Disclaimer: Again with the me and the not owning.

Rating: PG-13, soon to be R-ish

Pairing: Don't get me started

Time line: Pretend "Orpheus" never happened, kay? This would start a few hundred years after that. I'll get into the Buffy timeline later.

A/N: Finally I have this chapter out. Now before I get bitch-slapped for "My Mother's Affair", this one's my baby and I've been very, very excited to get it started. I don't know which one will take priority, just depends on my extremely switchable moods.

Feedback: A necessary life-force

Dedicated: To nice people.

Chapter 1: Give or take a few hundred years later...

Whistler hated alleys. Particularly dark ones. Dark ones with evil things lurking about. And dirty ones. Whistler hated dark and dirty alleys with evil things lurking about. And of course, because Fate loves the irony, his destined-occupation usually required said alleys. A lot of them

This one had to be one of the worst, in any demention. The crumbling bricks surrounding it were covered with ash and alcohol, and the slightest tinge of blood could be smelled. Dust and dirt were piled on the cement, dumpsters overfilling and dead rats hidden in every nook and cranny. It was filled with death, with hopelessness, all emanating from one shriveled up shell, hiding behind the dumpster.

He tried to force the memories away as they flashed across his mind, as well as the overwhelming sense of deja-vu. With a pang in his heart, he remembered the first time he had to do this, when things were just a little bit simpler. Or as simple as the war between Good and Evil could get. But looking at that, thing, laying by the back of the alley, he couldn't help but wish things were different. That everything was different. He used to like this world; beautiful girls, gambling, a bright sun and blue sky. Now it was just... dark. Like the alley.

Pushing his thoughts aside, Whistler took a few steps forward, trying not to cringe from the scent. The poor huddled-up mass didn't take notice as the demon walked towards him, too hardened to care. Probably didn't even have the will to walk out into the sun (if it still burned). Well, time to get back to work.

"Christ that's an interesting smell," said Whistler, "You've got the whole 'stench-of-death- thing going on here, don't ya?"

No response.

"Right, well, just remember that hygiene is important. 'Specially when you're around those with keen senses," Whistler felt like he was reading from a script, nearly word for word from the last time.

"Leave... me... a.. lone," the voiced rasped, the bundle of blankets he was under shifting slightly.

"Oh, no can do. See, I've got a mission for ya, one that you really don't have a choice in."

"Not... interest..ed."

Whistler sighed. "Hey now, you haven't even heard my offer and you're already walking out on me? You, my friend, lack commitment. Don't worry, we'll work on that."

Slowly the blankets slipped away, and a pale and rotten face peered above the edges. Whistler sucked in a deep breath at the sight, not expecting him to be as far gone as he was.

"What," he hissed, "part of no... do you... not... understand?"

Shrugging, Whistler replied "Quite honestly? The no part. Actually I'm just ignoring that part. Listen, this place is obviously not the best location to negotiate, and I'm in the mood for a hot-dog." Leaning down, Whistler got as close as he dared to the figure. "So why don't you say we high-tail it outta here and get something to eat? And try not to forget you-having-no-choice-in-the-matter deal, alright?"

Agitated, the man sat up to a crouch, allowing himself to look Whistler in the eye. Listen...to me," he cleared his throat, continuing "I don't know... who you are. And... I don't fucking... care!" He tried to sit up, his ice blue eyes striking into Whistler as his frail body hissed and moaned. "And... in case you haven't...notic..ed...I... can't do shit for...you right now. And a god...damn...hot-dog...will not help!"

"Oh no, my friend," Whistler replied, "I fear you are too far gone for hot-dog treatment. Lets just take a walk," he looked him over, "... if you can."

Slowly, 'Too slowly', Whistler waited impatiently as the former man stood up, his legs barely holding him. "Will...you...leave me... alone... if I do?"

"Fine. But if I go, They'll send someone else for ya. Someone much less attractive than myself."

The figure snorted. "Lets go...then."

The two walked quietly on the even quieter streets. Whistler remembered when Chicago was a bustling mass of people, but now even the windiest city was suffocating. There was no one, not human at least. A few demons every now and then, but they were almost as pathetic as his companion and barely registered as a threat. Turning down a few streets, they came to what used to pass as a bar, but was more of a shack now. Going in, they were completely ignored by the patrons as they took a seat, Whistler's "friend" still covered with his blankets and his lungs rasping.

"Hey," Whistler said, "Why are ya breathing so hard? Don't tell me it's an act."

He looked at him, his mouth curving horribly upward in what used to be a handsome smile. "Starvation...dumbass...can't regulate...body...as well with..out...blood."

"Yeah, starvation. We'll work on that too. Oy," he called to a demon/waitress, "can we get a pint of O-pos and a hot-dog? Preferably not raw." The waitress raised her three eyebrows up, her red skin glinting off the light as she walked away for their order.

Turning back to his new buddy, Whistler said "So, whaddya say we get back to business? Lets start with why you're here." Reaching into his jacket, he pulled a large manila folder labeled 'William Wedgeton/William the Bloody/Spike/Hostile 17/Big pile of dust/champion/lost'. "Look at this thing," Whistler began, "it's gotta be four inches thick, and you haven't done much the past couple of centuries. Anyway, here's the summary. Basically Destiny has sent you a fairly crappy deal. As evident by your crappy smell." Whistler ignored his glare. "You lost the woman you loved, actually all the women you've ever loved. But that's missing the point. You were a gentle soul, turned into a vicious creature, then neutered, then soulful again, then dead, then alive, and now you're homeless. Not exactly full circle, but you've had some mighty obstacles in your way." Opening up the folder, Whistler pulled out a picture that made the other shake. "Ah yes, the last true slayer. She really was prettier than the last one. And you didn't save her. Or couldn't, could you?"

The figure looked away, rustling the blankets. Whistler tried to ignore the guilt that crept alone his spine. He knew what bad memories he was bringing up in the vampire across him, but he also knew that this was necessary. The world literally depended on it. Whistler depended on it.

"Nope," he continued, "You just let that blood-sucking fiend suck the blood from her, pushing the world into chaos."

The vampire snarled in anger. "I did not ...LET... him take...her. She...Buffy...she let him. I couldn't...save her even...if I...could!"

Whistler tilted his head, examining the former William the Bloody. "You're right, I'm sorry, please accept my deepest apologies. 'Cuz either way we were screwed. The whole army of light was, and yes, she was that important. Buffy Summers was The Slayer. Capital T. Capital S. In fact, you might as well capitalize the rest of the words, she was the Powers That Be's greatest champion, the only one to keep chaos at bay. Losing her..." he faded, taking a deep breath, "But that's all in the past, isn't it?"

Spike peered up at Whistler, "Then why... do you...keep bringing...up mine?"

"Because," Whistler said, looking deep into the vampire's dead eyes, "I'm giving you another chance to save her."

One month later, give or take a few days, in another city somewhere...

Spike stood in shock, nearly collapsing against the tree he was hiding behind. He watched as she bounded down the stairs, at least sixteen, (she should be older), carrying a few groceries with a sword at her side. In this world, you could never be too careful.

But Spike was less surprised by the dangerous-looking blade and more by the girl that should not have been able to wear that cross around her neck. Yet there she walked, blonde hair, green eyes, same face, same live body (one Spike knew well), same... "Buffy," he whispered.

Same day, give or take a few hours, in the City of Angels...

She missed the hunt, she decided, she missed it a lot. Oh sure, it was fun to have humans locked up in cages, available whenever she needed. She liked being spoiled, and Angelus saw to it that she got everything she ever wanted. Hell, she had her own fucking city, with no laws. But it still didn't make up for the chase, for the blood lust. To watch your prey's hind end running with fear, their veins singing to you.

Oh well, hopefully that'll all change soon. Buffy smiled, her forehead morphing into its familiar ridges as she looked out across the balcony. After all, revenge tends to get the blood running.