rngrdead (rngrdead) wrote in bloodclaim,

New Story - Ghost in the Machine

Title: Ghost in the Machine

Author: josie_h


Pairing: Xander/Spike
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes later on - ie M/M
Summary: Post Black Thorn and final AtS - The PtBs screw with Spike yet again.
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Author’s Note: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators

Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.

Part 1

Then it all went black. When the dragon took out his grandsire, Angel, Spike had temporarily buckled over in pain, but was still aware enough to see the dragon double back to attack Illyria.

In a swirl of wet leather, game face and long sword, he placed himself in front of the former demi-god and stood to defend her to the last.

So intent on his task was he, that the talon piercing his right side went unnoticed and the fiery blast scorching his duster was a mere annoyance. But Illyria was not so distracted, admiring the chivallry of her compatriot in arms, she made a snap decision.

The final explosion of energy that destroyed the earthly shell of Illyria and dusted Spike also saw the dragon, the throng and the surrounding buildings obliterated. And instantly Spike was floating, beyond pain, but unlike the final days in Sunnydale and the months in the crystal, he was consciously aware.

There was no doubt that he saw the dust of his own undead form hit the ground, but this time he saw it as though in a movie. His awareness able to register a 'bugger not again' moment but also sensing a second entity, one whose influence permeated his essence with a forceful message.

He felt, rather than heard her words. "You were most brave in the final fight. And though this eventuality is unexpected, it is as I would have wished it. It seems you have been swept up in my wake, halfling.

"Our foes perceived the threat to their power was finite, but I have come to know how to transcend the miniscule human and lesser demon minds of this millenia. The Wolf, the Ram and the Hart think they control this realm by magicks and tricks of old, but there is more, beyond human consciousness, though created by it. I have 'adapted'. It is a quality I have come to understand through our training and the entity of the body I subsumed. You have a connection to the collective conscience of this pitiful species, the humans may call it a soul or a spirit, that is of little interest to me, but to move beyond this pitiful realm, I no longer require that or a Qua'hazaad or a token for my court. I require a guide, a servant through whom freedom for my essence will bring peace in exchange for wholeness and happiness in whatever form the guide pleases as a just reward."

Despite their shared grief at the night's events, Spike was unable to discern whether it was his soul or some other conscious self that seemed to be there, yet he was aware that his 'whatever' was apparently present and inextricably tied to the ancient demon and somehow he knew to reply in the only way he was able, with a single train of thought, "You have it Blue... Hurt, learn, adapt, survive, freedom, pfft like that's ever... Hey... got it. Not much choice here. What's the plan?"

"I am unable to move on without a physical manifestation, but I observed the human Wesley with the mechanical brain. The memories of Winifred Burkle also serve me well. The 'inter-net' is a crude but rather ingenious networking of knowledge created by these underlings together and also lays them bare. I despise their rather elementary attempt at combining their intelligence into something of use, but for now it must do. Communication, it seems, is the ooze that eats itself's obsessions and, based in chaos, its strength, and the electrical impulse method of transference amuses me... also, the algorithms and calculations are far beyond the average individual human conscious capacity, though

Winifred Burkle's capacity to interpret them and her apparent creativity and understanding of this and other systems are an advantage. She used this somewhat amusing tool to further her own research efforts over a number of dimensions, thus I have 'adapted' and we may inhabit this electrical realm independent of magical or mystical energies. In short we will endure incognito until it is time for me to take my true place."

Spike hardly had no time to process fully the words registered by whatever he was now though managed to wonder how "deeper well" might fit into the picture before all went 'cerfluey' again (to quote most of the Scoobies he recollected in that split second).

Time as he knew it seemed to stand still but flashes, images and odd 'twinges' on the outer edges of... where ever he was began to flood in but it was all a little too much. He felt an odd tug, was reassured and his essence followed Illyria without any more conscious thought. Spike did as he had always done, he adapted as he was swept into her wake and entered a new world...


Xander logged on to the Net with ease, blessing Willow and her insistence that he embrace the coven's Wifi once and for all. If only his return from Africa had been so seamless.

He had found his way back to the USA from the dark continent but the 'home coming' was far from the 'warm fuzzy' he had almost convinced himself he would experience. Instead he felt quite out of place.

Everything seemed to move at lightening speed, the city streets sported neon signs, gridlock and homeless folks that those with chose to ignore and the super rich never saw. His search for meaningful work proved once again that his resume lacked the needed stamp of a College's approval, and that experience, and his few references from Rupert Giles MA(hist), the administrators of the two Somali refugee camps he had worked in, and a defunct construction company from a now non-existant Sunnydale, counted for very little.

A year, three states, a number of disastrous (one overly-possessive female and several one-night-stand male) relationships and four workplaces later, he had saved just enough for the airfare and found himself on a plane to London. Willow had met him with open arms having convinced him that if wiccan central or the new Watcher's Council could do with a carpenter, then he was their man!

Willow had arranged the old stable house for his abode (away from giggling young wiccans and oestrogen central) and now, two months relatively settled, he was sitting in front of the ancient fireplace answering his Email, then followed habit to logon to his own livejournal and a couple of other blogs. Takingitglobal.org was a particular favourite as it allowed him to track, or at least see, the comments of his human friends across the third world. He wrote words of encouragement on a few favourites before the lights flickered and an another apparently hilarious power outage logged him off the network so he gave in an retired to the makeshift bedroom adjoining his private living space.

His bedroom was spartan in its fittings, though he was used to that, his five years in sub-Saharan Africa and the year and a half 'footloose' in the US were hardly the time for trinkets or accumulating household goods, but at least now he did feel he had a place to be where he was welcome and useful, and the time to 'regroup'. He contemplated the coming day as clothes hit the floor and he snuggled down into a bed that he knew would be warm in a short while. At least sleeping alone meant no interruptions bar occasional recurring bad dreams of friends lost.


Spike was again without a physical presence but this time it could not have been more different to his other reincarnations. This time he followed the tug of Illyria's essence without sense of time or effort. He was aware of bright flashes of energy, sometimes flying with them, sometimes merely observing as they floated by, or possibly through him. There was no sense of time or of sound or sight per se, but there was definitely light and shade and he knew he was 'somewhere'. Illyria's messages seemed to permeate his thinking without intent or effort, and the urge to follow was all encompassing.

Any apparent slowing of the... whatever he was now was accompanied by occasional flashes, like scenes from a movie or a wild dream and he had the sensation of viewing a room, or was it many (?) as though viewing a large television screen. Inevitably it was a fairly sedate scene of someone staring back at him though not really 'at him', rather through him, or whatever 'he' was now. The surprising part of it all was that he could apparently still think and contemplated in the windows of calm that came and went, that if this was Hell then it wasn't so bad, and if Heaven, he decided he should feel mildly disappointed. On reflection some time later (whenever that meant) he revised his assessment, deciding that he might still be earthly bound as scenes of joy and sadness, of relative squallor and riches came and went. It was all too confusing in the end, so he simply accepted and let himself ebb and flow along with Illyria.

And then she stopped. He sensed they were close to something she wanted but had no idea what.

"I am ready to test the human system and you will learn, underling."

Spike would have scowled and given her 'the bird' sign if he had a physical body but was mildly distracted by a scene across an office suite where a man and woman, both in a state of undress, were enthusiastically participating in some very enthusiastic interpersonal office relations.

Spike was suddenly aware of many hundreds of faces looking at him, some with amusement, others disinterest and a few in horror and somehow knew that what he and Illyria were observing was now being watched by others in the same building.

The woman on the couch looked up and straight at him then apparently screamed in dismay. He lip read "The bloody webcam is on you idiot!!" before he felt Illyria's tug once more and the confusing scene was gone.

As his essence was swept along once more he was aware of Illyria's apparent pleasure and 'heard' her, "It is as I suspected, a crude and fallible system created by lesser beings, but it is still of use. I will continue to ascertain its strengths and weaknesses until we find our target... come."

And with that flashes and images became ever more swift and confusing. Spike registered that he should feel quite ill were he still in human form, so simply released his hold on everything and washed along with the Old One's formless power and pondered her words. What was it she was seeking? And what was she, for that matter what was he, now... really?


Breakfast at the coven was always a rather chaotic affair with twenty or so wiccans and family availing themselves to ample lashings of home made bread, porridge and freshly cut fruit that weighed down the ancient long table. This morning the conversation was abuzz with who was where when the power surge had hit and the latest tabloid/internet scandal that had apparently aired early that morning on the news. Xander arrived rather late but was able to pick up enough to know that he was glad he had missed most of the excitement. He had a set of bookshelves from Willow's private rooms to fix and there were still four rather rickety dining chairs that sorely needed attention, so decided to eat quickly and seek out the solitude and satisfaction of his makeshift workshop for the morning.

Willow smiled at him as took his leave silently. He nodded to her and mouthed tell me later, snatched a last piece of toast and retreated. His old friend usually came over mid morning with a coffee, there would be time to catch up on the 'wierd goings on' then.

As he placed the first chair into the vice and began to drill a small starter hole for the screw that was to hold the back of the chair to a new upright, he began to think of some of the images in his dreams that night, of Sunnydale, of fights, triumphs and friends lost... and oddly amongst them, for the first time in many months he thought of a certain blonde vampire who had been hero to the last. He pondered thoughts of Spike for some time and resolved to ask Willow a few questions that had been bothering him for some time regards the same when she graced him with her familiar company a little later.


Should this continue? FB welcome

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