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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
"Shine down, don't take it away from me, no And I know you know how, yeah Shine down, just give me a chance to feel it It's taken forever to get me off the ground" Godsmack (Shine Down IV 2006)
Everything was too bright, and too cold. The sounds, smells, and sights made no sense. Spike didn’t recognize any of the blurry shapes around him. A low growl filled the room. It grew louder and stronger with each passing moment. Everything hurt, and he didn’t know how to react. Spike remembered dieing. He remembered the pain and heat that surrounded and filled his entire being. He remembered hearing the cavern explode around him, then nothing as he died. What came after he refused to think about.
Turning, Spike’s eyes landed on one figure he would recognize anywhere.
“What did you do to me?”
His anguished roar filled the spacious office making it feel cold and desolate. Spike tried to tackle his hated Grand sire. He would have made it, if not for the dizzy spell that washed over him. The world seemed to tilt around him and then suddenly stop. Everything went black and Spike crashed to the floor.
“He has a heart beat…”
“How did this happen…”
“Don’t care…take care of it…”
Opening his eyes, Spike stared into a pair of concerned brown eyes. The slight figure smiled warmly at him as her small hand gently helped ease him into an up right position. Spike’s vision had cleared since he’d passed out and he could see that he was in an expensive lab. The scent and feel of the place reminded him too much of the Initiative.
“Am I in hell?” Spike asked. He was completely confused. The room felt wrong. A sense of evil coated everything in the room, and even some of the people. On the other hand, the pretty brunette didn’t feel evil. Her warm smile and gentle hands eased some of his pain, and Spike felt he could trust her.
“I wish,” Angel muttered. The glare the girl sent his grand sire’s way stopped any further comment from being voiced.
“No sweetie,” a large green demon answered. His red eyes were kind and his voice soft. He placed a gentle hand on Spike’s shoulder and offered him a sympathetic smile. “You’re in L.A, though some people have made that mistake before.”
“How did I get here.” Spike looked from face to face seeking an answer. His head hurt and he was tired. Spike didn’t want to be here. He didn’t want to be anywhere. He was supposed to die and stay dead. There should have been no one who would care enough to try to resurrect him, so he’d been ready. Now he wasn’t dead, and he didn’t know why he was back.
“What do you remember about dieing?” asked a British man with dark hair. He was stiff and formal. Spike could see the label of Watcher written all over him. What he was doing with Angel, Spike had no clue.
“You mean do I remember the light shining out from my soul, my organs liquefying, and my eye boiling, as I burned up from the inside while saving the world? Nope, don’t remember a thing,” Spike grumbled. His headache had increase, the pressure behind his eyes reminding him of the feeling he’d get after his chip had finished firing. Only this pain didn’t seem to be going away.
“He saved the world?” the large black man asked, confused.
“He has a soul?” The tiny woman on his right had spoken.
“It didn’t seem important at the time.”
“It seems there was a lot that didn’t seem very important,” the Watcher scolded.
It seemed all was not hearts and flowers with Angel’s group. He’d withheld information from his people. Not surprisingly, Spike thought. The bastard not only had an inflated sense of his own worth, but he was also a control freak. It still puzzled Spike what anyone saw in the great oaf.
Suddenly the pain in his head became unbearable. Grabbing his head, he groaned as the agony increase. Eyes squeezed shut, images flashed before his eyes. Spike’s body jerked, knocking over equipment. He howled in pain. It felt like his head was going to crack open, and as the pressure increased, a part of Spike wished it would.
As quickly as it had started the intense pain stopped, leaving a throbbing ache in his head. Taking deep breaths, Spike tried to will the pain away as he tried to make sense of what was happening to him.
“Dear God. Did he just have a vision?” Wesley asked looking at the faces of his friends.
“Spike. Can you hear me?” Fred asked softly. When his eyes rose to hers, she continued. “What did you see?”
“No, no he didn’t. It‘s impossible.” Angel stated flatly.
“He has a soul. He died saving the world. He was brought back, incidentally right here in your office. Cordelia is in a coma, and we have no idea if she will ever regain consciousness. How is Spike having visions impossible Angel?” Wesley asked, waiting for Angel to try to refute his arguments.
“How about we let the poor bloke who just suffered through the damn thing answer the question?”
All eyes turned to Spike. With the exception of Fred and Lorne, the others had seemed to forget he was sitting in the room.
“Spike, honey, what did you see?” Lorne asked quietly, his hand now rubbing slow circles on Spike‘s back.
“Don’t rightly know. It was some room with a table of sorts in the center. Big fat guy was chanting over a dead body,” Spike recited, rubbing his still aching forehead. “This has never happened to me. Dru was the one with visions, not me.”
Reaching out, Fred took one of his hands into hers and gave it a gentle squeeze. Catching Lorne’s gaze the two of them came the same conclusion. There was something about the pain in Spike’s voice, and eyes, that called out to them. It now became their job to make sure he was all right.
“Magnus Hainsley,” Gunn answered. “He’s a necromancer. We recently abolished the practice of supplying some of our clients with fresh bodies.”
“Wait a minute! Hainsley? Clients? Where the bloody hell am I?” Spike asked feeling overwhelmed.
“Wolfram and Hart.”
The simple answer nearly caused Spike’s eyes to pop out of his head. It was all too much for him and he promptly passed out, again.
Spike looked out over the horizon. The city of Los Angelus seemed to go on forever. He could clearly see the tiny shapes of people, and their vehicles, as they scurried about their day. The office he was standing in was pompous and ornate. A large desk sat at one end of the room. Two black leather chairs sat facing the desk at an angel. A couch rested at the opposite end of the room. Weapons hung on the wall as decoration, or protection, depending on who was meeting in the office.
The whole building was like this, vast, pretentious, and isolating. Only the richest were represented, leaving the rest of the population to fend for itself. It made people feel like they were above the rest of the world, and the world should cater to their whims.
Spike hated the place. He couldn’t wait to get out and away from Wolfram and Hart. Spike simply didn’t care what anyone thought. Visions, or no visions, soul or no soul, Spike would never willingly work for an organization like Wolfram and Hart. His grand sire could burn in the place for all Spike cared.
Hearing the door open, Spike watched dispassionately while Angel and his crew walked into the office. They were discussing the case involving the necromancer. Angel and Wesley had taken care of the man the day before, and now they were conducting a meeting to wrap up the case. Much to Spike’s disgust, Eve followed as well.
The woman smelled off, and made Spike feel like his skin was trying to crawl away and hide. She kept talking about him as if he was some prized commodity. Ever since he’d been introduced to her, Eve kept badgering him to sign a contract. She wanted him to ‘formalize’ his relationship with the law firm. Spike had flatly refused. When she persisted, Spike promptly threatened to rip her head from her shoulders.
He did not answer to the Senior Partners, or anyone else for that matter. If he was back for good, the only thing he was taking orders from was his visions. It wasn‘t as if he could ignore them.
“Spike what are you doing in my office?” Angel growled.
That was another thing that pissed Spike off. It wasn’t as if he had asked to be brought back, nor did he ask to be brought back to Angel. If anyone had bothered to ask Spike, he would have told them he’d rather stay dead. Since he was back, all he wanted was a little consideration and respect.
“I asked him to meet me here,” Fred answered with a glare promptly shutting Angel up. Lorne simply shook his head in disappointment. It was sad, and completely lost on the two why the other three continued to treat Spike with loathing and distrust. In Fred and Lorne’s opinion, Spike was just as much a Champion as Angel was.
To Spike, Fred and Lorne were like a breath of fresh air. They didn’t know him, and yet, they’d accepted him with no questions asked. No one had ever treated Spike as if he actually mattered before. The Scoobies sure as hell had not.
They had made their disgust of him rather obvious. Towards the end of his time in Sunnydale, Buffy had been starting to respect him as her second in command. Other than that, he was treated as another convenient foot soldier, and someone to bow down to her wishes and needs.
It wasn’t like Buffy had ever thought of his wants or needs. A few kind words, and gestures, here and there, and good ole Spike fell right in line like a well-trained puppy. Spike may love her, but there was no way he would ever let her walk all over him again. He had died to save the world, and been brought back, just like she had been. Spike, in his heart and soul, knew without a doubt that he was no longer beneath her, or anyone else for that matter.
Walking over to Spike, Fred placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. She knew something was bothering him, and desperately wanted to help. Often Fred would catch him staring off into space, eyes filled with a look of despair. Spike seemed to be off in his own world during those times, and everything else would just disappear.
When she had questioned Lorne on the subject, he had told her that he could feel immense pain coming from Spike, and if he wanted to confide in them, he would. They just had to give him time. If they pushed him to open up, Spike would surely retreat into himself and they could not let that happen.
“Ready to leave in a few?” Fred asked. Scowling at the others, she quickly silenced their protest. There had been a huge fight when she’d invited Spike to stay with her until he’d gotten back onto his feet. She simply couldn’t believe the nerve they had in questioning her judgment.
“He can’t be trusted! You don’t know him like I do!”
“Well it’s obvious none of ya’ll know him. He has a soul now.”
“Fred he’s a vicious murder…”
“Like Angel was?”
“Fred, Angel didn’t have a soul then.”
“Neither did Spike.”
“How Charles? How is that different? Spike sought out his soul. He fought for it and won it back. It’s a reward for passing the trails not a curse that was forced on him.” A heavy silence greeted her words.
Giving the petite scientist a sad smile, Spike took a seat on the couch. He waited quietly for Fred to finish up with her meeting so they could leave. Silence filled the room, and the tension in the group rose. In a rather telling move Lorne sat on the couch next to him while Fred stood as close to him as possible. The room clearly divided, with a rather smug Eve standing in the middle.
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