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Time is the Fire in Which we Burn - Chapter 1


Why didn't he come? Spike cowered in the school basement at each visitor who wasn't the one he needed: the one that would cover him with dark safety.

The others all came, some unreal, some apparently real, until they weren't. But he didn't come.



Spike rose from his huddled crouch and waited. He knew those footfalls; confusion clouded his mind as to their reality, but he did recognise them.

Dark hair came out of the gloom. A hand.

Spike reared back with a cry. Wrong! All wrong!


'Not you! No! Why you?'

'Because Buff asked me. Not of the free-will here, Spike.'

'Go away.'

'You need to get out of here.'

'I'm out of everywhere.'

Harris left.

The voices became worse after that, tormenting him, mocking his tears. They whispered of his siring, lies that confused him.... "He never wanted you... see the contempt he has for his childe."

It took a long time, but eventually Spike stopped listening for footsteps, stopped expecting him.

That was the beginning of his recovery.

He returned to his crypt.

All was the same, except that now he had a soul and nothing would ever be the same again.

Now he had to concentrate to be evil. He'd taken it so much for granted: that seductive voice that whispered inside him, giving him pleasure when he fed its ravenous need for others' pain and suffering.

Now the voice was loud and had to shout its demands, for there was another, whispering, crying with pity for his victims.

Like an actor, he strutted his evil on the Sunnydale stage, but his soul sat in the wings prompting him with other lines, different moves, weeping for his confusion.

So, he studied his role until, so perfect, he could ignore the sweet, kind, soulful voice. Then his demon truly roared, triumphant, crowing over the soul it had subdued.

Spike fed his demon voraciously, consuming all the evil he could. He stayed in his vampire form all the time. He cleared his crypt of any of the remaining humanising influences that he'd acquired to prove that he could be a more than the sum of his dead parts. He surrendered his unlifetime's desire to walk like a man and, for the first time, became the demon he had always had the potential to be.

Only then did his pain ease. Only then did he stop thinking about him. Only then could he stand, walk and talk without the despair of his endless abandonment overwhelming him.

What else had he been expected to do? He'd got his soul back, but still he hadn't wanted him.

If his soul wept with pity, if it forgave him each new excess, if it held sway over his sleeping hours, then Spike tore it apart and punished it when he was awake. Sometimes, the insanity was so painful he tipped his head back to the moon and howled like a primeval creature, but it did no good, and still the whispering continued.

The only thing that kept him clinging to the edges of sanity was the chip. Unable to exercise his demonic power over the living and souled, he was powerless to lose himself completely.

He still could not hurt humans, and although his soul wept with pity even for his demon victims, Spike felt God would not be angered by their destruction. But then God had not been impressed with his soul, sending no forgiveness, so Spike didn't really give a flying fuck what God thought about him - or what anyone else thought who had not come for him or not offered him the forgiveness he'd sought.

Everyone avoided him, scared of his demonic face, repulsed by his continual anger. He didn't care - they never had, so why should he? But the estrangement from the Sunnydale gang led to his only source of funds drying up. Lack of nicotine and alcohol just made him more demented, unable to sleep for the cravings in his reanimated body.

It was perfect timing for a Voltar demon to visit Sunnydale.

Spike smelt its arrival and grinned in delight. He stalked it for hours, relishing the stolen human blood in its scent. It had the form of a man. It took human blood but, unlike a vampire, it stored the blood, converting it slowly in its body to a more potent form. Spike had fed on one once. Going in, the Voltar's blood had seemed human. Once inside Spike, its true potency had kicked in. He'd been high for days - better than heroin and free.

Now, starved of human blood, gone cold turkey on all his addictions, his mouth watered with anticipation of that elixir. He followed the demon on its trail of death, stepping over the bodies of its victims, nuzzling into torn throats if any trace of blood remained, but the swollen blood bag in front always drew him on. It was his prize, and he feared losing it to another.

The demon grew bold and attacked a family coming out of a fast food restaurant - a mother, father and two, tiny, terrified children, cowering against a dumpster.

Spike grinned at their faces and waited to watch the slaughter, ignoring as usual the sound of begging and crying that always accompanied him these days.

The demon selected the youngest first: a little girl of about three, one pigtail loose, swirls of dark hair cascading down her back, a small ribbon fallen to the ground, unnoticed.

Spike edged closer so he could hear and enjoy her pain. He got careless though and kicked a trashcan in the alley. The demon heard him and turned, furious, sensing a rival for its prey. Spike slid into human form and saw, as he had intended, that this infuriated the demon even more - that it understood the vampire did not want its prey; it wanted him.

Spike frowned for a moment and decided enough was enough. He stepped out of the shadows. There was almost no contest, but he made something of it for the fun and the exercise: kicking, spinning, flipping up when floored, manic in his demonic energy and bloodlust. He dispatched the demon and was about to drag it further into the dark to feed on at his leisure, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He whipped around, defences up, wired from the fight.

The father clutched his sobbing daughter to him. Tears glistened on his pale face. 'Thank you. Oh, God, thank you.'


The man seemed puzzled. 'Thank you for saving my daughter - us. He might have….' He could go no further and turned his face into the little girl's shoulder.

Revolted by the gratitude, the whispering so loud he felt nauseous, Spike stumbled away. The man caught him up and pressed something into his hand.

'You're our saviour. This hardly… it's all I have on me. Thank you.'

Spike looked down. A hundred dollar bill. He looked up to say something, anything, but looked down when a grubby ribbon was added to his prize, small fingers prodding it into his reluctant fist.

He ran off, terrified, the blood prize suddenly forgotten.

That had been the start.

The following night a young woman approached him as he drank in the Bronze. She stood at his side until he turned with a sour look. 'Piss off. What?'

'You're him, aren't you?'

Spike was in no mood for anything but pain and death, and ignored her, turning back to his drink. One hundred dollars hadn't gone far, but he'd enjoyed its journey so far.

'My sister described you. Everyone said you came here. You… saved her last night.'

'I didn't save shit last night. I was hunting; they got in my way. Now, piss off.'

'I have a…. There's a…. Oh, God. A ghost. I'm being haunted.'

'I know the feeling… will you just sod off?'

'It's all I have. I sold my car.'

One by one, ten, one hundred dollar notes were laid in front of Spike.

'I'm sorry - it's all I could raise. Is it enough?'

Spike looked at the money and thought about the oblivion it represented - the release from pain, the subjugation of the sad, lonely voice inside - and picked it up. 'Yeah. This'll be just peachy.'

She sighed with relief and sat down.

'How are you going to do it?'


'The ghost?'

'Oh. Right.' Spike frowned. 'Dunno.' She frowned. He snatched the money. 'Only joshing ya. Let's go.'


'Your ghost particular as to his hours?'

She led the way to her apartment. He wandered around inside. 'Where is it then?'

She blushed. 'It usually comes when I… you know… sleep.'

Spike winced. 'Shit. This ain't one of those….' He made small groiny motions with his hips. She nodded dismally.

Spike tipped his head back in dismay. Bloody ghost probably had more experience of human girls than he did.

'Right. Well. You'd better get into bed. Look, this ain't something weird, is it? You ain't gonna… come onto me…. Okay. Probably not. Into bed then.'

She nodded nervously and did what he asked. Spike sat in the shadows, watching. The whispers were quiet for once, and as much as he enjoyed the peace, which allowed him to be utterly demonic without interruption, he wondered why they seemed content by his being here.

Eventually, at about three o'clock, sleep overtook the girl despite the novelty of being watched by a strange blond man. It only took a few moments after that, and the air over her bed began to ripple.

Spike's spine tingled as he watched. He rose cautiously, sensing that the demon sensed him. He leant on the wall nonchalantly and lit a cigarette. The demon came closer, corporeal form only evident when Spike looked at it slightly to one side.

He let a favourite fantasy drift into his mind, remembering long forgotten orgasms. High on the sexual energy Spike exuded, the demon entered him. Spike grinned and switched fantasies, trapping its consciousness in a sea of pain and torture. In his mind, Spike rode into the demon, plundering it, tearing it apart, feeding from it and only when it began to howl in fear and seek escape did he let it go, watching with amusement as it fled the room.

He grinned and smoked some more.

The following week when a group of nervous women approached him as he entered the Bronze, he made the connection. He mentally counted the change he had left from the thousand dollars, grinned and approached them. 'How much, and what is it?'

That one had not been so easy, but as he nursed his bruises and a broken wrist, walking slowly back through the warm night air, the five hundred dollars in his pocket made it seem a pretty fair exchange.


He cursed, debated slipping into game face, but couldn't summon the energy. 'Slayer.'

'What are you doing?'

Spike looked around. He looked down. 'Walking?'

'Funny. The demons, Spike. There seems to be a paucity of demons in Sunnydale recently… what? What are you laughing at?'


'It means….'

'I know what it means. I was just….' Spike suddenly remembered he was supposed to be evil and swung away, ending the conversation. Buffy wasn't so easily put off.

'I want to know what's going on.'

'Nothing. Nothing at all. I'm doing your job and getting well paid for it; 's all. You should try charging, Luv. Girl with your talents….'

She ignored the obvious implication of his small leer and after a moment said somewhat bitterly, 'I have a mission, Spike. You and Angel can afford to….'

'What did you just say?'

She took a step back, not at his words, but at the hiss of venom that accompanied them. Metaphorically standing her ground slightly better though, she rejoined deliberately, 'Souled demon saving the helpless? Come on, Spike; I'm thinking huge footsteps being followed in….' He pressed her into the side of a tomb and rather than throw him off as she always did, she looked into his eyes.

He nodded and smiled. 'Final showdown, Luv? Wanna really try and take me on? See… I always liked you. Liked it here…. Never wanted to rock the boat, ya know? Let you beat up on me. Let you shag me near to death. Let you fuck me off and ignore me. Hell, I even let you be friends with me. But now?' He laughed and let her go, brushing her shirt down gently. 'Now, I don't care. Not about you and, most importantly, not about me. So, let's get it on, shall we? Come on, Slayer; you know you saved the last dance for me.' He looked at her expression and laughed delightedly. 'Oh yeah. Thought I'd never see that look. You know you can't take me, don't you?'

Buffy stood straighter, her head slightly on one side. She opened her mouth as if to say something, but seemed to change her mind. When she eventually spoke, her voice was very soft. 'I'm so sorry.'

Spike jerked his head back. 'Oh, that's rich. Let's play twenty questions then, Pet. Sorry for what…? Hmm…? Is it a mammal?'

'What's happened to you, Spike?'

Spike backed away, his eyes flashing with suppressed emotion. 'I went to the ends of the earth and back again, Slayer, and do you know what I found?' He leant back in conspiratorially. 'They aren't footsteps, Buffy. They're just huge fucking holes in the ground, and I fell in one, and now I'm lost. So, you gonna fight me? Cus I changed my mind, Luv: fighting you is just so much better than fucking….'

She didn't wait around to fight him after the punch but left him on the ground, laughing at her.

He needed release. He felt everything bubbling up inside. He felt nothing and needed something to fill the vast emptiness. He didn't know what he felt, and in the confusion, the whispers were worse. He swung off toward a demon hangout he used to frequent. Utterly ignoring the hisses and growls of antipathy at his presence, he spent some more of his recently acquired riches, making a show of peeling a note off the large wad, turning nonchalantly, advertising what he had.

Even then, he was ignored, the few females in the place being held back by the tangible hatred his fellow demons felt for him. Spike wondered if they could smell his soul.

He turned back to the bar as if he didn't care and began to drink the whisky. It was a release of sorts. Before he'd finished the first bottle, he felt a presence at his side and glanced over to find a man watching him. He turned back to the bottle. The man came closer. Spike growled faintly and murmured, 'Fuck off now, while you can still walk.'

'You came here for someone. I'm someone.'

Spike looked up, incredulous, down at his own body then back up. 'Do I look like a friggin' poof? Jeez, fuck off, faggot.'

The man came closer. 'Sorry, my mistake.'

Spike reared back as the creature turned seamlessly into a young woman: beautiful and infinitely desirable.

'Huh. Now, that's new.'

She smiled. 'Not all that new, I'm afraid. Like you. But new isn't always good, is it? But if that's what you'd prefer….'

Spike clenched his glass slightly tighter as the women lost about ten years and appeared in front of him as a small child of about eight. 'This more to your liking?'

'If you do Alsatians, we've got a date.' The child smiled and slid back to a less noticeable form. Spike eyed the young woman with interest. 'You know who I am?'

'You're the killer of our kind.'

'And you still wanna get this thing on?'

'I need the money.'

Spike jerked his head back. 'You want paying?'

'You think you're going to get it for free?'

'If I was gonna pay for it, I'd get something that hadn't been rejected from a circus for being too freakish!'

'And there speaks the vampire with the soul and a chip in his head.'

Spike almost smiled. 'You remind me of someone.'

'You seem pretty unique. So, it's fifty, and I'll give you a night you'll never forget.'

'Vaunting boasts! You sure you weren't at the crucifixion as well?'

She grinned and leant in close. 'Why'd ya think they couldn't find 'im afterwards?'

Spike chuckled. 'Okay. Let's go.'

They walked without speaking through the back allies of the town and into the cemetery. Still silent, they went down the ladder to the lower regions. She reeled back slightly. 'Fuck, what happened here?'

Spike looked around; he hardly noticed the damage anymore. 'Explosion.'

'Huh. Good technique then.'

He chuckled. 'Let's find out, shall we?'

It was dark, and he didn't bother to light candles, not too sure he wanted to see her face anyway. He pushed her against the wall and tasted her lips. With his eyes closed, it was something. She was warm and smelt human, and if he concentrated hard enough on that, his arousal came relatively naturally. He slid a hand into her shirt and cupped one large breast appreciatively, then bent his face and fastened onto the nipple, moaning slightly at the charge this sent to his balls. She ran soft fingers through his hair and guided his other hand to the waistband of her jeans. He slipped his hand in and caressed her for a while, pressing onto her pubic bone until she bit his ear with desire.

Spike dragged her over to corner he used as a bed and laid her on the old blanket. She lifted her hips to be stripped, and he ripped the jeans off, desperate now just to orgasm and get rid of the pressure in his balls.

'It's fifty.'

'Bleeding fuck, what?'

'Now. You pay first.'

'Oh, sodding hell!' Furious, he climbed off and went to the remains of his bed where he stuffed the money. He pulled out some notes, counted them and turned back, unbuckling his belt. 'Right. Oh! Fuck!'

The young man stared back at him, naked from the waist down, a large, eager erection bouncing on his stomach.

Spike swallowed deeply. 'Change back.'


'Cus I told you, I'm not….'

'You're a demon; live a little.'

'I live a lot, but I'm not…. Stop it. Don't do that….' He watched as the boy eased a small drop of precum off the tip of his erection and brought it to his lips.

'It's better for me like this.'

'For fifty dollars, I don't give a shit about your pleasure; change back.'

'Consider this one a freebie then. Now, come here.' The boy stretched with centuries of knowledge of seduction in his eyes and rolled onto his belly, watching Spike with ancient, amused eyes from folded arms.

Spike knew he was being seduced by the look and suddenly grinned. 'God hates poofs, doesn't he?'

The demon frowned, clearly annoyed by the question.

Spike came forward, swaggering slightly. 'Oh, yeah, and he's gonna hate this, too. Repressed fucking homo.'


Spike knelt alongside the creature and unzipped himself. He tipped his head on one side as if listening to something inside. 'Huh, it's pissed as well. Says I'm gonna be damned to hell for it: perversions an' all that. Scream you fucker, scream!'

The demon began to turn back over nervously. Spike looked down. 'Relax, I'm not talking to you. Just lie still. I wanna get damned in you. I'm gonna fuck you 'til I'm in so deep there's no light at all.'

He didn't think too much about the smooth backside he parted. He didn't think about the slim thighs or the hardness of the male body. He just took his erection and began to press it in.

'Oh yeah. This is great. Thought there was nothing left I could do to piss him off.' He sighed faintly when he was fully in. 'I'm seeing the attraction of this now. You gonna moan or something?'

'You move, and I might.'

Spike laughed. ''K then.'

He stabbed his hips forward and was rewarded by a faint sound from the demon. 'Like that?' The creature nodded. Spike began to thrust in and out, enjoying the tightness, ignoring the boy's moans now he had them. He closed his eyes and let his mind wander. He thrust into Dru for a while and enjoyed her mad reciprocation. He even thought about Harmony, more appreciative now of her devotion to him. He fucked Buffy for some time, aware that his hands were tearing at the demon's back at these memories.

He felt a swelling and rushing from his balls. He opened his eyes and lifted the boy's leg a little to get deeper for release. His hand slid slightly on the smooth, hard thigh, and he looked down, frowning. He caressed the smooth skin. He looked up and watched his shaft sliding in and out of….

Wildly, Spike's eyes raked across the body: flexing muscles, defined shoulders, strong hands tearing into the blanket. He shuddered with surprised pleasure, and a huge orgasm hit him. He cried out for the first time in four lifetimes of ejaculations and came viciously and almost painfully into the demon's rectum.

He couldn't stop the flooding release. He rode the hard backside, still crying out his intense pleasure.

When he finally collapsed to one side, he could not believe that he was panting and tried to stop. The boy rolled over onto his back and looked at Spike. He laughed. 'So, like, not a poof?'

Spike looked back, not at all disconcerted. He stretched nonchalantly. 'Should have gone for the Alsatian. Might 'ave been more fun.'

'From where I was, seems you enjoyed it enough.'

'Take your money and fuck off to your own little hellhole.'

'I told you this was a freebie.'

'Take it. Be demeaned like the rest of us. Just piss off, yeah? I've got some crying to listen to.'

Picking up the notes and pulling up his jeans, the demon frowned. 'I don't hear nothing.'

'You wouldn't. God don't love you.'

The experience threw Spike more than he had anticipated. It was as profound as his first sexual act with Drusilla, changing his perception of himself somewhat. He didn't deny that he'd enjoyed it. He didn't deny that he'd do it again. He felt strong, as if he'd stepped over a line that he'd feared to cross. He desperately wanted someone to be disgusted with him. He wanted to laugh in someone's face and do it again - keeping the knowledge to himself was intensely frustrating.

When a young man came shyly over to him that evening in the Bronze, Spike misunderstood the approach for a moment. He laughed at his own disappointment when the human began to outline his demon problem. Spike took the job and enjoyed killing the demons, but he didn't find as much satisfaction in the handing over of the money as he usually did and stuffed it into his pocket without too much thought.

When he returned to his crypt, he was aware of a presence long before he saw the woman standing in a beam of moonlight. He shut the door cautiously. 'That you?'


'The Alsatian.'

'I've never been called a dog before… actually, I have. But no, we've never met.'

'Huh. 'K then. In that case, piss off.'

'I've a job. I hear you're the one for it.'

'Oh.' He glanced around his crypt briefly. 'You know I'm a…?'

'I know all about you.'

Spike grinned, thinking of the previous night. 'I doubt that. What's the job?'

'I need a demon captured.'


'Yes. You'll be paid half now and half when it's in our hands.'

'Why me?'

'It's proved hard to… pin down.'

''K then. Let's go.'

'It's not here.'

'Come on, lady, you want the job done? Hand over some readies and make with the talk.'

'I'll do better than that.' She stepped out of the light and came toward him. He watched her approach, impressed despite his better intentions. She handed him an envelope. 'There are pictures and a character study: times, places - things you'll find useful.'

Spike took the envelope, opening it as he spoke. 'Seems you've got this all covered. Why me…?' He looked at the photo in his hands for a long while then up at the woman. He did not miss the smirk that whipped off her face.

'See? I told you we know all about you.'

Spike pouted and looked down again. 'Captured.'



'Do you care?'


'There you are then. Five thousand now, and five when the job's done.'

Spike looked up into her eyes but could connect with nothing there. He shivered slightly as he watched her laying another envelope on top of a tomb. 'Is it a deal?'

He nodded.

'Good. There's a cellphone in there. One number. Leave a message - where and when - and we'll be there to collect. Do you need anything else?'

Spike laughed inwardly and wondered where to begin. Outwardly, he shook his head and said, 'It won't take long. Have the rest of my fee ready.' He watched her leave and, only then, laid the picture of Angel down on the tomb.


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