Title: The Stray
Warnings: Will appear on chapters if needed – some M/M relations
Summary: Spike survived the Black Thorn but only because one of the Senior Partners had heard Illyria refer to him as suitable for her pet and decided to amuse themselves with devastating results
Angel was dust, Gunn was dead, so was Wes, and Lindsey of course, and Lorne had disappeared. Only Illyria and Spike continued to fight on, back to back with the hoards of demons apparently not diminishing until… Just as Spike took a wild sweep to remove an ugly spiny beast, everything vanished.
The two were left standing bewildered in the middle of the alley. Spike dropped to his knees with exhaustion while Illyria simply tilted her head to the side and observed as all the dead demons melted into black puddles of ooze then were apparently absorbed by the pavement, leaving only the body of Charles Gunn slumped by a dumpster.
Spike took one look at Charlie boy and felt the loss of Angel on a visceral level, then thought of Wes and leant forward to bury his bloodied face in his hands and began to silently grieve.
“Grief weakens you, vampire. I too feel oddly saddened by the passing of the human Wesley…”
She was about to go on when the sound of slow clapping and “Bravo” came from the alleyway opening. Neither recognized Holland Manners – the middle-aged, former CEO of Wolfram and Hart - now deceased and still under contract.
“Well that *was* a show – and an excellent job with the Black Thorn. The Senior Partners have been trying to have a few of them ‘retired’ so to speak, for some time now.They have so many up and comers waiting for the opportunity to prove their worth and climb the corporate ladder to those dizzy heights… Isn’t LA just *such* an exciting place when it comes to that competitive spirit!” Manners grinned at Illyria and looked rather disparagingly at the blonde ensouled vampire still kneeling on the ground tears tracking through blood and mud as he looked up at the speaker.
“So… to business. I am Holland Manners, Senior Partners’ negotiation specialist and personal assistant of Mr Hart. It seems he has taken quite a shine to you Illyria, and feels you have been rather shabbily treated thus far at Wolfram and Hart given your immense power and feisty nature. We also are very aware of your former glory and bow to your greatness in that realm.
So… I have a proposition for you… You work for us ‘on call’ so to speak, and the Senior Partners will guarantee a restoration of an other dimension palace ready to be occupied and ruled.”
Spike looked up to try to gauge his blue companion’s reaction but couldn’t tell if Illyria was insulted or interested. She finally turned very deliberately to Manners, “I would keep Spike as my pet, as supreme ruler, the court would not dare disapprove of my pet – regardless of his … limitations.”
“Oi” croaked out Spike from the ground.
Manners gave a sly smile, “Oh I don’t think that will possible, he is only a half breed you see. But I am sure we could arrange… something for his future as a pet. So you are agreed?”
“I am to be restored to my former glory. It is understood, and I trust that you will allow me to rule without encumbrances. And in exchange I will occasionally assist you as appropriate. ”
“Oh most certainly, you alone will rule your domain.”
“Then it is agreed.”
Spike heard the glee in Manner’s reply and immediately knew there was something afoot. He tried to caution Illyria but instead succumbed to a wave of nausea as he registered spiraling prickle in the air as the magic increased one hundred fold. A maelstrom of energy hit them both, sweeping Illyria’s essence up and placing her in a restored palace, yes, but there was no-one to rule and the palace was a much reduced replica of her former enormous. She had agreed and was now trapped in it alone. She tested the outer walls to no avail.
The same blast that opened the rift to capture Illyria’s essence and Fred’s shell and condemned her to an eternity of servitude, trapped in her personal jail in the bowels of the Senior Partners’ true dimension, took hold of Spike’s form, magically altered it then flung him painfully against the wall of the alley.
He shook himself as the air cleared, feeling very ill and altogether strange, and tried to take in just what had transpired. Illyria was gone but Holland Manners was standing in the same place as before the blast smiling as he turned to Spike. “Ah yes! You do suit the pet label far more now, but then so many pets get abandoned these days don’t they… Oh I forgot… you are used to that feeling aren’t you *Spike*. At least the name is appropriate. I am *sure* the Senior Partners will be thrilled to know you are no longer even a marginal threat… enjoy.”
With that he turned heel and sauntered out of the alley and disappeared.
Spike was so dazed from the impact on the wall and his painful injuries from the fight prior to Manners arriving, that he simply curled into as small a ball as possible and whimpered for a time, then realized he had to do something about Charlie’s body, it was only then he began to discover the full extent of what had transpired.
The corner he was in seemed unusually dark, his night vision must have been affected by the impact, but his sense of smell still seemed fine as did his hearing. He rolled onto his stomach and made to stand but collapsed again as painful limbs did not want to cooperate.
Trying once more he eventually made it to all fours but that was now all he would be able to achieve. He whimpered as he looked down to see paws where hands had been, back legs that articulated in a different way… and fur and a tail! He experimented a little and found he could twitch his ears and lay them flat, still growl convincingly and really could control his tail.
He left Gunn’s body for a moment and found a puddle in the middle of the alley in a place lit enough to provide a reflection (fearful that might not be available as a vampire). Obviously his status had changed as he stared into the reflection of a rather slender dog that had features akin to a german shepherd but not quite. Pale fur with a patch of dark on back, black ears, paws and tail, blue eyes and pretty markings on his face – more akin to a husky, all were marred by tufts of fur missing and abrasions consistent with those he had suffered in the recent fight.
He backed away from the image in disbelief but somehow knew it was true and in true Spike fashion began to shift into survival mode. He knew he had to shift Gunn at least to the entrance of the alley so his corpse might be found and given proper burial. The alley was near Gunn’s former gang’s headquarters so he would likely be identified – or even found by one of them.
Spike did the only thing he could, took hold of Gunn’s arm and pulled with all his might, slowly dragging the body over the rough surface of the alley until he was lying face up just beyond the entrance. Spike licked the face of his dead friend gently, cleaning off a little of the blood and dirt then looked back into the alleyway.
He could see remnants of his own clothing strewn all over, but could only spot one of his boots. It did occur that sadly he wouldn’t be needing shoes anywhere in the near future it seemed, so simply turned into the lights of the city night and made a painful dash for… he wasn’t sure where, but knew he had to get out of LA.
(Should this continue?)