All About Spike - Plain Version
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CHAPTER 3 - WAKING
Saturday - Early Morning
Lilah stared at her co-worker and competitor with distaste. "What makes you think it will work this time. Last time we did something like this, it failed. Even worse, Darla came back and killed over a dozen people."
Gavin smiled smoothly, looking sleek and confident. He didn't look like a man who had been supervising a ceremony since midnight. "Last time was poorly managed. This time I planned everything. Your team chose Darla, Angel's sire. They had been lovers for a hundred years. Our research shows that this vampire, William the Bloody, hates him."
"Besides, William has been bound with blood and magic, not to mention a signed contract. He'll follow orders."
He signaled the two security guards to follow. They stepped carefully over the dust of the five vampires that had been sacrificed in the ceremony. Stanhope was standing by the box.
"It is done."
"He's returned in human form?"
Her mouth smiled, not her eyes. "I followed the videotape of the Ceremony of Raising that you provided."
Lilah turned to her colleague. "She didn't use the scroll of Aberjian?"
"Or Vocah or a bunch of monks. We had videotaped the old ceremony and Stanhope made the necessary modifications. It was more efficient and economical and," he looked through the box's barred window, "just as effective."
* * *
Spike heard the voices and looked around wildly. There was a window up on one side of the box. He tried to get up to look outside, but his body didn't seem to work very well. He staggered to his feet, then his head swam and he fell back on his knees. It hurt. He was weak and everything hurt and he was alive. He bit his lip to keep from moaning, then winced. That hurt too.
Someone was at the window. He peered up and realized he couldn't see very well. Oh God! He remembered suddenly how poor his eyesight was before he was turned. He was back in his old body.
"Mr. Spike?" Every thing sounded different too, duller. He could hardly smell anything. But feeling, that was more acute. He could feel every nerve ending. He could feel his heart, his breath, the rough boards he was lying on, everything.
He tried to answer and his voice was a hoarse croak. That seemed to enough for the other person, however.
"Mr. Spike. I realized you are confused, but we are here to help you. I am sending in two guards to escort you to a bedroom. I imagine that you need to rest."
One side of the box creaked and then was pulled down. He scrambled back and cowered against the light, his eyes trying to adjust. Two large men entered, one pushing a wheelchair. He stared at it. NO! He wasn't going to be bound to a wheelchair again. He braced himself and stood up again, holding on to the box's rough side to keep from collapsing. "I can walk," he growled.
The guards didn't say anything, just tossed some clothes at him. Spike looked at the clothes and suddenly realized he was naked. Several people, including two women were staring at him. As a vampire he wouldn't have given a damn, but now he found himself flushing with humiliation. He hastily pulled the T-shirt and sweatpants on and looked up again. The people were still looking at him. The people . . .
He was looking at people. Not bags of skin over blood. Not prey. Humans with thoughts and dreams and emotions. For over a hundred years he had been as detached from humanity as a cat is from mice. He had terrified and tormented and murdered uncounted numbers of people. And now the connection was back and the horror of what he had done engulfed him.
He was barely conscious of the bodyguards placing him in the wheelchair. They pushed him forward and someone was touching his shoulder, saying something. He turned and found himself staring at the man who had staked him, the man who had destroyed him.
"Is this a soul? Did you give me a soul?"
The Asian looked amused. "You have as much soul as any human, if souls really exist."
But the witch surged forward, grabbing his shoulder and spinning him around until he was looking into her deep, cold eyes. She extended a finger and tapped his chest. "There is a soul there, boy. You feel it burn?" You've played with pain for a century, and now it's your turn."
Memories were crashing in on him. The children that he had romantically given Dru as love tokens, screaming and crying as she killed them. The lovers who had ducked into dark places to kiss and had their throats ripped out. Young people cheerfully leaving bars and parties to die in a welter of blood and agony. He was drowning in a tidal wave of memories.
Gavin watched the man in the wheelchair slump. His already pale skin had gone gray. "What's happening?" He turned. "Doctor, what's wrong."
Dr. Green had come to watch the ceremony, just in case. He stepped forward and examined the subject in a detached clinical manner. "He's in shock." The doctor reached into his medical bag and took out a hypodermic. He felt the specimen's thready pulse and quickly gave him a shot. "Take him to my office."
Spike wasn't aware of the shot, only the peace of sliding from the blood and agony into the sweet release of unconsciousness.
Xander aimed his flashlight at the jury-rigged tangle of wires and shook his head in disbelief. Only being undead had allowed Spike to survive the amateur wiring in his crypt. Obviously electrocution couldn't be added to staking and sunlight as handy ways to eliminate vampires. "I'll have to get the generator out of my truck," he called out to the girls. He had brought the generator and some arc lights from his work site.
Buffy watched him climb out of the lower chamber. He looked pale, tired and puffy. She had wakened him, hammering on his apartment door before four in the morning. He hadn't hesitated or complained, just listened to her problem and come up with a solution. She knew he was still in pain over his break-up with Anya, but here he was, helping her. He walked out to the truck, "Hey, Buffy, give me a hand with this." She joined him and together they wrestled the generator off the truck and into the crypt. She stepped aside and watched him as he positioned the lights in both the upper and lower chamber and hooked them up to the generator.
She turned her head and saw Tara gazing at her with sympathy. It was almost too much. She didn't deserve the sympathy. She didn't deserve the unquestioning support. Buffy bit her lip and fought tears.
"This should do it." Xander pulled the starter cord and the generator chugged to life. Then he flicked the switch and the lights came on.
Tara pointed and he adjusted the lights so that they beamed down on the gray pile of dust. Buffy stared at it and unbidden, she remembered Spike's face. "Tell me you love me," she had said. His face had looked so hesitantly hopeful. "I love you. You know I do." She had stared in those incredible blue eyes. "Tell me you want me." "I always want you," he had said softly. "In point of fact . . ." Then she had pulled him down and for a few brief moments there had been tenderness and no shame.
"There's footprints" Buffy started and saw Xander point to two sets of footprints, in the dust. "And this looks like a knee print. " One set of shoeprints was large, the other much smaller. Are the small ones yours, Buffy?"
She shook her head. "I was wearing my tennis shoes. Those have a heel." She looked over at Tara. "Do you think it was vamps?"
Tara didn't answer. She was kneeling and whispering by the pile. Her eyes were closed, then opened suddenly. She reached over and touched the top of the pile. "That's odd."
She frowned, got up and began examining the crypt carefully. " That way," she pointed towards the hole in the floor.
She climbed down the ladder to the lower chamber. Buffy and Xander scrambled after her. Tara was standing over the burnt bed, looking at the toiletries someone had scattered over it.
The blonde witch was quiet, waiting for the Xander to adjust the light. She was still frowning. Finally she tentatively touched the comb. "Buffy, do you know if Spike ever lost any hair in his comb or left any hair or fingernail clippings?" She turned and looked at the slayer.
Xander snorted. "Considering how much peroxide the guy used, its a wonder he wasn't bald."
Buffy shook her head. "I don't know. Why?"
Tara looked at the two others. "Something feels wrong. I- I mean really bad. You know I'll never be as strong as Willow, but I am good with auras. Everything gives off a kind of radiation and I can see it. It's really ugly in here, especially around the dust. Someone sprinkled something on it that feels like dark magic."
Buffy grasped eagerly at the explanation. "Magic. So there was magic and the dust isn't Spike."
Tara's eyes were sad. "I'm sorry Buffy. But I think the dust is what's left of Spike. I could feel traces left of his aura. But someone has been handling his comb and they put some sort of spell on the dust." She shook her head, looking sad and a little confused. "It feels like the type of spells that are used to control or enslave people, but if they were going to do that, why would they stake him?"
Continued in CHAPTER 4 - EXAMINATION
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