|Artwork by||Scarlett Spike|
|Publication date||December 8, 2013|
|Genre||Supernatural, Angst, Romance|
| Preceded by|| Followed by|
|“||Something is happening to me, Damon, I'm changing.||”|
- The story takes place between S4 and S5 of The Vampire Diaries, apart from the obvious AU mentions in the story, there's other AU settings: Bonnie didn't die when resurrected Jeremy, Silas was successfully desiccated, and never caught Stefan in the box. The events of 1977 are based on the Btvs novel "Blackout".
- I do not own any rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel or The Vampire Diaries (TV series).
Mystic Falls, 2011
-Thank you, mate, -he replied half absently, and proceeded to pour some red liquid into his glass.
Damon nodded, drinking from his own glass of bourbon. He noticed his friend was more quiet than usual, but he knew Spike too well. The blond vampire wouldn't talk about what was bothering him even if Damon pressed on the matter. So Damon let him be.
Damon Salvatore and Spike have met over 30 years ago in New York City under extreme supernatural circumstances, that even today, Damon had a hard time understanding. A week after the stunt he had pulled on Lexi Branson, Damon had visited a witch in the Big Apple. She was supposed to enlighten him on how to release Katherine from the tomb, but instead he had ended up sucked into an interdimentional portal. Another plane of Earth, and Damon had been astonished. For once, vampires were slightly different, and the discovery of the various types of demons had left him even more perplexed. For him, demons had been just a myth from movies. But he didn't know any of this until he had tried to feed.
New York, 1977
-You are not gonna remember this, -he said softly, but to Damon's surprise, the woman squinted her eyes and smiled wickedly, interrupting his compulsion.
-Pretty boy, playing mind games with me, -she said in a soothing tone, then her voice turned menacing, -silly boy, my blood is useless to you.
Damon was taken by surprise, he was certainly not expecting this. Was she on vervain, he wondered. And before he could say anything, he heard a second voice, a man. British just like the chick.
-Drusilla? What's going on, pet? -the man's tone was half-menacing.
-You are a long way from home, you don't belong here, pretty boy, -she said sharply as her forefingers massaged her temple, eyes still squinting at him, -little soldier, bright bubble of light, out of place, far from home.
Hadn't he been a vampire, Damon would have been scared of her. She was creepy, but yet beautiful. He finally saw Spike, who stepped from the shadows. Another punk, like himself, but with spiked bleached blond hair, long black leather coat, and a serious attitude. Damon realized that this guy, in spite of being compact, was someone not to mess with. Which was exactly why Damon itched for a fight.
Damon raised his glass and smirked, -Perks of having a wealthy family back in the day and concealing my secret for almost 150 years, -he replied before drinking his bourbon at once.
Damon had been surprised when Spike showed up on his doorstep. Obviously the blond vampire went though something similar as what Damon went through back in 1977. And according to Spike, it had happened almost a year ago, and after some months of being here, he had been tracking Damon ever since he discovered that the vampires in this dimension matched Damon's kind.
-I'm surprised Drusilla is not with you, -Damon asked casually. He remember having felt jealous of Spike for having been with Dru for almost a century. Back then, he wanted nothing more than to be with Katherine. But that have ever since changed when Damon discovered that Katherine had never been in the tomb, and that she had never loved him. But that was the past. Now he was with Elena, and they were truly happy.
-Dru and I parted ways at the turn of the century, -Spike said calmly, then proceeded to drink his mix of blood and bourbon, and added, -things changed between us.
Damon couldn't help containing his shock, and he couldn't help noticing that Spike had changed, he certainly didn't look like the bloodthirsty animal he had met in NY, which is why he refrained from staking him on sight. During his time in Spike's dimension, he had learnt that vampires didn't have a humanity switch, they were pure predators. And Damon had witnessed first-hand that Spike was relentless, violent and evil. A marvelous killing machine. But since at that time he have had his own humanity off, he hadn't mind it at all, in fact, he had enjoyed it. But now things were different, He didn't want to put Elena, Jeremy and Bonnie at risk, but he could tell that it was as if Spike had humanity, or something of the sort. He decided he would keep a close eye on the blond vampire.
Damon noticed the sincerity behind the words. Spike proceeded to tell him the tale of how he got his soul back and what it meant; and Damon understood completely, it was similar as having his humanity switch on. Even better, this sort of 'switch' could not be turned off, so Damon and the rest would be safe. He hoped. He remembered, back then, when Spike had told him what Slayers were, and how Spike had been gloating over having killed his second one some days before meeting him.
Spike was still telling his story, when Bonnie and Jeremy arrived, and Damon stiffened, full on alert observing Spike's reaction towards the humans. Just in case, he thought. But Spike merely smiled and nodded his head in a greeting manner. Damon relaxed, and as it started to rain, lightnings striking in the sky, he asked Spike if he wanted to go inside the house. Spike didn't need an invitation, because the deed was still under Elena's name, so there was no magical barrier to stop any vampire from entering, so Damon was merely being polite. But Spike shook his head.
-I like storms, -he said staring into it, silently seeing images from the past, of one particular stormy night. He shook the memory away and added, -but later, sure, I could use a place to crash, mate.
-What do you mean? -Damon tilted his head inquiringly.
-About six months ago, I noticed that things that used to hurt me don't hurt me anymore. -Spike replied somberly.
-I guess, but I'm not fond of not knowing what the bloody hell is happening to me, I feel different, somehow, -the blond vampire replied.
-What about sunlight? -Damon asked.
Damon chuckled, and a part of him wanted to ask Bonnie to make a ring for Spike, but not just yet, not until he was absolutely sure Spike was no threat. He was fond of the blond vampire. He had been his buddy for two months back in NY, and although nobody could replace Ric, he certainly was itching to have a drinking buddy again, specially one that wasn't a teenager. He was happy that Jeremy was alive, but he hardly qualified for that position, and also Elena would never approve of Jer drinking like a sailor.
-What do you think it's happening? -Damon asked.
-Not a bleeding clue, mate, -Spike replied, letting out an emphatic, deep sigh.
Damon tilted his head, eyes narrowed, pondering an idea. -I'll be right back, -he said and went inside.
Spike listened to the rolling thunder, and lightning zigzagging in the sky. Ever since arriving in this dimension, the memories of a stormy night in 1986 kept creeping in. Without even realizing, for the last six months he had been thinking about the person whom he fought that night. And every day the thoughts became stronger, and Spike couldn't understand why. Sure he had been madly attracted to her, after all, she had been a Slayer, and he always had an obsession with them. Their battle had been brutal, still he had been aroused by her, by her moves, by the fire in her eyes, by her taunts, by how physically close they had been while fighting. Spike realized that if he had not been with Drusilla, he would have sired the Slayer and make her his. He had wanted to do it back them, but he never allowed himself to admit it, because of Dru. He had always been loyal to her. His thoughts got interrupted when he heard Damon coming back. He was carrying a purple plant inside a napkin, and noticed that Damon was avoiding any contact with it. Spike realized it was vervain, he remembered when someone had tried using it on him ten months ago and nothing had happened.
-No uh, that's bleeding impossible, mate, -Spike protested, pacing back and forth, his mind was racing, trying to grasp everything that was happening.
-Normally I'd agree, but I've seen my fair share of strange things, -Damon countered, shrugging, he didn't want to admit it, but it was definitely odd. He was still pondering the next course of action, when Elena interrupted his thoughts.
-Damon? What happened? -She asked, eyeing Spike warily. She didn't get the full scoop on who this guy was, or how he met Damon, but she knew he was a vampire. A different type of vampire. Not a hybrid, not an Original, but a complete different kind. Damon had promised to explain it later.
-Something is happening to Spike, and we cannot understand why. -Damon replied, and proceeded to explain to her what Spike had mentioned earlier, and the little experiment with the vervain. -We could ask Bonnie, maybe she can enlighten us, -he added.
-No, she can't, -Elena shook her head, and added, -at least not now.
-Fine, we'll have to wait for tomorrow, -Damon said, it definitely sounded like a plan. There wasn't much they could do regarding Spike's situation until Bonnie was available. Besides, he had other things in mind. He glanced at Elena and lifted an eyebrow sexily. She smiled in return, also raising her eyebrow, mirroring Damon.
Damon showed Spike into one of the many guest rooms the Boarding House had. Spike thanked the other vampire, and once he was gone, Spike lied down on the big bed, thinking, trying to understand whatever was happening to him. He felt different, he had been feeling different for months, but he thought he was just feeling homesick. He hated to even admit that to himself, but it was more than just feeling homesick, Spike could tell that. Not to mention, discovering that the previously harmless vervain could actually harm him now.
Spike was smoking, while still processing all the information; the storm outside growing in intensity. He got up and walked to one of the windows and silently stared into the distance and into the storm itself. Every thunder and every lightning triggering images and sounds. The sounds of a fight that now Spike wished it had been something else. Fighting that Slayer had been exhilarating and arousing, she had been a challenge Spike couldn't conquer. She had had the precise strikes of Xin Rong, sans the enchanted sword, the Slayer he offed in the 1900s during the Boxer Rebellion, and the raw brutality of Nikki Wood, the one he killed in 1977. But this one had also had something more: passion and ferocity, and an undeniable fire in her eyes. Spike remembered those green eyes, glaring at him with confidence and euphoria. She hadn't been afraid of him at all. Ultimately, she had severely injured him, and as much as Spike had wanted to push the pain away and keep fighting until victory, he had known it was too dangerous, so he had ran away. It had been in 1986, in Los Angeles, under a violent storm, yet Spike could remember her scent, and her name. Rose.
Spike shook his head in disbelief, trying to understand why he was thinking of a long-dead Slayer. He spotted a bottle of bourbon on the nightstand and raised an eyebrow in amusement. Thank you, mate, he thought. Damon had left it there, knowing that the blond vampire would need it. Spike poured himself some whisky and drank deep, then placed the glass on the nightstand, right next to the ashtray where he had just butted out his cigarette. He closed every curtain shut, so he wouldn't have to worry about sunlight in the morning, and once he undressed, he got in bed, hoping he could sleep. Spike had a feeling he would have trouble sleeping.
The next morning, or rather, noon, he woke up with the still fresh memories of his dream. He had dreamed of that fight, again. After freshening up, Spike cautiously emerged from the large bedroom, trying to avoid every shaft of sunlight that entered through the many windows in the large mansion.
-Bloody hell, could this place have even more bloody sunlight? -, he muttered to himself. When he reached the living room, he noticed there was a small gathering, and all four pairs of eyes instantly turned to him. Spike felt slightly uncomfortable.
Elena rose from the couch and approached Spike, -Hello, I believe we haven't been officially introduced, -she turned and threw a scolding glance at Damon, who merely shrugged. She continued, -my name is Elena, that's my brother Jeremy, and this is my friend Bonnie.
-What? Is there any problem? -Bonnie asked defensively.
Spike shook his head, -no, not at all. It just reminded me of someone I knew. A witch, as well, and an incredibly powerful one. Red could be frightening at times, -he replied, almost chuckling. He noticed curiosity in Bonnie's eyes.
-Red? -Bonnie couldn't hide her curiosity.
-Bird's a redhead, her name's Willow, but I like calling her Red, -Spike replied, not hiding the fondness in his tone. He missed Willow, last time he had heard from her it had been weeks before his arrival here.
-What happened to you? -Bonnie continued, -you burnt in sunlight, you died, how come you are still here?
-It's not important, -Spike replied, hoping they would let go. Spike didn't like to brag about that. Well, except when it came to Angel, they always used to compare their feats. And silently, he admitted he missed his grandsire, after all, Angel had been the only one to truly understand him, since he also had a soul, they both had been outcasts. Spike shook the thoughts.
Spike could feel both Damon's and Elena's piercing stare, they wanted to know what had happened. And after taking a deep breath, Spike briefly explained how he closed the Hellmouth. Damon was now sure that Spike wouldn't pose a threat at all, and felt relieved.
When Bonnie returned, she explained that Abbie told her that nature always finds a way of adjusting and balancing things. And since Spike was a mirror species of an already existing species, change was inevitable. Nature was shaping him slowly to the dogma of this plane.
-Two months, give or take, -Damon replied casually.
-That's why nothing happened to you, Spike's been here for a whole year, right? And he still hasn't fully changed. It takes time. A long time. -Bonnie explained, then she addressed Elena, -can we talk for a sec?
Elena nodded and both girls left the room. Spike poured some bourbon, and sat on the couch, staring absently into his glass. He didn't notice Damon leaving the room, so when he returned and tossed a blood bag at Spike, the blond vampire startled.
-Bloody hell, -Spike protested, then poured some blood in his glass.
-How come you didn't try to go back to your dimension? -asked Damon. He had been wondering this since yesterday.
-Don't think I didn't bleeding try. As you already know, I popped in the Mother Country, tried finding a witch to help me get some bloody answers, but I didn't even know where the hell to even look. Or who to trust. After a couple of months, I gave up looking there, so I sneaked in a cargo ship back to America. Bloody thing made port in Florida, of all places, and when I started noticing the changes, and saw the vampires, that's when I decided to come to Virginia, because I remembered you mentioned it, but I couldn't remember the name of this bloody town. Took me months to remember, and months to be get here. Unlike you, I was completely penniless, -Spike explained after drinking the blood.
-Mhm, -Damon was pensive, and added, -not that I'm trying to kick you out, but probably we could try New York again, visit the place where it happened to me.
-He can't, -Bonnie interrupted, she and Elena were just entering the room. Damon frowned, and Bonnie replied to the unspoken question, -because he's already changing. We don't know what could happen to him.
Spike's heart sank. He was stuck here, forever, by the looks of it.
Bonnie noticed Spike's grim expression and quickly added, – We could still try getting a second opinion, see if there's a way to revert it and find a way home. – She was almost positive there was nothing to do, but she needed to try anyways.
–I guess we have to go to New York, – Damon quickly added, a faint smile spreading on his face. He loved NYC.
Despite his mixed feelings, Spike was amused with Bonnie and how hard she was trying to help him, especially because she didn't know him at all. She now reminded him of Fred, and the thought of it pained him deeply. He shook the memory away and focused on the present; he shrugged and agreed to travel to New York.
–So how's this gonna work, mate? – Spike asked, – it's a long drive. You're gonna hide me under some blankets, or inside the trunk? 'Cause sunlight's gonna be a problem for me.
–I'll make you a daylight ring, – she said smiling.
Spike's mind was racing. He was going to be able to walk in the sunlight, which was even better than hiding behind a special glass, like he did in Wolfram & Hart.
Spike put the big ring on and stared at it before putting his hand in direct sunlight. It wasn't sizzling, it didn't hurt. Slowly, he started chuckling, hugged Bonnie and thanked her, then he ran outside and let the sun wash over him.
Damon nodded, – yes, he's basking in it, – he said before going outside.
–Fine by me, – Spike replied, – I would pack a bag, but unfortunately these are my only clothes, – he added.
–That's no problem, my friend, – Damon said with a grin, then added, – perfect chance to test what other things you can do.
–So this is how you get things, eh? – Spike asked amused.
After getting clothes for Spike, they went to the Grill for some drinks. Damon was looking for Matt before remembering he was still in Europe with Rebekah. He ordered a couple of whiskies, and they sat at the bar.
–If this goes south, what you gonna do? – Damon asked without hesitation.
–Haven't thought of it, to be honest. I guess I'll have to find a place to live, – Spike mused. Part of him thought about this scenario before, but he always tried pushing the thought away.
–I can teach you a few tricks for that too, but of course you'll need to be able to compel people, – Damon replied, then added, – anything else you notice different about yourself?
Spike thought for a moment before replying, – I don't think so, – he paused, staring into his glass, – although things seem to affect me more. I get angrier, or more uneasy. Not sure how to bloody explain it.
–So your emotions are heightened too. That's normal for us after turning, – Damon explained.
Damon noticed that Spike was too pensive, but decided not to ask about it. Instead, he tried to find out what other abilities Spike could be developing. – Ok, try focusing on hearing them, – he said, pointing at a couple at the other side of the Mystic Grill.
Spike focused with all his will, he certainly could not listen to them clearly, but indeed his hearing was slightly sharper. – It's like a tiny whisper. I can't understand a bloody thing.
–Well, at least is something, –Damon replied, and a moment later, his cell phone rang. It was Elena, telling him she, Bonnie and Jeremy were ready for the trip. Damon wasn't expecting Witchy and little Gilbert to tag along. He told Elena to make them change their minds, but she was on their side. After the call ended, he motioned Spike to go.
–So why are you two coming to NY? – Damon asked.
–Because I'm interested in this, besides, it's always nice to meet other witches, – Bonnie replied.
–And of course I'm going with her, – Jeremy added.
Spike sat comfortably in the back seat of the '69 Camaro, it was going to be an odd trip for several reasons. For once, traveling during daylight, and also, he was with a couple, so he would be the third wheel. He didn't like that, but then again, he could see how much Damon loved Elena and how happy they were, and in all fairness, Damon deserved it.
Next to Spike there was a container with a stash of blood bags, he grabbed one and drank. – Gotta love how easy is to get these, – he said, pointing at the bag.
–What was it like for you before arriving here? – Elena asked.
–Well, after getting the bloody chip in my head, and then getting my soul back, I spent a decade feeding off pig's blood. Blood bags are not easy to come by back there, – he explained.
–Chip? What the hell are you talking about? –Damon asked.
–The military were trying to control demons, experimenting on them and all, so they put a chip in my head to prevent me from hurting humans, so I had no bloody choice than to drink pig's blood. It got removed after I got my soul, – Spike explained.
Damon's mind clouded for a moment, but quickly pushed the painful memories away.
–Wait, how did you get pig's blood in the city? Were people breeding pigs and you… you know… fed off of them? – Elena asked confused.
–No, got it from the butcher's. Vet students buy pig's and cow's blood for their studies, so nobody suspects a bloody thing when you buy it, – Spike explained.
–Yes, he wouldn't have to chase rabbits in the woods anymore, – Elena added.
Damon, out of reflex, had been glancing at the rearview mirror whenever he was talking to Spike, or whenever the blond vampire was talking, only to see no reflection. But after they stopped for gas, the next time he glanced at the mirror, he saw a faint translucent image of Spike.
–Hm, buddy, you seem to be going through another change, – Damon said.
–What the hell are you talking about? – Spike asked.
Spike leaned forward until he saw his faint reflection, – son of a bitch! – He exclaimed. Spike had to admit it, he was liking the changes so far, and part of him didn't mind if he never made it back home. Here he was, with an old pal and his vampire girlfriend, people like him, who were good people and who definitely could be his friends. Not to mention, it was easier to hide being a vampire. Spike's thoughts got interrupted by Elena talking on the phone with Bonnie. He was amused at how both girls were helping him and making him feel welcome. While they had been at the gas station, Elena had told him that Damon lost his best friend a while ago and that it was nice to see him interacting with people outside of Elena's circle of friends. Especially with someone who could understand Damon; and Spike and Damon definitely got along fine.
–When was the last time you vamped out? – Damon asked.
–I don't remember, mate. Why you ask? – Spike said.
–Well, since you're changing, maybe that changed too. And since up until now, you had no way of checking in a mirror, maybe that changed too, – Damon explained.
Damon briefly glanced back, – Nope, no change, buddy, you're still bumpy and with yellow eyes, – he replied.
–I know, but it was worth the shot, – he said.
Damon and Elena were talking about some friend of hers; and Spike merely looked through the window, the sun already down. His mind, once again, was reeling with thoughts. Part of him wanted to go back, but then remembered that most of the people he had been fond of were dead: Wesley, Gunn, and of course, Fred. Angel's gang had been, in a year, a whole lot nicer to him than the 'Scooby' gang ever was, save for Willow, who had been nice most of the time. So pretty much there was nobody left: Lorne had left and covered his tracks pretty damn well, Illyria was gone too, and Angel left for Asia, in search for some inner peace in Tibet. Spike snapped out of it when he realized Damon was talking to him.
–Sounds good to me. I won't say no to some spicy Buffalo wings, – he replied.
They stopped at a grill in a small town and ordered food and beer.
–Hundred and thirty one years since I turned, was twenty-seven by then. – Spike replied.
–So, were you shot, or you had your neck snapped when it happened? – Jeremy asked, glancing briefly at Damon and suppressing a chuckle. Jeremy would always tease Damon regarding the infamous incident.
–What? No, that's not how it works, – Spike countered, and proceeded to tell in full detail how Drusilla sired him.
–I guess. The process of siring can be a very intimate moment. She saw something in me and she wanted me, so she took me. That's how we work, we take what we want. Or at least it is when you don't have a soul, – Spike explained.
–Dru and I were together for about hundred and twenty years. We traveled the world together, we caused mayhem together. Then I wasn't the man she wanted and she left me, – Spike replied.
Elena was beginning to ask what had happened, when Damon shook his head at her, silently telling her to drop that subject. Elena frowned and was going to ask anyways, when the waitress came with their orders and the subject of Spike's break up was dropped.
–Bloody hell, these are tasty, – Spike sounded not only delighted, but also surprised, – I don't remember food tasting this good, – he added.
Throughout the duration of dinner, the group told Spike some of the stuff that happened in Mystic Falls in the last couple of years, mostly to not make him feel out of place, and to give him a break of the incessant inquiries of both Bonnie and Elena. Not that Jeremy wasn't curious as well, but the girls wouldn't let him talk.
After finishing their food, they resumed the trip, and Elena decided to travel with Bonnie and Jer, mainly to give Damon some space to bond with Spike, but also to discuss some other issues with Bonnie. Elena had been worried for Damon since Stefan left to give the new couple some space, she knew he hadn't been entirely happy about she and Damon getting together. Elena understood Stefan's reaction, but still she thought it was wrong how he left Damon. Damon wouldn't admit it, but he had been hurt. First he lost Ric, then Stefan left, so naturally Elena saw a chance in Spike; he could be the type of friend her boyfriend needed. Bonnie had assured her, after her reading of Spike, that he was someone they could trust.
–I don't know, mate. It's all these bloody changes, I guess. – Spike replied, a slight edge of exasperation in his tone.
–I thought you liked seeing yourself in a mirror and not getting hurt by crucifixes, – Damon teased.
–You'll get used to it. Besides, there's always the option of turning it off if it's too much to handle, – Damon replied. He knew it could be problematic if Spike flipped the switch off, but sometimes there was no choice. He remembered when he did. He wondered if Spike had a switch now.
–It's not a matter of not handling it. I've already gone through the remorse phase a while ago. I can handle everything I've done. It's something else, – he protested. Damon frowned, and Spike continued, – I can't stop thinking about this bird I fought some decades ago, mate. Not only I can't stop thinking about her, but also I've been dreaming of her.
–Of a picnic in the bloody park, – Spike mocked.
Damon chuckled, – that bad, eh? Was she hot? – He asked.
–Yes, she was, but what was so appealing about her is that she had this mischievous look in her eyes that told you that she had such hunger for passion. And not just passion for battles, – a smug spread across Spike's face.
–Fiery, I see. Whatever happened to her? – Damon asked.
–After I fought her, I lost her trail, then when I was closing in on her again, she disappeared. And considering that I then heard another Slayer was called… – He didn't finish the sentence.
–Now you see why this is driving me bleeding mad? I have this bird stuck in my mind, and as much as I'd love to shag her brains out, there's nothing I can do about it, – Spike said as he lit a cigarette.
–Well, you could always fuck someone else and pretend it's her. There are plenty of girls in New York, – Damon added.
–Fine, you want strong, we could find another vampire. I know a couple of girls that have spunk, problem is, one is in Europe, and the other will probably shoot you down just because you are my friend, and she hates me, – Damon replied, and thought for a moment, and realized that Caroline probably wasn't Spike's type. She could be colossally controlling and prone to teen drama; Spike would definitely not like her.
Once they arrived in NYC, they checked in at a hotel, nothing too fancy, just a place to spend a couple of nights. Spike had a room all for himself, and the couples retreated to their respective rooms. Tomorrow the search for answers would start.
Damon was disappointed when he saw that there was no voodoo shop anymore; and the current owner didn't have any clue of to where the witch moved to, or if she even had descendants. Spike wasn't as appalled as one would imagine, but still he felt somewhat bummed. So now they'd have to either locate this witch –if she was still alive–, or find someone else who could enlighten them regarding Spike's changes.
Bonnie called Abby and asked her if she knew any witches in New York, or any close town for that matter. Meanwhile, Elena and Damon were having a brief stroll in Central Park, so that left Spike alone with Jeremy.
–What other supernatural creatures are in your world? –Jeremy asked, his hunter curiosity taking the better part of him.
–Impossible to list them all, mate. As you already figured there's vampires and witches. There's all sort of disgusting demons, you got them slimy, or with horns. And there's also werewolves and zombies, and things you'd never imagined. There's even an old demon god. –Spike explained.
–Werewolves? We got that too. What about hunters? –Jeremy inquired.
–Hunters? Well, of course there's bloody hunters, people hunt all the… Oh, you mean a demon hunter, –He replied, and Jeremy nodded. Spike continued, –they are called Slayers, and those birds are really tough.
–Birds? –Jeremy asked, confused.
–Yeah, Slayers are always girls. Quite mind-blowing to picture a 16-year-old girl beat the crap out of demons. Some vampires underestimate them; others wet their underwear at the sound of that word. Well, vampires don't piss, but you get what I mean, mate. –Spike explained, while remembering Xin, Nikki, Rose, and Buffy. He surely had fought of fair amount of them
–My mom gave me a small list of witches in the city, though it's possible they have no knowledge about portal magic. She says it's possible that we are dealing with dark magic. –She said gravely.
–No, no way, I don't want you anywhere near dark magic. Last time you used unknown magic, you almost died. –Jeremy protested.
–I'm not gonna practice any dark magic, I promise. I'm just trying to find answers. – She tried calming him down.
–Listen, pet, I don't want you risking your life for lil' old me, ok? –Spike added.
–Like I said, I'm not gonna do any dark magic. – Bonnie insisted.
–We have a list of witches that may know some answers. Nothing guaranteed, but it's a start. –Bonnie explained and gave a meaningful look to Jeremy, silently telling him to drop the subject. She could tell he was about to mention the dark magics again.
Damon was disappointed, none of the witches they visited knew squat about portal magics, only that it was dark and dangerous, and probably all true knowledge of it was lost, but at least they were able to learn a few things about Spike's metamorphosis, who now had a full mirror reflection.
–Beats bein' trapped in a hell dimension. Or being a ghost. –Spike replied, almost chuckling.
–Right there with you, –Jeremy added, and raised his glass, –Cheers to that, –he added. The group laughed for a bit before resuming their dinner.
–At least we know that your transformation is ramping up faster, and it will be complete in the next weeks, –Bonnie said while dipping some fries in ketchup.
–Well, mate, I'll feel much better once I can start compelling and running at super speed, –Spike said, while looking around the place. Something was off and he didn't know why. He had the feeling someone was watching him, but he dismissed the idea.
–How about we go to a disco or something and enjoy New York? –Elena suggested.
–Sorry, pet, I'm not one for loud places, unless it involves The Ramones or The Sex Pistols, –Spike replied.
–We could go to one of those bars that have music. I saw an Irish bar on our way here, –Jeremy suggested.
Spike was amused at the situation, at how well adjusted these people were, at how normal, considering their individual situations, they were. Every moment it passed he was more certain that he would like it here.
The bar was packed with people, and the music was okay to Spike's standards. Could be better, much better, but at least it wasn't anything he hated. Elena and Bonnie went to the small area that served as a dancing floor and were having fun by themselves. That left the three men sitting at a table. And once again, Spike felt he was being watched. Damon noticed he looked grim.
–What's wrong? –Damon asked.
–I can no longer sense other vampires, I was able to earlier, but not anymore, mate, –Spike explained, then added, –when we were eating, I felt I was being watched and I sensed a vampire. Now, I'm feeling it again, but cannot sense a bloody vampire, not even your girlfriend on the other side of the bar.
Jeremy didn't take it personally, and added –As a hunter, I can sense vampires, and there's a bunch here.
Spike scanned the crowd and his already cold blood went colder when he saw a familiar face staring back at him. A face full of fire that had been popping in his mind for the last months.
–It can't be, –He gasped.
–That redhead! –But when Spike looked again, there was nobody there, except for a man playing pool.
–Are you sure you saw her? –Damon asked.
–I'm bloody sure I did. She looked exactly as I remember her, only hotter and with more make-up, –Spike replied.
–Yeah, but this bird was staring at me, intently, –Spike insisted.
–Maybe she thought you were hot and wanted to pick you up and fuck you, –Damon added, grinning wide before downing his bourbon.
–Maybe you are right, or maybe I'm going basket case, –Spike said, somewhat worried.
The group was leaving the bar and heading back to their hotel, completely unaware that someone was hiding in the shadows, watching them. And once the group was out of sight, the figure emerged from the shadows.
–Hello, Spike, –the woman said, mostly to herself.
Elena, Bonnie and Jeremy went back to their hotel, while Damon and Spike decided to lurk around the city. Last time Damon had been in NY it had been when Elena turned off her humanity; and Damon had wanted to show her a good time; and last time Spike had been in here, it had been five years ago. The duo had been so deep in conversation about their misfortunes, including the story of Katherine and the infamous tomb lie, that they didn't realize they were standing on the same spot where they had met decades ago…
Damon straightened his jacket and punched this punk, but to his surprise Spike started laughing maniacally, instead of getting angry, before returning the blow. But to Damon's surprise, despite Spike being slightly less strong than he was, he was more agile and seemed to be trained in martial arts. The fight didn't last long because Drusilla stepped in, grabbing Damon by his left ear.
–That’s not very nice, –she said in that creepy tone, let Damon go, and continued, – we are all here for the same: fun and lots of blood.
Damon stared at her for a moment, then asked, –How did you know all those things about me? –
–Dru is… special, – Spike replied, – she can see things.
Damon rubbed his chin, –Hm, so she’s like a psychic? – He asked.
Drusilla smiled wide, – Don’t worry, pretty boy, you’ll return home.
Damon was intrigued, –How is it possible? Vampires can't have psychic powers, witches lose them if they are turned.
–Maybe in your world, but not in ours. Dracula wields gypsy powers, he can transform into bat and into smoke, –Drusilla replied sing-songly, with her eyes closed while caressing her neck and chest.
Spike rolled his eyes in annoyance, he hated it when she brought up his name.
Damon looked at them skeptically, –you’re joking, right? Dracula? – He asked, almost chuckling.
–Oh, I bloody wish she was. That bugger tried to make her his bride in the 1890s. And he still owes me money, –Spike replied, his expressions full of anger.
A couple of hours later, the trio were in a dark alley, feasting on blood and enjoying the muffled screams of their victims. Damon was certainly enjoying the company of these two.
–It surely changed over the years, – Spike said, almost to himself.
–Indeed, but it still is… –Damon replied, but before continuing, he noticed a slight movement out of the corner of his eye.
–Someone is following us, –Damon whispered, and then noticed the shadow super speeding away. –Vampire, – he said before speeding after their stalker.
Damon intercepted the vampire, grabbed them by the neck and pushed them against a wall. It was a young woman.
–Why are you following us? – He asked, but the woman merely stared at him. Damon squeezed harder, –tell me why are you following us or I’ll rip your heart out, – he insisted while his free hand turned into a fist, ready to strike at her chest.
–I was curious, –she replied, showing a slight hint of fear.
–Curious about what? And don’t get cryptic on me, I’ll still rip your heart out if you do, – Damon insisted.
–About how someone I knew from another place is here, –she replied, trying to break Damon’s grasp off her neck.
The woman nodded as she detached from the wall and moved away from Damon, who now could notice her red hair.
–Is it just your kitty cat curiosity, or you have a hidden agenda? – Damon asked, ready to throttle her again if needed. He continued, – So, you two had something and you followed him here?
–What? No! I was walking in that burger joint when I suddenly saw him, at first I thought it was someone who looked like him, but then I eavesdropped your conversation, then the brunette mentioned his name, and the conversation about witches and portals, so that pretty much confirmed it was the Spike I knew back in my dimension, –she explained.
Now Damon understood what she meant by “knowing someone from another place”, and put the final piece together.
–You were a Slayer, weren't you? – He concluded.
The woman opened her eyes in disbelief, –how do you know about Slayers? – She asked, alarmed.
Damon shook his head, –Long story, I’ll send you the podcast.
Spike was itching to know what was going on, Damon had rushed after their stalker a good while ago, and wasn't back yet. He didn't know whether to worry or what, and he was regretting not having gotten a cell phone when Damon told him to. Uh, why would I want a cell phone? Bloody useless... Good job, Spike , he mentally mocked himself.
He hated not being able to sense vampires, it was an advantage that had always helped him in the past. And now he felt exposed, vulnerable, and he didn't like it. But on the other hand, he was slowly gaining new abilities; only he wished they would finish manifesting already.
–Sorry, princess, I’m not going to tell you anything. I don’t trust you, –Damon told the woman.
–Why not? – She insisted, – I already told you, I’m just curious.
Damon didn't know what to do, surely Spike would be thrilled of seeing her, considering the dreams the blond vampire had been having; but Damon was not going to expose Spike. What if she was lying? What if she wanted to harm Spike, and worst of all, what if she ended up hurting Elena, Bonnie and Jeremy?
–You are stronger than me, you can easily kill me if I try anything, –she retorted.
Damon considered it, but first he needed to hear the story of how she was even here.
–I was beginning to think you left for the hotel to spend some alone time with the missus, mate, – Spike joked while smoking a cigarette.
–And? Did you get him? Did you kill him? – Spike asked, anxiety showing in his tone.
–Her. I caught her, and no I didn't kill her. – Damon explained the easy part, now to the hard one. –Remember how you were yapping about a redhead looking at you in the bar? Yeah, you were right.
Spike felt his jaw drop.
Damon gestured with his hand, –Step into the light, sunshine. And remember, you attempt any trick and I’ll… –he made a cutting motion with his forefinger over his neck, then pointed at her.
The girl stepped from the shadow, –It’s been a while, Spike, –she said evenly.
Spike was speechless, how was this possible? Of all the scenarios he had pictured when he heard she had disappeared, presumed dead, this was the last he imagined. And what it was even more mesmerizing was that she was the type of vampire he was turning into.
–You know what, how about we do this at a bar? In case you try anything, –Damon suggested.
She rolled her eyes at him, –I already told you, I don’t have any hidden agenda, – she insisted.
Once back at the bar, the two men sat at either side of her. Damon wanted to be close to her in case he needed to stop her from running away.
–I don’t know what to say, –Spike was finding it hard addressing her, considering he had tried killing her in the past, not to mention the fact that he had been dreaming and thinking about her for the last couple of months.
–Scarlett, – she replied dryly.
Spike frowned, –weren't you called Rose, pet? –He asked.
–Weren't you called William? –She retorted, raising an eyebrow at him. Spike didn't smile, though he really wanted to.
–Almost a year ago, I was in the Mother Country, minding my own business, when I heard some strange chanting in a back alley, went to take a look, next thing I know, I see this bloody brilliant light and suddenly I’m back in the Mother Country but there was something off about it. That’s about it, –Spike explained.
–How come you’re not murdering any innocents? –She blurted with a big, sarcastic smile on her face.
–I got ensouled about a decade ago, –Spike replied.
Damon could see she was surprised, as though she didn't know that was even possible. After Spike told her about Angel, she was even more surprised. Spike then proceeded to explain to her the changes he was going through; though Damon was not sure his friend should be giving such information to her. Damon was surprised when she told them what happened to her.
After getting a call from Elena, Damon motioned Spike to go. He could tell that Spike didn't want to, but he wasn't going to leave him here alone with a former Slayer who may or may not have a grudge against Spike, but then again, maybe Spike wanted to be alone with her.
–I may know someone who could know a thing or two about portal magics, –Scarlett told them, and then asked, –any way I can get in touch with you?
–So another vampire and a witch crossed over there in 1987, he healed her when some nasty demon injured her, said demon then killed her; then she completed the transition, and when the witch figured the way back here, she came along? –Elena asked incredulously.
–Pretty much, –Damon confirmed.
–Ok, but what I’m trying to grasp here is that the witch knew the required magic to go there and to come back, so that means that particular magic still exists, –Bonnie couldn't hide her excitement.
–But she never returned, –Elena pointed out, –she chose to stay here. Why?
After checking with the last witch in Bonnie's list and again hitting a dead end, Elena suggested they should get back to Mystic Falls. The group have been in New York for five days and school was about to start, and Elena didn't want her brother to miss it. Besides, she, Bonnie and Caroline would be starting college.
Spike didn't say anything, he was trying not to think, because the more he did, the more he wanted to go out and try to track her down. Then again, it would not work now that he couldn't sense vampires, or pick up a specific person’s scent. And while they were returning to the hotel to pack and check out, Spike felt slightly odd, and when he tried to quicken his pace, he suddenly super sped and hit a wall head on. The rest completely failed at not bursting into laughter.
–Hey! It’s not funny, –he frowned while wiping some of his own blood from his nose.
–Oh but it is, –Damon replied, completely amused about the incident.
The trip back to Mystic Falls was mostly a quiet one, except for Elena talking from time to time on the phone with Bonnie and Caroline. From what Damon could gather, Blondie was not happy with Elena’s and Bonnie's decision of staying in the boarding house instead of getting a dorm together in Whitmore College. Meanwhile, Spike was sitting in the back of the Camaro fidgeting with his new cell phone, and occasionally sighing in frustration.
–Yeah, mock the techno-challenged vampire, very funny, mate, –he replied, –the last cell phone I had was a StarTac.
–A what? – Elena asked.
–A pocket cell phone that only had buttons and a green quartz screen, – Damon replied.
After stopping for food on the road, Elena once again traveled with Bonnie and Jeremy. Damon had decided that Spike should stay in their home until he could find his friend a permanent place; and Elena knew exactly in what particular place Spike could live, but before taking any decision, she needed to consult with Jeremy. After all, Alaric left the loft to the Gilberts, not to Damon, and considering their home didn't exist anymore after she burned it to the ground, there was a possibility that Jeremy wanted to live in the loft at some point.
Once they were back in town, Damon made sure to re-stock their blood supply, now that Spike was temporary living in his house. Things would be easier once Spike developed the ability to compel, but so far that particular perk was a no-show.
–Who is that? – She asked curiously.
–Damon has a friend? A vampire friend? That can’t be good, – Caroline didn't hide her disapproval.
–Please, don’t start, – Elena quickly retorted.
–Fine, fine, – Caroline replied before the two of them headed for the kitchen.
Damon overheard the conversation and rolled his eyes, he was bringing some bourbon and blood.
–I see you met Caroline, – he told Spike while handing him one of the glasses.
–I barely took a glance, she reminded me of a girlfriend I had, –Spike replied frowning.
–Yeah, Harmony had a personality that made you crave for bloody nails screeching against a chalkboard, mate, –Spike shuddered.
–I get your point, –Damon replied.
The week had been somewhat smooth, and while Spike felt comfortable with living in his friend’s home, he really wanted to get a place of his own but that was going to take a while. According to Damon, he was still waiting for news, though Spike didn't know what his friend was talking about. Damon decided to not tell Spike about the possibility of getting Alaric’s loft, besides Damon had been clearly not amused at learning that Caroline decided to throw a party at the Salvatore residence as a celebration for their first successful week in college.
–Not happy about the shindig, are you? –Spike asked, clearly knowing the answer.
–Then why on bloody hell did you let them do the party here? –Spike wondered.
–Because I can keep an eye and compel them to feed if needed. –He replied.
–I’ll probably hide in my bloody room and listen to the Sex Pistols out loud, or go to that Grill you enjoy so much. Anything to not be in some party, –Spike murmured almost to himself, and Damon chuckled.
Their conversation was interrupted when Bonnie rushed into the living room.
–Guess who just called me with news regarding portal magics, –she said excitedly.
–Not much, she has some pages of a grimoire, she doesn't understand anything, so she’s coming to Mystic Falls to drop them tomorrow evening, –Bonnie replied.
–But tomorrow you girls have that party Caroline planned, –Damon noted.
–I know, but what was I going to tell her? “Please don’t come tomorrow, we have a party” and lose any chance at seeing those pages? –She retorted.
Spike pondered for a moment, Maybe I don’t have to hide in my room after all…