Title: William the Bloody: Prince of Thieves, Chapter 1
Setting: AU Season 4
Word Count: 2438
Author’s Note: Thank you to CubbieGirl1723 & Kanotari for beta-reading. This is 1st chapter of maybe 10ish? More will be posted during free-for-all days later in the month. Also, Happy Birthday to me. Decided to choose my own birthday, lol
Summary: Spike, Robin Wood, and their merry band of friends travel to California to rescue a mage. Faced with the Sunnydale Slayer and the Initiative, what are five vigilantes to do?
Spike rolled over the ‘Welcome to Sunnydale’ sign in his DeSoto, savoring the wooden crunch as it fell to the ground. His car skidded to a stop, passengers grunting as their momentum carried them forward until the seat belts locked. He felt the bones shifting in him as he transformed into his vampire face, smirking through the aftermath.
“Did you have to be so rough, Blondie?” his passenger riding shotgun grunted, rubbing at her stomach.
“Where’s your sense of adventure, Slayer? You’re new to the team, so I’ll cut you some slack, but around these parts, we take chances. Car crashes are small fry, ducks,” Spike told her, grinning through his fangs.
“Spike’s quite right, Faith,” Wes offered from the backseat, wheezing in light pain. “Though, honestly, if you could give me some warning next time, that would be much appreciated.”
Scooping up his zippo, Spike brought a cigarette to his lips and lit it, inhaling the smoke. With his lungs nonfunctional, he simply enjoyed the flavor for what it was. The addiction was secondary. “Wes, quit being a ponce. You’ve been with me for the better part of a year, mate. An’ we’ve been like this the entire time.”
“Yes, well… I’d still appreciate some warning.”
Spike got out of the car, admiring his handiwork. The bright yellow and orange sign lay ripped in half at his feet. It’d sounded like a right spot of fun as he barrelled into town. As soon as the sign entered his line of sight, he’d stepped on the gas, uncaring of the potential danger. “Get over it, Wes,” he said, covering the smoking end with his hand to keep the cool California wind from dampening the flame.
“What’s next, Spike?”
Spike turned toward the voice, finally checking on the two more men in the backseat with the Watcher. He ran his eyes up and down Robin – though Spike never called him anything but Wood – who appeared to be no worse for wear, then scanned Dalton for any serious vampire injuries. Finding none, he answered the question. “We find this Rayne character, get him out of the Initiative’s control, and stop this bloody farce in its tracks.”
Robin nodded. “Any idea where to start?”
“Not a clue. Rayne contacted us from a hotel room, telling us he was about to be captured, right? Good thing we’d just picked up the Slayer in L.A. or this would’ve been a fucking nightmare of a job,” Spike said. The thought gave him a damned headache. He’d spent so long fighting this damned grey-hat fight that he’d have come no matter what, but already being in the right part of the stupid country helped that out.
“I printed out a map before we left,” Dalton offered helpfully, waving the thin piece of paper around. “There are three hotels that I see here; perhaps we could find some evidence in one of them that leads us to where this Initiative is. Rayne did not know, correct?”
“Right,” Spike confirmed. “We have to be careful though. The old man did warn me there’s another Slayer in town, an’ she’s might not be keen on helpin’ us. Rayne said she’s of the opinion the only good demon’s a dead demon.” He looked around at his ragtag group of friends. “Two of us are vamps and Faith’s not likely to receive a warm welcome.”
“I was supposed to come here after Kakistos murdered my Watcher, actually, but I ran into trouble along the way. Ended up killing that guy and, well, y’all know the rest already,” Faith said.
Yeah, Spike did. She’d gone off the deep end for a while, then turned herself into the police eventually, lost and in need of a purpose. He’d been in a similar state, decades ago, after his dark princess was dusted, so he knew what that shit was like. Offering Faith a place on his grey-hat justice brigade was the least he could do.
“Let’s get going,” Wood said, throwing his bag over his shoulder.
Spike wasn’t about to leave his baby in the middle of the road. “Let me just stash the car somewhere. Where does everyone want to stay?”
“Map says there are some motels a few blocks away,” Dalton put in, adjusting his glasses so he could read the words better. “Downtown Motels and Apartments. I’ll come with you and we can grab three rooms there.”
“Nah, we don’t need three,” Faith said. “I’ll just bunk in one of your rooms. Saves dosh.”
“We still need three, since Rayne’s going to be joinin’ us,” Spike pointed out. “You an’ Wood can room together. Shag that tension out of your bodies, yeah?” Wood grimaced, and glared at him, but Faith simply smirked. Spike continued, “I’ll room with Rayne, and Wes with Dalton. That work for everyone?” After receiving a series of nods, he turned to Dalton. “Let’s go, mate. We need to do recon tonight.”
Spike climbed back into the driver’s seat, starting the car up. Before Dalton could even buckle up, he peeled back onto the road, mindlessly following the directions to the motel. The parking lot was small, which suited Spike just fine. Everywhere they went, he liked to blend in rather than muck up a storm. The fewer people noticing a vintage DeSoto stationed outside the motel, the better.
He went in by himself to pay for the three rooms. Oftentimes, they might rob people before turning them in, but Spike had decided decades ago they’d treat anyone trying to make an honest living the right way. He forked over the necessary money, thanked the concierge, took the six key cards, and went back to the car, where Dalton was busy studying the map, leaning against the passenger door.
“I think we should start with finding the Slayer, Spike. We should be able to track her down on her patrol,” he said. “If we go as a group, she might be more open to helping. I know you said she thinks the only good demon’s a dead demon, but I can’t find anything on this map that would indicate a government paramilitary operation could work from Sunnydale.”
Spike thought about what he remembered from the second World War, and how the Nazis ran their genocide. “Would be out of plain sight. Maybe you and Wes head to check out the hotels. Faith, Wood, an’ I can track down this Slayer and find out what she knows about Rayne.”
Dalton nodded. “Good plan, sir.”
“Don’t fucking call me that, mate. I’ve said it before. Just because I saved you, doesn’t mean you need to address me with respect.” Spike glowered at his friend. He’d saved all of them, in one way or another. Wood was the first one, rescuing him from a piece-of-shit watcher. He’d ripped the arshole’s throat out and brought the teenager with him. Wes was a similar story during a jaunt to the motherland.
“Right. Sorry.” Dalton turned and nodded his head in the direction they’d left the rest of their mates. “Ready to head back?”
“Yeah,” Spike said, wondering just what kind of fucked up mess they’d gotten themselves into.
The cemeteries in Sunnydale were more active than any other place Spike had been in his long unlife. He could hear the telltale sounds of a good brawl taking place near the crypt in the middle. Just as the trio approached, Spike saw a vampire explode into a dust cloud, a beautiful blonde woman appearing in its wake.
She was bloody gorgeous, a menacing hellcat poised over her latest victim. Slayer, his senses tingled; his prick grew at the sight of her bent over, examining the space the vamp used to occupy. Fuck, her arse looked delicious in those tight red spandex pants. Spike glanced away briefly, meeting Faith’s amused eyes.
“What do you want?” the new bint called over her shoulder, not bothering to remove her glare from the ground. “I’m a little busy here, if you hadn’t noticed. Vampires to slay, fun to be had.”
“Lookin’ for the resident vampire slayer, but methinks you’re her,” Spike said, grinning at the way she tucked her wooden stake inside her waistband. He kept his fangs carefully hidden away, just so things wouldn’t get dicey. “Nice work there, luv.”
“Thanks, and yeah, I am the slayer. Who are you? And I repeat, what do you want?” she asked. She turned around fully, facing them.
God, his first instinct had been right. She was a vision – a valkyrie, the moonlight showcasing her skin for his greedy eyes to rake in. Spike could tell she was fierce and hardened, but not in the way other slayers he’d met had been. This one didn’t seem to have a death wish, maybe because she’d actually died and been resurrected, given Faith’s existence.
Lost in how the new slayer captured his attention so fully, Spike jumped slightly when Faith began speaking. “Since Blondie here can’t take his eyes off you, I’ll take over. I’m also a slayer, and my name is Faith.”
His friends didn’t have his senses, but Spike caught the way her breathing sped up at this new knowledge, how her lips thinned into a line, her hands tensing, coiled, ready for a fight. He grinned. Thatta girl.
“No need to prepare for war, Slayer,” he drawled, holding his hands out. “Name’s Spike, and the third lughead over there,” he said, pointing at Wood, “is the son of a slayer from the ‘70s, Nikki Wood. His name’s Robin. We want your help.”
She stood firm, her eyes never leaving his. Apparently finding whatever the bloody hell she wanted to see, she relaxed enough that Spike didn’t think any fisticuffs were about to break out, but maintained his defensive stance. “Buffy,” she said, ignoring his snort of laughter. Then, she continued, her head tilted to the side in a way he found bloody adorable. “You’re a vampire.” It sounded like a question, probably even to her ears, but Spike knew she was likely confused at why a slayer and the son of one were palling around with him.
“Right you are, sweets. I also like to… Let’s say I want to take my own brand of justice out on the bad sorts out there,” he said. Was true enough; the chit didn’t need too many details. “We’re a bit like Robin’s namesake, actually.” As he talked to her, Spike threaded his thumbs through the loops of his belt to exude an air of nonchalance. He noticed the way her pretty mouth parted and her eyes darted down to observe the outline of the bulge in Spike’s jeans.
“So, you’re… vigilantes?” she asked, quirking her lips up.. She relaxed even more.
The trio exchanged glances, before Wood nodded. “Yeah, guess that’s a good enough explanation of it. We’re here for a very specific reason. We need some help tracking down an… old friend, I guess you could say, who phoned us for some help. He said there’s some terrible shit happening in this town right now. Demon vivisection. Torture. Kidnapping. Dismemberment. You name it, he tells us it’s happening,” Wood said.
“Think you can help us out, Slayer? We’re after anything that might help. Names, information, locations… Hell, a bloody play by play of the last year in Sunnyhell would be nice right about now,” Spike said.
Buffy looked intrigued by what he and Wood were saying. “Do you mean the Initiative?”
“Yeah, that was the name Rayne mentioned, wasn’t it?” Faith asked. Spike nodded.
“They aren’t vivi-whatevering anyone,” she protested, and bloody hell, Spike’d never heard a cuter butchering of the mother language. Buffy wrinkled her nose together. “They do good work.”
“An’ how, exactly, do you know that?” Spike asked. He watched the way she flushed and adjusted the edges of her shirt. Oh, hell. “You’re datin’ one of them, aren’t you?”
Buffy looked down, but her lack of an outright denial was a dead fucking giveaway.
“How do you know they aren’t doing it, anyway?” Wood demanded. His hands were balled into fists at his side, the anger rolling off him in waves. Ever since the day Spike had saved him, he’d reacted strongly to hints of torture. Spike knew the bloody bastard who’d raised him had done a number on him, but each new reminder tugged at his unbeating heart. “They might be demons, but many of them are benign,” Wood continued. “They don’t deserve to have their limbs torn from their own fucking bodies, Buffy. My God.”
“You mentioned Rayne. Ethan Rayne? How would he even know about any of this?” Buffy asked, avoiding Wood’s accusatory glare.
“Yeah, Ethan Rayne is his name. That sort of thing is common knowledge in demon communities when it happens,” Spike explained patiently. “Maybe the docs let one of ‘em go, and didn’t give a fuck who found out about it. Could’ve told their mates, or just gone to a local demon bar. All kinds of possibilities, Slayer. Rayne’s got connections, an’ heard of it through the grapevine, I’m sure.” Spike planned to check the local haunts later in the night and shake down whoever the kingpin was in town.
He watched as her brows scrunched in concentration. “Do you have any evidence?” she asked.
“Not yet,” Wood said. “Help us prove it.”
“OK,” she began, “Let’s say they’re lying to me. I can investigate a bit, ask my friends to help. Riley’s been wanting to show me their base, so that’ll be easy enough. I’ll help you out, but you three need to find me some proof. Go talk to the locals, whatever. If they’ve been lying to me, they’ll pay,” she growled, her voice hot as fucking hell when it got all commanding and fiery. She’s got a boyfriend, mate his brain reminded him.
Ever since Drusilla had gone and gotten herself dusted, everything hit the fucking fan in Spike’s world. No chit was worth his time in comparison to his beloved dark princess, but… This Slayer was something special. He could already tell she was bloody different from the rest of her kind, like Faith after her. Guess they just don’t make the obedient type anymore Spike thought with a mental shrug. Was better off, if you asked him.
“So, what’re you gonna do about it, Buffy?” Wood asked, fixing her with one of his patented glares. The guy had it down to a bloody science, carefully schooling his expression to intimidate even the toughest, baddest people out there.
Buffy paused, considering. “If they’re torturing sentient beings, I’m going to take them down. I’m in.”
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/708757.html