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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 settled into Sunnydale and has found a place for himself with Xander. Only problem is the Anointed One has unknowingly created a major road block for them.
Chapter Summary: The Sunnydale Welcome sign has been destroyed. Who could have done it?
Notes: I'd like to thank kimalis for helping me out with Spike's slang and bringing detail to me jumbled mind. Then I'd like to thank Buffyworld for episode guides. Some Assembly Required happened, but Spike wasn't there.
“So, Snyder’s got you making party favors?” Jesse asked Buffy.
Xander wasn’t listening. He was too depressed. Spike was still missing. He hadn’t seen him in weeks. After the whole deal with the Anointed One, Spike had just disappeared. Xander wished he still had Spike’s duster, but a day after the event it had disappeared from his room. He didn’t want to think what that meant. Spike had promised him that he would never leave! This didn’t exactly seem like keeping a promise.
“As long as nothing bad happens,” Willow said.
“Huh? How’d we skip to that?” Xander said.
“You were zoning out, Xander. You missed the entire conversation.”
“Oh. It’s just I’ve been thinking a lot about Spike.”
“We noticed,” Buffy said.
“I just want Spike to come home. Is that so much to wish for?”
The engine of the Desoto roared violently as it rammed the “Welcome to Sunnydale” sign. It backed up and ran over it again. It parked over the scattered remains of the signed and the driver’s side door opened. Smoke billowed out and a bleached blonde man got out of the car. He leaned against the car and took a drag from the cigarette in his mouth.
“Home, sweet home,” Spike said with a sneer.
Spike smiled and entered the warehouse. It was nice. The Anointed One really knew how to set up a lair. It was a lot nicer than the Master’s lair. It was less stone-y. Fuck, he put y at the end of a word. Those damn Scoobies had done more than enough damage to him.
“When I kill her, it’ll be the greatest event since the crucifixion. I should know. I was there.”
Spike laughed and they all turned around to look at him. They growled at him and he laughed harder.
“You? You were there? Oh please! If every vampire who said he was there was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock.”
“What are you doing here? You work with them. I oughta rip your throat out.”
“I was actually at Woodstock. That was fun. Ate few of those hippie types. I saw bunnies and a purple moon. Now that was a trip.”
The vampire that was supposedly at the crucifixion rushed in and attacked Spike. Spike pulled out a stake and dusted the offending vampire.
“Now that is why I don’t believe you.” He grinned and turned to the Anointed One. “Now who else can I kill for fun around here?”
“You were working with the Slayer before. Why should I trust you?”
“Because I’m free! I’m free of that little bastard, William, and I’m free of being ensouled! I got no morals. I got no worries. I got no guilt. Fuck, do I feel good. Might even take care of the old Slayer for you.”
“Can you? Isn’t she your friend?”
“Not listening. I lost my soul. Slayer and me, we ain’t friends anymore. I’ve done in a few slayers. I was even prophesized to kill the Chinese Slayer in the Codex. I think I’m more than qualified to do in this one. Oh, I should tell you about the one I killed in New York.”
“I so did love New York. It smelled like rotting roses and boiled blood,” a woman’s voice came from behind him. “We should go back.”
Spike turned and looked at Drusilla who was making her way into the warehouse. He walked over to her and ran a hand through her hair.
“We will, pet, after we get you all fixed up. Now go back to the car, you’re still too weak to be walking around.”
Drusilla looked around then at the pile of dust on the floor, she laughed.
“My Spike doesn’t like to play nice, does he?”
He grinned, “No he doesn’t.”
“That one,” she pointed at the Anointed One. “He has power. I can feel it. It’s like my blood covered daisy. Do you remember my blood covered daisy?”
“Dru, I was your blood covered daisy.” Spike looked at the Anointed One. “Yeah, he’s the big talk around these parts. You know that lovely little chap Darla and the Master used to read us stories about. The Anointed One.”
“I used to love Grandmother’s stories. We should visit her. She’ll be back from her trip soon.” She whimpered. “Spike, I’m cold.”
Spike took off his duster. He had stolen it from Xander’s house before he left. He couldn’t believe that idiot William had given Xander HIS duster. He rubbed her shoulders and she scratched his face. He didn’t wince as the blood flowed and she licked it off his face.
“That’s my dark princess.” He stroked her hair. “Dru and me, we’re movin’ in.” He stepped away from Drusilla and turned his attention back to the Anointed One. “Now any of you want to end up like your friend on the floor, I suggest you bugger off and leave me and my princess alone. I’ll off your Slayer for you. Consider it on me.”
“And the dark kitten, Spike?”
Spike’s eyes narrowed, “What about the ‘dark kitten’?”
She pouted, “Will you turn him for me?”
She ran her fingers through his hair, “But it’s all here, in your head. His face was like a poem. He’d be so delightfully evil and I want a pet. I want my dark kitten. Please, my little Spike. Turn him for me.”
Spike sighed, “Alright, love. For you, I’ll turn your dark kitten. I’ll make Xander a vampire just for you, princess.”
“Your mom saw Spike?”
Xander nodded to Buffy as he helped her paint the “Parent-Teacher Conference” banner. Willow was helping too. Jesse was watching.
“I just think it’s strange. He drops off the money for rent and doesn’t even say hi or ‘Hey, I’ve been missing for a few weeks, sorry.’ It just doesn’t sit right.” Willow said.
“Maybe he’s just upset he couldn’t save Aura,” Jesse whispered.
Xander pouted, “But it wasn’t his fault she died! He tried his best to save her! He shouldn’t feel guilty for that.”
“I know, but he doesn’t. Imagine if you had failed when you tried to save Buffy. Wouldn’t you have felt insanely guilty?”
‘You’re right,” Xander stopped painting and stood up. “I think I need a good trip to the Bronze, that’s if we don’t have to fight any…”
Giles and Jenny strode up and they were talking animatedly to each other.
“Vampires. Why do I jinx myself? I should have stopped at ‘Let’s go to the Bronze.’”
“Buffy is the only one needed, you can go to the Bronze.”
Xander grinned, “Here that? We lucked out.”
Buffy got up off the floor, “Oh no. You went on the kick of not being left behind, so you’re going to be a good like sidekick and come along. So what are we dealing with, Giles?”
“According to Miss Calendar-“
“Jenny,” she corrected him. “I said you could call me Jenny.”
“Yes, well, ‘Jenny’ was ummm…”
“Surfing the web.”
“Yes, doing that and she came across some information and did some calculations and she believes that this Saturday is the night of St. Vigeous.”
“Oh, please let him be the patron saint of fluffy bunnies and unicorns,” Xander prayed.
“I’m afraid not. He led vampire crusades through Edessa and further east.”
“He didn’t leave much behind,” Jenny added.
“If I survive Parent-Teacher Night, then I’ll see about stopping the next vampire crusade. Right now, I have to worry about getting kicked out of school.”
“Saturday needs lots of preparation though,” Giles said.
“We’ll help,” Jesse said. “Xander and I can whittle stakes.”
“I’ll help research,” Willow offered.
“While I whittle, I plan to whistle very loudly,” Xander said.
“Form of protest?”
“Yes, an extreme form of protest, but anything to help the Slay-“ he caught himself as Snyder approached. “Slay-ve. I am a slave to painting. The colors, the canvas. I don’t know what it is about them. I am just a slave to it all. Buffy, please let me paint the rest of the banner for you.”
“You wouldn’t be helping in Shelia’s place would you?”
“Shelia?” Xander asked confused.
“You weren’t listening to the conversation before,” Buffy said a bit annoyed. “Nope, they aren’t. Shelia went to go get more paint. We need more paint.”
“Why didn’t you send one of the other slackers to get it?” Snyder asked.
“I don’t know where the paint is,” Willow said.
Shelia came in. Xander saw she had sunglasses on. Just like Shelia, she was always going out late and drinking. She’d come into class stoned or with a hangover. He didn’t think he’d feel sorry if she was ever expelled, he didn’t get why Buffy was covering for her.
“Oh, no.” Buffy said to Shelia. “They were all out of teal paint? This won’t do at all. I’ll have to go out and buy some. We can’t finish without teal paint.”
Snyder narrowed his eyes at them, “It better be perfect when you get finished with it.”
“It will be,” Buffy reassured him.
He walked off towards another group of ‘slackers’ and began yelling at them too.
“Thank for covering for me,” Shelia said with a grin.
“No problem. Anytime,“ Buffy said.
Spike stalked into the Bronze. He growled as he spotted the Scoobies on the dance floor. Willow and Jesse were dancing together while Buffy was grinding against Xander. Xander didn’t seem to be enjoying himself. It pleased Spike that he was miserable without him. He just had to figure out away to get Xander away from the group so he could turn him for Drusilla.
“You will not harm him,” said a firm voice behind him.
Spike didn’t turn around. He could sense it was another vampire; it was around the same age as him, maybe a bit younger. The feeling was mixed. It was a master from the Aurelius clan, there was no doubt about that.
“Sorry, mate, didn’t mean to step on any toes. Got a score to settle with the dopey looking one over there. So, if you don’t mind, could you pick a different child to munch on?”
“No, Spike. This one is mine.”
“Ah, so you know who I am. I feel honoured. But, my dark princess wants him for a pet. What my dark princess wants, she gets.”
“I happen to know your ‘dark princess’ and I do not understand why you are so loyal. It was only fairly recently that she would scream for ‘Spike’, I remember she used to scream for a different vampire entirely.”
“Angelus isn’t here anymore.”
“What about William?”
“I am William.”
“Are you now? That is a laugh,” the vampire behind him chuckled. “Drusilla is a fickle thing. Are you not worried she will like the boy more and forget you? It has happened before.”
“You don’t know a thing you’re talking about, mate. I suggest you leave before I turn around.”
“I was on my way out.”
He felt the other vampire leave and he turned to watch. He had a mess of curly blonde hair that reminded him of his own before he discovered bleach. Stupid bastard had on faded jeans and a brown, leather jacket. Did he think he was cool or something? The cocky fuck turned his head and glanced over at Spike to check if he was ‘behaving’ before leaving the Bronze. That did it; he could not play defensive anymore. He went to the bar and one of the Anointed One’s lackeys. He wanted to test how strong the Slayer had gotten before he went to challenge her.
“Go get something to eat.”
He watched as the vampire moved into the crowd to find a victim. Now how to alert Buffy? Could he just walk up to her and tell? No, she’d sense there was something off. He considered his options but was saved when a woman came running in.
“Someone call the police! There was man out there and he tried to bite me!”
The slayer instantly moved into action with the slayerettes behind her. Spike wasn’t one to complain when things were going his way so he crept silently out of the Bronze. He slithered into the shadows and watched. She had gotten better, a lot better. She must have been training harder since he left. She still wasn’t up to his skill level and when they sparred he had always been holding back before. She was doing the usual banter thing she did with the bad guys. Spike figured she just liked hearing herself speak. He rolled his eyes.
“Spike!” The vampire called. “Give me a hand!”
Spike didn’t move and the vampire was staked. Xander ran next to Buffy and stared at Spike for a few minutes then moved forward. Buffy stopped him and continued to stare at Spike.
He clapped and smiled, “Nice work, love.”
“Why did you just stand there and watch?”
“Seemed like you had a good handle on the situation.”
“A good handle? It doesn’t matter, we need your help. Do you know what Saturday is?”
“Sure do, pet.”
“What is it then?”
Spike grinned, “Saturday is the day I kill you.”
He jumped over the fence and was gone. Buffy was speechless and Xander was confused.
Shelia looked around to realize she was walking alone. She had been walking with two guys, where had they gone so suddenly. They couldn’t have walked off so quickly.
“Well, if it isn’t Shelia. What are you doing so far from home?”
She turned around to see that librarian’s nephew, William AKA Spike, a few feet behind her. He was always hanging around school. Everyone thought he creepy, Shelia thought he was hot. She had tried to hit on him before, but he turned her down. Now they were alone in a dark alley. This was her lucky night.
“Waiting for you to show up, Spike. You finally dump those chess club rejects to hang out with some real punks?”
“Luv, you ain’t a real punk, but guess it could be fun. You do got something I want.”
“What might that be?” She ran her tongue seductively over her upper lip.
“Why don’t you follow me home and find out?”
She grinned, “Yeah. I’m game.”
Xander slammed his book closed, “Spike isn’t evil! He’s…”
“Deranged,” Buffy finished for him. “He said he was going to kill me.”
They were sitting around the library trying to figure out what to do about Spike. Buffy had been going on about how she knew Spike was evil from the beginning and has set Xander off.
“He has an invite into your house, an invite into my house. He’s been to all of our houses, yet he hasn’t tried to kill any of us. He’s just lost.”
“I can do an uninvited spell,” Jenny offered.
“Not helping. We’re not uninviting Spike. We have to help him.”
“You cannot help him. He does not have a soul anymore.”
A man entered the library. His sandy-blonde hair was a messy mop on his head. He wore a white shirt with an open blue button down over it. The jacket he had on was faded brown leather that matched his faded blue jeans. His blue eyes were warm and stood out against his pale skin. He stopped in front of everyone and they tensed.
“How do you know he doesn’t have a soul anymore?” Giles asked him.
“I know Spike better than anyone. I have known him for years and know what he is like with and without a soul. If he is set to kill Buffy then he will stop at nothing to kill her.”
"How do we know we can trust you?" Giles asked.
"Spike took what was mine and I want to pay him back. We have a common enemy. The enemy of my enemy is my friend."
Giles rubbed his chin, "You have a point. We will call a truce for now. What can we call you?"
"Call me William."
Xander looked at William. He squinted and turned his head. It was Spike's soul no matter how he looked at it. If he hadn't have known every inch of Spike's face by heart, he would have passed it off as a coincidence, but he recognized it from when he was turned into a vampire in the nightmares. He didn't understand why it was up walking around but he didn't care. William wasn't Spike, maybe he was a part of Spike, but he was like Jiminy Cricket, he was only a small part of him.
"Alright, William. Do you have a plan for dealing with Spike."
“I think an uninvite spell should be our first move,” Jenny said.
“You do not have to worry about Spike coming to your homes. He prefers a fight and will fight only on even ground. He might catch you off guard, but he would never attack while you were sleeping.”
“Wow, he’s so noble,” Jesse said.
“So, William, Spike’s okay?” Xander asked.
William seemed annoyed by Xander’s question, “Yes. Spike is alright. He is as alright as he will get for a life stealing demon.”
“Is there anything else we should know?” Giles asked William.
William glared, “No, nothing I can think of at the moment. If I do think of anything, I will be sure you are the first to know. You know where to find me.”
He shoved his hand in his jacket pockets and stormed out of the library in a Spike like manner. He kicked the door on his way out and muttered at not to get in his way again.
“My William,” Drusilla sighed.
Spike growled at her. She was sitting in front of a bound and gagged Shelia and playing with her dolls that Spike had just unpacked from the car. He remembered the conversation he had with the curly-haired man.
“Why you sighing that name? I’m Spike now.”
“My William was so sweet. I remember he tasted like sunshine and words, long flowing words. I miss my William. Do you think he will come back?”
“I am William! I came back. When Lawson and Penn left you in Prague to be tortured, who came and got you? Who brought you all the way back to the Hellmouth to heal you?”
“My Spike did. But, my Spike isn’t my William anymore. He’s lost his sparkle.”
Spike growled furiously, “I’m going upstairs and see if they’re done with that infernal chanting. When I come down, she better be eaten. No playing with her or I won’t turn your soddin’ dark kitten.”
Drusilla whimpered, “My William would have never yelled at me.”
Spike flung himself off the bed and ran up the stairs. He felt like ripping something apart. There was no way he’d be able to wait for Saturday.
Cordelia sighed then began whittling. She sighed again and whittled some more. She sighed…
“You’ve only been at this for three minutes! Can you just stop sighing?” Xander said slamming down the stake he had been whittling.
“I’m sorry my depression is bothering you, Xander. Would you like me take my morning over the lose of my only true friend somewhere else?”
“If it wouldn’t be much trouble.”
She raised the unfinished stake in her hand, “You! You are going to find out what this feels like!”
Jesse grabbed her hand, “Whoa, I like you, but no stabbing the best friend. I need him.”
Cordelia blushed, “Can you get your hand off of me? You are so ew. It’s not like I was actually going to stake him or anything.”
Jesse let go of her, “You’re not helping out my crush or my ego.”
She glared at him, “Well, maybe you should get over both.”
“Maybe I will.”
“PUNCH!” Buffy exclaimed.
Everyone ducked and looked around. The got up cautiously as Buffy started to run around the library looking for her punch mix.
“I don’t seem to recall you buying punch mix,” Giles said stepping out of his office.
Buffy screamed, “What? Oh no. I have to run and get some. Everyone stay here and don’t eat anything. I counted everything. If anything is missing, the guilty party will get staked.”
“Violent much,” Cordelia said as Buffy left.
Xander whistled as everyone busied themselves outside the library during Parent-Teacher Night. His mom was out there somewhere with William. She had somehow talked the man into going and was now walking around with him and meeting all his teachers. He tried to concentrate on whittling but Giles kept going on and on about how bad Spike was. It was still Spike though, wasn’t it? It was still the Spike that laughed at his jokes and loved him. He sighed and put down his stake. William, despite being Spike’s soul, was just a keep imitation. He didn’t have Spike’s look or Spike’s accent. He just wasn’t Spike.
“There’s some sort of commotion going on outside,” Giles said.
Xander stopped whittling and ran out of the library with Giles and Jenny. Buffy was running towards them. He didn’t see anyone else with her.
“Spike is here! He’s brought an army!”
Buffy ran past them while Giles and Jenny ran back into the library. They didn’t seem to notice Xander was with them. This was his chance to talk to Spike. He took in a deep breath and wandered into the lounge area where he could see knocked over tables and ripped down banners.
“Spike!” Xander called out. “Spike, I want to talk to you.”
“Really? ‘Cause I don’t feel like talking. More into sucking, but you know that already, Xan.”
Xander turned around and squared his shoulders. Spike was smiling at him, his face was vamped out. Xander gulped as Spike began to approach him.
“If I let you, will you leave?”
“If you let me? Xander, I’m going to bite you whether you let me or not.”
“For all you know, I have a stake hidden up my sleeve and when you go to bite me, I’ll stake you. Sure, I’ll feel bad about it, I’ll mope for a bit, but at least everyone would be safe.”
“I kind of just want to turn you so I can get that nasty do-gooder-ness out of you.”
“So, do we have a deal?” Xander bared his neck at Spike.
“More than one.”
Spike grabbed Xander and leaned in to bit his neck. But, something blunt contacted with his head, sending him backwards. Xander fell and knocked his head against the wall and fell unconscious. Spike looked up to see who had hit him and William was glaring at him. He twirled the axe in his hand and hit Spike against the head with the handle.
“I told you to stay away from the boy, but you were always thick. You needed everything beat into you. Well, I can help with that.”
“You think you can take me, you soddin’ poof.”
Spike lunged at William and grabbed the other end of the axe. William pulled on it and freed it from Spike’s hand then jabbed him with the blunt end again.
“I am not the ‘soddin’ poof’. If anything, you are. The hair gel and the finger nail polish. Then the eyeliner! I mean, you are wearing make-up and you call me the ‘poof’.”
Spike threw a punch that contracted with William’s jaw. William vamped out and growled at him.
“So the human soul ain’t so human. Go figure.”
Spike kicked an unprepared William in the stomach. William flew back and hit the wall behind him. Spike came in to attack William again, but William was already swinging the sharp end of the axe. He buried it deep within Spike’s chest then pulled it out. He kicked Spike back and steadied himself.
“I have all your memories and I am on equal footing with you, only I actually have some intelligence. You are the lesser being. I will not make the mistake of thinking you are higher than me again. Be gone before I find a stake.”
Spike growled and held his bleeding stomach, “Next time I see, don’t give a shit if you look like me or not. I’ll stake you.”
William shook off his vampire face, “You are all talk. You have lost your sparkle.”
Spike growled and took off. William tossed the axe away and went to kneel beside Xander. He stroked his hair and felt for any bumps. Xander opened his eyes and crawled away from him.
“He is gone.”
“But, I’m still human. Did he not want me?”
“Do not be stupid, Xander. You do not want the devil’s bargain he has to offer. I know what I am talking about.”
“Sure you do. You know everything because you were turned and had to sit there and watch while Spike did unspeakable things using your stuck-up body. Whatever you did to make him leave, next time, don’t bother. I don’t want to be saved.”
“You are just grieving-“
“I don’t care. Just leave me alone, William.”
Xander struggled to get up and retreated down the hallway. William bit his lip. Xander knew William was Spike's soul and he did not care. William felt where his heart should be and wished it would beat so it could ache.
Drusilla was aggravating his chest wound and smiling happily. They were standing next to a cage the Anointed One meant to use to punish Spike. Spike ran his hand along the cool steel bars and watched Drusilla play with his wound.
“My dear sweet William did this. He was wicked and violent. He was my puppy. I miss my William. Spike, we need to get William back.”
“Get William, get Xander. Why don’t we just make a huge soddin’ nest while we’re at it?”
“No one wants to play with me.”
“Not even the annoying one over there?”
Drusilla shook her head, “He is being dreadful. He is black and solid. Nothing fun about him.”
Spike walked over to the Anointed One and cocked his head at him. He leered and watched the young vampire squirm as he tried to look at Spike with authority.
“And yet, I really don’t feel bad about it.”
“You insolent vampire! Do you know who you are talking to? Do you know-“
Spike dusted the vampire who was talking, “I think I’m talking to dust.” Spike grabbed the Anointed One and grinned. “I’m going to teach you a little lesson, boy.”He threw the Anointed One into the cage. “You never try to control an older vamp.” He raised the cage and the Anointed One burst into dust. “If you do, you get burnt.”
Drusilla clapped her hands excitedly, “Oh! You really taught him, Spike.”
Spike let the cage drop and talked to the other minions, “Now then, I’m in charge. Anyone who doesn’t like it, they get dusted. Now, let’s go see what’s on the telly.”