A Brief History of Spike's Boots

The first pair of work boots that Spike got after being turned came off the corpse of a dockyard worker in Chatham. Angelus didn't like them, but then Angelus didn't like anything that wasn't fancy and irritating, and after Spike had taken the requisite beating for wandering off without permission, nothing was said when he took the boots upstairs with him.

He wore them hunting that night and took another beating for doing so: boots were loud on city streets and Angelus had been able to hear him coming. After cleaning his blood off the carpet, Spike stomped his way to the door and up the stairs, earning himself yet another series of heavy-fisted blows that he shrugged off. The boots stayed on. By that time he'd been ready to take a beating or more per day out of sheer stubbornness, but after a week Darla got tired of the whole thing and told Angelus to leave him alone.

"You haven't been able to stop him from using that guttersnipe accent," she said, "or that ridiculous name. There are some battles that just aren't worth fighting." Then she took the bastard upstairs and fucked him into compliance. The only good thing Spike ever had to say about Darla was that she accepted without comment his right to remake himself however he saw fit, and usually managed to persuade Angelus to do the same.

After that, the boots were as much a part of Spike as his fangs and his new accent, and though he learned to wear them silently he rarely bothered. Food that ran when it heard him coming wasn't worth much anyway.

That first pair of boots lasted him almost twenty years, and he got his next pair the night Darla took the entire clan out for revenge against the gypsies who'd cursed Angelus. The eldest brother of Angelus' original victim was close to Spike's size, and he paused in the middle of death and fire to strip the kid's boots off and take them for his own. The smell of smoke lingered in the leather for months, and he kept the boots themselves until a K'ralnor demon put its tail through his left foot in May of 1917. Once the swelling had gone down, Spike found himself a French patrol that was sleeping rough. One of the soldiers was about the right size; the new boots fit him perfectly.

In 1939, the Nazi madness boiled over onto the rest of Europe. By the time Spike made it out of Poland, he'd developed a serious grudge against all things German, and the submarine incident didn't help matters. Once he made it to dry land, he swapped water-damaged French boots for a pair that he took from the still-twitching corpse of an SS officer in Bordeaux and aimed his steps at Berlin, determined to exact some kind of revenge for the indignities he'd suffered. He made it as far as Munich, where he slaughtered half the party hierarchy in one bloody, perfect night. The next day, Hitler blew his head off and ended the war in Europe. Spike's attitude and accent got him back to London inside of three months, and Dru found him in an alley in Whitechapel a week after his arrival, fangs-deep in the whore he'd picked up for dinner.

A week later they sailed for America, and their arrival in New York was worth every minute of the trouble Spike had been put to in order to keep Drusilla from eating anyone on the ship who would have been missed. They kept to America's cities for the next two decades, and Spike immersed himself in the growing counterculture with increasing relish. He held onto the boots, though, until he discovered Doc Martens on the feet of a Hell's Angel at Altamont. He kept that pair of boots for more than thirty years.

When he switched boots next, it wasn't because the Docs were wearing out. He might not have been able to kill humans anymore, but that didn't mean that he had to save them. He'd watched with grim relish as the demons that still could took the Initiative down to bloody, quivering pieces, and before he went in search of the Slayer, he swapped his Docs for a pair of Army-issue combat boots that were still warm when he put them on. He was never sure if the Slayer noticed the change or not, but her cardboard boyfriend certainly did.

Spike smiled nastily at the boy's outrage, and made sure to put his feet up on as much of the furniture as possible.

Author's Notes: Unbeta'd, because this has been running around in my head all day.

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