The Chaos Factor – Chapter One

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series The Chaos Factor
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Okay my turn – hope everyone enjoyed the icon factory!!!

Another chapter and check out the gorgeous banner lmbossy  made for me – I popped it under the cut as it has spoilers in it ^_^!

Chapter One

Spike hoisted his duffel bag over his shoulder and trudged down the stairs leading into the courtyard outside the Watcher’s apartment. The silvery full moon illuminating his way through the apartment complex, the lights in various apartments casting his features into relief as he passed the windows.

It was laundry night.

Even Big Bads had to be domesticated once in a while. After the disaster in the whelp’s basement, he’d made sure that Joyce had taught him how be a good puppy and wash his stuff without turning them into cast-offs for a well dressed four year old. Otherwise he’d reek about as much as a Gornath demon in heat. Spike shuddered at that flashback. Sometimes Dru’s choice of pets had been a bit questionable to say the least.

He knew Rupes’ timetable like the back of his hand and the place would be empty, so he was here to take advantage of the washer and the bathroom. He’d run out of clean T-shirts and socks; and nicking them wasn’t an option anymore, as the Wallmart gits were onto him. He’d been followed around by one spotty-faced berk the last time he’d gone on a pilfering spree and had come away with nothing but a pack of socks. White ones at that. As if he’d been seen wearing them.

Spike mentally rubbed his hands in glee at the prospect of invading Rupes’ bathroom. His roots needed bleaching and the crypt didn’t have running water, let alone a supply of Sweet and Low, thanks to the slayer’s trying to get rid of her watcher’s burgeoning waistline. Spike ran his free hand through his hair and sighed, sometimes he missed having Dru around to touch up his roots. Not so much now days – there was someone else but he wasn’t ready to admit that to himself just yet.

Spike stumbled to a halt and frowned.

What the bloody hell was that?

There’d been a blinding flash of light coming from the Watcher’s flat. ‘That wasn’t right! The place should be empty.’ About now he would be crooning an acoustic rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd and living out his frustrated rocker dreams. Spike would rather yank out his fangs with a pair of rusty pliers before he would admit it – but the man could sing. He knew the Slayer and her mates hadn’t a clue what the jobless old git was up to once a week. He’d only found out after he’d trailed the ex-watcher one night and watched the concert in a trendy coffee bar he would usually not be seen undead in.

Spike dropped his bag by the fountain and scented the air.

There was a whiff of brimstone and burnt ozone emanating from the apartment. Something he’d not smelled since the time Dru had decided to cast a few spells—God he hated magic. The stench of the components turned his stomach most of time; having vamp senses weren’t always what they were cracked up to be. The whiff of burnt sulphur and ground bats nuts lingered in the back of the throat and no amount of Tequila cleared it out. He’d tried once and had ended up passed out naked in bed and had woken up to Dru painting his toenails red after putting his hair into tiny dolls curlers.

Spike froze as the front door swung open.

He stepped back into the shadows, seamlessly merging with the darkness, and watched a weasily-faced man with a heavy Roman nose step out of the watcher’s flat. The man had sharp features and was dressed in a patterned silk shirt tucked into a pair of high-waisted green cords. He was carrying a glowing long-necked glass bottle that had a large round base with a cork stopper in it. He cradled the object reverently in both hands as he knelt down and carefully placed it into a bag that had been sitting on the doorstep ready for him. The man straightened and glanced around the courtyard, as Spike leant back against the wall, letting the climbing rose hide him.

The brown-haired man adjusted his cuffs fastidiously with a sardonic smile on his thin lips and then hooked the bag over his shoulder. He rummaged in the side pocket and pulled out something small and metallic that gleamed briefly in the moonlight. He turned the piece of metal over and over, his eyes riveted to it.

Suddenly the air above the interloper’s head began to whirl like a mini tornado. There were tiny flashes of lightening spinning around the spell caster as purplish blue clouds formed and circled around his body. Then it looked like the universe had folded in on itself and with a clap of thunder the man vanished.

“Well — bugger me.” Spike stepped out from where he was hiding and went over to where the man had been standing. There was a charred spot on the terracotta tiles, but nothing else appeared to remain. Spike turned his back on potential discovery. A small gold charm settled quietly on the tiles beneath the shrub by the door where it had rolled just moments before his investigation.

Spike grabbed his bag, shouldered the door open and gingerly stepped around the black sooty mark. “Oi. Watcher. You still alive?”
~~~~~~~~~~~~

The flat was in a shambles; it looked like a knock-down drag-out fight had been going on for several hours. The Watcher’s guitar was smashed to pieces on the ground; books were scattered across the floor, their spines broken. Papers were strewn everywhere, and the pervading stench of magic filled the air with an oily miasma. Spike stepped hesitantly over the pieces as he scanned the detritus.

“Rupes? Where the bloody hell are you?” he bellowed. Spike checked behind the couch. “You been knocked out again?”
“Keep the noise down you git. I’ve got a killer of a headache.” Giles’s voice echoed weakly down from the top of the stairs. There was a dull clatter of heavy boots and the Watcher appeared at the foot of the stairs.

Spike did a classic double take. The tweed was gone and instead there was…well, there were clothes that he would’ve worn. His eyes narrowed. In fact, those jeans looked suspiciously like a pair he’d lost when he had been living here.

“What the bloody hell are you wearing?” he growled, a prickle of suspicion colouring his voice and sending the hairs on the back of his neck up on end. This wasn’t the old man, this was someone else wearing Rupes’ skin.

Giles looked down at his ripped jeans, battered docs and the vintage Clapton tour shirt he’d dug out of the back of his closet. “Clothes. Why?” He rolled the sleeves of the shirt up and then looped his thumbs into the back of his waistband and rocked on his heels. He flashed the pole-axed vampire a cheeky grin, his eyes twinkling with humour and barely suppressed wickedness.

Spike’s jaw dropped at the sound of the usually clipped accent of his fellow Englishman now sounding just like him. “You’ve got an earring,” was all he was able to accuse with a splutter as he watched the man lope towards the kitchen and rummage in the fridge.

“Yeah, wot about it, you git? Looks like you’re wearing eyeliner, but am I saying a sodding word?” Giles rummaged through the icebox and pulled out two bottles of beer. He twisted the top off one and threw it into the sink before tipping the bottle and taking a long and thirsty pull. He deftly threw the other to the shocked vampire.

Spike caught it and held it loosely in one hand as he ran the other through his hair. Something was really, really wrong with the old sod. His demon could sense something was off with the human who was now downing another piss poor American beer with relish.

“God I needed that!” Giles exclaimed with pleasure as he threw the bottle into the sink with a resounding crash.

“You did?” Spike managed to ask; his confusion tripled when the significantly changed man lit a cigarette and began to puff it with relish. The man’s entire being screamed of style and panache, something the watcher had never really shown before. Whatever the magic user had done to the man had been an improvement, in Spike opinion, but somehow he doubted the white hats would agree. A vision of disapproving green eyes staring up at him made Spike grind his teeth.

Giles squinted at the vampire through the cloud of cigarette smoke that ringed his head. “Spike?”

“Yeah?”

“What’s wrong with you, mate?” Giles leant on the breakfast bar and studied the unusually silent vampire.

“Wrong with me?” Spike asked as he mentally slapped himself for the squeaky voice that had erupted from his gob-smacked mouth.

“Yeah, you look like you’ve seen a ghost or somethin’.”

“Rupes…”

“Ripper,” Giles corrected, an ecstatic grin spreading across his face.

A prickle of understanding began to tug at the edges of Spike’s memory. He vaguely remembered that name. “Ripper?”

“Yeah mate.” Giles straightened and headed towards the front door with a bounce in his step, so unlike the staid behaviour that Spike was used to seeing from his fellow Brit. His jaw dropped even further.

Spike pivoted on his heel and watched as the man checked his hair in the small mirror by the door and then prepared to head out. ‘Slayer will rip me a new one if I let the old fart out on the town in this state.’ With that thought, Spike suddenly remembered why he knew that nickname. The Slayer’s mum had spilled about the Band Candy incident; her blushes had spoken more to the acutely to observant vampire than anything she had said aloud.

He frowned at Ripper’s back, and then let his demon lose. His features shifted and ground as Spike’s fangs dropped. With his demon to the fore, Spike let himself scent the air and examined the man closely.

“What you doing, Spike?” Ripper’s faint Cockney accent broke the silence. In the few minutes since Spike had vamped out and let his demon have free reign, Giles had turned and watched him in fearless fascination. “Something wrong?”

Spike cracked his neck as his features smoothed into the handsome planes of his mortal face. “Nope, fancy a drink?” He couldn’t sense all of the man’s soul; part of it was there, but the rest was not within him. ‘Not good, a soulless Watcher who is magically adept would lead to no end of mischief for the slayer.’ He needed to keep an eye on the man.

“Yeah, why not.” Ripper grinned at the vampire and watched as the blonde man started to pull bottles out of the glass-fronted bookcase to the left of the archway to the kitchen. Spike nudged the piles of records that lined the walls.

“Why don’t you get something decent playing?” Spike pulled out a bottle of Scotch and another of gin and put them on the low coffee table in front of the couch. Shrugging off his duster, he let himself slump down on the cushions and snagged a bottle. “Did I ever tell you about the time I spent a weekend drinking Mohitos with Hemmingway?” Spike asked, knowing that Ripper wouldn’t be able to resist that one. Spike chuckled at the memories of those hot steamy nights in South America. “We ended up bare arsed and night fishing in the middle of a storm for sword fish with Dru.”

Spike twisted the top off his beer and drained it in one go. It was going to be a long night. He’d realised that there was no way the chip would let him overpower the Watcher, so he figured drinking the man into a coma was the way to go. Once he had the old man secured, he’d get hold of the slayer and her mates and they could fix whatever mess Ripper had got himself into.

“Bare arsed? Why?” Ripper slouched down next to the smirking vampire, completely intrigued.

“No sodding idea, mate, but it was a bloody good night…shrinkage issues aside, that is.”

Several Hours and many bottles of booze later

Spike sighed with relief as Giles finally slumped forward. The drained bottle of gin fell from his nerveless fingers and rolled on the floor till it came to a halt by the fireplace, next to the four other empty bottles of various spirits. Spike stubbed out the last of his fags in the overflowing tray and, as he reclined, he pinched the pack that Ripper had been smoking.

He’d talked himself hoarse with tales of the good old days, as Ripper had hung on his every word. Spike wondered if any miniscule part of Giles was inside the man itching to take notes. The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on the Aurelian vampire. For the past year the watcher had been after him for more background on his unlife; and Spike had played hard to get up until now.

Now here he was, yakking his head off about incidents that would’ve had Giles reaching for a notebook and a pen, and instead it was Ripper’s ears that were assailed with reminisces of the bygone days. Spike had even told him about the notorious incident in the German U-boat with Peaches, much to the vampire’s own surprise. He never thought he’d ever tell about that one. Especially the most embarrassing bit, him falling for the Nazi’s all-you-can-eat virgins party.

The slightly inebriated vampire stood; he steadied himself on the mantle and then he trudged to the chest where the chains that the old git had used on him were stored. In the background, the stereo was playing a bit of Ziggy. Spike shook his head at the dichotomy of the man who had apparently cornered the market on stuffed shirts, but at the same time had a record collection that a music lover would sell their granny for.

“You know something, Rupes? Revenge is ruddy sweet.” Spike scooped the lax form of the Watcher onto his shoulder and trudged to the bathroom.

“Let’s get you nice and comfy for the Slayer.”

 

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/160286.html

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