Which makes this attempt to sketch out a story especially goofy, I think, but I'm going to anyway. Because some days I am a loon. Also I am terribly, awfully bored and I want people to talk to me so that I can talk back, so that I can get through the next hour and a half of this thing called "work."
So in my AU, Spike left Sunnydale sometime mid-to-late season five and went in search of a soul, because he had a thing for Buffy. Riley had already left but Spike realized that he'd never get anywhere with Buffy unless he emulated his sire--Angel was the one she still pined for, and maybe Spike had that driven home by a visit of Angel's.
He goes off and gets his soul, but instead of becoming the dustered lunkhead of season seven canon, his rough edges are softened. He is anguished, self-loathing, lost, haunted. Not a *terribly* Williamy Spike, but more so than we saw on the show. He goes home to England in a wandering sort of way, desperately pining for things he can't name, touching base with his roots, ghosting through the streets where he once walked as a living man. While he's there he is captured by a local clan of vampires who recognize him; they know he's been working with the slayer, and find out he has a soul. They chain him up in their den and torment him, a whipping boy. Nothing too inventively traumatic--they're not that imaginative. Mostly they just beat him up and starve him and kill people in front of him.
After a while, he's mostly this spiritless heap they kick in passing, and that's when a team of watchers attacks the lair. It's in central London, right near their headquarters, so it's an affront they can't afford to let go and they've mustered all the troops. Among the watchers cleaning out the nest is John Lawson.
Backstory. He's thirtysomething, ex-Army. His father was a watcher, but after university he went into the army special forces. He's been assigned tours of duty all over the world--mostly short-term assignments in the Middle East, India, etc. While he was in the service, he also got tapped by the council of watchers for any extramural missions that coincided with an official assignment. So he's done a lot of field work in demon hunting. After about ten years burned out--battle fatigue, nightmares, too many tragic losses, too many front-lines horrors. He returned to London to work for the council in an operational capacity. He's rich since his father's death and lives in a townhouse. He's deceptively starched-shirt in manner, with a gift for polite sarcasm. He's blunt, honest, sharply smart; cultured, well-read, always has season symphony tickets. He plays the piano; is a passable amateur chef. He's always been more or less matter-of-factly queer; now that he's out of the army rarely gives it a thought. Other than close friends, people are intimidated; stories abound, like how he once threw a man across a pub in defense of some woman he didn't even know. He's honorable; sometimes betrays a glint of hard, dangerous violence under the surface that could wipe out anything in his path if he had to get a job done.
He's the perfect man! It's a little scary. So he rescues Spike of course, and takes him home and coaxes him out of his brittle damaged shell. And lavishes unconditional love on him, accepting his entire past--taking it for granted, telling him what a good man he is now, how amazing he is for having gone in search of a soul, that he's unique, remarkable--his having done this is a miracle, faith-affirming that good can triumph over evil.
Spike keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it never does--there's nothing he can tell John about his past that kills his love and esteem, no depth of self-hatred that can't be eventually soothed, and yet J. never loses a level of objectivity that keeps the relationship from becoming a folie a deux.
There's not much plot really; my storylines are padded out with ridiculously romantic ideas and details, like how J. finds this old small-press recipe book from a vampire café that existed in Paris at the turn of the century, with recipes for sauteed leeches and fancy powdered ticks and live mink whose blood has been flavored with injections, etc, and he cooks for Spike. And he also makes regular delivery arrangements for goats, because for most meals, blood is best for vampires hot from the vein. What makes it a romantic idea to me is that he'd do it all matter of factly, not as huge grand gestures, but because this is how you take care of someone: you find out what they need and make it happen, because you reject nothing of what they are--it's part and parcel. You want to make them happy; you love them.
And they go to the theater and the symphony, and J. carefully navigates the sticky problem of integrating a vampire into his life when so many of his friends are watchers. Spike eventually goes to work now and then at the council library, because he doesn't want to fight any more--doesn't just want to be just this tool for fighting, I mean, a thing of brawn and fists and fangs.
And then J. is assigned to a post in L.A., at Angel Investigations, because Buffy et al have moved there, and the council has extended them funding. He's to be the council liaison, the man on site who oversees where all the money goes and ensures that AI gets the council support it needs, and sends reports back. And Spike goes with them, and meets back up with everyone, yadda yadda.
I mentioned all the incredible sex, right? That was an oversight. Sex, sex, sex, more sex, sex.
And eventually we learn that J. is in fact an angel--not a gooey, light-dripping angel with big fluffy wings, but a terrible, sword-wielding sort of angel sent to earth for a purpose in an upcoming apocalypse, and he's kind of always known he's more than human (but also human, because he was born and raised and so on), because he's wicked strong and lucky in escaping trouble all his life, but part of his job has been to hide his nature from himself until the right time comes. And he really does love Spike completely, devotedly, knowing that he's a demon.
At some point Spike loses his soul again, throwing himself in front of J. to protect him when some soul-stealing creature attacks, but instead of reverting to capital-E evil and vamping out on everyone, he falls to his knees weeping, even more self-hating and grim and despairing, pretty much as if he's suddenly gone physiologically out of whack with a major depressive break. He still loves J. and when they're back at the agency and figuring out what to do, he says he needs to be restrained, so he wears this slave collar that AI has in its stores of collected miscellany, to keep himself from temptation. J. continues to love him with unalloyed adoration and passion--loves him even more, or at least no less--and Spike settles down and becomes content as a cat again as they wait for an opportunity to restore his soul.
Sex, sex, more sex, and they live happily ever after.
(In another version of this, J. comes to AI when Spike is already there, and falls madly for him and their relationship develops with everyone to witness it, but it's all the same story from there, really.)
Sex, sex, happy.
ETA: I'm serious now. You guys need to talk to me! Please? Or I will go mad, and then you know what will happen, I'll start talking to the little stuffed Target dog on my desk, and people will walk by my cubicle and steal glances at me and whisper and I will weep soft tears and crawl under my desk and hide forever.