Spike stares up at the big blinking letters forming HELLMOUTH over the entrance of the building. His demon roars at him not to go in but the reasonable part of his mind tells him to go in already. This is his last chance.
He tried to integrate in his old evil world and was kicked down in a blink
of an eye. Looks like a vampire as famous as him working with the slayer
is news which spreads fast. He even tried to be on the good side, to help
keeping the world safe but that doesn’t even pay the blood. Asking his
sire to help him was, well, humiliating but the sodding poofter only offered
to dust him.
The big door to the HELLMOUTH opens and a huge black-clad figure is directly in front of him. Spike raises his inner armour waiting for the harsh words he is sure he’ll receive in a moment.
“Good evening, Sir. We are terrible sorry but our working hours changed last week and we are now open from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. You’ll have to come back later, I can’t grant you access now.” The bouncer says gently in an apologetic tone.
Widened blue eyes raise to meet the ones of the bouncer. The huge man cocks his head to the side, interest sliding into his eyes. “You’re alright, Sir?” A slow nod is all Spike can manage.
“Can I call you a cab or do you need the location of a nearby bar?” The
worried voice of this man who doesn’t know him, brings Spike to the verge
of tears. The first time in years someone shows some concern for his wellbeing.
Spike is aware that he is being checked out and not in the ‘want to get laid? sense’. The eyes of the huge man are on his face again, studying his features. Spike tries to smirk but it gets stuck and is a grimace of painful humiliation.
“You need a job.” He says softly without disgust or rejection.
“You’re able to talk?” The warm voice asks him and Spike nods and could smack himself in the head. The bouncer smiles without laughing at him.
“Yeah.” Spike croaks finally. A broken sound from a broken man.
“Did you come here to get a job?”
“Yeah.” Spike answers truthfully.
“Let’s see the boss.” The huge man eventually says, and gently grabs the bones and skin which are Spike's shoulder and guides him into the HELLMOUTH.
The lobby is a big open space, columns and plants decorating it. On the far side of the big room are two stairways, one goes up, one down. On either side of the entrance are stairways to the next floor. The bouncer guides Spike up the right stairway near the entrance.
“When you meet him, be yourself. Be honest. Tell him what you have to say, not what you think he wants to hear. He hates liars. If he ever catches you on a lie, even just the lightest twitch of the truth, you can try to run before he dusts you. He won’t go after you but he will stake you, whenever he sees you again. Understand?” The bouncer looks intently at Spike as if he would mind him getting dusted.
The vampire nods and swallows back fear. He heard a lot of stories about the owner of the club. Some say it’s the devil himself residing in the HELLMOUTH. Spike used to laugh at them. If he were his old evil self he would just walk in the club and kill the owner, then go back and present the head of him to the pitiable storytellers. However he isn’t. He is begging for a job and fearing ‘he’ could be the last one he sees. Wouldn’t be that bad. This is his last chance and he doesn’t know where else to go.
“Okay, wait here. I will announce you.” The bouncer says and Spike sits down on one of the leather chairs beside the black door.
“Wait! Don’t you need my name?” He calls out. The man shrugs. “If he hires you, he’ll give you a new one. If not, well, you won’t need one. He won’t get you a head stone to put it on.” With that he walks through the door.
Now Spike is trembling and wishes he had the time and possibility to make himself presentable. So, what do you do in the last minutes of your unlife? Whom do you pray to? Do you pray? And what if you don’t regret a thing you’ve done? Regretting is hard without a conscience. He doesn’t feel regret or guilt. He knows what right and wrong mean, how the morality changed in the last one hundred and fifty years, knows what he himself has done and put it in the categories of the human standards but can’t regret it. He mourns lost chances sometimes and thinks about how it could have been if he had reacted differently. But these thoughts are pushed aside fast. It just makes him angry or sad or pathetic.
The door opens and the bouncer comes to Spike.
“He wants to see you. Everyone gets a chance, he is fair to every creature. Don’t lie to him and you’ll be fine.” The man tries to reassure the dirty vampire. Again he can’t stop the shiver running down his spine by the respectful tone the man refers to ‘him’. Spike stands up and follows him through the door which leads to a small office. Behind a desk a woman around forty is seated. She looks up and smiles at him with kind grey eyes. A picture of Joyce, sitting in the kitchen and drinking cocoa with him while listening to his rambling about Dru, flashes through his mind. I wonder if she would make cocoa for me, too?
Spike shakes his head, tries to shake away the insanity he feels slipping into his mind every so often and concentrates on the task at hand.
The bouncer stops with his hand on the door knob and looks Spike over again.
“It was nice to meet you.” He says and just smiles.
“Yeah, thank you,…”
“Thank you, Paul.”
“You’re welcome. Ready?”
Spike draws in a shaky breath and looks at the door. “Okay.”
Paul turns the knob, opens the door and lets Spike pass through.
The vampire, gaze fixed on the thick soft carpet, walks in. Seconds later the door clicks shut behind him.
Trappedtrappedtrappedtrappedtrapped… his demon screams at him, making him struggle to keep his true face hidden. He hears a heart beat, looks up to find the human it belongs to and freezes.
Dark longish hair, brown eyes with darkness and steel in them, broad shoulders under black silk, tanned skin, full kissable lips. A nummy treat. His nummy treat.
I am dust, he thinks but can’t stop staring.
“Spike?” The man gasps in absolute surprise.
Their eyes lock and Spike is unable to look away or to say something. Eventually he breaks the contact and looks at the carpet again. Would be a bitch to get the dust out of it, he thinks.
He doesn’t hear movement, only the sound of a heartbeat coming closer. Then two fingers lift his chin and he has to look in the eyes again. These eyes full of surprise and disbelief.
“God, you look like shit, Spike! What happened to you? We thought you were dust or got your chip out and were wreaking havoc again.”
Xander’s scent engulfs the vampire. Home, he sighs inwardly, and sunshine. And slightly different… slightly off.
“Spike?” Concern blends into the deep brown pools. An expression he’s never seen there before.
“I… need a job.” Spike whispers defeated, not sure what else he could say without breaking down. Xander takes a step back. “I see.” Back to business mode every emotion disappears in the human’s eyes.
“You know what the HELLMOUTH is for?”
“It’s about pleasure. The slightly different non-human kind of pleasure. We serve those who have difficult needs.” Xander says, pauses to take a deep breath. “I assume your chip still works?”
A nod from Spike.
“I decide who gets to work here. I only sell the highest quality. I don’t like complaints. You know there's only one way to get out of my office in one piece when you’re not already working here?”
“Go over there.” Xander points to a circle of black-tiled floor directly in front of his desk. Spike suppresses a harsh intake of breath. No problem with getting dust out of the carpet then, he thinks cringing inwardly. Xander walks with him, seating himself on the dark wooden desk, arms crossed over his chest. Spike positions himself in the middle of the circle, waits for orders.
“Strip.” Xander demands and Spike does just that, quickly shedding his dirty clothes. Finally he stands there naked, eyes cast to the tiles. Xander gets sadder with every inch of flesh that is exposed. He remembers the Spike who attacked them on parent-teacher-day. He was a proud master vampire at that time, well-fed and ready to take on the world. An air of respect and pride around him. The chip took some of it off him, but it never deflated Spike’s confidence. He was excited to have this vampire in the HELLMOUTH. However, what now stands before him, this skinny, pale corpse, barely animated is a shame. It’s nearly disgusting. And the chip will be a problem. If Spike were to rise in rank.
“Turn around.” Spike does and Xander takes a look on his back. Pale and skinny like the front. Some faint crisscrossing silvery scars run along the spine.
“You got the scars before you got turned?”
“Face me again.” Spike did, eyes still on the ground. “On your knees.” There is no hesitation, the vampire just drops down, hands clasped instinctively behind his back. Xander smiles. Well trained already, he thinks. “Your sire trained you to obey and please him?” He asks to confirm his suspicion. Nod. The human takes some steps towards the kneeling big bad. “Look at me.” Spike’s head jerks back immediately. Warm hands caress his skin, outline the too-sharp cheek bones and smooth his too-long half bleached curls back. A warm pulsing thumb trails along his lips. “Change.” Xander commands. Less than a second the vampire hesitates and Xander has been in the business too long not to know the reasons. Spike is hungry, starving, and now he is supposed to shift into his demon features with a meal just inches away. It’s the hardest of tests you can come up with and the dark haired man knows it and the danger he is in. That is the reason why so many applicants end dusted.
Finally golden eyes meet brown. The warm hands caress the ridges and deformed bones until a thumb slides in between cold thin lips. The thumb feels up the elongated teeth. Xander knows how sensitive they are, he likes to suck them, lick them. He carefully nicks his skin on one of the fangs just enough to make one or two drops of blood well up. Spike tries to back away, a reaction Xander expects and prevents with a hard grip into the vampires filthy hair. Spike’s mouth closes around the human’s digit and he sucks lightly. Warm human blood directly from the source and willingly given… Spike moans and starts to purr unconsciously. Xander smiles, pleased. He withdraws his thumb, wallowing in the pleading need he can see in the golden eyes. The human waits a minute to see if Spike would lose control and attack him.
He does not.
“The chip did a good job to get a grip on your demon?”
“Fine.” Xander seats himself again on the desk, still watching Spike intently.
“Get yourself hard for me.” He orders and Spike’s hand closes around his own shaft, pulling it to hardness in seconds. It’s something Xander admires. The vampire’s body is in such a bad shape, starving, dirty and ready to break into a thousand pieces but Spike still manages to get rock hard in moments. When a drop of pre-cum gathers on the head, Spike stops in his motions.
“Really well trained.” Xander chuckles. “If you weren’t starving and filthy I would test your skills but I’ll leave it at that.” Spike crouches down defeated. He knows he failed and will be dust in the next moment.
Xander chuckles again. “You passed the test so far. No need to get ready to die. I know what you can look like when you’re back to full strength and you proved to be able to hold your demon at bay and to follow orders. You get hard when asked. I know you’re nearly a hundred and forty and you kept Angelus, Darla and Dru company, so you should have the sexual skills my guests desire. You didn’t get this job because we know each other, I put you through the same test I would any applicant and I would never fuck someone so ready to crumble to dust. So, Wil, welcome to the HELLMOUTH.” A truly evil smirk flicks over Xander’s face.
“Thank you, Xander.”
“It’s Alex since I left Sunnydale.”
“Thank you, Alex.”
“You can stand now. I think your duster means a lot to you, so you can keep it. The other clothes and your shoes are important to you?”
“Okay, keep them. The rest gets thrown away. I’ll get you everything you need. Tonight you will stay in a small room with a cot and a little bathroom. You get as much blood as you want, as soon as you want it, every time you want it from now on. You are not allowed to hurt or kill anything or anyone. Tomorrow you get your new room, the rules and answers to every question you have. Until then I want you to stay in the room and rest. You are safe now. No-one touches you until I say so and tell you. Understood?” The determined expression in the human’s face makes Spike smile shyly and nod frantically. Safe, blood, shower, rest, is a mantra that builds into the vampire’s mind.
“Good, *Wil*. I’ll get Mary to show you the room.”
Alex walks around his desk and pushes a button on the intercom. “Mary? Please come and get *Wil*.”
Seconds later Mary, the woman who reminds Spike of Joyce, rushes into the room with a big black robe in her hands.
“Oh, Alex, I so hoped you would take him in! He has such pretty eyes!”
Xander laughs. “Yeah, that he has. He’ll be beautiful. Mary meet Wil, also known as Spike or William the Bloody. He is nearly one hundred and forty. Master Vampire fucked up by the government. It’s a shame, isn’t it?” Mary’s wide impressed eyes roam over Wil’s body, her hands follow soon. “You poor baby! I’ll get you back in shape in no time!” She pets him, pokes his flesh to register all the damage that has to heal. The robe is handed to Wil and he puts it on, grabs his duster and shoes and waits for her to guide him to his room. His mind still repeating safe, blood, shower, rest.