Rubber Soul
by s.a.

Everyone thinks it's so easy to get a soul.

It's really not. Easier to lose one, actually, and Spike would know. Took him the better part of a year to get his research down on the process.

See, there's that whole glowy ball thing. But the Romanys didn't corner the market on soul-inflicting. The Aztecs had a nice little ritual for ripping the souls from their victims and transferring that power to another person, not that it did Spike much good. And he'd chased an obscure Templar text for a month before he located it, only to discard it in disgust. Damn thing wouldn't be active for another ninety-three years, in accordance with some astrological whatsit. And while he figured he'd be around that long, he had his doubts about certain other parties.

All in all there were about a hundred separate ways a soul could be regained. And in the end, it was down to three options.

The first was the glowy ball thing. But honestly, Spike didn't really see his chances as being all that good. He didn't think either the witch or the Watcher would be too inclined to let him near the curse, and they were the only ones with access to it. So out went that idea.

Second was the slight chance of finding a bruja in the dark alleys of New York City. It was a rumor, but a strong rumor. One that had the people he talked to all edgy, even for lowlifes. But he took off in December after giving a short notice to the little evil fighters, and hunted down any reference, any clue he could find that this existed.

He was pretty successful, finding that impossible alley by his third week. He sauntered up to her, and before he could get a damned word out, she started laughing. It was harsh, high as bells, and extraordinarily irritating. He started to ask what the hell she was laughing about, but she held up her hand and drew him closer. She couldn't do a thing, she whispered grittily in his ear. Someone else had a marker for his soul, and he'd have to fight to get it back.

He was understandably pissed.

Finally, there were The Trials. With capital t's. All the available information, from the texts he pilfered from the Magic Box, was long and wordy with terrible descriptions of some ancient evil with strong magics blah de blah de buggering blah. The only real information to be gleaned from hundreds of pages of pansy ranting was that the fellow was somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, and that most personages tended to die.

He certainly wasn't going to let a stupid thing like dying stop him.

So he beat up a few more of the general populace, did a locator spell or two, and made long-range plans for a trip to Africa. He just...didn't leave. For awhile. Had to stay to make sure he had his brand of cigarettes, or there was some new demon. Or something.

He just waited for a reason.


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