Pairing: S/X, established relationship
Rating: PG13 - NC-17 Individual chapters will carry specific warnings.
Feedback & concrit: yes, please
Disclaimer: don't own them, never will, just playing with them
Spoilers: Primarily season 5, but anything from Season 1 on.
Summary: sequel to Nothing the Same , Books 1 - 3
WARNING: THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS GRAPHIC VIOLENCE
Previous part here
Xander’s hands moved automatically, washing his hair and body, wishing the routine actions were complicated enough to distract him from his thoughts. But even turning his face directly into the water and letting the spray pound against his closed lids didn’t stop his brain from going places he was refusing to consider.
Despite all his efforts, he couldn’t stop thinking about the… whatever the hell it was that Dracula had done to him. “Vision” didn’t even begin to cover it. It hadn’t been like watching a movie, he had lived it. And unlike a dream, this wasn’t fading now that he was awake. The illusion had wrapped around him with nothing less than reality. It had had history. He distinctly remembered knowing that he’d been Dracula’s prisoner for weeks, the despair and shame that had overwhelmed him had been all the stronger for having experienced it before.
How was that possible?
He shivered, aware that the cold feeling crawling across his skin was only partially from the fact that the hot water was running out. With a defeated sigh, he shut off the water. He’d been in the shower way too long already, soaping himself over and over, determined to remove every trace of Dracula’s scent from his body, and it was about time he got out and faced the world.
He was going to have to tell Spike what happened, he didn’t have a choice. He could just warn Spike that Dracula was in town but the chances were Dracula would say something and he couldn’t put Spike in the position of being caught off guard. But Spike was going to have a hard enough time dealing with this without Xander smelling of another vampire, so he’d climbed into the shower even before calling Spike with the warning.
“Giles, have you seen Buffy?”
Xander paced worriedly as he spoke, still damp from his shower, having started making calls as soon as he got out. Spike, of course, had left his damn cell phone on the bedside table, instead of taking it with him so Xander had wasted time swearing at his absent lover who’d made it impossible to for Xander to get ahold of him until he came home.
“No, I haven’t. Is something wrong?”
“This might sound crazy, but is Dracula a real vampire?”
Xander could hear the surprise in Giles’s voice as he answered: “The Council has always believed him to be real. Why?”
“I think he’s in Sunnydale.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Well, let’s just say there’s a vampire in town calling himself Dracula and he convinced me he’s the real thing.”
“Convinced you?” Giles asked sharply. “How? Are you alright?”
“I’m fine.” And he was, really. Just a little rattled still, that was all. “Giles, he turned into a freaking bat. How can he do that?”
“I have no idea,” Giles admitted frankly, sounding intrigued. Of course, he wasn’t the one who’d had the bat swooping around his head. Among other things that Xander was so not thinking about just yet. “There’s a great deal of myth about Dracula. We’ll have to do some research. I imagine the trick to defeating him lies in separating the fact from the fiction.”
“We need to warn Buffy, because Giles, he’s not an ordinary vampire.”
Xander briefly described what else he’d seen Dracula do: the disappearing/reappearing act, making him drop his cross, and making people see things.
“See things? You mean like the bat?”
Glad that Giles couldn’t see his expression, Xander explained as calmly as he could: “Like full-blown, Technicolor, surround-sound illusions.”
“He made you see something that wasn’t real? What exactly?”
“Chains, cells, your typical late-night horror movie scenario,” Xander told him, leaving out the humiliating parts.
From the silence on the other end, he suspected he hadn’t sounded as casual as he’d meant to. Thankfully, Giles didn’t pursue it. “I left messages for Buffy at her house and on her cell phone but there was no answer on either phone.”
“She’s not scheduled for patrol tonight,” Giles told him. “Whoever has tonight’s patrol should have returned by now. I’ll check with Sergeant Morgan and find out if anything unusual was reported.” It was a hard and fast rule that anyone on patrol checked in at the end of their patrol, no exceptions. With the quiet summer, the patrols tended to be a quick sweep and home for the night.
“Tell him to cancel all patrols until Dracula’s gone,” Xander suggested. “He’s going to be more than the regular patrols can deal with.” He just hoped that Dracula was something that Buffy and Spike could deal with, not something that would take the whole town to deal with.
“Good thinking, I’ll tell him.” There was a small sigh and Giles told him with false brightness: “All we can do for now is wait for Buffy to check her messages. In the meantime, I’ll start looking into Dracula and Vlad the Impaler.”
“He’s the historical figure behind the legend of Dracula,” Giles explained.
“Not when you know the reasons behind the name,” Giles said, sharply enough that Xander decided he wasn’t going to ask.
“I’ll call you if Spike knows anything,” Xander promised, not willing to admit that Dracula apparently knew Spike until he had more information. Why raise questions when Dracula might not know anything more than rumor. The Scourge of Europe had been pretty damn famous in their day too.
“Xander…, are you alright?”
“I’m ok. A little freaked but fine.”
“Call me if you need anything.”
“Thanks, Giles, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
Xander hung up the phone, and stood there indecisively for a long minute, wondering if there was anything he could do. The water dripping onto the linoleum stirred him and he realized that drying off and getting dressed probably wouldn’t hurt.
The sound of the door opening roused Xander from where he was nodding off in front of the tv. He fumbled for the remote and shut off the stupid movie he’d been using to try and stay awake. TV sucked at 4 in the morning.
He rubbed his eyes, unable to stop the yawn, as he stood up, turning to face Spike who was staring at him in surprise and the beginning of concern.
“You left your cell phone home again,” he said accusingly. Ok, that hadn’t been the first thing he’d meant to say but it was the one he’d been stewing about the longest as he’d waited impatiently for Spike to come home and felt helplessly out of touch, worrying about whether Dracula was hunting for Spike.
“What’s wrong?” Spike asked, nostrils flaring slightly the way they did when he was reading Xander’s scent. Damn vampire senses.
“There’s a new vampire in town. Says he’s Dracula. Ring any bells?”
Spike’s eyes widened momentarily and then he went very, very still - never a good sign. “Slayer tell you about him?”
Xander shook his head. “Ran into him.”
Spike shifted into his true face and crossed the apartment in a rush, grabbing Xander by the upper arms and staring into his eyes as if trying to read in them the details of what had happened. “Did that bastard touch you?” he snarled.
Xander shook his head quickly, more glad than ever that he’d showered so thoroughly given the way Spike was obviously checking him for Dracula’s scent. “I’m fine. What’s the story, Spike? Why does Dracula know your human name?”
“We spent a few weeks in his Territory ‘round the turn of the century,” Spike answered briefly. “Angelus still mostly called me ’William’ back then. Need you to tell me exactly what happened, Xander.”
Spike’s anger was visibly rising as Xander described his encounter with Dracula. He left out only the things that would send Spike’s temper flaring out of control: the fact that Dracula had threatened to challenge Spike’s Claim and the sex and biting parts of the vision, admitting only that Dracula had made him think he’d been chained up and whipped.
“He dared,” Spike hissed when Xander fell silent. “He dared do that to you?” Spike had released him while he was talking, pacing up and back with short furious strides, practically vibrating with the need to seek revenge.
“Spike, I’m fine.” Xander repeated. “But we need to figure out how to deal with him.”
Spike’s head snapped around and he glared in yellow-eyed rage at Xander. “Dracula’s mine,” he snarled. “And he’s going to regret touching you for days.”
Spike sat in silent watchfulness, staring blankly at the kitchen walls, breaking his own rule about smoking in the apartment, needing the calming feeling of the warm nicotine smoke in his lungs to combat the out of control rage.
Dracula. The fucking Count himself. In Sunnydale, no less.
Spike hadn’t thought about him in years. Certainly not since Spike himself had returned to the United States. Dracula was an old world vampire, he’d stick out like the proverbial sore thumb in California. Hell, unless he’d changed a lot, which Spike doubted, Drac was conspicuous in the most primitive, backward parts of eastern Europe. No other vampire in the world still kept bug-eating toadies around anymore. With his insistence on holding on to the old aristocratic privileges, Dracula made Angelus seem modern and up to date.
Drac would be here for the Slayer, of course. Whenever Drac got bored, he’d track down the Slayer du jour and makes plans to kill her. He’d had remarkably little success in actually fighting them, probably because the Count wouldn’t be caught dead napping in a crypt, even for a couple of nights. No, Drac had his standards. Had to have his luxury estate, and his special dirt, and his women with him no matter where he was, Spike had known maharajas who traveled with less baggage. Glaciers moved faster than the Count on the hunt. By the time Drac located the current Slayer, and decided she was pretty enough to be worthy of his attention, and found suitable accommodations nearby, the Slayer he was targeting had usually already been killed by something else. From deciding to tackle a particular Slayer to actually confronting her usually took Dracula a good year or more. And a year was often an entire lifetime for a Slayer. As far as Spike knew, Dracula hadn’t managed to actually kill a Slayer in over 200 years.
Xander padded barefoot in from the bedroom, wearing only a pair of boxers and sat down next to Spike on the kitchen table. Spike slung an arm around his shoulders and pulled him close, feeling the anger and worry churning inside him lessen as the familiar warmth of his Claimed pressed against him.
“How can he do that stuff, Spike? Turn into a bat and make someone just drop the stake they’re holding?” Xander asked finally, breaking the long comfortable silence.
“Picked up some tricks from the gypsies, luv.” He glanced across at Xander, seeing he was wide-awake despite having had only a couple hours of sleep. “None of it’s real.”
“Some of it’s real, Spike,” Xander countered soberly. “I put down my stake just because he told me to.”
“Drac’s always been good at thrall,” Spike admitted. “Trick is not to look into his eyes.”
“Figured that out.” Xander didn’t look particularly comforted by that information.
“Most everything else is illusion, Xander. People been thinking for centuries that he can turn into a bat. He just sends the illusion of a bat into their faces and seems to disappear in a puff of dramatic fog while they’re ducking to avoid the bat.” He gave Xander a sideways look, raising his scarred eyebrow. “Surprised you fell for it, luv. Worked a treat under gaslights, which didn’t spread light as far as modern streetlights do, but I would think you’d recognize sleight of hand when you see it.”
Xander shrugged, looking a little uncomfortable. “He got me off balance.”
“That’s how he hunts, Xander. He’s into thrall and seduction, not good honest fighting.”
He clamped down viciously on his anger when Xander flinched at the word ‘seduction’. He’d known Xander was leaving details out to spare him, but he hadn’t confronted him about it. He knew Drac’s methods well enough to guess what Xander was leaving out.
“But when I tried to stake him, he just kept vanishing.”
He was glad he’d reined in his temper with Xander showing so clearly that he was still rattled from the encounter. Fucking Dracula and his head games.
“Thrall and illusion, luv,” he repeated. “Drac thralls you for just a second or two, then steps behind you while you’re staring into space. No sense of fair play,” Spike sniffed disdainfully and was pleased when Xander gave him a wan smile.
“So, how do we fight him?”
“We don’t.” Spike softened the flat statement by hugging Xander closer to him. “You’re going to stay out of it and I’m going to deal with him. No arguments, Xander,” he said sternly when Xander opened his mouth to protest. “Don’t have time to teach you to resist his thrall and until you can, you’re a liability in this fight. I’ll deal with him.”
Xander shook his head. “Ok, I get that I might have to sit this one out, but you need to take someone with you. Buffy, for one. Maybe some of the demons are immune to thrall.” He looked pleased with the idea until Spike’s rising growl dropped the smile from his face. Spike had shifted into his true face at the suggestion of someone interfering with his rightful vengeance and his implacable glare bored into his Claimed’s startled eyes.
“He’s mine. He insulted my Claimed. Anyone gets in my way and I’ll kill them.” He glared wrathfully at Xander’s stubborn expression. “Mean it, Xander. Dracula is mine. It’s my right to take revenge.”
Xander held his gaze for a long time, brown eyes searching Spike’s intently, until he finally nodded reluctantly, accepting Spike’s adamant stance.
“Can you take him, Spike? He’s like 300 years old or something isn’t he?”
Spike took a deep drag on his cigarette and reminded himself that it was a reasonable question and that Xander was nervous, building the Count up in his mind despite Spike’s reassurances. No need to rip into his Claimed for doubting him.
“Not to worry, pet, I can take him. Like I said, Drac’s never been big on fighting. Gonna teach him just how big a mistake he’s made, interfering with my Claimed.”
Xander started to ask another question but Spike cut him off with a quick kiss. “Later, pet. Go back to bed. I’ll answer the rest of your questions after I’ve had a bit of time to think. Sun’s up and Drac won’t do anything ‘til after sunset.”
Spike hung up the phone and tossed it onto the counter. He hated using the thing - no proper vampire had a phone, in his opinion - but he had to admit that there were times when they were useful.
Sergeant Morgan had promised to have the information Spike had asked for within the hour and Spike had no doubt that the big half-Kobarien would be good as his word. He’d spent the rest of the morning making plans and it was time to wake Xander up and let him know what was going to happen.
He walked to the bedroom, his eyes easily piercing the dim light. It was only a little past noon and Xander had been up all night, but Spike wanted to make what use of the daylight hours that he could.
He shook Xander gently, and Xander came awake with a start. “Spike?”
“Need you to get dressed and do me a favor, luv.”
The sleepiness cleared rapidly from Xander’s eyes and he rolled off the bed and to his feet. “What’s up?”
Spike explained over breakfast. He’d asked Sergeant Morgan to use his military connections to track down a list of all new rentals of high end properties in Sunnydale for the past month.
Leaning against the counter, finishing his second mug of blood, Spike kept careful control over his emotions. Dracula might be a poncy bugger, but he was an old, powerful Master Vampire. Spike was going to take him down, but that didn’t mean he expected it to be easy, no matter what he’d told Xander last night.
“Dracula will have rented someplace swanky, maybe as long as a couple weeks ago. He’s got more money than most governments so he doesn’t give a rat’s arse if he wastes it renting some place for months when he might only use it for a week or two. Sgt. Morgan’s getting us the list of rentals. Gonna need you to spend the afternoon checking possibilities out, luv.”
Xander nodded easily and Spike gave him a stern look. “You don’t go closer than the street, luv. Don’t even get out of the car. Just do a quick drive by.”
“Then how am I supposed to know if I’ve found the right one?” Xander objected and Spike gave him a tight smile.
“Trust me, luv. You’ll know when you’ve found the right place. Drac’s anything but subtle and he’s about as adaptable as the Rock of Gibraltar. Makes Angelus look like he keeps up with the times. The minute you see something that looks straight out of one of those movies you watch, you’re in the right spot.” He shrugged. “Most of it will be illusion, even Dracula can’t create a castle in a few days by throwing money around, but it won’t be an ordinary house, not for the fucking Count,” his let his scorn show as he pronounced the title.
“What do I do when I find it?”
“Come straight back here. I’ll go in alone, ‘bout half an hour before sunset.”
Xander’s eyebrows shot up. “You can’t go in then. None of the ritzy houses in town are anywhere near the tunnels. God knows you complain about that often enough with Angel’s mansion,” he reminded Spike pointedly.
“Not going in through the tunnels. You’re going to drive me to the door, and I’m running in under a tarp.”
“Are you crazy? No. Wait until dark if you’re going in the front door.”
“Only way I can be sure he’ll be there, luv, is by hitting his lair before dark.”
Xander opened his mouth to argue and Spike cut him off. “I’ll be fine, Xander, be outside a couple of seconds at most.”
“And what if you can’t get inside?”
Spike didn’t think that was going to be a problem - Drac had his standards and too many steel bars on the door ruined the décor. “Then I’ll just hop back in the car and we’ll re-think things,” he said airily. “More important, soon as I’m inside, you leave and you keep on driving, right out of town, and you don’t come back until I call you and tell you it’s safe.”
“What? I’m not leaving town!” Right on cue, Xander’s arms folded stubbornly over his chest.
“You’ll bloody well do what I tell you for once,” Spike snapped. “I don’t plan on losing this fight, but if something goes wrong, Dracula will come after you because you’re mine and he’s going to want to piss on my ashes by claiming you.” Spike felt himself shift to his true face at the thought and he glared at Xander, willing him to just fucking listen for once. “This apartment won’t be safe because, whether Dracula wants the Court or not, he’ll come here to gloat that he’s killed the Master of the Territory.”
Xander inhaled sharply and Spike knew he was remembering the days he’d spent living in the apartment while Spike had been held prisoner in the Initiative’s cells. Long afterwards, Xander had admitted that he’d been scared, feeling like he was living on top of a ticking time bomb, not knowing when it was going to explode. Hopefully that fear would make Xander think now.
“If I don’t call you, you go to Angelus in LA for shelter,” he finished harshly, knowing his Sire would protect Xander if Spike was dust. “You hear me?”
Xander’s whole body radiated stubborn refusal and Spike wanted to shake him until his teeth rattled.
“No! If you’re dead, then I’m going after Dracula with Buffy and every demon in town who’s willing to fight. This is not negotiable, Spike. If you don’t like it, then you damn well better kill him yourself, because if you don’t, I’m going to make sure he’s dead even if it takes an army to take him down.”
Xander glared angrily at him and Spike was torn between wanting to tie him up and drive him to LA personally and shagging him senseless because, in his revengeful fury, Xander was the sexiest thing he’d ever seen.
For a long minute they glared at each other, at an impasse, then Spike threw back his head and laughed. “Bloody hell, pet. Gonna hold you to that.”
Wouldn’t that be a sight? Enough to make old Drac long for the good old days of pitchforks and torch-lit mobs outside his home castle. Still grinning, he ducked as Xander took a mock swing at his head, muttering something about arrogant assholes. Spike laughed again, wondering how he’d ever been so lucky as to win Xander’s loyalty and love.
Spike could feel the house as Xander sped up the driveway and continued, driving straight through the landscaping, getting as close to the door as the car could manage. The magic behind Drac’s illusions pickled against his skin as he leapt out of the car and raced up the steps towards the front door. He wasn’t surprised to find it was unlocked - Dracula loved to have his thralled victims just walk straight in to their deaths. He shoved the door open and stepped inside the dim hallway, away from the blazing death of the August sun.
He waited in the open doorway just long enough to hear the car engine revving as Xander threw it into reverse and drove back out the way he’d come. Sighing in relief that he’d kept his promise, Spike shut the door and quickly shed the heavy oilcloth tarp he’d sheltered under. He stripped off the gloves and ski mask that Xander had procured somewhere and insisted he wear - flatly refusing to drive Spike to Drac’s lair at all unless Spike was wearing them as extra protection against the sun. Like the time Xander had forced him to wear an orange safety vest during the battle at Graduation, Spike’s pride in Xander’s clever ideas and protective instincts was tempered by his distaste for wearing the ridiculous garments. Only Xander could have found a ski mask in California in August in time to force his lover to wear it.
Dropping the gloves to the floor, Spike knew he didn’t have much time. Even if Drac was still asleep - which he doubted - a vampire as old as Dracula would have sensed someone entering his lair. Only question was, would he play hide and seek, or….
Dracula stood in one of the entrances to the lobby, the same poised, calm, arrogant bugger that Spike had met nearly a century ago.
“Vlad,” he said, matching insolence for insolence. Dracula knew he didn’t go by William.
Dracula stepped back out of the entrance hall, through one of the many doors leading to interior rooms and Spike followed him, finding himself in a large dining room. Dracula had already moved to the large fireplace and now stretched out one hand to the flames, putting them out with one of his gypsy tricks. Spike grinned maliciously. Drac knew they were going to fight and was obviously remembering the time Spike had thrown one of Dracula’s hangers-on into the massive stone fireplace in the Count’s ancestral home. This one wasn’t nearly as big, but a body would still fit inside without too much trouble.
Drac really was going to have to do something about his fetish for candles and torches, one of these days. Vampires were flammable, after all.
He remained in the doorway, leaning casually against the doorjamb, his eyes rapidly surveying the room, sizing it up as a battleground. Plenty of open space and weapons, enough furniture to be useful but not get in their way. This would do perfectly. Dracula turned back to face him and Spike smirked at him without moving closer.
“It has been a long time.” Dracula tilted his head just a fraction, “perhaps not long enough for one of us, yes?”
“Got that right,” Spike agreed, already tired of playing nice. “‘m disappointed, Drac. I’ve known newly turned peasants had better manners than you.”
Dracula’s lips quirked slightly at the insult. “I assume you are here about your little Claimed? You will have to forgive me my presumption in touching him, William. He’s quite irresistible. So many hidden desires, just waiting to be unleashed.” He ran one hand idly along the polished wood of the table, as if he was stroking flesh instead of wood. “Shall I take him from you? I would enjoy having him at my feet, worshipping me.”
Spike fought back the tidal wave of anger that threatened to swamp him. He’d known Dracula was going to play this card. And Dracula was watching him intently, waiting for an attack, expecting that Spike wouldn’t be able to control himself while the older vampire threatened to violate his Claim.
While that may have been true 80 years ago, it was not going to happen now. Spike reined his anger in, holding it in reserve, waiting for the right moment. “So, think you’re going to take down the Slayer? How many is it you’ve tried for over the years? Dozens? Hundreds? Funny that you’ve only managed to kill three in all the times you‘ve tried. I’ve got two in the bag and you’re almost 300 years older than me. Can I give you some lessons, help you take this one down?”
Dracula snarled. The glamour he habitually wore over his true features actually slipped for a moment, revealing the demonic forehead and eyes before the illusion of a smooth human brow and dark eyes returned. “I need no lessons from one as young as you, William. I have tasted this Slayer already, and she will come to me tonight, I will have my fourth kill by morning.”
Spike’s eyes narrowed as he added that up with what he knew of Dracula’s hunting habits. “Awfully fast timetable, innit? Thought it took you three or more tries to get it up.”
Dracula had his slight smile and condescending air firmly back in place. “A peasant such as you, William, knows nothing of the exquisite pleasure to be found in drawing out…”
Drac always had loved to hear himself talk. In one lightning-fast movement, Spike picked up one of the heavy oak dining chairs and flung it at Dracula’s head. Dracula’s patronizing lecture cut off in mid-word as he ducked instinctively.
The chair sailed over his head and smashed into splinters against the stone wall behind him. Spike didn’t care, he hadn’t expected the chair to accomplish anything but to serve as a distraction for that one critical second. He flung himself across the room the instant the chair left his hands and slammed into Dracula. The older vampire hadn’t had time to brace himself and they both went crashing to the floor, grappling and tearing at each other as they rolled and slid across the carpet.
Spike tore himself free and bounced back to his feet. Dracula was taller and stronger and he couldn’t risk a wrestling match, his own advantages lay in his speed and fighting skills. He attacked again while Dracula was still rolling to his feet, bringing one leg whipping around in a spin-kick aimed for the other vampire’s stomach. Dracula was quicker than he anticipated, grabbing his foot before the kick landed and shoving him hard, sending him flying backwards to slam down on the massive wood table.
Spike was rolling even as he landed, avoiding the blow that Dracula threw at him, and dropping off the far side of the table. He landed in a crouch, grabbing a chair by the legs and bringing it up with him as he rose from behind the table.
Dracula leapt onto the table, and Spike swung the chair in a vicious arc, slamming it into the back of his legs and sweeping his feet out from under him. Wood cracked and Dracula fell hard and Spike brought the chair down a second time, smashing the heavy wood over the other vampire. The chair broke apart as it connected and Spike dropped the remaining fragments as Dracula flipped to his feet and threw himself off the table at him.
Spike dropped flat to the floor, taking Dracula by surprise as the older vampire missed the intended tackle and had to twist around in mid-air to avoid landing head first on the carpet. He stumbled a bit as his feet hit the ground and Spike stayed down, spinning on one shoulder, his leg sweeping the ground to cut Dracula’s legs out from under him. Dracula leapt clear and pounced on Spike, using his greater size to advantage, punching Spike in the face twice before Spike got his hands in position and shoved Drac off him, hard enough to send the vampire crashing into the wall.
Spike bounced up and spun, all in one motion, his foot lashing out and connecting, driving into Dracula’s stomach and sending him stumbling back to slam into the wall again.
For long moments, they traded blows: punching and kicking and clawing, until Dracula seized both of Spike’s shoulders and dug his clawed nails in, spinning him around and slamming him into the wall. Spike took a similar hold and tried to duplicate the maneuver but the larger vampire set himself and then spun them back around the other direction, and this time Spike felt ribs crack from the force of his back meeting the wall. He let himself hang, supported only by Drac’s hands on his shoulders and Dracula tightened his grip, nails cutting deeply into the flesh of Spike’s upper arms. Spike brought his legs up between them, shoving with the full weight of his body. Dracula’s nails left deep scores in Spike’s arms as his grip was broken, then he was sailing across the room. Spike stumbled backwards at the sudden release, but recovered almost immediately, racing after Dracula, who’d crashed into the table and dropped to the floor.
Spike was on him before he could get up this time, kicking him savagely in the head with his booted foot. Dracula snarled in fury and rolled under the table to escape the second kick already swinging. Quick as thought, Spike vaulted over the table, his feet coming down just as Dracula emerged from the other side, landing with the sharp crack of broken bones as his boots smashed into Dracula’s back, driving him back down to the floor.
Spike stumbled forward from his own momentum and whirled to find Dracula already back on his feet. He noted with vicious satisfaction that Dracula was bleeding from the nose and mouth where Spike’s kick had landed, and his arrogant mask had been replaced with a furious snarl.
Dracula lunged at him, bearing to the ground under his greater weight and clawed at his face with those pointed nails and Spike felt his own flesh tear under the attack. Ignoring the pain and the damage, Spike saw his opening and drove his fist into Dracula’s groin. The other vampire screamed and staggered back under the ungentlemanly blow, which Spike followed up with a kick to his already injured torso, yanking a stake out of his pocket the instant the kick landed.
Dracula crashed to the ground like a felled tree and Spike pounced, bringing the stake whistling down with both hands. Dracula barely got his hands up in time, grabbing Spike’s wrists and stopping the downward motion just as the stake grazed his chest. They struggled in deadly silence, the one to bring the stake down, the other to keep it from piercing his chest, until the older vampire summoned all his strength and shoved Spike off him.
Spike flipped in mid-air, twisting like a cat and was spinning around even as his feet touched the ground, bring the stake up and around and slamming it home into Dracula’s chest. Dracula froze in astonished pain, and for what seemed an eternity, the two stared into each other’s eyes, until Dracula’s stare exploded into dust.
For a long moment, Spike stood there in the sudden silence, his own panting the only sound. Gradually he became aware of the blood dripping down his cheeks and the pain in his side. His unnecessary breathing ceased and he looked around him, noticing that the room looked a lot smaller and more modern than it had a moment ago.
Staring down at Dracula’s ashes, Spike frowned thoughtfully. He’d never really believed the rumors that Dracula had found a way to return from dust. Still… Never hurt to take precautions. Without taking his eyes off the scattering of dust on the carpet, Spike stepped over to the wall and grabbed one of the ridiculous torches that Dracula had hanging in wall sconces. He swept the torch over the area, letting the flames lick over the remnants of the powerful vampire, then dropped the burning torch into the deepest drift of ash and stepped back.
The rug caught quickly and Spike took another step back, waiting until the fire had well and truly caught, tongues of flame beginning to lick hungrily at the oak furniture and spreading rapidly across the priceless oriental rug. Satisfied, he spun on his heel and stalked out, leaving Dracula’s lair to the cleansing fire. If Dracula really did have a way of coming back to life after being dusted, he’d find himself in an extremely uncomfortable situation.
Spike closed the front door behind him and strolled down the steps into the deepening twilight, not bothering to even glance back at the orange flames now lighting the windows on one side of the house. Satisfaction welled up inside him. William the Bloody, he thought smugly, Slayer of Slayers and Kicker of Count Dracula’s Arse. He smirked. Might need to work on that last bit to get the wording just right but it had a nice ring to it.
His smile died down a fraction as he remembered Dracula’s claim that he’d bitten the Slayer already. Need to have a little chat with her, he reminded himself, as he pulled out the hated cell phone to call Xander and tell him to come home.
A/N - Bits of dialogue borrowed from the episodes ‘Buffy vs. Dracula’