TITLE: Evil, My Way
AUTHOR: stellar_dust
FEEDBACK: Yum! *slurps* stellar_dust_x@yahoo.com
WEBSITE: http://xfiles.katycat.net/
ARCHIVE: Of course, and if you let me know where, I'll link to you.
SPOILERS: XF Closure, BtVS through Grave
PAIRING: Spike angsts a bit over Buffy. That's about all.
RATING: PG/PG-13 for language
KEYWORDS: Not Your Usual CROSSOVER. Mytharc. Etc.
DISCLAIMER: Yeah, so. You know. My brain's just messing around. It can't help itself, really. It's what proves I'm alive. So I'd really prefer that everyone just accept that, and not sue me. Also, 'My Way' is by Frank Sinatra. Unlike me, though, Spike prefers the Sex Pistols cover.
DATE: 12/03/2004

SUMMARY: Spike meets a frightened little girl during his flight from Sunnydale.

A curtain of noise preceded the lone figure along the deserted, moonlit California highway.

In fact, the entire contraption moved with such speed and fury that if an observer had chanced to venture close enough to hear the sole discernable voice amidst the cacophony, the motorcycle would have left them in the dust before they caught even a single word.

"I faced it all - and I stood tall - and did it my - aw, bloody hell, I *got* to find myself a bike with a tape deck."

Spike leaned low over the handlebars and revved the engine forward another notch, lips drawn back in a grin, relishing the powerful machine beneath him, the painful, whipping wind through his hair and his jacket. Relishing the thought that when he came back to Sunnydale, things would be *so* much different, and above all, relishing the thought that driving 90 miles an hour down a straight, empty highway, he had no energy to spare for thinking.

"Re-*grets*, I've had a few .. but then .. too few to .." Ah, damn. He couldn't go a mile without seeing Buffy's face. The way she'd looked at him, the last time they saw each other, in the bathroom, when he'd - *shit*. He'd seen fear there. She was afraid of him. And the one thing Buffy Summers never was - was afraid.

And the worst of it was, he'd liked it. He'd do anything to make her look at him that way again.

No, that wasn't the worst. The *worst* of it was, that he hated himself because he'd liked it. There was a little voice deep inside him, muttering //coward, evil, murderer, rapist, you hurt her and you deserve to die// - a voice he hadn't heard in a long, long time, and one that he no longer remembered what to do with.

For fuck's sake, he loved the girl. Hurting Buffy was the last thing in the world he'd ever want to do, and yet it was all he could think about. How delicious it would be to sink his teeth into that delicate, silky neck, and drink, drink deep, drink until she screamed in terror ..

Unconsciously, Spike had vamped out, leaning forward into the wind, grinning ferally and lost in dreams. Suddenly with a shake, his forehead smoothed again.

"Sod all. Not a man, can't be a beast - sooner I get this sodding chip out my head so I can think clearly again .."

And the cloud of exhaust and vitriol with one angsty vampire in its center roared off toward the distant lure of the Atlantic.

Samantha stumbled again, pitching forward to her hands and knees. She bit down hard on the whimper threatening to burst from her throat.

//Okay//, she told herself. //You can do this. Just a little bit farther to the road.//

Gingerly, she picked herself up and brushed the gravel from her palms. Her shirt was torn, and bloodied from the large, badly bandaged gash on her shoulder. Her face was dirty and her hair, normally if not impeccably coiffed, at least *brushed*, was tangled and sticky with sap and assorted twigs. More than anything in the world, Samantha wanted to sit down and cry for hours.

And then eat. She really wanted to eat, too.

She'd been staying away from the road for the past two days. She'd *die* before she went back to the laboratory, but now she was hungry, and her arm hurt, and she kept falling down. And as far as she could tell, no one had followed her - Jeffrey'd done exactly as she asked.

She smiled at the thought of the guileless, tow-headed boy who'd been her only friend for as long as she could remember. The smile faded when she realized she'd probably never see him again .. she'd really miss Jeff. Almost as much as she missed her brother, maybe.

If she even *had* a brother. But the only way to find out - and the only way to get something to eat - was to find civilization again.

With a sigh, she trudged a few more steps toward the highway.

Wait. Samantha stopped. There was a sound she recognized, faint, but .. she looked around. All right, there was a motorcycle coming up from that direction, and - Samantha froze. Helicopter blades, that's what it was. They *had* followed her, after all.

Desperate, she glanced wildly for cover, but the forest she'd stumbled through was miles back, and there was nothing else. Samantha dropped to the ground, trembling, and curled up into as tight a ball as she could manage.

The motorcycle noise spun to a crescendo and then vanished. She could hear the helicopter better now, and it sounded like - yes - it was moving away. She was safe for now. With a shaky sigh, Samantha started to uncurl and move on.

"Hello? Who's there?"

Oh no. She tensed again. There was no place to go, nowhere she could run, they'd take her back and cut her brain open again.

//No they *won't*,// she resolved, balling her hands into fists. //I'll die first.//

"Hey, there you are. You all right?"

"Don't *touch* me!" Samantha launched herself at the man, screaming, pummeling his chest. "I won't go back, you can't make me!"

"Whoa .. whoa, okay, no touching." He held her out at arms length and set down on her feet. "I'm just trying to help."

He brought one hand to his face and sniffed at it. "You're bleeding." He closed his eyes almost longingly for a second before wiping his hands on his jeans. "Well, come on. I'll drop you off somewhere safe."

Samantha stared at the stranger. She definitely hadn't seen him before. His English accent was *outstanding*, and in spite of his windblown white hair he couldn't have been too much older than herself.

She decided he probably wasn't working for Them, and anyway, if she wanted - well, *any* of the things she wanted, she'd have to trust somebody, right?

Samantha sniffled and wiped her nose on her sleeve. "How'd you find me?"

"Smelled your fear. Which, by the by, you shouldn't be projecting so much, out here all alone at night."

She started. "Smelled my fear? Who *are* you?"

He snorted and hunkered down in the dirt beside her. "Good question. Just 'Spike''ll do. And I'm gonna get you safe."

"I'm - I'm Samantha."

"What're you running from, Samantha?"

"The laboratory. At - at the air force base. They did things to me." She looked down and scuffed with her shoe at a patch of grass. "Tests and stuff."

"Oh, love." Spike sounded sad, but not shocked. "I know how that can be."

"I think they put something - *in* me." She reached up behind her to touch the back of her skull, just above her neck.

She looked up at Spike's sharp intake of breath. "Aw, bloody hell," he whispered to himself. "They wouldn't -"

He was looking at her with such intense compassion that she couldn't hold it back anymore; she started to cry.

"I won't go back," she sobbed. "I'm not going back, please, please don't tell me I have to, please .." Her breath came in dry, gasping heaves, and when Spike's arms very hesitantly wrapped around her shoulders, she burrowed deep in his chest, breathing in the comforting smell of his leather jacket.

"No one's making you go anywhere, love." He slowly stroked her hair until her tears subsided. "Come on. We need to move."

Samantha leaned back and blinked wearily up at him. "Where -?"

"Hello? Police! You folks all right?"

"Ah, shit." Spike stood quickly and flipped the dust off his clothes. "You go with them, Samantha. I won't be far."

"Spike, don't leave me!" she whispered, frantic not to lose the only friendly face she'd seen in years.

"I'll be close." He disappeared into the night.

Samantha sighed, squaring her shoulders, and turned to face the cops. She might have made a new friend, and she'd cling to that hope for as long as she could.

She promised herself she'd wait at least a day for Spike before she busted out of jail on her own.

Nice sort of hospital, Spike reflected. The sort that didn't seem to mind a strange vampire hanging around all day, without visiting anyone.

Especially if the vampire spent most of the day hiding in a janitor's closet. But *anyone* could do that.

And, hey. Free blood.

Spike leaned his butt against the sink and pressed his head between his hands. What the hell was he doing here, anyway? Helping some girl he didn't even know? He had a *mission*. Get to Africa, get the chip out, be himself again. Be *evil*. //This is *not* good practice for being evil, Spike old boy.//

He *did* want to screw it to the Initiative, that's sure. Yeah. If those bloody bastards wanted the girl so bad, they'd have to come through him first. And where'd they get off, putting chips in innocent little girls' heads, anyway? Demons and vampires, that was one thing, but blimey, Samantha was just a human girl, barely Dawn's age.

Dawn Summers. He liked that girl. Maybe even more than he liked her sister; Dawn'd never beaten his face to a bloody pulp.

Stop it, he told himself. How could he kill the Slayer if he was too worried about what her kid sister would think?

//All right, then, I'll kill her too. Hell, I'll just kill 'em all.// Spike waved a hand expressively and a few manic giggles escaped from his throat.

"Excuse me, I don't think you understand." The low- pitched words caught at Spike's consciousness. He cracked open the closet door and peered at the nurse's station down the hall.

"We need to take her home tonight, Miss Ray. It's very important." The speaker seemed to be a man in a long dark coat; he was standing mostly around the corner and out of Spike's line of sight.

"Well, sir, I'm not sure it's safe for her to be moved yet. ButI'llgocheckhervitals." The nurse's voice went high-pitched and scared. "Wait here, sir. And .. would you please put out your cigarette? This is a hosp .. oh! I, uh, I'll be right back."

Arbutus Ray, R.N. scurried down the hall like a frightened rat. Silently, Spike followed.

When the nurse got to room 1013, she pulled a key from the pocket of her uniform and bent to unlock the door.

//Locked in?// Spike reflected. //Okay, maybe not so nice a hospital after all.//

Arbutus left the room a few minutes later, if possible even *more* spooked than when she'd entered. She never noticed the cold, black-nailed hand nimbly swiping the keys from her pocket.

Spike let himself into Samantha's room and closed the door softly behind him. "Spike, make them leave," she whispered, eyes rolling from side to side. "They want to take me away, please make them go!"

"I'll do better than that, love. I'm taking *you* out of *here*. We'll be gone before the nurse comes back." He looked around, and not seeing any clothes, assumed the ones she'd been wearing last night were being washed somewhere. "Here, get up, put my coat on."

"No, not them." Samantha pointed in a slow semicircle around her bed. "Them!"

"What -" Spike squinted; slowly he made out the shapes of five people, translucent and blue, standing at the girl's bedside. "Who the hell are you? Ghosts?"

"We're here to save the girl from a fate worse than death. Please leave," said a tall, dark-haired spectre with the air of someone who doesn't expect to be listened to.

"Like hell. I'm doing the saving today, buddy." Spike flexed his fists and glanced around the room. How could you fight a ghost?

"You can hear them?" asked Samantha in surprise, in the same moment that a short blond ghost asked "You can hear us?"

The ghost's eyes widened, and she backed up fearfully. "Demon!"

"Yeah." Spike's mouth widened in a predatory smile. He licked his teeth. "You know what? I am."

In the space of a moment, Spike *changed*. He swung his fist and connected hard with the jaw of the dark- haired apparition who'd spoken first.

... If "connected" is the right word. The sensation was more like punching thick foam, or a lightly packed snowball. In any case, Spike's hand went in up to his wrist, and the spook vanished partway through the opposite wall before disintegrating in a shower of sparks - along with all the rest of them.

"Nancy prats," Spike shook his fist out good- naturedly and turned back to Samantha. "You ready to go?"

As he half-carried her out of the hospital room, Spike took a moment to lock the door behind him .. and with a very evil smile, very carefully placed the key in the middle of the floor, where the nurse couldn't fail to think she'd merely dropped it.

"When did you find this place?" Samantha asked with relief as they stepped into the cave. She knew her memory was pretty spotty, but she was virtually certain she'd never ridden a motorcycle before. She'd gripped tightly around Spike's waist and concentrated mostly on not falling, and was very glad to finally be on solid ground once again.

"Last night, after they got you settled. It ain't much, but-" he gestured at the couple of blankets he'd also liberated from the hospital.

"No, it's perfect." Samantha flopped back on one of them, smacking her head on the solid rock floor. "Ow! .. Spike, what am I gonna do now?"

"Well." Spike sank down opposite her and leaned against the wall. He eyed her warily and smoothed his hair. "First I think you need to get some real clothes."

"Oh!" her eyes widened. "Are you cold? Here." She stripped his coat off and tossed it back to him.

"Uhm. No, you keep it." He stood and pulled the coat up around her shoulders. "I don't mind the cold."

"That's 'cause you're a vampire, aren't you?"

"How'd you-"

Samantha giggled. "There was a mirror at the hospital that you weren't in. This is so cool! So what now, are you gonna bite me and make me your eternal companion?"

Spike stared. "Long story, but no. Besides, eternal companionship is not all it's cracked up to be. Believe me, I know."

"Oh. .. I'm sorry."

They were silent for a moment, each thinking their own thoughts.

"So, what now?" Samantha whispered finally. "Besides clothes. What's going to happen to me?"

Spike looked at her; he'd been wondering the same thing. He couldn't very well take her to Africa. What had he gotten himself into?

"Do you have family? Anyone?"

"I .. I don't know." She twirled the ends of her hair distractedly. "I think I had a brother .. maybe. But I don't .."

Samantha started to shake. A very odd sensation was starting somewhere in her gut; almost like nausea, but not exactly. She swallowed.

"Spike .. Spike, I feel really weird. Something's .. "

Her hand started to *grow*. She gasped. And when it began to sprout thick, dark hair, she nearly fainted.

The last thing her frightened brain registered for quite some time was Spike's fist connecting with her skull.

Spike leaned against the stone wall, right outside the cave entrance, where he'd been for the past several hours. Sure enough, the moon was one night past full, and had just been rising when he'd knocked the girl out.

He took a deep drag of his cigarette and tossed it away toward the road. "What I want to know is, since when is being a werewolf a 'fate worse than death'?"

The question of what to do now, though, was even more pressing and urgent. He could take a werewolf to see the demon even less than he could take a normal girl. There had to be someplace he could take her to, someone he could trust to watch over her for a few months at least.

His thoughts turned inevitably to Sunnydale and Buffy. But no, he'd vowed not to go back there until things had changed. No way was he changing his mind.

What about this brother, then? Probably a dead end. Even if he happened to live nearby, Samantha wasn't likely to remember much of anything very soon. Didn't even know her own last name.

Of course, there was one person who'd know exactly what to do. But even if Oz had left a forwarding address, he was probably busily hating Spike with every fiber of his being, just like the rest of them. If he thought of him at all.

//*This* is why it's better to be evil,// Spike told himself. //I never had these problems when I was evil.//

//Wait. I'm *still* evil. Aren't I? Bugger all.//

A van passed quietly, alone on the road below. It only took Spike a second to recognize it.

Oz rolled down the window to Spike's insistent knocking.

"Spike. What you doing here?"

"I was about to ask you the same thing, mate."

"Back to Sunnydale for awhile. When I heard about Willow, I had to -"

"Willow? What about Willow?" //Not dead, surely. Damn, if she's dead, Buffy'll need - *Buffy doesn't need you. Stop it.*//

"You haven't heard?" Oz glanced back and forth along the road, as though imparting a great secret. "Some crazy madman killed Tara, and Willow went all 'grr- evil-black-magic.' Almost destroyed the world."

"Oh." //I should have been there. *No, no you shouldn't.*// "So you thought you'd, what, saunter on down there and let wicca girl cry on your shoulder a bit?"

"Pretty much yes."

Spike shook his head. "Have you got a lot to learn, mate. Her girlfriend just kicked it, you think she's going to want an ex to show up out of nowhere, looking all puppy-dog?"

Oz moved to roll up the window. "I don't think you can understand, Spike. I'm leaving now."

"No! No, wait." //Great move, kid, antagonize your best hope. Very intelligent.// "I need your help with something. Now."

"What could you possibly need my help with?" Oz looked marginally more amused than usual, but he stopped rolling his window.


"Ah." Oz raised an eyebrow and turned off the ignition.

"Wow." Oz surveyed the young werewolf, still unconscious, tied up with lengths stripped from a hospital blanket. "She's sort of, um .." he cleared his throat. "Hot."

Spike groaned. "I don't want to hear it, mate. She's being chased by the Initiative. They did to her" - he smacked his forehead - "what they did to me. I don't think it's because of the wolf thing, though, when she changed, that seemed new."

Oz nodded. "So what do you want me to do?"

"I don't know, mate. Take care of her? Teach her how to deal with it? Look, I like the girl, but I got other stuff I gotta worry about."

"Well." Oz blinked. He seemed to be having trouble tearing his eyes away from Samantha's long, silky, dark brown fur. "I've been staying with a group of 'enlightened' werewolves near Sacramento. I think she'd be welcome."

Spike glanced up at Oz from his vantage point on the floor. "Really?"

Oz sank down beside him. "Yeah."

Spike nodded. "Thanks, mate."

Oz made as if to say something, then stopped. He did that once or twice before finally turning toward the vampire. "Spike, I have to ask. Why do you care? So she might kill some people. So what? Why not just leave her here?"

"Honestly? I have no idea." Spike shook his head. "She reminds me of Dawn, I guess. And a little bit of Dru. More than a little of me. But that's not it, really. There's something about her .."

He tilted his head to the side and stared into the distance for a bit, thinking. "I think there's someone who misses her very much. Misses her painfully."

"I want her to have the chance that I never got."

He turned to Oz and smiled. Guardedly, but a smiling Spike was something Oz had never expected to see. "Sappy enough for you?"

"Not at all," Oz whispered. "I know exactly what you mean."

After a few minutes, Spike stood. "Look, in the morning," - he nodded at Samantha - "she's gonna need clothes. Can you -?"

"Yeah, I'll watch her. Don't worry."

With another nod, Spike headed for the cave entrance.


He turned.

"What you said, about Willow -"

"Yeah." He sighed. "She's got friends, good friends, who'll be there for her. And no offense, mate, but everything about you is screaming 'If we'd still been together, this wouldn't have happened.'"

Very slowly, Oz nodded, his eyes fixed on Spike's.

"Give it a few months. Let everybody cool down some."

Oz smiled a little. "Thanks, Spike. Maybe there's something after all to the story of the agèd being wise."

"Hey! Not old. You want old? I believe you've met Angel. Now *that* boy is decrepit."

With a smile, Oz shooed him off.

Spike rode into town, thinking, //did *I* just give someone advice on their love life? What the hell is going on here?//

When Samantha woke the next morning, she was her normal, human self again, lying stretched out on the floor of the cave and covered in Spike's leather coat. There were two Wal-Mart bags sitting next to her, and she discovered to her delight that they were full of clothes. Not exactly in her size, but they were better than anything she'd had recently. She put them on and wandered to the front of the cave.

"Look who's up." Spike tossed her a granola bar. She caught it, and decided that whatever was actually in his thermos didn't bear thinking about.

"Thanks." She sat down and started to munch.


Samantha looked up. There was another man, red- haired, several years older than her, standing at the cave entrance with his arms crossed. "Oh! I didn't see you."

"Samantha, this is Oz. He's good at sneaking up on people."

Oz snorted and came further into the cave, taking a seat on a convenient rock. "Samantha, about what happened to you last night -"

"I don't know!" She looked wildly between the two men. "I hoped you would! Is it - is it something they did to me?"

"Samantha. When you were in the woods, before I met you. Did something bite you?" Spike asked.

"I don't know. Maybe? I -" she looked down at her hands. "I wasn't in a very good state of mind for the first day or so. But there was that cut, on my shoulder .." Her hand drifted up. It was completely healed.

Spike and Oz exchanged glances. "Samantha," Spike said, "you're a werewolf. I think it's what those ghost-things were trying to save you from last night."

"Oh." Somehow, she didn't feel as surprised or upset as she probably should. "So I'm a werewolf. Sounds exciting. Is that why you hit me?"

"I didn't want you to get out and hurt someone." Spike was apologetic.

"It *is* exciting," said Oz. "It's also terrifying. And very hard to live with."

Assimilating this, Samantha studied the newcomer more carefully. "You sound like you'd know."

Oz spread his arms. "Daniel Osbourne, 100% werewolf, at your service."

"Oooh." Now *this* was interesting. "So can you, like .."

"Help you figure things out? Yeah. I'm staying with some other wolves, not too far from here. I thought you might like to come with me for awhile."

She glanced at Spike. He nodded. "He's okay. Safer than I am."

"I don't want to leave you."

Spike snorted. "You've known me all of one day, love. I think you'll do fine."

"But .." she ran across the cave and hugged him tight.

"Hey, watch it! You almost spilled my blood."

"Sorry." She sniffed. "I'll see you again, though, right?"

"Samantha, love, I couldn't forget you if I tried." He put a tentative hand on her cheek, and she smiled. "I'll look you up as soon as I can. Promise."

She nodded. "All right. You're a good person, Spike. You didn't have to help me, but you did."

Speechless, Spike could only watch as Oz drew her out into the sunlight.

"Wait, hang on," Oz said to Samantha. He turned around. "Spike, you never told me. What *are* you doing out here? When did you leave Sunnydale?"

"I left just in time to miss the big excitement, apparently." He sighed and scratched his head. "You remember when you left to get your big bad Peruvian werewolf cure?"

"Tibetan, but yeah." Oz nodded.

"Same thing. I'm not a man. Bloody chip won't let me be a demon. I'm stuck in limbo, Oz, I can't be what I want to be and I can't be what I am. And I can't go back to Buffy till I figure it out."

Oz nodded again. "Yesterday I would have bet on 'demon.' But if my vote counts, after last night my money's on 'man.' ... Good luck, Spike."

"Thanks, mate."

"Come say good-bye?"

"I can't. You know -" He gestured at the bright, cheerful sunlight streaming down outside.

"Oh, right. Um .. see you."

And they were gone, and Spike was alone.

Samantha sat bolt upright in the passenger seat. "Fox!"

"What? Where?" Oz swerved on the road, barely managing to keep the van upright.

"No, silly!" Sam swatted at him. "I just remembered! That's my brother's name. He had dark hair and he teased me a lot. And he liked Star Trek."

"Well, that narrows it down." Oz said seriously. "Not many boys like that in America."

She sat back down, deflated. "I know. It's not much. I'm just excited. 'Cuz I didn't know even that half an hour ago."

"No, I'm serious. This is important evidence," Oz protested. "Anyway, with that name - you're *sure* he's not the one who bit you?"

She giggled again. "You're still being silly. Actually, I kind of wish he had been." Samantha sighed.

"We'll find him."

"You really think so?"

"Of course. Did you know that as a werewolf, you have a really strong sense of smell? I bet you'll be able to sniff him from miles away."

"Ooh, really?" She took a long, deep breath. "You're right! That's awesome! You smell like, like .. pizza!"

Oz smiled. "Guilty. There's some leftovers in the back."

"Yum! I'm starved." She turned around and fished for a slice of cheese and mushroom. "So, when we go to see your friends, what's gonna happen?"

"Well, you'll learn things. And then we'll see."

Oz smiled at the drip of tomato sauce running down her chin. //Yeah,// he thought, //everything's gonna be okay.//

A curtain of noise preceded the lone figure along the deserted, moonlit California highway.

In fact, the entire contraption moved with such speed and fury that if an observer had chanced to venture close enough to hear the sole discernable voice amidst the cacophony, the motorcycle would have left them in the dust before they caught even a single word.

"And yet, much more than this - I did it *my* *way*."

Spike still saw Buffy's face floating ahead of him, far out along that stretched-out ribbon of highway, but now she was laughing, smiling at him, at something he'd said to make her happy for a moment. That's the other thing Buffy Summers never was - happy. He liked it. He knew he'd do anything to make her look at him that way again.

And that was pretty scary, too, but at least it didn't make him hate himself.

Maybe he didn't have to be evil. Maybe, with the sodding chip gone, he'd be able to make his own damn choice, for once in his forsaken existence. Nobody ever said you need a soul for free will. Right? No one ever said that?

And never hurt Buffy again? Could he really promise that?

Maybe not. But could anyone?

Spike laughed. "My way. Like always. Just got to find out who I really want to be."

And anyway, if he ever saw Sam again, he really hoped it wasn't to rip her neck open. //Good kid. Hope she finds her brother.//

And the cloud of exhaust and uncertainty with one conflicted, but tentatively optimistic vampire in its center roared off toward the distant lure of the Atlantic.


NOTES: My first BtVS fic! *does first fic dance*

This was inspired by a friend of mine on livejournal who loves the idea of a Spike/Samantha romance. *g* Not *exactly* what this is, but close enough, eh?

I'm fully aware that the time period is highly screwy, and as I'm not at all familiar with CA geography, that might be a little messed up too. I offer two possible explanations: 1) I'm the Omniscient Narrator and can do whatever I damn well please, and 2) Spike enters and leaves a temporal anomaly somewhere. The second possibility is probably more fun, but for now I'll leave it up to you.

Also, please forgive Spike for not knowing the difference between the Initiative and the Syndicate. It's an understandable mistake, though, I think, given the circumstances.

Yes, there's sequel possibility. We'll see.

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