Imagine: The List
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Submitted to Bast Nov/Dec 2001 but she never accepted it. Submitted to VQ Press on October 29, 2002

The Plan.
by Voracity.

Xander marked the section he had just read, putting the book down so he could consider what he
had just run into. Divorce was a possibility for vampires. He had always thought that vampires
staked each other when they'd gotten tired of each other, but apparently it was a lot more like the mortal world in that regard. He picked up the book and went back over the information again, turning the page to find the form to fill out and send in to the demon court to petition for a divorce. He checked around, catching Giles' eye. He held up the book and the Watcher nodded,
giving him a faint smile. So he got up and left with the book, going to find Spike and ask him
why he hadn't done this yet. It would be his good deed for the year, and maybe delay his death a little bit when and if Spike ever got the chip out. He found Spike in his crypt, smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer, and watching his stolen cable service. He sat down next to the vampire on the ratty old couch and opened the book to the place he had marked, shoving it over in front of the vampire.

Spike picked up the book and read for a few seconds then shut it and dropped it. "So?" he

"Just wondering why you never did that to Dru," Xander said honestly. "You've told Dawn that
she took all your stuff. Wouldn't this help you get it back?"

"S'not that simple," Spike told him, muting the volume so he could talk over the commercial.
"That's an embarrassment. It's never done anymore. It's an older tradition that's laughed at these days by the modern of us."

"But she took your stuff," Xander countered.

"Yeah, and?" Spike snorted.

"If you could get it back, you wouldn't have to depend on us to feed and house you," Xander
offered as an argument. "You could get some of your respect back, even if every demon in the
world knew you had to go through this." He reached over to grab the book and opened it to the
right spot again. "See, this paragraph said that it's a reasonable thing to do when your mate's
done you wrong." He pushed the book back, but Spike shoved it away and turned back up the

"Not gonna happen. Get over it."

"But, Spike," Xander argued.

"No," Spike growled, going to game face as he turned on Xander. "There is *no* way I'm gonna
put myself through that humiliation just to get a few things back."

"Spike, think about this. Even if it's humiliating, you could afford human blood all the time." He looked around the crypt, then back at the inhabitant. "Doesn't this get old? Living in this dirt and marble house of hell?"

"Sure it does," Spike said as he snuffed out his cigarette. "Got old way back when, but nothin' I can do about it, is there."

"Well, yeah, there is," Xander reminded him. "What do you have to lose?"

"Court costs."

"Which would be what?" Xander asked. "You haven't got anything they can take."

"I'd have to get proof that I took care of her for so long," Spike muttered, giving it some consideration. Getting his things back was a pipedream, but it would make the boy happy if he looked like he was considering it.

"Angel's only a few hours away. I'm sure he'd do this for you," he said confidently. Spike
gave him a disbelieving look. "Hey, if not for you, then definitely for Buffy and Giles."

Spike snorted at that. "Maybe. Can't ask him though, he'd never listen to me. More likely to stake me on sight than to help."

"Then let me do it," Xander offered. "I can take a few days off work if you need me to and drive
you around since your car's a pile of scrap at the moment."

Spike sighed, thinking about his beloved car, which had lost the battle with the 'Welcome to
Sunnydale' sign at their last encounter. "Fine," he spat. "But I don't want to hear about this from
your group."

"Why would I tell them anything?" Xander asked with a grin. "I was going to use Buffy's name in vain." He stood up, leaving the book. "There's a form in there. I think you have to fill it out."

"Sure," Spike said with a wave of his hand. "If this all happens."

"Hey, I'll go talk to Angel tomorrow," Xander told him, giving him a confident smile. At the very least, this would allow him not to have to worry about the vampire, and at the most, maybe Spike would leave town and go somewhere safer. He kept his thoughts to himself, not sure he liked them, but they sounded reasonable, even if they sounded pitiful. He walked out after a few
moments of watching Spike watch TV, leaving him alone.

Spike kicked the book onto the floor. "Bloody stupid plan, that," he muttered to himself.
"Everyone'll know and then where'll I be?" He settled in for a bout of watching Ab Fab, it
reminded him of home.


Xander walked into the Hyperion, Angel's hotel, and smiled at Cordelia. "Hey, the boss up?"

"Wesley's in his office," she said.

Xander shook his head. "The other one. I have a petition I need his help with."

"Oh, *him*," she said, absently waving her hand. "Yeah, he's in his room reading. Just yell when you get to the top of the stairs."

"Cordelia," Wesley said as he walked out of his office. "I thought I heard..." He stopped when
he saw Xander. "Is there a problem in Sunnydale?"

"Nope, just got a message for the broody guy," Xander said, looking innocent. "Gonna go do
that now," he said when Wesley stared at him. He jogged up the stairs, taking Cordelia's warning
to heart. "Angel?" he called. The vampire stuck his head out of his room then pulled it back in
and left the door open, so Xander walked down there, shutting the door behind him. "Hey, got to talk to you." The chair next to the desk was pointed at. "Um, I don't know how to say this," he said after a few awkward moments.

"Is it about Spike?" Angel sighed.

"Yeah, it is actually," Xander said, gathering his courage around him. "I'm trying to get him to
divorce Dru so he can get his stuff back."

Angel's mouth literally fell open. "What?" he asked finally.

"Dru took all his stuff when she left, leaving him dependant on us, which is not healthy for him as you very well know." Angel held up a hand so he stopped.

"He's not dependant. He's got funds."

"Dru took those. She left him some clothes and that's it when she left."

"He can't get into his bank accounts?" Angel asked, looking confused. "I thought that's how he
was getting blood."

"No, he's getting blood because Giles and I buy blood for him," Xander informed him. "The same as he's living in a crypt and using stolen cable right now because he can't afford to be anywhere better or safer. He's got a *rat* problem, Angel, and he can't kill them."

"Oh." Angel sat down, then stood up and started to pace. "Has he said he'd do that?"

"He said if everything came together, then he would, but he didn't think you'd be willing to help
him. He said he'd have to prove that he was taking care of Dru for all those years."

"He will," Angel agreed. He stared at the ugly wallpaper and thought about his childe, what this would mean if he did it for him, and how much Spike would be able to taunt him about it. "All right, I'll help him," he decided after a few minutes, turning to look at Xander again. "I'll need your help too. You don't have standing in the demon court, but you know how he's been living more than I do apparently." He sat down on his bed, facing Xander. "He's really had to come to you for blood?"

"And for protection. Didn't Giles tell you that's why we were helping him?" Angel shook his
head. "Yeah, he can hurt demons but not anything non-demony and living. He helps us with the demonic problems in town and we give him money for blood." Xander looked a little confused. "I thought someone had told you this."

"Just that he was with your group now and about the chip," Angel agreed. "No one said it
extended to rats."

"He said he can't kill them," Xander said with a one-sided shrug. "I'm guessing he was telling the truth since he had to grab his head when he growled at a dog the other night."

"Okay," Angel sighed. "He'll need to send in a petition and we'll have to find Dru." He looked at
the things on his desk. "I'll get started on that; I *know* Spike won't." He stood up, smiling at
Xander. "Thank you."

"You're not going to taunt him, right?" Xander asked as he slowly stood up. "He kept saying
something about this being an embarrassment."

"Oh, it is," Angel agreed with good humor, "but it's better than living like he has been. Dru's got a lot of things if she took everything, including his bank accounts and the things he's kept since he was human. Did she take the jacket he gave her?"

"The only jacket I've seen is his duster. And I've seen about three outfits, one of which I know he
stole recently."

Angel nodded again. "All right. I'll get the stuff started for this. Sires have that right so it'll go
over well enough." He patted Xander on the shoulder. "Just stand by him and don't tell Buffy or
Rupert. It won't go over well."

"Giles knows I took the book to show him," Xander told him.

"Maybe he didn't realize what was in there," Angel said optimistically after Xander had left. He
sat down at his desk and started to work on the formal petition to sever the bonds between his
children. This was going to be so good, he could embarrass Spike and the childe wouldn't be able to do anything about it. Their game of cat and mouse had just gotten a little more vicious; ruining a reputation throughout the demonic world was just *so* cruel.


Spike opened the envelope that had been delivered to him, then took a deep breath and looked around the courtyard before smiling faintly.

"Is that something good?" Xander asked as he walked out, Willow right behind him. He noticed
how the letter got crumpled up and hidden in one of the many pockets in the duster.

"Ready to go cream some demons?" Willow asked perkily.

Spike grunted and followed them out of the courtyard, going to help them hunt while Buffy
worked on her fighting skills. He stopped Xander as they started to cross a street, letting Willow
cross without them. "I'll need a ride," he said quietly. "This weekend."

"Really? That fast?"

"It's not a full court," Spike said in derision. "Most demons won't go through with this."

"Yeah, I always expected you guys to dust each other when you got tired of being together,"
Xander said. He checked around them, then smiled for Willow's benefit. "Anything you need,
Spike, just ask. I know this has got to be hard, after all, you and Dru were together forever."

"Yeah, we were," Spike agreed, starting to cross the street, getting honked at after almost getting
run over. He flipped off the driver and felt better suddenly. At least all this would be at an end
soon. He'd have closure one way or another.


Spike walked up to the table on the left side of the courtroom and sat at it, Xander right behind
him in the spectator section. He looked up at the panel of five judges, giving them his best innocent look. He never expected Angel to take the seat next to him, but it was a welcome reprieve from sitting up there by himself and getting stared at.

"Has anyone found the vampiress Druscilla?" one of the judges asked.

Angel stood up. "I've tried. I haven't heard anything other than she's alive and biting." He sat
back down, following the protocol. He touched his childe's hand where it lie on the table, silently promising to be there for him.

A lawyer walked up and bowed to the judges. "I represent Wolfram and Hart and we have a
petition relevant to the case," she said.

"Lilah," Angel said coldly, standing up. "Your vendetta against me doesn't impact my childe's
fate." He looked at the judges, hoping they'd stand on his side.

"What petition?" the judge in the center, the spokesdemon, asked.

"We ask that Angel's Sire prerogative be removed at the same time as William the Bloody's bond
to his mate is," she said, handing over papers to the bailiff so it could hand them to the judge. "We have sworn affidavits that the vampire known as Angel has not been taking care of this childe while he is incapacitated and has blithely ignored his needs. As required under the ancient vampire codes, he's in dereliction of his duties as a Sire and the punishment for that is the severance of the sire/childe bond."

"Have something to do with all this then?" Spike asked, standing up. He hated her on sight, how dare she try and get into this little game he had going with Angel. It wasn't her right to play with his sire's head, it was his! "I may not be able to bite humans, but I might be able to make an exception...." He groaned and grabbed his head.

"She's human," Angel pointed out needlessly. He looked up at the judges, who looked stunned.
"My childe was implanted with a chip that doesn't allow him to bite," he explained. "He's never
come to me for protection or for help. If I had known, I would have probably put him out of everyone's misery. Or helped him if he had asked," he added as an afterthought.

"Wouldn't do that anyway," Spike ground out, sitting back down and forcing himself to sit up

"So he went to the Slayer and her group," Lilah said, motioning to Xander.

"Is that the human mentioned in your papers, Angel?" the center judge asked.

Angel nodded. "It is. I had no idea that Spike was actually under the Slayer's protection, but it
appears he is. The human that came with us is Alexander Harris," he pointed at Xander, "he's part of the Slayer's group and their spokesman in this matter. It was determined that having her or her Watcher here would be more harmful to the Court than was warranted under the circumstances." He looked at Xander then back at the judges. "He is here to testify that Spike had no other recourse than to go to the Slayer and promise to help her with the demon infestation in Sunnydale, at great personal risk and injury to himself and his reputation because of how Druscilla, his mate, left him."

"Which is why we know he's in dereliction of his sworn and natural duties," Lilah added. "How many humans would be able to *help* a Master vampire and not harm them? Especially with whom the group is made up of? It's an unnaturalness that can't be allowed to continue."

The judge nodded. "We will hear both petitions." He looked at Xander. "You may stay, but you
will not interfere."

Xander stood up. "I have no desire to interfere. I just thought what Druscilla did to him was
crappy." He sat back down at Spike's glare, giving him an apologetic look.

"Indeed," the judge said, looking down at Lilah. "Take a seat at the empty table as Druscilla will
not be showing up." She did so and he banged his gavel. "We will hear these petitions now.
William the Bloody, also known as Spike, stand and tell your side."

Spike stood up and cleared his throat. "It all started way back when I was turned. My dark
princess turned me but she buggered it royally and Angel ended up saving me." He glared at his
sire. "Then he got a soul and left us."

"Ah, the infamous gypsy curse," the judge on the left intoned, his voice hollow sounding. "How
old were you?" He picked up his pen and started to make notes.

"Not more'n sixty or so," Spike told him. "Forget the exact age now." He swallowed hard at the
look he was getting from the judges. "I lied about me age when Angel asked me at first," he admitted grudgingly. "I was twenty and three when I was turned and sixty-seven when Angel left us. I was barely out of the fledge stage and he up and left me with the dark and insane one. She has visions, you see, and it's not at all possible for her to take care of herself. So I did."

"For over a century?" the center judge asked, reading off the petition.

Spike glared at Angel. "Yeah, for over a century. Took care of her when she was talkin' to her
dolls and the stars. Took care of her when she went totally barmy and stopped feedin' a few
times. Even took care of her when she got so sick after Prague." He swallowed again, choked up with the memories of their good times together. "And then she up and left me, takin' everything. Even took most of my clothes with her when she went after the slime demon's arse." He shuddered. "I'll bugger many things, but a slime demon ain't one of them," he said forcefully. "Even when she came back, I didn't take her back. Woulda staked her if the Slayer asked though. She didn't, and Dru left again, goin' ta bother Angel and his crew by resurrecting Angel's sire." He glared at Lilah. "Sure she had somethin' ta do with that, I am."

"I see," the judge said. "Are you incapacitated by this...chip?"

Spike nodded. "I can't even defend myself against the humans that might come after me. Had to
go to the slayer's house and get her to protect me while I adjusted. Can fight demons now, which is how I've been eatin' mostly, but it's ruined my rep by havin' ta help her and her bunch'a kiddies."

The judge nodded. "I see. So you are dependant on them for your welfare?" Spike nodded,
starting to look tired of this. "And if you got your assets back?"

"Then I'd have some dosh to live off of and wouldn't have ta help her. I could stay out of it and
find a way to get this chip out."

"Alexander Harris, stand and answer to this court," the judge on the right of center ordered.

Xander stood up. "Yes, sir, um, ma'am?"

"Is this vampire truly dependant on you and your group?"

Xander nodded. "Yes, your honor. Spike came to us once he got free of the Initiative." A few
of the demons hissed. "They're the ones who chipped him. He knew he couldn't hurt humans by
then and he knew that Giles, at least, was fair about things. So he came to us for protection. We
agreed to protect and feed him in return for his help in saving the town of Sunnydale."

"And this Slayer agreed?" the judge on the left asked, looking a little stunned.

"Yes, sir. We'd had Angel helping us before, it was part of his atonement, and we quickly learned after he left that a vampire on our side was a major help when you're up against a large number of demons. We accepted the arrangement, though to be truthful we aren't very nice to him. He was accidentally spelled to fall in love with the Slayer. He has been shunted back and forth between mine and the Watcher's home. He's been chained in a bathtub by the Watcher, and in a chair by me. It's been a useful arrangement for us, but it's not been the best for him." He looked at Spike. "Spike's hated and been cast out by the demon community in Sunnydale for what he's had to do to survive. I know before he learned that he can hurt other demons that he was thinking about staking himself." He looked at the judges again. "I met Spike before this and I've got to say that he isn't the same killer that we ran into in High School. Even if he got the ability to feed back tomorrow, he wouldn't be the same Spike that we went up against in High School. And while the Initiative has a big part of that blame, if he had the stuff Druscilla took from him, he might have been able to overcome this. He could have moved out of Sunnydale and gotten somewhere safe, and possibly gotten the chip out. He could have been protected instead of living in a crypt that's been vandalized not only by the Initiative after he escaped but by others. Spike has suffered *greatly* because he didn't have access to anything of his." He smiled at Spike then back at the judges again. "I don't imagine that he's as rich as Angel appears to be, but I imagine that he's got enough money socked away to make a fast getaway and to start over somewhere that's not the Hellmouth. Somewhere safer that he doesn't have to be taunted or chased."

"Thank you," the center judge said, dismissing him. He looked at Angel. "You knew nothing of

"I was told about the chip, and the fact that Spike was helping the group. I had no idea it was for
protection or that he couldn't hurt anything living." He heard Spike mutter something under his
breath. "What?"

"Didn't want you to know," Spike said loudly. "Hate being felt sorry for." He glared at Xander,
who looked ashamed. "At least you let me act like a vampire on occasion."

"I have no doubt you're a vampire, Spike," Xander said, leaning forward to put a hand on Spike's
shoulder. "The same as I have no doubt that as soon as that chip comes out, I'm one of the first in line to be chewed up and spit out."

"Not!" Spike protested. "You've always been scared of me, even when I couldn't hurt ya.
Might've picked on me a bit, but nothin' worse than the pouf here did." He pointed a thumb back
at Angel.

"Lilah," the judge said, looking down at her. "Do you have any records that show the relationship between Angel, Spike, and this Druscilla?"

"Right here, straight from their Sire's mouth," she said, handing it over. "We resurrected her with
Druscilla's help last year. All we know about them is in there." She sat back down, shooting a
glare at Angel and Spike, then turning it on Xander, who flipped her off in a way that the judges
didn't see.

"Enough, Mr. Harris," one of the judges said, not looking anywhere but at the papers.

"Sorry," Xander mumbled. "But she's a bigger bad guy than Spike's ever dreamed of being.
Yeah, he killed people, but she makes them *miserable* and makes them live that way, a much
worse fate than being eaten or turned."

The judge left of center nodded. "That is the function of lawyers." He put down the papers and
looked at Spike. "We will take a short recess to discuss our decision. Sit there." They
disappeared together.

Xander leaned forward and squeezed Spike's shoulder. "Almost done, huh?" he asked quietly.

Spike nodded. "Yeah, thanks for bringin' me."

Angel coughed. "Where's your clunker?"

"Wrecked. He and the sign jousted again," Xander said with a faint grin. "The sign won this
time." He sat back as the judges reappeared.

"As this is an unusual case, we are prepared to deal with the circumstances outside of our normal
boundaries and make decisions that are landmark. Mr. Harris," the center judge said, motioning him to stand. "Would you be willing to take over care of William the Bloody, a.k.a. Spike, until such a time as he was fit to take care of himself and no longer indigent?"

"Gladly," Xander agreed weakly. It wasn't what he had in mind when he had proposed this, but he could do it, Spike would probably be leaving as soon as he got money. "I consider Spike a worthy being and occasionally a friend."

"But are you willing to take over the role of his sire?" the judge asked. "To take care of him and
have total say over his life." He held up a hand when Spike opened his mouth. "Only until such a time as you are able to hunt and protect yourself again, William."

Xander thought about it then nodded slowly. "I am. If Spike agrees to it, then I'll gladly take
care of him and help him get better."

"Good. Then we do find that Lilah's petition has merit. The link to his Sire, Angel, will be
severed. As will the one to his mate, Druscilla." The judge looked down at Spike, giving him a
smile. "Usually we are not required to force a vampiress, or other demon, to give back the assets
they have stolen from their mate fairly. In this case though, we have decided that it is in the best
interests of all concerned parties to force her to give it back to you." He pounded his gavel and
his voice changed, sounding thinner, like it was being broadcast over a loudspeaker. "It is so
ordered that the vampiress Druscilla will appear before either this court, or her Sire Angel, and
will hand over all bank records and all items of her mate William the Bloody, a.k.a. Spike, so that they may be returned to him. No further contact will happen between these two vampires, and as such Druscilla is prevented from getting within three miles of him. As for the matter of Angel's Sireship of William the Bloody, it is hereby severed and his care until such a time as he is no longer dependant on a butcher's or other source of nonliving food is being given to the human Alexander Harris, who will watch over him and take over all Sire's Rights." He banged his gavel again and his voice returned to normal. "Are there any remarks?"

"Did you have to tell everyone?" Spike whined.

"Oh, yes." The judge banged his gavel again. "From this point forward, William the Bloody,
a.k.a. Spike, is hereby counted as a neutral creature. That means he is able to attack both sides in
the war whenever he had to defend himself. There will be no more onus against him for what he
has had to do to survive this unfortunate ordeal." He banged it again. "I knew I had forgotten
something," he said with a caring smile toward Spike. "Your assets should be back sometime in the next few weeks. Can you survive that long?"

"Yeah, I can," Spike said, standing up. "I thank you."

"You're welcome, Spike. We are very sorry you had to suffer in such a way after losing one who
was so important to you." He looked around the room. "Dismissed," he ordered.

Spike dragged Xander from the room, glaring at any demon that got in his way. "Don't think that
you're gonna pull some poufy crap with me tonight. You didn't get the right to take me to bed."

"Huh?" Xander asked. "I thought I was taking care of you, not treating you like a slave."

Spike stopped in the middle of the hallway, looking at him. "It's part of the whole Sire's Right's

"Whoa," Xander said, backing up a step, into Angel as it happened. "I'm not touching you in that
way. Making sure you eat. Making sure that you don't walk out into the sun. Making sure that
you survive and all that stuff, great. Bedding you? Not gonna happen, get over it already." He
glared at Spike. "I'm going to treat you like a teenaged son. You're going to behave yourself or
find yourself living in Anya's apartment. Got it?"

Spike nodded, grinning. "Good. Didn't think you wanted me that way." He started to walk off
but Xander stopped him and kissed him.

"Never tell me I don't want something, Spike, I'll prove you wrong. You never tell me 'no' and
expect me to take it." He stalked off. "Coming? Or are you walking home?"

Spike shook off his surprise and took the opportunity to glare at Angel. "You coulda fought. He's just as daft as you are."

Angel smiled, his former childe's reputation was toast and he was free! "I know. That's why I didn't fight harder." He walked off, his coat billowing behind him.

Spike groaned and shook his head, following Xander out to his car so he could go home.

*** Epilogue***

Spike looked at his bank balance, smiling at the nice, round, big number. "I can get a good place
now," he told himself. "With real cable and blood." He looked around his crypt and the bag he'd
packed already. Everything else that he wanted to keep was already at Xander's and no one in the
group was treating him any different. He picked up his bankbook and his bag, then left the crypt,
humming an old song to himself.

It had all worked out, even if he had planted that book at the Watcher's.

"A nice plan that," he told himself as he walked out of the cemetery. "Got my stuff. Got the
Xander. Got my stuff. Even got my rep back; no one can say anything to me for what I've done
now. No, no more pitiful vampire, now I'm a tragic hero sort." He grinned. "Maybe someone'll write a ballad or somethin'." His smile got bigger. "Got everything back actually. Even my second duster." His smile turned into a smirk. "Which looks good on the brat, gotta admit. Much better than on my Dark Princess. Too heavy my arse. She never appreciated the finer things in life, me included." He got into his new car and drove over to Xander's apartment, intent on bugging him for another night. After all, it was Childe's Rights to bug their Sires.

The End.
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