The Master rolled his hand in fast, impatient circles. His childe rushed to him and knelt by his feet. Her short blonde hair hid her pretty face from view as she bowed her head.
"Yes, Master?" asked Darcy, his newest, and eager childe.
She scrunched her face in confusion. "What, Master?"
The Master sighed. He truly missed Darla. Every childe since only proved more incompetent than the last, eager or not. "My dinner, where is she?"
Her features smoothed out as she realized what he wanted. "Oh! Its … urm." She whipped her head around and barked at the tall, broad vampire that stood near the entrance to her sire's chambers. "Bring The Master his dinner, you useless pile of decaying flesh. Less I tie you up and flense you of your skin!"
The minion rushed out, tripping on the rug, barely keeping his feet.
The Master had to respect his childe's penchant for threats and insults. Still, she'd never replace his dearest childe, and Angel would pay for dusting her. After. After he watched the twinkle of life drain out of the Slayer's eyes.
The minion came back into the room, dragging a curvy brunette with him. He presented the girl with a shaky glance at Darcy.
The Master rubbed the cheek of the young sobbing girl in front of him. "Hush, child. Don't worry, I'm not in the mood to play with my food tonight."
Spurred by his words she shook and fought to get away, screaming, "Let go you sicko! Help! Get off me!"
He grabbed her, easily snapping her neck. "Good god, why do they always put up such a fight?"
He pulled her to his chest and sank his teeth into her neck, letting her life fill him. Soon it would be slayer's blood on his tongue, and he would bathe in it.
William was forced from his sleep by Dawn, who pushed at his arm. He sucked air in. Residual fear from his dream sent a shudder down his spine.
"You okay?" Dawn asked, quirking an eyebrow.
William shook his head clear, sitting up. "Uhm, uh, yes. I'm fine. Why?"
"Cuz you were totally yelling in your sleep. Loud. It woke up the whole house!"
He pressed his palms against his eyes, suppressing a yawn. "What time is it?"
He rubbed his forehead. "Two in the morning? I'm sorr-"
"Two in the afternoon."
He looked at her incredulously. "Two? And you were still asleep?"
Dawn skipped to the staircase. "I wasn't, Buffy, Giles and Willow were. Giles and Willow got in really early. They needed a nap. Are you going back to sleep, or do want to come up for breky?"
William tried and failed to decipher her question. "Erm, what?"
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Breakfast. Do you want to come up and have some?"
He ahhed at the revelation, nodding. "Yes, I would love some."
"Great, come up when you're ready, I'll make you your breakfast."
She raced up the stairs and William slowly climbed to his feet. He stretched and filled his lungs with unneeded air before following after her. He felt Xander's cold glare as soon as he left the semi sanctuary of the basement.
"Good morning," William said with a polite tilt of his head.
"Whatever." Xander hunched over the breakfast counter, studiously reading his Spiderman vs. The Dare Devil comic book.
Dawn popped a grape into her mouth and brought William a mug of warm, red liquid. "Here ya go. Breakfast a la pig." She wrinkled her nose in distaste and handed to Garfield mug to him.
William gawked at the offering. Somewhere deep down he craved it, but more than anything the idea of drinking it made him sick. He pushed it back.
"You can't truly expect me to drink that?"
She pushed it back at him as she talked. "Yup, drinky drinky. You'll need your strength. Giles is going to be down soon, and he'll want to question you."
William made a face, but took the mug and quickly downed its contents. It was thick and warm, but didn't taste nearly as bad as he thought it would.
"Wait a minute," Xander said, pushing up. "Where did you get blood?"
Dawn shrugged. "I knew Spike would be hungry, so I went out and got some for him when you guys were all distracted with Willow and Giles."
William's heart warmed. She cared enough for him to go out of her way to make sure he had something to eat.
Xander sneered, "Yeah, 'cause we really care about your sister's rapist."
Pain passed over William's features. He couldn't remember ever hurting her, and he couldn't imagine ever doing such a thing, but he could say the same for being vampire. The idea of raping a girl made him sick.
"Oh, you don't like to hear this, do you? Good. I should have staked you the second I saw you last night. It would have saved Buffy from having to see your ugly mug."
First there was a tickle at the edge of his memory, but the feeling grew surer and then thunder cracked in William's skull. He gasped as imagines flew pass his eyes. Feelings through his chest. Buffy in a robe, Buffy pushing at him and begging him to stop, her face, the tears, the anger and pain of rejection fuelling him and pushing him further. He needed to show her. Have her.
William rushed to the sink just before the blood he had consumed found its way back out. His shoulders heaved and his body shook with effort, still he saw Buffy begging. Nothing would erase that scene from his mind.
Dawn raced to his side. "Spike, are you okay?" She turned on the faucet, splashing cool water on his face and rubbed circles against his back. "What happened?"
He wanted to cry, but bit back the tears and continued to hunch over the sink. He didn't think his legs would take his weight, or he would have run out into the sunlight.
"I—I did…Tried to…" He couldn't bring himself to say anything.
Dawn took his arm and forced him to stand with the help of her shoulder. She tried to get him to the living room, but he refused to go, instead he pulled away, and back to the counter, slid to the kitchen floor.
The words shook him to his core. It was too much like Buffy's plea. He covered his ears and tried in vain to block out the noises in his head.
Xander stood near the table, shocked silent. He didn't know how William would react to his taunting, but he didn't think it would be like that. He almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
"Dawn, leave him."
"There's something wrong! He needs help."
Xander grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet. "Let 'im burn for all I care."
Dawn struggled as Xander dragged her into the living room. He pushed her to the couch and kneeled in front of her.
"Dawn he's not a good guy. He tried to rape Buffy. What if he decided you were more his type? Could you fight off a vampire? What if he wanted Willow or Anya? The only reason Buffy wasn't raped is because she was strong enough to stop him. Whether he's playing at soulful or not, that man, that monster tried to force himself on your sister."
Dawn stopped struggling. His words had the desired effect. She doubted William. She felt less inclined to run to his side and help him.
"What's going on?" Buffy asked from the entrance to the room. "I heard some commotion."
Dawn looked at Xander. "Nothing. Spike was having some trouble keeping down breakfast."
Buffy chortled, missing their silent exchange. "Well if you made it, then I don't blame him."
Dawn scoffed and stood. "And what's wrong with my cooking?"
"You added anchovies to an omelet."
Their bickering continued as they moved to the kitchen. Dawn's eyes flickered to where she left William, but he wasn't there.
"I thought you said William was up?" Buffy looked around for the vampire.
"He, uh, was. Maybe he isn't feeling well. He did spit out his blood."
Xander walked in behind them. "Maybe that's because its blood. I mean, yuck."
"Yeah," Buffy nodded in agreement, "that stuff tastes nasty."
Xander and Dawn blink at her in a questioning stare.
"Have you, I don't know, tasted blood before?" Xander asked.
Buffy snorted, but the light blush crawling up her cheeks gave her away. "No! Why would I have tasted blood? I mean, I've tasted my own, being punched in the face can cause that."
Dawn knew she was lying, but chose to let it pass for now. "Want some non-anchovied omelet? I'll make it."
Giles cleared his throat as he joined them in the kitchen. "Is Spike around? I'd like to get his debriefing out of the way."
Buffy closed her eyes and sent out her senses, a minute later she looked at the basement door. "He's down there. And Giles, he feels different."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "My slayer senses, Giles. You know, the tinglies and stuff? He feels different than he did before."
Giles himmed and hawed, slightly embarrassed to have been caught off guard. "Umm, Yes, quite. I uh, I knew you meant that."
He started downstairs, closing the door behind him.
It was dark, but the small window let in enough indirect sunlight to allow him to see William on the cot, scrawling furiously on a pad of paper.
William's head snapped up and his eyes widened. He quickly hid the paper under his covers. "Y-Yes? You're Giles?"
Giles noted the slight change in his accent; he sounded more like Wesley than Spike. "Yes, I am. You remember me?"
William shook his head. "Dawn said you'd be coming to talk to me."
"Ahh, I see. Buffy told me that you have your soul?"
William's head bobbed up and down in confirmation.
"But you don't have your memory of anything?" He sat on the cot with the supposedly souled vampire.
William shifted uncomfortably. "I have some memories."
Giles straightened his glasses and gave William a good look over, noting slight changes like his hair fading more brown than white, and the shy way he moved. Very little about William seemed like Spike.
"Do you remember how you came by your soul?"
He nodded again.
"Well?" William only gave him a confuse puppy eyed look. "How did it happen?" Despite himself, Giles found his patience growing thin with the young looking, decade old vampire.
"It's blurry, I don't remember too much."
"Can you tell me what happened?"
"Oh bloody hell. Will you tell me how it happened! Or have you been stuck dumb?"
William stuttered before he gathered the faculties needed for speech. "N-No."
"No? No you will not tell me?"
"What? No! I mean that no, I can speak." Giles rolled his fingers, indicating that William should continue. This didn't work. William watched his hand and furrowed his brow as though in deep thought.
"Spike, please, I haven't had any tea yet this morning. I don't care to sit in you company longer than needed."
William blinked, pulling himself out of his thoughts. "I, well you see, Spike—that is I got my soul."
Giles glared. "I know that part, thank you."
"There were trials. Lots of them. It's one of the only things I remember. The trials were cruel
and painful. I almost gave up and left several times. But I knew that I needed the soul. I had to win it."
Giles' eyes widened. "You… won your soul?"
William didn't know why it was hard to believe. "Yes, is there something wrong with that?" he asked with a doe-eyed expression.
"No, just, erm, shocking." Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. "You have a note book and pen." It wasn't a question.
William sheepishly pulled the items out from under the blankets. "I- I was drawing."
"I don't care. I want you to write down all the details about the trials and how you gained your soul. Bring them to me upstairs when you're done. I'm going to have some breakfast."
Giles turned his back on William and mounted the stairs stiffly. If Spike really gained his soul, won it, Giles' whole view on the demon world would be turned on its head. He almost hoped that William was lying. He didn't want any more greys in his world of black and white.