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Spike’s first thought upon waking was that if he ever laid hands on the wanker that thought it was a good idea to dose himself with enough Holy water to knock out a Master vampire he was going to pull the fucker’s guts through his nose. The last thing he’d remembered was the slowing of  a heart and then....well there you had it maybe he shouldn’t have killed the poor sod, that way he wouldn’t have ingested enough of the crap that the idiot had piled into his body. He knew there was a reason why he didn’t like feeding on shamans but Dru had gotten an idea in her pretty little head and like many of Dru’s ideas, Spike was the one paying the price.

 

Keeping still Spike extended his senses, he could hear several heartbeats but there was something wrong about the cadence of the sound, like the hearts were beating too fast against bones that were hollower than that of an ordinary human. Slowly cracking an eye open, Spike almost yelped in shock as the glare of the sun beat down on him but, and wasn’t this a kicker, he felt fine. No burning, screaming or turning to ash in sight and unless somebody had been lying to a helluva lot of vampires that was definitely odd.

 

Pushing himself up onto his elbows, Spike froze as a low growl rattled from somewhere behind him. Rolling to his feet in one fluid motion Spike paused at the sight before him....he definitely wasn’t in Romania anymore, that much was fairly clear.

 

The land stretched out before him, sand as far as the eye could see and only small shrubs and a few scattered trees broke the monotony of the landscape. Beneath the closest tree five hyenas sat, their eyes glued to him but Spike’s attention was focused on the human amongst them.

 

The woman was seated upon a rounded rock, her back pressed to the bark of the tree. Her legs were hidden beneath a skirt that, if Spike could trust his nose, seemed to be stitched from human skin but she was naked from the waist up, her long black hair flowing over her right breast while the other was hidden from view by the babe attached to it.

 

Spike forced his eyes away from her nudity and up to her face. The first thing that caught his attention was the drying blood on her lips but even that was quickly pushed away by her strange eyes, one a pale blue that bordered on grey while the other gleamed yellow. Her face was marred with strings of flowing words that curved over her cheekbones up and back along her ears before vanishing into her hairline and Spike may have been a new Master but he even he could recognize the thrum of power in the air. This was no ordinary demon...this was one of the Old Ones and unless this was the biggest coincidence this side of the cosmic barrier he’d just snacked on her shaman.

 

He was going to fucking kill Drusilla!

 

“Name?”

 

Her voice hauled Spike away from his thoughts and he focused on her as the babe in her arms mumbled to itself.

 

“I’d answer that for you, luv, I really would but see I’ve heard a thing or two about what you sort do with names and I’m not about to get trapped in here with ya.” Spike responded, keeping his voice glib even as he watched the creature’s every move because human facade or not, Spike had no doubt that she could rip his throat out faster than he could blink.

 

Cocking her head, the creature narrowed her eyes. Beside her the hyenas stirred uneasily and Spike’s throat went dry as she rose to her feet, jostling the babe enough to dislodge it from where it hadn’t been suckling milk as Spike had originally thought, the quickly healing wounds above the woman’s nipples and the bloody smear on the child’s lips said as much.

 

Stepping over the hyena laying at her feet, she smiled, flashing a mouthful of jagged teeth that seamlessly flowed back into the rounded ones that more fit her human visage. “I do not ask for your name because I don’t know it, William and you would do best to remember that.  It seems courtesy is one of the things that your kind has lost along with any form of dignity,” she whispered and if Spike had been human his heart would have been in his throat. Old Ones needed only your name and a drop of blood to bind you to them for eternity, or so the legends claimed and he wasn’t stupid enough to think that he could stop her drawing blood, not here in her own world.

 

“You fed from my priest....” she continued and Spike snorted because he hadn’t seen a thing on the man to mark him as anything over than a regular run of the mill shaman. “And yet you stand before me smelling of nothing but defiance and confusion, not even a shred of regret clings to your undead skin.”

 

Spike pursed his lips. “Can’t say I feel much regret, luv, though he did taste a bit funny.”

 

The Old One took a step closer, so close now that the heat of her breath ghosted across Spike’s skin and he wrinkled his nose at the sickly sweet smell that clung to her, even as she towered over him, her height even more exaggerated by the raw energy that she wore like a cloak. It took every inch of his training to not flinch, not show any weakness. It was a lesson that Angelus had beaten into his head and as the creature’s hair brushed against his cheek, Spike’s face rippled demon coming to the fore in the face of his uncertainty.

 

The Old One paused; her odd eyes glued to his face before she reached out and traced her finger along his ridges. The touch of her skin burned, much like the taste of holy water did and Spike finally realized that perhaps the shaman hadn’t dosed himself with the concoction; maybe it was his association with this being that had caused Spike’s strange reaction to drinking his blood.

 

“You are a strange one, William.” she murmured, ducking her head so that she could press her nose against his neck and Spike tried to pull back but he was frozen to the spot, his muscles locked in place as she laved the tender skin at his throat with a tongue too rough to be human while her spawn clutched at his clothes, sharp nails clinging to Spike’s skin. “It has been a long time since one of your kind has interested me and for that I will let you keep your life.” she told him as she nipped at his skin and he could feel the blood beading along the wound but she quickly licked it away. Pulling back, she closed her eyes as she savored the taste. “I will let you keep your life but in return I wish for a boon,” she added as she took a step back and Spike almost fell forward when the pressure holding him in place vanished. Only vampiric reflexes and quick thinking kept him from stumbling. The knowledge of how helpless he’d been mere moments before brought a scowl to his face but the old one just smiled.

 

“Will you grant me my boon?” She queried.

 

“Depends on what you’re asking for, luv, cause there’s a lot of things I ain’t willing to do.” Spike retorted and for some reason his words made her laugh. It was a shrill, high sound that had the hair on Spike’s skin rising as the hyenas behind her took it up, cackling like Spike was the funniest thing they’d ever heard and he wondered if they were all Old Ones too.

 

“The boon is simple, my William.” she explained, the smile still lingering on her lips. “You can do as you did before while you are awake but the moment that you close your eyes in slumber you will return here.”

 

“And how long is this boon going to last?” Spike asked, his eyes narrowed in contemplation. It seemed to easy a task, after all he had killed her priest, from what he’d heard of them she should have had his heart in her hands by now.

 

“It will last for as long as I wish it.” She responded, her voice as cold as her eye and Spike mentally backpedaled.

 

“Course, ain’t like I’m trying to cheat you out of getting your dues,” he smiled but she just shook her head, like he was a particularly trying child.

 

“The boon will not last forever, William.” she explained as he walked back to her seat. “I have been in this place for so long that I have forgotten what it was that drew me to your world in the first place and while I could take another human companion, they will only last so long.”

 

“You’re lonely?” Spike guessed and the Old One smiled.

 

“As are you.” she responded, resettling the child against her other breast, where it latched on quickly.

 

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, luv. I don’t have time to be lonely between keeping my Sire in check and out of the way of her Grandsire.....” he started, pausing when he realized how much he was giving away and he glanced at the old one suspiciously but she just returned his stare with a blank one of her own.

 

“You speak of obligation but I offer you companionship that is not steeped in gratitude. You may even learn something that is not deceit and lies.” she added as the world blurred around her and Spike blinked to clear his eyes but the darkness seemed to flow in faster. “Think on that, my William. I expect an answer the next time we meet.”

 

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Spike was yanked back into the waking world between one blink and the next, the taste of the shaman’s blood still clinging to his tongue but the sight of the large chandelier above his head and the feeling of silk sheets against his skin, let him know that he was back in the mansion that Darla had borrowed while she searched for the cure for Angelus’ little soul problem. Turning Spike glared at the sight of Drusilla seated at the foot of his bed, her fingers tangled in the dead shaman’s hair as she sung to the corpse.

 

Spike loved Dru, in so far as much as you could love the person who’d killed you, but there were times when he’d like to wrap his hands around her neck and just squeeze. Not that it would do much good, her being a vampire and all, but it was the thought that counted.

 

Raising himself into a seated position, he eyed the pout on his Sire’s face.

 

“We drank it all down. Didn’t leave a drop but the stars won’t sing to me, my Spike.” she murmured and Spike’s eyes narrowed because Dru had only said that she wanted to feed on the man because he smelled like lightning and blood, there had been no mention of talking to stars or else Spike would have left her to feed on him by herself.

 

“What stars were supposed to sing to you, then?” Spike asked, crawling closer because if he startled her Dru would clam up and Spike needed all the information he could get before he got drawn back to that place.

 

Dru turned to him, her expression as innocent and childlike as it must have been before Angelus had broken her mind. “The dark stars, the ones that laugh in the dark. They were going to tell me all their secrets if I drank their priest but I drank it all down and they still won’t sing for me. Why won’t they sing for me, William?” she demanded and Spike barely smothered the urge to roll his eyes, at least this time she wasn’t throwing a tantrum.

 

“Maybe you didn’t drink it right?” he offered up and Drusilla frowned as she shoved the corpse off her and onto the floor.

 

“I was told lies, there are no Old Ones, no dark stars and I drank their dirty little priest for no reason!” she spat, eyes narrowed. “I shall find another way to cure Daddy.”

 

Spike snorted, “Yeah, you do that, luv.” he replied, rising from the bed. It was dark outside and from what he could see Drusilla didn’t seem hungry. “I’m just going to head out and find myself a little meal.” he told her, pulling on his clothes. He didn’t know why he didn’t just tell Dru of what had happened but for some reason, the words stuck in his throat and refused to move and if Spike had learned one thing it was that his instincts were rarely wrong.

 

“Do not spend long, Miss Edith and I will try to speak with dark stars again.” Dru warned him as he headed for the door.

 

“Thought you said they weren’t real?” Spike shot back, glancing over his shoulder just in time to catch the sly smile that flitted across Drusilla’s face.

“The Old Ones are as real as the stars in the sky, they are just hidden in their own shadows and I will make them sing to me. Sing me such pretty words about how to get Daddy back.” she crooned and Spike shook his head as he left the room. He’d leave Dru and Darla to search out Angelus, he had much bigger interest to look into....like why an Old One would want him as a companion and he knew just the demon to ask for information.

 

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The streets of Romania were so far removed from those of London that Spike often found himself standing in place, hidden in shadows as he scented the air that seemed to thrum with magic and he could understand why so many of their kind chose to live here. Not that it would have been his first choice....he couldn’t stomach the idea of being on the same continent as Dracula, the poncy git, but Darla had demanded that they take vengeance on the group of gypsies that had supposedly driven Angelus to madness. It was almost funny that the bint that thought Spike didn’t know exactly what the gypsy clan had done to his Grandsire, not that he cared of course because a souled Angelus was an absent one and as far as Spike was concerned an absent Angelus was the only kind he liked.

 

Shaking off his thoughts, he stepped from the shadow cast by the lamp light streaming from an open window. The gypsy clan was dead and Darla was still out searching for her precious ‘Gelus, it was a good thing too because Spike didn’t appreciate her sticking her nose into his business and unlike Dru, there was no love lost between him and Darla. Hell, he’d stake the bitch in a minute, if it didn’t mean that he’d have to deal with the army of minions that she’d made.

 

Turning down another dark street, Spike smiled at the young woman leaning nonchalantly against the sheer walls of one of the shacks that littered this part of the town. Her gown hung low across her chest, emphasizing her shapely bosom as it clinched at her waist only to flow outwards in a way that showed off her hips and if it hadn’t been for the scent of countless men on the girl’s skin, Spike would have been tempted to make a meal of her. It was a habit of his that had often made Angelus scoff but he didn’t feed on prostitutes, figured the girls already had life hard enough. Inclining his head to her he hurried along the street, only to pause in front of a simple wooden door.

 

Rapping on it twice, he stood back as the small slot at the top slid open and a gleaming pair of eyes regarded him before the door was swung open.

 

Stepping inside, Spike scanned the small room that was milling with demons.

 

A table in the corner caught his eye and he made his way across the room, dropping into the empty seat as Clem glanced up at him. He’d met the demon after he’d separated from the other three, wanting to explore the world on his own and Clem had proved to be a fountain of knowledge and a dirty cheat at kitten poker but Spike wasn’t one to judge.

 

“Got a question for ya, mate.” he told the floppy eared demon and Clem cocked his head.

 

“I’ll answer it if I can though you’re lucky you caught me, I was just about to move on....I’m thinking America this time.”

 

Spike quirked a brow at that, he wasn’t surprised because Clem did tend to flit from place to place, maybe it was a trait of whatever type of demon he was....Spike had never asked. “What do you know about the Old Ones?”

 

“They’re insane and evil and you should try very hard to avoid them,” Clem shot back as he straightened in his seat, “Don’t tell me you’ve gotten into an argument with one of them?”

 

“Argument.....might have eaten a shaman, words they aren’t my thing,” Spike retorted and Clem sighed, inflating the heavy flaps that hung from his face.

 

“Old Ones are temperamental, they can be patrons or they can rain brimstone and destruction down on your head, it depends on which one you’ve been bothering.”

 

“This one has a thing for hyenas....two colored eyes and freaky markings.” Spike explained, glancing around the room when Clem sucked in a sharp breath, his complexion blanching in a way that Spike had never seen.

 

“You ate Fisi’s priest? And she didn’t skin you alive and wear your skin like a cloak?”

 

“She wants a boon.” Spike responded, leaning closer as he eyed Clem, “But you sound like you know a bit about her, mate.”

 

“She is one of the Old Ones that represent our kind so of course I know about her. Fisi, the destroyer or Fisi, the death-bringer. Those are her full titles so as you can probably guess she isn’t the nicest Old One to be around but you said she wanted a boon?”

 

“She wants an answer, in the morning, on whether I’ll accept,” Spike answered with a shrug, body language broadcasting a confidence he didn’t feel.

 

“Your answer had better be ‘yes’.” Clem prodded, his expression serious. “The thing with Fisi is, there are no second chances, if you tell her no she will devour you.”

 

Spike exhaled, “You’re just a ray of sunshine, aren’t you?”

 

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Spike made his way back to the mansion that they were staying in until Darla gave up on searching for Angelus, he could have told her that the vampire had already left the continent, he’d learned that much from the demon’s in the tavern but that would mean he was helping Darla and Spike would rather cut off his own nose than help that bitch.

 

Passing the minion, that had once been the owner of the house, Spike wrinkled his nose at the scent of decay clinging to the man. It was like none of these simpletons realized that they could take a bath!

 

Scanning the large dining room, Spike dragged the high backed chair that he favored, into the darkest corner of the room. The move had two purposes, it kept his back to the wall ensuring that Darla couldn’t creep up on him and it let him keep an eye on the minions that were constantly underfoot, like cockroaches.

 

His mind flitted back to Clem’s words. According to the demon there was no way that a vampire as old as Darla would have let Dru bring the priest back without knowing exactly who the man belonged to. The fact that Darla had been the one to point the priest out to Dru in the first place didn’t escape Spike’s mind. It seemed like Dru’s Grandsire had set them up to take the fall for her....but that still left the question of why? As far as he knew Darla was focused on getting Angelus back and unless Fisi held the key to de-souling the elder vampire, there was no reason for her interest in the Old One.

 

Exhaling loudly Spike ran his fingers through his hair as he stood, he could smell Darla and Dru in the suite that they shared and hopefully they’d already fed and were settling in for the morning because he didn’t think them interrupting his sleep was going to do anyone any good.

 

Climbing the stairs Spike glanced around his room....someone had removed the corpse of the priest, which was strange seeing as most of the time he was the one that had to order the minions to clean up after themselves but shrugging away the thought, he removed his clothes dropping them onto the chair that sat by his bed before crawling onto the mattress.

 

The moment his skin touched the sheets, a fog seemed to curl around his mind, coaxing him down and even as his demon fought against its hold, the human part of him, the part that was and would always be William, gave in to the siren’s call of the Old One.

 

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The plain was changed when Spike woke. Instead of the arid desert from before the ground was covered in lush grass and only four hyenas accompanied the old one....Fisi. The baby was gone as well, instead the Old One held a hyena pup cradled in her arms. Spike didn’t let himself dwell on the fact that the cub had human hands and feet.

 

“You have been very busy, my William.” Fisi greeted from where she was seated on the branch of one of the tress that peppered the new landscape. She was clothed in a thin white cloth, that was wrapped around her body like a toga and as she swung her legs, the tips of her toes appeared and vanished beneath the make-shift dress’ hem.

 

“I’m not your anything, luv.” Spike snorted as he stood brushing the dirt from his clothing that he clearly remembered taking off before falling asleep.

 

Fisi just cocked a brow at that but the small smile that graced her lips said exactly how little she was affected by his words and Spike didn’t know if the fact that she was clearly not taking him seriously bothered him or not. “Do you have an answer for me then?” she queried, hopping down from her perch and landing as gracefully as a cat without once jostling the sleeping cub in her arms.

 

“Was told you didn’t like the word ‘no, so I figured best thing would be to say ‘yes’.” Spike muttered, keeping still as she walked towards him but this time she didn’t slow by his side, instead passing him and heading towards another group of trees where she paused, lowering herself to the ground as she resettled the cub in her lap.

 

“Simply because I do not like being told ‘no’ does not mean that I haven’t come to expect it,” Fisi replied, her odd eyes flicking over Spike. “However I am glad that you have chosen to give me my boon....” she smiled, sharp teeth glinting in the light that streamed through the leaves of the tree. “Because if not I would have had to seek retribution for the death of one of my own and I do not think that your Seer would last long in my world.”

 

Spike sucked in a sharp breath and bared his fangs in displeasure at the mention of Dru. “She didn’t have anything to do with any of this!” he growled but Fisi just scoffed.

 

“Do not lie to me, William. I may not move within your world as freely as I once did but that does not mean that I am unaware of what happens there.” she retorted, “Now come here and sit, I do not know what your Sire has taught you but you do not remain on your feet in the presence of one of my kind.”

 

Spike glared at the woman as a biting comment built on his tongue but one look from her had his knees buckling as pressure built in his skull and his demon cried out as Spike clutched at his head and fell to the ground.

 

“You would do well to recognize that my words are rarely requests,” Fisi whispered and each word was like an ice pick being driven into Spike’s brain but his throat was locked and he couldn’t make a sound as the pressure built, sending fire lancing beneath his skin. “I do not ask for mindless obedience, William....just common courtesy,” the Old One finished and as the words died away so did the pain, leaving Spike gasping for unneeded breath.

 

When his heart didn’t feel like it was trying to tear its way out of his chest, Spike glanced up at the Old One but Fisi just returned his gaze, there was no malicious intent on her face, no pleasure derived from his pain that he’d often seen when Darla or Angelus decided he needed to be punished...she’d simply taught him a lesson and that was the end of it.

 

“I do not need to hurt those that are weaker than myself to feel complete. That does not mean I won’t if you overstep your boundaries.” Fisi explained as the pup stirred on her lap, fingers twitching before it settled down again. “Not so long ago, all these things would have been taught to you by your Sire and if he or she was incapable of passing on the knowledge then they would not have been allowed to have a childe.....”

 

“Dru is.....” Spike started but Fisi cut him off with a gesture.

 

“Drusilla is not fit to Sire another, just as her Sire was not meant to have Sired a childe in the first place. Madness breeds madness and Darla was well aware that Liam’s mind was not strong when she turned him and yet instead of curtailing him as she should have, she spoiled him. She fed that dark part of his humanity until he was nothing but his demon and that is why the Old Gods allowed the gypsy curse to settle on him.” Fisi explained, leaning forward and resting her head against the arm that she’d braced on her knee, “But you aren’t like that are you, William? Even now your soul burns in your eyes, so deeply entangled with that of your demon that it is hard to tell where one starts and the other ends. That is why your Grandsire despises you so, a vampire that does not need to subjugate his humanity is a strong one, it is no wonder that you’ve already become a Master.”

 

Spike sank to his haunches as he listened to her, his brows drawn into a frown. “Vampires don’t have souls.”

 

“Everything has a soul, William. And that is your first lesson, when you wake ask your Sire, why she chose to sire you and you may just learn something.” Fisi murmured as the familiar darkness began to stir.

 

“And why did you choose me?” Spike demanded, “Why not chose Dru?”

 

Fisi’s smile grew as the darkness spread, “That is a story for another day.” she responded.

 

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Waking up was more of a struggle than it had been the night before and Spike was actually glad that Drusilla wasn’t waiting for him at his bedside as she often did. There was a part of him that wanted to cast off Fisi’s words, forget them before they could take root in his mind but another part of him clung to them. There had been no explanation for his turning other than Angelus’ off hand comments about how sweet his misery had smelled as a human. He’d ignored the way the elder vampire had avoided any mention of the night he’d died but even as he did he’d remembered the reason for Dru’s change....Angelus wanted a Seer and Darla had wanted a companion but William had been nothing but a poet, an outcast....if anything he should have been made into a minion not a Childe.

 

William had never been stupid and even as his personality was subsumed into the creature that was Spike that intelligence had remained, it had grown sharper as Spike traversed the parts of life that William would have been too terrified to venture near. It was that intelligence that had made him such a deadly hunter and he understood that in their little group each person seemed to have a position, like chess pieces on the board, he just hadn’t considered that he was more than a pawn meant to keep Dru in place.

 

Pushing away the sheets, he rose and headed for the wash room, it seemed he was going to have to speak with Dru’s Jezebel of a Grandsire after all.

 

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Darla was entertaining when Spike found her. The blonde was seated at the head of the dining table, her hair pulled into a tight bun with only several strands lingering around her face and her green gown glistened in the light cast by the chandelier above her head. If Spike didn’t know the woman he would have been captivated but as it was he barely kept himself from sneering at her.

 

Dru was seated on the floor, her dark head resting against Darla’s knee as the three young men that the vampire had obviously lured in as a meal, clung to each of Darla’s words.

 

Pausing Spike watched the well-practiced routine, it started with Darla allowing one of the men to brush a kiss against her knuckles, sending another a sultry smile that promised so much more as she captured the other’s attention by brushing a hand across Dru’s neck. It took a few seconds for one of the men to get aggressive and just like that the strange tableau broke and Darla descended on the one closest to her, leaving Dru to feed from his companion. Spike caught the other man as he rushed for the door, his iron grip on the boy’s wrist, because this close Spike could see that he was little more than that a child barely clinging to the cusp of adulthood. The move yanked the boy through the air and Spike turned in one smooth move, slamming him against the wall as he tipped the human’s head up. The boy slumped in his arms and Spike dipped his head and fed, the taste of blood made his nerves crackle and the boy’s moans had him hardening in his pants but he was not a brute like the others, he would take nothing but blood from his prey and he eased the man-child to the floor as his heart slowed, then finally stopped.

 

Stepping back he wiped the stray droplets of blood from his lips and pulled up a seat as he waited for Dru and Darla to finish feeding.

 

Darla pulled back first, leaving the corpse crumpled at her feet while Dru pulled hers across the room, arranging the man’s cooling body in one of the chairs as she set a cup in front of him and placed Miss Edith in the chair beside the corpse.

 

Licking her lips Darla focused on Spike, her red lips stretching into a cool smile even as her tongue flickered out to catch the stray droplets of blood still clinging to the plump flesh. “Finally decided to join us, William?” she queried.

 

Spike cocked a brow at her as he slid into the seat farthest from the woman. “Told you the name was Spike.”

 

“My Spike sleeps all day and gone all night. Never any time to drink a cup of tea with me or Miss Edith,” Dru grumbled as placed a cup in the corpse’s hand, giggling to herself when the move made the dead man tumble forward.

 

“Neglecting your Sire, William? I expected better of you.” Darla tutted and Spike leaned back in his seat to eliminate the temptation to rip her tongue out of her head. It was almost comical how hard she tried to act like a high society lady even when Spike knew that she’d been a prostitute before the Master had turned her and not even one by force....no Darla had slept with men to gain riches and power. That hadn’t changed much after she was turned and Spike wrinkled his nose at the thought of anyone laying down with the bag of bones that was supposedly the founder of their line.

 

“Had to see a demon about a soul,” Spike shot back, barely resisting the urge to cackle when Darla flinched.

 

“Why would you need to speak with anyone about that?” she demanded, leaning forward.

 

“Ran into one of those Seer types the other night and the loon kept claiming that he could see my soul. So I scouted ‘round a bit, to find out if there was any truth to it.” Spike explained, leaving the sentence vague enough to not tie himself into a lie that Darla could investigate but the fact that she was even listening to what he had to say was proof enough that Fisi’s words carried some truth.

 

Dru hummed, “My Spike always had a soul. So pretty it twinkled, that’s why Daddy let me bite that nasty William. He wasn’t using it and it would just go dull like a burned out candle but my Spike’s soul burns like a star....” the mad vampire crooned as she rocked herself.

 

“Drusilla, William doesn’t need to hear all that,” Darla reprimanded but Dru was already lost in her own world and Darla’s words fell on deaf ears.

 

“I thought vampires didn’t have souls,” Spike mused, watching Darla closely.

 

The blonde leaned back in her chair, “And what difference would it make if we did? A soul doesn’t stop these humans from killing each other, why should it be different for us?”

 

“If the soul ain’t the matter then why is ‘Gelus out there feeding on rats as penance.” Spike shot back and Darla blanched, the stolen blood draining from her face.

 

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Spike and you would do best to hold your tongue.” She gritted out before rising to her feet and marching from the room.

 

Spike watched her go, seemed like he’d touched a raw nerve. Now all he had to do was keep pressure on it until Darla gave....after all patience was never her strong suit.

 

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Spike spent the rest of the night keeping Dru occupied but he couldn’t ignore the way his demon stirred restlessly beneath his skin as his eyes were drawn to the dark skies beyond the mansion’s walls. Soon enough the night gave way to morning and Spike left Dru in her room as he made his way towards his own.

 

Slipping beneath the sheets Spike inhaled and as the scent of cool grass overtook the stuffy dryness of the air within the mansion, Spike slid, seamlessly, into Fisi’s world.

 

When he opened his eyes Fisi was a dark silhouette against the bright skies. She stood with her back to him and this time she was clothed in warrior’s garbs, her arms and legs bound by simple cloth that allowed for movement while her hair hung in a single plait.

 

At her feet the cub played, human’s legs kicking happily as it squirmed in the dirt and snapped at insects foolish enough to stray close.

 

“You have worried her,” Fisi whispered, her voice carrying in the silence as Spike rose to his feet.

 

“That chit has more than my question to worry about,” he replied, glancing around. The landscape hadn’t changed much other than a few added trees and another missing hyena but Spike could hear the beat of several hearts coming from beyond the grove of trees that blocked his view.

 

“This is your first lesson, William...” Fisi started as she bent, lifting the child-cub into her arms. “Never underestimate your prey. Even those weak of body and mind will find strength if cornered...and a cornered prey is just as dangerous as the most healthy predator.”

 

With those words, she raised her arms, holding the child-cub above her head as a shadow descended from the skies and Spike watched in awe as a huge stork materialized above her head. Its massive wings blocked out the sun for a second as it descended and scooped the child-cub up in its beak before heading back into the skies and Spike wondered if the vision was symbolic or maybe this was what crazy old demons did with their children.

 

If the thing was even Fisi’ child.

 

Fisi cocked her head and shot him a sharp smile and Spike frowned. He’d never heard of Old Ones possessing the ability to hear thoughts but then again all that he knew about the Old Ones wasn’t enough to full a thimble.

 

“It is not that I’m trying to hear your thoughts but you think so loudly that it is very hard not to listen.” Fisi murmured beckoning Spike to follow as she headed for the shadows of the trees. “The little one will be safe with the spirit.”

 

Spike narrowed his eyes as he followed her, the cool of the shadows making him shiver in  a way that it never would in the real world. “Safe from what? Not like there’s a lot of beasties here that would feed on something like him.”

 

Fisi hummed in agreement. “Be that as it may. There is a lesson I wish to teach you and I do not wish for him to be a burden.”

 

“Was never really good at the whole learning thing, me.” Spike muttered, ducking under a branch and watching as one of the hyenas streaked past him, its spotted fur helping it to blend in with the shadows and the dark brown trunks of the trees surrounding the groove.

 

“I will pretend that you did not think me foolish enough to believe that.” Fisi chided, slowing as the trees thinned out leaving a lush plain before them. Spike paused at her side and watched as a herd of what looked like buffalo grazed on the short grass. “The vampires that walk the earth have forgotten what it truly means to be a demon. Your prey is weak and you have become weak in return, leaving behind the true meaning of the hunt.” she whispered and Spike’s eyes followed the three hyenas as they prowled across the plain. “The pack breeds loyalty and from loyalty you gain strength.....” Spike glanced back at Fisi just in time to watch her shape shrink and suddenly in the place of the Old One a large hyena stood her eyes fixed to Spike’s face. “Let me show you,” the words echoed in Spike’s mind as the world shifted around him. It was like falling forwards, the ground rushing up to meet him but instead of crashing to the earth the sense of vertigo made Spike skitter sideways and it was only when his limbs obeyed his mind’s direction that he realized that he was moving on paws instead of feet.

 

“What the buggering fuck do you think you’re doing?!” Spike’s voice in his own head made him yelp, paws reaching out to bat against his ears in an attempt to dislodge the strange sensation but Fisi just flashed him a smile that was full of teeth.

 

Tell me, William, have you ever hunted something that has the ability to fight back?” she teased, nudging him as she moved towards where the others.....pack, Spike’s mind readily supplied, had already surrounded one of the buffaloes and even as the strangeness of the situation made his demon rage, Spike found himself following her. The lure of the hunt was too strong to resist and to his amazement his hyena body moved just as flawlessly as his human one, muscles coiling as he followed Fisi’s lead, keeping himself close to the ground until he was close enough to feel the waves of heat flowing off the great beast’s body.

 

The buffalo snorted, raising its head as it glanced around but the grass where it had ventured was too tall for it to see the predators lurking beneath its nose and Spike’s body tensed as he watched Fisi rise from her hiding space behind the creature’s haunches then in one fluid move she was up and moving, sharp claws and teeth ripping into the buffalo’s tough hide and Spike was moving before he knew it, following the instinctive call for the hunt, the need to follow the pack that was threaded through every inch of his new body as the others leapt onto their prey. The buffalo’s frightened bellows just made their hunger burn deeper and the taste of blood splashed across Spike’s tongue as he helped to topple the great beast. His demon howled with a pleasure he’d never experienced in any of his hunts in the human world.

 

The buffalo heaved beneath his claws but the creature had no hope off fighting them all off, not when the rest of its herd had fled leaving it defenseless and soon even the instinctive need to fight for its life seemed to wane as its struggles ceased and one of the hyenas cackled as the buffalo finally stilled, the eerie sound echoing across the now silent ground and Spike met Fisi’s eyes over their prey’s bleeding, broken form.

 

“The stronger the prey, the stronger the predator. Do not let the life that you have lived until now make you weak, William. Embrace the pack and it will give you strength.”

 

The words followed Spike as the dream world fell away.

 

------------------------

 

As the nights went by Spike found himself lingering on the peripherals of Dru and Darla’s hunts, only feeding when the blonde’s attention turned on him but for the most part he watched. The visits to Fisi’s world had made him focus on the other vampires around him. He noticed the way that minions fought amongst themselves in the absence of their Sire, scrabbling and clawing for any chance at feeding like scavengers and it made his stomach churn as he remembered how it felt to bring down live prey, something that could do as much damage to him as he did to it and Fisi’s words made him wonder....if vampires were to become stronger, they had to find stronger prey and the only thing large enough to feed a fully grown vamp that had the ability to fight back would be a demon.

 

The thought wove its way across his mind when Spike left the mansion to wander the lonely streets and he couldn’t stop the shifting of his own demon when he ran across another breed as images of blood and fighting flashed in front of his eyes. It would be so easy to start a fight to the death and no one would look twice at a vampire attacking a Braznarc.

 

Shaking his head Spike stepped to the side, smoothing the ridges on his face as he allowed the demon to pass, studiously ignoring the curious glance that the creature shot his way. He’d never heard of vampires feeding on demons and there was no way to tell for sure if demonic blood was toxic to them but even that didn’t stop Spike from thinking about it.

 

------------------------------

 

The child was once again fully human when Spike was pulled into the between world as he’d taken to calling the dimension that Fisi inhabited. The boy was at Fisi’s feet gnawing on a bone as the Old One tangled her fingers in the dark curls that adorned the child’s hair not even glancing up when Spike walked towards her.

 

“If demon blood was poisonous to vampires do you not think that it would have been written somewhere?” Fisi murmured, her eyes fixed on the sky as if Spike wasn’t standing mere inches away from her but while the move would have annoyed him if Darla or Angelus had done it, he somehow knew that Fisi’s apparent inattention wasn’t meant as a dismissal. “It is strange that you thought my words meant that you needed to find a new species of prey.”

 

Taking a few steps away, Spike leaned against the old tree that offered the Old One shade, his eyes falling to the two hyenas laying a few feet away. “You saying that’s not what your spiel meant? And another thing, luv. I don’t take kindly to people playing around with me head, I kind of like walking upright so cut out the hyena thing.”

 

Fisi grinned and inclined her head, “My spiel as you kindly called it, did not mean that you needed to find a new breed of creature to feed on. You are surrounded by creatures that bind you to them through lust and need. You follow them; copy their depravity when you could do so much more. Even here I can feel the fire that burns under your skin; it calls to my children like the song woven into those beings that they call slayers. Such strength and you would let it all waste away, unused and untended.”

 

“And you’re supposed to help me tend it, are ya?” Spike snarked as Fisi pulled on the bone the child held in his grip, prompting a loud growl as the boy tightened his hold on his prize, sharp teeth glinting as his lips pulled back into a snarl.

 

“I wish to help you keep your soul, keep the fire that makes you so different from the others of your kind,” Fisi responded, rising to her feet. The two hyenas prowled closer, forming a protective circle around the child who didn’t seem at all bothered by their presence and Fisi turned to Spike, “Come,” she ordered, moving towards the cave that Spike was certain had not been there seconds before. “You do not understand the true strength of the thing that you carry and I cannot trust that creature that sired Angelus to tell you the truth.”

 

Spike weighed his options; he could stand there and refuse to follow her, an action that would most likely end with her ripping his throat out, with her teeth. Or he could follow and see what was so special about his soul....his demon stirred angrily as he considered the option but Spike had always been more than just a product of his demon’s wants. Straightening he followed the Old One as she headed into the cave’s gaping maw.

 

The second he stepped inside he could smell it, the scent of rotting flesh that was so heavy that it clogged his nostrils, laying itself against his tongue like a blanket of fur and only his pride kept him from gagging as a long unused human reaction reared its ugly head, making his mouth water as cold sweat against beaded his nape. Swallowing he blinked to clear his suddenly blurry eyes.

 

Several feet ahead of him, Fisi’s eyes glowed in the darkness as Spike’s vision adjusted to accommodate the lack of light and he finally realized where the smell was coming from. The cave’s walls weren’t made of rock, or if it was they were hidden beneath the miles of decaying flesh that coated its surface.

 

“Where the fuck are we?” Spike gritted out, making sure not to breathe through his nose as he fought back the nausea still lingering at the edge of his mind.

 

“Where demons go after their death,” Fisi responded as she moved further into the cave, leaving Spike little option but to follow her as she wound her way through the maze of smaller caverns that littered the cave, finally pausing on a ledge that overlooked a gaping abyss.

 

Fisi raised her hands as Spike took a step closer and the once silent cave was filled with a cacophony of screams and battle cries. Below the ledge, on which they stood, hundreds of demons were locked in battle, tearing into each other as they scrambled to stay above the constant sway and press of bodies. The scent of blood clung to the air, overriding the sickening scent from before as body after body fell. Still in death for only seconds before they reanimated and rejoined the fight.

 

After what felt like a millennia, one of the Davric demons, that littered the melee, finally managed to scramble onto the ledge. It was missing several legs and wounds littered its body but as it gained its footing it didn’t even seem to see Spike or Fisi, instead racing towards the opening of the cave but the second it stepped off the ledge there was an agonizing screech as its body ripped itself apart, splattering the walls with insect guts and Spike wrinkled his nose in disgust as the ooze seeped into the cave walls, explaining exactly why the interior of the cave seemed to be made of flesh.

 

“They will never be able to leave this place, this hell that they have created for themselves.” Fisi whispered, waving her hand and the sound of the battle below faded into silence, once again. “Only a demon that possesses a soul can cross the barrier and that is why your soul is so important. This is also the only place where a demon could completely rid itself of a soul. The cave would draw it into itself if the demon truly wished it, but for such a thing there must be a sacrifice, a life needs to be exchanged for the act of the soul removal.” she explained, her eyes sharp as they scanned Spike’s face. “Drusilla was never the one that Darla intended to send to this plane of existence. You were to be the sacrifice that would bring Angelus back.”

 

Spike sucked in a sharp breath as the pieces fell into place. “Dru’s visions they don’t show exactly what they should...”

 

“A Seer with a broken mind would not be able to see everything but do you want to bet on the odds that they did not know that one day they would need a vampire with a soul in order to rid another of the soul that he’d been cursed with?” Fisi queried.

 

“You’re saying they let Dru make me just so they could use me?” Spike growled, his eyes narrowing as he glared at the Old One, his mind refusing to believe what was right in front of his eyes.

 

“I am saying that vampires have lost the ability to exist as a pack. There is no loyalty, no sense of family only the need to save one’s self. I will not tell you what you should believe but be honest with yourself, William. Have you ever felt truly wanted within this group of yours? William the Bloody, part of the scourge, the youngest Master vampire that has ever been known and yet did you not always feel like you were lacking, as if there was some purpose that you had not yet fulfilled?” Fisi purred and there was no pity in her eyes as she spoke, it was the only thing that made Spike hold his tongue. “Think of this and when you return, I may tell you why I wanted you enough to sacrifice the life of my priest. After all Drusilla is not the only one with ability to gaze into the future.”

 

----------------------

 

Spike had expected that Darla would make a move but he hadn’t expected it to be so soon....he should have planned for all possibilities but he hadn’t and that was why, when he woke, he found himself chained to the bed, the unpleasant sensation of magic tingling where the cool metal of his bonds touched his skin.

 

“You might as well open your eyes, William. We both know you’re awake.” Darla purred from somewhere to his left and reluctantly Spike followed her order.

 

The blonde vampire was seated in the spot that Dru usually favored. Her blood red gown glittering in the light that sparked from the chandelier above her head as she watched him. There were three minions lingering at the back of the room and Spike let his eyes flicker over them before turning his attention back to Darla.

 

“If you wanted a go, all you had to do was ask, luv.” he teased, letting his lips curve into a smug smile.

 

Darla snorted, shaking her head as she rose to her feet. “I should have known that you would find some way to ruin my plans.”

 

“Don’t know what you’re talking about.” Spike retorted, yanking the chains and gritting his teeth as pain laced along his arms. It seemed that whatever spell Darla had had placed on the metal was created to discourage any attempts at escape. He would have been impressed if he wasn’t too busy picturing exactly what he was going to do to the bitch as soon as he managed to find a way out.

 

“I might have believed you.” Darla started, leaning closer so that she could trail her fingers along Spike’s bare chest, following the invisible line between his rib. “But you’d been asking all these pesky little questions and then there was the fact that you were sleeping. When was the last time you stayed still long enough to sleep for more than two hours at a time? And yet you expected me to remain unaware of the fact that something was going on? You disappoint me, William.”

 

“Can’t say I’ve ever wanted to live up to any of your standards.” Spike spat and Darla smirked, gesturing for one of the minions to come closer. Spike’s eye darted to the vampire as he handed Darla what looked like a simple knife and a vial of clear fluid. The moment Darla uncorked the vial Spike stiffened, the smell of holy water threading through the air around them and he watched as Darla poured the liquid on the knife’s blade.

 

“I never wanted you, you know?” Darla began conversationally, her eyes glued to the blade in her hands as she made sure that it was coated. “Dru had wanted to change you the second she saw you but what would I want with another childe? And then she had that vision, fragmented dreams of me losing Angelus and the only thing that would bring him back was the vampire who was too stupid to let go of his humanity, the one that clung to his soul like it was some perfect little trinket that would keep the monsters at bay, even after he became a monster himself.” she whispered as she turned and pressed the knife against Spike’s skin.

 

Spike couldn’t stop the hiss of pain that escaped him as the holy water burned through his skin nor could he stop the instinctive jerk of his body as it tried to recoil from the knife’s blade but he kept silent when Darla pressed the knife deeper. The sharp blade sliced through his skin easily, sending rivulets of blood trailing across his chest and the scent of burning flesh filled Spike’s nostrils but through it all he kept his eyes on Darla’s face, taking in her expression of glee.

 

Darla leaned forward, running her tongue through the blood pooling at his side and Spike’s fingers itched with the need to wring her fucking neck. “To me, you were always dispensable, William. But now you’ve taken something that belongs to me and I want it back....” she gritted out, digging the knife in with a flick of her wrist and a burst of supernatural strength. As the blade tore through muscles and flesh alike, Spike couldn’t stop the pained sound that clawed its way out his throat and Darla’s grin widened. “I know that you’re connected to the Old One. All you have to do is tell me how to bring that creature here.”

 

Spike snorted, licking his dry lips. “You really wanna know?” he croaked, forcing the words out as he ignored the pain sizzling in the wound where the holy water had managed to settle beneath his rapidly healing flesh. “Come closer.”

 

Darla eyed him suspiciously for a second before leaning in and Spike spat the goblet of blood that had come from his teeth ripping through his tongue, directly into her face. Darla snarled and the last thing Spike saw was her fist heading towards his face before darkness rushed in.

 

------------------------

 

When Spike opened his eyes, he instantly thought that his mind was trapped in a nightmare until he caught sight of Fisi at her usual spot, seated beneath the old tree. The land around them was barren except for the large sycamore and the ground was arid but not in the way that it had been before. The dirt was a dull grey and in certain places it gleamed black, like something had reached into the very earth and sucked every inch of vitality from the land. Overhead Spike could just make out the form of several vultures slowly circling the skies, seeking carrion where there was none.

 

“What’s happened here, then?” he asked, grateful that the wounds Darla had inflicted hadn’t followed him here as he rose to his feet and approached Fisi. There were only one hyena with her this time and the child within her arms was a hodge podge mix of human and cub.

 

“I created this place to give me somewhere to rest and to raise my children until they were ready to venture into your world. At times like these it reflects my emotions,” Fisi murmured, her eyes following the vultures as they swooped down only to take to the skies again when the remaining hyena lumbered to its feet. “When my children are gone, I will leave this plane behind and the next Old One will become the keeper of the cave. I have existed here for millennia, William and I am so tired.” she whispered and Spike could almost feel the emotion in her words, the bone-aching weariness that made each breath a struggle but the feeling slipped away as quickly as it had come and Spike found himself gasping for unneeded air. “Darla is not the first to try and draw me into the waking world.” she snorted like the idea itself was nothing short of funny, “None of them realize that the moment I cross the barrier I will bring the hell that I guard with me and while I would love to see them all suffer for an eternity, my children live in your world now and because of that I will protect it until the day I draw my last breath.”

 

“If you’re gonna kick the bucket then why am I here?” Spike asked and Fisi focused on him.

 

“My children are born from me, they are purely spirits until the moment they take a body within the waking world. That is why each time you come here, another of them have left. In your world they are known as primals....demonic spirits of the purest form but I was not always a demon. Once I was a human much like the ones you prey on. Circumstance and an intense hatred of my own kind transformed me into what you see before you and while I have managed to keep my ancestry from tainting my children, I failed and this little one....” she paused glancing down at the child in her arms, “...is the result. When it is passed into the world, unlike its brother and sisters it will be everything that I am. Male and female, human and demon. The journey across the worlds will rip these aspects apart and I will need someone to guide them back together.”

 

“So this boon of yours is for me to be a glorified governor?” Spike demanded and Fisi glared at him.

 

“My boon requires that you watch over my child when these two aspects reunite. I do not expect that you will devote your life to them but I am able to weave fate so that at the moment they reunite you will be drawn to the place where the child resides....” she explained as she stroked her finger across the patches of fur that dotted the babe’s human skin. “And in return, I will pass on the part of me that has made me what I am.”

 

“I ain’t exactly itching to be one of your kind,” Spike retorted, his eyes dropping to the cub, he couldn’t help the tug in his chest at the Old One’s words. She was trying with her last days to secure her child, clinging to that bond that existed between them much as William had tried to cling to the bond between him and his mother.

 

“You will still be the vampire that you are,” Fisi chuckled, “At the most all the seed will do when it is planted within your soul is make your immortality more assured, after all your kind does have an aversion to wooden stakes through the heart and the heat of the sun...”

 

Spike smirked, “Well, can’t really argue with that now can I?”

 

Fisi nodded, “There is the possibility that it might make your demon a bit more...feral. Though I do not see that as a problem at all, do you?”

 

“I’ve never had a problem with a bit of wildness before, luv and I don’t think I’m gonna start now.” Spike responded, lowering himself into a crouch before her and Fisi smiled at him. “But that don’t help the fact that my body is trapped with the queen bitch.”

 

Something dark flickered across Fisi’s face as she stared at him, “There are two options that lie before you William. I can try to pull Darla and your body onto this plain.....”

 

“I’m hearing a but in that.” Spike prodded and Fisi shrugged, beside her the hyena rose to its feet and as Spike watched the creature coughed, its breath forming a fug in front of its muzzle as its body shuddered. With each cough the hyena seemed to fade, more of its color bleeding into the small cloud that hung above its head, then with a final huff, the beast vanished and Fisi exhaled slowly in the silence.

 

“I’ve already fed most of my energy into my children to allow their passing, if I was to pull Darla through then I would hasten my own death.” Fisi whispered and Spike sighed.

 

“What’s the next option, then?”

 

Fisi’s eyes locked with his. “In letting you feed on my priest I have changed the path of time. In another timeline you would have fed on the gypsy clan and left this place. Darla would never have known of my existence and she would leave Angelus behind when she couldn’t force him to change into the creature she wanted. I have enough energy in me to reverse this timeline to the moment that the two paths diverged and everyone but you would forget what had happened here.”

 

“Everyone?” Spike frowned, because as far as he knew magic on that scale came with a price.

 

Fisi nodded. “Everyone...even my children until they are all reunited.” she admitted, glancing down at the child in her arms. “If I do this, it will require me to wipe myself from the timeline and only your memories and the seed that I will pass on to you will be proof that I ever existed.”

 

“Jesus Christ, woman!” Spike spat, running his fingers through his hair and sending the sharp strands spiking. “How do you know I won’t just take it and leave? I’m a demon, luv and you know as well as I do that our word don’t mean naught.”

 

Fisi smirked then, cocking her head to the side. “I made plans for that, William. It is not that I didn’t trust you...but I would not leave my children defenseless.” she explained.

 

“What did you do?” Spike asked, leaning forward.

 

“I have bound your soul to the soul of my little one, if you make any act to harm him or abandon your duty to him, the harm will return to you threefold.” Fisi responded, her lips pulled into a nasty smile that told Spike that she was deathly serious. “Your promise is all I need to activate the spell, simply say the word and I will send this one to be with his siblings and allow you to live your life as you would, had you not met me.”

 

“And how long is it gonna take before the runt finds a body?”

 

Fisi shrugged, “Certain aspects of my little one’s being are already fully grown and those that are not will be able to rest in the ether tethered to the body that it  takes until both sides are old enough to combine.”

 

“Hold up, you said that the cub is gonna be like you, right? So I’m gonna be saddled with a baby Old One. How the does that work?” Spike demanded and Fisi hummed beneath her breath.

 

“The child would not be an old One....completely.” she finally replied and Spike’s brow hiked.

 

“No need to be cutting your words, luv. I ain’t agreeing to a thing unless you tell me exactly what your precious little one is gonna be, out there in the real world.” he told her, his eyes glowing yellow as he met and held her gaze.

 

Fisi nodded in understanding as her eyes dropped to the child. Pressing her hand lightly against its chest, she allowed the appendage to move with each of the child’s breaths, then as Spike watched her hand sunk into the babe’s chest like it was little more than smoke, slipping through the crack of a wooden door. The child stirred but didn’t wake and Spike’s eyes widened as Fisi pulled her hand back. Something dark clung to her wrist and as she shifted the thing took shape, small teeth gleaming where it had sunk into her wrist. It was like the hyena was bleeding from the child, the patches of fur vanishing, leaving behind only fragile human skin and with one last pull Fisi hauled a small cub from the child’s chest.

 

The cub snorted as it lost its grip on the Fisi’s hand. Slowly it pushed itself up onto unsure legs that trembled for a second as they adjusted to the cub’s weight. The, now human, baby in Fisi’s arms rolled over and its tiny hand brushed against the cub’s fur prompting a full body shiver that left the cub’s fur standing on end.

 

“My child will be a sum of my better parts....” Fisi told Spike as she reached out and grasped the cub, lifting it so that she was eye level with the creature’s vivid green eyes. Exhaling slowly, she willed her energies to fill the small body as the child’s eyes flickered open, watching as the thick grey fog rose from its mother’s mouth, drifting into the cub’s nostrils and making the small body glow. The light surrounding the cub trailed across the empty space until it touched the child and the boy gasped, a small weak sound that quickly faded away as the child’s body twitched then began to shimmer much like the hyena from before had. Each breath the child drew was echoed by the cub and the light, surrounding the two, intensified until Spike was forced to look away. When he glanced back Fisi was slumped against the tree, staring down at her empty lap.

 

“Pray that you never know what it feels like to send your children away when all you truly wish is to cling to them.” Fisi whispered, her fingers flitting across the empty planes of her skirts. Sighing she raised her head and the empty look in her eyes made Spike’s demon twitch in agitation. “Come closer, William. If I am to give you the chance you need, this must be done quickly.” she murmured as she straightened.

 

Spike shuffled closer, frowning when Fisi raised her wrist to her lips but the confusion on his face quickly cleared when she bit into the tender flesh, the scent of her blood flooding the air around him and Spike’s demon roared to the fore. Bones crunched as his face shifted and Fisi lowered her hand, her lips curling into a blood-stained smile as she held out her arm. “Drink.” she ordered and Spike glanced at her face, hesitating for a minute as he took in the bleak expression there but in the blink of an eye any vulnerability Fisi was feeling vanished and Spike was forcedly reminded that Fisi was much more than what she appeared. “Do not think me weak, vampire. Drink now or I will not give you the chance to.” she growled.

 

“Wouldn’t think you were weak for a second, luv. That don’t mean I’m gonna just feed off ya, like some sort of bottom feeder.” Spike explained and Fisi’s smile gentled into an expression that Spike had seen on his own mother’s face time and time again when he tried to act older than he was. It was an expression of pride threaded through with amusement and it made Spike’s cheeks heat though he knew that he couldn’t blush anymore.

 

Fisi raised her uninjured arm and pressed it against the cool of his cheeks and Spike leaned into the touch as energy crackled beneath Fisi’s fingers sending the nerves in his cheek thrumming. “I could have chosen any demon with a soul. Any of them would have been grateful enough to care for my child in return for a immortality but you....” she paused, gathering her thoughts and Spike held himself completely still for fear of breaking the spell that had fallen over them. “....my little one, chose you, William and there is little that I would keep from my children but if there had been a single shred of doubt in my mind, I would have passed you over. Yet when I reached through the ether at your birth, I felt it. You have a soul that was strong enough to birth a being even stronger than a primal....”

 

Spike’s eyes widened at Fisi’s words but before he could speak she raised her wounded hand to his lips.

 

“I am unable to tell you all I should but I have scattered clues along the path that you will take all you have to do is look and you will find them.” she told him, her eyes soft. “Now, drink.” she whispered and this time Spike didn’t hesitate. His fangs sank into the healing wound, reopening it and letting blood pour into his mouth. His demon moaned as the scarlet ambrosia washed over his tongue....Fisi’s blood was like nothing he’d ever tasted. It crackled with the dark energy of her magic and something deeper, as old as time itself and Spike found himself spiraling down as he clung to her arm and drank. The sound of chanting, rose and fell around him but he could focus on nothing but the blood until darkness covered him like a warm blanket as the chants grew louder, like thunder before a storm. The air felt heavy on his skin and a sudden wind picked at his clothes but still he fed until something snapped and the world faded to grey.

 

------------------------

 

As Fisi’s spell wove itself through the timelines, it tore the world apart and like the eye of the storm Spike was the epicenter of the magic that raced through time itself. The spell was woven so deeply into his soul, as Fisi’s last breath gave it life, that he became magic itself and like Fisi the magic recognized that the creature before it was not a single being but two and the magic was curious like a child as it clawed at his skin with fingers made of fire, trying to dig deep enough to find the demon that was caged within his human body. Spike’s mouth opened on a soundless scream as the magic gripped his demon tight and ripped it from him, leaving it thrashing like a wild animal as it fought the bonds that held it secure. Spike had never thought of his demon as anything more than an expansion of himself but as he glanced at it now, snarling at the thing that kept it trapped he saw just how wrong he’d been.

 

They shared a face and a body but that was where any similarity ended. The demon’s face held a distinct feline like shape, the lines from his jaw to his nose were extended like a cat’s and the razor sharp teeth that were currently on display completed the feline look. As he stared the magic tugged at him and Spike found himself snarling at it as it reached within him again but this time, it simply latched onto something in his chest. There was a sharp tug and suddenly the demon went flying, its body dissolving to smoke as it impacted with Spike’s body and it was like the first time he’d awaken after Dru had turned him, everything was light and sound, too loud and too much in a way that made Spike want to claw off his own ears but then it was gone....the voice within his mind was silent in way it hadn’t been since he was human and as Spike exhaled he could feel his demon expand with him but it no longer felt like he was sharing his body with something else. Whatever the spell had done had reduced the demon to something controllable, a simple extension of Spike’s dark desires.

 

The thought was ripped away as images flashed before his eyes and it took him a mere second to realize that he was watching the passing of time itself.

 

One of the images flickered and Spike’s eyes were drawn to it, widening when he recognized himself on the bed where he’d last been before he’d been pulled back into Fisi’s world. Darla was straddling his body; her lips curved into a vicious smile as she held the knife with both hands and plunged it deep into his chest. The Spike on the bed thrashed, trying to buck her off and Spike gasped clutching at his own chest as pain burst to life beneath his skin. Other Spike turned at the sound, his eyes widening as they met his counterparts and then the timeline vanished and Spike watched as another image took its place. In this new image Spike was standing with his back to the village that they had just fed on, the blood of his victims clinging to his skin as the bloodlust calmed, a small sound made his head snap up only to watch as a hyena prowled from the darkness. The beast’s body seemed to be made of smoke and shadows and this timeline’s Spike crouched as the hyena stalked towards him, its lips pulled back into a snarl that Other Spike responded to with a low growl. The tableau held for a few seconds then the sounds of screams shattered the moment and the hyena leapt at the vampire before him, its body fading away on impact and the image darkened until there was nothing but blackness all around him, covering Spike’s body like a blanket as time ripped itself asunder and cast him away.

 

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“William are you listening to me?!”

 

Darla’s familiar annoying voice snapped Spike from his trance and he blinked as he focused on her, the angry expression on her face causing an instinctive smirk because if there was anything that he enjoyed in the world it was riling up Angelus’ Sire.

 

“Can’t say I was but you like the sound of your own voice enough to repeat it, don’t you, luv?” he smirked as the blonde’s face shifted, her demon flickering to the surface before she managed to smooth her expression into one of disdain.

 

“Don’t test me, you little bottom feeder. Angelus isn’t around anymore and I’d rather put a stake in you than look at you,” Darla hissed, taking a step closer and as the scent of her skin reached his nose, the cool smell of the herbs that had covered the caravans of the gypsies that they’d just slaughtered Spike found himself swaying on his feet as image after image slammed into his mind along with a single name...Fisi.

 

“My Spike sings with the old Gods now,” Dru crooned, her dark eyes flickering over Spike’s face and Spike held her gaze, making sure to keep his expression clear. “He won’t stay with us long, will you?” she asked and Spike lowered his head, capturing her wrist and brushing a kiss against the tender skin of his wrist even as he shivered when invisible hands pressed themselves against his cheeks and lips touched his forehead in a kiss that his Ma usually bestowed on him before she sent him off to bed, then the presence, Fisi, vanished and Spike’s heart thundered against his chest.

 

“I ain’t going anywhere, Dru,” he responded, finally focusing on his Sire but Dru’s eyes were dark and knowing and for a second Spike could see the Seer she was meant to be unclouded by the madness that Angelus had caused.

 

“The kitten will call you soon, when he finds the laughing one he will reach out and steal you away,” Dru responded as she pulled Spike close, ignoring Darla’s presence but Spike kept an eye on the blonde as she watched them curiously. “The stars sing your kitten’s name. He will love you so, my William....like I love Daddy and he will never let you go,” she whispered.

 

Darla wrinkled her nose at that and Spike hid the smirk that flitted across his face in Dru’s hair. It was no secret that while Angelus was Darla’s childe the vampire much preferred Dru’s company. It was a fact that drove Darla to murder, taking out her anger on innocent bystanders and Spike because she knew that Angelus wouldn’t let her harm Dru. It rankled Spike as well but for some reason even that familiar jealousy that usually churned in his gut, at the thought of Angelus and Dru together, was muted....like a painting that had been left in the rain too long, Spike could still feel the tendrils of envy curling around his mind but there was nothing for it to latch onto and the feeling quickly faded away as he inhaled the heavy scent of spice that he associated with his Sire.

 

“Touching as this sickening moment may be...” Darla started, pulling Spike’s attention back to her. “....the fact remains that we need to find a place to sleep, unless you would rather stand here and meet your final death,” the pleasure in her words made Spike itch to bare his teeth at her but the urge wasn’t a product of his demon’s ire anymore, it was all him. The spell seemed to have fused him and his demonic aspect together and Spike wasn’t sure if he was happy about that but after what Fisi had given him, he wasn’t about to spit in the face of her sacrifice simply because the boon’s reward had come with some additional parts.

 

Straightening, he curled an arm around Drusilla’s waist as she began to sing softly to Miss Edith. This was where the timelines split. The Spike from before had been so delirious, riding the wave of euphoria that came after a slaughter that he’d just accepted Darla’s advice but Spike knew that it would be mere days after this that Darla would vanish and get the information that had led them to the priest. This was where the change had to occur if Spike didn’t want to go through whatever Darla had planned.

 

“Nice of you to offer, luv but me and Dru, we figure its time we did a bit of traveling together,” he responded and Darla’s eyes narrowed, behind them the several minions that she’d created stirred restlessly. Spike cocked his head as he stared at her because if there was one thing he was good at, it was making Darla regret her own decisions. “Unless you can’t handle ‘Gelus by himself? I’m sure he’d love to see Dru,” he purred, watching as Darla’s whole body tensed, her eyes flickering to where Dru was smiling.

 

“My Daddy...” the broken Seer murmured and Spike could kiss her. Dru’s timing was always impeccable.

 

Darla’s lips pulled up into a small snarl. “Of course I can,” she spat, waving her hands at them before reaching down to straighten her dress. “You’re right, it’s probably time the two of you left for a while...after all absence does make the heart grow fonder.”

 

Spike snorted because there wasn’t enough time in the world to make him ever miss Darla.

 

“Well there you go then,” he replied. “You go sort out ‘Gelus and we’ll just hop across the pond for a bit....” Spike paused as he remembered Clem’s words. “I’ve been itching to see America and you can always send word when you’ve got things under control.”

 

Darla sniffed, already turning away. “Of course,” she shot over her shoulder as she marched off, her minions hurrying to catch up with her.

 

“So good at your pretty lies,” Dru murmured as Spike led her towards the pier. It would be easy enough to buy passage on one of the ships.

 

“What can I say? I’m a bad man,” Spike responded and Dru laughed as they headed into the shadows.