As a rule, vampires don't like change. Most vampires seemed to be frozen in amber physicallyand emotionally as wellat the moment of their death. Change was growth; and growth was for the living. For all their vaulted talk about 'eternal life' and 'living forever', vampires didn't really 'live'they existed.
Spike liked change. He embraced new experiences, new looks; but even so, he still lagged behind the human 'trendsetters'. He supposed it had to do with one's perspective of time. Twenty years was almost a third of a life to a human, but no time at all to a vampire. Still, he supposed he should do something about his look.
The jeans, black T-shirt and leather jacket were classics, but his dyed black DA hairstyle had to go. It was avant-garde in the 40's when he had begun sporting it, definitely stylish throughout the 50's, but looking very dated now at the turn of the 70's. The young, hip mods were all growing their hair long now. Mick Jagger was 'in'; Elvis was 'out'. It was definitely time for a change!
Spike and Dru wandered the streets of the West End hand-in-hand. They had been to see Hair for the third time. Dru loved that play. She loved when the actors came down into the audience and was always one of the first to participate when various theatre goers were encouraged to join the cast on stage.
With her waif-like looks, long black hair and floating Edwardian gowns, Dru was a perfect 'Child of the 60's'. She had always dressed like this; fashion had caught up with Dru, not the other way around.
Spike now wore his hair long. Soft, sandy-colored curls brushed his shoulders and with his high cheekbones and electrifying blue eyes, he looked like a Renaissance angelwith a more than passing resemblance to Roger Daltry. It was excellent cover for them both, and the hunting was almost too easy.
They passed a group of rather drunken university students, and Spike felt hot eyes following them both. He looked at Dru with amusement sparkling in his eyes.
"Shall we have a bit of fun, pet?"
"Oh, yes! I like good games."
Spike and Dru slowed to a stroll and allowed the students to catch up with them. Insinuating themselves into the group, they made desultory conversation and agreed to go along on the pub crawl.
Dru flirted outrageously with three of the young men. Spike lounged in the oak booth watching her, amusement in his eyes and an enigmatic smile on his lips. This was definitely Dru's era. Her rambling craziness was seen as profound wisdom, and Spike got a kick out of watching mesmerized youths hang on her every word. Dru the Guru. Who'da thought it?
Spike pretended to be unaware of the interest one of the young men was telegraphing. Although there was a decidedly sexual component, it seemed to be more of a keen, focused interest in himself. Spike was intrigued and decided to see how things played out.
When even the pubs of the theatre district finally closed, the party began to break up. Dru drifted off with her three admirers, and Spike accepted an invitation to the young man's flat.
The flat looked like a desert sheik's tent and reminded Spike of a Rudolf Valentino movie that Dru had insisted on seeing 57 soddin' times when it came out. Sumptuous velvets and silks draped the walls and windows. Huge throw pillows were scattered on the floor, and the bed was a mattress and box springs on the floor, carelessly covered with a fur spread. It should have looked a right nancy set-up, but instead, it just looked decadentand comfortable.
There was a trunk at the foot of the bed, but no wardrobes or dressers. Instead, the walls supported floor-to-ceiling bookshelves holding esoteric-looking volumes and a variety of trinkets, talismans and amulets. To the unaware, it looked like a late 60's hippie pad, but to Spike, it bore the timeless stamp of a mage. Spike was intrigued.
Now that they were alone in the flat, the student seemed to be tongue-tied. He made several false starts and then cleared his throat. Spike declined to help him get to the point, silently wandering around, picking up and putting down various trinkets and glancing at book titles.
"Do you believe in demons?"
Spike gave him an incredulous look and began to laugh.
"I'm quite serious. You may not believe what I'm about to tell you, but I can assure you that demons exist."
Spike raised one eyebrow. "Do they now?"
Encouraged by Spike's apparent willingness to take him seriously, the young man continued. "I've been researching demons for several years, now, and I've nearly managed to summon one on several occasions. If I had someone to work with, a fellow seeker one might say, I believe I might succeed. When I first saw you, I got the feeling you might possibly share my interests. There's just something about you . . ."
Spike lifted a book from one of the shelves and began flipping through the pages.
"And if you do manage to summon this demon, just what do you expect it to do for you?"
"Well, from what I've read, give us dreams . . . visions. It's a high like you've never felt before."
Spike made a sign of negation, and the man hurriedly continued. "But that's not all. Some of us want to dig deeperto develop our magical abilities, to control demons and have them do our bidding."
"Funny thing 'bout demons, mate. They're not much for doin' humans' bidding."
"Oh, but there are spells I've been researching . . ."
"That so? Spells like this?" Spike paused at a page in the book he was perusing and began to insolently read the Latin aloud.
"No! Stop! You don't know what that might do!"
Spike laughed and continued to read, when he was suddenly overcome with a wave of dizziness. Reaching out to steady himself, he knocked several bottles off the shelves that broke at his feet. A noxious scent arose and his eyes began to water from the fumes.
"Bloody hell!" Spike crumpled to the floor.
Gradually regaining awareness, Spike stretched and yawned widely. Running his tongue over his teeth, he felt the distended fangs and reached up to touch his forehead with his left . . . paw?
A tan and black striped paw came into view. Spike attempted to spread his fingers and a set of claws came out of the paw. Looking down at the rest of his body, the tan and black stripes continued down his back and sides and tail (TAIL?) but the fur on his belly was a creamy ecru. He attempted to get to his feet and was soon standingon all four of them. Tilting his head to look up at his horrified host, he demanded, "What the fuck did you do to me?"
"I . . . I didn't . . . you . . . the spell. Oh, Chaos!"
Spike stalked toward the shocked young man and leapt, digging claws into his chest, and snarled, "Put me back immediately, you ponce, or I'll rip your bloody throat out!"
Ethan Rayne couldn't help it. He burst out laughing, receiving a swipe of claws across his cheek in response.
"I'm sorry. It's just very surrealistic hearing a cat actually talk. I've never seen anything like this before. It's fascinating!"
"Not to me, mate. Fix it!"
"Yes, well, there's the problem. I'm not sure exactly what happened. I'll need to figure out specifically what you did before I can find a way to undo it."
Spike began to pace.
Ethan continued to stare at him in fascination.
"And you were plannin' to start figurin' this out when? Next week?" Spike threw his hands in the air in frustration and fell flat on his nose.
Ethan tried to hold back, but a brief titter escaped.
Spike glared, and bit him on the ankle.
Spike was bored. For the past two hours, Ethan had been researching. Open books cluttered the desk and much of the floor. Spike had paced, napped, groomed himselfhis current level of flexibility certainly had possibilities to be explored at a later dateand gotten into a fight with one of the pillows. Which he won, as the large wounds and scattered feathers of his enemy testified. He jumped up on the desk and crouched, glaring at Ethan.
"Any progress yet?"
"Um . . . sorry, no."
"Let's move things along, then! Dru'll be wonderin' where I've gone off to."
At the thought of Dru, he wondered if he was still a vampire as a feline. Was he still affected by the sun? If anyone discovered his secret, he was much more vulnerable in this form . . .
"Tell ya what, mate. You keep researchin'; figure out how to change me back, an' I'll go see that m' lady's all right. I'll be back tomorrow night, and let's hope for both our sakes, you've got some answers!"
Turning, Spike stalked to the door, but his dramatic exit was ruined by his having to wait for Ethan to open the door and let him out.
Skulking through the alleys on his way back to the basement digs he and Dru shared, Spike paused to dine on several rats. Rat blood was still disgusting, even in his current feline form. Spike figured it was because he wasn't actually a cathe just looked like one.
That Ethan Rayne wanker had better bloody well figure out how to fix this soon, or he'd sic Dru on him! Wait! Bad idea. If Dru killed him, Spike might be stuck like this forever. The thought of an eternity of eating rats, fighting toms and shagging actual pussies was not especially appealing. Best not mention Ethan to Dru at all.
Upon his arrival at his flat, Spike was disconcerted to discover Drusilla was not yet home.
Bounding down the steps to their below ground-level front door, he sat on the stoop to wait. Within seconds, he was pacing. The sky had lightened into dawn, and he was considering finding somewhere to spend the day, when he finally scented her approach.
Drusilla paused at the top of the basement stairs and tilted her head, looking at him with interest.
"Hullo, kitty," she cooed.
"Don't patronize me, Dru!"
Her eyes widened and she came down the steps to crouch beside him.
"I've never met a talking kitty before. How do you do? I'm Drusilla. But you already know that . . . have we met?"
"Bloody right, we have!"
"I was being polite, but if you are going to be a rude kitty, I shan't talk to you anymore."
Spike growled in frustration. It had been a rough night and his patience was at an end.
"It's me, you twit! Spike."
"Spike? I know a Spike, but he's not a cat."
"For the moment, he isI am."
"Am I Alice, then? Have I gone to Wonderland and my Spike has become a talking cat?"
"If you don't open the door right now, we'll be somewhere and it won't be bleedin' 'Wonderland'! Sun's up, Dru, and if you haven't noticed, we're running out of shade."
Drusilla unlocked the door, and with a twitch of his tail, Spike preceded her into the flat.
Ethan spent the day researching, broken up by a trip to the British Museum. He was becoming convinced that the spell was in some way related to Bast, but it would take more work to nail it down. Pity that he hadn't been paying attention to what that enticing young man had actually been saying, but he had tuned out the North London accent that was so at odds with that angelic countenance. Distracted by the piercing blue eyes, knife-edged cheekbones and nimbus of curly hairwondering if it felt as soft to the touch as it lookedthe tight, black T-shirt conforming to a well-defined chest and the jeans . . . no wonder he hadn't noticed what the berk was saying!
Ethan sighed and opened another book.
"Dru! Cut it out!"
Drusilla was on her elbows and knees on the floor in front of him, hands snapping a lacy fan open and closed. He tried to keep his attention on her adorable arse sticking straight up, but the enticing lace brushed his nose before retreating again. He couldn't help himself. He batted at it with his left paw, and Dru giggled and snapped the fan closed, thwarting him once again.
"Bloody hell, woman! Will you stop that?"
"But it's so much fun, my Spike. All soft and furry is my Spike-pussy."
Spike growled. "Don't ever use those words in conjunction again, Dru. You don't seem to be the least bit concerned about the whole situation, pet."
"I shall be a witch and you my familiar. We'll ride 'cross the moon on a broom of fairy dust. Just like Peter Pan."
Spike tapped his paw and twitched his tail.
"Although you really should be black," Dru mused. "Would you like a saucer of cream, my darling?"
Spike's eyes brightened. "Yeah. I would. Do we have any?"
"No." Dru shook her head regretfully. "Miss Edith and I weren't expecting a kitty, you see."
Spike blinked his eyes before imperiously lifting his tail and stalking off.
Spike had spent most of the day napping. As soon as the sun set, he was off like a shot. He climbed the rusty fire escape to the roof, where he dined on several pigeons, and then had a bit of fun chasing and scaring the rest of the flock. Bloody stupid birds! But at least they tasted better than rats.
Twitching his tail, Spike backed up almost to the fire escape. He pawed the tarpaper surface like a bull in the ring, ran across the roof, gathered his hindquarters and leaped to the next roof. This was a bit of alright! He continued his way across London, leaping and terrorizing pigeons as he went, until he reached the area in which Ethan lived.
He crouched on the roof of the house next to Ethan's and leapt, then scrambled in an attempt to remain on the roof of Ethan's building. His claws found no purchase on the pitched slate of the roof and he slid inexorably toward disaster. He managed to grab onto the cornice, and found himself hanging by his claws, dangling over a vast expanse of nothingness. Bloody hell! He risked a glance downward. The privet hedges at the side of the house were a very long way down, and looked rather prickly, besides. He didn't fancy a fall as the means of ascertaining (a) if he was still a vampire with accelerated healing, or (b) if cats really did have nine lives. But he couldn't spend the rest of the night just . . . dangling here, either. He needed an option (c). It'd have to be the ivy, then. With a roll of his eyes and a long-suffering sighthe dramatics of which were wasted on his audience of pigeonshe began swinging his body to build momentum. He swung faster and faster, finally letting go to fly the several yards to the growth of ivy. Taking the power of flight for granted, the pigeons were not suitably impressed. Sod them anyway!
Spike clung to the ivy and shinnied down it. As his weight ripped each portion from the wall, he was already onto the next paw-hold. When he finally came to the open window, he jumped for the curtains, catching hold and swinging himself into Ethan's room like bloody Errol Flynn. At great risk to life and limb, he had reached the correct roomonly to discover said room was currently devoid of Ethan. Bugger! Where was the git? If he was out at the theatre or the pubs again, enjoying himself, with no thought of Spike . . .
Spike's lips curled back from his fangs and he growled dangerously. How could he show his displeasure? He thought better of breaking any of the witchy stuffthat's what had gotten him into this bloody mess in the first place! He looked around the flat, a calculating gleam in his eyes. Hmm . . . He'd shredded a pillow yesterday and that hadn't seemed to affect the wanker at allhe'd just laughed. Aha! Full of righteous indignation at failing to find Ethan hard at work on his cure, Spike stalked over to the bed, wiggled under the fur throw and pissed on the mattress. That'd show him!
Spike was bored. He tried to find a comparison, running through experiences he had previously found boring. He was so far beyond 'bored' he failed to find even one that topped this. 2001: A Space Odyssey came close, but that bloody film had lasted only two hoursit had just seemed like forever! It was nearly four in the morning and the pillock still hadn't returned!
Spike had explored the flat, groomed himself, climbed up and down the velvet wall hangings and managed to manipulate the radio to catch the last part of a football game. Thankfully, he'd also managed to turn it off when Stairway to Heaven came on. Even the memorable discovery that he could lick his own dick had lost some of its fascination. Spike was a take-charge kind of bloke. All this dithering around and waiting was wearing heavily on him.
Should he leave now, tail between his legs, without seeing Ethanadmitting that he had wasted an entire night prancing attendance on the bloody absent poofter? Or should he staywith the possibility of being trapped here for all the interminable hours until sunset? When he was finally himself again, sodding Ethan Rayne would pay dearly for every . . . single . . . second of boredom and inconvenience he'd caused!
With another glance at the brightening sky, Spike decided to go home. At least there he afforded some amusement for Druan accomplishment of sorts. With a final growl of frustration, Spike stalked toward the window and climbed down the ivy.
Ethan decided he had been wrong about the spell being connected to Bast. He felt a thrill of excitement as he realized Spike had inadvertently led him toward the discovery of a generalized transmogrification spell. If he could perfect this, he'd have the ability to turn someone into . . . anything! The first order of business was to ascertain if it was reversible. And that meant discovering the way to turn Spike back. If he could do that, he could then work on perfecting his spell. It may take years, but no matter. What fun he would havewhat power! The possibilities were endless. Fur coats! If he could figure out a way to slightly modify the spell, he could enter a furrier's and enchant all the coats. Then, at his command, all over London unsuspecting people would suddenly find themselves as minks, foxes, beavers, lynxes . . . what lovely chaos that would bring about! Ethan rubbed his hands together in glee. Why stop at animals? With this spell perfected, he could even turn someone into a demon . . . Eyes sparkling, feeling refreshed by the thought of the power that would be his, Ethan continued with his work.
Spike was curled up next to Dru when he felt a shudder run through him. At first, he thought it was shudder of pleasure. Dru had been raking her long nails down the length of his body and it actually felt quite nice. His fur rippled in the wake of her fingers like rolling ocean waves.
The shudder came again, more violently this time. With a howl of pain, Spike felt a third shudder rip through him, causing him to arch his back until he thought he would snap in two. When the pain finally receded, Spike was himself again.
Spike leapt to his feet, shifted into game face and searched for some clothes. He was going to drain that bloody wizard dryslowly. Savoring every drop. Dru's hand reached out to him, fingernails biting into his arm.
"No, my Spike! If you eat the mage now it will ruin all the lovely games."
"What bloody games?"
"Good games yet to come." Dru smiled in anticipation.
Spike threw up his hands in frustration, but acceded to Dru's wishes.
Dru clapped her hands and giggled. "I want to go to Paris, Spike!"
"You hate Paris."
"Not this Paris. The lizard won't sing and can't swim, but I can save him. It will be such fun! I'm a princess and should like to meet the lizard king."
Spike could refuse his dark princess nothing. "Right, then. We'll go to Paris. But if I ever see that Ethan Rayne git again . . ."
Dru smiled enigmatically.