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The Hounds of Love Part 1

Happy Birthday desoto_hia873

These days off have not been productive on the writing front. I’ve felt out of sorts, my sleep patterns have been shot to hell, and I just haven’t felt cheerful enough to work on my overtly comic WIPs or energetic enough to work on the long stories. What I have done is start a new fic. It’s going to be my Spike story for November at 12monthsofbtvs and should be around the 10,000 words mark in total. I’m not going to put it up on the community until it’s finished but I’m going to post the first part here now because otherwise there will be a long gap without anything from me. The final version should be three parts long.

It could be described as a songfic, it’s Season 2 of BtVS, and it’s going to be Spuffy. The rating is PG-13 so far, but I’m not sure what the final rating will be. This installment is 3,175 words and takes place during “Passions”.

Summary: after an act of petty vindictiveness by Angelus deprives wheelchair-bound Spike of his normal music he listens to a Kate Bush album, and in so doing he triggers a chain of events that alters everything …

The Hounds of Love

Part One

“Bloody marvelous,” Spike grumbled. “Yeah, you lot go on out, leave me alone. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine, if the Slayer comes round I can always outrun her in my sodding wheelchair. Yeah, sure.”

Angelus merely smiled at Spike’s bitterly sarcastic comments. “You could always try bribing her to leave you alone, maybe with a necklace,” he suggested. “Oh, I remember, you haven’t had much luck giving women jewels. You’ll just have to roll away as fast as you can.” His smile became a gloating grin as Spike fumed. “Don’t worry about it, roller boy. She wouldn’t bother to dirty her hands with you. You’re beneath her notice.”

Spike glared and clenched his fists with impotent rage. Angelus’ grin grew even broader, making Spike even more furious, but he forced himself to calm down. His fury was only giving Angelus what he wanted. “Yeah, s’ppose so,” he grunted, lowering his head and feigning dejected acceptance. “Go on then, have fun. I’ll just stay here and listen to my records.”

That was a mistake. Angelus strode to Spike’s desk and snatched up the prized collection of punk classics. “This garbage? You can do better than that, William. You should learn to appreciate the magic that is Manilow.”

“Oh, please,” Spike groaned.

Angelus mistook Spike’s expression of contempt for an entreaty, and sneered. “Asking nicely is not enough, William.” He began to snap the records in half.

“For fuck’s sake, Angelus, stop,” Spike pleaded, genuinely alarmed now.

Angelus merely reveled in Spike’s pain and anger. He crushed ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ to powder, shattered the rare 12” of Menace’s ‘Insane Society’, pulverized ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’, smashed ‘Germ Free Adolescents’ by X-Ray Spex into fragments, and terminated The Dead Kennedys. “Enjoy your evening,” he called, and strode off.

Spike sat helplessly in his wheelchair, almost weeping with rage and despair.

“Don’t cry, my Spike,” Drusilla said. “You can listen to my Kate Bush records if you like.”

“Not a bloody fair swap,” Spike pointed out. “Stay here with me, Dru. Angelus is a sodding nutcase, Dru, you’ve got to see that. Don’t get dragged into his bloody stupid little games with the Slayer. He’s only pissing her off. It’ll all end in tears.”

“Daddy knows best,” Dru declared. “Goodnight, Spike.” She swirled her skirts and waltzed out, singing to herself. “From the painful cries of mothers to the terrifying screams, we recorded it and put it into our machine. They told us, all they wanted, was a sound that could kill someone…”

Spike listened to her voice fading away in the distance and then rolled over to the desk. He examined his records. Not a single one had survived Angelus’ vindictive onslaught. “I’ll kill the bastard, I bloody will,” he muttered, but it was a futile threat and he knew it. Trapped in the wheelchair he was absolutely at Angelus’ mercy.

He fidgeted for a while, at a loss for something to do, and then decided to take Drusilla’s advice. She had taken to Kate Bush’s records in a big way, seeming to regard the fey singer as something of a kindred spirit, especially after the release of the eerie and macabre ‘Experiment IV’. Spike publicly scoffed at Kate Bush, and pretended disdain; but secretly, like all other English males who’d been over eighteen in the Eighties, he drooled over Kate and enjoyed the records too.

He plugged in Dru’s boombox and put on ‘The Whole Story’. He skipped past ‘Wuthering Heights’, which he had heard far too often and was fed up with, and past ‘Cloudbusting’ and ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’, which contained too many references that seemed to resonate with the relationship between Angelus and Drusilla, and started with ‘Breathing’. It wasn’t one of his favorites, and he almost gave up and switched off, but he decided to let it play and wheeled himself across the room to find a book to read.

A few minutes later he was listening to ‘Running Up That Hill’. It was the first time that he’d listened to the song since he’d been in the wheelchair and the lyrics struck home with him in a way that they had never done before. He found himself singing along, but occasionally he cast nervous glances towards the door; for Angelus to return and catch him singing along to Kate Bush would be acutely embarrassing. To be caught by the Slayer would add an extra dimension of embarrassment to his dusty death that would be the ultimate in adding insult to injury.

“And if I only could,” he sang, “I’d make a deal with God, and I’d get him to swap our places. Be running up that road, be running up that hill, be running up that building.” He sighed. “Bloody would, and all. Make a deal to swap places with sodding Angelus like a bloody shot.”

“Do you mean it?”

Spike yelped and would have jumped right out of the chair if his legs had been working. He pivoted towards the source of the unexpected voice and saw a stranger. A short man in a disheveled suit and a black hat.

“Who the fuck are you?” Spike growled.

“The name’s Whistler,” the stranger informed him. “I work for the Powers That Be. Kind of a celestial messenger, you might say. Did you mean it?”

“Mean what?”

“That you’d make a deal with God and get him to swap you and Angelus around. Put him in the wheelchair, I guess you meant, and set you back on your feet, everything in full working order.”

Spike stared at Whistler. “Yeah, I suppose I meant it. But what’s the catch?”

“No catch,” Whistler assured him. “It has to be a deal, though. I’m not in the business of granting wishes. Quid pro quo, pal. You scratch the Powers’ back, they scratch yours. You ain’t getting something for nothing.”

“A deal with God?” Spike frowned. A vampire getting involved with God didn’t seem right somehow.

“Well, the Powers That Be. That’s as close to God as you’re gonna get. The Big Guy doesn’t get involved in face-to-face dealings. Wanna hear my offer?”

Spike hesitated. This might be something that would get him in over his depth. Just then Kate Bush’s voice sang ‘C’mon baby, c’mon darling, let me steal this moment from you now. C’mon Angel, c’mon darling, let’s exchange the experience …’ A smile spread across his face. Not a nice smile, it was tinged with bitterness and hatred. “S’ppose I can’t lose anything by hearing the terms,” he said.

“Okay,” Whistler said. “We’ll swap you around, like I said. He gets stuck in the chair, you get restored to full health, you can go running up that hill and all that. In return, you take over as Champion of the Powers That Be. Like Angel was supposed to be; only he always dragged his feet a bit, and then there was that whole losing the soul thing and it all went to hell. In fact, the whole world is gonna go to hell if he carries on the way he’s going.”

“Oh, come on,” Spike scoffed, “Angelus might be a Grade A bastard, but he’s not in the world-destroying league.”

Whistler shook his head. “I wouldn’t count on that if I were you. There’s a prophecy. I thought it meant that Angel was gonna save the world, but I hadn’t counted on him losing his soul. Now I have to read it as meaning that he’s gonna destroy it, unless he’s stopped. That’s where you come in.”

“Well, I’m not that keen on the world being destroyed,” Spike admitted, “’specially not right now. Man U are eleven points clear at the top of the Premiership, y’know, doing bloody well in the Champions’ League too. Bloody good chance of winning it. Be a right shame if the world went to hell before they did the double.”

Whistler’s brow furrowed. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, pal, so I’ll just take it that you don’t want the world destroyed and get on with the deal. Look, here’s the skinny. We have plenty of power, but there are a few limits on us. We can’t just grab a guy from the other side and zap him into a wheelchair. That’s too much interference, breaking the rules, you dig? So, you’ve got to do some of the work. Fight Angelus and beat him. Soon as you’ve done that he goes into the chair.”

“What kind of a deal is that, you daft pillock? If I could beat Angelus I wouldn’t have been up for the deal in the first place. What am I supposed to do, run him over like sodding Boudicca with her bloody chariot?”

Whistler stared at Spike. “Hey, appearances can be deceptive. You have an education. Well, I guess I’m kind of poster boy for appearances being deceptive, so, serves me right.” He shook his head. “Of course you don’t have to fight him from the chair, pal. We’ll put you right back on your feet, restore you to top fighting form. Then you go out and clobber Angelus, we put him in the wheelchair, and you take his place as Champion. You have to stop eating people, of course; help out the Slayer, stop Apocalypses, you get the picture?”

“Didn’t know Apocalypse even had a plural,” Spike mused. “Only on the sodding Hellmouth, right? Hang on a mo. Stop eating people? How’s a bloke supposed to unlive? Vampire here, ‘case you hadn’t noticed.”

Whistler shrugged. “You can get blood in bags these days. Animal blood, or human from the hospital. Maybe they throw it out when it gets to a certain age, I dunno, blood’s not really my bag – heh, heh, pun intentional – but anyway, a clever guy like you should be able to work something out, okay?”

“Bet it won’t come for free,” Spike pointed out. “S’ppose if I’m some sort of bleeding Champion your lot won’t stand for me nicking stuff, will they? You’ll have to come up with some dosh.”

“Dosh?” Whistler repeated uncomprehendingly.

“Money, you berk.” Spike pursed his lips. “Hey, this Champion thing, seeing as how I’m a vampire you could be getting bloody hundreds of years of work out of me. Hell of a repayment for fixing me up when I’ll probably just heal in a few months anyway. I’ve got some feeling back already. Least you could do is pay me a decent wage, right?”

“Hey, you offered the deal in the first place,” Whistler protested. He raised his hands. “Okay, I guess a wage is fair. We’re not the bad guys trying to twist words on this one. We fix you up, you go punch Angelus out, he goes in the wheelchair, you take over as Champion and we pay you enough for blood, smokes, gas, somewhere to live, clothes, whatever. We can sort out the details later, but we won’t stiff you. If you go back on the deal, then – bingo! – you’re back in the wheelchair.”

“Fair enough,” Spike agreed, “but no cursing me with any sodding Nancy-boy soul, right? Oh, and you get me replacements for the records that bastard Angelus smashed.”

“No soul, check,” Whistler confirmed. He poked at the debris of the records. “Replacements for the Sex Pistols and the Ramones and so on. Not a problem. Do we have a deal?” He extended his hand.

“Deal.” Spike took the hand and shook.

“Okay, arise, Sir Spike,” Whistler grinned. “Take up your blanket and walk, stand up stand up for Jesus, and so on.”

Spike rose to his feet and stretched. “Bloody great,” he exclaimed, grinning hugely. “Feel as good as I ever did. Ta, mate. Right, off I go to kick that Irish pillock’s fat arse.”

“You might like to start off by checking out the High School,” Whistler suggested. “I have a feeling you might find him there.”

“Yeah, wouldn’t surprise me. Bloody obsessive git. Y’know, I liked the bastard better when he was all souled and brooding.” Spike’s lips tightened. “If he’s with Dru I’ll probably get my arse kicked. What happens then as far as the deal goes?”

“If at first you don’t succeed,” Whistler quoted, “try, try, try again.”

“Turn again sodding Whittington, yeah, I get the picture.” Spike’s smile returned. “Still, if he’s poncing around pissing off the Slayer, she’ll be there too.” He stretched again and threw a couple of practice punches. “I can team up with her, should be able to take Angelus and Dru, no problem.” He arched his back, testing his flexibility, and then bent down forwards and touched his toes. “Unless the Slayer bloody stakes me herself. You gonna tip her off that I’m working for the good guys?”

Whistler didn’t answer. Spike straightened up and looked at where the shabby little emissary had been standing. He wasn’t there. Spike looked all around the room, but Whistler had disappeared as mysteriously as he had arrived.

- - - - -

Spike strode through the school grounds, reveling in his restored mobility, his eyes scanning his surroundings for signs of Angelus. He heard the sound of running feet and headed in that direction. A woman ran across the space between buildings, a dark-haired and pretty young woman, and she was panting heavily. Spike could sense her fear. “Looks like I’ve found Angelus,” he muttered. “Chasing her around like a git, always did like playing with his bloody food.” He moved to intercept the woman.

Spike stepped out from an archway and seized the fleeing woman. He clamped his hand over his mouth to stop her from screaming. His instincts told him to plunge his fangs into her throat and guzzle the sweet blood, but his intellect reminded him that doing so would send him straight back into the wheelchair, and he restrained himself. “I found a fox caught by dogs, she let me take her in my hands,” he said, quoting Kate Bush but changing the gender of the original lyrics. “Her little heart it beats so fast, and I’m ashamed of running away.” He smiled at her in as reassuring a fashion as he could manage. “He coming for you through the trees, pet? Don’t worry. I’m here to save you.”

The woman rolled her eyes in panic and struggled in his grasp. “Look, pet, I really am here to protect you,” he assured her. “Gonna take my hand away now. Don’t scream, you’ll bring the nasties. Who’s chasing you, luv?” He removed his hand but was poised to replace it if she started to scream.

“Angelus,” she gasped out.

Spike grinned broadly. “Now isn’t that handy? Just the bloke I’m looking for.” He saw alarm flare in the woman’s eyes. “Not gonna hand you over to him, pet. He’s got a good kicking coming, and I’m gonna give it to him.”

“But you’re Spike,” the woman said uncertainly. “William the Bloody.”

“Recognize me, luv?” Spike said, pleased. “Bloody right I am. The Big Bad himself. Well, the Big Good now, I suppose.” He sniffed. “Sounds bloody stupid, dunnit? Hasn’t got that ring to it. ‘Champion’ makes me sound like a sodding Wonder Horse.” He scrutinized the woman, who was gazing at him with a perplexed expression on her pretty face, and grinned. “Hey, you’re that teacher bird who hangs out with the Watcher, right?”

“I am,” she confirmed. “Jenny Calendar.”

Their conversation was interrupted by the sound of heavy footsteps approaching. Angelus strode into view. “Oh, Jenny,” he called. “Where are you? You can run, but you can’t hide.”

“How bloody clichéd can you get?” Spike scoffed.

Angelus halted. “Spike?” he said. “How come you’re up and about? Hey, you’ve caught my prey. Well done. I might let you have the dregs.”

“Don’t think so,” Spike growled. He released Jenny. “Run, pet. Straight to the Watcher.”

“What the hell are you playing at, Spike?” Angelus demanded angrily.

“This.” Spike pulled a baseball bat from inside his coat, leaped forward, and smashed Angelus full in the face.

Angelus staggered under the impact. Jenny whirled around and ran as fast as she could. Angelus turned his head to follow the motion, taking his eyes from Spike, and he received another hard blow across the side of the head. “This is no time for stupid games!” he snarled. He flung up an arm to block Spike’s next blow, but he hadn’t appreciated how serious the other vampire was, and the bat slammed into his forearm with such force that a bone snapped. Angelus cried out in pain and lashed out his other hand in a punch to Spike’s face.

Spike ducked under the blow and brought the bat across in a low swing aimed at Angelus’ knees. Angelus tried to leap over the bat but was off balance and it clipped his heels as he jumped. He landed awkwardly and fell to the ground. Spike was on him immediately, bringing the bat down again and again, and Angelus was battered down every time he tried to rise.

“Painful, innit?” Spike gloated.

Jenny reached the exit and turned to see what was happening. She saw Spike pounding Angelus, sighed with relief, and then turned once more and fled out of the school.

“This’ll teach you to leave my sodding records alone,” Spike yelled, hitting Angelus over and over again. “You don’t mess with the Ramones, you twat.”

Angelus was beaten. Those first blows, landed by Spike before Angelus had realized that he was in real danger, had tipped the scales decisively. His struggles grew feeble and a strike with the bat impacted solidly on his forehead and slammed the back of his head hard into the flagstones. He blacked out and lay still.

“Hey, well done, hero,” Whistler said. He stepped out from behind a colonnade. “That’s the conditions fulfilled. We can put him in the wheelchair without any other Power complaining about us interfering in Earthly affairs.”

Spike gave Angelus another thump for luck and then lowered the bat. “So, what now for me? Can’t go back to the factory, can I? They’d have my guts for garters after this.”

Whistler raised his eyebrows. “Not one for planning ahead, are you, pal? You should have thought of that before.” He reached into his breast pocket, took out a wallet, and tossed it to Spike. “Here. Cash, credit cards, driver’s license, Green Card. Find yourself somewhere to stay, some blood, whatever.”

“Ta, mate,” Spike grinned. He opened the wallet and flipped through the contents. “Green Card? Then why is it bloody well pink?”

“Don’t ask me, pal, I’ve lived among humans for a hell of a long time but I still don’t understand them.” Whistler stood over the fallen Angelus and snapped his fingers. The unconscious vampire’s body disappeared.

“Neat trick,” Spike commented, and then he turned his attention back to the wallet. “Hey, how much can I spend on the cards?”

There was no answer. Spike raised his eyes and looked around. Whistler had vanished without a trace.

Continued in CHAPTER TWO

The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.

Tags: fic, hounds of love
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