Do You Remember Spain...
Madrid July 19th 1936
Spike stood by the heavily curtained windows of the little house he had rented on the banks of the river Manzanares just south of Madrid's city center and listened to the crack of rifles and the thud of explosions from the north and the Montana Barracks. Behind him the wireless made a racket as Dalton dragged from his bed an hour before tried to find out what the hell was going on.
Not that Spike didn't have a fair old idea. The socialist supporters of the Republican government and the right wingers of the Falange and the Monarchist groups had been fighting their own private little war for months on the city's streets. The Civil guard was mostly on the right wingers' side, the new Asalto police supposedly on the left and the army brooded in the middle.
Well not anymore.
"Dalton you sod, 'ave you found out what's 'appening yet?" Spike snapped at his bespectacled hench vampire, his language worsening as his anger rose. "I don't wanna be left in the bloody dark 'ere much longer, you useless git."
"It's all very confusing, sir." Dalton shook visibly as Spike balled his fists. "But the army has revolted of that much I'm sure. And the colonial army from Morocco's landing in some of the southern ports. In Madrid it sounds like the troops are all trapped at the Montana barracks and some other buildings with the worker's militias and the loyalist members of the police attacking them."
"Lot of use that information is, doesn't give me a clue whose winning. Well just keep listening." Spike had been uneasy about their prolonged stay all along, he didn't like being this far south in the summer time and certainly not in a war zone. Dru however loved the house and wanted to stay, and he loved her and had given in against his better judgement. "If they start off in this direction we're a long way from a sewer even, and a blacked out house like this tends to get the first bomb."
A sharp crack echoed through the afternoon air. *Bugger me, that's artillery.* Spike remembered the noise from one of his occasional encounters with warfare during the century. He'd been close enough to hear the guns of World War One many times, and a year in Berlin in the early twenties had been anything but peaceful with Socialists fighting it out with the Frei Korp virtually every other week it seemed.
*And it's not even as if the hunting's that good anymore, too many blokes in gangs with pistols.* Spike smiled. He'd done his bit for the class struggle, socialists didn't carry crucifixes, Falangist's did, and in such a Catholic country that made them useful feeding opportunities, their red neckerchiefs gave him something to wipe his mouth on that didn't even show the blood. *But now if they're throwing shells around...*
"I think it's time to vacate. Paris when the Jerries started shelling it in 71 and 18 was bad enough, this is gonna be a lot bloody worse. If you'd been alive then you'd remember the Commune in Paris. Tthe buggers burned everything that would light, and Spain has an airforce too, I hate being bombed."
"But it was such fun in Paris," a voice giggled from the door behind them. "I was young then, and we'd only just got to spend time together. Daddy was still with us and Darla too. Will there be a bull fight tonight dear Spike, will there?"
"No luv." That was one of the reasons they were stuck here, Dru's liking for bull fights, though with what the smell of the blood did to her and how keen she was to play afterwards he quite liked them, too. "It's too late in the summer for us to go to one, you know that."
"But I can smell the blood Spike, that's what woke me. Please Spike, can I go out at sunset, please?" Dru clapped her hands and shuffled her feet, a girl-like smile on her face. Her hands went up to her forehead fingers pointed forwards like a bulls horns. "Toro, toro."
"It's not a bull fight you can smell, Kitten, it's a battle, and that's not somewhere where you should be, is it?" He picked his coat up all the same and held it out as Dru ran at it laughing. "That's it, my luv, you're the bull."
"I don't like battles." Dru suddenly grew serious and let her hands fall to her sides as she began to sway back and to. "They're so wasteful, though there are the wounded I suppose. You know how much I care for them, don't you my sweet?"
"Yes pet, do you remember that barricade?" Spike saw the gleam in her eyes. "Those wounded left behind when the fighting moved on. I remember how you helped them even now."
"There were so many, I made myself sick." Dru started dancing round the room, circling her lover in a provocative high-stepping movement, her skirt pulled up to flash her ankles and calves. "I liked Paris so much."
"Well then love, let's go back there shall we?" An opportunity like this was to be seized, but the petulant glance she gave him showed Spike he had jumped in too soon. "Kitten, just think you'll be able to wear your nicer dresses there, none of those nasty socialists shouting rude things at you."
"Miss Edith says you're always telling me what to do, that you don't want me to be happy ever." Dru's stuck out bottom lip showed her unhappiness. "I like it here."
"But pet." Spike tried not to whine but it came out that way. "We've been here for nine months. You know it's not healthy for us to stay in one place to long."
"No one suspects us." Dru wasn't interested in excuses, she liked the house and the area. The roses in the garden smelled lovely even at night. "Paris is nice but not as nice as here, there we had to sleep in nasty cellars last time, and there were worms in my..."
"Crypts!" Spike snapped angrily and saw her flinch with fear. "Sorry Dr,u but you know how well I made the boys clean em. Look it's almost sunset. What say I go see if the trains to France are still running. If we go by easy stages we could be out of the country in a couple of days."
"You do what you like, I don't care. I'm stayin' right here." Dru turned and ran and her slammed bedroom door echoed through the house.
"Right!" a morphed Spike growled. "That's that then, I'm off out and you can fend for yourself, ducks."
Three streets down, a burning church was lighting the night sky, other fires glimmered in the distance.
"Bad lads those Commies." Spike had seen the red neckerchief-wearing mob running off to find other religious symbols to destroy. "But speakin' as a demon, I really like their style."
He had left Dalton with instructions to send the Minions out to get Dru her tea but other than that to keep the boys local. He'd made sure no one fed on their home turf up till now but since they were going anyway, it didn't matter anymore.
"We're leavin'," he said out loud as he walked up the Ronda De Segovia towards the National Palace. "I don't care what she thinks, she's crazy and I'm sane. It's really stupid, the fact I have to pay attention to a word she says. I'm a Master vampire arn't I? A hundred and thirty-five years experience to her, seventy-six of course I should be in charge, and I am completely."
Three lorries tore past, all of them carrying a full load of workers, both male and female, screaming slogans many waving rifles and carbines or saluting with clenched fists. The vehicle sides were painted in a variety of abbreviated party names -- the C.N.T., F.A.I.,P.O.U.M and the U.G.T were prominent amongst the titles of the various Socialist and Anarchist groups that had rallied to fight the rebels. The rear lorry was towing a small field gun, showing how serious the situation must have become.
He scowled and stepped over three bodies lying on the roadside. Gunshots had felled them not vampires, none of them were worth turning anyway but all the same showed the seriousness of the situation. He patted his pocket and checked the pistol he had taken to carrying was there.
He had stolen it the night after the forces of the left had murdered Lieutenant de los Reyes of the civil guard. The Flange had taken to committing reprisal killings and he'd known then that things could turn nasty, and though he was confident of dealing with any lone gunman at close quarters it was better to be safe than sorry. A gang might be discouraged by pistol shots if not by a vampires fangs.
His dress was a similar compromise. A black beret covered his dark hair and his leather coat that he had acquired from the body of a Bolshevik outside of Berlin in the early twenties his red shirt. Really it was a stupid color to wear, almost as bad as blue, the color of the Flange, but it was what he was used to and he saw no reason to compromise for mortals lunatic political prejudices.
He stepped into an alleyway to light a cigarette and almost immediately felt a presence near him, a lone mortal and a scared one, at that. The scent of fear filled his nostrils even as he began to turn.
A pistol hammer was pulled back with a dry click. "Senor, are you a friend of the Republic?"
*Senor!* Spike rapidly translated the Spanish in his head, hardly a form of address a Republican would use. "Well amigo that would all depend on what it's paying. I'm a capitalist not an idealist."
"You can be handsomely rewarded, Senor, if you render me your aid." A man stepped out of the shadows, a semi automatic held loosely in his hand but pointed at the vampire. "I have a lorry load of arms and ammunition meant for the rebellion, but the forces of General Fangul are trapped in the Montana barracks and so I need to get them out of Madrid to the nearest town held by troops of General Franco's army."
"All right mate, I'll help you out." Spike grinned affably glad his gift for languages hadn't let him down. "Lead on old son and we'll get out of here."
"You are English?" The Spaniard still held the pistol and kept his distance, making Spike stay his hand. He'd feed soon though, it was just a matter of gaining the fellow's trust. "I am Luis Redona Astray of the Flange Espanol, who do I have the honor of addressing?"
"William Delaney, and the honor's mine." Spike's keen eyes could now make out the truck, a tarpaulin blocked his view into the back but the vehicle looked big enough to carry a lot of guns. A familiar feeling was starting to run up his back. Mortals were coming towards them in large numbers. "You expecting company?"
"Senor." Luis followed Spikes pointed finger and saw the dark shadows of people coming down the alleyway towards them. "Do you have a..."
And then the fangs that had emerged from Spike's mouth as he morphed plunged into the Falangist's neck and the only sound to be heard was the sound of blood pouring into the vampires throat as he greedily drank Luis' life down.
However Spike did not drain the young Spaniard fully. He let the body fall with blood still pumping from it's neck and pulling a knife from a sheath down the back of his pants, plunged it into the neck wound even as he morphed back to his normal features. Blood stained the blade and his fingers concealing how he had made the kill.
Then the advancing men and women were upon him. They all wore red handkerchief tied around their necks and the blue mono overalls of the workers militia. Spike smiled as he raised a clenched fist in salute. "Buenas nochas Amigos, I've just killed this fascist pig, he was trying to smuggle arms to the traitors who've rebelled against Spain's republic."
The rifles that were aimed at him made Spike worry for a second that he might have made a mistake in the group's politics but then one of the women kicked the body over and tore it's jacket open, a cross on a silver chain swung into view. "He's a falangist, he tried to involve me in his treason but when his back was turned, I struck."
"Saving the republic a bullet Comrade." A tall, mustached man with a blood stained bandage on his head changed his grip on his rifle to just one hand and clapped Spike hard on the shoulder. "Let us look in the truck and see what else you have found for us."
There were a chorus of bravos from the other militia members, and as his view of them improved, Spike saw that less than a quarter had rifles. If the late unlamented Luis wasn't lying he'd be quite the hero, and heroes tend to be less closely watched than villains. *Useful for when I run.*
*Dru is gonna be wondering where I've got to by now, worryin' probably.* An evil glint entered his eye as he pictured her tearful face. *This'll teach her to take me for granted.*
Then the first crate hit the road and a dozen rifles spilled out onto the street. A hush broke out as the Militia looked at them. They were Mausers, the most up-to-date weapon in the Spanish Army's arsenals. Smiles grew broader.
*See what I mean, whose gonna mind if I...* It was only by dint of well-honed reflexes that Spike caught the rifle the militia leader threw towards him. "My friend we are of the P.O.U.M. The fascists are trapped in the barracks. We left only there to renew our ammunition, but now we find ourselves with this bounty and can return. Come with us comrade, you have killed one traitor tonight, why not kill more?"
*Oh bugger.* Spike looked at the circle of expectant faces and realized that no wasn't going to be taken for an answer. Then a tall, slender girl in a mono stepped towards him, smiling, the Miliciana held out a handful of cartridge clips. "For land and freedom, comrade, come with us."
"Si." Spike took the ammunition in a hand that almost trembled, his blue eyes
locked as they were with the brown eyes of the girl, her full lips breaking into
a beaming smile at his acceptance. The overalls made a poor job of concealing
her figure and her silken black hair framed her face beautifully. "I'd be
honored to fight with you."
...And the Bulls?
Her name was Maria. She was nineteen years old and naive with it, her view of the world colored by politics, but all the same Spike was fascinated by her. She had the vibrance of youth and a giddy rush of enthusiasm for the "adventure" her country had embarked upon. Compared to Dru she was...alive.
"You have the look of an athlete, Comrade." She looked at him boldly as she spoke, her manner so unlike the Catholic girls he sometimes saw giving him the faintest trace of the eye round the city at night. "Are you here for the Olympiad?"
"Yes luv I certainly am." He smiled as he accepted the cover story she handed him, the decision to grant the 1936 games to Berlin had lead Socialist Spain to offer to stage a left wing counter event in Barcelona. "I'm a runner. Didn't agree with going to Germany so I came here instead. I've come up from Barcelona for a few days to see the sights, and what sights there have proved to be"
"Your Spanish is good." She looked at him through half-closed eyes wondering if she'd just been paid a compliment."How did you learn to speak it so well?"
*Nine trips here during the last century, pet.* Would have been an honest answer but Spike lied on. "I sailed on coasters for a few years all around the Med mixed with a lot of different nationalities. I've learned a little bit of a lot of languages."
Rifle fire echoed down the street ahead of them as they headed around the railway station and prepared to march up the Paseo De Rosales that lead to the barracks. Ambulances and lorries roared past ferrying the wounded even as groups of armed men and women pushed their way through the crowds of cheering spectators to approach the scene of the fighting.
The P.O.U.M grew more serious now as they made sure their weapons were locked and loaded. Spike followed Marie's instructions as he pressed the contents of a five round clip down into the rifle's magazine. Her fingers touched his hand lightly and jerked back shock reflecting in her face. "Comrade...?"
"Circulation Pet, mine's not that good." He forced a particulary sad expression onto his face. "My dad was unemployed when I was a nipper and I struggled with illness's brought on by hunger. That's why when I heard about the rebellion..."
"You rushed to join us in opposing it." Marie put her hand gently on his. "When our vision is embraced by all the people of the world, by those under the oppression of fascists, capitalists and Stalin's Comintern, there will be land for every peasant and food and jobs for every worker. Will that not be a grand day?"
"A beautiful one." Spike was starting to get the beginnings of an idea as he studied the girl's olive skin and dark hair, it had been so long since he'd turned a really pretty girl and what Dru needed was a shock to her confidence in his love. *Show her she's not got a monopoly on me.* His smile went up a fraction as he added. "Like you."
She studied him for a second. "Thank you, William, and yes, why not...but after the battle and only kisses." She looked away suddenly shy. "I hardly know you, and have yet to...you know."
He was slightly disappointed, after all the socialist girls had a reputation for easy virtue but then he cast those thoughts aside. As a fledgling turned by him she would submit to any form of sexual pleasure he desired. The ideas rolling round his mind at the moment would have shocked her to the core.
Then the group's leader, a mechanic named Martinez, shouted them around him. "Comrades we will head for the buildings opposite the barracks, the fighters in there are tired and need replacement. Travel fast as you cross the streets, and when you are in position engage the fascists carefully, they have more bullets than us, so make yours count."
They set off at a jog, rifles held at the trail, heading for the corner of the street, passing groups of fighters on the way. There were workers in monos and other civilians in suits plus Asalto and loyal civil guard police officers mixed with scattered soldiers who had not joined the rebellion. Some headed towards the fighting, others their initial exuberance spent moved away to make room for those who had yet to see their first combat.
With a dash the party ran across the road. A few bullets whistled by them but the fire seemed unaimed, as if the rebels were just blazing away to keep up morale rather than trying to seriously impede the pro-government forces. All the same, Spike had to jump two fallen bodies, a man and a woman, who had died in the earlier fighting.
Then the militia were in a side street and quickly piled into a building marked by rifle fire. "Up, the stairs, two or three of you to a room." The building was lavishly fitted out but the tramp of boots had done nothing for the carpets. Spike chose a second floor room facing the barracks. Two fairly disheveled looking fellows were sitting by its window, old carbines on the floor beside them.
"Are you alright comrades?" he asked, risking a glance out of the glassless window, curtains ragged by bullets hung either side of the frame. The barracks was blacked out, only occasional flashes from rifles showed the defenders. Bodies littered the road in front of the barred gates where attempts to rush the building had failed in the face of the army's machine guns.
"Our ammunition is all gone." The two men were young and though obviously keen, they looked disgustedly at the rusting old weapons lying beside them. "Probably for the best, our guns are more danger to us than the enemy."
"Go find our leader Martinez Sanz," Maria instructed them. "We brought some spare rifles here and if they are gone, he can tell you where to go for more."
With a hasty "Gracias,." the two boys left them alone. "Two hundred meters, William."
"Eh?" Spike had been picturing Maria morphed, but then he snapped to awareness and began to adjust the main sight on the rifle. His hand slipped a little and he cursed at nearly dropping the weapon.
"Have you fired a gun before?" Maria eased the safety off her rifle and brought the stock into her shoulder. "I have only fired a half dozen times in practice."
"A couple of times over the years." Pistols both as a human and as a vampire highwayman, and a blunderbuss way back in 1832 when Angel's bloodlust raised a mob that almost got them all killed and Spike had been abandoned to cover the withdrawal as best he could. "But never in a cause as good as this."
*Do your bit for an hour then find a way to get Maria out of here. Kill her. Turn her then hide out for day. Then go and see how green with envy Dru gets at the sight of her.*
He raised himself up, aimed at the barracks and sent his first shot off into the night.
A half an hour passed enlivened by the loyalist's bringing a field gun into action from further down the road. Unfortunately, the gunners only had shrapnel shells which could make little impression even on the brick walls of the barracks, but they did serve to awaken the rebels who replied with machine guns. Bullets rattled against the wall of the building Spike was in, and twice a traversing burst sent rounds in through the window he was shooting through, raining plaster on him.
"Let's get the hell out of it, luv." He motioned towards the door. "Give it a rest till the artillery's done it's part."
"No!" she responded sharply, a look of disappointment on her face. "We have a good position, in the daylight we will be able to shoot many fascists. Why do you want to run?"
Looking back into the hallway behind them, Spike saw it was empty. He'd enjoyed chatting to the girl but enough was enough. *Time to act, let's just 'ope she doesn't get occupied by a stupid demoness.*
"Come 'ere." Morphing he grabbed her arm, taking a grip on the material of the mono rather than her flesh. "It won't 'urt...much."
Screaming, Maria jerked back and the material tore, the pale skin of her arm showed plainly as she turned to run ,and either that or the sound drew a machine gunners attention. Even as Spike prepared to rise and chase his prey down, a burst of gunfire tore the rear wall of the room apart and Maria's back into pieces.
Spike was at Maria's side in seconds, grabbing her up into his arms, his human features returned as he pulled her to his chest. She was still alive but just barely, blood bubbled up from her mouth as her lungs filled from broken veins. The vampire in Spike called on him to feed but the fragments of his conscience that some how still survived said no, and because of the drained Falangist earlier for once his conscience won.
"I'm sorry luv." He said in English, his foreign languages forgotten for now. "I didn't mean to scare you, to get you shot up like this."
A moan of pain and a bout of blood was his only answer. He brushed her hair out of her eyes with his left hand even as the light left them and her body grew limp against his. Shocked beyond measure at the suddenness of it, Spike stared at the wall and rocked Maria back and to.
He overcame the daze when a burst of gunfire again racked the front of the building, sending lumps of plaster raining from the room's roof onto his head. That was the point at which he let Maria's body gently fall to the ground and, morphing, went and picked up his rifle.
Working the bolt, he chambered a round and, yellow-eyed, scanned the barracks looking for the flash of an automatic, waiting for the chance for revenge.
Through his human eyes he could see better at night than mortals, but in his demonic form his view was cleared still. He could dimly make out figures moving in the barracks but they didn't interest him, he wanted a machine gunner.
*Why do you give a rats arse about this you idiot?* Sensible Spike shouted from the dim corner of his mind to which he had retreated. *So what if you kill him, he's just some poor sodding conscript who'll die tomorrow anyway when the loyalists get a supply of H.E shells and tear the place apart.*
Then the muzzle flash tore out of a second storey window and Spike saw the shadow behind it of a man's head and shoulders. He had no breath to hold as he gently squeezed the trigger, and even as the butt of his rifle slammed into his shoulder, the machine gunner's fire abruptly stopped.
He dropped the weapon like it was on fire and turned round. Gathering the girl in his arms, he carried her from the room heading for the stairs. Scattered figures looked at him as he passed and then away. There were enough horrors in this night without a demon added to it, but if Spike's senses had not been in such a turmoil, he would have laughed to see Communists crossing themselves at the sight of him.
No one tried to stop him leaving the building, grateful it seemed to see him heading for the street.
He walked a few hundred yards away from the fighting and laid Maria's body on the sidewalk. Sitting down beside her in the gutter, he stared long and hard at her bloodstained face. "No point turnin' you pet, you're too badly shot up to survive as a fledgling and you'd still be in pain even as a vampiress from broken bones, so I'll just let you lie.
"But I tell you something God." He looked up at the night stars. "I don't know what your rules are on Communists but you let this girl in. There was no bad in her, just misguided bollocks that some politician or other fed her. You and I both know the bloody awful truth about that."
His fangs gleamed as he smiled up at the almighty. "They'll be no land and freedom from this war, just death starvation and tyranny, land for the peasant, a full stomach and a job for the worker, no! There just a tale to tell to the poor unfortunates who'll be the cannon fodder."
He ran his hand once more through Maria's dark hair. "But after the revolution, there'll still be free blood for the vampire, but then there always was and still will be after fascism and communism are just old nightmares that no longer haunt the world. Goodnight my Spanish rose, I'll always remember you."
And with that, conscious of the nearing sunrise, Spike left his dead behind him and went home.
The sky was beginning to lighten as he crashed into the house, a worried Dalton stood in the hallway, panic on his face. "It's alright you dozy bastard, fret not you don't need to be in charge anymore." Spike took in heavy bruising on his minions face. "What on earth happened to you?"
"You told me to keep Drusilla in sir..." Dalton gulped at the angry look on his Sire's face. "She didn't like the idea at..."
Spike slammed the cowering vampire back into a wall. "If you've hurt her I swear you'll regret it."
Before Dalton could answer however, a voice echoed down the stairs. "As if he could my love, and beatin' him was such fun, but you've been naughty going off and leaving me, and coming home so late."
Spike looked up and saw a vision. Dru was in white, the dress was off the shoulder and the long shawl she wore was draped round her back and her arms so doing nothing to hide her pale shoulders, her hair was up and she had a wicked gleam in her eye. "Spike my dearest you're all bloody, have you been fighting again?"
"A little." Trying to hide his bloodstained hands behind him, Spike had to let Dalton go. The Minion fled for the cellar. "You know me and riots or ructions....I just get stuck in with the mob."
"You'll get hurt one night and I won't know where you are." Dru's face changed and her smile was replaced by a heart rending look of fear. "And what would become of your princess then Spike, without you to look after her, where would she go all alone?"
"Oh my luv." Spike ran up the stairs and into Dru's arms. "I'll never go off like that again promise. I'm sorry I got cross with you over us being here."
He moved to kiss her but her right hand came up and her cold index finger gently pressed against his lips. "I've been so selfish Spike. Miss Edith says you were right to be angry. Madrid's a silly place to be at this time of year. Paris would be so much nicer and then London, eh?" She giggled and kissed him. "Back to the East End for Christmas."
"Why kitten you're spoiling me." The blood was dry, her dress could be replaced so he swept her up in his arms. "You're the only vampiress that there'll ever be for me pet, do you swear the same, Dru, to me?"
"Yes my love." Her lips brushed his cheek lightly. "No vampire will ever come between us, not even if we live a thousand years..."
Then the door of their bedroom slammed and the rest of their conversation went on behind it.
But Spike always remembered Spain, and the bulls.