Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Beta'd by the wonderful Marella916.

Just a warning: This is an AU spuffy story. BUT Buffy is only 16 when this starts so the spuffy lovin' while it will happen won't be for awhile. There will be briefly Bangel. I don't mind Angel, but I do not like the pairing of Buffy/Angel but it is necessary to the plot. I have rated this M for now for adult language, eventually there will be smut but like I said it won't happen right away so try to be patient. I hope you enjoy what I have done with the characters. I have used certain elements of the show, certain bad guys and even some dialog. In those instances I will make the necessary acknowledgments.

He knew it was going to happen a split second before it did, the blade glinting off the light from the entrance of the alley, the sword coming straight at him in a perfect arc to decapitate him. He was too tired and wounded to stop it. He actually welcomed the end. If he had to go out this was the way to go, fists, fangs and sod all else.

When Spike came to, he knew something was wrong. Very wrong. Shouldn't he be getting his nuts roasted in the darkest pit in one of the hotter hell dimensions? Spike had no idea where he was, but he was pretty sure this wasn't Hell and it sure as shit didn't look like Heaven. Instead he was in an empty room. No chairs or windows just a plain grey room. Spike walked the perimeter of the room looking for a door but found nothing. He fumbled in his pockets hoping to find his smokes but came up empty. He sat down leaning against the wall and let his thoughts wander.

If he had known what was to come the first time he set foot in Sunnydale. Would he have grabbed Dru and ran the other way, never looking back?

He had known the moment she kissed Angel and sent the great poof away, that he would die in Sunnydale. She came down into the basement that night and handed him his death. And he took it, willing to die to try to make up for what he had done. He loved her and if she required his death, so be it. He had hoped, at that moment, that maybe she didn't know that the amulet would kill him. Right up until that last moment in the hellmouth, when she said she loved him. That's when it hit him, she knew, she knew when she handed it to him that it would kill him, and now she was giving him a crumb to make it worth dying. It pissed him off that she would use his feelings for her like that. Knowing how he felt about her after his speech to her in that abandoned house.

Coming back though, that was never the plan. He was supposed to be finished! Done! Set free to either burn in hell or receive a reward, whatever the bloody Powers that Meddle thought he deserved. Spike finally had an idea of what Buffy felt when she had been pulled out of heaven. Betrayed, hurt, alone. He had saved the world, why couldn't they let him rest? He had saved a few billion people didn't that tip the scales against the lives he had taken when he was evil? He felt completely lost, without direction. What was he supposed to do with himself now? To add insult to injury, he had been dumped into the poofter's lap.

He had thought of going to see Buffy, changing his mind every few minutes. Even when they had gone to Rome his heart really hadn't been in it. To see pity in her eyes when she told him that she didn't love him the way he loved her? No thanks, better he be dead to her. He could pretend to himself then that she had actually loved him for a moment, not a bad way to go out.

None of her group would miss him he knew that without a doubt. It hadn't been easy but after a while he actually felt like he was part of the group in LA, something he never had in Sunnydale. So he decided to stay with Angel and his team and it somehow made the decision to go out fighting a bit easier this time. Maybe finally he could rest, maybe this time it would be enough. But since he was in this room he had a sinking feeling it hadn't been.

As he was sitting there looking around at the nothingness the air started to shimmer in front of him. Two beings with golden skin and intricate blue markings appeared before him. The woman spoke first. "William, you have fulfilled your destiny. We are grateful to you; you gave up your life twice to save the world. It is time that you receive your reward. We offer you two choices."

"Reward? What reward? Still an evil demon here luv, I figured I had a one way ticket to Hell." Spike responded with none of his usual sarcasm. Even he knew that now wasn't the time for his usual attitude. He was still damn pissed. Here he was thinking that this time would be the end.

Suddenly there was a flash of light and a badly dressed man appeared next to Spike. The newcomer was short, stocky and wearing a black fedora. His clothes were mismatched and ill fitting, a bright red and yellow polyester print shirt, with a dull brown pant and jacket set. The two beings looked at the new arrival. "Whistler, you have been called before us to make amends for your mistakes. Once our champion makes a decision regarding his reward your punishment will be decided." The male being intoned.

"Hi Spike. Name's Whistler representative for the Powers That Be."

"What'd you do mate?" Spike asked Whistler.

"Angel" was the one word response.

"Bloody hell. What'd the poofter do now?"

"Whistler failed to inform Angel exactly what his duties were concerning our Chosen One. Because of that failure, choices were made and events set in motion that caused the dimension to be lost. The outcome is set, it cannot be changed, and the choices Angel made doomed mankind. He was sent to protect the Chosen One from the prophecy of her death at the hand of the Master. His lies and manipulation destroyed the life we wanted for our warrior. His belief that he was our champion and that it made him above reproach, fed his jealousy of you, our true champion, and caused others to doubt you. This time-line did not go as intended, but we cannot interfere with free will. Once the players were in place we could do nothing as the events unfolded based on the choices made by each individual. We are offering you the chance to have the life you should have had. Or you may receive your final reward." The male finished speaking and sat on an ornate chair that appeared directly behind him.

Whistler gulped loudly, what he had to tell the vampire next to him wasn't good. At the best of times Spike wasn't known for being reasonable. This assignment was going to be hard enough as it was without getting beat up. "See the thing is that none of this was supposed to happen." A snort from Spike made Whistler pause before continuing. "Cordelia gave him a vision of the Senior Partners just before she died. And well, he took it to mean he was supposed to start a war with them. Angel was actually supposed to prevent the war not start it." "He did the same thing with Acathla. He was sent to Sunnydale to prevent it from awakening not to open it up."

"This..You…" Spike snarled as he glared at the Oracles through golden eyes. "He's your Champion? Stupid sod. Anyone care to explain why? Why you chose the Great Forehead as your Champion? He destroys everything he touches! You people are supposed to be the all knowin' all powerful Powers that Be and you picked that bleedin' idiot?" Spike stormed around the room punching the walls until his hands bleed.

Whistler waiting until the vampire had calmed down to speak again, knowing what he was going to say next would probably set the volatile man off again. "You guys lost and that dimension, well it's gone. There's no one left."

Spike went absolutely still, "Buffy... and the Nibblet?"

'Gone' was the whispered reply.

Spike's legs no longer held him up as tears ran down his face. He had been ready to be finished, but he always thought that Buffy would live, that she would finally have the chance to live the life she always wanted. That's what he died for. What good was either of his deaths if she died too? The room was silent except for the sound of Spike's soft sobs. After a few minutes Spike stood up wiping the tears from his cheeks.

"What are you bloody offering, already? What exactly do you want me to do?" He asked suspiciously.

The female also sat before answering. "We are offering you a chance to do it all over again. A chance to make the lives you touch better. Easier. Protect those you came to love from the heartache and sorrow they went through. The dimension is lost and as a result we must create a new dimension to restore balance. If you agree you will be sent to Sunnydale before our Chosen One arrives. Whistler will stay with you as his punishment. He will receive visions from us to help you in your fight. He will also help pave the way for your acceptance within the Chosen One's group. You will become more than a vampire but not human. A beheading or a stake to the heart will still kill you but sunlight and religious items will not harm you."

"What is your decision, William?" the male asked.

"You want me to go back and live through it all again?" he scoffed cocking an eyebrow.

"Free will, William. No two dimensions are exactly the same. Even seemingly minor insignificant decisions can have a profound effect on the future. Everyone has free will, both demon and human. Things that happened in your time might not happen again. New threats may arise, that is what Whistler's job will be. To assist you against any new threats or situations you were not aware of." The female spoke to Spike.

"Can I save Joyce and Glinda?" Spike was practically pleading. The thought of losing the two kindhearted women again was more than he could bear, making him almost beg for their lives.

"Each dimension is different William you must do what you think is best. The things that happened in your past might not happen in this time. Again different choices result in different outcomes." As the male finished speaking Whistler leaned over and whispered to Spike, "You have choices this time around. We can sit down and figure out what we should do. Not everything will be the same, but we can try."

"Alright I'll do it." Spike addressed the group. Once they had his acceptance the two higher beings left Spike and Whistler alone.

Spike's was trying to digest all the information he had just received. "Gotta dig up the Gem of Amara and all the treasure that's there with it. Convert it into cash, open bank accounts, and purchase a house and a car. After that's done we'll contact the Watcher, he's going to be hard to convince. You need to assure him that I'm on the up and up and that'll take some doing. If you were the one that showed the slayer to Angel originally does that mean he won't be showing up this time?" Spike questioned Whistler.

Closing his eyes Whistler waited to hear an answer. "Looks like he will, somehow he wound up in LA. Saw her one night out patrolling and he has been stalking her ever since."

"What about the curse mate?"

"He was cursed with a soul in 1898." Whistler informed Spike. "He's obsessed with her again. Our main job is to stop him from breaking her heart again."

"Well that's harder than it sounds mate. She fell arse over tea kettle for him and I can't see anything stoppin' it from happenin' again. Once Angel shows up you have to talk to the gypsy and the Watcher." Spike grumbled.

"Wait. Why do I have to get in touch with the gypsy?" Whistler whined.

Spike continued as if he hadn't spoken, "Make her spill all to the Scoobies and the Slayer, the Watcher and Angel. Maybe she can fix the curse or find a spell or convince him to go to Africa like I did and make the soul permanent."

At this point Whistler interrupted him, "Wait why are you trying to help Angel keep his soul. Granted we don't want him to lose it, but why not just try and keep them apart?"

"That's simple; I won't be at that meeting. If I'm there Tall, Dark and Broody won't listen to anything that's said. He'll just think I'm up to something. And you can't keep them apart, never gonna happen mate. They love each other. Always will, no matter what they do to each other. At least this way no one dies. Isn't that the point? Try to make it better, easier?" Spike sighed.

"I plan on having as little contact with the Slayer as possible. I'll help fight, tell the Watcher everything I know about the big bads coming, 'ell I'll even patrol. I'll meet with her so she knows my face and doesn't stake me on sight but I have no intention of becoming part of her life or part of the Scoobies. Moving on…"

"Now about the Spike and Drusilla that are already here, I have an idea about how to fix that. Are you putting me in my body from then?" At Whistlers' nod Spike when on, "That mob in Prague did a number on her. Just don't let her survive the injuries. She gets some peace and we don't have to worry about her or Miss Edith or the pixies buggerin' up our plans."

Whistler tilts his head back eyes closed listening to something only he can hear. After a few minutes he straightens up looks at Spike and says "They are willing to have her not survive her injuries in Prague. They will rewrite your history giving you a clean slate. But I have a question for you. Why haven't you asked about your soul? Don't you want to know if you will be keeping it?"

Harsh laughter escaped from Spike's lips. Whistler just stared. Finally Spike answers "What difference does it make? I gave my bloody word that I would do what they asked. Isn't my soddin' word good enough?" He growled, eyes flashing yellow.

"That's not it at all; they just figured that you would want to keep it for Buffy in case…" Whistler stammered. He stopped talking at the cold look coming from Spike.

"What part of not being part of her life did you not understand? I'm done bein' Love's Bitch. I love that woman more than my own life! But she never loved me, with or without the soul, never cared about me except as muscle or for info or when she needed to scratch an itch. That's all I'm offering now muscle and info an' I don't need a soddin' soul for that. The soul didn't matter to her one bit except it meant that I got to burn up in the hellmouth and she didn't have to risk the poofter." That's me, I went from Spike the Slayer of Slayers to a punching bag, vampire vibrator and then a willing sacrifice. How the mighty have fallen and here I am going to do it all over again. I'm a bleedin' idiot.

Jumping to his feet Spike started to pace as he spoke. "Oh I heard her tell him that myself, that she couldn't risk him, so what difference does it make? I asked that demon in Africa to give me what she deserved. She needed, deserved someone with a soul willing to die for her in the hellmouth, well she got it. Angel wouldn't do it, oh he talked a good game when he showed up but ran off right quick when she gave him an out. Gave Angel some speech about cookie dough an' seeing a future with 'im. Oh he had a laugh about that let me tell ya. Rubbed it in my face the entire time I was with him that year. So if the PTB have some sort of other idea floating around tell them they got the wrong vamp. Get Angel, hell you know what get him now! Get him; yank him out of what ever alley he's hiding in and dangle that Shanshu prophecy in front of his nose. Tell him if he wants the girl he has to get his soul anchored, and take him to Africa to secure his soul. Problem solved! They can fall in love, no curse, no Acathla, no problems; get that 'normal' they always wanted. And I get to finally rest, hell's looking pretty good right now." Spike sat down and waved Whistler away.

Whistler returned a few minutes later. "Sending Angel to Africa is too risky and you know as well as I do that his demon doesn't want the soul. They can't take the chance that he will wish it away. Maybe the gypsy can secure it but we won't know until we get there. So it looks like you're the vamp for the job. The Powers are going to let you keep the soul." He held his hand up before Spike could interrupt him, "They understand your position, but they feel that Giles might accept your help easier if you have the soul. Explaining this is going to be tough and anything that makes it go smoothly will help. Plus you fought hard for it and they want you to keep it, you earned it."

"If you say so. The soul didn't seem to mean much the first time with the wanker, the sod tried to have me killed after I got it. But like I said I don't plan on having much to do with them if I can help it." Spike replied a little sadly.

When the two men arrived in Sunnydale Spike immediately went to work on retrieving the treasure. Whistler, it was decided, would speak with Giles.