A/N: Thank you everyone for commenting! I’m sad (I think) to announce that this is going much longer than I expected. I had hoped to be able to finish this tonight. Well… we’ll see… I have 3 more hours… right? o.O (Most likely, check my lj for the rest of the story.)
And onto Part 3…
As soon as the door closes on Spike’s surprised face, Buffy – no Summer, she had to remember Summer – leans back against the door. Then she turns and peers out the little window next to the door. She catches sight of Spike’s back as he heads down the street.
Why is he here? She wonders to herself. He’s going to ruin everything. He’s going to ruin my new life. My normal life. I don’t want to keep running.
She steps away from the window and turns to trudge up the stairs to her flat.
“Spike, it’s been a long time. Last I heard you were in the States with that strange bird… eh… what’s ‘er name? Right… Drusilla. Strange one, that. What brings you back to Jolly Old England, and to my pub?” The barkeep is cordial, but wary. It may have been a long time since Spike had stepped foot in his pub, but he was still paying for the brawl he started because of that crazy vamp he went around with, that Drusilla bird. Absently, he rubs the scar on the side of his head where a horn used to be.
“Right you are, Drago. Too long. Me and Dru split in Brazil. Just didn’t work out… you know how it goes sometimes.”
“Split!” Drago interjects. His surprise is palpable. “But you’d been together for … what? Nearly 100 years… wot ‘appened?”
Spike bristles. He really doesn’t want to rehash the break up yet again, but he wants information and knows with Drago you have to shoot the breeze a bit before getting anywhere. So he relates the whole sordid story – chaos demon and all.
“Chaos demon was it? Right nasty fellows when riled, but gentle as puppy dogs otherwise. Still, better to break it off then, yeah?” Drago companionably polishes glasses while they talk. Spike finds it strangely soothing.
“Yeah… Listen, Drago, that’s not why I’m here. Seems the Slayer’s gone missing. I’ve tracked ‘er ‘ere to London, but … well… how do I put this? She’s different. She’s not herself. I need to talk to the Seer.”
Drago stops his polishing in mid-polish. “The Seer? Spike… are you sure? Her price is pretty steep.”
“Yeah… I’m sure. Something’s wrong with the Slayer. The Seer’s the only way I’ll suss this one out. Can you help? Point me in the right direction at least?”
“I can do better than that. She keeps a flat just upstairs, but, Spike, why do you care that something’s up with the Slayer? Don’t you slay Slayers? I heard you bagged two.”
Spike rubs the back of his neck. He really didn’t want to reveal his reason for wanting to know what’s up with the Slayer. Drago was right, after all. His raison d’être for the longest time was the taste of Slayer blood. If he didn’t come clean, though, Drago would know and might not let him see the Seer. “Gotta know, so I can getter outta m’system, like. Need the Slayer as the Slayer to do that, yeah?”
Drago takes a long look at Spike, then seems to come to a decision in his mind. “Yeah.” He puts down his rag and the glass he was polishing and gestures to Spike. “Follow me then. Just remember, the Seer’s price is steep and she don’t give refunds.”
Spike follows Drago, careful not to step on his long green tail. They climb a set of steep, narrow stairs. The walls seem to lean in the higher they go. All around him is the dank, musty smell of damp plaster. The odor of cooking onions wafts down to assault his senses. It combines with the dampness and the beer fragrance from the pub below to produce a scent that overpowers even the ripeness of the demon in front of him.
At the top of the stairs, Drago steps onto a landing and knocks on a battered red door. Spike joins him on the landing and tries to look innocuous. The door opens to an unseen hand and a reedy voice bids them to enter. They step in.
“Drago, my friend, who have you brought to me this night?” Spike can’t make out her features quite, but she appears tall and angular, almost spider-like.
“It’s Spike, Lady. He seeks information from you.” Drago shuffles uncertainly just inside the door. He’s is decidedly uncomfortable and barely lifts his head to meet the Seer’s gaze.
Spike has no such qualms. He meets the Seer’s steely gaze with defiance. She regards him steadily.
“Ah… the vampire. I have been waiting for you, vampire. The survival of the world hinges on your quest. Are you ready to be put to the test, though. Hmmm…. I wonder…”
Faster than he could blink she has his chin in a firm grip. Her fingers feel like talons digging into his jaw. Involuntarily, he flinches, but then steels himself and gazes directly into her eyes.
Odd eyes, he thinks. Can’t settle on a color… green… blue… purple… deep eyes… could get lost in those eyes. Not in a good way, though. Not like Buffy’s… bloody hell! Where’d that thought come from? ‘Sa Seer. Must be… doin’ somethin’ to m’brain… need to break free… need to…
As he thinks the last thought, he finds himself sitting in a chair in the Seer’s parlor. Drago is gone. He leaps from the chair as though waking from an unpleasant dream.
“’Ere! What did you do? Where’d Drago go?”
The Seer smiles enigmatically. “Drago returned to his pub. I have no need of him with you. I have looked into your mind, Spike. I have seen your intentions towards the Slayer. I have seen into your future, Spike, and know why you must help her, are bound to her destiny. Yes, Spike, I will help you. For a price, of course.”
Spike settles back into his chair. He’s in his comfort zone now. Haggling for a price. “Price… of course… so… what’s it to be, then? Magical orbs? Demon eggs?”
The Seer laughs. It’s a dry, raspy laugh like papers whirling in a wind. Her thin face almost lights up with her mirth. She wraps her gangly arms around her middle as though she’s been told the best of belly-busters. After a few seconds, she composes herself, wipes tears of laughter from her gaunt cheeks and brushes her wispy hair out of her eyes.
“Oh, thank you for that. It has been a while since I’ve heard such a marvelous jest. Oh, my.” She chuckles silently. Spike sees her thin shoulders shake. “But no, what I require is nothing so mundane as orbs or demon spawn or anything like that. I have those things as I will them. No, Spike, my price for the information I am about to give you is your soul.”
Spike smirks. “I think you’ve got the wrong vampire, pet. Angelus was the one with the soul, not me. And him… well… he’s in some hell dimension now, sent there by his little sweetie, the Slayer in question. So… what’s it, then? You need an orb don’t you?” He leans back in his chair, arms crossed, black duster just brushing the floor.
The Seer smiles again. Spike is starting to get a little creeped out by that smile. It’s empty. “You misunderstand, vampire. I don’t want you soul. What do I need a soul for? No… I want you to take your soul back.”
“Take my soul…? You have got to be out of your bleedin’ mind, Seer! Why would I go and do a poxy thing like that?”
“You want to know how to help the Slayer, you need your soul. The torment that will cause you will be payment enough. Ah, I do love torment that raw.”
Spike sits up in the chair. He examines the Seer’s face. She’s not kidding. She is that twisted. “What’s in it for you if I get my soul back, then? Does it hurt getting it back?”
The Seer smiles her smile. It’s vaguely sensual, now. “Oh, it hurts, but not in the way you think, not physically. First, there’s the shock of your awareness of your true essence being returned to you. And then, then there’s the beautiful torment that overcomes you as you start to remember all of the nasty, dirty little deeds you have accomplished in the last century. Every innocent you ruthlessly slaughtered. Every life you took. Every human you turned. Every foul deed, big and small. And if I am very, very lucky, you will descend into madness from the torment, the unrelenting remorse. And I will know and be satisfied that justice has been served.”
Up goes Spike’s scarred brow. “Justice? Why not just dust me, then? Or try to?”
“Ah, but that is not justice. That is extermination. There is no remorse. There is no repentance. Just … dust.”
“Hmmm… so, I get ‘ensouled’ and you get justice. So… when do I get my information? It’s why I came here, remember?”
“The knowledge you seek will come with your soul.”
Spike stands and paces around the room. The Seer follows his every move, watching him as closely as a cat watches a mouse hole. She knows his decision already, knew it from before he came to her door. She takes pleasure in watching for the moment when her client makes his final decision. Finally he comes to a stop before the open window. Sounds from the alley below float up to him – the scurrying of rats, the noise of a prostitute servicing a trick. He turns back to her.
“Fine. I accept your deal. What do I have to do?”
The Seer stands and crosses to Spike. “Simply stand there and let me give you what you desire.”
So saying, she lays her hands on him – one on his head, the other over his heart. She starts chanting and Spike sees the room start to glow. Then his back arches as he feels his soul filling in all of the empty places in his body. It burns, his soul. He feels as though he can’t contain it, it’s been gone for so long. And then he’s on the floor gasping. Memories start flooding in, parading through his mind. He gasps at the pain he caused in his past. He starts to relive his kills. And then she’s there in his mind. Buffy. She’s in trouble and he caused it. Somehow… he is filled with remorse. It wells up inside him.
“Buffy…!” he gasps. “I didn’t know. I… ah!”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/151074.html