Disclaimer: Joss Whedon owns it all. I own nothing. I own nothiinkkk! (Think Hogan's Heroes, guys)

Summary: AU. High school. Will is a sweet-natured creative writing student into poetry. Then, one day, after Cecily breaks his heart, Angel offers to let him into his gang and teach him about life.

A/N: I know, I know, it's been done. But I think this is different. How different? The New Guy different. And I'm flipflopping. I usually write S/B, but Spike and Faith have way, way better chemistry. I mean, seriously, writing them together is a joy. Writing Spike and Buffy is fun, but not near as fun as Spike and Faith. So I'm leaning. Let me know.

Chapter 1: The Old School

An anonymous little high school in England.

William carefully adjusted his glasses, watching her. He spent all his time watching her at school, lately, and although some of his science classes had suffered horribly, his poetry was flourishing.

And who could blame him, really? She was a goddess. She was perfect.

And, okay, his poetry wasn't top shelf. He knew that. He was hardly illiterate, after all.

He lifted his legal pad, staring down at the poem. Gleaming. Gleaming? The word was flat. It had no meaning, no song. It didn't make him feel anything at all. Meter-wise and rhyme-wise it threw the poem off.

And what was up with this? Effulgent? That was great. Maybe the five people on earth who didn't have to reach for a dictionary would enjoy his poetry.

And, then there was the jerks.

A football player grabbed his arm. "Hey, little guy. What's with the notes?" (A/N: Note: this is England, so football is soccer. Just roll with it, guys (ooh! Pun me!))

"No!" Said William, trying to squirm free. "Er, just my poetry. You know,"

The football player grinned. He was outfitted in his football gear, that is, shorts and cleats. "I see. Hm. My heart has grown a bulge? Sounds painful, Will." The football player said. He grinned widely. "Or are you just anatomically confused?"

There was laughter, and William realized to his horror that the entire football crowd was now around him. He managed a tiny little smile, but couldn't really mean it.

Cecily drifted closer, and William could tell from the look on her face that she wasn't about to stop them. He squeezed his eyes shut.

Then a football player grabbed the long, floppy locks of his hair. "So, what about it? Who's the poetry about, mister heart-on?"

William felt his cheeks flush. "Nobody." He said quietly. "Just an assignment for writing class."

"Boy, I gotta get me into this poetry class!" Said the football player.

Then there was a bell, and they were gone. Suddenly, in an instant, his humiliation was over. He let loose the breath in his chest, a long breath, and looked around.

There was Cecily, still standing there. In the background William could see a few stragglers heading for class, but he ignored them. As always, his eyes were only for Cecily.

"Cecily." He breathed out.

He waited a beat for the words she always used when somebody called her Cecily. He'd heard her say them a thousand times, always wishing she'd say them to him. "My friends call me Ceece." Those words, once spoken, would be an acknowledgement, and invitation.

"Will." She said, studying him.

He almost whimpered, but then, she wasn't treating him like all of her friends. Wasn't that a good sign?

"Tell me, Will, was Nick right? Was that. . . for someone special?" She swallowed. "Was that for me?" She asked. He swallowed. She was asking him. . ? If this was a dream, he hoped he wouldn't wake up.

"Y-yes." He managed to stutter.

She looked away. "Oh, Will." She sighed.

"I-I know they aren't very good, but poetry is just an attempt to put one's feelings on paper." William managed to stutter. "And, and it may be crude, but I think that-"

"Will, stop right there." She ordered. He stopped. "You're beneath me, Will. You're nothing to me. And, and if you keep watching me, keep writing about me, I'll complain. That's stalking, Will. That's harassment. And I don't have to put up with it."

She turned and walked away, leaving William alone. He stared after her, his mouth falling open. She'd devastated him, and his eyes filled with tears.

He turned away, tearing off the page poetry on the legal pad, tearing the page in half and throwing the two halves away.

"Hey." Said a gruff voice. William looked up.

It was Angel. Every school had a kid like Angel. Bad to the bone, nasty, downright mean. Belligerent. Constantly in trouble. No friends. And, to make matters worse, a knife, according to rumor. There were rumors that his dad was spending time in prison. Rumors of a nastier sort about the way he spent his free time.

William threw his hands up. "What, you want my lunch money now? Fine! Take it! Oh, wait, I haven't got any lunch money. My bad."

Angel chuckled. "You think you're bad, huh?" He asked. He glanced after Cecily. "She handed you your guts." He observed, smiling. "I like that in a girl." He observed.

"Sod off." Suggested William.

Angel grabbed him and in a flash had him bent double, both arms bent behind him. "Hm, no, don't think so." Said Angel cheerfully. "You didn't exactly take it like a man back there. I mean, pathetic. Really pathetic."

William felt a flash of panic, but the cold wave of simple apathy overwhelmed it. "Oh, do your worst, tough guy." He managed to get out.

"Hm. Think I will." Said Angel, letting William up. "You're late for class." He observed.

"Class?" Asked William. He laughed. "Who cares?"

Angel smiled widely. "Who indeed? You wanna come with me, meet the gang? Turn the town red?"

Angel stared at him. "What?"

"Oh, come on." Said Angel. "You wanna do it?"

William shook his head, rubbing his face. "I'm going back to class." He said quietly.

Angel grabbed him by the collar, lifting him into the air and slamming him against the wall behind him. William stared at him with wide-open eyes.

"You don't get it, do you? I'm giving you a chance to join the gang. I'm gonna show you how to be so bad that a girl will never, ever dare to say something like that to you again. She might squeak like a mouse and run away, but you'll never get trampled."

"W-why?" Stammered William.

"Cuz, my boy, you remind me a lot of me." Said Angel. "You have spirit. I mean, you stood up to me back there. That's almost a first for me! And besides, I always like corrupting the innocent. Helps pass the time. All right, Willy: with me, or against me?"

William pushed the bigger boy away, and slid to the ground. "With, I guess. Just don't call me Willy."

"Well, I guess you'll need a new name, then." Said Angel. "Will, William, Willy. It just doesn't have that dangerous, violent feel to it."

William managed a half-smile at that. "Right." He said.

"Rule one: if there's trouble to be had, then by God, we'll have it!" Said Angel, patting William on the shoulder. "Got it?"

**

William faced his mother. "Sorry, mum." He said, just a bit sullenly.

His mother shook her head. "You skipped classes. That's a first. That alone would have surprised me-would have thrown me off."

William looked at the floor, feeling his stomach tightening. He couldn't believe this was happening. Couldn't believe he hadn't thought of how this would affect his mother.

"But then the police bring you home! The police, Will!" He winced. That had been a particularly bad touch.

"And they tell me you were brawling, Will! Brawling! That you punched a boy, that you smashed another one with a railroad spike!" Will grinned at that, remembering the look on the football player's face. That had been worth it. "They say his parents aren't going to press charges, provided you leave the school. Leave the school, Will! Pull up roots and get out!"

William sighed. "I'm sorry, mum." This time there was no sullenness. "I messed up."

"Good and proper." She replied with a nod. "Unfortunately, the school agreed with the boys' parents. You've been expelled."

"They can do that?" Asked William, surprised.

"Yes, Will." Said his mother. "And I'm not arguing with them. Instead, I called your uncle."

"Uncle?" Asked William, suddenly terrified.

"I was wrong to think a single mother could raise a boy alone." She said.

"No, mum, it wasn't you!"

"And you hid it from me all this time, so I obviously have a blind spot. It's time you had a man around the house to teach you how to behave, to set you in line. I'm sending you to America, to stay with your uncle. He's already done the paperwork to get you enrolled in school there."

"You did all that with one phone call?"

"He works at the school, so it was easy for him. You'd better pack, Will. You're to leave tomorrow to go live in New York with your uncle."

William felt tears streaming down his face. All this because he'd obeyed a whim and gone with Angel. All because of three hours of acting out. All because of his obsession with Cecily.

As he packed he glumly tried to recall his uncle's face. All he could remember was a big man, which could be misleading, since he'd been six when he last saw his American uncle.

Was the man even related? William searched his memory, trying to figure how his uncle was related, and finally settled on the theory that he must be a cousin, once or twice removed, and not actually an uncle.

As he tried to sleep that night his mind kept wandering to Angel. And Angel's gang. And how they had tried to make him feel welcome, how they had tried to teach him how to live without fear, either of humiliation or anything else.

He smiled.

**

As William got off the plane and looked through the crowd his eyes settled on a man of medium build with thinning hair, who was looking through the terminal with eyes as lost as his own.

He headed for him. "Uncle Rupert?" He asked.

"Oh! Er, William?" Asked his uncle, extending his hand. "Er, everybody here just calls me Giles. You can, er, of course call me anything you like, whatever comes naturally, I suppose."

William shook his uncle's hand. "Thanks." He said in relief.

"Well, have you got any other luggage?" Asked Giles.

William shook his head. Giles slid his glasses off his face, wiping them with a handkerchief. William followed suit, doing the same. It was an old habit, one that allowed him time to think, and he barely realized the other man was doing the same.

For a moment they stared at each other, and then they both smiled, little smiles.

As they loaded his luggage into the trunk of Giles' car, William felt the need to speak. "You don't sound American." He said.

"I'm not." Said Giles. "Far from it. That's just what they call me back home for having the gall not to come back. Life here is, well, they murder the language. And it's very different. But I've found it quite, ah, rewarding."

As they drove away Giles glanced at William. "Now, I understand you're quite violent." He said quietly. William glanced at him, surprised. "I understand that. I had quite a, ah, wild youth myself. But this, this trying to hide who you really are, it won't work with me."

William remembered the phone call, remembered what his mother thought he was, and his mouth twisted in a sardonic grin.

"You can't fool me." Said Giles.

William thought about that, and remembered the rough way Angel had spoken. "I guess not." He said, in as best an imitation of that accent as he could. It sounded atrocious to his ears.

"Good." Said Giles. "I wondered when you were going to give up that silly attempt at an accent."

William's eyes narrowed. So this sounded more real than his own voice, did it? So he expected a monster, did he?

Well, why not? What was it Angel had said? Living a life free from humiliation, where nothing scares you?

"I'll try not to break anybody's legs, but if the lot here are as much a bunch of poofters as the lot back home, it'll be hard." He said in his roughest voice.

He glanced in the mirror as he said it, and winced. That picture was nothing like Angel, or any of the members of Angel's gang. It was a soft face. A babyish face.

Well, they'd see about that.

**

"Spike." He said, testing the name. It wasn't quite right, but it would do, he decided. No time to think of a better name.

Besides, this one had meaning. The poet in him could appreciate that.

Ugh! Poet? No. He wasn't a poet. He was going to flunk his English class, he decided. No use them all realizing what a poof he used to be.

He ran another hand along his stinging head, and pulled his hand back, blinking back tears. Now his hand hurt! He rubbed his hand on his shirt.

And now the shirt's a loss too, he thought. Now I have to go shopping for a new wardrobe.

**

Giles pulled the car up, leaning back in the seat. "We're here, Will."

"Spike." Said the bleached blonde automatically. Giles' mouth tightened into a scowl.

"That's the name of the angry punk we both agreed was going to stay in New York."

"The punk can stay. Name doesn't change."

"Will." Said Giles warningly.

"You sided with me then." Pointed out Spike, glancing at him.

"And that's why I lost my job with the school. Please, Will. . .Spike. This time, this school, please try not to hurt anybody."

"Not my fault the bloody poof tried to cut me with a knife!" Said Spike. "He only deserved what he got."

"You put him in the hospital. As well as his girlfriend.

Spike didn't squirm. "She had a knife too." He said. "What was I supposed to do, let her carve me up out of chivalry? I think not."

Giles got out of the car. "Again, that's why I sided with you. And that's why I lost my job. Clean start, here. All right?"

Spike grinned, pulling out the leather duster and putting it on. Giles frowned. "That duster, it's hers, isn't it? The girl whose arm you broke."

Spike shrugged. "She didn't complain about it being gone." He said.

Giles rolled his eyes. "You really are a remorseless little thug, aren't you?" He asked. "Maybe I should have just agreed to let them send you to jail instead of agreeing to pull you from high school. Maybe I should have let them go ahead and try you as an adult. God knows you deserved it."

Spike shrugged. "So, this is the new flat." He said. "Hope it's bigger than that last one."

Giles shuddered. "Me too." He admitted.

**

"So, class, we'll have a new student today!" Said Miss Calendar, her smile fixed in place.

Buffy leaned over to Willow. "If it's a girl, just grab Xander. Don't let him near her." She whispered, ignoring Miss Calendar, who was trying to read her notes, and the bored bleached blonde standing beside her.

Willow nodded, remembering the last visitor to Sunnydale. She'd crushed Xander's heart, utterly destroyed him, rendered him to tears-and the ungrateful brat had enjoyed it.

She firmly set her eyes on him where he was sending puppy-dog eyes in Faith's direction. The slacker with violent tendencies was sitting in her chair, scrawling doodles all over the desk.

"This is, er, William." Said Miss Calendar, examining the paper closely. "What's this note, William?" She asked, holding up a slip of paper off the desk.

"My name." He said, motioning to the slip of paper. "That's my name."

"Isn't William your name?"

He rolled his eyes. "Look, my parents may have had bad taste and not a single ounce of wit between the two of them, but you can't hold that against me." He said. "My name is Spike."

"Spike?" Asked Faith. "As in. . ?" She leered at him, causing a few giggles around the room. Miss Calendar glared at Faith, giving her a look that clearly spoke of misery ahead.

"Well, as it's on my school record, right there," Spike pointed a piece of paper on Miss Calendar's desk, "you might just read it for the class." He smirked at her, and she quirked one eyebrow up, sniffing the air.

Cigarettes. Naturally. Wasn't his uncle the new librarian? This was going to be horrid.

She flipped his school record up. "Ah, here we go. Episode with another student where you used a railroad spike to-break his leg?"

There was a dead silence in the room. Spike turned to the class, letting his eyes roam over the collection of mouths that had dropped open. "Yeah, that's the one." He said.

**

A/N: A nine-page teaser and prologue!! Well, that's brutal. Let me know what you think. And come on, you know Spike's a real BAD BOY. I mean, brutally bad! So, it's of the good. And, seriously, I like Faith/Spike. That's the direction. But that DOESN'T, I repeat DOESN'T preclude friendship with the Scoobies. That's the whole point, isn't it? To tame Spike after wilding him? Wilding. . .I made up a word just like Buffy would do! Yay!