DISCLAIMER: Yes, they’re Joss’. Stop rubbing it in!
WARNINGS: For violence and language and explicit, vampiric, m/m yummy bits.
SUMMARY: Drusilla, in an effort to return Spike to being her ‘dark prince’, tries to change him back to the way he was when he was called William the Bloody. It doesn’t work out quite the way she expected. This story is slightly AU as per vampire lore, and Angel is Spike’s Sire.
For the first time in the last few months, Spike felt good.
Not wonderful, not on top of the world, but good.
He’d gone patrolling with the kiddies, who had been so involved in discussing some wonderful dance that was gonna happen at the Bronze tonight that they’d forgotten to take their usual potshots at him. They’d dusted a sweet dozen fledges and he’d gotten to beat the crap out of a tough Craz’narak demon. When they’d gone back to Giles’, the Watcher had somehow come across a few pints of horse blood, which had a richer, deeper flavor than that nasty pig and had been a welcome change from his usual diet.
He’d been given more blood to take home, a carton of cigs, and enough cash to get him reasonably drunk later tonight.
So life - er, unlife - was good.
He didn’t even mind the fact that his current ‘home’ was a dank, musty-smelly old crypt. Fixed it up a bit, hadn’t he? and Clem had some old furniture he was offering him for practically nothing; just had to get a few kittens. Not a problem; one of Lil Bit’s friends had some they were looking to get rid of, and he had strong suspicions that Clem took them home and kept them instead of actually eating the poor lil’ buggers.
Not that he cared, of course!
He whistled softly to himself as he strolled along, freshly lit cigarette tilted at angle in the corner of his mouth, package of blood and smokes tucked under his arm. Yeah, it was all good; he was out of Harris’ basement, knew he could pound on demons, and he’d snapped out of a brief spell of insanity, where he’d believed that he thought the Slayer was attractive.
Relief to get over that last one, really. Didn’t know where his head had been. Slayer was blond and had a pig nose - he’d always preferred dark hair and eyes and classical features. Like his beautiful Drusilla or like...
Right, so, he had to make plans for the rest of the night. Willy’s was right out; after that last fight, he’d worn out his welcome there for the next few days, and he felt like going to the Bronze about as much as he felt like staking himself. Happily screaming teenagers dancing to Britney Spears didn’t do a lot for him. Perfect place to hustle a few college jocks out of some cash at the pool table, but not someplace he wanted to spend a ‘good’ night in.
Maybe he’d just buy himself a couple bottles of Jack Daniels and drink himself into a coma in front of the telly. There was a marathon of that old show ‘Hogan’s Heroes’; he could watch that until he passed out. Nice and relaxin’, that was, drinking himself into oblivion while a familiar show played in front of him. That Hogan was a right clever bloke, too, though he never knew why some of the crazy schemes worked out. Never seemed to happen with his own plans, but it was fun to watch. Yeah, that’s what he’d do.
Needed to stop by before toddling over to the market, and stash his blood. Never knew when some idiot cop would be hanging around the liquor store and wantin’ to search the honest customers. They’d be lookin’ for drugs and weapons and the like, but he had no desire to try to explain away sealed plastic bags of horse blood. Took too many brain cells to come up with a story for somethin’ like that.
He strolled calmly through the cemetery - when he wasn’t with the Slayer and those humans who practically screamed ‘come eat me!’, the fledges pretty much left him alone. They might be stupid newborns, but even they could smell a Master vampire, and knew to keep their distance. They just couldn’t resist the siren call of Willow and Xander’s delicious heartbeats, that was all. Spike sometimes had a hard time resisting those, as well. Selfish kids, wouldn’t even give him a taste... not like he’d drain them, now that he’d got to know them...
He pushed open the door to the crypt and his good mood shattered like glass on the floor.
Drusilla was there.
Draped over the sarcophagus like some perfect pagan statue, filmy dress drifting around her, long, thick dark curls framing her beautiful face.
"‘Lo, ducks. What brings you slummin’?"
"I’ve come back for you, my dark prince," she said sweetly, sounding a bit more sane than usual.
Spike sighed again, stashing the bundle of blood inside a nearby urn. Didn’t want that getting smashed up. "Thought I wasn’t demon enough for you, luv? Said I was going soft, you did."
"Yes, going soft. I can fix that, though." She slipped off the tomb, her dress floating like a lace snowdrift after her.
"Can you, luv?" he asked distractedly, looking around his crypt in surprise. Where had all these candles come from? There were two huge brass-bound trunks set against one wall - and damn if the crazy bint hadn’t draped his walls in some flowy silk shite. "Done the place up a treat, luv - if I was the Poof, that is."
"Now, don’t talk mean about Daddy, sweet one." Drusilla drifted closer, bringing her hands up to cup his face. "Poor Spikey - he’s got sparkly things in his head, that make it ache so badly. Drusilla can fix that right up for you."
"Yeah?" She had his attention now. "Can you do that, pet?"
"Yes, Miss Edith and the stars have whispered to me just the right pretty words. But what will my prince do for me, if I do that for him?"
"What do you want me to do, luv?" he asked suspiciously.
"I want my dark prince back," she said, pouting prettily up at him. "No one takes good care of me like my William does."
"Uh huh. What happened to that drippy bloke you ran off with?"
Drusilla shrugged. "He didn’t know what a lady really needed. He didn’t take care of me or keep watch over me and the nasty, mean ones are always hurting me. But he didn’t mean to - he had a good heart, so I showed it to him."
Spike didn’t know if he should cringe or snicker. That was so very like Drusilla - always ripping the fellows’ hearts out, emotionally or literally. "Couldn’t stay ‘round here, pet, if you do fix me up. Slayer wouldn’t like it; don’t really feel like gettin’ staked."
"Oh, no, sweet William. I have the loveliest hidey-hole all ready for us. I just need my prince - and I brought you pressies! Just the things you used to like!" She pointed toward the gleaming trunks.
"Oh, yeah? What’d ya bring me?" Spike was immediately distracted at the thought of loot. He took a step toward the trunks, and Drusilla took that as being a resounding ‘yes!’ to her offer.
Before he could take another step, she had flicked her hand toward his head, sending a spiral of dark magic into him that slammed him straight to the floor.
Ignoring the groan of pain, and the fact that her ‘prince’ was now struggling to free himself from invisible bonds, Drusilla began to move around him, adjusting candles in an arcane pattern, using sand in thin lines to trace runes on the floor. She brought out a small copper burner, a tiny fire already burning in it, and filled it with herbs and oil that immediately began to produce billows of choking, heavily scented smoke. All the while she was muttering under her breath, odd words in a language Spike didn’t understand, interspersed with phrases in English.
"...be like you used to be..."
"...love me and take care of me..."
"...my sweet, sweet prince..."
"...return him to me as he was, when his eyes opened..."
Spike slowly stopped his struggling, as his limbs began to feel heavy and weak. The room seemed to be spinning around him; it made him dizzy so he tried to close his eyes and found his eyelids weren’t obeying him. "Dru... Dru..." he whispered, the sound so faint it almost didn’t exist. "Dru... princess... what are you doing...?"
"Sweet prince, my sweetest of all..." Drusilla crooned. "My wonderful William, William the Bloody, sweet William - I call you back to me, as you were..." She crowed in delight when Spike’s features began to change, his slicked-back, platinum blond hair growing longer, its color darkening, his hard, sharp features softening a little, as if he was gaining back some of the innocence stolen from him. His icy blue eyes even seemed to shift color, just faintly, until they were more the blue of a summer sky.
"Yes! My William! Just like when you danced at Daddy’s side, and all the pretty red blood flowed..." She leapt to her feet, face glowing with happiness, and reached out for him.
Her hand froze when the changes continued; the dark, honey-blond hair grew even longer, hard expression smoothing, melting completely into a wide-eyed look that she remembered from the fledge that she’d been so horribly jealous of, when Angelus called him ‘Sweet William’ and he stole her place in Daddy’s arms. "No! No, no, no, too far! Too much!"
She swept out an arm, knocking a candlestick over. The lit taper tumbled to the floor, catching the edge of her dress. Old lace went up like paper, swallowing her in flames before she even realized what was happening. She screamed, flailing wildly, only managing to stir the flames higher, as they caught at her hair and her skin.
Spike watched her, unable to move, blue eyes now the color of a storm-tossed ocean going impossibly wide with horror. His princess was burning, and he couldn’t save her - couldn’t lift even his smallest finger, couldn’t stir an inch. He could only watch as she screamed and ran and burned brighter until she was out of his view.
Then there was only silence, and the faint, lingering scent of ash.
It was hours before he felt strength returning to him, before he was able to stir, to push himself up on an elbow and look around. Everything seemed - different somehow, strange and new. The colors were brighter, sounds were sharper, scents nearly overwhelmed him.
"I feel like a fledgling..." he whispered, his voice soft, the Cockney fading from his accent into the tones of a genteel, upper-class Victorian. He noticed, but it didn’t matter. He pushed himself up further, until he was almost sitting, eyes wandering around the musty stone room. He saw the soft grey ashes that were all that remained of his lovely Drusilla, but - but he felt little grief. It was like he knew - he remembered all of that, of Angelus and Darla and the dancing girl with the insane chatter and knowing eyes - he remembered his turning and his teaching and the odd mix of pain and pleasure that came from being Angelus’ Most-Favored Childe...
...but it was as though he had read it all, memorized it from a book. It seemed distant, removed. Railroad spikes, blood and screams, two pretty girls with a flavor in their veins like no other he’d ever tasted, a leather coat that fluttered in the wind. The name Spike, to hide the hurt of desertion, of never being good enough for anyone to stay.
The brilliant, sparking pain of the chip in his head, and the new pretty girl who made fun of him and hurt him when he couldn’t hurt back, and he still felt that it wasn’t fair for her to do so. Flashes of other faces, a boy who wanted to belong, a boy who fought a monster within, two girls who played with magic... the sharp and ugly burn of Drusilla’s own magic deep inside his head.
His hands flew to his skull, and he felt the difference in his hair. Long, heavy locks, waves and curls, a mane that fell nearly to his shoulder blades. Dark blond, if he remembered correctly - it had been so long, but did it matter? There was something caught in it; he pulled it carefully, wincing a bit since it was tangled in those loose curls.
Freed, he brought it around in front of him and stared at the tiny bit of silicon and plastic and wire that had made his unlife such a misery. He didn’t understand the magic that had gotten it from inside his head to outside, but he didn’t give a damn. Even if he didn’t feel the anger and the agony clearly any longer, he still flung the little piece of hell as hard as he could, smiling when he heard it hit the far wall.
He was free.
He was new again.
He got up on shaking legs and let the duster drop to the floor behind him, not concerned about it for the first time in decades. He walked past Drusilla’s ashes like they weren’t even there, going to the trunks and opening them, still curious about the ‘gifts’.
There were clothes inside, pretty things of silk and leather and velvet. Like he used to wear, only with modern bits added or changed. Weapons, too, axes and swords and a set of spikes made of polished steel. He ran a finger along one of those, shuddering at a memory of a man on the floor, gutted like a fish, with his spine scattered in pieces around him. He shoved the thought away, wincing as his own skin separated on the razor-sharp edge. He put his finger in his mouth, the faint trace of blood making him hungry, and turned his attention to the clothes.
He pieced together an outfit quickly, taking a piece from one matching set and trousers from another, until he was pleased with the effect. He had someplace to go, after all, and the viciousness that was Spike and the terror that was William the Bloody had melded together, still there but overpowered by the laughing, mischievous, loving little fledge that Angelus had named ‘Sweet William’ and adored even as he beat the sweetness out of him.
But now he was back, and he had a dance to go to. Had some ignorant teens to sip from, not killing them like his Sire always demanded, but enjoying the sweetness of their youth and leaving them to grow older.
Besides, he couldn’t wait to see if those children - those ‘Scoobies’ - recognized him.