He followed them back to the Masters Lair that ironically enough was situated at the Bronze. Half dazed by the twisted reality he was now experiencing which saw Willow and Xander as vampires, he managed to hold his own in convincing them that he was the Spike they knew, the one (he could not bring himself to say it) who had sired them both. If he had thought the main street of Sunnydale had been bad, what he saw upon entering the Bronze was even worse. Even as he approached it, his senses came alive with the salt of fear. It hung in the air like an aromatic cloud, drawing him into its thrall. He sensed others of his kind and knew that there were many of them. Without understanding how it had happened, Spike accepted that the vampires had taken the night in Sunnydale.
The inside of the Bronze was scattered with cages in which trapped humans waited death for the first hungry vamp that desired a meal. While some of the pool tables were being used for the games, others were being used as feeding areas where vampires were treating the meal of their choice to a more lethal game. There was music but the band playing was clearly terrified and their eyes showed the fact that they were playing for more than just the music but to keep their vampire masters happy in exchange for their continued existence. In the days before he loved the Slayer this might have pleased him. In truth, much of it still did. This was the way they were meant to rule and if he had not changed the way he knew he had, he would be joining them but even now, he felt the familiar ache for Buffy inside of him. He wondered what she would have thought of all this and then felt marginally grateful that she was not because he could not imagine her horror at what had been wrought in her world.
What was worse, he soon discovered that upon meeting Xander and Willow in this warped reality, he found that he could remember turning Willow. Unfamiliar images filled his head and he could actually remember her terrified eyes and her pleas for mercy just before he sunk his fangs into her neck and destroyed all that she could ever be. He remembered the warm spurt of her blood into his mouth and how sweet she tasted. It all lingered inside his head waiting only his desire to remember to surface. While he could remember everything from the world where Buffy had been apart of his life, he could also remember everything to do with this reality.
And in this reality, she had never been called as the Slayer.
Therefore it meant she was somewhere else, probably Los Angeles living the life of a normal young woman without the burdens of being the Slayer of vampires and demons. He remembered who Kendra was now. She was the Slayer Dru had killed the night Angelus had attempted to awaken Acathala. Kendra had been called when Buffy had been clinically dead for a few minutes during the battle where she had killed the Master. Kendra had resulted from that death and for the first time ever, there had been two Slayers. If Kendra was the Slayer that had come to Sunnydale then it meant Buffy was never called and somewhere in this world, she was still alive. That thought gave Spike a great deal of comfort because he could find her.
Willow and Xander had separated from him once they entered the Bronze and as he swept his gaze through the darkened crevices of the Bronze, he saw them engaged in some heavy petting in one of the shadowy booths. He always knew those two were close but he never suspected they were that close. He wondered if Xander knew that Willows sexual orientation was not as singular as previously believed. Even Spike had raised a brow on that one but then after almost a hundred fifty years of existence, nothing surprised him anymore.
An arm slid around his shoulder and showed him once again how wrong he was.
"Youre all wrong Spikey," a soft voice breathed in his ear.
Spike turned around and found him facing Drusilla. She was staring at him with those all seeing eyes that knew more than just the surface allowed her to see.
"Dru," Spike responded, pleasantly surprised and happy to see her. Their last parting had been anything but amicable and even though he no longer loved her as once he had, she was still a large part of his existence that he could not forget.
Her hand ran over his face and he could feel her cold breath against his skin. "Youre not my Spike. Youre someone else."
"Dont be silly luv," Spike countered quickly, having no wish to be found out when surrounded by hundreds of their kind who would not hesitate to tear him to pieces if they thought he was not one of them. "Havent I always taken care of you?" He asked, sliding his arm around her waist and pulled her to him.
She came to him obligingly because she knew no other way to be around him but she knew something was wrong. "She fills your head Spike," Drusilla said almost sadly. "The one that doesnt exist anymore, shes singing to you even now."
"Doesnt exist anymore?" Spike asked, not understanding. What did she mean? Drusilla was never wrong about such things. As insane as she was, her insight was almost always accurate. He had assumed that Buffy had not been called as Slayer but when he considered how he had come to be in this place he realized that Chronozon had been seeking to avenge himself against the vampire that had betrayed him. Somehow the demon had seen to it that Spike had retained his memories, so that he could remember what he had lost and regret it. Despite the ramifications arising from Buffy never being called to this reality, it still would not stop Spike from finding her. After all, he knew where she had lived before coming to Sunnydale and in this day and age it would be a simple matter of tracing her.
"Shes gone Spike, rubbed out like a little mark on a piece of paper. She never was now." Drusilla said in a singsong voice.
"You mean dead?" Spike demanded. "Is that what youre trying to tell me luv, that shes dead?"
"Poor Spike," Drusilla replied sadly, her arms encircling his neck and pulling him close. "Shes all gone away and you still cant let her go can you? Thats alright my love," she ran a finger over his ear. "I can make you forget her, I can make you mine again."
"Ill bet you could Dru," Spike responded huskily, his fingers caressing her arms gently. "Ill bet we had some good times."
He stared into her eyes and thought how easy it would be to let himself be lost in them. However coupled with the new memories in his head, he also had memories of Buffy. He remembered the love for him she could not express even though it burned in her touch when they had come together. When he told her the night after their passionate exchange that she did not love him yet, he honestly believed that in time once she overcome her anxieties of about caring for someone like him that she would feel the same. Now it appeared that would never happen because she did not exist in this reality.
"We could have those times again Spike," Dru said trying to convince him.
"No luv," he shook his head. "Were done." With that he pulled her arms from his neck and broke free of her.
"Spike, you wont find her." Drusilla called out as he pushed his way through the bodies in the Bronze, both living and dead. "You made her undone."
Spike did not understand what Drusilla meant by that but he knew he had to get out of here. If he stayed any longer he might become lost in the thrill of the hunt with others of his kind, where he was no longer despised but feared as William the Bloody and Buffy would remain lost to him forever. That alone made him walk a lot faster. The chip was gone from his head but his love for Buffy was still in his heart and he could not let her go. Drusilla was right about that.
Spike pushed his way out of the Bronze until he had emerged into the night sky once more. The fresh air felt good in his lungs and he took several deep breaths of it to steady himself, hoping that perhaps clarity of vision might chase away this nightmare he had woken up into. He started walking because it was only a matter time before someone discovered that he was not the Spike they remembered if Drusilla did not give him away first. She might love him but that did not change the fact that she was as mad as Hatter and was more than capable of blurting out the truth at the most inconvenient times.
Besides, with everything else that had gone wrong today, Spike had no desire to face the Master who would be less than impressed to know that one of his own had fallen under the spell of the slayer. Unintentionally, Spike found himself at the house that he remembered as being the Slayers home. The tree behind which he had stood on many a night and looked into her room was still there thankfully, for all the good it did him.
The house that was home to the slayer was gutted by fire. Boards were placed on the windows and the look of dilapidation had well and truly sunk into the place. It was obvious no one had inhabited it for quite some time. Spike stood under the tree for a long time, taking a smoke as he often did beneath that tree trying to decide what to do. Drusilla said that Buffy never existed in this reality. What had Dru meant when she said that he had made Buffy undone? What the bloody hell sense was that supposed to make? How could he be responsible for Buffy being gone other than inspiring Chronozons hatred? He stood there in the darkness, contemplating how it might be possible that he was responsible for Buffys non-existence by shifting through the new memories in his mind. It was difficult to make out.
He remembered killing Kendra, watching her life drain out of her eyes as he defeated her in battle and then draining the life from her. He recalled joining the Master once he had returned from his exile beneath the Hellmouth, taking his place as one of the Masters brightest, right along with Drusilla and Darla. Darla? She still lived apparently because Angel had never been forced to choose between her and Buffy. Spike could not recall what exactly had happened to the vampire with a soul but he was certain there was something in his new memories about good ol peaches. The further he went back into the past, the more things settled into the memories he knew from his own reality, his arrival in Sunnydale with Drusilla and the wanderings across Europe for the better part of fifty years following the loss of Angelus. Those memories were identical to what he knew of his life in his own reality.
Suddenly, a new memory surfaced that bore little resemblance to what he remembered to the past he had lived. He had accepted that certain things were different. What Sunnydale had become was proof of that but it made no sense that the distant past should have been altered by his arrival in this reality. Spike knew that taking Buffy away from him was Chronozons revenge but he could not understand what it had to do with this new memory that had taken place more than a century after she was born. He closed his eyes and allowed the vivid imagery to unfold, mesmerized by the memories he knew he had never experienced before....
+ + + + + + +
Angelus told him to stay put that night but he could not help himself.
They were supposed to keep a low profile. After all, they had done Europe from one end of the continent to the other and Angelus was bored. He wanted something different. Some place where the feeding was good and their kind was not known. Darla had suggested America. They came aboard a schooner, leaving it drained of life by the time they disembarked at New York. America was a place of chaos with migrants coming from the Old World by the boatload, most were confused and disorientated by the vastness of their new home. They were a feast for a vampires delight.
They stayed in New York for months, draining so many that it became impossible for authorities to ignore and soon there was danger in remaining. Angelus wanted to travel to California and Darla was more than happy to accommodate him. Drusilla as always wished to stay close to her daddy as she called Angelus but there was nothing paternal about their relationship, Spike thought bitterly. Still his black princess never ceased to remind him whom it was that she really loved even when her loyalties were divided. They traveled across America, unable to deny the beauty of the New World while partaking in sinful pleasures in the bodies they fed upon and with each other. It was a splendid time to be alive.
Then they paused at a small town in New Mexico, a little place with nothing much to recommend it other than the fact that it was in the middle of nowhere and it seemed like a good place for a little bit of amusement. Of course, the danger for vampires in a small town was how quickly they could be exposed so Angelus had instructed them to select their prey carefully. The town had lawmen, seven of them who were quite formidable and Angelus had taken a liking to the local newspaper editor with the golden hair. He had been planning on playing his games with her, the kind Spike had no patience for and Darla often indulged him because in the end it was she he always returned to.
Spike had every intention of doing the same but laying low was never his best attribute and he found himself pitted against a smooth talking gambler who had taken all his money and oozed arrogance doing it. Spike had barely considered the ramifications when he waylaid the man later that night and tore out his throat, he did not expect the ruthless determination in which his six companions would seek to avenge his death. The family had barely escaped the town alive and Angelus had almost killed him for ruining his chances with the pretty widow.
As for the man, Spike had barely remembered his name, although he did know it.
It was Standish, Ezra Standish.
+ + + + + + +
A scream tore through his consciousness and snapped him out of his reverie.
Shaking the memories out of his head, Spike instinctively followed the scent of fear that had been produced by that frightened cry and dashed across the street towards the shadowy space between two dilapidated houses. It was instinct that drew him there even though he was hardly in the most heroic frame of mind. However, patrolling with Buffy and being the outcast member of the Scooby gang for the last two years had left its mark upon him to his utmost chagrin just as being unable to ignore a cry for help was part and parcel of loving a Slayer. It did not even occur to Spike that saving a human from one of his kind could earn him an unimaginable death if the Master were to get his hands on him. Not until he arrived in the alley and saw the young woman trying to fight off the trio of vampires that were descending upon her like a pack of wolves.
He paused a moment, reveling in the smell of her fear and the blood that was rushing wildly through her veins. He imagined how she would taste and for an instant, he almost joined his undead brethren in the feeding to come. Without the chip, he could do that and since Buffy did not exist, he was perfectly justified in doing so. However, he also realised that in her absence, he was all that was left of Buffy in this world. She lived inside him and warmed his cold lifeless heart and if he let this poor woman die, it would make her mark upon him worthless and Spike could not bear that.
"Hello lads," Spike spoke up as he swaggered brashly through them, making his way towards the young woman who was quivering in fear "Looks like you got a tasty bit of fun here."
"Shes ours Spike," one of them said boldly but he could tell the others were newborns and the prospect of going head to head with a Master Vampire like him was rather daunting.
"Go find someone else," Spike said confidently, certain that he could take care of this without throwing a punch. He knew how to judge the enemy and right now the enemy was not looking that impressive. He reached for her and brushed the lock of hair out of her face. She pulled away from his touch, sniffling uncontrollably because she knew she was caught and escape now was impossible. She did not notice the startled expression on his face.
"No way..." one of the vampires started to say.
"NOW!" Spike roared as his human mask felt away and revealed demon savagery.
It was more than enough to force the others into withdrawal. They knew who he was and he was the Masters brightest. He was William the Bloody and he had killed three slayers. There was no contest. They left rather abruptly. Spike waited until he could scent them no more before he faced the young woman again, this time his demon visage had evaporated revealing his human face.
"Tara?" Spike asked. "Its you isnt it luv? Youre the witch. Look its alright, Im not gonna hurt you. I just want to talk."
She stared at him astonished, all traces of her previous fear gone completely. She was almost composed. "How...how... do you know my name?" She stammered.
"I just do," Spike sighed wondering why he had expected her to remember him as any more than one of the vampires that had been terrorizing Sunnydale. "I dont expect you to bloody well understand. I cant wrap my head around it either but its seems Im stuck in this nightmare until I work out how to fix things."
"I dont understand," Tara looked at him, fear dissolving into puzzlement. "You saved me."
"Well look who decided to join the conversation," he rolled his eyes sarcastically. "Yeah I saved you. I thought we established this already."
"But youre Spike." She pointed out.
"Im glad you here to tell me these things luv, otherwise Id be in awful bloody state wouldnt I?" He said impatiently. It was not her fault that she did not know him, he sighed. To her, he was the enemy and she would never be able to see him as anything else. Exhaling deeply, he turned to her and remarked. "Its not safe for you to be out in the dark when so many of us are running around. Id best walk you home. Make sure you get there in one piece."
"Are you for real?" She exclaimed.
Spike shook his head and retorted with annoyance, "If I was going to bite you, Id a done it already and to tell you the truth, there wouldnt be much you could do about it."
"I wouldnt say that," someone said behind Spike.
"I figured youd turn up sooner or later," Spike turned around and faced Angel. "Let me guess, you dont know who Buffy is either?"
"Buffy?" The vampire Angel stared at him in confusion. "Is that your new girlfriend?"
Spike snorted and strode up to the vampire that was his grandsire, the vampire with a soul whom had captured Buffys heart long before he came along and as much as Spike hated to admit, might still have it.
"No you bleeding pillock!" He growled. "Shes the woman that we both love! Or at least I do since you dont seem to remember bugger all about her. She was the Slayer!" He knew that no one understood a thing he was saying but Spike did not care. He felt the sudden need to vent. "I swear if I die in this place I am going to hell to tear Chronozon a new one!"
Tara and Angel looked at each other in confusion, wondering if William the Bloody had lost his mind.
"Is that Spike?" Giles emerged from the shadows.
"It looks like him," Angel started to say.
"Giles?" Spike whirled around at the first sign of hope he had encountered since being thrust into this warped universe. "Watcher?"
Giles stared at the vampire known as William the Bloody and was puzzled at why he was being smiled at with such familiarity. "How do you know I was a watcher? Ive told no one that."
"Thats your business," Spike shrugged, not caring about Giles bewilderment but whether or not the watcher could help him. "Right now, you need to help me."
"Help you?" Angel stared at him in derision. "You got to be kidding."
"Listen to me you stupid bastard," Spike glared at him. "The only woman that you or I has ever loved is gone because some demon decided to take his revenge on me by wiping her out of existence. Everything in this bright and cheery vampire paradise is because she never was. So if you couldnt care less about helping me, then think about helping yourselves. Trust me, the world is a hell of a lot more pleasant with her in it."
"You keep saying her, who do you mean?" Giles inquired.
"We shouldnt be having this conversation out here in the open," Angel interrupted before Spike could speak His gaze swept his gaze in the surrounding area. "We should get indoors."
"Good idea," Spike agreed and flinched at the notion that he and Angel had agreed on anything.
God, he going to make Chronozon pay for this.
+ + + + + + +
Within the confines of the church that acted as the headquarters for Giles and his group, Spike endured the chains that were tied around him in order to gain the watchers help in restoring reality to what it once was and more importantly, restoring Buffy back to him. It appeared that Giles, Tara and Angel were part of an underground resistance movement determined to eradicate the vampire menace from Sunnydale. However, judging by their surroundings and by their numbers, it seemed that they were facing an uphill battle. Once again, there were familiar faces around him. For instance, the cheerleader who used to date the whelp, Cordelia, if he remembered correctly was also present.
"He saved you?" Cordelia stared at Tara in disbelief as they stood around Spike who was firmly secured to the chair, studying him like he was a carnival curiosity.
"Yes," Tara nodded. "He kept babbling about someone named Buffy. I dont think hes right in the head."
"As opposed to what?" Angel retorted as he came up along side Cordelia and wrapped an arm around her waist in a clearly intimate gesture.
Spikes brow shot up at that and wondered if Angel had any idea what would happen if he and Cordelia became any more familiar with each other then they already were. The demon in him decided to remain silent about that little feature of the Angel Curse. Besides, he had larger concerns to worry about at this time. "Youre the one to talk," Spike glared at Angel. "There was a time when youd be snacking on this group instead of helping them."
"Angel is not like you," Cordelia returned defensively, proving that she was not as secure about Angels noble nature as she might like to believe.
"Whatever," Spike shrugged not about to get into a sparring match with a cheerleader. "Listen Watcher, you need to help me out here. You help me out and this little paradise of yours changes back to the way it was and trust me, its for the better, for you lot anyway."
Giles was pouring over his ancient books, having been given the name of Chronozon earlier when Spike had agreed to be chained up. The watcher raised his eyes above the rim of his glasses and remarked, "well the demon Chronozon does exist although he is mostly a disembodied force. His powers however are considerable."
"You dont actually believe him do you?" Angel stared at Giles in disbelief as he stood over Spike, preparing to act if he gave Angel the slightest bit trouble. He did not trust Spike. His demon half may have had a lengthy history with the younger vampire but his human side knew him for the bloodthirsty creature that he was.
"Oy!" Spike barked. "Stick your nose out of this Peaches. Why dont you take the cheerleader out the back and show her what a real man you are, Ill wager it will bring out a whole new side of you."
"SHUT UP!" Angel swore, striking Spike across the jaw.
"Thats enough the both of you," Giles ordered sharply. "Angel, I wish to hear him out."
Angel glowered and Spike flexed his lower jaw, shaking the sting of the older vampires punch from his bruised mouth.
"You heard him," Spike couldnt resist adding. "Now sod off for awhile."
"Spike," Giles turned to him with just as much venom. "My patience isnt infinite. Get on with it. You said that Chronozon is involved. How?"
"I told you," Spike hissed with anger, "he made Buffy disappear. She was the Slayer."
"Kendra was the Slayer," Angel said in a low voice. "You killed her."
"Im not going to quibble with you all right?" Spike glanced briefly at Angel before facing Giles again. "The last thing I remember before waking up in this crazy place was helping Buffy fight Chronozon. He was royally pissed that I was helping the Slayer instead of keeping up the old guard you know and after Id done his host in, he was forced to go back to hell but not before claiming he was going to take his revenge. Im assuming this is it."
"And his revenge was what?" Giles looked at him skeptically. "Send you to a world that is ruled by vampires? Hardly a fitting revenge, if a revenge at all."
"His revenge was Buffy!" Spike snapped. "He knew I loved her! He knew that Id turned my back on the life because of her and thats how he was going to get his revenge by making her gone!"
"You fell in love with a slayer?" Angel snorted. The irony of it was too much for him.
"Dont laugh so hard mate," Spike returned sarcastically. "I wasnt the only one. Youre one broody grim bastard with poofter hair because of her."
"Youre telling me, the absence of one Slayer did all this?" Giles asked Spike, unable to believe the absence of one girl could alter the course of events so dramatically.
"She wasnt just one slayer as you put it," Spike replied. "She was your Slayer. She killed the Master long before he had a chance to turn Sunnydale into a community buffet."
"I was never given the privilege of being the Watcher to a slayer," Giles responded turning away. "Kendra was not mine to watch or guide."
"Buffy was," Spike responded, letting his mind drift away for a second as he remembered Buffy and all the things that she was, unaware that he was speaking his thoughts out loud. "She was beautiful and strong. Shed bleed herself dry if it meant she could save the world. She was the best Slayer Id ever come up against, never could kill her though. You dont kill someone like Buffy, you just stay by her side and try to be there for her. Sometimes you even hope that you can take away some of that weight from her shoulders because no one that young should have to face all that she has to and have be alone as well. I love her. I would have died for her a thousand times over if I had to."
"You do have it bad," Tara stated.
Spike bristled immediately, feeling stupid that he had exposed his feelings like a schoolchild in front of all these strangers. However, he had to prove to them that he truly cared about Buffy because without their help, he had no way to get her back.
"Well," Spike shrugged. "Im loves bitch and Im not afraid to admit it."
"Charmingly put," Giles frowned and then added. "However against my judgement, I tend to believe you and if theres a chance that one girl can change this hell weve been living in since the Master arrived, then I have to take it. Weve got to get Buffy back."
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