Title: Destiny Is Calling
Fandom: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I bend to Joss Whedon's will and try my best not to murder his characters.
Summary: William Pratt died and they needed someone to take his place.
Warnings: Souled!Spike and a mix of human au.
Notes: Thanks to kimalis for betaing it.
Spike sat on Xander’s couch. His soul burned so badly within him. He had no idea why he even went and got it until Xander popped out of the bedroom to check on him. That boy had always been his Achilles’ heel. The one he’d do anything for and he didn’t even know it.
“Spike, can I ask you a question?”
“Sure, go right ahead.”
“There feels like there’s something I should remember about you. It’s important, I know it. It’s on the tip of my tongue, yet for the life of me I can’t remember what it is. Do you know what it is?”
“How should I know? I’m not in that head of yours.”
“This is going to sound stupid. But, you always reminded me of a friend I once had. You remind me of him and we grew up together. He disappeared a few months before Buffy came and I guess that’s why I always hated you, because he left without telling me and I took it out on you.”
Spike’s undead heart sank, “I’m sure whatever reason he had for leaving, it had nothing to do with you.”
“But he didn’t even say goodbye.”
“Maybe he thought he’d be coming back.”
“What do you mean?”
“Want to hear a story?”
Spike cleared his throat, “Alright, once upon a time-”
William Elliot lived with his mother in a small house not too far from Main Street. Of course there are millions of Main Streets in America alone, but this one happened to be in a town called Sunnydale. His mother had met his father and moved to America where William was born. William had a happy childhood even though his father was killed and drained of all his blood one night. He never let that bother him because it just meant his mother had to love him twice as much to make up for it. William had been an outsider for the most part, favouring his English accent over a plain American one. He didn’t have any friends until the fifth grade when he met a second grader who had gotten caught on the jungle gym during recess.
“What are you doing up there?” William called to him.
“I got stuck!” the younger boy called back.
“Well, you got up there in the first place, can’t you get yourself down?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t think it would be so high!”
“What’s your name?”
William began climbing up the jungle gym, “I’m coming to get you, Xander. Just hang on.”
William reached the top and pried Xander off the jungle gym and helped him back down. From then on, the younger boy and his friend flocked around William in a halfway endearing attempt to thank William for his brave rescue. The years passed and they still were friends. They hung out every second of the day, sometimes they would go to the comic book store and they would stuff comics into their book bags if the shop owner wasn’t watching, but Xander would feel so bad, he’d return the next day and pay for it all.
Xander got off the couch and glared at him, “How do you know all that stuff?”
“How do you know about William Elliot and the stealing and the jungle gym? How do you know he lived off Main Street? Did you hack into the computers? I know you’re not as computer stupid as Angel, so spill. I don’t care if you have your soul or not, I will stake you.”
“Xander, I am William Elliot.”
“That’s impossible! You were alive in the 1880’s; William was born in the 1980’s. That’s over a hundred years. There is no way you could be William.”
“I know, but how could I know all that stuff about William? The real William Pratt, he died of tuberculosis that he caught from his mother before he could get turned, thus breaking a chain of events that would lead him here to get his soul.”
“So where do you fit in?”
“They settled on his re-incarnation instead. Can I finish my story?” Xander nodded. “Where was I?”
“You were telling about how we used to steal comics.”
“I’m going to skip ahead to-”
After the graduation ceremony and the tossing of the pointy square hats, William felt like his life was just about ready to start. He had a full ride through Sunnydale University and he was about to join his friends at a party they were holding in his honour down at the Bronze, his favourite club. His car had broken down. He had to walk there since his mum was already there and it was supposed to be a surprise even though William had figured it out ages before hand.
“William! William Elliot!”
William stopped and turned around to see a short man running towards him. He had never seen this man before and he wondered how he knew his name.
“Who are you?” William asked when the man approached.
“My name’s Whistler, I’m a demon and I represent the Powers That Be. I just got finished with one mission for them and now I’m onto yours’.”
“Onto my mission? You must be barmy. I’m William Elliot the college student, not William Elliot the spy.”
“Look, the guy we had lined up for the job died. You’re the only time his soul will be in this dimension again for the next ten thousand years and frankly, we don’t have that long.”
“Died? Soul?” William backed away from the strange man. “Look, you’re obviously smashed-”
“Haven’t you ever felt there was more to your life than just going off to college and settling down with that guy you like? Didn’t in the back of your mind you know you have a destiny bigger than the one laid out for you?”
“I-I have to go, there’s a party for me and-”
“You have a destiny. It’s your destiny to become a champion on the side of ultimate balance in the world and to fight to maintain the natural order against those who would seek to disrupt it. Doesn’t that sound better than becoming a poetry major, who never really makes it big and ends up living in a crappy apartment with his construction worker boyfriend?”
“How do you know all these things?”
The man pointed to the sky, “I say what they tell me. If you want more for the both of you, then come to the park on the edge of town after midnight. I’ll be waiting for you there.”
William finally ran away from the man and to his party, yet Whistler’s words wouldn’t leave his head.
“So you knew,” Xander glared at him. “All the time you were sitting there, laughing and eating it up on your big day, you knew you’d be leaving. Do you know how it hurt knowing you were gone? That you just vanished out of thin air. Do you know how much it hurt?”
“I didn’t know. I thought I’d be coming back. I thought he’d change me, make me something better. Instead I get flung back in time to care for this woman who doesn’t know her son is dead and to attend these God awful parties. And then to think that maybe my destiny is to be with this Cecily woman until she scorns me and I’m turned, but maybe Drusilla is my destiny. But no, she dumps me for a chaos demon. Now, I’m here with a soul and no idea what my destiny is. Xander, you don’t know how much I wish I never went to that park. I would have loved to be an out of work poet living in a crappy apartment with you.”
“Wait, me? Your boyfriend in the future was me?”
Spike turned his head away and nodded, “Yeah. Even though you were three years younger than me, I always really loved you. If it wasn’t for that Whistler guy, I would have told you right after the party.”
Xander slumped on the couch, “Everything would have been different, wouldn’t it?”
“Yeah, it would have.”
“Why didn’t you say anything before? Why did you leave me in the dark, Will?”
“You seemed to have forgotten me. It made me angry that you didn’t seem to recognize me.”
“You were a bleached blonde vampire named Spike! You barely looked like William when I first saw you. Then William would have been twenty, not one hundred and twenty!”
Spike looked sheepish and through the eyeliner and the bleached hair, Xander saw him. He saw the boy that used to laugh and snort milk out of his nose and who tried to collect enough string so they could make a telephone out of tin cans that stretched from his house to Xander’s. He remembered having the same period of gym as William his freshman year and seeing William topless for the first time. The other seniors had teased him, but William said he didn’t mind that Xander was staring. This was his William, but it wasn’t his William. He had changed so much, well, being dead was one of the big ones, but there were so many other ways too.
“I’m sorry,” William said interrupting Xander’s train of thought. “I wasn’t thinking.”
Xander chuckled, “It’s alright. I always wondered how you knew your way around Sunnydale so well.”
“Born and raised. Funny how it seems if you’re born in Sunnydale, it’s your destiny to be killed by some sort of demon.”
“I’m sorry about your mom-”
“Both actually. She was killed by vampires too. I’m guessing just like your dad?”
“I know. I-I looked her up when I came with Dru. It was good she was buried next to dad; it’s what she would have wanted. The other William’s mum, I tried to save her- She deserved that much.”
“Hey, don’t beat yourself up about it. That’s how the First got you, you felt guilty about it.”
“The First and all those people I turned,” William ran his hands through his hair. “I really fucked that up, didn’t I? I wonder if the real William would have done any better.”
“You are the real William. Well, to me at least. Maybe once the First is gone, we can pick up where we left off.”
William smiled, “Maybe we can get that crappy apartment in LA and annoy my grandsire.”
“Do you think it’s all planned? Who wins and who loses, who lives and who dies?”
“Nah, I think it’s luck of the draw. If it was planned, why’d they need someone like William Elliot to take the place of a Victorian poet? The other William was picked long before me, was only luck that he died and I ended up with his soul. It isn’t like they purposely put it in me.”
“Hey, if I had to pick out of all the Williams in the world, I’d pick you.”
“That’s a comforting and unbiased thought.”
Xander chuckled and leaned into his lost friend. He took his hand into his own and swore he’d never lose him again.
Xander fumbled angrily with his keys. He was still getting used to all the locks he had on his LA apartment. He didn’t want anyone breaking in, especially someone who would try to talk to him about destiny. The bastards didn’t know what they were asking of him. They kill off his boyfriend and expect him to just sail off to Scotland like a happy little camper to help Buffy raise a slayer cult. They had a better chance of seeing Superman in Hell. He finally got the last lock open and stepped into his apartment. It was pretty big, bigger than his last one. Construction in LA paid more than in the small town of Sunnydale and he was happy. He was also grateful to William for tearing off Caleb’s arm before he could “pluck out his offensive eye.” Xander locked up and was about to sit down on his couch, when he heard a crash from the kitchen.
“Whistler?” Xander questioned moving slowly towards the kitchen. “I told you. I have free will and I won’t play into your stupid plans. I’m not leaving for Scotland.”
A bleached blonde head popped out of the kitchen, “Why would the Powers want you in Scotland?”
Xander’s eyes widened, “W-W-William! But, I saw you die! You were burnt to a little vampire crisp!”
“About that. Don’t come any closer, please. I want to explain first.”
William stepped out into the living room. He was dressed exactly how he remembered him. In fact, if Xander didn’t know any better, those were the same pants and shirt he was wearing when he died.
“Do you remember that movie we watched with Patrick Swayze?”
“Sure, but what does dirty dancing have to do with this?”
“No, the other one. The one with Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg.”
“OH! Ghost! Wait, you’re a ghost? Is that even possible? You don’t have the sudden urge to make pottery with me, do you?”
“Yes. Apparently so. And, God no.”
“What was the crash I heard?”
William looked at him excitedly, “I’ve been working on this, pet. You have to see.”
He searched the room until he located a pencil on the nearby coffee table. He rushed over to it and put his hand through the coffee table showing that he was completely transparent. William concentrated hard on the pencil and reached for it. He picked it up and waved it around until it dropped through his fingers, landing on the coffee table with a small clatter.
“That’s great,” Xander said. “But, that doesn’t last very long.”
“Yeah, but it’s not permanent.”
“Last time I checked, Will, death was pretty permanent.”
“No, no. I’m only mostly dead.”
“Can we stop with the movie references? Because I had a long day and my head hurts.”
“But, it’s true, love. One of Angel’s people, Fred, she’s working on a cure.”
“A cure for death?”
“A cure for my death. She’s going to rewrite fate for me.”
“Can- Can I be there when it happens?”
“That’s why I tracked you down, love. Think I’ve just been randomly walking into flats hoping one held you?”
Xander grinned, “Knowing you? Yeah.”
Fred pointed to another formula that Xander had no hope of understanding and tried to explain that one along with several others written all over the walls of the lab.
“And that should make him corporal,” she ended
“Wow, my brain hurts and I think I lost second grade math. Quick, someone quiz me on my addition.”
“Two plus two,” William shot.
Fred clapped her hands together, “You seem to be fine. Shall we get started?”
“How can we trust an evil law firm? I mean, what if it doesn’t make him corporal? What if it makes him gushy? Or kills him forever? Or what if he comes back all zombified?”
William wrinkled his nose in disgust, “Thanks for giving a bloke hope.”
“Sorry, it’s just hard to trust them.”
Fred scowled and crossed her arms, “Now listen, I am not evil. I am merely here because well, Angel had this whole plan, but it’s a bit complicated, and I don’t think it’s working out too well, but the lab is pretty nice, ain’t it?”
“Very nice, luv, but can we work on making me a bit less dead and a bit more undead?”
Fred rolled her eyes and pointed to the circle in the center. William stood where she pointed and Fred began to push buttons. It looked like William’s skin was on fire, then there was a bright glow and he was gone.
“WILLIAM! William Elliot, wake up. This is not a time for sleeping.”
William sat straight up in his desk and looked at his senior year high school Biology teacher. He looked around and realized he was back in school. He pinched himself. He was real! Was it all just a dream?
“William, answer the question.”
He knew this, he had lived it before.
“Anaphase,” he answered simply.
“Correct! Forgive me, William. I thought you were sleeping. Who can tell me what the next phase mitosis is?”
So, it was real. He had already lived all this before. The bell rang and everyone scrambled to get up. If this wasn’t a dream and the other bits weren’t a dream, then that meant Fred’s machine had worked. It worked a little too well, but he was living again! Actually breathing and living, then if this was Biology, next period was gym. The gym classes were divided up and gym was usually shared with underclassmen, William’s class shared the gym with freshman. Freshman, if he was a senior, Xander was a freshman and they had the same gym period! William hurriedly collected his books and made a mad dash for the locker room. He could change things; he remembered everything and could change things for the better!
He slid into the locker room, Xander was already there humming some God awful country music. He pulled the shirt over his head, not noticing William’s approach. William cleared his throat and Xander turned around. He smiled happily at William.
“Hey-” Xander began, but William cut him off by slamming him back into the lockers.
“Life is too short and you’re going to listen to me, Xander.” Xander nodded fearfully. “I love you. I’ve been in love with you since the seventh grade, I know you were only in the fourth, but there was always something special about you. If you don’t want to be with me, then push me away, because I know you can, but if you feel like you could love me in the slightest bit, let me know. I just need to know before I do something completely stupid with my life.”
“And what would that be?” Xander asked timidly.
“Become a vampire.”
“Oh, is that all.” Xander blushed. “Will, I loved you since you helped my down from the jungle gym.”
William grinned and pulled Xander into a kiss. He was going to make things better, with everything he knew, he’d make sure everything turned alright. He’d help stop the Master. He’d find Warren and set him straight. He’d not go meet Whistler in the park. Then this weekend, he’d drive to LA and stop Fred from reading the book that sent her to Pylea. It was the least he could do for her, since she helped him put his destiny back in his hands.