All Roads Lead To Rome – Chapter 11 – Of Demons and Souls
Rupert Giles was the very picture of vexation. Ensconced in a small, private office, he tucked into yet another binder full of medical notes and observations pertaining to Spike. Page after page of meaningless equations and values. Hundreds of pages of seemingly trivial minutiae telling him absolutely nothing.
There was no record of what brought the demon back after his immolation in the Hellmouth, just that Spike popped into existence in the middle of Angel’s office, right out of the amulet. No record of what kind of spectral being he had become, just that it was unique and conformed to no known entity. A bloody enigma, thought Giles. Much like the vampire himself always was.
Never a run of the mill vampire, Spike was the scion of an elite vampire line – Aurelius. Demon descended in a direct line from The Master, thru Darla, thru Angelus, thru Drusilla. Whelped by three of the most infamous vampires in known history; vicious beyond measure, second only to Angelus by degree. William the Bloody had made his mark in the Watchers’ Journals as the Slayer of Slayers, having killed his first when he was a mere 20 years reborn.
As he had come to learn, Spike was approximately 150 years old, if one counted his actual age before turning, as well as his vampire years. He had an almost singular ability to adapt to the changing decades, familiarizing himself with the fads and inventions of the time. For a Victorian era gentleman, Spike was remarkably at home with television and inane soap operas as he was with Latin, Greek and literary classics.
Spike had cared for his insane Sire, Drusilla, for more than a hundred years; rather unheard of loyalty amongst vampire circles. His arrival in Sunnydale had specific purpose – to cure his Sire’s weakness, and to kill the Slayer. His Slayer. Buffy.
His migraine set off a flash of lights behind his eyes. Removing his glasses, Giles rested his head on his folded arms, and hoped for relief. Of course, his ‘squooshy frontal lobes’ to quote the demon uppermost on his mind, had other ideas. Spike on the brain, he thought as he sighed deeply.
The past four years flashed through his mind, rapidfire. Remembered Spike’s drunken appearance in Sunnydale after being dumped by Drusilla. He also remembered that Joyce had a strange empathetic reaction to the emotionally wrecked vampire. Imagine, sharing hot chocolate and conversation with a soulless demon, discussing his ‘love’ life. What was up with the Summers women and Spike? He knew for a fact that Joyce had not been swayed by Angel, but Spike… she fluttered around him like a mother hen. Could there be anything more disconcerting?
Then, there was the issue of the Initiative and Spike’s behavior modification chip. As a Slayer, it had been Buffy’s duty to stake the weakened vampire when he had the bollocks to show up at his own door, seeking shelter and mercy. She would never have a more opportune moment. Did she take advantage of the situation? No, of course not. She bade him play house, albeit chained in his loo.
Spike had continued to bedevil them all, making a deal with the Initiative’s cyborg, Adam to kill them all. Damned poor planning, should have known demons never keep their end of the bargains they make, and yet…
Giles rose from his chair and stretched, hoping to relieve the gathering tension in his aching muscles. Pacing around the room, he continued his ruminations.
More curious behavior patterns were noted with Spike. He had found he could fight other demons, with no reaction from his chip, and would indulge in his need for violence and mayhem by following Buffy around. And yes, he could admit to himself, that on more than one occasion, he had been helpful in keeping his charge alive for another night’s battles; didn’t mean he had to be happy over their ‘partnership.’
The rest of Spike’s involvement in everyone’s lives was mostly a jumble. The insertion of Dawn into their memories, Joyce’s illness, Spike’s developing crush on the Slayer, Glory’s reign of terror. Buffy’s ever increasing and unquestioning reliance on Spike to fight at her side and watch her back. The torture the vampire withstood at the hellgod’s hands without betraying Dawn’s key status. Frankly, that had amazed Giles at the time. Simply put, he was sure the vampire would have sold them all out to save his own selfish arse.
Yet… when Buffy gave her life to close the portal, an amazing thing happened. He remembered seeing a shattered vampire; so many broken bones he could scarcely crawl, so devastated over the death of a Slayer that he cried. No, more than cried, he downright sobbed uncontrollably. Remarkable for the fact that a soulless creature could feel the emotions of loss, much less express them.
He’d also expected Spike to move on after Buffy’s funeral. No more reason to stick around once the object of his obsession was dead. Yet, the vampire not only stayed on, but patrolled with them all summer, patrolled on his own, and actually babysat Dawn… able to reach her when all other efforts had failed. Most remarkable, indeed.
Giles recalled the demon, Sweet, summoned by Xander, and the circumstances leading to his return to England. There was so much he didn’t know from first hand experience; he’d had to rely on contact with the children, and that was rarely informative. Willow’s fall into the dark magicks after Tara’s demise precipitated his return to Sunnydale once again.
Pacing around the room in barely restrained anger, he startled to an odd noise. He was surprised to realize it was himself, growling softly. Realizing why, of course – remembering just exactly why it was that Spike was no longer around when he returned. What he had tried to do to Buffy. He shuddered at the thought of that evil thing raping his… Slayer? Daughter? Well, either way, Giles was incensed.
The anger passed as quickly as it had begun, as he remembered just exactly where Spike had gone directly as a result of his actions. To Africa… to seek out his soul. Due to the remorse and guilt and shame over that despicable act. That the demon felt revulsion over it’s own acts of violence towards the woman it… loved? Was it possible that the entirety of all things the Council held true about vampires faulty? That soulless demons had a conscience? That they could love? And why hadn’t he given serious thought to this before?
Such confusion… much of it centered around Spike. When Giles had returned to Sunnydale, had shown up at Buffy’s home with the potential Slayers, he’d learned that the demon had been killing and Siring, bypassing the chip implant, thanks to a trigger placed by the First. He hadn’t understood why the Slayer spent so much time and effort to rescue said vampire. Even one they’d known as long as Spike. Especially after what he had done… tried to do, before
To make things worse, Buffy had Spike’s chip removed. It had begun to misfire, and was causing immeasurable pain with no provocation, slowly destroying him, and she’d had it removed, not repaired. He had been livid at what he thought was her disastrous choice, made without consulting him at all. It was presented to him as a fait accompli. When he’d tried to call her on her irresponsible decision, Buffy had countered with “he has a soul now,” as if that justified everything.
Giles knew full well that having a soul was not a guarantee of anything. The evil that ensouled men do was well documented in history; in his own personal past. He didn’t trust a soul to restrain Spike, either. When the Prokaryote stone he’d brought back hadn’t yielded positive results, Giles had been all too eager to send Spike off to his doom when Robin Wood offered to ‘take care of the situation,’ while he kept Buffy distracted.
The result of all this, was the total loss of trust from Buffy, and her cleaving ever closer to the vampire.
Removing his glasses and rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand, Giles thought about the hell of those last days. How Buffy had emotionally closed down, avoided him almost completely, questioned his every move, especially those revolving around Spike. He remembered when the potentials and her friends and he, himself had insisted that she leave due to her recklessness in planning the attack against Caleb. The heartbreak in her eyes as she left her own home. The white hot anger when Spike found out about it. The righteous indignation of the demon as he called them all on their disloyalty to a woman who’d lost her life at least twice in defending them all.
They’d regrouped a few nights before the final battle, Spike had somehow managed to heal enough of the rift between Buffy and the rest for her to be willing to take the lead once more. Angel had come back, and given her an amulet; to be worn by a Champion with a soul, but more than human, in battle. She, in turn, had given the amulet to Spike, sending Angel back to Los Angeles.
They’d all fought hard on that awful day. Willow had worked a spell, turning all the potentials into active Slayers, many of whom had been lost. Anya fell, in defense of Andrew. And Spike? Buffy never went into detail about his part in averting the apocalypse. But she was well changed by his loss, and not for the better. It was like he’d taken something vital of her with him when he dusted.
Giles contemplated his options. He was unsettled over his most recent fallout with Buffy, once more over Spike. What other Watcher in history had his charge fall in love with not only one notorious vampire, but two? From the same line? Frustrated over and over by the vampires in his Slayer’s life, and isn’t that a thought he never thought he’d have, Giles knew he had to do something. The question was… what? And how?
His mind made up, he pulled out his cell phone and asked Buffy if she and Spike would be willing to meet with him once more. At her acquiescence, Giles headed over to the conference room, where Buffy, Spike and Xander waited.
Unbeta'd... to be fixed as soon as possible.