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Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot. I bend to Joss Whedon's will and try my best not to murder his characters.
Summary: Spike has gotten himself a soul by accident. The Powers That Be want him to go to Sunnydale and deliver a message about the upcoming Harvest. He just wants to get in and get out, but will he be able to stick to his plans?
Chapter Summary: The Anointed One is coming and no one is prepared. Will Spike hand over his knowledge of Aurelius rituals or will he keep it on a need to know basis?
Warnings: Souled!Spike and AU
Previous Chapter: Teacher's Pet
Notes: I'd like to thank kimalis for helping me out with Spike's slang. Then I'd like to thank Buffyworld for episode guides. Also, if anyone cares about my other series "James" it hit a snag with a few lost documents. It should be back in full swing soon, I hope.
“Execution was adequate, but a bit too bloody for my taste,” Giles said.
“I thought it was brilliant,” Spike said flashing her the thumbs up.
“See, Spike thinks I did good.”
“And Spike is a great judge of character because he’s vampire with a soul.”
“Glad someone sees it.”
Giles huffed, “If you know so much, why don’t you be her watcher!”
“Wouldn’t look good in tweed,” Spike said off-handedly staring at the ground. “What do we have here?”
He picked up the ring and held it up to show Buffy and Giles, they inspected it and he pulled another ring out his pocket. They were nearly identical.
“Spike!” Buffy exclaimed. “You’ve been fencing stuff off the bad guys we’ve killed! Why didn’t you share? I’ll take the slightly smaller one.”
Spike rolled his eyes and put the ring he pulled out of his pocket onto his finger. It fit perfectly. Buffy looked a little confused while Giles studied the ring on his finger carefully. Spike slipped it off and stuck it back into his pocket. He tossed the other ring at Buffy and she happily accepted it.
“It’s the ring given to members of the Order. Was a fun club, went sometimes with Darla. Too much ritual for me though. Gave these rings to their members, masters get one like mine, childer get a slightly less complex ring, while minions get the one you have in your hand. The rings don’t dust.”
“So you can identify the body?” Buffy asked.
“Humans,” Spike said with a laugh. “Nah, so we don’t have to make a new one when we replace them.”
Buffy dropped the ring in disgust, “Ew. I’ll never get used to you vampires.”
“You’re a vampist,” Spike said accusingly.
“A what?” Even Giles was confused.
“Someone with prejudices against vampires and their culture.”
“Oh, dear lord. Of all the vampires, why did you have to be the one to get a soul?”
“Fate, I guess,” Spike said.
They were passing around Spike’s ring and the minion’s ring when Giles cleared his throat. Everyone except Spike looked at him. Spike was trying to pretend he was somewhere else, maybe back in England. Somewhere in the country where they had horses. He had always liked horses. If he wasn’t any only child, maybe his mother would have let him learn how to ride one. He had learned once he was turned, but he couldn’t ride in the day. He missed the sun. He wondered if he still had his freckles or if they had faded away into his deathly pale skin.
“Spike, here’s your ring back,” Xander said placing it in front of him and turning away.
He picked it up and put it on. He had almost forgotten about the awkwardness between him and Xander since Xander had walked in on Spike in the shower. It was another reason Spike had retreated into his fantasy about riding horses in the sun.
“Spike, do you know why the Order of Aurelius would still be in Sunnydale?” Giles asked him.
“Why don’t I pop in and ask. Oh, wait. I’m the slayer’s pet.” He leaned back in his chair. “Sorry, not a clue. Wish I could help.”
“You must know clan legends and some rituals.”
“Told you, wasn’t much into ritual stuff. Dru’s prophecies were enough of the mojo I could stand.” He thought. “Let’s see. There’s the Annoying One, don’t know why the Master would seek out him. Then there’s the rise or something. That one was a bit boring for my tastes.” He scratched his chest. “Then there was something about bones and the Master’s demon. Uh, then maybe one about cheese. Dunno, that one might be something Dru made up. You know, I think it is one Dru made up. Don’t look up demon cheese.”
“Yes, Spike,” Giles said flatly. “I really did think demon cheese was what the Master was up to.”
They stopped abruptly as the doors swung open and a boy walked in. Buffy was waving at him, trying to get his attention. He looked at the group sitting around the table and waved awkwardly.
“Owen!” Buffy said. “What are you doing here?”
“Getting a book,” he said.
“Wow, he’s getting a book in a library,” Spike shot. “I never would have guessed.”
“He could be getting a magazine,” Willow offered helpfully.
Owen looked at Giles and ignored the others, “I lost my complete works of Emily Dickenson. I know it sounds weird, but she’s like my security blanket.”
“She’s a bit plain, ain’t she? She has passion for what she writes and a good rhyme scheme, but that doesn’t necessarily make good poetry.” Spike said. “Needs a bit more. Now Shakespeare. There was a man who knew how to write. He wasn’t dull either. Loved to make jokes in his poems.”
Everyone was giving him an odd look, but he didn’t elaborate on his love of poetry or the fact that he had taken writing it back up since he got his soul back.
“Who is he exactly?”
“William Pratt,” Spike said as if that answered all angles of the question.
“Right, I’m going to assume it’s in the poetry section.”
“Let me help you!” Buffy yelled.
Buffy followed Owen to the upper part of the library where she chatted quietly with him. Spike looked at Jesse and Xander. They seemed less than pleased about Buffy’s new crush. Willow seemed ecstatic and like she was ready to lap all the juicy details. Spike bit his lip at the mental image that gave him. Spike liked it, but it made the Victorian in the back of his mind feel dirty. The thoughts about Willow and Buffy stopped with a shutter from William.
The lunch bell rang and everyone got up. They moved about collecting their things while Spike watched them. He laughed and tilted back into his chair.
“It’s true! You humans are cattle!”
They all glared at him. They were trying to remind him there was an unknowing human at the top of the stairs. Spike figured he could tell this boy, Owen, anything about vampires, aliens, or demons and he would explain it away like the other residents.
“You should go home, Spike,” Xander said.
Spike held up two fingers rudely, then stalked off.
The next night, Spike was training in his basement. He had set up a punching bag in his small flat and was now punching it without his shirt on. It always gave Jessica a thrill when he was training like that. Her husband was a right bastard; it was the least he could do. Plus, it earned him extra meals, like once she made him cookies and lemonade. Spike seemed to be fitting right in the Harris household. He looked at the clock, it was almost six, he should clean up, dinner would be ready soon.
He grabbed some blood and poured it into a mug as he watched Xander pad down the stairs. He hadn’t been down here since that night. There was blush on Xander’s cheeks as he sat on the couch. Spike wondered what was going on.
“So, Buffy said I should talk to you.”
“Did she? What did the wise slayer have to say?”
“She wanted to know why you weren’t out patrolling last night. She had to miss her date with Owen.”
“There was a Passions marathon. Forgot to call and say I wouldn’t be in for work.”
“Anyway, I need to inform you we’ll be looking for the Anointed One. Giles thinks he’s found out who the vamp is. He wants you to come help.”
“Knew the brat would pop up sooner or later. Annoying one is more like it. I never got what was so special about the whelp. No special powers, body doesn’t seem like it’d be fit in a fight, does it?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Anointed one. One whose innocence is tainted in with shadow and anointed with darkness. Every Aurelius vamp knows that story. Bloody hate it.”
“No, this guy is far from innocent. He’s a serial killer.”
Spike laughed, “Love you humans and how you think you got us vamps all figured out.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“So, this serial killer. He guarded? Got him in the Master’s lair and all that?”
“No, he’s in the Sunnydale Funeral Home.”
Spike laughed again, “Oh! And you think they’d just let him lay there? I mean, use your head. The body wouldn’t be there. It wouldn’t rise in some normal grave. This is the Anointed One! Our unholy leader that will kill the slayer is going to rise in…!” He slapped Xander’s cheek playfully. “Now I know why I hang out with you humans. Good for a laugh.”
“But…but… but he killed people. Isn’t that like holy to vamps?”
“But it’s not holy to humans. Look, we don’t go for evil. We’re repealed by it. The nicer you are, the more demons are attracted to you. Demons and vampires, our sweet satisfaction is corrupting the innocent. It’s why we usually rape our victims before turning them.”
Xander grinned, “You must not have been. You died sweet, chaste William.”
Spike growled and vamped out, “Not funny, mate.”
“Sorry. Won’t happen again, Spike.”
“So where are we meeting?”
“They’re already on their way.”
“You mean they’re going to meet a killer that has been turned into an even deadly killer. It’s just the slayer and this is a well, he’s practised already. Killing ain’t just ripping out throats to him, it’s art.”
“We better hurry.”
“Going to put a shirt on first?”
Spike had completely forgotten he didn’t have a shirt on. He grabbed one from his dresser and ran into the bathroom. He closed the door and felt his chest. He was going to find where that soul hid and rip it out if it was the last thing he did.
They pulled up in front of the funeral home and Spike parked Xander’s mom’s car. Spike got out and Xander clung to the seat. Spike walked around and opened the door for him; Xander was still clinging dangerously to the car.
“Where did you learn how to drive?”
“Oi, I’ve been driving since cars had to be cranked. I am a very skilled driver. Just gets me all excited that cars can go over ten miles an hour now.”
“Hey, maybe I can use you to pass History.”
Xander got out and Spike slammed the door behind him which made Xander jump.
“Not your bloody tutor.”
They strode up to the funeral home and stared at the door. Neither of them knew how to go about the rescue or if they even needed rescuing. The looked at each other then the door.
“Do we knock or something?”
Spike tried the handle, “It’s open.”
“That’s never a good sign,” Xander said.
“Well, look, if it isn’t the souled vamp. Can’t wait to stake him and be rid of him.”
Spike shifted to his game face. He knew a couple of filthy vampires that were going to be dust in a few seconds. He turned around and noticed they wore the Order of Aurelius rings. He was never going to live turning against his own clan down. There were only a few and they were minions. They went down easy. It was hardly worth the effort he had put into it. Spike cracked his neck. He wanted a challenge for once.
“That was so cool!” Xander babbled behind him. “Just boom boom boom boom, they didn’t even have a chance to fight back. That was just awesome. You’re an awesome vampire.”
Another group of vampires are heading their way. Spike growled and punched one; he decided he had done enough where he could play with his prey before staking them. The second vampire grabbed Xander and he dusted it.
“On your toes, Xander.”
“Yeah, easy for you to say.”
Xander staked one that was going for Spike, then staked another that had attempted to run. Spike took care of the rest with easy. He was sick of playing with weak vampires. Xander continued to babble as they reached a locked gate. Spike kicked it down and heard singing down the hallway.
“Well isn’t this a lovely decoy,” Spike said.
“Make this seem like they are coming for the Anointed, feeding him with whatever was locked behind these gates. Then while we are trying to kill this vamp, they grab the real Anointed One. Got to hand it to the Master. Doesn’t do things half arsed.”
Xander heard screaming down the hall, “I think I hear them.”
“Yeah, I do too. Let’s hurry.”
They ran. Xander was running quickly to keep up with Spike who wasn’t running that fast at all compared to how vampires usually ran. Xander was almost out of breath as they finally got into the morgue. Buffy moved and the vampire she was fighting jumped right into the crematorium. Xander looked at the scene. He was cross.
“All that running,” he said between breaths. “And you didn’t even need our help.”
“What a way to go though,” Spike pointed out. “They probably already have the real Anointed One by now. Let’s call it a night. I’m missing meatloaf night.”
“Real Anointed One? If this wasn’t the real Anointed One, who was he?” Buffy said crossly, ignoring Owen who was struggling to get up.
“Decoy,” Spike said with a shrug.
“A decoy!” She rounded on Giles. “My date died in a diversion!”
“Uh… sorry,” Giles offered.
“Buffy, he’s not dead,” Willow said. “I’ve been trying to tell you that through the entire fight!”
Spike growled, “You were fooled by an idiot vampire who couldn’t tell a live human from a dead one! I have half a mind to kill you myself, slayer.”
Jesse coughed, “Can we get out of here? This is starting to creep me out. Not that I don’t like dead people.” He said to Spike. “It’s the whole stillness bit. You know?”
“Maybe we should start referring to vampire as ‘Undead-Americans’,” Willow offered.
“Two things,” Spike said holding up his two fingers up rudely. “Not bloody American.” He put down his index finer. “Also, couldn’t care less what you think about stiffs in the ground.” He gave a false cheery grin. “Got it?”
“He’s just cranky because he hasn’t had his meatloaf,” Xander said.
They sat quietly in the car as Spike drove. Xander was silent. He seemed to be thinking about something. Spike wanted to question him, but instead he drummed absent-mindedly on the steering wheel. They came to a red light and he noticed Xander staring at him.
“What?” Spike said not trying to hide his irritation.
“Why has everything been so awkward since the bathroom incident? We’re both guys. It shouldn’t be that big of deal if we see each other naked. I see guys naked all the time. Well, not naked, naked. They have underwear on. You know, we have to change for gym and all that.”
“Can we go back to silence, please?”
“I just want everything okay between us. I don’t want you mad at me because I invaded your privacy or something like that. I thought my mom just forgot to turn off the light again, I swear.”
“Yeah, I know. Don’t worry. Nothing’s wrong. Everything is sunshine and puppies.”
Xander laughed, “Promise me, Spike?”
William yelled at him to tell Xander that it wasn’t alright, that it had affected him in more ways than he could possibly say.
Spike bit his lip then spoke, “I promise.”