SPOILERS: for AtS 5x01 and 5x02
PAIRING: Fred, Spike
O limed soul, that struggling to be free art more engag'd
(Hamlet, III, iii)
‘It terrifies me.’
His words haunt her all day.
He’s come to the right girl, for fear is
something Fred is intimately familiar with.
It’s why the following night, after hours,
Fred finds herself in Records and Files, pulling his file. It’s labeled: Spike,
aka William the Bloody. A startlingly thick file; she has to use both hands
to lift it out of the drawer.
She takes it to a deserted desk, unties the
strings, and begins to turn the pages, starting not methodically at the
beginning, but at the top, where the most recent entries are, working her way
down to the bottom of the stack, sometimes turning to the next page, sometimes
skipping a decade or two. It’s like reading a horror novel, only backwards. And
she already knows the fiery ending….
Photographs. Drawings. Itineraries.
Prophecies – some marked with a red stamp saying ‘void’, others marked ‘case
reopened.’ A folder peppered with military and medical terms, schematics of a
so-called ‘behavioral modification chip.’
She picks up a candy-colored photograph
showing a smiling young black woman and an earnest little boy. The girl wears a
shiny, familiar looking black leather coat. A newspaper clipping, several black
and white crime scene photos, and a coroner’s report are tacked to the picture.
The clip reads ‘subway gang-war killing.’ The photos show the black girl, dead.
Her coat is gone.
Fred returns the photos to the file. Flips
Details. Bloody. Lurid. A chronicle of
bloodshed, murder, and gore spanning more than a century. It makes her skin
crawl. It also makes her want to wipe her hands on something, because she feels
contaminated just from touching the pages.
Two slayers. Countless innocents. Murder
upon murder. It’s all so cold and clinical on paper.
At the bottom of the file there’s a picture
of a thin, dark-haired woman with dark eyes. She’s smiling coquettishly. It’s a
recent picture, less than three years old, according to a scribbled comment on
the back by one of Wolfram & Hart’s staff.
‘Drusilla, sired by Angelus,’ the caption
says. Spike’s sire. Wesley mentioned her once, a long time ago, when the topic
of Angel’s vampire ‘family’ came up, spoke of her madness and her psychic
abilities. Something about the woman in that picture feels familiar, but Fred
can’t put her finger on it.
“More than a hundred years, that’s how long
we were together.” His voice makes her jump, literally. The chair clatters to
“Don’t ever do that again!” she gasps,
heart still racing from the shock. She picks up the chair, but remains
standing, fighting the instinct to back away from him. He’s a ghost, he can’t
hurt her, right?
“She made me, Dru did,” Spike continues
without apology, jaw clenched, a determined set to his shoulders. “I’m not
saying it was her fault. It wasn’t. Never did anything I didn’t’ want, well,
not often. Dru asked me if I wanted it. Told her ‘yes.’ Had no clue, did I?
Still, even if I’d guessed, my answer would’ve been the same.” Spike’s voice is
He’s perching on a neighboring desk, and
she’ll have to research later how that is possible, because by rights he should
be sinking through the furniture and then through the ceiling, being
non-corporeal and all. What would happen if Spike took off his equally
non-corporeal coat? Would it float down? Dissolve?
Fred realizes she’s still holding
Drusilla’s photograph. She shoves it back into place and closes the file,
dog-earing the picture in her hurry to disassociate herself from the gruesome
“Why would anyone choose to become a
killer?” the words slip out before her brain can catch up - with the fact that
part of her knows very well how a person may end up crossing the line; with the
fact that in the face of this documented carnage she actually forgot – at least
for an hour or so - the blood that stains her own hands. It frightens her.
She picks up the folder and resolutely stuffs
it into the filing cabinet, then slams the drawer shut. The sound makes her
“You shouldn’t have looked at all that.”
Spike mutters with a shake of his head.
“Why not?” Fred bristles. Does he think she
can’t handle blood? She’s helped Angel for two years now, seen some pretty icky
and nightmarish things….
Spike slides off his desk. “’Cause of the
way you’re lookin’ at me now?” He makes it sound like a question.
“I’m sorry. I—”
A pained expression flickers over his face,
so fast, Fred wonders if maybe she imagined it. “Listen, I had no right to ask
for your help, I see that now,” Spike interrupts her. “You probably have more
important stuff to do, like building Dr. Brown’s flux compensator and whatnot.
All I’m asking is—” He stops. Takes a deep breath, then tries again: “Look, if
by chance you come across something, anything—to get a handle on this—” he
spreads his arms wide but his gaze is directed downwards, “--this whole spook
thing, I’d ‘preciate a heads up.”
Spike doesn’t wait for her reply but
strides off, non-corporeal coat swishing.
Fred watches him step through a solid wall,
then he’s gone.
The fears Spike confessed to this morning?
They seem awfully well-founded, now that she’s seen evidence of the things he’s
done, if ‘well-founded’ is even the right term in this context because there’s
nothing ‘well’ in that file, just horror and blood; too much to get over at the
drop of a hat, too much to be fully obscured by the fact that he died saving
She silently resolves, there and then,
never to pull Angel’s file. That might just be too much to handle.
And Spike’s problem? She won’t get to work
on it right away. There’s still a painful knot of disgust and loathing in her
stomach, a feeling that seems to have every intention of settling there for
good. Apparently that comes with the whole den of evil package. Maybe tomorrow
her appetite will be back. And then she’ll banish Spike’s past to the back of
her mind and focus on the present, because Fred Burkle enjoys a good scientific
puzzle, but mostly because even murderers deserve a second chance.