Take Your Time
DISCLAIMER: Most of the characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No copyright infringement intended. A few minor characters of my own making will show up now and then. < > indicate thoughts and/or feelings
William sat in a dingy, rundown little pub in a less desirable part of London, getting drunk beyond all reason. He sat there, still wearing his military uniform and complaining to anyone who would listen.
"Can you believe it?" he slurred. "They demoted me for being too good at my job! Bunch of bloody wankers...." he droned into his glass. He swallowed the last of its contents before shoving it toward the man behind the counter. "It's a war, isn't it? War means death, so how can I be too good at killing?" he asked the whole room, who thought it best to ignore him. "Come on, it's not like I am a murderer or a rapist or anything that horrific," he mumbled to himself. In fact, he had never knowingly killed a woman or a child. He was just a soldier who took his work very seriously.
"Stupid Queensbury Rules....You know, you practically have to ask their permission before you kill someone these days. 'It's more sporting this way' they said. 'Just because it's a war, doesn't mean we can't be gentlemen,' " he said sarcastically, making snobby faces and mimicking an upper-class accent. He took a long drag from his cigar and blew a couple of smoke rings before continuing. "Now, if you ask me, which no one did, that is no way to win a war! You have to take 'em by surprise, sneak up on 'em while they are taking a crapper, or slit their throats while they are asleep. Don't you agree?" he asked the surly man behind the bar.
When all he received was a grunt for an answer, the soldier remained silent for a while. William the Bloody remembered his days fighting the French in Spain during the Peninsular War with some fondness. He had risen quickly in the ranks until his superiors noticed that he was enjoying the killing aspect of the war a little too much, taking great pride in his technique and number of dead, but not following the 'rules' of modern, civilized warfare. As a result, he was demoted so many times that his rank became meaningless, but neither that nor punishment seemed to curtail his merciless ways. In the end, William had just walked off one night, knowing the punishment for desertion would be severe if he were ever found. A man with his background was quickly able to find work as a mercenary, but soon he tired of the heat and the 'foreigners', so he returned to London hoping to find new opportunities.
"So," he continued suddenly, his voice much too loud for the quiet room, "I decided to put my talents to use elsewhere. I just walked away one night and never came back. I became a mercenary, that's what I did!" He searched his coat pockets for another cigar. William continued to wear his uniform even though he hadn't been a soldier for many months because it had great pockets and he thought he looked damn good in it, too.
"So, ya like to kill, do ya?" a dark-haired man who was sitting in a shadowy corner asked him.
William spared a quick glance in his direction before returning his attention to his next drink. "I didn't mind it. It was my job, but I was pretty bloody good at it, I must admit." Then the destined-to-be Spike started laughing, almost falling off his chair. "The lads in my regiment even started calling me William the Bloody, which is a little long for my liking, but fitting nevertheless."
"What part did ya like the best?"
William turned to stare at the strange man who was asking the questions. "What?" he asked, getting irritated by the cockiness in the other man's voice.
"What part of the killin' did ya like the most?" the stranger repeated, getting up and taking an empty seat next to the drunken soldier.
William surveyed the enemy quickly, to him every stranger was a potential threat, and this man seemed a little too well dressed and eloquent for the dump they were in. He decided to see if he could shock him, just for a laugh.
After another gulp from his glass, William stared the other man straight in the eye. "I liked the look in their eyes when they took their last breaths... the panic, the terror... realizing that you hold their future in your hands. You never feel quite as alive as when you are staring into the face of death. Well, as long as it's on someone else's face, that is," he added with a smirk.
The stranger didn't even bat an eye, just kept staring at him with a cryptic smile. "I'd ask you if you had ever killed anyone before," Spike continued, quickly noting the pale man's fashionable clothing. "But, by the looks of you, I'd guess you have led a bit of a sheltered life."
The other man's expression still didn't change, and the soldier finally noticed he wasn't drinking his ale. The stranger was beginning to unnerve him a bit, so William changed his tone. "You should join up and go to Spain to fight the bloody frogs, too. Lord knows you could use some sun!"
With that joke, Angelus actually laughed and bought the human another drink, brushing aside a feeling that he had met this person before. At first he was just going to wait until William left, follow him, and then drain the drunkard, thinking him just a braggart. Then, as Angelus talked to him more, he realized that the soldier had a real passion for killing, and his deviant sense of humor made the vampire conclude that they could probably make a good team. So he decided to change him instead. He could use another companion in chaos, there were just some things that you prefer to do with another man, and he could always use someone to hunt with when Darla was in one of her moods.
"A man with gifts such as yerself is wasted in the military," Angelus told him plainly. "I could use someone like ya in me line of work."
Spike stared into the man's cold, dark eyes as he took another puff from his cigarette, purposely blowing the smoke directly into his face. "And what line of work would that be?"
The smoke naturally didn't bother Angelus; in fact, he liked William's audacity. "Chaos. Murder. Mayhem. Interested?"
William thought for a moment. He somehow knew that this chance meeting would change his life completely. The way he saw it, he had three choices-- death, prison, or a life of crime. He thought that by taking Angelus's offer he was choosing the latter, but very soon he would find out just how wrong he was. The mercenary drained the last of his pint glass, stubbed out his cigar and stood up. He was ready to follow Angelus anywhere. "Yeah," he said pointedly. "I'm interested."
The two time travelers watched from outside as William followed Angelus out the door and down a dark street. Spike heard his companion's sharp intake of breath when she saw Angelus and knew that this couldn't be easy for her. He, on the other hand, was almost giddy with happiness. After all these years of waiting, the next step in his scheme to get Drusilla back was almost complete. He could almost feel his dark princess's teeth sinking into his pale flesh already.
Willow was having trouble staying put, knowing what was about to happen. Seeing Angelus again, even from a distance, was almost too much to bear. She wasn't ready to deal with it right now, so she focused on William instead. Finally she looked up at Spike, her eyes pleading and bright with unshed tears. "How can you just stand there and let yourself be murdered...watch yourself become what you are? You could stop this now and live a normal life."
"Why the hell would I want to do that?" he demanded. He was disappointed that she wasn't as excited about his changing as he was. < She would prefer that Spike never existed...probably that we had never met! >he told himself. And worse yet, he found himself wondering if she might purposely interfere with his plans as she had once threatened. For the first time since the beginning of this little escapade, he found himself doubting her intentions.
The vampire looked down on her with cold eyes and spoke bitterly. "Understand this, Willow. I don't want to be saved, not by you or anyone! So get those thoughts out of your head right now!" he commanded "I like what I am...I enjoy being a vampire." He took a step away from her and found himself desperately wanting a cigarette. < I wish they would hurry up and invent the damn things already...cigars just aren't the same! > After a moment he turned back and added, "I realize to you I am nothing, no better than an animal...some rabid dog that needs to be put down...." He didn't fully realize until that moment how much her opinion of him mattered.
Willow was quiet and wrapped her arms tightly around herself before slowly starting to head back toward her tavern home, with Spike beside her. They were both silent, lost in their own thoughts.
"I don't think you're an animal," she said finally, without looking at him. After a few more minutes of the silence, Willow spared the blonde demon a quick glance out of the corner of her eye. His face was dark and his features tight. The silence was becoming unbearable to her, and finally she realized that she had had enough of that for one lifetime. It was time to move on.
"I take that back, actually," she told him nonchalantly. "You *are* an animal...a dog."
Spike stopped to look at her, incredulous, but she went on, nonplused. "You remind me of one of those big dogs that slobbers all the time. You know , the ones that look like they have fangs...."
"Are you saying I remind you of a bloody poodle or something, *Pet*?" Spike was bewildered, not really sure yet how to take her words.
Willow started walking again, enjoying his confusion. She teased him over her shoulder. "No, Spike, of course not. I am thinking of the *really* big, drooling dogs. Remember, I have seen you while you are sleeping and it is not a pretty sight. A bulldog! Yeah, you remind me of a British Bulldog!" Willow let her face break into a huge grin, and when she did she found a little more spring in her step.
The vampire laughed and sprinted to catch up with her. "Come on, love. You can do better than a bulldog! I was thinking maybe a Mastiff or a Pitbull...Rottweiler maybe?"
Willow shook her head, and they continued on down the streets of London, their voices echoing brightly on the damp cobblestones. "No," she continued. "Shitzu possibly...or Pekinese...."