Title: Three Hundred Sixty-Six Degrees
Fandom/Pairing Spike/Dru pre-BtvS thru Spike solo in A:tS, Not Fade Away
Rating: Mature audience due to language and vampire feeding habits and casual drug use
Summary: Spike and Dru unwittingly inspire some of the great poets/musicians as they flit and feed throughout the last half of the 19th Century.
A/N: Written for the lynnevitational with terrific beta work by sunnyd_lite and moosesal and musical reminders (Like Pete Townshend's penchant for fighting) from my sister, Beth. It would be kickass if anyone could catch all the references.
Three Hundred Sixty-Six Degrees
It was Drusilla who first came up with the idea of collecting poets. Spike had to explain to her carefully - she was thirsty at the time - that they wouldn’t be able to fit one inside the other like matryoshka nesting dolls. Well, not if they wanted them to continue producing poems.
Drusilla was very unhappy about that until a group of wanna be beatniks walked past, young girls experiencing a night away from their protective parents and trying on their new black pedal pushers and berets; Drusilla decided it was time to eat, and the matter was dropped.
Spike infiltrated a group of writers in San Francisco discussing a new movement in writing, a way to “fucking free your mind” and for a moment, forgot he was the infamous Spike, killer of a slayer. He was William the Poet and this, this is what he had been attempting before he had turned, before the world was opened up to him. His body had been freed, and now his mind was finally following.
Amazing what a round of drinks and offer of a flat could do for him. He and Drusilla sat on cushions in an apartment over an auto shop on Fillmore, the original inhabitants drained and shoved down the rubbish bin at the end of the stairs, and listened raptly to this group of energetic minds create.
Over the week that the group stayed with them in their borrowed flat, one in particular spent an enormous amount of time with Spike, discussing the merits and lack thereof of the current spate of writers. Allen, the manic boy with wild hair and eyes that shone brightly whenever Spike entered the room, was fascinated by the lack of breath in his new friend.
“Breath is measure. Measure is relative, but measure is needed.”
Spike waited until Allen was completely wasted and vibrating in his own skin before sharing his own poems.
“Measure… measure! Too rigid, man, too rigid. You’ve got to, like, let go. Let the real you pulse out, like blood. It’s your blood on the page.”
Drusilla couldn’t help herself, and one of the poor fellows, out of his gourd on bug spray and carpet cleaning solution, succumbed to her ever-present thirst. It took her three days to come off her high. Spike loved it when she was like that, her crazy made sense and she was even more willing to fuck him in new and wonderful ways.
Allen and his lover Peter sprawled on the floor at Spike’s feet. Allen passed a joint to Peter and asked, “What is the craziest thing that happened to you, man? Let it out!”
Spike took quick stock of the situation and settled on a dinner he and Dru had had a few months before. He told his new friend about a group of fraternity brothers at a local college who they had lured into a gym, then tied them up -
“Yeah, man, fuck the Establishment!”
- and drank them until they were nothing but bones. A police detective took several weeks to get down the right description of the people last known to be seen with them. Drusilla pretended to trip in an alley to let the Dick get close enough for Spike to grab him.
“And I had a bit of fun, you know, pulled his trousers down and made him think… well, you know, and then when he started crying, wasn’t fun anymore, so I bit him and saved a little bit for Dru. She wasn’t that hungry that night. There‘s nothing much like killing someone and just letting out a howl. A fucking bellow from your guts that says you‘re alive!”
Allen just stared at him, his eyes goggling and too shiny. Spike worried that he’d gone too far, but Allen started rubbing his hands, worrying them, and Spike realized what he needed.
He got to his feet gracefully, found a pad of paper and a pen from a writing desk and handed it over. By that time, Drusilla was off her high and looking to hunt, so they left Allen, who was frantically scribbling something, two dead bodies, and a naked couple playing “William Tell” in the corner.
They decided to go to Italy for a decent fucking cup o' joe for a change. Spike also held the belief that the Italian's diet made their blood taste tangier, richer. And where better to find poets?
Apparently London was, not Italy.
They followed Silvia Plath and her husband. Sylvia was an especial favorite of Dru’s.
“Her Daddy is as bad as mine.” She slowly grinned, her teeth white and dangerous. “Well, no Daddy is as bad as my bad Daddy. He’s deliciously evil, my Angelus.”
Drusilla would climb through her window in the small hours of the morning, perched just over Sylvia as she slept and whisper tales of her wicked Angel into the sleeping woman's ear, clapping softly when Sylvia would toss and turn, moaning about a blue light, her fingers twitching on the bedspread.
Drusilla enjoyed following Ted and his many mistresses. “Daddy is so very naughty and he won’t get any dinner until he behaves!”
They watched from the shadows as Silvia took matters into her own hands. “Mummy is now the dinner, but not for me.” Drusilla sniffed Silvia’s dead body, wincing at the overwhelming smell of gas and worried about the children left to find their mum. She decided to set out bread and milk for the children, so they could at least eat when they woke. Spike beamed at her, thinking it was very thoughtful, even as his stomach growled.
Some painters arrived at work downstairs just in time for breakfast. Over their morning meal was when they chose to collect poets for their own. Poets didn’t make words once they were dead, and their bodies weren’t lyrical, it turned out.
Hairstyles were getting longer and pants tighter and people were fucking who they wanted to fuck and it had never been easier to eat 'til they were full; the times were good for Dru and Spike. They tried to avoid feeding from people “dropping out” ever since the time at Woodstock when Spike fed off a flower person and couldn't see his hand for days. When Dru followed suite, it took her to places of insanity that Angelus had never dreamed of, and Spike worried about being inconspicuous and the Slayer catching hold of them while they were incapacitated.
They much preferred drunks.
Poets morphed into musicians and they had louder parties, which made it easier to feed, suiting the two of them just fine.
There was a group in the UK that they latched on to - Spike always did feel that the best music came out of England. Except Jazz, of course, because that was fucking unbelievable, that was music that painted “beautiful pictures, swirling in my head like paper flowers,” according to Dru.
During the course of a summer of booze and endless food, Spike managed to forge a relationship with a bloke named Pete, guitarist and songwriter for a big rock group. Spike thought that the singer Roger was a bit of a Nancy; Pete was the real creative force of the group. Plus, he had a penchant for punching people's faces with his bass guitar, which Spike found endearing. It was easy to feed on the castoffs from the band. Drusilla and Spike were striking and beautiful and full of life, and these groupies drifted to them, hoping they were a way back in to the inner circle. They were a way out, permanently.
Over time, Spike shared his stories of Cecily and his mother and of becoming new and better with Drusilla, his Muse. Pete was fascinated by Drusilla, his eyes followed her as she danced and writhed between the band members and groupies.
After a concert one night Pete told Spike that Dru and Spike had a radiant youth about them, and he could almost believe they’d always be teenagers, forever young. He asked Spike to tell him over and over about leaving England, the countries they’d traveled to, and seemed especially fascinated by their time in China, the time frame cleverly altered by Spike so as to not raise suspicions.
Spike described the fires that burned ancient buildings to the ground, the chaos of thousands fleeing their homes in the night, the dead bodies strewn across the muddy roadways, and how beautiful Drusilla looked with her pale beauty lit up by firelight. Spike mistakenly mentioned her “previous boy-toy,” from Ireland. Still livid with Angelus' disdain for him even after killing a Slayer and shocked that he could just leave the family without a word, he made up a name that sounded both Romany and Irish, his own personal joke at Angelus' expense.
Pete, shocked and intrigued, hoarsely barked out, “Who are you?”
“Who! Who! WHO!?” he practically shouted the last question, a conversation that would stay with Pete for a good eight years. Spike would hear those questions shouted back at him on the radio the year after he won his black duster.
Pete’s eyes lit up in that same feverish light that Allen’s had years before. Spike sighed, found a pen and a body - he quickly checked to see if she was passed out from drink, drugs, or Drusilla, then realized it didn’t matter - and watched, fascinated, as Pete penned a quick outline for a song, using the false name Spike had given Angelus for the title, “Baba O’Riley.”
Spike and Dru left him muttering that “it couldn’t be about a Drusilla, it’s too old fashioned. Sally!”
They decided to investigate New York City on the promise of a new scene up and coming and discovered what would then become the music of Spike’s soul, if he'd had a soul at the time. They spent a lot of time listening to the local kids perform spoken word at a rundown hell hole called CBGB. Spike was itching to get on stage and share his own works, but was tempered by Drusilla.
“Not yet, my love. Let the children show us our souls. It will take an awful long time, won’t it?”
Spike slowly turned to her. “Dru…. Did you just make a joke?”
Drusilla hummed and bounced in her seat, waggling her fingers towards the stage. A band started playing and Spike was completely transfixed. A huge wave of snarling guitars and grunting lyrics, barely understandable hit him like a ton of bricks. And the guys were dressed, well, Spike had never seen clothes like that before, rough, raw and ripped.
Spike and Drusilla left the club that night and found two people with similar clothing, torn and filled with lovely sharp safety pins. They toyed with them in a manky back alley until finally killing them and took their clothes. They followed the band around going to every gig they played at, at every small bar and closet-sized club waiting until they could introduce themselves. For whatever reason, Drusilla decided they shouldn’t give their proper names, so Spike, knowing that his darling and demented Dru knew the future on occasion, introduced them as Jackie and Judy. The names came off a wallet and an ID from the couple they had killed weeks before.
They followed the singer, Joey, a lot. It was borderline pathetic, the attention they paid Joey and his "brothers" in the band, and it took several cases of whiskey bottles and not a few years before Spike stopped feeling humiliated about it. He would never admit that Joey's hair reminded him of a long-gone family member.
Their music was loud and hard, the people who came to see them were wild, and Spike and Dru could fuck in the hallway, their mouths filled with the blood of a fresh kill, and all without raising an eye.
Spike decided to change his hair color one night. He threw an empty peroxide bottle onto the floor of the tiny and nasty bathroom in the club and pulled Drusilla roughly to his body. Drusilla smeared his newly whitened locks with the pharmacist's blood, pulling them into spikes for a lark. He quite liked the results. Minus the blood, after all, they didn’t want to draw attention to themselves outside their safe houses.
Joey informed “Jackie” that he didn’t give two shits about his new hair, he had a set to play, and could he please, “fuck off.”
That night, Joey and his band performed a new song, “Judy is a Punk.” The crowd loved it; Spike did not.
"Fucking dead already, ya noncy git!"
He gritted his teeth, the muscles in his jaws flexing, and Drusilla took him away, gave him a lovely young lady to boost his mood, and dropped lit matches on his bare legs as she rode him, crooning to him about their eternal love. And also something about a fishery, but Spike didn’t pay that much attention.
Drusilla became fraught with worry one night, completely inconsolable.
“What is it, pet? You see something?”
Drusilla moaned, rocking back and forth, “She’s coming. She knows we’re here and she will leave her little boy all alone with no one to help him…”
“Who’s coming, love? Dru? What do you see?”
“The Slayer!” she hoarsely whispered.
It took three bouncers, filled with the adrenaline of a hard fight in the back alley, to calm her. She licked her lips and Spike leaned in and drew the last drops of blood from the corner of her mouth with his tongue. He ground into her, holding her still against the rough brick of the alleyway.
“You rest. I’ll see to her.”
Drusilla closed her eyes in ecstasy, trailing her nails up and down the hard lines of Spike’s shoulders and arms. “Yes, you will. Can it be? Two slayers for my Spikey?”
Spike took her hard and fast right there, then left her laughing and sighing in a heap and headed to the subway, where Drusilla had seen the Slayer.
They decided later to celebrate by going back to England and finding more inspiration.
“Something more violent. No more ladies in tight pants singing about sniffing glue, right then?” Drusilla tugged on Spike’s hair and gnawed playfully on his ear.
Drusilla found the new hang, the Speakeasy. It was in a nice and seedy place in London where they could continue to feed and hopefully find someone new to inspire them.
A shy boy, John, that Dru said was “filled with delicious flickering rage” started shadowing them at the club, aping Spike’s demeanor. He tried to imitate Spike’s sneer, his swagger. To escape the boys obsessive stalking, Drusilla would take Spike onto the floor where a new style of dance, “the pogo,” was being created. Spike thought that sort of dancing to be brilliant. “Saves me having to start a fight,” he said one night, grabbing some unknown bloke and punching his head.
Later Spike heard that John claimed to have invented that dance. He rolled his eyes. "If I had a pence for every time someone claimed to have invented -. Look, I was there at the damn club!"
John’s buddy Lydon started shadowing the couple as well. Spike overheard the two giving Jon a new name, Sid Vicious, and Spike tried to not laugh in their faces. He decided that he and Dru needed to teach the little twats a lesson, conveniently forgetting his own obsessive behavior back in New York.
One night, when “Sid” and his buddy Lydon, now called “Johnny Rotten" - Spike had almost done them then and there for that bit of ridiculousness - were about to go onstage, Spike had the brilliant idea of setting them up to make complete asses of themselves.
“Go sing ‘God Save The Queen,’ but tart it up a bit. You know, poke a little fun at them, right? It’ll be funny as hell, a couple of punks singing about ol’ Elizabeth.”
The two thought it was a fantastic idea. Unfortunately for Spike, so did the audience. He and Drusilla left for New York again; it suddenly felt too small in London.
Chelsea Hotel in New York was where poets and musicians came to die, helped along sometimes with the efforts of Dru and Spike. Sid turned up a few months later with a strung out bint named Nancy. Nancy would always try to touch Drusilla when she saw her, her fingertips reaching out, hoping to graze the black silk that was Dru’s hair or her perfect luminescent skin. She almost lost a finger to Drusilla’s vicious bite.
“Now that’s what I would call ‘Vicious,' eh, Sid?” Spike taunted.
The two humans started shadowing Dru and Spike again, much to their irritation. Finally, Drusilla decided that potential greatness or not, she’d had enough. She smiled and sang and brought the two back to Sid’s room and pretended to shoot up along with them. Not that they ever would have noticed. She undressed them and encouraged them to fuck, she just wanted to watch, and as Sid orgasmed and passed out, she tossed his limp body against the bed, led Nancy into the bathroom and drove a single fingernail into her gut, softly humming “Edelweiss” as Nancy’s blood pulsed out of her. Dru didn’t feel the need to taste any.
“She smelled of ashes and sour dirt like a cellar. Take me to find someone who will taste of taffy and sunshine, Spike.”
They waltzed down the hallway and out of the hotel into the streets of Manhattan, looking for a snack. It was 4 am. That was the beauty of staying in the city that never sleeps - you can always find something to eat in New York at any hour of the day.
Spike couldn’t even be bothered with the complete and utter wanker that tried to dress exactly like him. What sort of rock star is named Billy, anyway? Drusilla pouted for days that she hadn’t been allowed to eat him.
“Not even a little bite, Spike. Mummy says you’re supposed to share!”
“I’m sorry, Pet,” he crooned, “but I’m fairly certain he would have tasted something terrible.”
She grinned and lay her head on his shoulder. “Aw, my Spike. Always looking out for the tastiest treats. Let’s find a lovely little something, shall we?”
It would be best if the incident in Minneapolis with a very, very short but incredibly gifted black man with a penchant for silk scarves and purple suits wasn’t mentioned.
Suffice it to say that Darling Nikki was actually Darling Drusilla, and said gentleman learned several new tricks from the pair of vampires. It made Spike too uncomfortable to be involved in any form of soul music, Freudian and all that, so they didn’t linger past a few orgies. Also, it was Minneapolis, and of all the places to be in the world, that wasn't on the list.
It should be noted that during one night of wild sex between the pair, the tiny musician, and several other members of his group - sexuality was quite flexible at this time - Spike, with Drusilla’s nethers warm and wet against his mouth, moaned that her walls tasted of sweetness, of sugar.
The very short, very sexy gentleman left the orgy and picked up a guitar and began plucking out a tune in the corner. Spike had laughed at the thing shaped like a woman’s leg; he shrugged and went back to pleasing his lady before eating half the band afterward.
He always did build up such an appetite after sex.
Angel said to live the upcoming day as if it was their last. There was only one thing that Spike was sure he could do and see it through to the end. Drusilla was gone for good, Buffy had moved on, Fred was… well, not Fred, that was for damn sure. Big Blue wasn’t much inspiration.
But as he thought of his one hundred plus years and the women who filled the days and his heart, he knew there was only one way to see if he’d ever had any talent at all.
He picked the first place that had an open mike night. After several shots of Dutch courage - well, Tennessee if going by the bottle - he got on stage and began. The inflections, the swagger, the god damned heart of the words on the page filling him up, remembering how all the others had just believed in what they did, their words and the way to say them.
He poured his metaphoric heart into his ode to a complete bitch, poured his hard-won soul, even. And maybe that was the difference, his soul. No matter which, the audience got it. They fucking understood what he’d been trying to say for over one hundred years in one way or another and they applauded.
It may be his last day on this earth, but it was a fucking good one.