A/N: This story was written about 1 1/2 years ago, but I thought it'd be nice to re-post it here. It contains lots of crack, plenty of meta and a ton of shippiness. (It really is *everything* friendly, trust me.) The story is set sometime pre-'Reset' in TW S2, and post-NFA. It is also an AU offshoot of a Buffy-verse fic of mine, but all you need to know is that Illyria can open portals, and that she, Spike and Angel are on a quest of sorts looking for something to bring down W&H.
Disclaimer: Spike, Angel and Illyria belong to Joss and ME. Jack and all of Torchwood belong to RTD and the BBC. All I've got are evil plotbunnies.Captain Spike
“What was that?”
Jack listened to all the odd bleeps, head tilted, as Tosh frantically checked all of her equipment.
“I thought your Rift-predictor programme said 4 am, and it’s barely 1...”
“It wasn’t the Rift,” she replied, frowning and bringing up various screens full of readings. “I... I’ve never seen anything like it. But there was definitely a power surge of some sort. I think I can track it... yes, yes I can.” Then she looked up. “Whatever it is, it’s on the move.”
“OK...” Jack grabbed his coat from Ianto and took the tracking device out of Tosh’s hands. “Gwen, Ianto - you’re with me. Tosh, let me know the second something else happens. Owen - get ready to deal with anything!”
Moments later the three of them were in the car, following the bright spot on the screen. The town was mostly empty, but as they cruised along, trying to apprehend their target, they suddenly heard a scream close by.
In an instant Jack was out of the car, running down the side street where the sound seemed to be coming from. And then he froze.
In the paltry light from the scattered streetlights he saw a nasty looking youth with a terrified woman in his arms, pointing a gun at a man a few feet away. The man’s hair was bleached blond, and he wore a long, black coat, but the profile was beyond familiar, and the voice made Jack’s chest constrict in ways he couldn’t describe.
“Look mate,” the blond said, “just let the lady go, OK? ‘Cause otherwise someone’s just gonna get hurt, and that would be pretty painful for you, trust
me. Also - clearly you are an idiot, ‘cause only idiots ever bother robbing poor people! I mean honestly, she can’t have more than twenty quid in her purse - just look at her shoes! So stop being even more of a moron than you are and hand over the gun, yeah?”
“Don’t come any closer! I’m - I’m warning you!” The kid was clearly terrified, but John - or whatever he called himself now - just laughed.
“What are you gonna do? Shoot me?” He took another step closer - all swagger and self-confidence - and then the boy fired.
The bullet hit John squarely in the chest, causing him to stagger backwards, and then his heel caught the curb, sending him crashing to the ground.
Jack - suddenly understanding exactly how the Doctor had felt when Lucy shot the Master - ran forwards, crying out. Seeing him the youth let go of the girl and ran off, but Jack’s vision was solely focussed on the bleeding man on the ground.
Kneeling down he carefully cradled him in his arms, unable to stop his hand shaking as he stroked the other’s face. John was staring up at him, a look of utter astonishment in his eyes, but Jack swallowed and tried to smile. “It’s OK... we’ll... we’ll make sure you pull through. Just... hang on! You're too pretty to die, you know
The smile never reached his eyes, as Jack realised he could feel no pulse under the already too-cool skin, and, heart sinking, he bent down for a final kiss.
Next thing he knew a fist connected with his face.
Clutching his bleeding nose he looked up at John who was standing over him, looking beyond furious.
“What the hell
do you think you’re doing, you bloody perverted fairy? Who are you? No, don’t tell me - you’re the local weirdo, trolling round the streets at night looking for random people to molest.”
?” Jack shook his head. “It’s me
you idiot, so just drop the act John. You need medical attention - even if the bullet missed the heart you’ll pass out from blood loss soon.”
John’s eyes narrowed, and he slowly shook his head. “I’ll be just fine, thank you, and I am not your ‘John’ whoever he is. So kindly fuck off and take your little friends with you. Presuming they’re your friends and not the people come to take you back to the loony bin.” He waved disdainfully towards Gwen and Ianto who had now arrived - both of their faces registering shock and hostility. Ianto's especially, but Jack couldn’t worry about that now.
Springing to his feet he shook his head, as a sinking feeling began in his stomach. This was John all over - a new trick for every situation. “Sorry - not letting you go before you tell me exactly
what you’re doing here John.”
,” the other replied through clenched teeth, “is Spike
“Fine!” Jack answered, trying not to let the anger take hold. “New look, new name - got it. Love the hair by the way, the scar is nice, the coat is to die for... although I think the boots were better before. However, Spike
- and really, why not ‘Captain’ Spike? - the amnesia act is cute, but not that
cute, so please stop it.”
In a flash he reached out and grabbed Spike’s wrist - but instead of the wriststrap he caught hold of something else, and a second later discovered that it was apparently some sort of spring-loaded mechanism, judging by the stake that was pointed straight at his jugular.
“Touch me again,” Spike said in a low voice. “And I’ll stick this where the sun don’t shine, understood?”
Jack smirked. “Wouldn’t be the first time!”
Spike pulled back sharply, a surprisingly genuine look of horror on his face.
“OK, that’s enough. Oh, and Angel,” he turned his head towards the shadows, “will you kindly stop laughing your head off and try explain to this idiot that I’m not his long lost toy boy!”
And out into the orange glow of the streetlights stepped a tall, dark-haired man, also dressed entirely in black - trying to keep a straight face, but not succeeding very well.
“Um, hi... I’m Angel and...” a wide grin spread across his face, “Sorry, but that was the funniest thing I’ve seen in years. Should’ve had a camera.”
Chuckling he shook his head. “Anyway, I can guarantee that Spike is not your... ex-wife or whatever.”
Jack took a calming breath and caught Spike’s eyes. “So... you moved on. Good. Good.”
Then he let his eyes travel appreciatively over the stranger. “Cute too. Still
Spike’s jaw dropped. “You think he’s - we’re - what is wrong
with you? Actually, you know what? That’s it, I’m leaving.”
Angel however was just staring at him, looking oddly befuddled. “Did he just call me ‘cute’?”
“Oh I am not
letting you leave!” Jack said, and he could hear the others draw their guns. “I know
you, and I’m not letting you get away with any crazy schemes this time.”
Spike laughed and shook his head. “Aw look, it’s a Scooby team with guns. Let me guess, you’re some sort of rag-tag band of hero-types protecting the Earth, yeah?”
”We are highly trained professionals dealing with alien threats,” Gwen answered, in her best no-nonsense voice.
Spike smiled wryly. “Well if we see any UFOs we’ll let you know. Angel - where did Illyria go?”
“Set off after the handbag thief, dunno what’s keeping her.”
“Oh great,” Spike sighed. Then he looked at Jack and shook his head. “Should concentrate on keeping your current boyfriend happy, mate, if you want some advice.” He quickly shot Ianto a pointed look, then caught Jack’s eyes. “Sorry I happen to look like your evil ex, but-”
“No!” Jack cut in. “Not look ‘like’
, you idiot. You are
him. We were together for five years
, I’d know you anywhere
. Maybe someone actually did
steal your memories, in which case it’s even more important that you don’t leave.”
He saw Spike open his mouth, but kept talking. “What do you want from me, Spike? I do
miss you, in case you were wondering. Miss everything about you - your... your wicked sense of humour, our fights, the fun we used to have, all your dirty little tricks... but - it just isn’t enough anymore.” He wondered for a moment how much to reveal, but then figured that the truth might just be the best weapon.
“I met someone else - quite a while ago now. A hero. Someone whose entire life
is dedicated to saving people, who does whatever it takes - and he... changed me, gave me a purpose. I can’t ever go back now. And trust me, if I thought that there was even one chance in a million
that you’d ever change too, I’d let you be on my team. Do you - do you get that?”
Spike was looking at him, head tilted to one side and all the anger evaporated. Instead there was a look of wonder spread across his features, and slowly he nodded.
“This may sound strange, but yes, I get it. More than you realise.”Finally
, Jack thought. Why does he always have to make everything so damn difficult? And now will he tell me about Grey?
“Look the heart-to-heart is all well and good-” Angel interrupted, but Jack shook his head.
“I don’t know what he’s told you, but you can stop it now. The game is up. And what’s more - I can prove it.”
Seeing the stubborn look on Angel’s face, Jack pulled back his sleeve and quickly pressed a button. He shot Spike a smirk.
“I’ve still got the message that you left last time.”
Spike and Angel fell silent as they watched the recording, and when it was finished Angel shook his head. “Can you re-play it? Maybe pause it?”
“Sure,” Jack answered, and Angel looked from the hologram to Spike and back again.
“He’s right,” Angel finally said, “that is
you... if with a more gaudy dress sense. Guess you’ve got a double in this dimension.”
“Oh no no no no,” Jack said, looking from one to the other. “You are not pulling that
one! I was told that it was impossible
to travel between worlds anymore, by none other than-”
Spike shrugged and cut him off. “Well you were misinformed, mate.” He studied the hologram again. “Do I look that old?”
“No,” Angel shook his head. “This guy must be at least 40.”
Looking relieved Spike tilted his head and walked around the hologram of John again. “Love the katana - that’s nice. And the boots look good too. Hey-” he caught Jack’s eyes. “Is he any good with the weapons, or are they just for show?”
“He’s excellent,” Jack said shortly, as for the first time he actually began to consider the possibility that this wasn’t
his old partner. Spike smirked. “Well that’s something at least, even if he is a poofter.”
Jack almost choked. “As if he’d ever settle for just one sex, not to mention just one species...”
Spike looked up sharply. “What do you mean?”
Gwen answered, voice deceptively smooth. “Well apparently he’ll do anything that moves - I saw him check out a poodle.”
Spike’s jaw dropped. “A poodle
? That is...” he held up a hand. “OK, vampire here, pretty much wrote the book on deviant, but a poodle
“Excuse me, but... you said you were a what
?” Jack asked, astonished.
Spike smirked. “A vampire
. Probably should have mentioned that before?”
Jack shook his head. “Don’t be ridiculous, vampires aren’t... real...”
His voice dropped off as Spike’s face began changing. Within seconds he was looking like a strange human-weevil hybrid with ridges and fangs, and those beautiful blue eyes were now yellow and cold like a cat’s. Jack couldn’t remember any species that did that.
Looking infuriatingly smug, despite the altered face, Spike caught his eyes. “I’m guessing your ex wasn’t a demon in the literal sense, eh?”
Silently Jack shook his head again, unable to find his voice.
?” Ianto asked, voice a little shaky, and Spike nodded.
“Vampire: Undead, bloodsucking creature of the night. Guess you must have heard of them, yeah? Dracula ring a bell? Well he’s real back where we come from. Owes me eleven quid, the tight, narcissistic bastard.”
“Sir...” Ianto’s voice was firmer, but had an incredulous note. “According to the scanner... he’s dead. There’s no heartbeat, no pulse, no... anything.” Jack turned as Ianto came forwards and he studied the screen silently. Then he slowly pointed it at Angel, and identical stats popped up.
Spike had let his human face reappear and was now standing by Angel’s side, arms crossed. He shot the other a look.
“If you breathe a word
about this to Buffy...”
Angel smiled innocently. “Who needs words? I was thinking of making a painting or something. I could call it ‘Pieta’.”
Spike scowled. “Always were a blasphemer, Angel. Anyway, I’ll just tell her that you’ve gone evil again, and then watch as she stakes you. Can’t laugh when you’re dust blowing in the wind.”
There was a short pause as Angel tried to look serious, and then a wide grin spread across his face.
“Still the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. You know, I think it even beats Andrew’s big reunion speech... ‘My therapist thought I was holding onto false hope, but... I knew you'd come back.’
” He laughed again and shook his head. “What could it be about you that makes all the boys go wild, Spike?”
In a flash Spike had punched him, but Angel just kept laughing. “Oh, violence now. The last resort of the man with no defence. Hey - should we warn the poor mothers of Cardiff? 'Lock up your sons, Spike is in town!”
Spike tried to punch him again, but Angel easily blocked it.
“Um... excuse me,” Jack cut in, but Spike shot him a withering look.
“Think we’re done here, Princess.”
“That’s Captain Jack Harkness to you,” Jack retorted, but Spike scoffed. “Don’t get on with Captains I‘m afraid.”
Angel coughed a little. “Except when you decide you
are the Captain.”
“Huh?” Spike turned, and then suddenly seemed to recall something. “Oh yes! The sub... I’d forgotten that.” He grinned. “Captain Spike
. Has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?”
“Did you also forget that you killed a man for that title?”
Angel wasn’t laughing anymore and Spike shot him an angry look. “Oh we are not
playing the guilt trip game tonight-”
“Listen!” Jack said, and they both turned to look at him. “I was wondering if... well we’ve never come across vampires before. We’d be very grateful if you’d come back to our base so we could do some tests maybe?”
He was going to say more, but both the vampires suddenly looked very hostile. Spike’s eyes had narrowed and he slowly shook his head.
. Of course we’re going to meekly follow the secret government organisation that wants to do experiments on us. I don’t think so. I’ve been a lab-rat once and I’ll be damned if I’m bloody walking into the lion’s mouth of my own free will.”
“Wait, that wasn’t...” Jack’s voice trailed off as movement behind the two men caught his attention. They turned their heads, and Jack saw Spike relax. “Finally
. And what’s she picked up this time?”
Jack watched mesmerised as a diminutive female figure walked up the middle of the street. Her features were stunning and glacial, blue colouring tinting the edges of her face, and rendering her eyes as cold as icicles. Her entire body was encased in one of the most incredible leather suits he’d ever seen, so tight that he was unsure if it was clothing or skin... although most incredible of all was the fact that in one hand she loosely held a chain, the other end of which was looped around the neck of a Weevil, the creature meekly following behind.
As she reached her fellow travellers, Jack smiled widely as he caught her eyes.
! Tell me gorgeous, what planet are you
But the woman (if that is what she was) ignored him completely and turned to Angel. “This world is a parallel universe to our own. Our quest is uncertain here.”
“Figured that one out already Blue,” Spike replied, then turned to Jack, a far too familiar smug smirk on his face. “Oh and Flashheart - she’s not an alien. She’s a God
Jack stared back, frowning, but then noticed stifled sniggering. Turning his head he looked at Gwen and Ianto, both of whom suddenly looked very serious.
Slowly he turned back to Spike, but still heard Ianto’s quiet and perfectly deadpan “Woof” and Gwen’s involuntary splutter.
“Hey!” He shot Ianto a quick, sharp look, but then heard Spike laughing.
“Good to know that Blackadder is around here as well, eh Baldrick?”
He glanced at Angel, who was frowning. “What are you talking about?”
Spike shook his head, catching Jack’s eyes. “Don’t mind him, he’s a cultural ignoramus.”
”Hey!” Angel shot back. “A few years ago I represented every major Hollywood star.”
“Still think you should have done away with Tom Cruise when you had the chance,” Spike muttered, but before Angel could answer the strange female cut through.
“Why do you always bicker like children?” she asked, disapprovingly. “Time is wasted. We shall leave. I... am not entirely sure how we ended up here.”
“The inter-dimensional sat-nav drove us off a cliff, did it?” Spike asked. The blue woman shot him a murderous glance, but turned to look at what was obviously her new pet.
“Um,” Angel pulled a face and nodded towards the Weevil. “You’re not keeping that.”
“I do as I please half-breed!” She turned and shot the Weevil a glance. “It reminds me of the hellhounds that were kept in my courts in the Realm of Despair.”
Jack blinked at this. Maybe she was insane? Powerful and insane and thinking she was a god - not really the best combination. Angel sighed and looked at Jack. “What is it? Is it... trainable?”
“It’s an alien. We call them Weevils, but we know nothing about them, except that they can be extremely vicious.”
an alien?” Angel looked sceptical.
“Just be careful-” Jack replied, getting a little nervous since he could tell that the Weevil was beginning to get agitated. Then suddenly it jumped at Spike, teeth bared and hands outstretched.
Before Jack had time to react, Spike spun round with unnatural speed, kicking the creature solidly in the ribs. With a painful screech it collapsed and Spike sighed. “Illyria, just bloody kill it already, OK? It’s far more trouble than it’s worth, even if it is an alien.” He looked up at Jack. “Unless you want it?”
Jack opened his mouth, not entirely sure what to say, and then found himself speechless as ‘Illyria’ with the utmost elegance turned round and effortlessly tore the weevil’s head off.
He heard Gwen gasping, and saw Ianto carefully lift up his gun again.
“Sir...” Gwen’s voice was hesitating, but firm, “are you sure we should let them go? Aren’t vampires... you know... evil?”
Spike had observed them with a small smile, and shook his head. “Not these two. Reformed you see. Actually - here’s my card!”
He brought out a wallet and fished out what looked like a standard business card. Then, with a look in his eyes that Jack didn’t trust one tiny little bit, he handed it over.
Jack’s jaw dropped as he read it out. “’SPIKE. Full-time Champion and Saviour of the World.’ Excuse me?
I mean... John tried to pull some fast ones, but this is in a league of its own.”
Spike shrugged. “You’re the one who started talking about heroes. Told you I knew what you were on about. And please call off your little friends, being shot hurts like hell. Actually that reminds me...”
Pulling a knife out of one of his boots he carefully extracted the bullet from his chest, then tossed it to Jack. “There. Keep it as a souvenir. Should have some vampire DNA on it, or whatever you’re after.”
Illyria had turned away and, as Jack watched mesmerised, a circle of blue light seemed to grow out from her fingertips.
Suddenly Jack’s earpiece crackled to life. “Jack! That strange reading is appearing again!” Tosh’s voice was excited, and Jack nodded. “So I see.” Hastily walking over to the trio, he spread his arms.
“Wait. Please come with us - just for a little while. Promise we won’t do any crazy experiments! If you really are heroes, then... I don’t know... You could help us? We have several artefacts that maybe you could classify... And I know that one of my colleagues would love to take a look at that... Rift opening ability you seem to have!”
Spike and Angel shared a look, then Angel asked, “What do you mean ‘rift’? She’s creating a portal. Or is this just different terminology?”
“Um... there is a rift in time and space here. All sorts of things come through it. Thought that’s how you came here too.”
The portal had disappeared as Illyria listened. She turned to Angel, and he shook his head, an incredulous look on his face. “They have a hellmouth. Or something like...”
A smile crept into the corner of Spike’s mouth. “Cardiff. The Sunnydale of Britain.”
Then Angel turned to Jack, carefully eyeing him up. “What kind of artefacts?”
Spike and Illyria turned their heads almost in unison, and the three exchanged looks that Jack dearly wished he knew what meant.
“You think that-” Spike let the sentence hang, and Angel shook his head lightly.
“Dunno. But it could be. I mean considering how many items were stored in Sunnydale...”
Spike nodded. “Good point. Illyria?”
“It seems the most promising place for our quest,” she replied, and Spike turned to Jack. “Very well. Lead the way, Cap’n. Oh and if you try to lock me up or put anything in my head you’ll share the Weevil’s fate, OK?”
The dazzling smile that followed his words left Jack suddenly breathless. Spike’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t say anything else, so Jack nodded and asked them to follow, secretly wondering what they could be looking for, but figuring that they’d probably not tell. Was he being crazy, trusting them?
As they walked back to the car, Ianto quietly sidled up to Jack. “Excuse me sir, but are you sure about this? They’re clearly dangerous.”
Jack glanced at him, before his eyes drifted towards Spike who was using the Weevil’s head as a football. Next to him Angel was carrying the body with no apparent difficulty, despite its not insubstantial weight.
“You are questioning my motives.”
“Yes, I am.” Ianto’s voice was deadly serious, and Jack shot him a warning look - he was really not the mood for more arguments. Ianto didn’t flinch. “When Captain John turned up we all nearly ended up dead because of your... attachment. Forgive me for being cautious.”
Before Jack could answer, Spike turned and replied, the Weevil head precariously balanced on a finger. “Trust me Pretty Boy - if we wanted to kill you, you’d be dead already. However we have a strict policy of saving humans, not killing them. And don’t get all worked up over your Boss’s crush - I am not
interested in any threesomes! Actually - not interested, full stop. I’ve already got one tall, broody bloke in my life, really
not wanting any more.”
“I’m not broody!” Jack protested, looking to Ianto to back him up, but instead Ianto nodded.
“Yes, you are.”
Before Jack could argue his case they reached the SUV, and Angel tilted his head. “You’re called ‘Torchwood’? Weird name.”
very reassuring to vampires,” Spike added, “what with being of a somewhat flammeable disposition.”
“Look - the organisation was founded by Queen Victoria. Can’t really go changing the name now,” Jack replied, annoyed that the name was causing bother yet again, but grateful that at least they were getting in the vehicle without any protests - or re-naming suggestions.
“Queen Victoria? Really?” Spike sounded thrilled. “Brilliant woman! Met her once when I was a boy - highlight of the year, that was.”
From his place next to Jack, Ianto turned, surprised, “When you were a boy? Are you a timetraveller too?”
“Timetraveller?” Spike looked at Jack with renewed interest. “Um no. But I was born in 1853. Died 1880.”
“I see,” Ianto replied, shooting Jack a look he couldn’t quite work out, but Jack wasn’t able to pursue the issue since he had to call up Tosh and Owen and explain what was happening.
Standing with Spike, Illyria and Angel by the fountain a little later, Jack was pondering what would be the easiest way of getting them down, and in what order. He’d let Ianto and Gwen take the car round, and had tried to give them a few moments to collaborate his story - Owen had sounded more than incredulous, which wasn’t surprising.
Finally he motioned to Spike with a hand. “Spike - please come here and stand next to me. I’ll back for the rest of you in a moment.”
Spike shot him a wary look, then cautiously stepped on.
But just as the lift set in motion, Illyria joined them, looking very smug at the panicked look that suddenly came over Jack’s face as he tried to keep his balance on the now very cluttered paving slab.
Spike however was looking around, eyes widening as he excitedly studied the Hub from their bird’s eye vantage point.
! Now I have spent a lot of time in sewers, but this is something else.” Taking in the view he smiled. “The latest in sewer chic, clearly.”
Jack frowned a little at the words, but then Spike lifted his hands in annoyance. “Bloody hell this thing’s slow! Look, I’ll just jump down and you can go back for Angel - trust me, he’ll be tearing up the concrete in a minute.”
“What? No! Spike
Before Jack knew what had happened the other had indeed jumped off. Staring down after him, heart in his throat, Jack saw the vampire easily land on both feet far, far below, before looking around at the rest of the team with a wide grin.
“Jack?” Gwen called up, and he nodded cautiously. “Send it back up.”
Illyria frowned, shaking her head. “This small square is inadequate for so many bodies.”
Jack wanted to point out that she
had been the one to jump on unbidden, but then she too leapt off.
Unable to help himself Jack started laughing - sometimes life just seemed to want to shake him up by throwing something utterly new and ridiculous at him. And despite everything he loved it when that happened.
When he came back down with Angel Illyria was busy inspecting everything within sight, but Spike was waiting for them, being eyed carefully by Tosh and Owen - Gwen and Ianto both radiating ‘what did we say?’
“This the whole team?” Spike asked, and Jack nodded.
Spike shot them a speculative look. “No blonde though. Need a blonde.”
The silence that greeted his words was so profound that Spike began to look distinctly uncomfortable. “What did I say?”
“Only word-for-word what ‘Captain John Hart’ said when we first met. Same inflection, same look - same everything
,” Owen replied, grimly.
“Oh,” Spike replied, somewhat put out. He shot Angel a swift look, then shrugged a little. “But blondes have more fun - just ask my girlfriend!” A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, but Gwen eyed him levelly. “Is she by any chance a recently deceased brilliant scientist who happens to own a giant diamond?”
“Huh?” Spike looked genuinely puzzled. “She’s a Slayer - which means that she kills nasty things with big shiny weapons. Has died twice by the way, since you ask, but is just as gorgeous as ever and very
much alive. And she’s blonde! Well not a natural one...” He stopped and thought for a moment. “Thinking about it, then my first girlfriend was a brunette, and we never lacked for fun in the 120 years we were together. Maybe the blonde thing is just about aesthetics?”
Jack suddenly felt faint. “You were with someone for one hundred and twenty years
Spike lifted an eyebrow. “Vampire here. Immortal and all that. Didn’t we cover this already?”
“No no - I mean, you
were with one
woman for all that time?”
Spike nodded slowly, as though doubting Jack’s brain capacity. “Ye-es. Loved her to pieces. Would have done - and did - anything for her. Then of course I met Buffy and we get that whole ‘meeting a hero and changing’, long story cut short etcetera.”
“But you loved her? And now you love this Buffy?”
Spike spread his arms wide, clearly exasperated at the questions. “What’s so friggin’ weird about that? Don’t you have love in this dimension?”
Jack didn’t know how to respond. Mutely he caught Angel’s eyes, and Angel nodded. “Used to be a poet. Hopeless romantic - lets women wrap him around their little finger.”
Jack was still speechless, and seeing that Spike was obviously confused Ianto cleared his throat.
“Captain John believed life to be basically pointless, with money and casual sex as the only consolation.”
Spike stared at him. “And this guy is supposed to be me, how
Ianto shook his head, then held forward the tray he’d been carrying the entire time. “Weapons please.”
After some grumbling Spike and Angel complied, although Spike sent Jack a dirty look.
“Don’t need weapons to kill people.” Then he suddenly grinned. “Hey Angel - remember when you cut off that necromancer’s head with a tray?”
“Haynes. His name was Haynes. And how could I forget?”
Angel’s look was half reprimand, half amused remembrance; and watching them Jack dearly wished he was privvy to the lengthy conversations that so very obviously took place beneath their swift word exchanges. Somehow this fact, more than any other, proved to him that Spike wasn’t John.
Spike chuckled, but shot Jack another glance, pointing to Illyria. “And as I said - she’s
a god. If she gets mad she’ll smite you, mark my words!”
“Yeah, what’s all this god-business?”
Illyria didn’t appear in the least likely to reply, so Angel answered. “Our dimension was once upon a time a demon realm. When humans took over they ousted the demons - more or less - but some of them, called the Old Ones, who were incredibly powerful, had themselves preserved. Illyria’s followers brought her back a few years ago, but... her world-conquering plans fell through.”
He shrugged, and Jack looked around at the team, who looked back at him, as unsure how to respond as he.
“Well... I never knew that gods were that pretty,” he finally said, and Illyria shot him a withering glance.
“This is but a mere shell, wholly inadequate for showcasing my true splendor. But... your admiration is somewhat gratifying, Mortal, in its own insignificant way.”
“Ah now - that’s im
mortal.” He smirked at her, determined to make an impression one way or another, and she tilted her head and seemed to actually look at him properly for the first time.
“But you are human.”
“Oh yes. But I can’t die. Or rather... I always come back to life.”
All three strangers were now watching him curiously.
“How does that work then?” Spike asked, and Jack shook his head, not willing to talk. “Long story.”
Spike was studying him carefully, and Jack could still clearly picture John’s terror. But Spike’s eyes held what might be empathy.
“I died and came back once. Well I’ve done it twice, but the second time was a hell of a lot more painfull. Still...” he looked speculative, “there are worse fates.”
Jack blinked in surprise. Was Spike trying to unsettle him on purpose?
“Worse how?” he asked, and for a moment Spike hesitated. “Well I was a ghost for a while,” he replied, and Jack wondered what he’d meant to say originally. “Try living when you don’t even have the power to touch!”
“Still had the power to annoy!” Angel commented, and Spike grinned.
“Annoying people until they care - works surprisingly well!” Then a thought seemed to strike him.
“Hey - what about Pavayne? Think he’s still stuck in that box?”
Angel slowly nodded. “Should think so - he was way down in the basement. Could probably survive a nuclear war.”
“See?” Spike said. “Lots of worse fates.”
Underneath it all Jack could sense something that wasn’t being said, and had a feeling that even a direct question would be rebuffed. He wondered what they were hiding, and why.
Instead he looked at Tosh. “How long ‘til the Rift opens?”
“Still two hours,” she replied, and he stretched. “So, would you like a tour before Tosh and Owen attack you with all sorts of scanners and needles? Maybe a bit to eat? Actually I’m starving. Think we’ve got some Chinese still, and a couple of pizzas.”
Angel cleared his throat uncomfortably, but Spike laughed. “Chinese sounds good - but not really our thing. Do you have some blood?”
He looked around at the rest of the team, who all looked rather put out.
“What? You spend your lives cutting up aliens or goodness knows what, but you get queasy over a little blood?”
Then a thought suddenly seemed to strike him, and his eyes widened with glee. “Hey - do you have any alien blood?”
Silently Angel buried his head in his hands.***
The night turned out surprisingly well. Their guests were fascinated by the Hub’s technology, and, when they finally sat down and had some food, they all ended up deep in conversation about the differences between their worlds - the most interesting thing being the fact that magic was apparently commonplace in the alternate universe (or as commonplace as alien technology was for them).
With some trepidation Jack had shown them the contents of the safe, along with various other Rift debris, but none of it would appear to be what they were after - and then Tosh had started her tests, helped by Owen who kept muttering that he’d figure out how they worked, even if it took him all night. Spike grinned and sang “It’s a kinda magic...” and Angel very carefully explained everything he knew about vampire lore.
The predicted Rift opening was distinctly underwhelming. As far as they could tell all that came through was a penknife from the 18th century. Angel had picked it up when Jack brought it back, remarking that he’d once had a very similiar one, but then Spike had snatched it, and, with a wide grin and no permission, used it to cut the other’s wrist to give Tosh a vampire blood sample.
Tosh had been mortified and apologetic, but Spike had waved away the casual violence with a shrug. “Hey, he’s used to it. It’s only a few weeks since I got him stabbed through the chest. Oh and if you observe closely, you’ll see the wound closing before your eyes - accelerated healing is just one of the handy things included in the vampire package.”
It was nearly dawn by now, and the team, tired, but used to all-nighters, was trying to get Myfanwy to come far enough down for Illyria to inspect - the god was fascinated by a creature as old as herself, but of course refused to help.
Jack found himself standing somewhat apart, studying the group - at the centre, hindering as much as helping, was Spike, laughing as he watched Gwen balancing precariously on a ladder with a slice of raw meat (doused in barbecue sauce) above an improvised suspended paralysing field that Tosh had rigged up to catch the pterodactyl.
Seconds later Gwen toppled off, falling through the field and into the arms of Spike and Angel - both of whom had moved with that freaky vampire speed of theirs as soon as they saw the ladder wobbling.
Gwen glared at them all as Tosh tried her best to undo the paralysis, and Spike - with much relish - related a story about his girlfriend’s little sister who’d apparently been in the same predicament once, thanks to an unpleasant flesh-eating demon.
“Oooh,” he suddenly said, looking at Tosh. “Is she posable? I’m sure Anya said that Dawn was!”
“No!” Tosh answered, and Spike sighed tragically. “Magic is so much more fun!” But his eyes were sparkling, and the little smile in the corner of his mouth made Gwen mock-slap him as soon as she got her feeling back. Spike laughed, and Jack could see the rest of the team good-naturedly roll their eyes.
As Owen with a sigh climbed the ladder, Jack made up his mind.
“Spike? Would you mind coming with me for a moment? I think they might actually get something done without you there to distract them.”
“What? Are you saying that my killer cheekbones and overwhelming sexual magnetism is making them incapable of concentrating? Well, you might have a point. Also, guess it’s not really fair to tempt them - what with me being unavailable and all!”
“Please Spike,” Angel said with a pained look on his face. “Just leave.”
A few moments later Jack finally found himself alone with Spike, having very carefully avoided Ianto’s eyes as they were leaving.
The vampire looked around the office, poking his nose into different places, and then pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and slowly lit it, a look of bliss on his face as he took a deep drag. Jack couldn’t help frowning, knowing exactly how annoyed Ianto would be, but Spike shot him a droll look.
“Look mate - I’m dead and you can’t die, so don’t get your knickers in a twist.”
Slowly Jack shook his head. “You know your people skills really aren’t great.”
Spike grinned and sat down in Jack’s chair behind the desk. “So I’ve been told. ‘S probably because I’m not ‘people’.”
Jack tried to gather his thoughts together, but Spike took another deep drag and then spoke, voice suddenly serious.
“I’m not staying.”
“I... I wasn’t-” Jack said, feeling utterly blindsided, but Spike continued, ignoring him.
“And I’m not returning either. In, you know, a century’s time, once our significant others have shuffled off this mortal coil... That is presuming of course that I’m still alive then, an’ haven’t been dusted or turned human.”
Jack didn’t know what to say. Spike studied him, eyes old and dark, and Jack worriedly wondered if vampires could read minds. “See it’s not me you want - it’s him
. He obviously returned at some point recently, trying to lure you back to your old life, but you sent him packing. And then I
turn up - same killer smile and sweet demeanour, but all reformed and immortal to boot. ‘Cept - I’m not him. Even if you got me to love you - the way you so clearly wish he’d do - it’d never be the same. And I don’t fancy being a surrogate, trust me.”
Silence followed as Spike continued to smoke, and finally Jack tried to laugh, hoping his voice wasn’t as shaky as he felt. “You know I... I didn’t really think that far, how did you...” he shook his head, and Spike smiled a little, sitting back and planting his feet on the desk.
“Well yours truly has spent his entire life being Love’s Bitch, and by now I know most of the ways in which love can screw you over, I think.” He shrugged, before suddenly chuckling.
“Also if I don’t get out of here Ianto’s going to be whittling stakes soon.”
Jack couldn’t help his eyes flitting towards the sounds they could hear from the rest of the team, and raised an eyebrow. Spike grinned. “Oh the boy hates me with the burning intensity of thousand fire-y suns already, even if he’d never let on. Have seen his type before - so bloody proper and controlled until you hit the wrong button, and before you know where you are, you’ve got a Chernobyl on your hands.”
Jack shook his head. “That’s... remarkably insightful.”
Spike shrugged again. “As I said, I know the type. Homo Sapiens - fascinating species to study. It’s funny though, because he really has no cause to worry, Buffy aside. Basically I just don’t really swing that way. No offence.”
Feeling on somewhat firmer ground, Jack shot him a shrewd look. “So you and Angel never
...? I mean, sorry to be presumptuous, but there are... vibes. Old married couple vibes.”
Spike smiled, as though enjoying a private joke. “Ah but that’s... different. Angel’s family.”
?” Jack’s eyes narrowed, trying to get that piece of information to work, and Spike chuckled.
“Anne Rice got a few things right. Angel’s my grandsire - that is, he made Drusilla, who made me. And back in the day, when we were evil...” His voice trailed off, and there came a wicked glint in his eyes that Jack recognised far too well. “As I said, vampires wrote the book on deviant.”
,” Jack replied, realising that this was probably all he’d ever get out of him, but also being able to fill in most of what was implied. Then a thought struck him.
“Wait - did you say you might become human
? How does that work? More of that magic or do you happen to have a Chamelion Arc that rewrites DNA?”
“A what now?” Spike asked, blinking in surprise. “No no, this is a prophecy.”
?” Was there no end to the bizarre things these people believed in?
Thoughtfully Spike blew out a cloud of smoke, turning the light even hazier.
“It’s all about an apocalypse - as usual. But... it has an epilogue of sorts where it says that ‘the vampire with a soul’ will, once he has fulfilled his destiny, have his past washed clean and become human. As a reward if he fights on the side of good I guess.”
He took one last drag of the fag and then stubbed it out on an empty plate. “So, it’s either me or Angel. He says he signed it away, but these things are hopelessly fickle and I trust the Powers That Be about as much as you trust this John of yours. Still... it might just happen.” He studied the end of the cigarette, and Jack smiled a little.
“I see. But... Sorry if I’m prying, but this is kinda weird... what was that about having your past wiped clean? Sounds a little... religious
? And you don’t really strike me as the religious type.”
The other met his eyes frankly, shrugging. “Nothing religious about it. Very simple really - because of the soul I’ll go to hell when I die one day. Same for Angel. Unless we get this shanshu. That’s what it’s called - the shanshu prophecy.”
?” Jack inquired, thrown. He’d accepted Illyria’s ‘god’ status more or less, being the living proof that such power could be real. But afterlife? He knew better than anyone that there was nothing there. Although... Suzie had said something...
“Eternal damnation, hellfire, all that crap? Heard of it, right? Happens to be literal where we’re from.”
“I don’t get it.”
Spike swung his feet back down on the floor and began playing with the Newton’s cradle, then started speaking without looking up. “Your John is a con man, yeah? Killing people if they’re in his way, that kinda thing?”
Jack nodded, and Spike sighed before continuing quietly, intently watching the little metal balls bounce backwards and forwards. “Well I spent more than a century killing people - for no other reason than it was fun. Ate a good portion of them, mind you, but mostly it was just a party. Got off on it. Men, women, children - made no difference.”
His eyes had unfocussed, and Jack had a sudden and unbidden memory-flash of The Master - eyes glittering in anticipation as he stood before him, a knife in his hands. “So Jack... how am I going to kill you today? I was thinking - maybe a little light torture just to get the party started...”
Jack swallowed, but thankfully Spike didn’t seem to have noticed anything, as he kept talking - mostly to himself Jack realised.
“Slaughtered an orphanage once, just for the hell of it. Brought the cutest ones home to Dru to play with.” He took a deep breath and dragged a hand across his face. Then he looked up, and Jack saw a look in his eyes that had never been in John’s.
“Oh I deserve to burn.”
And Jack felt like all of a sudden whole sections of his head and heart had been rearranged. He stared at Spike like he’d never seen him before, and said, almost without realising that he was speaking out loud:
“You... you really are nothing
Spike smiled a little. “He never killed any orphans then?”
“No he didn’t, but that’s not...” Jack felt unable to really formulate what had happened, and Spike, obviously feeling a little self-conscious, stretched and got out of the chair. “Anyway it’s getting late - or early. We should be off.”
Spike turned and Jack walked up to him, studying him carefully. “If - if I’m really never going to see you again...” He slowly reached out and cupped Spike’s face. “Could I have just one kiss?”
The vampire had that look in his eyes again where he was clearly a fraction away from violence, and Jack shook his head, trying to ignore how much that look turned him on.
“Look Spike, it’s not about him. I - I guess I just have this thing for handsome heroes.”
He could almost see the wheels turning in Spike’s brain, but then the vampire sighed. “Angel will never let me live this down...”
And almost before he knew what was happening Jack felt himself pulled closer, and Spike’s lips on his own.
With an internal thrill of pure joy he wrapped his arms around the other man, the leather soft and smooth under his hands, and every part of him moulding himself to the body that was as familiar as his own. Without really thinking about it he deepened the kiss, and felt his partner respond the way he always did - fighting for supremacy, yet pulling closer, trying to settle a hunger that was fresh every time.
When they finally let go Spike stared at him wide-eyed, breathless despite not needing breath. After a long moment he swallowed and shook his head.
come back in a hundred years’ time,” he finally said, then stepped away giving Jack a small nod.
“Good to meet you Captain Jack.”
“Good to meet you too, Captain Spike,” Jack replied, desperately trying to still his heart and breathing. He felt like he was seeing in stereo, the man he had just begun to discover overlapping the man he had known for years.
Spike smiled a tiny smile, shooting Jack a look so familiar he almost choked.
“It’s just Spike. But you’ve made me reconsider my opinion of captains.”
With a swagger he left the office, and Jack slowly followed. He caught up with the vampire when he reached the group, where Illyria was now studying the winged dinosaur with great interest.
Angel turned apruptly as they approached and looked from one one to the other, but before he could say anything Spike caught Ianto’s eyes.
“You’re a lucky man, Ianto Jones. Enjoy him.”
Ianto stared at Spike, and then at Jack, who suddenly felt all out of words. Not that he had intended to lie or anything, but he’d not expected Spike to be so... frank. And the look in Ianto’s eyes was making him uncomfortable.
“Do you plan on telling Buffy?” Angel asked, cuttingly, and Spike’s eyes turned a little shifty. “It was only a kiss. Didn’t even have a dead preacher cluttering up the floor.”
This clearly alluded to something in the vampires’ shared past, because Angel fell silent.
And all too soon their three guests were saying goodbye.
As Spike was telling Tosh that she’d better find herself a boyfriend, or he might be tempted to come back for her - because there were some cases where he didn’t mind a threesome - Angel came up to Jack, who was yet again silently watching the blond vampire.
“Even if you had both of them side by side it wouldn’t be any less weird. Actually it’d be even more confusing.”
Jack turned sharply. “You’ve experienced something similar?”
“One of Buffy’s friends - Willow - once had a double accidentally appearing from a different dimension. Only the other one was a vampire... We should have killed her of course, but in the end we just sent her back.”
Angel’s face was thoughtful, but Spike had caught the conversation and looked up eagerly.
“Why has no one ever told me about that? A vampire Willow...” Catching Angel’s eyes, he asked: “What was she like?”
After a moment’s consideration Angel replied.
Grinning Spike shook his head. “Knew it! Almost turned her myself on two different occasions. Lucky I didn’t of course - although she did
almost destroy the world that one time.”
“Really?” Owen asked, a strange look in his eyes, and the rest of the team had fallen silent.
“Oh yeah. Her girlfriend got killed, and she went off the deep end. Powerful witch you see. Anyway, the end of the world happens all the time back where we’re from - or that’s what it feels like anyway. It’s only a problem really when you have to choose between saving the world and saving those you love...”
Spike’s voice drifted off as he and Angel both studied Illyria with haunted eyes.
“She’ll be out there somewhere, won’t she?” Spike finally said, and Angel shook his head. “Wouldn’t be her.”
“I know. But still..” Spike’s voice was soft, and Jack wondered who they’d lost. “Not just her - all the others too. Just living their lives, without-”
“We leave now!” Illyria said, sharply. “Your grief is causing the air to grow stale, and seeing your friends again would make it unbearable to be beside you. Do not forget that those you mourn died as heroes, and no fate carries more honour!”
The two vampires didn’t reply, but Spike sighed and walked up to Jack.
“Goodbye Captain,” he said, and shook his hand briefly. Jack almost expected him to reach out and kiss him the way John had, but Spike seemed lost in thought as he waved to the rest of the team. Moments later he and Angel had both stepped through Illyria’s portal, leaving the Hub suddenly feeling very quiet and empty.
“Goodnight,” Owen finally said, and then shook his head. “Guess that ought to be ‘goodmorning’. Thank god it’s Saturday.”
The others nodded, and soon Gwen and Tosh were gone too. Ianto headed off to clear away the paralysis field, somewhat stiffly declining Jack’s offer of help.
Instead Jack headed towards his office, intending to begin a report about the evening’s events. Soon however he realised that he was unable to concentrate, the night replaying itself over and over in his mind. He was shaken out of his thoughts when Ianto silently came up behind him.
“Will he be coming back?” the young man asked, and Jack slowly turned and looked up.
Ianto’s relief was obvious, but he tried to cover it up with his customary efficiency.
“Let me remove this,” he said, taking the plate from next to Jack’s elbow and eyeing the cigarette end with thinly veiled disgust.
“Thank you,” Jack replied, but then stopped the other with a hand on his arm.
“Look - Ianto, about tonight, I never meant to...” he studied the dark fabric under his hand, then looked up, “This whole fidelity thing is... still a work in progress I’m afraid.”
They looked at each other for a moment, then Ianto bowed his head in acknowledgment of the implied apology.
“Just give me a moment to tidy up the last few things,” he said, briefly meeting Jack’s eyes again, and Jack smiled widely at the promise he saw.
“I’ll be waiting,” he replied.
Then, once Ianto’s footsteps had died away, he slowly pulled Spike’s card from his pocket and re-read the rest of the text, the part he hadn’t read out loud.If you wish to contact Spike
make a suitable offering to Illyria,
God-King of the Primordium.
Alternatively contact Buffy Summers,
The Watcher’s Council, Rome.
He stared at the card for a long while, then with a small shake of his head and a tiny smile put it away in one of the desk drawers.
“Ianto,” he called out, briskly getting out of the chair. “What’s keeping you?”The End