Having had enough of being shuffled around from bathub to couch to basement like an ugly, unwanted baby by the Scoobies after the Initiative chipped him, Spike burned all his bridges.
Spike being Spike, a bridge hadn't been properly burned unless he'd pissed on the smoldering ashes before spray painting the worst obscenities he could think of on the still hot twisted metal girders so that it stayed burned.
Problem was, once he'd ditched the Scoobies for good, he'd cut off an easy food supply that didn't make his head hurt.
He was getting awfully hungry.
Last summer before everything went down the crapper, Spike found Harmony wandering around the streets of Sunnydale at high noon with her hair on fire. He assumed that she was such a ding-a-ling because she was too close to her changeover to think straight.
Fair enough, Spike reasoned as he smothered the flames with his duster after dragging her down the manhole he'd been sheltering in, he'd spent several confused weeks himself after clawing his way out of his own grave. All the bint needed was a right smart bloke to show her how it was done and she'd be right as rain.
Aaaaaaand...seeing as Dru was no longer around, Harmony with her golden Hollywood looks would form the core of a new harem that would generate considerable envy.
It took Spike less than a day to upgrade Harmony to clang-a-lang.
Oh, she'd hunt all right, but she had no sense personal danger.
Yeah? Well, neither did Dru.
Some of Dru's more spectacular outrages had gotten them into plenty of hot water, Budapest being the worst to date.
Budapest had been bad.
Budapest had left both of them barely hanging on by their black lacquered fingernails. But at least with Dru, life after death was entertaining. How about the time they'd both bedded down for the day and he'd awakened hours later hogtied with his own bootlaces, reeking of the gasoline Dru'd drenched him with while she sat on his back giggling and playing with his Zippo lighter admiring the pretty flame? Or the time she'd tried to peroxide his hair with battery acid?
They just didn't make entertainment like that anymore, not since vaudville died a quiet death in the 1950s.
Anyway, Harmony was just plain stupid without any crazy to make her interesting. Harmony would walk up to someone at the Sunnydale Mall because she liked their clothes and bite them right there in front of everyone instead of luring them off to some dark corner and leaving the body for the janitorial staff to deal with the next morning.
She got them banned from the Sunnydale Mall.
The skating rinks, both roller and ice.
Several popular coffee shops.
The Bronze. (Big soddin' deal there, the bouncers and management changed weekly so did it really matter?)
For a while there they were reduced to hunting transients at the bus station until Harmony started grizzling about the smell of diesel in her hair so they switched to feeding at biker bars in between his attempts to find that stupid ring that made any wearer invulnerable.
Once he found it, Harmony dumped him, he'd had to deal with Angel (always unpleasant), and to add insult to injury, he lost the ring to Angel.
What was worse, bloody hell! Harmony came back.
She might sulk and crap up his place with unicorn posters and empowering self-help books, but hey, she always put out on demand.
God, how he hated her.
God, how he needed her now.
She was the only one who would feed him, no thanks to the Initiative.
It was plentiful - Americans eat a lot of beef.
So he'd swaggered into the local slaughterhouse, only to get kicked out on his ass by Heathen's Local 214's union reps before he could even fill a thermos - they had a tight lock-down on the supply. You had to pay Union rates or buy a membership. Snarling, he'd shelled out $50 for a quart, gone home, drank it all and spent the day bloating and worse.
Harmony whined nonstop about the weird noises and stenches he gave off and insisted on keeping the crypt windows open all day.
Spike had no idea his stomach could blow up that big, feel that bad, or make that much noise.
Horses, Harmony reasoned, weren't used in rituals so who cared if he tapped one or six? And anyway, they weren't human, which made them fair game. So Spike followed his nose and found himself in the Sunnydale Mounted Police Stables at 2 am.
The gelding, the half ton gelding he'd selected for dinner, got one whiff of him as he entered the stall, flattened its ears, and proceeded to dance all over Spike with iron shoes.
Playing the Ponies
Shetland ponies were tiny things, they'd be easier to handle than a full sized horse.
This was Harmony's other bright idea.
Nobody bothered to tell the Shetland mare at the petting zoo this when Sike snagged her foal.
Ditto the rest of the herd.
The hoof marks were smaller, but there were more of them.
It was highly satisfying to beat Harmony with a chair leg.
Better yet, she left in a snit.
Were disgusting. End of story.
Giles had shown up all demony.
A gold mine with horns and a tail.
This netted Spike a nice fat little pile of cash which smoothed the ride for a while so he could relax. It bought him beer, bourbon, smokes, Wheat-A-Bix, and human blood to crumble them them in. Unlife improved even further when Harmony after only two hours after returning dumped him again in a huff for reasons only Harmony understood which made it easier for him to watch Passions without her constantly crawling all over him demanding attention.
Then, soddin' Hell! those Initiative bastards ambushed Spike on his way home from the Qwikee-Mart, causing him to drop his smokes and plasma. Plus they had the bloody cheek to shoot him in the back with some whassis that allowed them to track him at will. This meant a trip to Giles' flat, putting up with the Scoobies, Giles rummaging 'round in the hole in his back with a pair of tweezers, a minor bout of hair frying static electricity as applied by an amatuer, a tall stack of dead presidents leaving Spike's wallet and a screaming hangover the next day from downing an entire bottle of Cognac in one shot.
After that humiliating round, Spike was flat broke again, and there was nothing left of the stuff he'd borrowed from Xander's dump of a basement apartment to pawn.
He might actually have to get a job.
Worse, Spike had the nagging suspicion that any minute now, Harmony would show up again.
The plan was to jump out at people from dark alleys vamp faced and scream, "Give me money!"
This worked as long as he stuck to doing this to people who didn't know him.
Anya didn't take him seriously at all, and she didn't give him any money either.
This was a warning shot from reality that he ignored.
Spike should have listened: he made the mistake of jumping out at the Scoobies on their way to a movie.
They laughed at him.
Smarting, Spike moved his operations to the City Park.
An hour before dawn, he and a jogger, a 200 pound bull dyke competition weight lifter/kick boxer, had a head on collision.
He screamed "Give me money!"
She screamed back, "Like Hell I will, jackmeat!" and maced Spike dead on. She then proceeded to use hims as a man-shaped punching bag.
If it hadn't been for the chip which dropped him to his knees clutching his head in agony when he tried to defend himself, Spike would have ripped her windpipe out and beat her with the messy end. Instead, he spent the day under a hot shower eating asprin at the homeless shelter.
It hadn't been a total waste. He'd stolen her wallet even as she'd put him in a headlock under one hairy armpit and pummelled his head with one big meaty fist.
The stench of PMS laced with steroids was overpowering, but he'd swiped about $100 and 2 femidoms.
Harmony thought they were balloons and used them to decorate her unicorn collection.
Yes, Harmony was back.
Rats were plentiful.
Rats were everywhere.
Dru had eaten them like candy.
So could he.
Too bad rats made him jittery.
The painfully earned $100 had gone too fast.
Until he could get enough cash to buy blood, he'd have to eat rats.
By night three, he'd eaten all the rats in Sunnydale Cemetary.
Worse, Buffy nearly caught him rat-in-teeth.
He'd tossed the dead rat over his shoulder and played it cool.
She never guessed.
He found himself at the city dump the next night. It was rich with pickings as well as discarded furniture and other household items like really ugly lamps and foot stools.
While scavenging for a new couch that didn't stink, Spike grabbed a particularly succulent Norway only to have it snatched out of his hand by a ghoul.
The ghoul chittered at him, and held up a little name badge that said, "Hi, My Name is Doug Flutie" before shaking a scolding finger under his nose.
Ghouls stank, tasted bad and the hair got in your teeth, but he could kill it without the chip interfering. (After all, it was a demon of sorts.)
Still recovering from his dyke slapping, Spike wasn't fast enough to grab the creature that got between him and his meal.
The ghoul outran him and dove under a mound of old cars.
Screaming with frustrated rage, Spike began burrowing after him, intent on murder.
He found himself screaming for a different reason as fifty or more ghouls waving sharp ponty sticks came boiling out from under the mound of old cars and thundered after him.
They chased him six blocks before they got bored and went back to foraging.
Later on Spike learned that the dump rats belonged exclusively by treaty to the ghouls of Sunnydale and that he was lucky they didn't tear him apart for breaking it.Red Cross
Harmony was whining, again.
Someone had smashed her favorite ceramic unicorn, the big one with the purple rhinestone eyes and pink wings that smelled like bubblegum, and it was all Spike's fault.
Sod the unicorn!
Without telling him, Harm'd put on a "borrowed" uniform, walked into the local Red Cross blood bank, and then walked out with an entire cooler of freshly donated blood.
Spike gorged himself on the still warm treat, and in an unusually good mood had refrained from saying anything nasty to Harmony for at least an hour.
He'd also been very tender in his lovemaking, for once not smacking her around.
After they'd finished, he'd blissfully drifted off under the electric blanket, stomach full for the first time in weeks, Hamony's head resting on his silent chest.
Then the goons from the Red Cross broke down the door, trashed the place, and pulped him while holding Harmony at bay with their logo. After the Red Cross reps finished remodeling his home, they took back the blood and presented him with a bill for what he'd already eaten.
His head would never forgive him.
Neither would the unicorn collection which had gone over with a beautiful crash.
"It's all happenin' at the zoo..."
Bad, bad idea.
Whoever designed the chip in Spike's brain decided that apes were close enough to humans to count.
He'd grabbed a chimp one night and tried to bite her. Both of them went down screaming as the rest of her family pelted him with poo.
He'd returned stinking to his lair, clothes half torn off.
Harmony had the gall to lock him out.
Cow blood had been bad enough. She'd been patient, but this? He could go and spend the day under someone's house for all she cared!
Even the homeless shelter turned him away as bad news. He had to break into the Sunnydale Washeteria to clean up at four in the morning.
The Slayer went past, he'd ducked down behind a dryer.
She didn't see him.
Or smell him.
Funny, he'd been having wet dreams about her lately.
Really wet dreams.
Which made him feel almost as dirty as the primate excrement he had to scrape off of himself before he could even remove his clothes.
Hunger was a bad thing.
If you asked Spike, Schnauzers could not have originated on Earth but in some demon dimension he hadn't heard of yet.
How much damage could one small dog do?
He'd spotted one on someone's front porch and decided to claim it - Dru had a taste for poodle, the fluffier the better - nobody would miss one small dog. He'd opened the gate.
The schnauzer glared at him from under it's goofy looking bangs, pointy ears alert and homing in on him like radar dishes.
He started up the walk. The animal looked like it would let him pick it up and take it home so he could eat it while watching morning telly. "Nice doggie..."
The schnauzer stood up, but its little stump of a tail wasn't wagging.
He tried to grab its collar.
That's when it snarled up and down his leg like a Cuisinart with rabies, shredding his trousers as it went.
Spike fell over backwards off of the porch, hitting his head on a stone gnome. The schnauzer ripped a hole in his right Doc Martin before going after his other leg.
Then the remaining four schnauzers that he hadn't noticed lurking in the bushes decided to join in on the fun.
It took the owner and two cops out on night patrol to get the dogs off of him.
It took him half an hour to break out of the back seat of the squad car and flee into the night before they could get him into the tank on drunk and disorderly.
Harmony screamed at him for picking on defenseless little doggies.
The little ones at the Petting Zoo shouldn't be much of a problem.
Didn't even come up to his knee. Soddin' easier than ponies; the worst they could do would be trip him.
Bending over to pick up a goat showed him he was wrong.
Two jumped on his back.
Eight sharp little hooves danced a tattoo on his spine.
Another four joined them and something yanked at his hair for good measure.
His eye was nearly jabbed out by a curious one, standing on its hind legs. Probably trying to figure out how to get on his back.
Beady yellow eyes were everywhere, converging like sharks, making this, "Maaaah!" sound. From one, it wasn't bad. From twenty, it was downright terrifying.
Spike escaped, deciding goats belonged in the same category as Schnauzers and Shetlands...hell beasts.
He stole an entire crate of live chickens one night from the back of a Tyson truck.
The feathers were messy, the noise incredible, and the amount harvested not worth the effort.
The same went for turkeys.
Smelly, nasty, dirty, stupid turkeys.
Sod off, everybody!
Spike tried marijuana to cut the cravings so he could ration the human plasma out a little longer, but he forgot something important about marijuana: one large doobie later and he was ready to eat the bedspread.
Heroin, an old friend from the 1950s killed his appetite completely, but made Spike feel like red ants were setting up housekeeping under his skin so he scratched himself bloody raw. Harmony thought it was gross to scratch even in private and nagged him about it until he threatened to toss her out into sunlight.
Cocaine - lifted from a Bronze customer along with his wallet helped until Spike's nose started bleeding uncontrollably. Harmony had fluttered around smugly spouting off, "Just say NO to drugs!"
He'd slugged her a good one, which though it didn't stop the bleeding, made him feel better.
Both of them spent the afternoon with shoplifted bags of frozen peas on their noses.
Harmony's eyes went black.
Spike's nose just throbbed.
In between episodes of "Passions" Spike channel surfed. There was a nature program on coyotes.
It showed how the mothers fed their young.
They ate all they could keep down, return to the den, and vomited up dinner for the pups.
Harmony had her doubts, "Ewwwwww!" but she said she'd try because it would be a wonderful "bonding" experience.
For that, he let her call him her "blondie bear" and coo over him.
She went out, grabbed two people, drained them and like the seasoned bulemic she had been in life, brought up the goods.
It was disturbing watching her, but his hair was going brittle and his nails were beginning to crack and split so Spike learned to overlook it.
For a few weeks this worked.
It got so that they could sit on a park bench or stand on a street corner and pass for two lovers necking in the early morning hours while he drank fresh blood directly from her mouth.
Then he'd had that dumb idea to show the Slayer how much he loved her by staking Dru, who had blown back into town like a disease bearing wind from a swamp.
Lately, like all of Spike's other grand gestures, it had inevitably blown up in his face because as usual he hadn't thought it all through.
He forgot that as stupid as she was, Harmony loved him enough to shoot him in the back after she found out what he was up to.
Spike was now dead broke. What was left of the money he'd gouged out of Giles was completely gone.
Harmony had taken it with her when she'd done another one of her runners.
Not that it mattered; nobody would sell anything to him anyway - word of his betraying other demons on behalf of the Slayer had gotten out. Nobody wanted any part of him, even the part with portraits of dead presidents on it.
The painful ulcers on his gums and the soles of his feet were getting worse without Harmony to help him dress them or to share a meal with.
The only person left that he knew who was still civil to him was Joyce Summers.
But all Joyce Summers ever gave him was a cuppa.
Now there... was a thought.
Joyce was the only person he'd ever met dead or alive that had ever really listened to him.
...it was worth a shot.
God, he'd die a second death of humiliation if the Slayer ever found out what he had in mind.
She'd really hate him for this.
"And, uh, Mrs. Summers, you don't have to mention this to Buffy, she'd only worry. I don't want that - she worries, uh, too much as it is...and..uh...I mean... Can I borrow $50?"
Author's Note: This was really inspired by "Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" more than anything else. What does Spike do when you don't see him hanging around Buffy like a bad smell in S 4-5? You get hints, but nothing definite. My thanks to SJ Smith for the "goat chapter" and schnauzers in general.