Future fic, AU, angst, POV.
WARNING: Adult situations, Xander-stream-of-consciousness.
DISCLAIMER: Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox and The WB own all concepts of Spike, Xander, Willow & Angel. The Galactic Empire is mine. Now money, no profit... no legal action required.
SUMMARY: An ancient vampire contemplates the 1500th anniversary of his turning and the ways in which he, and society, have changed over time.

1500th Unbirthday


According to the Galactic Standard Calendar, the current date was 328/06.22589 and the time was 014:152:039. However, Harris *still* tended to think of these simple and basic things in the terms of how time was measured when he had been alive... and when he had been killed. If one was aware of and actually understood how to record time by old Earth Standards, which Harris *did*, then the date was actually October 15, 3497 and the time was 12:15pm.

But that bit of archaic and unneeded trivia wasn't too terribly important, except as a way for Harris to archive little things into his memory. Things that he didn't want to forget, to lose somewhere, somehow, to the ever moving ebb and flow of time. Personal landmarks to gauge his own unlifetime by. A unlifetime that was now nearing its 1500th anniversary.

That was a *long* time to be, if not alive, then *aware*. Conscious. Sentient. Intelligent. He was now older than Darla had been when Angel had staked her. He was far older than Drusilla had been when she had finally danced under the burning sun. And he was a thousand years older than Angel had been when he'd finally fulfilled the prophesy that averted the apocalypse and allowed humans to venture off of their planet and out into space. A thousand years older than when Angel had finally found redemption and regained his lost humanity.

Of course, he had *no* desire to either stake his Sire as Angel had done, nor dance in the brightly burning sun as Drusilla had done. No, not him, not Harris. All he wanted was right within his grasp. He was... happy. Content.

As was Spike. His Sire.

It seemed odd to think of soulless demons as happy. Even to the young fledges that scurried about in the underground caverns of Maltettica, desperate to do the bidding of the Twin Ancients, as he and his Sire were called. But, as incongruous as it seemed, it was true. Even a demon, a *vampire* can find inner peace and contentment after a millennium and a half. For there's a long held secret that even the dead and disbanded Council of Watchers never knew, but the bloodlust, the *hunger* that resides within a vampire can be... if not quelled, then dampened and tamed with time and effort.

It was the reason that the Master had been so difficult to destroy. The first time around. The Master hadn't been ruled by his lusts, *He* had ruled them instead. The second time, back in Sunnydale after he had risen from his own ashes, had been different. His iron control and self discipline had all but been stripped away and he had been defeated before his second reign of terror had even begun.

Now, both Harris and his Sire had reached that point in their endless existence. Hunger rose in them, but it was not the mindless burning craving that it had once been. Violence was enjoyed and appreciated and cultivated, but it was not necessary for survival. He no longer *thrived* on it. It was merely another pleasant aspect of unlife. Not the crucial *need* that it had once been.

No. Harris was content. Happy. Pleased with all aspects of his existence. Well... all but one.

Spike wanted them to journey back to Earth Prime-Sol 3 in honor of his 1500th UnBirthday. He wanted to visit the old sights and wallow in nostalgia. However, Harris did not.

He was happy here on this planet. It was his home. Mars-Sol 4. He was a Martian... and oh, wouldn't Buffy and Willow and Oz have gotten a chuckle out of that statement if they has still been alive to hear it? But it was true, nonetheless.

Mars-Sol 4. That's how the red planet was listed in the Galactic Standard Official Records. All planets of the Galactic Empire were named in the same pattern. The name of the planet followed by a dash, and then the name of the star system it was in, and then lastly, the number of planets it was from that particular star. Mars was the planet. Sol was the name of the star system and it was forth in line. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and so on. Practical. Efficient.


He *liked* it here on this red, dusty, dry planet. He was... important here.

Mars-Sol 4 was set up in such a way as to deal with the fact that it literally had no atmosphere. Ninety percent of the settlements were underground. Corridors and buildings and domiciles all carved out of the bedrock. Most of the industry here was mining. Rocks. Geodes. Metals. Gems. Gases and liquids trapped deep in the rocky ground.

There were also lots of highly populated settlements. Underground cities really. And with the exception of being buried under tons of rock and gravel, they were much like other cities on other planets. Homes, businesses, bars, clubs, newspapers, restaurants, sports and the other necessities of mortal society.

And there were public transports that would shuttle the populace to and from the cities so that the workers could dig in the mines and sweat in the refineries and all perform all of the other dirty little details that involved taking a planet and raping it of it's inner core to produce trinkets and gadgets and gizmos galore.

As for the surface of Mars-Sol 4, that was also highly cultivated. Large shimmering fields of solar panels to collect light and heat and energy stretched for thousands upon thousands of miles. And there was even ten surface cities. Small Space Ports actually. They were covered over with clear, yet strong as adamantium, biodomes that held the oxygen and the mortals safely within and the cold vacuum of space neatly outside. But those ten Space Ports, for all of their lure and danger and excitement, were not as important as the biodomes that covered the fields of plants. Greenhouses that were roughly the size of England back on Earth Prime-Sol 3 dotted the craggy landscape surface of Mars-Sol 4 and those precious bubbles of green and life and water provided precious food for many of the population.

Granted, not all. Mars-Sol 4 did a lot of interplanetary trading. They exported minerals and gems and ore and lots of other materials that the Galactic Empire had come to rely heavily on and in return, they imported water and food and cloth and medicines. It was a nice, neat, friendly system. Everyone came out with something that they needed and everyone was happy.

And Spike and Harris ruled Maltettica. It was one of the three demon cities on the entire planet. That was another thing that Harris was content with and would forever be grateful to the Galactic Empire for. It was an interspecies Empire with races native to a variety of planets making up it's core members. And that included several races of demons from various and sundry cultures and planets as well as mortals.

The star system of Sol, and more specifically, the only planet to spontaneously produce life on it, Earth Prime-Sol 3 had officially recognized races from all three Official Empirical Species Classes. Sentient Demon Class included Vampires, Werewolf and Fyral Demons. Sentient Mortal Class included Humans, Fey, which were more commonly known as the Magickals, and even to Harris's vast amusement, Dolphins. Then there was Sentient Animal Class which included Dogs, Cats and Chimpanzees.

As for Vampires being considered Sentient Demons, they could *apply* for full citizenship in the Empire when they reached the age of 700 years. Before that, all vampires were considered to be Childer or Fledglings. Which, in Galactic Empire terms boiled down to being considered a legal slave of their maker or Sire. Or of *its* maker or Sire. And this legal ownership went up the bloodline until you finally reached a vampire who had achieved this goal of true citizenship.

And to do so was... difficult. A vampire had to *prove* that it had full control over the bloodlust and the mindless rage. The Empire didn't want to start losing its citizens to massacres and what not. So... the enforced slavery until the vampire could *prove* its ability to control itself. And slave or not, unauthorized killing was punishable by true death.

Werewolves had automatic citizenship and the Fyral could never climb above slave status, but it wasn't hunted down and killed on sight. Enslaved, yes, killed, no. In any event, it was a system that worked, strange as that may seem. And Maltettica was a small city peopled by several vampire nests, a few werewolf packs, a tiny human population, a handful of various demons from the Terrell star system and a medium sized fyral slave quarter. Maltettica made it's fortune by being able to mine and refine Cleamine Ore, which was toxic to humans and fey alike. And occasionally, one of its people was rewarded for good behavior by being allowed to carry out the execution sentence of a Sentient Mortal of various race after the Empirical Courts got done with it.

Yes, Harris was happy here. He and his Sire were the oldest living *true* empirical citizens on the entire planet and they ruled Maltettica with an iron fist in kid gloves. They personally owned a small army of slaves composed of both vampire minions and fyral demons and they had recently adopted a young boy who had been infected with lycanthropy and then summarily abandoned by his birth parents.

He had a *home* and he didn't feel the need to leave it. Even for sappy silly nostalgia.

But Spike... Spike *wanted* to travel to Earth Prime-Sol 3. Make a grand triumphant return or some such absurdity. When they had left, it had been to take the month long agonizing tests to be granted citizenship and now they were community leaders. Government Officials. Hell, they even held seats on the Planetary Board of Rulers. They were the Official Representatives of the Demon Population of Mars-Sol 4. Their journey to Earth Prime-Sol 3 would be that of Dignitaries. Not as hunters or even as the hunted.

And Spike wanted that.

Just as his Sire wanted to visit the Hellmouth, even if it was now permanently closed. Spike wanted to go to the place were Xander had been turned. Turned into Harris. Where Willow's love spell to make Drusilla fall back in love with Spike had gone wrong and made Spike fall in love with Xander instead. His Sire wanted to bask in the irony that a single mistranslated word in an obscure magickal spell had changed the path of his life forever and eventually brought him to this point.

But not him. Harris had *no* desire to wallow in any of it. He didn't *need* to visit Earth Prime-Sol 3 to remember. To relive that night. To once again feel what had happened then.

And the reason was a simple one. Way back, tucked into the darkest and deepest most secret part of his brain there was a tiny voice. A Xander-type voice. A Xander-type voice that was perfectly aware of where he was and what he had done and what he was now and who he had been then. And that Xander-type voice trapped in the very back of his brain was screaming in unholy terror and anger and pain. The Xander-type voice had started screaming at the very *instant* that Spike's fangs slid into his throat on that fateful day 1500 years ago, and that Xander-type voice would continue to scream in madness and horror until the day that Harris dissolved into a rain of softly failing ash and dust.

1500 years was a *long* time to listen to your mortal soul trapped within the mind of a demon possessed corpse. Harris did *not* want to do anything or go anywhere that would cause those endless mental screams to get any louder or more insistent. He had finally found inner peace, or a sort. Contentment. He didn't want to risk losing that.

No. He had no need to travel to Earth Prime-Sol 3.

It was *much* better to stay here. On Mars-Sol 4.


The End

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