pain into a simmering anger. Most of the other demons in the place knew to keep away, but an Arunga demon stumbled into him and they fought it out in the alley. He had reduced it to an unconscious mound of flesh but was too loaded to remember how to kill the bloody thing. Still, by the time he left Willy's the pain had turned to a much more satisfying reckless rage.
Which is why he wanted to kill the Asian bloke he found waiting for him back at the crypt. The bastard was sitting in his favorite chair in front of the telly. The temptation to rip the man's throat out was almost overwhelming. Just wiping the smug look off his face would be worth a week of migraines. Spike switched into game face and, grabbing the lapels of the man's expensive suit, yanked him out of the chair. "What the bloody hell do you think you are doing here?" he roared.
The fellow didn't even flinch. You had to give him credit for balls. "Mr. Spike? Formerly known as William the Bloody? I'm here to offer you a deal."
Spike head hummed with a warning twinge. Despite the cool face, the bloke's heart was pounding. He could smell the blood and the lovely scent of fear. A sudden wave of hunger and rage shook him, making him almost dizzy. Then two years of reflexes kicked in. He closed his eyes, breathed deeply, then began to drag the man to the door.
The man's face still showed no fear. " I take it that you don't want our firm to remove your chip."
Spike froze. The offer slowly permeated the alcoholic haze of his brain. "What did you say, mate?"
The Asian smiled. "I said my firm is prepared to offer you a deal. In return for a minor service, we are prepared to remove your chip. You will then be free to live the normal life of your kind."
One hundred and twenty years of unlife had not made him stupid. "What kind of service?"
"I believe you know a vampire named Angel. He runs a detective agency that is involved in a dispute with our firm. We ask that you help us defeat him."
"Defeat Angel?" The whiskey roared through him and the sick anger he had been feeling since losing Buffy rose to a crescendo. "Where do I sign?"
"Good. My name is Gavin Park and I work with Wolfram and Hart." The lawyer turned and gestured towards the shadows. A small withered woman emerged. She radiated with dark power, some kind of witch probably. "This is Ms. Stanhope, my associate. She will serve as witness and notary for our contract."
She leered and shook hands with Spike. He was not particularly sensitive to auras, that had been Dru's department, but he knew bad news when he saw it. If this was what witches turned into when they worked with dark powers, then all of Red's withdrawal pains were worth the effort. He felt like wiping his hand after touching the woman.
Park had used the time to lay out a contract on top of the flat sarcophagus in the middle of the crypt. Spike shucked off his duster and knelt down to read the small print. It was surprisingly simple; at least it seemed to be. Spike's eyes were bleary from the alcohol and it was hard to concentrate. "Give me the pen."
"Actually," the lawyer sounded a little embarrassed, "you'll have to sign in blood."
That got Spike's attention. "Sign in blood? Like a deal with the devil?" That struck his sense of humor. "Righto! If you can find a soul, you're welcome to keep it. Just get this bloody chipout of my skull."
The witch solemnly watched him as he pricked his finger and scrawled Spike in the three indicated spaces. Then she bent over and, muttering, signed the line under his last signature.
Park watched the proceedings carefully. "Mr. Spike, our firm is aware of your species' rather peculiar code of honor. You are perfectly capable of reneging on a signed contract with humans. Ms. Stanhope is laying a geas on you, compelling you to honor the terms of the agreement."
The small withered woman actually cackled. All she needed to complete the stereotype of an evil witch was a basket of poisoned apples. She finished the muttering and scuttled towards him. Her hand reached out, touching his cheek. "You'll do as you promised. Do you understand, boy?"
Spike recoiled from her hand and tried to scramble to his feet. Her eyes were glazed and black, like Willow's when she was doing her deep mojo. The first awareness of danger filtered through his alcohol-soaked senses. In almost slow motion he saw her lower her hand and reach inside her sleeve. She had a stake hidden inside and now she was raising it and lunging towards him, her snake-like eyes were pinning him in place, freezing him. With effort he raised his hands, shoving her away. She sailed backwards, slamming against a wall and the chip exploded in his head.
Which is why he didn't pay attention to the lawyer behind him. Without changing expression, Park removed a stake from his briefcase and coolly stabbed Spike in the back, through the heart.
The tip of the stake protruded through his chest. He stared at it in wonder for a moment. His mind filled with all he was losing. Buffy, Dawn, love, fighting, friendship . . . Buffy.
He had seen other vampires staked. He often wondered if they had time to know that they were dying. He discovered that there was time for an eternity of regret before his dust settled to the floor.
Continued in CHAPTER 2 - DISCOVERY