Spike won the coin toss, but then asked me "So what are my options here? The vamp winning the toss has been choosing home turf ... but what home turf? I'm pretty old. I've lived a lot of places."
"What about the Sunnydale Cemetery?" I asked. "You lived there for a while."
"Oh, come on ... vampires fighting in a graveyard? How cliché do you want to go here?"
"OK," I replied, "fair point. I guess we never clarified the rules. You won the toss—choose wherever you want to fight."
Spike smirked, and rubbed his hands together gleefully. "Brilliant! I want this to be a proper bloody cage match. Let's do this in the UFC Octagon. I love that stuff."
The crowd is on its feet long before the fighters appear, cheering, waving signs. The announcer walks into the center of the Octagon, and speaks into the microphone that descends from above.
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! We bring you a first in the UFC ring, a fight between the undead ... to the death! Our first warrior is an ancient vampire, whose kills are numberless. Ladies and gentlemen, The Master!"
The Master enters the ring to boos from much of the crowd, clad in his usual archaic, sober suit. He seems ill at ease in the midst of the chaos, discomfited by the noise of the crowd.
"Our second warrior tonight is the Maven of Mayhem, the Bleached Berserker, the King of Chaos himself, Spike!"
The crowd explodes in cheers. Spike enters the ring to the thunderous strains of "Anarchy in the UK," clad only in a loose pair of blue boxing shorts. He waves to the audience, eliciting more cheers, and does a jaunty lap around the Octagon with his fists raised above him. He comes to a halt in front of The Master, who has watched his circuit in confusion.
"I don't understand," he says. "They love you."
"They do know you would just as soon eat them, right?"
"People love a good villain."
"Then where are my fans?"
"Well, here's the thing, mate," Spike grins, "you were the big bad of a short season. And never really a compelling one, if truth be told. I was around for six seasons of Buffy as both villain and good guy, and then a few seasons of Angel as a good guy. Sort of. And I'm pretty sure," he points out at a clump of audience wearing ornate nineteenth century military tunics, "that those are some Torchwood fans." He bounces back and forth on the balls of his feet, throwing a few jabs at the air. "Plus, you have to admit, I'm much prettier than you."
"Gentlemen," says the nervous-looking referee, "please go to your corners. Since you won't, ah, be needing me, I'll be leaving the ring. When the bell goes, come out fighting."
The Master and Spike walk away from each other, The Master with affronted stiffness and Spike still bouncing, waving his arms to gin up the crowd. The referee scrambles out of the ring with unseemly haste as the bell goes.
The crowd roars. Spike immediately sprints out of his corner, surprising The Master with the speed of his attack. He manages to land two punches before The Master lashes out with a fierce backhand. Spike ducks, but is caught with a glancing blow that staggers him back a few steps. He shakes his head to clear it and grins again.
"That the best you got, nancy?"
"You insolent pup!" The Master snarls. "You have no idea of what I can do. I will destroy you."
"I don't think so," Spike dances in again, feints with his right and then lands a vicious kick against The Master's knee. The ancient vampire's leg buckles and he sinks into a crouch. He manages to block Spike's follow-up punches, but only barely. "You're not worth the skin off my knuckles, old man. You're nothing compared to what I've seen. I've fought every demon there is, and I'm still standing."
The Master hauls himself to his feet, his eyes blazing with rage. "You're a traitor to your kind!" he shouts. "You allied yourself to the Slayer!" He lunges at Spike with blurring speed, but his opponent spins away untouched.
"Yeah, and guess what Sunny Jim?" Spike leaps into the air and lands a kick solidly on the side of The Master's neck. "She taught me a few things."
The Master staggers, enveloped in the crowd's deafening roar. For a moment it seems to him that all of his victims have returned to this arena to call for his death, so vicious are the catcalls he can hear above the din. He spins, trying to catch Spike, but his rage and confusion muddy his movements. Spike, conversely, sucks in the crowds energy as he leaps in to pummel The Master with a rain of blows that would have killed a mortal.
"You know, I can only guess that when they ranked you number one for this tournament, it was based on your entire career and not what you've done lately," Spike mocks him. "Because from where I stand, for the last century you haven't done dick."
The Master roars, blind and incoherent in his anger. Spike nods to someone outside the ring, and two long staves with sharpened ends are thrown in. He kicks one to The Master and picks up the other, spinning it around.
"Let's end this," he suggests.
The Master tries to get a handle on his fury, and takes a defensive stance, the stave clumsy and unfamiliar in his hands.
"Not so used to holding a weapon, eh?" Spike sneers. He lunges in, knocking aside the point of The Master's stave, bringing the butt of his own around to connect with the side of his head. Through vision blurred by the force of the blow, The Master sees Spike smoothly sweep his weapon around and lunge forward with its wicked point.
The last thing The Master hears before exploding into dust is The Sex Pistols being played at ear-splitting decibels over the noise of the cheering crowd.
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