Alternate explanation for As You Were, in which Spike wasn't lying when he said he was holding the Suvolte eggs for a friend.

Spike stalked back and forth through the shambles of his crypt, a bottle of Jack in hand as he took in the destruction all around him, furious (or so he told himself) tears in his eyes.

His crypt. His home for the past two years, destroyed like it was nothing. Destroyed in part by Buffy. Buffy and her sodding Soldier Boy, who'd just had to come back and screw things up right when his relationship with the Slayer was going somewhere.

Or not. But that wasn't the point.

The whirring of familiar engines disrupted his drunken brooding. Spike started in surprise and quickly scrambled to the side as the TARDIS materialized in the middle of his crypt. Really he should've expected the Doctor would come around eventually, especially seeing as the bastard was supposed to show up an entire week ago, but he was still a bit thrown off by his sudden appearance.

Before Spike could even begin to collect his bearings, the TARDIS door was thrown open and the confident ring of the Doctor's footsteps announced the approach of the man who'd shown up on and off throughout Spike's history, saving him whenever he got into more trouble than he could handle – always saying that it was necessary, that Spike was important, that he was needed.

Needed. Yeah. Taking care of the Suvolte eggs was the first time the Doctor needed Spike for anything, and he'd fucked it up real good.

"It's your own bloody fault," said Spike anyway, even as he ducked his head so he didn't have to look his old friend in the eye. "Don't you dare tell me I screwed up when you're the one who was a week…" He trailed off, blinking rapidly as he took in the man standing in the doorway of the TARDIS. "You're not the Doctor."

"Of course I'm the Doctor," he said, except obviously it wasn't him because the Doctor wasn't Scottish.

He wasn't old either. Or quite that tall. And he wore that freaking ridiculous tweed getup, with the braces and bowtie and the fez. This bloke was…

Well, he was dressed like a magician (which was just as odd) and still had two hearts (Spike could hear them thudding away in his chest) and he did smell like…


"A different regeneration, but yes," he said, stepping further from the TARDIS and surveying the damage with steely eyes. "What happened here?"

"What happened?" Spike took a swig from his bottle. "I'll tell you what bloody happened. I kept your sodding alien eggs at room temperature like you said, and I took care of 'em, just like you asked, but you were late and Buffy's ex-boyfriend showed up and found 'em and accused me of taking part in some black-market terrorist shit-" He gave a drunken hiccup. "And Buffy believed him, and she called me William, and she dumped me."

The Doctor regarded him evenly.

"The eggs are destroyed?"

"Yes, you deaf old bastard!"


Spike balked.

"I'll show you language, you lying cock-sucking fuck. Five days, you said. Five days! But you were late and now my crypt is destroyed, and-"

"Enough with the theatrics; I really don't care about your piddly dramas, William. That's not important. Important is the dozens of baby Suvulteans who are- are dead!"

"I didn't do it."

"I heard you the first time," said the Doctor. He started pacing back and forth. "A soldier, you said?"

"Yeah. Sodding commando, carryin' a gun the size of Texas, obviously compensating for something."

The Doctor made an amused sort of laugh.

"Typical. I don't like soldiers. This is why I don't like soldiers." He raked a hand through his hair. "No, not just soldiers. Sometimes – times like this – I don't like humans. Violent little humans with their guns and their explosives, and-" He cut himself off. "Do you know the parasite that turns humans into vampires-"

"Not a parasite-"

"Don't be sensitive," he said absently, then continued his previous statement like Spike hadn't interrupted. "Do you know the parasite doesn't affect any other suitable host half so strongly as it does humans? Nineteen other life forms are able to be made into so-called 'vampires,' but only humans become unrepentant killers. Because the want for violence? It's already there. A tweak to the brain, take away the aversion to eliminating the natural food source, and suddenly destruction is top priority." He glares at Spike's basement as though it can be blamed for its charred state. "Hardly surprising that even when there is no parasite – when the brain is hardwired for restraint – the barest justification is still enough to kill, kill, kill."

"Fuck, calm down. I'm sorry, alright? I tried-"

"No. Don't apologize for them. Underneath it all, I think you're different – even considering the parasite-"


This time, the Doctor simply ignored him.

"-you've been infected with. You are able to appreciate certain things that are meant to be appreciated." He exhaled. "Unlike the monsters who destroyed those babies. And why? Because they were dangerous? Of course they were dangerous. They were young and scared."

"Actually, they wanted to destroy the eggs-"

"Before they even hatched. Before they were dangerous at all," finished the Doctor. He kicked a piece of rubble. "I was going to take them home. They wouldn't have hurt a thing there, would have-" His voice broke, but he rallied quickly, fury takin the place of devastation. "Stupid, predictable humans. I can't-" The Time Lord turned sharply and looked at Spike, really looking at him for the first time. "I hurt you."

Spike curled a lip disgustedly.

"I thought you didn't care."

"I didn't care then. I do now. You said Buffy…"



He snorted. "Yeah. That's what I said."

The Doctor looked uncomfortable. "Would it make it easier if I told you it was coming anyway?" He rocked back on his heels. "I've only seen snapshots of your… relationship, but the woman is damaged. I have a feeling you were not helping matters. You are dark. You are obsessive. Do you think that's what she needed?"

"It's what she wanted," spat Spike. He swallowed a sob. "I t-tried being good, tried being in the light with her, but that didn't work and the only way she'd be with me-"

"Was by destroying herself? By becoming like you? You can't want that for her… Not if you care about her at all."

Spike had nothing to say to that.

The Doctor sighed, and little as Spike wanted to focus on the other man's problems when he had so many of his own, he couldn't help but think that it sounded an awful like the Time Lord was speaking from experience.

He didn't push, though. Didn't care enough to push. Not when his relationship with Buffy was in too big a shambles for him to even consider helping a two-thousand year-old alien sort out his issues.

"Spike, I know your future. I can't tell you anything, but her leaving you – it's for the best."

"For the best?"

"Well, no. Maybe not. Maybe it's going to push you to do awful things. Things that I don't like to think you're capable of doing. But maybe those things will convince you to become something more. Maybe." He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them again, looking weary. "Or maybe if your Slayer kept you now, you would become great anyway. Maybe she's caused you both unnecessary pain by refusing to see the man you are."

"If you think that last bit is true, stick around and explain things. Make her see me," said Spike desperately.

"No – I think, I'm certain the other way will turn out better for you in the end. I hope."


"I should be going. I've got… I need time to myself after…" He gestured helplessly to where the eggs had once been. "But I'll see you again."

"Doctor," said Spike, before he could leave. The Time Lord stopped. "Is she worth it?"

"I hardly think so, but I wouldn't think well of a person called 'The Slayer' in any case. She's worse than a soldier. 'Ooh, how do I handle a problem I can't solve with a wee pointy stick? Use grenades instead! Yes, that sounds like a marvelous idea!'" He caught Spike's look and became serious once more, although his eyes were still fiery with irritation at what he clearly considered an enormous flaw in Buffy's character. "No," he repeated. "I won't say she's worth the trouble. But everything else you'll gain? Yes. More than worth it."

Spike nodded to show he understood.

The Doctor headed for the TARDIS.

"Bye the way, you'll find what you're looking for in Africa," he said at the last moment, not bothering to even turn around.

"I'm not looking for anything."

"Give it time… And you're welcome." Almost as an afterthought, he tacked on, "Of course, you may not wish to thank me."


"Eh, we'll assume you will."

Without another word, he hopped into the TARDIS and shut the door behind him.

A dazed Spike watched the ship dematerialize before shaking his head and gulping down another mouthful of Jack.

Crazy bastard. Didn't even make him feel better. Not really. Didn't even say something stupid to make him laugh like the bow-tied one would have.

Still. At least he knew he had something worthwhile in his future – that he'd become 'something more.'

Didn't know what in the hell Africa had to do with it, but he supposed he'd find out eventually.


Author's Note:

Seems a natural follow-up to 'As You Were.' Spike calling himself 'The Doctor,' especially after what happened with Doc, seems a bit odd. Hence this fic. Please tell me what you think.