Title: Porphyria's Lover
Disclaimer: Last time I checked I was neither Joss Whedon or anyone else who owned Buffy.
Spoilers: Mid season two before 'Passion' and all the flashbacks.
Summary: Angelus kidnaps Willow and Sunnydale will never be the same as the Scooby Gang goes up against the new Order of Aurelius. WIP. Multiple pairings, explicit violence, sexual situations, original characters, and character death.
Notes: This is my first W/Aus fic so feedback would be fantastic, favorable or otherwise. The title comes from a poem by Robert Browning of the same name. I am changing the format of the fic and it is now consolidated into one big chapter with only the newest section added as a different chapter. I am re-editing old chapters so there will be little changes throughout the story. I want to thank all the people who have reviewed my story and give such great feedback like Mysticwolf1, Cesci, Voldemortfollower, Malfoy-Lover555, and Blood Red Kisses. Also, thank you, Lisa Kelley, for betaing the first few chapters.
Chapter One : Strike Hard
Angelus lay entangled with Drusilla on the large bed. Her skin glowed in contrast to the midnight blue sheets. Drusilla's head rested on his abs and her hair spread across his chest. His had his hand on her naked shoulder and the other under his neck. His eyelashes fluttered and his lips curved into a smile…
Darla, in his arms and on his lap, looked fetching in a green, empire style night gown. She wiggled as she ran her nails down the side of his broadcloth covered thigh. The fire crackled merrily as it fought the chill of winter outside.
"I've missed this family time." Drusilla whispered to him as she clapped, curled up by his legs in a red nightgown similar to Darla's. "All I have left are dreams. Bright as a butterfly and just as fragile."
Spike told his tall tale while throwing mock punches and gesturing wildly throughout. The whale oil lamps made the scales on his fish costume glimmer like the Caribbean. Spike was just getting into a part where he seduced a barmaid when Darla asked coyly, "Why not demonstrate this seduction?"
Angelus awoke confused, his eyes darted around the room.
"I heard the ocean when you dreamed. Was it sweet or salty?" Drusilla said as she nibbled his collarbone and stroked his thigh, slowly caressing toward his cock.
"More like abstract." He put a hand under her chin and brought her up to stare into her green eyes. "Why, did you see?"
"Oh, yes," Drusilla smiled and lowered her eyes. "A wondrous vision of empire. My sire made a king." She leaned closer and nipped his bottom lip. "All of Gaul is divided into three parts."
"Sounds intriguing. Anything more?" Angelus pushed a lock of her hair of her shoulder.
"Come to a crossroad we have. One road leds to madness and mayhem. The other is dim, but I see our family together." Drusilla caressed the side of his ace. "A lion trapped in the cage of a hare. So much rage. I feel your confusion too. The whirlwind sweeps across the desert, but it cannot cross the seas."
"That confusion is from the dream; it was going to a strange place."
"The Slayer blinds you. You've stared into the sun." Her hands trembled on his face. "The stars quiet their whispers and speak ever so quickly."
"Dru..." Angelus said in warning. Buffy was his business. She inflicted more damage on him than even Holtz ever did. He mooned over her like a love-sick teenager and courted her like he was Prince Charming with fangs. He had killed his sire for her.
"You miss her." Drusilla hummed as she sat up and swayed. "I feel the jasmine growing in the garden"
"No, Grandmummy. Hurting the Slayer helps you forget." Drusilla frowned. "We are walking on the path that leads to the buffalo and it shall take you all away from me. Alligators are the animals to watch. They saw the world begin. " Her lips curled into a grin and she touched his forehead before resting her hand on his chest. "Remember the head and the heart. Be bold and strike hard."
Willow laid on her belly in a green jersey reading On The Road and seemed to be engrossed in it by the intense look on her face. Angelus sat in a tree hidden behind the foliage. He had finished his sketch of Buffy as she worked on her homework and decided to spend some time with his favorite computer hacker.
Willow was now biting her lip in anticipation over what was obviously a juicy part in the book. Angelus memorized the expression in her wide green eyes. His soulful self would think of the Slayer's friend as an innocent sweetheart while trying not to notice her legs. He still hadn't forgotten how delicious her struggling had been. It would be a fun bang and drain before leaving the lovely lamb hanging outside the Slayer's house.
Her bedside phone rang. Willow grabbed it, showing a great deal of pale leg, while saving a place in her book. "Hello? Oh, Hi, Buff." She grinned. "That stinks. And we all were researching so much today too."
He watched her stretch her arms, phone stuck between her face and her shoulder. Buffy babbled on the other end while Willow smiled.
"Don't worry. You've been a super duper trooper. We all understand. Giles and I are totally kicking tome-y butt in the library so don't be such a meanie to yourself." She paused and then laughed. "If it makes you feel better, I think we cross referenced the dust out of them."
"The head and the heart..." Angelus murmured to himself as he looked over to her ultra modern laptop and the books on her shelf. He spotted a grimoire that the Watcher wouldn't approve of. Willow was quite the Jane of all trades, very useful, and she was so cute and meek. It made him wonder what he could turn her into. What sort of darkness did she have deep down under the floppy hats and bright overalls? No, he thought, he'd save the drain and bang for Xander.
Drusilla had been right; He was at crossroads. Leaving pictures on Buffy's pillow, the spank and tickle fights, Angelus had to stop teasing them both. He needed to amp up the action.
It had been a week, three sketches of Buffy, five of Willow, and many hours of stalking before Angelus made any move. He watched Buffy patrolling with Giles. He watched her walk home from the Bronze with Xander and Cordelia. He watched Buffy and Willow study. While they poured over their ancient books, he stood in the stacks of the library and listened. They were getting comfortable; it was time to rip a hole in their gang.
Getting into Willow's room wasn't anything he hadn't done before, but his mood turned solemn as he leaned over to pinch a pressure point on her neck. He stroked her cheek. Such a bright girl. It would be a shame to turn her into a minion and waste her talents. He didn't want her dead stupid. After a short courtship, he would make her into a proper childe and she would ease his transition to the modern age. He had been out of the killing fields for too long and his reputation had suffered for it. Of course, if it didn't work out then he'd just set the vampire Willow on Buffy, make some popcorn, and enjoy the show. Willow wouldn't wake for hours, which should give him time to finish his preparations. On The Road was on the nightstand and he put the paperback in his coat pocket.
Willow lay with her pink comforter draped loosely on her hip as she slept on her side. She wore a white night gown with a empire style night gown. It was much more appropriate for a kidnapping than her usual. Taking a piece of paper of her desk along with a pen, he walked over to her closet and jotted down her measurements. After all, she couldn't just go around naked, no matter how fun the idea was. This sort of intimate knowledge never failed to unnerve his victims. Contrary to what Spike may think, it was the details, not just gore, which could terrify. He looked forward to putting his tricks to work on Willow.
There seemed to be nothing else to be done, so Angelus picked up the phone and called Willy's Place. His instructions were brief and brisk; send the minion that he kept there to pick up gossip, and have him bring the car to Willow's house. Angelus smirked as he thought of the best way to destroy his girl's room.
She was the sort who would fight, so he knocked over the night stand and proceeded to make his way around the room. The book shelf was next and he round kicked it and books cascaded to the floor. Then the walls and posters were punched and ripped, leaving the Sunnydale Razorbacks flag torn in two. There was a slaughter of stuffed animals and fluff flew through the air along with fuzzy ears and google eyes. In the midst of the carnage, Willow was peacefully unconscious. With every teddy bear slashed open and book shredded, he saw the horrified faces of her friends and family. The room looked like a tornado stormed through by the time his car was pulling up outside
He furrowed his brow as he asked himself what could make this sight more grisly? It already had the innocence-merrily-being-shredded vibe to it. That's when it hit him. He knew he wasn't going to waste her blood by splashing it around, but he did have a perfectly useless minion down in the car…
Chapter Two: Risk
'When you wake up in an unfamiliar room what do you do?' Willow asked herself as she pressed up against the head board paralyzed with fear. 'Add Angel, the evil, leather wearing version, staring at you from across the room. Then what do you do?' She was clueless, which happened too often since she met Buffy, as to how she had gotten into this situation.
The last thing she remembered was talking to her mom, who was giving her a guilt trip about never wearing the clothes her Nanny Rosenberg had given her. How that came up when they were talking about the quaintest café her mom had found in Prague, she would never know. Willow put on the least juvenile item from the pile of frilly, baby outfits her Nanny had brought. It was an itchy, musty nightgown of lace that suffocated her with its length. But it had shut her mother up.
It was odd, she hadn't ever been more scared in her life and she had seen some scary things; the Hellmouth opening, Cordelia the day after Thanksgiving, and Giles angry. But all she could think about was how the lace on the dang nightie was driving her crazy and she was for the most part fine with that. There were much worse things to think about.
Angelus didn't get the nickname, Scourge of Europe because of his good looks though, on that front he could be a contender. She felt her eyes growing large and her heart speed up as all the horrible things he could do to her came to mind. She couldn't help it. From his boots, to his leather pants, and up to his handsome, smirking face, he radiated something. Evil, without a doubt, but there was also something darker and more seductive that he emanated. It made your eyes follow him in either fear or something else she didn't want to think about.
When his pupils dilated and nostrils flared slightly, as his eyes bored into hers, she had the crazy thought that he could smell her fear. And he seemed to enjoy it, too.
"Hello, Willow." He said huskily.
It was his voice that stopped any delusions she might have had about him being Angel, just a little more cranky than usual. There was a joyful note to his voice, but then again there was menace and way too much sensuality for Angel. She wasn't sure how to respond. Do you give your murderer a cheerful howdy and how ya do?
She gulped before saying, "Hey."
His fingers twitched as she brushed a lock of hair behind her ear revealing the side of her neck. Angelus stood and before she could react, he was sitting in the middle of the bed. Willow squeaked before she could contain herself. It wasn't just his sudden closeness that was making her heart beat frantically, there was also a hungry look in his eyes. Whatever instinct bunnies have when danger is around she must have it too, and it was telling her to run and hide. He seemed content to look at her, so she looked everywhere but at him.
Her prison was a dark teal room with a dark hardwood floor and furniture; bed frame, bookshelf, and wardrobe, dominating it. There was another door besides the exit to her left. The lone window was large and thin, but unfortunately, had intricate curling iron work covering it. Heavy forest green drapes, which matched the upholstery and duvet, stood guard at the window. It was like she was in an aquarium.
Angelus put a finger under her chin and forced her to look into his eyes. They were a ravenous brown and an upsetting predatory light shined from them. The look made the knots in her stomach become a tangle.
"Willow," he said as his hand caressed her throat softly before giving it a not so soft squeeze. "Do you have any questions?" His other hand slid up to the other side of her face and his thumb moved in slow circles on the apple of her cheek. He was now too close and didn't need to lean to whisper in her ear. "You're wondering why, aren't you?"
His lips brushing against her earlobe sent shocks like ice down her spine. The feather soft caresses now became rough and the pressure he put on her cheek was swiftly becoming painful. If the strength in just his thumb was enough to bruise her and bring tears to her eyes she didn't want to imagine what the rest of him could do.
"Pretty little Willow, it's a wonder that no other vampire has tried to eat you up. The fear is just rolling off your lovely body in waves and it's really something. It smells like…" He paused before giving her neck a lick that made her shake. "Strawberries. You taste that way, too."
Willow thought she might shudder and shiver her way into a panic attack. She knew better than to beg. If he did rape her than there would be nothing she could do. She began to pray with much more fervor that Buffy would charge on in here with stakes and puns aplenty.
"Makes sense, don't you think? If, according to Spike, Drusilla is a ripe wicked plum, then you must be my sun-ripened strawberry." The hand on her cheek moved lower toward her middle before Angelus pulled her into his lap. "My little strawberry all un-plucked and juicy."
He burrowed his head into the crook of her neck. His hands were busy caressing her hips and belly. She thought she might cry and was frightened to the point of dumb hysteria. Odd thoughts ran through her mind. This situation seemed so Anne Rice; handsome vampire, gothic surrounding, and creepiness. Her heart was racing, as if she were on a roller coaster that jumped the track. She pushed away the upsetting sensations that his touch evoked.
"You're so warm and inviting that I think I ought to keep you like this at least for a couple of years." He nibbled on her ear a bit. "Don't think about escape. I have both childer and minions who would love to get a taste of you."
Suddenly she was alone on the bed. The change left her sprawled and confused, looking up at a calm, cool, and collected Angelus sitting in the same armchair he was earlier. This was the fearsome scourge that she had read about not the passionate creature of before. His face was blank.
"As I said before, escape is impossible. You are mine and Buffy can't save you, your parents can't save you, and you can't save yourself. You are alone in the world except for me and who ever I chose. I am the only one that matters. Now, do you have any questions?" He asked in a business-like fashion.
The fear was getting to her because at his words she felt irrational anger. How dare he or anyone else claim her like she was airport luggage? She was getting her hysteria down by focusing on the anger. The fact that she was going to be his captive for awhile hit her. She needed to know more and get the rules. Information was always the key. Knowledge was power.
"What are the rules?" She asked with a tremble in her voice that made her want to smack herself. She couldn't be weak.
His brow furrowed as he asked, "Rules?"
"You know what is expected of me and what I can and can't do."
His lips twisted up into a smirk and that hunger returned to his eyes before he reigned himself in. "Obedience is the first rule, no escaping or I flay your mother. Hmmm, what else? Darling, that's it. The rules or any demands I make can and will change. I will be looking eagerly for any excuse to punish you, but really I don't need an excuse. So, if one day I walk in here and start to fancy the idea of spanking you, then consider yourself spanked." His eyes closed for a second and the hunger was back. "I was planning on raping you, but then I thought about it. What would hurt you more? The fact that you want me desperately, while hating me passionately, or raping you and giving you fuel for your righteous anger? And believe me, you will be begging for me to touch you, kiss you… I look forward to seeing you beg."
Her eyes narrowed and she didn't trust herself to speak. She didn't even trust herself to move lest she smack the frilly heck out of his stupid vampire self. She would need all of her brains to make it out of this alive. He was right, Buffy couldn't help her now. All of the emotions that would mess with her judgment had to be set aside. She needed to see this at a different level. Her life was at risk, so she had to play this right. Risk, that was it. When she was younger, her and her dad used to play Risk and it was one of those few times where she could lie and bluff. If it was that cut and dry she could strategize better.
"Franz, come in."
A short, sandy haired man, with a mole high on his pale cheek, wearing a gray suit walked in the door and gave Angelus a deep elaborate bow. He had the air of an ambassador or a butler. He had a refined manner unlike any other vampire she had had the misfortune to meet.
"This is your body guard. He won't hurt you unless you make him. Your safety is relatively ensured. He has orders to answer any question you may have. I'll leave you two to get acquainted." Angelus said before he walked to the door. He stopped to whisper in Franz's ear. "Remember," he said to Willow over his shoulder. "Be a good girl while I'm gone."
Then he left her alone with only her confused thoughts and a minion for company.
Chapter Three: History Lesson
Franz turned to Willow and bowed to her. When he straightened he said, "Permit me to further introduce myself. I am Franz Pieterzoon, in the service of Angelus, sired by Darla, of the Order of Aurelius. During the length of your stay I will serve you in a bodyguard or butler capacity. I am obliged to answer any and all questions that you may have. I have been informed that you are a quiet girl and that I should get the ball rolling, so to speak." He looked uncomfortable with the modern phrase as if he was being forced into the present age.
"I imagine that you must be frightened which is natural. I will not wax on about the folly of trying to escape. I feel that a short history on the Order of Aurelius is the best approach in this sort of situation. It is best that you understand the world that you're held in." He gestured to the chair. She was the prisoner, but he was treating her well. Franz was like an artifact from a Victorian parlor, a gentleman caller or something.
Willow knew that he would report everything to Angelus. She decided that if he was the ambassador, then she must be the queen. The fear had not left her, in fact, it had doubled as snippets of info on Angelus started to come back to her, a particular passage about a puppy seared her mind. She focused on her 'Risk' strategy; her walls needed to come up. This wasn't the time to go to pieces.
"If I may begin," Franz said. His posture was perfect; the entire encyclopedia Britannia would have balanced on his head. He looked like a 1950's news anchor with his sandy hair parted to the side.
To her surprise, an odd calm swept over her body; the facial ticks, nervous gestures, and trembling stopped. This sort of thing happened when ever she had an exam. Since all he wanted her to do was listen, which as Buffy's best friend she was good at, she was fine. As long as she had some clue or idea of what she should do, she was fine.
"Aurelius was a famed Roman gladiator. His cruelty and prowess in the Coliseum caught the eye of Kiya, an Egyptian priestess of Anubis. Her undeath only increased her religious fervor. The year was the fifth of the Emperor Augustus' reign when he was brought over. Aurelius and Kiya shared a passion for the Old Ones, which is the foundation for our mighty Order. The mix of Egyptian, Roman, and Aurelius' native Gallic mysticism influenced the Order's rituals for generations.
The centuries passed by and Roman Emperor's were replaced by Catholic Popes. The year the Old Master came into the presence of Aurelius was 956. He had traveled to Rome on the behalf of Otto of Saxony. Before the Glorious Ascendancy, his name was Heinrich Nest…
The lantern grew dimmer as he walked through the vast catacombs. Bones, whole skeletons, filled niches dug into the stone walls. Skulls grinned in the weak flickering light. Heinrich never would have sought sanctuary in such a place before, but then before he wouldn't have believed that his holiness, John XII, would have set the Papal guards after him. It shouldn't have surprised him. The pope was a hot blooded nineteen year old boy who had called the Saxony people dissolute barbarians while he was preparing to attend an orgy. Heinrich had thought his time in King Otto's court had left him jaded, but then he came to Rome and witnessed the behavior of the clergy that everyone accepted, and he felt quite naïve.
He stumbled in a puddle when the clang of swords against chain mail echoed in the tunnel. The guards were close. Sweat ran down his face as he looked for some place to hide. John XII had recently castrated a cardinal and if he could do that to a powerful man of the church, what might he do to a lowly foreign courtier?
He was pulled into a crevice. A hand muffled his screams as he was dragged through mire and darkness. Howls broke the silence of the tombs. Was this a secret torture chamber of the Pope? The sudden illumination burned his eyes, and it wasn't until his captor threw him down that he began to see how deep the evil in the catacombs ran.
He looked into the face of a beast who sat on a throne of bones. It had horns and a visage not unlike a serpent down to a forked tongue. He had met Satan, for what else could be so grotesque? Then he looked at the feminine creature beside it. The female had a body with every luscious curve that makes up a beautiful woman, but she had the face of a canine: snout and all. The hideous monsters that cavorted around him were no better, nude demons worshiping the Horned One and his consort.
Satan spoke, "Lord Nest, welcome to my haven. My reports speak of your virtues and strengths. Usually the…courting process is lengthier. But when I had learned that your cub of a pope was going to blind and unman you before sending you back to Saxony in a saddle bag, I knew that the time had come to bring you over. I wish to have a man like you by my side. I will not take no for an answer, but do not fret, all will become clear the next time you wake."
"I'll have no dealings with devils, evil one," Heinrich spit out. Then he was thrown forward and Satan took him by the neck and bit down. Heinrich Nest, son of Rufus the Red, of the noble land of Saxony knew darkness and evil.
Willow was held spellbound by Franz's words, spoken in a low chant almost. His green eyes were wide and dark when he finished his tale. In a few blinks he was out of his trance and was no longer a bard shaman but again a courtier. The change was startling. She wanted to clap.
"Wow, that was a neat-o story," she said forgetting her ice queen act.
Franz nodded with a ghost of a smile. "Would you care to learn more about vampires?"
"Considering I was sort kidnapped by an evil fiend, it would be handy dandy knowledge to have." Then she remembered her aloof royalty act, "If you want." Willow tried not to blush at how lame she sounded. Smooth move, Rosenberg.
"Most vampires met their ends weeks after being changed. They are made by other fledglings usually and never with enough blood. Few are claimed by a clan or descent from an Order. They are stupid, frenzied, and made up the bulk of what you faced beside the Slayer." Franz said with feeling creeping into his voice at the end. Willow thought on that before adding it to the useful info cabinet in her brain. "Angelus is not one of them. He is a Master with the death count and pedigree to prove it.
Willow had never heard this sort of information on vampires before; Giles' books were mostly concerned with what they did and how to kill them. When she was rescued out she would have to tell Giles all about this. Willow couldn't figure out why Franz served Angelus and she asked him that.
Franz laughed…maybe, again, the difference was slight; he could have coughed. "Eternity is quite slow and one does need to network."
His answer, which was too flippant, made her think back, for some reason, to his introduction. "You said that you were sired by Darla? What does that make you and Angelus?" She asked. His voice had changed when he talked of Darla, maybe that was important. She watched him closely. His eyes hardened…maybe, the difference was slight. That was starting to irritate her…how he was so closed up, but then after so many decades, or centuries, he was bound to pick up some acting skills.
"I was given to Darla when I was a human at the court of Queen Elizabeth I's Viceroy in the Low Countries. She was then only a few years in undeath and The Master was touring his territory in Europe. There is no real story besides that Darla made me to serve her, not as a minion, but as a companion she could trust."
Willow noted that Darla was a sensitive point for Franz and she should move on. He had become lifeless, when before he was animate in his explanations. And when a vampire looks lifeless, they really, really succeed. That had brought her back to when Angelus was kissing her and the fact that he was basically a walking corpse. Ew. Does that make Buffy a necrophiliac? Bad, bad train of thought, must move on.
"So, are vampires suspicious of their…their," she struggled for the word, "…spawn?"
Then he out and out laughed. "I believe the word you're looking for is childe with an e." She must have made a face at the incestuous nature of the word because he clarified. "Yes, it is rather sordid. But what else would you call one reborn in darkness?"
He pulled out a silver waistcoat watch from his pocket. It was the honest to goodness old fashioned grandpa kind. Willow figured from the design that it had to be older than her…or her parents for that matter. He stood and walked over to the wardrobe and opened the doors.
"As entertaining as our conversation has been, I really must be off and perform my other duties; with your permission, of course, but I wager that you would rather be freshening up than listen to me prattle on," He said as he pulled out a cream sundress with light red roses on it. "If you be so kind as to put this on after you bathe."
"It was a pleasure making your acquaintance." Franz smiled at her, almost warmly, before bowing and retreating from the room.
Willow looked around the small room, her eyes lingering on the bars over the window. She gripped the dress hanger tightly and gulped. This wasn't a nightmare; she was awake.
Chapter Four: Hellraiser
Angelus was quiet as he opened and closed the door behind him. He was content to just look at Willow who was staring out the window, one hand on a dark green drape. Without her usual layer of fluff, he was better able to admire her slender, fragile body. The room's color scheme, along with the moonlight flooding the room, cast an eerie glow about her.
She looked over at him, and except for the tremble in her delicate shoulders, bare to his gaze, and the stiffness of her jaw that belied her soft mouth, she seemed calm. Willow still looked furious, though. Angelus thought he might just pounce on her then and there. He could hardly wait to see those eyes darken with lust and flash hot rage while she clung to him shaking from passion and hatred. This had to be one of his better ideas.
"Buffy's going to kick your ass, you know," she said. He had started to think she was in shock because, although he could smell her fear, all he could see was rage.
Angelus laughed as he moved over to her. "I like your sass," he said before lightly backhanding her. Or what he thought was lightly, he might have been mistaken, as Willow spun hitting the window. Her harsh breathing shook her body and made the tops of her pert breasts strain the dress that, he now realized, was too tight in the chest.
She turned around and all of her anger and fear hit him, sending the blood rushing to his dick. Beneath the lashes, her lowered eyes promised murder.
The smell of blood reached him before the sight of the liquid dripping down the apple of her pale cheek. His ring must have scratched her, but she seemed not to notice it. He pulled her roughly into his arms. He used the tip of his tongue to chase the stray droplets of blood and then the broad side to clean the scratch. He growled when she tried to pull away.
His voice was harsh and thick when he whispered against the cut, "Do you have any idea how your blood tastes? All that anger and fear make it spicy, and your innocence makes it insanely sweet. I could get drunk on you. I wonder how you would taste with all the pleasure I can give rushing through you?" Angelus could imagine spending hours playing with her nude body and placing his mark on her thighs, belly, and breasts while watching her hate him, yet need him, desperately. There would be no devoted love like with Drusilla, or even love/hate as with Spike. He would keep her bound to him with hate and lust.
After a few parting licks to her cheek, he moved down to her neck, sucking and licking her flesh. Her heart was beating an enticing tattoo, yet her body was limp in his arms. He wasn't sure if he liked that before he realized what it was. When vampires feed, their victims sometimes go under a thrall, usually only once, but for most humans the point was moot. Angelus consoled himself that next time she would struggle.
One hand rose to play with her slightly curling hair. He had wanted to see if her hair was naturally straight and he was glad to see that without a hairdryer, it had soft waves. His other hand caressed her back softly to really relax her before his fingers began a drumming motion, and then a harder kneading. She was going to relax whether she wanted to or not.
"I can see us darling," He whispered between kisses on her shoulder which only had two flimsy straps to bar his way. "We're on this very bed. You're writhing, and moaning, and struggling against the ribbon I've tied your wrists together with. I'm giving your lovely, little body the attention that it deserves. Better than a dream. I know what you've been hiding and what those fool boys weren't able to see." His hands moved lower, giving her ass and thighs the same massage as her back. Looking up, he noticed that she had her eyes closed and was biting her bottom lip. There was a delicious battle of emotions on her face, just as he had hoped. Teenager girls still couldn't resist him. Her breathing was shallow and it took all of his self control to not free her from her restrictive garments and act out his fantasies. He had the feeling that she wouldn't resist much; she had gone placid and calm in his arms. Lulled by the illusion of lust mistaken for love. As much as he liked Willow aroused, he loved Willow in pain. He smiled soulfully. "If only I was telling the truth."
Chapter Five: Prezzie
Angelus paused at the door listening to Drusilla hum a lullaby to Spike. As he thought over his time in Sunnydale, he wasn't surprised that Spike was pissed at him. First he took over the boy's house, and then slept with Drusilla and not Spike. Not exactly diplomatic. Having a soul didn't do much for his people skills. If he was going to wipe out any trace of his do-gooder reputation, he had to start in Sunnydale with both Spike and Drusilla by his side. Angelus didn't like how he had handled things, but he was sure that this would put a band aid on the booboo.
Drusilla's singing took on a more sultry tone and Spike's stream of whimsical endearments stopped. He pushed the door open to a tension filled scene. Her lush dark hair was done up in two braids and she wore a sheer white nightgown. She was draped over Spike on the high mahogany bed, staring at her Sire with burning concentration as she ran her hand down his naked chest. While Drusilla had feigned modesty even if her gown clearly showed the outline of her nipples, Spike was unabashedly bare.
In the time Angelus had been back he hadn't seen his grandchilde in such a state. His eyes memorized his family; the lean, tightly muscled marble that he had spent nights beating into submission, and his not-so-little girl all slender limbs and graceful curves. He enjoyed the contrast, especially of their eyes; one pair green and inviting, the other blue and angry. It was times like this that Angelus' inner drama queen came out and wanted to shine.
"Just seeing you two brings out all these fatherly feelings, and with a new sister on the way, I'm down right paternal." He said with an exaggerated sigh at the end. He wasn't lying. The urge to get Penn and meet Sam Lawson was getting stronger by the day. Angelus had plans, bigger than Sunnydale, he wanted L.A. Of course he would keep Spike on the Hellmouth, but once his reputation was secure and the recon was done…
The city would be his and the Slayer couldn't stop him. Hell, she couldn't even drive a car, let alone get an apartment or a permission slip from her Mama; he had the little girl beat. L.A. would be the perfect place to groom Penn, and if he had luck, Sam, to take over other Californian cities in his name. Angelus had always been ambitious and now that he was feeling like settling down, only an empire would do.
He shed his burgundy shirt as he moved over on to the bed. Drusilla watched him with bright, excited eyes while Spike was weary. His princess, as usual, had already guessed his game, but the boy wasn't even in the ballpark.
"It's about time we all reaffirmed our bonds." Angelus said slightly tilting his head. Drusilla pushed Spike up, and after coyly licking his wrist, she bit deep. Her other pale hand brought one of Angelus' in its embrace. He had little time to appreciate the view before Spike latched on to his neck. He murmured thickly, "C'mere Dru."
Buffy was squished between her Aunt Shannon and Grandma Vera on the old red sofa in the cemetery watching Angel and Willow have a picnic.
Angel stared longingly at the redhead as he ate cherry jello. Willow sat on the edge of the picnic cloth with her arms wrapped around her legs.
"This is not going to end well." Grandma Vera said, shaking her head as she smoked a cigarette.
"Shouldn't you chase after her?" Aunt Shannon asked, pointing to Willow who was running into a open crypt.
Buffy hoped up and chased after her into the crypt which turned into the upstairs hallway at her best friend's house. Willow dodged into her room. Buffy followed, but she was gone. The door had been ripped off of its hinges and was laid down in the hall. Buffy wasn't fighting the tears that ran down her scared, pale face. The room she stared into wasn't a room anymore; it was like the set of a bad horror movie.
Willow's bed was a heap of fluff, her treasured books looked like so many autumn leaves abandoned on the floor, the computer was scrap metal.
Buffy woke up, the sweat already becoming chilled beads on her skin. She was shaking as she peeled back the blanket. Her slayer sense was in hyper drive and her stomach was a mass of fire. She hadn't felt this sensation since Merrick, her old Watcher had died. The lamest part of the slayer package was the cramps that preceded the really bad events; to top that off, a prophetic slayer dream. The dream was fading, but the message was clear; Willow was in danger.
Buffy hyperventilated quietly, her eyes round and panicked. Her breathing didn't slow as she sat up and fumbled around in the dark for sweat pants but found none. The air was horribly still. She wasn't fast enough, even if it had only been a minute since she had gotten out of bed. With a cross and stake in her pocket, clad in only a thin camisole and Donald Duck boxers, Buffy climbed through her window and jumped off the porch roof.
Her heels burned and ankles throbbed when she landed, but she paid her body no mind when she took off in a run. The chill of the December air with its bite of the ocean didn't faze her, neither did the loss of her cross and stake. The only thing that mattered was the up-down of her legs as she raced to her best friend. She didn't want to think of what she would find, or if this would be the day she'd have to stop talking and kill Angel. If he killed Willow then it would be like he killed Buffy. She needed all her friends; they kept her alive and strong. They lead her from the dark and surrounded her with love.
As Buffy ran up the walk to Willow's door, she saw that the window to the balcony was broken, like something had been thrown out of it. The door was unlocked when she tried the knob. Looking over her shoulder, she was relieved to see that the sky was slightly pink. The sun would be up soon, so Angel wouldn't be there. Buffy flinched after the thought, her best friend was in danger and she was worried about seeing her ex.
She pushed the door open, resisting the desire to literally kick herself. The downstairs was dark and everything seemed normal; messy pile of books and psychology magazines on the coffee table, the gentle chime of the wall clock, and the warm air of the heater under the stairs. She walked up the steps, her breathing shallow as her eyes caught a glimpse of a door lying down in the hall, the corner of it stained by blood.
As she walked around the door and stared into the disaster area that was Willow's room, she had to clutch the banister top to keep her balance. There was a great 'A' written in a fancy old style, but the letter's lines were made up of five thin red lines on the corner of the wall where the bookshelf should have been. She prayed it wasn't blood, but that sickly metallic smell was everywhere.
She heard a rustle and ran into the room. Willow could be alive! She shrieked; the room was almost covered in blood and the view from the hall didn't do the carnage justice. And there was a twitching denim covered leg that was oozing blood at her feet, and lumps of red mush that might have been hands tossed on the bed; not to mention the vampire torso that was impaled on the bed with what looked like a branch.
Buffy thought she would retch; this was what Angel did. Her Angel, her Angel did this. The head attached to the torso let out a pitiful moan. She reached for her stake and it wasn't there….
The smell of blood settled in the back of her throat as she stumbled to what remained of the desk and shifted through the open bottom drawer for the stake she made Willow keep. She crouched and looked over her shoulder to see the missing limbs on the balcony threshold. She thought she was so going to yak. Buffy had to stake the vampire and everything would go away; all the blood, the gore, the vampire.
Finally she had the wood in her hands, crawling to the bed she raised the stake and brought it down fast. A whispered, 'thanks' echoed though the room before the sigh of the mutilated body crumbling to dust and the crash of the branch falling. She collapsed and saw the leg had turned into a pile of kitty litter. The blood on the wall seemed to disappear from bottom to top in a wave. Looking over she grabbed Willow's phone with trembling hands and dialed a familiar number.
A line tying Angelus to a minion had been snapped. It was like a small sting, unlike if a childe had been killed, which would have been a gut wound.
His lazy smile turned into a smirk as Spike nuzzled his bare side, and Drusilla wiggled astride him. Her lush locks had long since broken free of their bindings and she looked like a dark Godiva, looking up at him from hooded eyes as she ran sharp French manicured nails down his naked chest. Angelus loved the looks Spike kept flashing Dru; the boy looked like he wanted to push her off his Grandsire…and take her place.
This was how life was supposed to be, he thought. Dru leaned forward and ground into him, her perfumed hair tickled the welts on his skin and her cool breath on his ear made him want to shudder. He settled for a manlier groan as her grinding became more insistent.
"Snap. Snap. Snap. Slayer found the mole. Wreck. Wreck. Wreck. She found the mess. Fight. Fight. Fight. She used the Knight. Bite. Bite. Bite. She was used and lost. Steal. Your. Pet…" She whispered a hint of jealousy powdering her voice.
"Need a translation, mate?" Spike murmured lazy from the crook of Angelus' neck. "I think she's talking about your new girl."
Dru would be a kink in his plan with Willow. She'd probably snap her neck one day, and it was damn difficult to be cross with her. He'd have to sweet talk her. He cupped her cheek and asked, "Dru, don't you want a sister? A new addition to our family? When Penn and Lawson come you'll be so outnumbered. I want you to have a companion to have 'girl time' with."
She hummed like an angry bee as she straightened; her movements became more serpentine as she swayed. Angelus wasn't going to let her have her way on this one and she would obey him. Right on schedule Spike saw how this could benefit him.
"Now, I can kill the Slayer. Luv, isn't that what you wanted?" Spike asked.
Angelus had a burst of inspiration. "She could be like a daughter…"
Drusilla tilted her head staring at Angelus and her eyes grew wide like the smile on her face. "Oh, I'll be a mommy, and she'll be my Vicious Darling… We'll be so happy; my Daddy, My Knight Spike, and my Vicious Darling."
He smirked and moved his hands up from her thighs to her bare hips. "Now, Dru, what were you whispering about before?"
"Slayer, found your prezzie and her heart screams in agony."
Chapter Six: Coping Mechanism
Willow didn't feel like reading, even if Sal Paradise's trip to Mexico normally would have interested her. On The Road only made her think of drugs that would stop her from feeling the fear that, if she wasn't careful, sent her trembling. When she had taken a bath she had just trembled in the warm water and had to cover her mouth to keep her sobs quiet. The terror was always one step behind her.
Willow wished for a nice cocoon; all soft and fuzzy like a caterpillar's. She had gotten something close to that the one time her, Xander, and Jesse had drank Uncle Rory's bourbon before Jesse died. Willow had been paranoid because she was being naughty, and of course the dangers of teen alcoholism, but peer pressure prevailed. She would have never done it by herself, but now she wanted an escape; any sort of escape.
She knew that a clear head was the best thing she could have in this gothic nightmare. The problem was that the fear wasn't just about dying or torture, it was about staying alive and staying herself. Her clear head was creating some of her fear. She was scared of losing her identity as her plan called for her to be a girl who would hold Angelus' interest in keeping her alive. Willow would have preferred the plans where she was a hero, but she needed Slayer powers for that, or for the plans where she was more of a martyr, but she didn't want to die. It seemed there was no other choice. Was there so much shame in wanting to live?
This whole experience had changed her. It seemed odd since it was only the third day of being Hostage Willow, but it was true. She considered methods of survival that would have been inconceivable before, it was not like she threw all of her morals to the wayside, but she was seriously thinking of all she knew of Angelus and getting info from Franz so he wouldn't kill her right out of hand. She wanted to have time to escape, to be with her friends and family, which wouldn't happen if he just snapped her neck.
She needed to save herself and that was another thing she had learned; Buffy couldn't help her, and in fact, if Buffy had just killed Angelus… That wasn't fair. She didn't want to think like that, but it had hit her that being friends with the Slayer probably would get her killed. Buffy had saved her so many times, and she was Willow's best friend, but it just seemed that maybe the rule about Slayers working alone was to protect her would be friends. Though, just living in Sunnydale did make her fifty times more likely to die horribly than if she lived in Santa Fe for instance. But playing the Blame Game didn't help her. It was scary thinking that she was her own only hope, when there had always been Buffy to rush in and save the day.
She brushed her wet auburn hair. Willow was dressed in a shiny teal sundress that reached her calves when she stood. The chest was too tight. The whole look, complete with the fancy bun Franz was waiting to put up, made her look like a child playing dress-up. Baby with Mama's pearls, she thought, touching the ornate pearl cameo choker. One would have thought she would look grown up, but her girlish face ruined the effect. Her one glimpse of a mirror reminded her of those Regency portraits from the 1700s where the girls look like they were getting a kick in the pants to hurry them to womanhood.
"How long will you ignore me, Ms. Rosenberg?" Franz asked, sounding far away, even though he was right behind her.
"What? Oh, I was thinking." She set the brush down next to her as she faced the wall with her knee tucked under her. There was no need to see the pale manicured hand that picked up the brush because after she finished the thought he was already brushing her hair.
"I shall ignore the snub then," Franz said. He had an odd calming effect on her, not that she relaxed per se, but her 'deer in the headlights' feeling faded to more manageable levels. Franz also had another useful purpose; he was her info guy. She didn't even want to think about the possibility that he fed her bad information, but whatever the reliability of the answers, it was still question time.
"Why are you, no offense, like my babysitter?"
He chuckled. "I've been called quite a few names in my time, but that is new. I believe I prefer nursemaid." He was so dry and monotone that she couldn't help but giggle. He held her hair in one hand letting his knuckles lay against the back of her neck; he ran the brush though the wet strands sending cool water falling on her back bringing up goose bumps.
"No avoiding the question, Mister." She wagged her finger at his nonreflection in the mirror.
"I believe he is trying to keep me out of trouble," He said.
"Does that mean he doesn't trust you?"
"Why would he put me in charge of his pet if he didn't trust me?" He asked.
Willow blushed as she tried to think of a reply. "Maybe he thinks you'd try to take over Sunnydale or something."
"I'd have to agree with you if it was anyone else, but I have never wanted territory. I, myself, prefer freedom." He brushed the ends of her long hair. "Masters generally demand vampires in their territory to do odd jobs for them. Idle hands are the devil's playground." He coiled her hair into a bun.. "Would you like to hear a story?"
"Yeah." She leaned her head back and smiled up at Franz who returned it with a small but warm smile of his own.
"This all took place during King George's Reign and Angelus was only two decades in death. We were at this dinner party…
"Where ever did Angelus stray?" Darla asked as she and Franz strolled arm in arm around the garden at the Fox estate.
"Remember that lout from Liverpool, the one who thought himself a wit with his insults of Angelus' brogue?"
"Hmmm, did my Darling Boy decide to repay the insult?"
"I believe so. He mumbled about 'arse' and 'Tyrone' and 'English oppression.' From the venom in his voice I could almost pity the Liverpudlian until the idiot started on about why the Low Countries were named thus. As is I have the urge to give Angelus a few suggestions."
Darla laughed. "Sometimes the English have no sense; just look at the American situation. Really, the colonies are going to revolt any day now."
"Oh yes, Angelus told me about your radical views. I suppose you're both pro?"
"Really, he is?"
"Anything against the English is his course." Franz said as their moonlit stroll was serenaded by the howls of the unfortunate Englishman, which luckily for the vampires, was covered by the warbling of the newest society beauty.
The carriage ride was enlivened by Angelus' description of his foe's demise. Then Darla stuck her pale arm out of the window and rapped sharply on the wooden side.
"Driver!" She called out gaily, "Could you carry the men to Mrs. Windsor's at the King's Place." The look of surprise on the male's faces sent her into a fit of laughter. "I did promise you a night on the town, Angelus…"
Franz moved her to face him as he finished his story. His quick fingers brought the few tendrils to look their best as he asked, "Any questions?"
"What's Mrs. Windsor's place?"
"A very exclusive brothel," he replied. Her expression must have surprised him. "And do you know…?"
Willow hated that, sure, she was a virgin and had only kissed a few times, but she loved to read, especially what she wasn't suppose to. She did know that people had sex. Why was it so surprising to everyone that she didn't blush every five seconds? If Xander or Buffy had said brothel she might have, but really, sex talk was the least of her worries. "Yes, I know what a brothel is, and my question is, why did she let you go?"
"That was one of her greatest virtues; she was very spontaneous. She always kept us on our toes," Franz said. "Boredom kills as many vampires as Slayers."
A thought came to Willow, but she was worried that it was too personal. He did give off a threatening-but-not-to-her vibe, but he had, like, four hundred years to perfect it. It didn't stop her from thinking of him as a friend. That was dangerous, and not just because he reported back to Angelus. She needed his information, she needed to see behavioral patterns in Angelus, and she needed to know about the whole crazy vampire family if she was going to live long enough for Buffy to get off of her ass and save her. Willow knew she was a scared little girl playing grown-up, and that blaming Buffy wasn't fair, but she needed to blame someone!
"You have a question. I can tell by your expression." He brushed back other errand strands, his fingers lingered in Willow's hair, and a wistful look came onto his face.
"I hate being so transparent," Willow said as the feelings of guilt and fear crashed against her. She leaned against his hand with a frown, trying to remember that he was a evil vampire, and not think of him as a friend.
"Actually, that was a guess. You always look curious." He smiled. "Now, your question?"
"What is Angelus to you?" She had to keep from nervously balling up her skirt in her palm, and it was difficult to calm her heartbeat.
He pulled his hand back from her face. His warm demeanor disappeared and he became the cool professional. "Do stop nibbling your lip. Endearing, yes, but a clear sign of your anxiety."
Besides being her transparency, she also hated how difficult it was to use her 'risk' strategy with Franz. She couldn't use her only defense against Angelus, Random Rampage; a series of unpredictable moves, on him. The most she could do was her South American Stronghold and leave nothing for him to attack or detect. But, there was something that told her that she was safer with him than anyone else in this horror house. He kept looking at her in his uncomfortable telescope gaze. She wanted to look away, but couldn't. Willow was beginning to think she needed another coping mechanism or anything to get her mind off that stare… Finally he spoke.
"I consider him a friend and companion. I'm neither family nor servant and I've made that abundantly clear since the beginning."
"Your stories make you seem like an uncle or something."
Franz cracked a smile and was about to say something until the door opened and a shirtless Angelus walked in. Willow tried hard not to notice how in the dim light of the room his chest was more defined as every shadow outlined every muscle. It was odd how that as Angel he was quite understandable; Buffy's brooding boyfriend, but in his soulless evil form he was just so mysterious and cryptic. Everything just made her more confused. She tried not to bite her lip and chanted 'Random Rampage' in her mind.
"Were you two talking about me?" Angelus asked with lazy confidence.
Willow surprised herself by answering calmly, "Yes." Sometimes it was like she wasn't in her body.
"From your point of view."
Franz smiled at them both and backed away. Angelus smirked and moved close enough so she could have licked the hollow between his abs. The thought made her blush as did his hand sliding over her still wet neck. His next move just angered her. He gripped her bun and pulled up, leaving her no choice but to follow. She glared at him and tried to speak, but he silenced her with the thumb on his other hand pressed to her lips. Willow wanted to bite the digit viciously. Her feelings about him were confusing. She had thought about him and her situation all day and had hoped to have figured them out.
His eyes were dark and intense as he focused on her neck. "Have I mentioned what a treat your blood is?" He murmured.
She gulped and the fear rose. "Many times, in fact," she whispered.
Then he was pressing his thumb nail against the top of her collarbone. She was confused on when it had left her face but the pain broke that up. She didn't care where it had come she only wanted it to stop. It hurt, and too soon blood pooled on her skin. The sparking pain wasn't enough to make her ignore the feeling of his hand on her butt.
Willow was left gasping when he started sucking harshly on the wound and cried out when he nibbled with blunt teeth. She grew silent soon and his attentions turned to licking the cut. His other arm was wrapped around the small of her back pushing her chest up and out to better reach her collarbone. She had to hold on to his back and she thought that they must look like a cover of those romance novels her mother pretended not to read. Her mind was swimming as he laid her on the bed, and she saw only him as the men walked out.
Closing her eyes, with a mind not to disturb her cut, she reached a hand above her head and tugged on a pillow from the top of the bed, and then very calmly pressed it to her face and screamed.
Chapter Seven: Mind Probe
He buttoned up his burgundy shirt, looking into the mirror watching the silk sheets move as Drusilla rolled on the bed talking about Willow. This was an important day. His princess and heir would meet his pet and soon to be childe. Her private approval would be the key to a peaceful household and publicly it would make Willow's transition into the Order of Aurelius smoother.
As contemptuous of his Sire's Order as he was, he knew the clout it held in the underground. He got on the council upon his sire's death and, with his soul's penchant for enemies, most in the order figured he would soon follow her. Consequently, Drusilla's power had grown with the ones in the know. Some, Spike included, thought that Penn would be his heir, but the boy had no imagination and Angelus still hadn't forgotten that incident in 1861. But Willow's standing was up in the air and who knew if he would bring her over.
Penn would soon learn of the change in succession when he and the mysterious Sam Lawson were summoned. Angelus had the minions stocking the cellar with humans as he was weakened from rejuvenating Spike. He had no idea how Penn would react to being second, and he didn't even know Lawson. The thought made him smile; he had always enjoyed theater.
When he woke up, the night had an auspicious air and he felt a dreamy seriousness. He wasn't sure if it was a good thing or not, but Drusilla was making more sense.
"Hmmm," His darling was pressing up against his side and her fingers were creeping up his neck. "Ticking…. Daddy is thinking. Heart as a walnut…" she trailed off then, her eyes, formerly slits, now widened. "Napoleon. Dreams of dynasties. Brother like the Turk. Winter is near." Her fingers moved his jaw to face her and she shook.
Angelus took her hands and kissed them before sinking a fang into her palm. He backed off leaving her to suck greedily on her wound. "Calm down, Dru, I don't have a Waterloo. Now, today, you'll be meeting your sister to be."
"Ooo, I should bring cakes."
"No, you'll need only yourself. Get dressed." He took one last look at his non-reflection before grabbing a tome of poetry off the dresser and stepping out of the room.
"Planning an old-fashioned family reunion, eh?" Spike asked before Angelus had closed the door. The boy was swaggering down the shadowed beige hallway with a cigarette perched on his lip.
"Yeah, it'll be just like old times, only now I won't stop Penn from giving you noogies."
"What about the new one?" Spike asked sharply before taking a long drag. Angelus' relations with Spike had warmed up considerably, but he still had to tread lightly. It was easy to forget that Spike was now a formidable vampire.
"I'm not worried. You turned decent minions who'll warn one of us if either of them acts up." A nice pat on the head to keep Spike happy and on his toes, then Angelus left to go to Willow's room.
She was lying on her stomach reading 'On the Road' and the tight bodice on the lilac floral dress she wore showed quite a bit of her pert cleavage. Willow looked up, then picked up her bookmark and saved her place before setting down the book. She got off the bed looking relatively calm, but the fear was undeniable.
"Hello," Angelus said as he walked up and touched one of the braids he made her wear. "How's Sal?"
Her eyes were focused on his hand but she answered promptly. "He's fine. It's Dean that's rolling with kids and wives. Compared to that, Sal's a peach." She blinked looking back at his face.
"I have a present for you." He handed her the collection of poetry by Browning "I know how much you like books."
"Thank you," She said as she examined the aged hardcover. "This was nice of you." He could see that despite herself, she was excited about new reading material. Suspicion had crept onto her face when she looked back up at him.
"You've never met Drusilla, have you?" Angelus asked twirling the braid around his finger. He was smiling. Willow was an excellent way to relax. His attention was on her neck and the blood pulsing in terror. He wanted to know how she could stay so calm and he wanted to know how far he had to go to break it.
"She'll be around soon. Dru's been pining away, wanting to see you." He checked her face and noticed that she frowned. Usually her mouth was in a straight, serious little girl line, so what was more frightening about Drusilla? "What?"
"Um, she is insane, right? She's not going to try to feed me to a doll?" Willow asked.
"Where'd you learn that?" Angelus asked pulling on her braid forcing her head to the side.
"Watcher's diaries," She gasped. Her eyes narrowed, then with a sigh she closed them, and she was composed again. Angelus wasn't sure he liked that calm anymore. It was fun when he could read her every expression. He roughly brought her face up and stared into her eyes. He smiled when he saw burning hatred slip out.
"Nice. What else do they say?"
"That you did something horrible to a puppy, but I try not to think of that."
Angelus chuckled and wrapped a hand around Willow's waist before spinning her in front of him. Drusilla clapped at the tableau from her place in the doorsill. She was wearing a long red and black number. Willow didn't wiggle too much, but she did shift, trying to get comfortable. He wondered again about just how he could break open her shell.
"Very pretty! My little Vicious Darling all warm and cuddly! Can I hold her Daddy? Please?" Drusilla asked, stepping up to his pet. She looked up at him through long lashes and started to pout.
"Fine, Princess, but don't harm her. She is a wee delicate." Willow looked back at him on that one. Her eyebrow was raised and he laughed. Her attention was back on Drusilla as his darling gathered her up in her arms.
Drusilla placed her hands on Willow's hips and looked down on her with the same mothering expression her dolls were graced with. His pet looked up at her with wide eyes and her body was rigid.
"Ooo, my newest is so pretty. Daddy, can I take out her plaits? I want put love knots through her hair, and doves, baguettes, and branding irons." She moved a hand up and put it on Willow's cheek. She asked all this while staring into his pet's eyes.
"Sure, Dru, but only take out her braids, leave the doves and the rest out of it." He hoped she wasn't going to try to thrall his pet, but he knew she would do as much as she pleased without stepping over the line. Angelus sniffed the air and rolled his eyes. Drusilla really did think his new girl was pretty. He had forgotten how much Dru liked to play with girls. "Princess, no seducing."
She frowned, but nodded. Ducking her head, she whispered in to Willow's ears. Her hand glided down to Willow's neck and circled the band aid covering his last feeding. What was she saying? Angelus was getting worried and Drusilla's glittering eyes didn't help.
Willow dropped the book, her head tilted at an angle, and her back was turned towards him. He wished he could see her face to see what shenanigans Dru was pulling on him.
"Drusilla, you can let go of her now." He was getting lonely being the odd man out at the girl party. She sighed but picked up Willow and laid her down on the bed. Smoothing out the girl's red hair and then her dress, she didn't noticed Angelus getting pissed. "What did you do?"
She spun around letting her dress flare around her ankles. She put a hand on his side and soon was clinging to him. Drusilla licked his neck before whispering, "Give our Vicious Darling a kiss." He shook Drusilla off and leaned over Willow who looked unconscious. He was going to beat the hell out of Dru later.
"Jesus, Drusilla, what…-," he asked before Willow opened her eyes and put her hand on his cheek. Her other hand moved to his neck and she sat up. Angelus was going to articulate his displeasure to Dru, but then Willow was kissing him. A lick a crossed his bottom lip opened his mouth and soon her tongue was massaging his. She was drawing him onto her before arching her back and wrapping a leg around his back. Deep into the kiss, his free hand caressed up her side. She was nibbling on his neck. That woke him up. She wasn't breath or pant or gasp from the lack of oxygen. She was under thrall and it messed with her breathing. Willow was going to be unconscious in a second if she didn't get any air.
Angelus pushed her down with one hand and backhanded her with the other. Willow took a deep breath and coughed. Angelus looked over to Dru who was smiling. His pet was shaking as he got up. He would send Franz in to take care of her.
"So, Dru, do you like her?" He asked, lips thin in a snarl, as he grabbed her arm and pushed her towards the door. She fucked up his progress in albeit an admittedly pleasant manner. Willow was supposed to succumb to his charm and sex appeal.
"Oh, yes, she is a treat," Drusilla said before walking out of the room. He followed, slamming the door behind him. His mind was spinning with how to deal with her without wrecking the delicate familial balance. His princess's punishment was more important than his trembling pet.
Chapter Eight: Reunion
Willow shook, lying on the bathroom rug waiting for the nausea to stop. Horrible, spine arching sobs were struggling for voice, but she wouldn't give in. Her stomach clenched at the memory of the pain she'd experienced when her mind had been breeched and she'd felt the vulnerability of not being in control of her own body. There was no where to hide if he could just order Drusilla to violate her mind. Willow thought she might be sick again. Why couldn't Buffy be saving her now?
There was a knock on the door and she knew it was Franz. She couldn't throw up anymore because he'd know-- and then Angelus would know. She was trapped and everything was exposed, and no 'Risk' strategy could change that. She felt like crying again.
"Miss Rosenberg?" He asked, crisp and brisk.
She opened her mouth to speak, but it was dry, so she stumbled to her feet, holding on to the sink for support. Turning on the water, she rinsed her mouth out. Willow managed a shuttering 'just a second,' before splashing water on her face. She looked like a nightmare with her hair matted and wild, eyes red. She grabbed mouthwash and gargled while running a brush though her hair. It was a doomed exercise, but Willow tried to look presentable. Pinching her cheeks as she walked over to the door, she took a deep breath before opening it.
"Hi," she said, wrapping her arms around herself. He sat in the chair across from the bed with a serious expression on his face.
"I've been informed you've suffered a traumatic experience," he said. Willow nodded. "Would you care to speak of it?" She shook her head. "Not even to ask a question?"
"Bastard," she said without venom. She was too easy to read.
"I've been told. Sit, you look faint." He gestured to the high back chair with one hand and held a glass of water with the other.
She obeyed and sat, curled up in the chair, facing him "Has she ever been in your mind?"
"She's tried, but I rendered her unconscious," Franz said, handing her the glass.
Willow nodded, taking a sip before setting it on the table. "I have girly arms. I couldn't do that." She didn't want to look at Franz. She wanted to keep all the emotions she couldn't get off her face secret. "Did it hurt you when she broke into your mind? Because it hurt. A lot. It didn't stop until she did. I could feel fingers poking at my brain forcing my movements. I couldn't even fight it." Willow sighed and laid down on the bed moving her hand over her eyes. She wanted to confess it all but Franz was one of them. Tears were forming again. "I'm sorry, Franz, but could I be alone? I really want to sleep."
"As you wish, Miss Rosenberg, do feel better."
She didn't watch him leave, but when the door clicked shut she stood and walked to the wardrobe. She didn't want to leave signs she was upset. After pulling out a nightgown she shed her dress and put on the nightie. She put the dirty laundry in the hamper, then moved to the bed and slid between the covers, curling up and wishing for her mother. She cried until she fell asleep.
"Where is she?" Buffy asked after staking Angelus' minion.
He leaned against a mausoleum, smirking like an angry slayer was funny. He wouldn't think she was funny if he knew what she was thinking. She had gone on a rampage through Sunnydale's demons trying to vent her frustration at not being able to find his new haunt. Willy was still nursing a black eye and fat lip after he was unable to give her an answer.
"Don't worry, Buff, your gal pal's fine. Drusilla's taking good care of her."
"Oh, gee, I wonder why that doesn't reassure me?" Buffy snapped. "Could it be 'cause Drusilla's a psycho?"
She stalked up to him with her stake at the ready. "Yeah, and I got a new one for you-- dust."
"Lover, are you calling me out?" Angelus asked his smirk replaced by a wide grin.
She threw a punch to his gut in reply and used the hand holding the stake to jab his kidneys.
His fist pounded her temple.
Her eyes unfocused before she spun and kicked him against the tomb. Buffy needed breathing room, so she did a back flip just missing her ex. She had to be careful, there were small tombstones underfoot and she couldn't afford to trip.
Angelus kicked her thigh.
she fell on her palms. The stake had left a painful splinter and she winced. Panting, she stared up at him through her lashes before launching her feet into his chest. She landed astride him and pressed her stake to his heart.
"Where is she?" Buffy asked.
They were still. Buffy watched him as his smirk started to fade and his eyes glanced west.
"You won't find her. I'm starting to take a liking to the girl," he leered. Angelus bucked up and she was knocked over his head. He stood and laughed."She's a treat when she's naked and bleeding."
She closed her eyes and when they opened again, full of tears, he was gone. Was she too late? Was her best friend dead? Buffy jerked to her feet and ran towards the school. Giles was still there writing a report for the council and thinking up a story to explain the disappearance.
She hoped no one else would be there. Xander would go crazy and do something stupid again like go to the factory. That's how they found out it was abandoned. He was going to set it on fire. Snyder's car was still there when she loped into the parking lot, so she had to go slow in the building. It was torture to pad down the hallway when she needed to be at the library now. Finally, she slipped in the doors and found Giles. Buffy didn't waste time, she jumped into her story. Reaching Angelus' parting shot, she paused.
"He said the next time we saw Willow, she would be a vampire."
The minions stood at attention, their true faces showing as Penn walked into the room. He was surprised to see so many; his sire used to view them as an inconvenience. Franz stood at the entrance waiting to greet him and lead him to Angelus. He nodded, his face blank, but he felt anxious. They walked up the curved staircases with the thump of the minions footsteps as accompaniment. There was going to be a feast tonight with a scared family as dessert. Franz opened the door that separated Angelus from the horde below. The upstairs was decorated in shades of beige with Spanish ironwork everywhere, giving it a decadent, genteel air. The purpose of the drama was to impress, and it succeeded. Penn had walked in with a duffel bag over his shoulder and found that little had changed; his sire still drowned in style.
Franz opened another door, from which family bonds radiated. Penn sniffed the air and detected that his sire's blood had been shared; it made his mouth water. The door closed behind him as he knelt in front of his sire.
"Penn, no kiss?" Angelus asked with the same old smirk. He stood languidly and motioned for his long lost childe to rise. "Me boy, how've you been?" He murmured thickly before Penn was in his arms.
Their kisses were brutal in their intensity, and their demon visages brought forth. Penn's duffel bag was thrown aside as were the remains of his shirt as Angelus continued his assault. Beloved hands caressed his torso exploring the chilled flesh, invoking cries of lust. He had dreamed of this meeting with his Sire for over a century. The reality was better; all he could do was moan was 'sire, sire, sire'. The pleasure was too much. When the backs of his knees hit the bed, he went down and his legs were spread.
"It's been too long, boy." Angelus' eyes were black with desire and his hands were blurs removing garments. Penn felt a surge of pride and a surge of blood, turning his member to rock. His sire was a marble god between his legs; broad shoulders, firm muscles, and the face of an angel. He must have said some of that out loud because Angelus paused. "You've read Spike's poetry?"
He wanted to respond, but a skilled hand reached down and began a mind blowing rhythm.
Penn was alone when he awoke. The antique clock on the mahogany nightstand said that it had only been two hours since he'd arrived. He passed out after the last orgasm. He got out of bed and walked to the bathroom to gently sponge clean, while keeping his sire's scent on him. Penn dressed quickly, determined to find Angelus. Opening the bedroom door, he faced Spike who smelled of whiskey and had a snarl on his face.
"Where's Drusilla?" he asked, puzzled by the breech in tradition which held that his sister would bring her childe to greet him. "Or Angelus?"
"With his new pet, so here I am. I see the welcome wagon pulled in and you put out."
"Are you drunk?"
"a bit, yes."
"What do you want?"
Spike staggered as he walked down the hall with a motion to follow, "Got claimed again, yeah?" Penn grabbed his unblemished neck in reflex. "Thought not. So, you know about the succession, right?"
"I'm heir," Penn said, confused.
Spike whirled around, leaning on the wall for balance. He chuckled. "And you're not staying in his bed?"
"Ought to be on Jeopardy, mate. Listen, I'm not gonna be real subtle. He bumped Dru up to tie her to 'm more. He made her heir. Now, he's got that pet she can't shut up about."
"Liar. Drusilla's insane, why would he choose a madwoman over his first?"
"You know he's still got his knickers in a twist over that thing in '61." Penn opened his mouth to deny it, but Angelus, Drusilla, and Franz walked into the hallway.
"Have the boys been playing behind mummy's back?" Drusilla asked, twirling towards them. "My happy family is almost complete; soon we'll have our brother and a new sister!" She balanced on tip-toe and kissed them both before gliding forward.
"Come on boys, the entrées may have heart attacks before we get there," Angelus said, walking between them to put an arm around Drusilla. He was grinning and relaxed.
"And will Miss Rosenberg be secure?"
"Don't worry, Franz, Dru hasn't failed me yet,." he said, looking fondly down at her. Penn felt a chill settle in his stomach as his eyes focused on his sire.
He and Spike were behind their sires and in front of Franz as he leaned over and wrapped an arm around Spike's shoulders. Penn was smiling, belying his words, "We'll talk more later." They looked toward their sires. "Later."
Chapter Nine: Storyteller
It had been a hectic eight hours since Penn's arrival, and Angelus needed to relax. Willow's steady heartbeat and breathing were calming for him to sketch by, as he committed to paper the way she had looked the day she met Drusilla. Her eyes had been enormous and her face filled with terror as she'd laid shaking on the bed. It was a good drawing to leave at the library to illustrate for her friends how things were going for her.
Willow was peaceful now, escaping him in sleep. He'd questioned Franz, and had been told that she never seemed to have nightmares. That upset him; he should be the star of her nightmares, but she awoke with smiles. He wanted to see that change. He wanted to see her in hysterics. But she kept defying him. She didn't even make a fuss when Drusilla had tapped into her mind again. He'd even made Franz wake her up first.
Angelus was conflicted about Willow. The urge to rip her psyche apart and keep another monument to his malice was strong, but he also wanted a sane childe. He wasn't conflicted about wanting her--what form she should take was what was eluding him.
There was something about tonight that made him feel nostalgic. The sketch was almost done, it just needed slight shading around her eyes to convey fear. Willow shifted and her heartbeat increased, so he put aside the picture; she was going to wake up. Angelus was lounging in a chair he had moved so the first thing she would see was him. He matched the blue room in his navy wife beater and cream linen slacks. Her green eyes were opening, and, indeed, she was wearing a small, gentle smile. Then, she saw him and sat up abruptly, scooting back, pressing herself against the headboard. She was watching him with silent wariness, as the pulse in her neck jumped, and there was a visible tremble to her hands.
"Franz tells me you like a good story," Angelus drawled. Without warning, he moved with preternatural swiftness to the other side of the bed. The fear on her face was worth it, when he stopped, and was sitting right next to her. He grabbed her arm, and pulled her wiggling body onto his lap. She struggled, jabbing him in the stomach and collarbone. She was no match for him, and soon gave up her pathetic efforts. Pressing a large hand over her right breast and clutching her left hip, he held her arms in a vice grip. Ever since he had come back without a soul dragging on him, it felt like he was rushing to prove something to himself, to his childer. Willow's heartbeat fluttering with fear made everything feel simpler.
Continuing with a smile and chuckle, he said, "Well, Darling, you're in luck. I fancy myself a storyteller."
"This tale takes place in the winter of 1863; it was the season that my sire pronounced Drusilla ready for society. Well, as ready as she'd ever be…"
Vienna was a glittering snowy, jewel that winter, with every indication that nature would allow the season's holidays to be enjoyed to the fullest. Darla was most pleased with the newest fashion invention; the lightweight crinoline. Angelus' obsession with Drusilla had waned enough that he could bear to have her unchained and out of his bed.
Through pure feminine wiles, Darla had wrangled them an invitation to some Archduke or another's first night of Christmas party. No detail in clothing or manner was too small, as Darla had wanted a new city to conquer, because it would be twenty years or so before they could go back to England.
Angelus soon lost Darla in the crowd, but had Drusilla by the arm and was soon dancing with and delighting his young childe. She was keeping quiet, but a stray comment about frog's legs and shining knights caught the ear of a nosy meddler, and it wasn't until later that it was passed on through the party to Darla. The excitement from the wine and dancing was turning Drusilla's head, and her babbling was bordering on embarrassing. So, 'twas a simple thing to take her by the elbow and lead her to another parlor, and then into the deserted conservatory. But there was a factor that he hadn't counted on; a ghost. The damn things were known to cling to vampires out of spite and malice. Drusilla was, of course, charmed. The knocking started first; on the windows, then the furniture, and finally, it threw a flowerpot at Angelus' head.
"Lilies in the air…my Angel knows how to treat his princess. What a party!" Drusilla twisted in his grasp, giggling and swaying, letting her fingers brush the white petals that flew past her. "Blood of Begonias, perfumes of poppies, and the decay of death in both spirit and flesh." She moaned, turning around and scratching at her arms. "I want you now."
Unfortunately for Angelus, that wasn't to be; the commotion caused by the ghost had attracted a herd of people. Darla managed to beat the crowd of food to the room, and snapped irritably, "God, can't we shut that girl up? And, dear boy, calm down." Flicking her eyes left and right, watching the destruction the ghost was creating, she stepped out of the way of a wicker chair leg and shook the dirt from her skirt. The sound of the party moving toward the racket of the conservatory made Darla sigh, and then slipping into her demon visage, hiss at Drusilla. Who, luckily, began to cower and cry as the Archduke walked in and gasped in amazement; all of his exotic, prize winning flowers were moving through the air, sprinkling dirt everywhere. Then his expression turned to one of fear when the windows started to break.
Drusilla started to shriek most improperly, so Darla took her by the hand, leading her outside, saying something about "fainting" and "night air," for appearances. Angelus watched them go and smiled.
Soon, he politely made his excuses, gave his perfectly preformed bewildered questions about the ghostly spectacle, and followed the ladies. When he reached the patio, he watched Darla whisper something to Drusilla before suddenly punching her in the temple. Enraged, he caught the younger girl as she fell, and went into his demon visage, growling.
"Do you want to enjoy the fruits of this city?" Darla demanded. "If so, then call for a valet and have her taken home. She did well enough, but if you want to drain plump Austrians in style and comfort, you'll keep your peace." Her fine, classical features took on a cold slant and she looked imperious standing there in her green velvet gown. Her wide skirt and tight bodice made her seem a fortress. He knew that argument was futile and nodded his consent. "That's my boy. Let me make it up to you."
"…So, my sire made good on her word," Angelus told Willow, "and the slums of Vienna lost some unfortunates that night after we made an early exit."
He sighed, his grin wistful, as he remembered the game they had played trying to figure out what language their victims were screaming in. The gypsies were the best; cursing, yelling, and praying in so many varied and interesting ways. He closed his eyes in contentment, sniffing the air; Willow was frightened and shaking. There was a crack in her armor. Now was the time to push buttons.
She was warm under his hands, her heart beating wildly under her breast, which was a perfect fit for his hand, and her hip was a lovely curve. He increased the pressure of his fingers and started to kiss her neck. She was crying. It was all so delicious. The promise he'd made not to rape or coerce her was going to be difficult for to keep. Especially when her tears slowed and he could see her challenging and tempting 'resolve' face shining under her tears.
"You know what Angel thought of you? He thought how very innocent you were; how trusting and sweet. He also thought, deep down, at night, tormenting himself, of what a good little whore you would make. It was really because of him I ever even noticed you. He thought you were cute and I thought you would be a fun project. I didn't even have to provide fantasies. That darkness inside of himself, that he tried not to wish he could tap and make grow, fostered lots of wicked Willow fantasies. How many times he-"
"Stop! I don't want to hear this. I don't have to hear this," Willow said, her lower lip trembling and her eyes closed, struggling not to break down. He caressed her hip gently, squeezing her breast roughly, and rotated his hips against her faster than he had during his story.
"What? It's just a little story. Come on, Willow, is it only story time fun hour when Franz is here? Because that hurts. In fact, I'm insulted." Laughing, he pushed her away and, after getting out of bed, blew her misery crumpled face a kiss. "Oh, come on, don't be like that. You enjoyed it."
It was quiet in the library; Giles' hushed voice was the only sound. Leather-bound tomes were laying open on the table where Buffy and Xander sat. They were pale and their expressions only continued to grow more and more distraught as Giles read aloud from a dusty volume.
"I have tried to initiate contact with the girl seer," Giles read, "but was thwarted by the presence of the infamous vampire, Darla, and her Irish spawn, Angelus. The demons have just killed a Catholic priest and left the body in the girl's neighborhood." The Watcher paused. "This is the first record of Angel's soon to be legendary obsessions. The turning of Penn has, ah, no description. But I think that the similarities between his 'courtship' of Drusilla, and his recent actions toward Buffy are striking. There is a method to his madness."
"That isn't comforting. He drove Drusilla crazy," Xander said, his voice muffled by the table his forehead was pressed against. "Can't we just go in Rambo style, snatch Willow and run? What about grenades?"
Giles sighed. "Xander, look at the obituaries. His forces are growing. We can't take two master vampires and a horde of minions."
The young man pushed himself up and got out of the chair. "So, we let Willow get tortured and killed." He paused, his face twisting into a grimace. "As fun as this has been, I have math class to ditch." Xander grabbed his bag and walked out, leaving the others to watch the swinging doors in his wake.
"That was not-" Giles started.
"No, it was fair. They are like family to each other. It's been seven days and she is still there," Buffy said, looking sad and distant. "Could we use grenades? That Army base is still built like a Jenga tower."
"No, I don't think so."
She looked down and twisted a chunky ring on the finger that had so recently been graced by the one that Angel had given her. Her voice was strong but she kept her head down when she spoke. "Give it to me straight. What are the chances that she is still alive?"
Giles closed the book and picked up a new diary to study. "Well, Angel's habit of mentally breaking down his victims works in our favor. Time wise, that is. If he were going to kill her purely to hurt you, he probably would have already done it. His comment about turning her seems to be our best indication that she's still alive. He did turn Drusilla's sister and had her kill another sister. But we don't know." Putting down the diary, he took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "We don't know."
He pulled out a chair across from Buffy and sat down. "When will Willow's parents be back?"
"My mom talked to them and they are coming back in three days."
Giles swore, and then apologized before he said, "Well, that is bloody lovely of them. When most missing children end up dead in the first two days, they need a week to get back from Dallas. No matter; that works for us, as well. We have time to think up a story." He rested his chin on his knuckles and his elbows on the table.
"All these things that 'work in our favor' really seem to suck for Willow," Buffy said, her voice hoarse and her eyes wide and watery. Her strength had given way. She still didn't lift her head. "I have to go."
Giles didn't watch her leave; instead, he looked down at a book laying open with Angel's smiling picture on one of its pages.
Chapter Ten: Apple Pie
The lost son arrives and the fatted calf is brought forth, Sam Lawson thought, but not until the lost son humbles himself. He could smell the blood that called to his own, it screamed family and power. It made his skin crawl. Under the layers of his dark clothes, he felt cold. He slammed his car door shut. Walking up the mansion's sidewalk, he looked at the house with a grin. Trust dear old Dad to live in a house that might as well be a giant phallus for all the size and jutting turrets. Lawson hadn't checked on Angel in two years. He had been busy in Toronto. Canadians scream differently from everyone else in the western hemisphere, he'd been conducting a little study on it. The message that Hyde was out of Mr. Jekyll was a shock. He had known that there was a time when his Sire was an even bigger asshole but to learn that he was back to bad, well, that was a different thing all together. Lawson might mock his Sire in his head but he knew what the bastard could do. The only thing the soul did was make Angel pull most of his punches. He had smelled more of his sire's spawn. There was no doubt that this was going to be a hell of lot more interesting than Toronto. Canucks be damned.
A minion opened the door as he reached the door. Lawson walked into the mansion and almost laughed. The place looked like a mix between a Cher video and Mexican brothel in the old west. Huge candles that reached his waist were placed along the adobe looking walls and a black iron chandelier hung from the reddish ceiling. It looked like a small ballroom. The door minion gestured to the curved stairs where a bland, sandy haired man stood near a elaborately carved teak door. As Lawson got closer he noticed what was carved on the door. It looked like Michelangelo's David but David's hands had been cut off.
"Good evening, I am Franz Pieterzoon. I am in the service of Angelus, sired by Darla, of the Order of Aurelius. A feast of young Mormon missionaries and an Asian accountant will be followed by a dessert of illegal Mexican nationals. If you will be persuaded to follow me then I shall take you to your Sire. I believe he is resting with his childe-heir and his human pet."
"Yummy. Let's go." Lawson followed Pieterzoon through the doorway and into a lush looking hall. He had been wrong if he thought that the upstairs would be classier. The down stairs looked like dusty roadhouse compared to the decadence of the upstairs. Decorative iron work was swirling everywhere. The upstairs looked a whorehouse that the old Spanish Viceroy would have visited. The only thing that Angel's mansion was missing was an old Mexican guitar player with a cigar on his lip. "Who else is here?"
"Penn Bracklow, first childe of Angelus and William Lely also known as The Bloody and recently as Spike, he is the childe of Drusilla, who is as you may have guessed, the Childe-Heir." Pieterzoon gestured with a flat hand. Lawson saw two fair-haired, one unnaturally so, men walking down the hall. He figured that they were Penn and Spike. He recognized Spike. Last time he had seen him it had looked like he had blackened his hair with shoe polish. The platinum Marilyn Monroe hair and the crinkly leather jacket was much more flattering than the black hair and Nazi uniform. Smiling good-naturally, he walked forward to greet them. He had been wondering when the whores were going to show up.
"Hello. I'm Sam Lawson," He said sticking his hand out. Penn shook it but Spike just raised an eyebrow. "I guess this is a family reunion. Though, I've only met Spike and Angel so its more of family introduction." Lawson put on his sweetest, Mama-loving, American GI act.
"Right," Spike said with a sneer and a head tilt. Penn grinned and punched Spike lightly on the shoulder. "Oi! What? Franz, what does Apple Pie got to do now that 'e's here?"
"My instructions were to take him immediately to Angelus and introduce him to Drusilla."
Penn's eyes narrowed and his mouth tightened for a moment but he said, "Well, then Spike we had better check on the food."
"See how that Asian is stewing," Spike said as they walked passed Lawson and Pieterzoon.
Interesting. Lawson didn't know what to make of his 'brothers' but it was high time he did. He knew that Penn was the oldest Childe while Drusilla was the heir. There were many questions that he had but as he was in this bordello of Angel's; answers would have to come by subtle means. Any vampire with a nose could smell the musk of Angel's sex on them and any vampire of Angel's blood could smell the lack of claiming. There was something rotten in Denmark and Papa was at the center of it. Lawson had studied the Order of Aurelius and Angel along with whoever he had sired. The Order had a fierce and noble reputation in the demon world but its notables had faded and its leader had been killed. It was a tough old dog alright but the old dog was losing teeth. Angel had much to lose in this dangerous game to bring back and control the Order. Smiling, Lawson gestured to Pieterzoon to continue on his way. Oh, yeah, the Canucks could wait.
As Lawson walked up to the open door, feeling the electric tingles and smelling the scent of family radiating from it, he heard a small girlish voice whisper about dragonflies and bumblebees. He felt his sire as if a hot, damp cloth was wrapped around him. The presence of the heir was like splotches of fire on his skin. The sleeping human in the room didn't register more than a passing thought in the presence of such power and family. He stood in the doorway and made eye contact with Angel.
Angel was sitting in a high backed wooden chair with Drusilla bundled up on his lap. He had never seen his sister before. Her face was obscured behind a tangle of shiny, black curls as her face was turned toward Angel's. The red gown she wore was sheer about her legs but grew opaque at mid thigh. Her shoulders were pale and her collarbones stuck out. She was insane heroin chic personified. Angel was studying him, ignoring the little caresses of the childe-heir, with a expression more suited for a marble statue. Lawson slowly knelt, bowing his head, waiting for his sire to speak. He watched him through his eyelashes and dark fringe. Submission was a jacket he threw on and off.
"Sam Lawson; sired while the soul was inhabiting the body, leader of the massacre of the Akakios Coven, and current tormentor of Canada. Who are you? What should I do with you? Kill you outright for bringing up memories better left forgotten?" Angel looked pensive and pursed his lips. "Sam Lawson, Sam, Lawson, Sammy Sam Sam, Sonny, Laaaawson…" He said as if savoring and tasting the name. "You're not who I would have chosen. I like my boys blond and shy, almost damsel-ish. You, on the other hand, were an upstanding GI with Mom in your heart and America the beautiful on your mind. You lead and commanded, were strong and competent, and altogether too earnest and confident. I like 'em weak in the knees and ready to faint. Though you've done good. Killing, pillaging, and wreaking havoc and the such, just like if I taught you at my knee. Well, guess that means you're in. Get up and met your family."
"Thank you," Lawson murmured as he stood. So, Angel was playing the eccentric, he could deal with that.
"I heard you meet Penn and Spike. Spike's a little obnoxious, piss-ant isn't he?" Angel stood abruptly without waiting for Lawson to answer. Drusilla clung to him until she gained her footing. Lawson waited for her to throw an angry word or glance their Sire's way but her eyes remained glossy and empty. He shied away from full eye contact from her but there was something in her expression that warned him that she might not be the insane, dimwit that the rumors spoke of. "Now, Sammy, we have a feast waiting for us."
Lawson smiled and nodded, letting Angel and Drusilla go through the door first. His eyes dulled once he was behind them. He hated the name Sammy. Brightening as he followed them, he wondered about Drusilla's black eyes when she turned her head and looked at him. Invitation flashed in them. He winked at her.
"Sammy, I don't know how you feel about Mormons but I find that the lack of caffeine in the blood makes it a mellow vintage," Angel boomed as he strode forward.
"Oysters and eels makes the clown fish weary but snakes and turtles makes high tea an event. My Daddy puts on such good socials!" Drusilla cooed, running a long finger down their Sire's neck. As they waited for Pieterzoon to open the door, Angel nibbled on Drusilla's fingers.
"I'm glad my girl approves."
Lawson didn't miss the true affection between them. It seemed as if Angel understood the mad woman's words. They soon followed Pieterzoon down the stairs where a long, wooden table had been set up. Two young dark haired, naked men were tied up and left unconscious in the middle of the table. Lawson's smiled turned real for a second. It was good to know that his Sire wasn't as tacky and stupid as he had imagined. Some vampires thought it was the height of class and horror to have their victims conscious for meals at home. Humans run, scream and soil themselves when they are frightened and unless one is hunting or having some fun there is no reason to stand the caterwauling and drama. Besides the scent of terrified prey only brings out the hunter in a demon so business will always end in bloodshed of the dinner as well as the dinner guests. Lawson was relieved for a multitude of reasons. He was confident that he would survive the night.
Spike and Penn were sitting on one side of the table where they were a study in contrasts. Penn was straight backed with his hands flat on his thighs while Spike had his dirty boots slung over on the table and one hand behind his head as the other scratched his crotch. The cigarette on his lip seemed more like a prop than a real mode of addiction. Lawson noticed that Penn's eyes glimmered amber as he stood to greet their Sire. Spike was slower to rise, his face was devoid of expression except for a cocky smirk. Spike was the one to watch, Lawson decided. For all his youth, he was able to hide his feelings much more successfully than Penn. It was no wonder that Angel choose the seductive and mysterious Drusilla over the simple, Sire-struck Penn. Angel and Drusilla stopped at the end of the table. He motioned for Lawson to take his right. Nodding, he gestured for the other men to relax. Confusion grew in the back of Lawson's mind; this couldn't be right. It was subtle but any Master Vampire worth his salt could see the tension coming from Spike and Penn. The two were separate spheres of disquiet and rebellion. Lawson watched Angel look around the table and noted the flick of his eyes when they landed on his other childer. His eyes warmed on Drusilla who smiled prettily, cooled on Penn who seemed to jump to attention, and them grew contemptuous on Spike. There wasn't much of a reaction from Spike. Angel seemed satisfied by the status quo. Lawson kept his polite smile on but his mind was busily connecting the dots.
"We'll talk shop once we've gone through the first course," Angel said with smirk moving over to the first human. Grabbing him by the back of the neck, he motioned for Drusilla to do the same with the other one. Drusilla rose like a cobra from her seat as if Angel was her snake charmer. "Spike, go to your Sire. Penn, take the left wrist. Sammy, time for family bonding." Like veteran dancers they took their places. Angel sunk his fangs deep into an artery watching his childer; Drusilla giggled before following suit. Penn seemed to drool from lust at the sight of Angelus feeding. Lawson wanted to deck the prick for being a dumb ass, all that power and age in an imbecile. Spike kissed Drusilla's wrist before he bit viciously into her human's. Lawson dipped his head and slipped his fangs through the meaty wrist; he drank deep. Family politics and family blood were both heady and dangerous; Lawson didn't know how he should proceed. His path was full of stones and seemed to lead to hell.
Sam Lawson had his last great shock the night he had died when he found out that nightmarish monsters were real. Watching Angel's satisfaction as he viewed his clan fit the pieces together in Lawson's head. Angel had planned it all this way; he bound all of them with the darkest of emotions. Even Lawson wasn't immune. He almost dropped the bleeding wrist from shock.
Chapter Eleven: Boats and Birds
The air conditioner was down in the library. Giles's small, pitiful fan did nothing to ease the greenhouse conditions of the library. Taking his glasses off, Giles walked over to the large library table and sat next to the oscillating fan. He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief. Buffy and Xander's presence weren't helping the atmospheric conditions, their faces were drawn and tension radiated from them. Giles knew they were seconds from another outburst, he didn't know if he would be any more successful in calming them down as he was last time. An encyclopedia of nefarious vampires was molding and reeking of dust in front of him but he couldn't concentrate on its onion skin pages. He doubted that Buffy and Xander were able to concentrate either, but that was the case usually. Willow had been much more of a researching helpmate to him. She had always been so eager and cheerful, if at times a tad irritating in her enthusiasm. Giles looked over at Xander and knew that he would be the first one to break his silence. The youth's brown eyes were narrow and his mouth twisted as he looked over at Buffy. As if realizing that their were eyes upon her, Buffy lifted her eyes from her 18th century pamphlet.
"Did you find anything?" Giles asked softly, trying to halt the confrontation that he could feel starting to bloom. "Any insights or weakness?"
"Of course she didn't. No one has found anything. This isn't helping Willow at all. What are we going to do, scare Angel with woodcuts?" Xander said in a harsh tone.
"Damn it, Xand--" Giles said, raising the fist that held his glasses and pointing it at Xander. Buffy interrupted him.
"Yeah, because your plan is like Waterloo. Willow's going to be so grateful when Angel kills you. Anything we do could end in ours or Willow's death! We've got to be smart about this."
"How do we know that your beau hasn"t already kil-- hurt her yet? What if she isn't Willow anymore? We have to get her soon or we never will!" Xander said, pushing his occult volume towards Buffy.
Buffy shook her head at him. "How do we do that, Xander? How do you propose we go into a mansion crawling with vampires and come out alive?"
"You're suppose to be a superhero! You're the Slayer! The one girl, the chosen one, in all the world with the strength and skill to kill vampires." Xander ended his sentence quietly. Giles wished he would have yelled as it would have been easier to Buffy. She could just write off his remarks as frustration and fear over Willow's disappearance. The disappointment in his face was visible as he looked at Buffy as if seeing her for the first time. Grabbing his bag, Xander threw it fast onto his back before stalking out of the library.
"Damned hothead," Giles mumbled for Buffy's benefit. The watcher knew the truth as well as the unfairness in the youth's words. Harsh, Xander had been, but everyone was feeling the same. It was none of their fault while at the same it was all of their fault. If Xander had been here, or Buffy there, or Willow more cautious, or Giles been watching. It was his calling and profession, but when the time had come for clear vision, he had been blind.
Buffy's forehead wrinkled and her lips quivered as she reached a hand up to cover her eyes. Leaning back in her chair, she hung her head, while Giles watched, grieved, as the tears fell. Her hiccupping, tiny sobs shook her little body and Giles felt helpless. Comforting had never been his skill; his slayer would have none of it anyway.
"Why does he always have to be so right? I mean, he still has Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sheets and has been in Geometry for two years. I'm the Slayer. I'm the Slayer." Buffy's tear-coated and hoarse words broke off into a whisper as she closed her eyes. The mascara was pooling under her eyes and her mouth gaped open for harsh breaths as she tried to control herself.
"But you"re still human."
Angelus flipped on his coat as he watched his non-reflection in the mirror. Spike was reclining on the bed and Angelus could feel both him and his eyes even though they were missing from the glass. Tugging on the lapels of his coat and tilting his head back, Angelus smirked to himself. He turned around, holding out his hand, as he walked to the bed.
"Liner," Angelus said. Spike was drawing almost invisible lines under his eyes with a concentration that Angelus had seen him devote in only one other activity; fucking Drusilla. Rolling his eyes with a frown, Spike quickly finished his eye before tossing the pencil to his grandsire. Angelus carefully ran the pencil along his under eyelids. "Is it smudged?"
"Nah," Spike said around the cigarette in his mouth. "Big date?"
"Just some passing fluff with the Slayer."
Spike leapt up off the bed and patted Angelus on the shoulder as he exited the room. "Have fun sketching, then. Hope your hand doesn't get tired from gripping your pen."
Angelus rolled his eyes at Spike's remark. No matter how much culture he threw at the boy all he would ever get would be bourgeois middle class attitudes. Tonight was special so much so that he didn't have the time or the desire to punish Spike as he warranted. Willow's parents were coming to town and Buffy was going to have to talk to them. Angelus had to eavesdrop on a thirty minute Buffy crying jag outside of the Bronze, but the information was worth it. How deliciously awkward and horrible would it be for Buffy to explain. Not forgetting what the mysterious Rosenbergs would do or say once they realized that their neglected daughter had been missing and they ignored it. Angelus smirked as he picked up a pencil case and a small notepad. As a child psychologist and writer of how-tos for parenting, Mrs. Rosenberg would have the better grip on the situation and how small the chances would be for Willow to come back alive even if she hadn't been kidnapped by a vampire. She would be the one he would sketch.
The restless, silence of the house was invaded by a melancholy, eerie song that drifted to Angelus's ear. He smiled. Creaking under his foot, the floorboards seemed to vibrate with the music. It was Drusilla. Her voice and eyes were her weapons. He had seen her seduce and then command a mob to rip themselves apart. Soon after that incident, Darla had introduced Drusilla to the Master. For all her occasional harpings, Darla did admit that he could choose and raise good childer. Penn was a financial genius that cultivated the family fortunes even as he lived like a puritan. Mad, beautiful Drusilla, whose gifts never ceased to amaze and tantalize him. Even if Spike wasn't of his direct blood, he was still trained at his knee. The Slayer of Slayers owed his success to the Scourge of Europe. Willow would be a good addition to the collection with her keen intelligence and budding magical ability. The tone of the song turned cruel and he felt Willow's heart beginning to speed as if they were breast to breast. Hmmm, what were his girls up to?
Angelus stalked out of the room and down the hall. Peeking into Willow's room, he put his finger to his lips when Drusilla looked up wide-eyed at him. She looked down before staring up at him through her eyelashes. Snarling playfully, she caressed Willow's shaking hand. Angelus grinned at his princess before turning away. He reminded himself to tell Franz to make sure that Drusilla played nice with his pet.
Penn was walking past him and opening his mouth to say something, but Angelus just patted him on the shoulder and kept moving. He had places to be and weeping women to draw.
Penn watched his Sire go. There was no one in the hallway so he let his bitterness and anger show on his face. He had seen Angelus outside his new bitch's room, so he had time for the pet, but not his childe. He was set aside every time. For Drusilla, for Spike, for any random obsession of Angelus's that came along. As he tried to clear his face of his dark emotions, Penn turned around and walked to Spike, who he sensed was in his Sire's room. Try as he could, Penn knew that he had an edge in his eyes that he couldn't brush back. Looking down at Spike who was sprawled on the bed, he thought he could see that edge mirrored in the other man's kohl-lined eyes.
"I'm going out. Want to join me?" Penn asked. His glasses were sliding down his nose before he pushed them up. Spike watched the motion with hooded eyes. He didn't need them, but when he felt as though he was going to head out on a bender, he always wore his specs. Spike nodded and sat up before standing. Passing Penn, he clapped a hand on his shoulder and walked out of the room. Penn followed.
"The police don't have any leads..." Mrs. Rosenberg murmured as her hands gripped the warm cup of hot chocolate that Buffy's mother had supplied. "I read the file. They think that someone abducted her but they don't have any real clues."
Buffy hugged herself and leaned back into the couch. Giles and her mother were beside her, watching Mrs. Rosenberg have a mini-meltdown. All Buffy could think of was that it was her fault and tried not to think of that because if self-loathing could defeat Angel, then he'd be beyond dust by now. Self-loathing wasn't going to bring back Willow and it certainly wouldn't stop Willow's mom from looking like she was drowning.
"I can't believe it. She was always so careful even as a little girl. It never even seemed like she was a little girl sometimes. Ira and I worried about that. We thought that she was stuck in the Anal state of development. Not that Freud really... I've written so many books about parenting..." Mrs. Rosenberg looked up from her cup and into Buffy's mother eyes. "You even have one. But I've been a complete putz. I just keep thinking and thinking and thinking and all I can think of is that my daughter never really had a mother. She had crappy therapists for parents. I won awards for my books. I even have a picture of Willow and I together on the back flap of one. How many events have I missed? We've been leaving her alone ever since she was thirteen but, hell, we were hardly there even before that." She looked back down at her cup and nodded to herself, frowning. Buffy thought she looked too much like Willow. "I've been a horrible mother," Mrs. Rosenberg whispered it and raised her hand when Buffy's mother tried to disagree. "I have and it took my daughter being abducted to realize it."
"Mrs. Rosenberg, no doubt that Willow will be found shortly. Your doubts and fears should be put away so you can focus on finding her," Giles said gently, but to Buffy it seemed as if he was talking to her.
"I know all the facts and the statistics about missing children. If we hadn't been so damn wrapped up... If we had come home sooner then we might have been able to do something. You and Joyce have been too kind, but I think the press is right."
"What press?" Buffy asked. She didn't remember seeing anything about Willow on the news but then again she usually was at the library or on patrol when the five and ten o'clock news was on. Looking over at her mother, she asked again.
"It should die down. There's just a lull now that the Simpson trial is over but I'm trying to keep it up. Most of it is bad especially with Ira and I staying in Texas for a week after we found out. I don't even know why we stayed. But it may bring up more clues. I've been working on getting her picture on 'America's Most Wanted' and the 'Today' show. I've been on Today, so I'm hoping they push aside their traveler's tips and winter wear guides for a segment on Willow." Mrs. Rosenberg started to stare off into the window. Her brow furrowed and her frown deepened. "Is that a man outside your window?"
Buffy stood and looked out into the darkened street. She moved the curtains away, peering down the road as far as she could, she saw him. Angel. He held up a paper then he was gone. "No. There isn't anyone there." Buffy said flatly. "Just shadows."
Penn was slammed against the alley wall. He blessed the twentieth century and all its cleanliness. The wall was dry and the alley lacked a single hobo. Grinning, he pushed his glasses up. A red smear graced one of the lens but he didn't mind. Spike was stomping towards him with his smirking mouth rosy with blood. Grabbing Penn by the front of his shirt, he jerked him forward. When their mouths hit, it was like a tornado jagged with fangs and slippery with gore. His tongue swept the back of Spike's teeth before he broke off the contact to pull off the leather jacket. Nipping teeth, insistent hands, and chilled panting breath seemed to be his world as Spike's ardour got the best of him. Penn loved the lack of control, the unpredictability, the hurricane that was Spike. A guy knew where he stood with Spike. The younger vampire had laid out a plan to him, a great plan. He would get what he had always wanted. His zipper was being tugged down and at the hitch in his voice, he got a cocky smirk in return. Those fair features morphed into the dark looks of Angelus in his fantasies.
Angelus. Kneeling. Penn could have came right there but he held himself in check. If he fucked up this time then Angelus would never do this again. He tasted blood when he bit the inside of his cheek as the sight of his Sire, darkhandsomegod Sire, on his knees with Penn's cock at his lips. A large hand gripped the base of his cock and that tongue teased of the tip as if he was worshiping. The dark eyes, glinting and cunning, looked up at him with something like devotion. Penn moaned loudly. He knew that his Sire would never leave him again. There would be no more pretty boys or girls to distract him. When that mouth, so often speaking of the latest obsession, took him fully in, Penn scratched at his cheek to stop himself from shooting off. The blood dripped onto the ground next to his Sire's knee, but Penn could hardly be bothered by it. The pain only added to the sensation of Angelus' tongue on the underside of his cock. He stared into deep brown eyes and saw all the times when him and Angelus had been together.
Bending him over and murmuring in his ear, Angelus' voice enough for Penn to forget all the hurts and humiliations that he suffered. His arms trembled as he held himself up on the desk while Angelus was stretching him out. Pushing back on those long, artist fingers, Penn only wanted his Sire inside him. Around him. Covering him completely. If there was a way that he could have wormed into Angelus, he would have. He was panting and moaning, pushing back as his sire was pushing in. Angelus. Angelus. AngelusAngelusAngelusAngelus. Hard, cold, and pressing against him, slamming in and groaning, Penn was choking back sobs. It was like God reached down and touched him. Only this wasn't the God of his youth. This was a God of the flesh and the blood. This was a God that didn't just reach for him, he grabbed him and gave him the night. This was a God that had him screaming as he came.
That was then and this was now. That God was staring up at him as he sucked him off. Penn came. AngelusAngelusAngelusAngelus. Only Angelus was Spike. Did he say Angelus out loud? If he had, Spike gave no indication.
Penn tucked himself back in before pulling Spike closer. Whispering against the pale throat before him, he said, "When can we start that plan?"
Willow tensed as she saw Drusilla lift her head. The vampiress had gone into some sort of catatonic state that lasted hours. Willow didn't try to move because when she tried the first time Drusilla had broken out of her daze long enough to backhand her. The redhead needed to pee and everything below her belly button seemed asleep. Opening one eye and then the other, the undead brunette stared at the human.
"The tradewinds are confused and all my boats are stuck in the harbor."
Chapter Twelve: Raising Hope, Falling Skies
It was a beige, cozy couch that he was sitting on. Lawson had been relieved when he found the living room for the upstairs. It had all the trademarks of Angelus's bordello of blood but without the feeling that one would come across a few drunken working girls. Sure, Penn and Spike would hang out in there as well but only Spike was ever that drunk. It was morning and he knew he should was resting instead Lawson was feeling antsy. There was more tension in the air. Listening to Spike drunkenly curse, he knew where the ill will was coming from. He had the 'Today' show on. Lawson had always found Ann Curry pretty hot. Then there was the odd sexiness about Katie. Not that he told anyone that he found Katie Couric hot. Leaning back into the couch, he prepared himself to doze off while Al danced around with some of the Rockettes. His eyes were half shut when a familiar face popped onto the screen. Red hair, big green eyes, mousy looks - It was Angelus' pet. He straightened and turned the captions on while muting the sound. Her mother was talking with Katie about the disappearance. Shit. Angelus had to pick a pet whose family had enough celebrity to get a segment on the first hour of the Today show. Turning the channel and restoring the default setting of the television, Lawson frowned. How could he use this information?
Spike's slurred words were getting louder. And a small, terrified voice was answering back. Lawson closed his eyes and shook his head. It was too late for this shit.
Getting up and jogging down the hallway, Lawson was stunned when he saw Spike and the human pet. Spike had the girl's arm in bruising grip and his other hand over her mouth while he mumbled incoherently in British slang. He didn't know if the blonde had a death wish, but there was no doubt that there was a good chance that that wish might be granted. Touching another vampire's pet without permission was an insult and a challenge. Spike hadn't even noticed that Lawson was there. He looked over into the pet's room. The bed linens were scattered as if the other vampire had dragged her from the bed. Quickly looking down at the girl's feet, he noticed bruises blooming on her ankles. There was no way that Spike could spin this as if she was trying to escape. Inside, Lawson smirked. He knew how to use his Today show information.
"Spike, stop," Lawson said in his best Superman impression. "Leave the pet alone."
Spike snarled something British and garbled.
"Hand her to me. Angelus will take your hide for this. Don't make it worse for yourself."
Spike turned, letting go of the human, and lunged for him.
"Run." Lawson said to the girl before grabbing the drunk vampire by the shoulders as he was knocked to the ground. A fast fist was thrown at his face, but he jerked his head to the side letting it graze his head before slamming his forehead into Spike's. He felt Angelus. Even while smelling like he fell into a brewery, fear crept into the blonde's eyes. Lawson let lose a hard left hook into Spike's kidney that hit only leather.
"You stupid fuck," Angelus said low and dark. Spike was yanked up by the back of his neck. Lawson saw the long fingers that gripped it dig in until blood trickled down. He backed away before standing.
"Spikey, what have you done, precious?" Drusilla said. Her voice was sad and quiet. He almost jumped at the sound but he controlled himself to watch Spike's eyes. They were focused on Drusilla with a darkness that he had rarely seen. Looking up at Angelus, he saw that his Sire was fuming and looking down at the captured vampire.
"Franz!" Angelus bellowed. Franz seemed to materialize. "Get the minions out of the basement."
"Sire?" Lawson asked using the meekest voice he could muster. "I saw something on the news about your pet. Her mother was on a morning show."
"Fucker." Angelus shook his head before turning and dragging Spike behind him. "It won't effect us." Lawson watched Spike being dragged away with lowered eyes. He could feel Drusilla's scattered tension so he patted her on the shoulder.
"Come on, let me help you back to your room," Lawson said. "It has been a hard night." Smiling, he held out his hand. He had delivered his information to Angelus ensuring that he was seen as the loyal or at least smart childe and now he had an opportunity to get the good graces of the Childe-Heir. Lawson may have been a good old American boy raised on corn and comics but he knew where to ingrate himself. All the vampires here might be older and from more elegant and educated stock but for most it seemed like they hadn't been in the eternal game of status that obsessed the more upwardly mobile vampire. Without a sire to lead him, Lawson had to learn all this from the school of hard knocks. Right now, he had a chance to become someone high in the new Order of Aurelius though it didn't matter if the Order flopped or flew- Lawson could land on his feet. There wasn't much that impassioned him nowadays, but the rush of survival and politics. Sometimes he thought that if he ever reached the top that he would probably off himself. Maybe it was better that he wasn't in Canada, he was swiftly reaching the top of the heap in Toronto. A few more years there and there would be no doubt that he would have been king. "A good day's rest will do us all some good."
Drusilla let him lead her away and as he briefly looked into her eyes, he thought he saw something there besides glossy blankness.
"Dolphins no longer follow me out to sea. All that follow are gulls and crows." She ducked her head with a side as she spun around before she continued walking her graceful slow gait. "Will you help me see if my dolphins are caught in the nets?" Drusilla asked staring up at him through her eyelashes.
Lawson tried to pick apart her meaning for he was sure that her insanity was two parts crazy and three parts show. He smiled, realizing the wisdom and message behind her words, and nodded.
"Of course, I could never refuse a lady. Now, tell me a little more about these birds before we retire."
Lawson was lying on his stomach in that hazy, murky land between sleep and awake. His leg was kicking slightly as, in his mind, he chased down plump, ruddy-cheeked maidens. Itching to drop, his fangs descended when he finally had the girl in his grasp but he felt another vampire. Hissing, he lunged up and reached for the one who was disturbing his rest and hunt. It was Franz. He blinked and dropped his arms.
"Sorry," He murmured thickly and gravelly as his body and mind brushed away the fog of sleep. "What are you doing?" Lawson reached up and flattened his unruly, sleep-fluffed hair, feeling the static as the wild waves stuck to his palm. He used the other hand to itch his stomach. "Did something happen?"
"No, everything is quite well. I beg forgiveness for entreating into your chambers without permission, but I wanted to thank you for your actions on behalf of Angelus' pet," Franz said. His eyes were pale and seemed as devoid of expression as Drusilla's. Something was off.
"Did Angelus send you here to thank me?" Lawson asked. Franz nodded and smiled in way that could have meant anything. "Well, that is nice. You are his right-hand guy, yeah?" He continued without waiting for the other vampire to answer. "Could you see if I could met the human pet? I can tell that Angelus has some designs for her and if I'm going to be getting a baby sister, I want to be able to met her."
"I could, perhaps, bring that to his attention. To integrate the pet into the family, if you will."
"Is he doing anything today? I'd like to speak with him."
"I do not always know of his plans," Franz said with a slight, apologetic bow.
"Come on, I bet you know every working detail of this place," Lawson said. He worried that he might have laid that on too thick. There was no doubt that it was true but he didn't want the man to think that he was buttering him up. He needed the goodwill of Franz to get a good standing in the house. "I don't want to catch him while he is busy."
"I do believe that he will go out to hunt later but there are no plans in addition to that."
"Thank you, Franz. Now, I got to get dressed..."
"Of course. Good day," Franz said as he bowed before walking out the door, closing it behind him.
Angelus grabbed his coat before he threw it on as he walked out of his room. His body was howling for the bloody release that only the hunt could bring.
Willow had been confusing when he had tried to assess what Spike's attack had done on his progress. Spike... He gritted his teeth when he thought the name. His special boy was chained in the basement where he would stay until Angelus burned through enough rage to not kill the idiot when he saw him again. This was a time when finesse was needed most. So, many transitions and changes in his family. He needed to be calm. Besides he had to see the mayor about what sort of police trouble he could expect. The old man owed him.
Franz and Sammy were out in the hallway. Franz bowed to him, his light colored suit was close to the tone of the hallway and he seemed to blend into the background.
"Sire." Sam Lawson smiled and bowed his head.
He was dressed like a frat boy in baggy jeans and blue collared shirt. He was good looking enough to be handsome, but he wasn't extraordinary like Spike. His clothes were California casual, so he didn't stick out like Angelus himself did. Lawson also seemed to blend in like Franz. Sometimes Angelus didn't know if Lawson was too smart or too apple pie. As Angelus stared at his long lost childe, he decided that Lawson might actually have more in his head than anyone would guess at first. He still didn't know how to feel about that.
"Franz, you can go check up on Willow. Mind Drusilla. I need to talk to my childe." Angelus strode over to Lawson and threw an arm over his shoulders. Angelus looked him up and down. He sucked at his front teeth for a second. There was something about Lawson, something different from him than his other childer, something that he didn't know if he liked. Spike, Penn, and Drusilla were all drawn to him in almost every possible way. Sammy Lawson was drawn to him. He would have ignored the summons if he hadn't. The key issue was that Lawson wasn't his creature. He was loyal enough to stop Spike and tell him about the morning show, though, that was probably just self-preservation. "I'm on my way to go hunting. How about you come with me and we make up for some lost time, son."
"Well, I am dressed for the occasion." Lawson grinned and his eyes were warm. "I'd love to see the infamous Scourge of Europe in action."
Angelus laughed. "Then you shall. I'm curious about you. I've heard about your youthful travels through the grapevine for years." He looked at the shorter dark haired man. For sixty years, Lawson had been alone and surviving without a sire. Angelus knew that meant that the kid was lucky or smart. He needed to know how smart.
The two began to walk down the hallway. Angelus smiled at Penn as he passed his door open door. Penn was reading, but he put down his book to look at his sire.
"I admit that I am pretty swell," Lawson said.
Angelus looked back to his other childe.
"But, I want to know more about what kind of family I missed out on." The former GI nodded and looked away. "I've heard about the whirlwind of Darla and her brood, but I want to know what really happened." Lawson stared up at Angelus, his lips thin, and his eyes serious.
The master vampire narrowed his eyes as he thought. He started down the stairs. He could imagine the other man hearing with resentment and awe about the vampire who abandoned him. Lawson wasn't stupid. It would be irritating to Angelus' plans to make a real enemy out of him. He opened his mouth.
"Angelus!" Penn called out from the hallway.
Inwardly sighing, Angelus turned. "Penn, I'm going out. Speak to me when I come back."
The blond man nodded and pushed his glasses up, frowning. He closed the door. The mutilated David glared at Angelus from his engraving on the door.
"Well, do you know who brought me into unlife?" Angelus asked, resuming his walk down the stairs.
"Darla, childe of the Master of the Order of Aurelius." Lawson smiled and nodded. "How did you catch her eye?"
"Like all great stories, it begins in a tavern..."
"I'm just not sure of this Angelus." Richard Wilkins said as he folded his hands. He smiled like a horse, looking completely calm sitting behind his desk. "This might actually take some doing here. Katie Couric and her cheerful gang really are morning powerhouses. The demon they sold their souls to is quite the intimidating Bridge player."
"Dick. Come on, buddy." Angelus folded his arms. It was galling to stand like a peasant in front of the uppity sorcerer. This is why he needed his own place. Centuries of dealing with petty territory rulers was really beginning to grate on him. Before the soul, it only took a stern glare and a quick assurance of peace to quell rival clans. The Scourge of Europe was given a wide berth by all. Now, look at him, humbled before a suburban wizard. It would take decades to undo the damage the soul had done to his reputation. Angelus clenched his jaw before continuing. "Aren't I helping keep the Slayer and therefore the Watchers too distracted to focus on you or your schemes."
Richard nodded with a shrug. "I suppose you are doing more than your share of community service which not so many young people are doing today, mind. Good for you. It builds character." He gestured to Lawson. "And, who is this young man?"
Angelus's lip curved into a smile as he patted Lawson on the back. "This is my boy, Sam Lawson. Coming to visit from Canada."
The mayor smiled wide and big with a single guffaw. "Nothing like family in town. Such an impressive man, I hear too." His smile faltered almost too quick for Angelus to catch, but it was too dark to miss. Anger blazed from Richard's eyes and once it was gone, Angelus knew that the mayor was going to be on his ass from now on. "I guess that since you are having such a happy reunion that I shouldn't spoil it. I'll get my men on keeping the search muddled. If you have any thoughts, requests, or suggestions then, by all means, let me know. If I'm anything, besides a great bowler, I'm a servant of the people."
Willow rubbed her ankles as she sat in bed. They hurt, though she couldn't help but smile as she looked out the window. She might just be a stolen girl trapped in an aquarium room in a crazy house of vampires, but she wouldn't always be in here. Hope welled up in her heart and even though she had been scared and hurt and confused at first because she had been following all the rules and still been hurt, she knew now that people were looking for her. Her parents did care about her!
She leaned her chin on her knees and smiled dreamily, relishing in the magnificence of hope.
No one noticed her back in the hallway after that brown-haired vampire told her to run, but she noticed them. She heard her rescuer say that her mother had been on a morning show looking for her.
She was crying into her pillow again, but this time she was happy. That secret fear was gone. That fear that no one cared even if she was missing. People were looking for her and they did care.
There was more than Angelus and this house in the world. Willow was frightened of how close she was to forgetting that. She felt so much better even as she sobbed. Her reality was shrinking and Angelus kept growing in her mind. It would be tough, but Willow knew that she could get out of here. Whether or not, anyone could find her. She was going to find them.
Chapter Thirteen: Bad Influences
"Wakey wakey, Penn." An angelic voice said near his ear. "Places to destroy. People to kill."
Penn smiled and opened his eyes. "Hmmm, sun's still up?"
"Yeah, and its covered by a bunch of clouds." Angelus stared down at him. His jaw was tight and his shoulders were tense. "Want to kill something with me or do I get Dru?"
Penn nodded and got out of bed. Stretching his arm up, he yawned. "Let's go. I got in late last night with Spike and one bottle turned into ten and then I lost count." He smirked as they moved towards the door. "I'm dressed if a little wrinkled."
His sire nodded, staring ahead, murder in his eyes. Angelus threw open the hallway door and it hit the wall with a clang. Minions playing cards or sparring stilled to watch them.
Angelus stopped at the base of the stairs and jabbed a finger at a minion at a card table. "Where's Franz?"
"Upstairs." The minion, a modern day Eric the Red in biker gear, trembled and his cards shook in his hands. He kept shifting his eyes towards the door leading to Angelus' basement studio.
"Good." His sire stalked to the front door and jerked it open. "Anyone who goes outside to play joins the rest of the dust under the rug," he said over his shoulder.
Penn followed, dodging the swinging door. Thick clouds, high and puffy, shielded them, but Penn's skin still tingled and itched. He looked back at the mansion as he walked down the quiet street. The minions acted much more terrified than usual. The biker wasn't the only minion who was looking at the studio door. Spike was behind it, bleeding, and Penn had no idea why. Last thing he remembered was snacking on a early morning jogger before passing out, Penn rubbed his temple, headache forming, as he thought that it was much too early for all of this. "So, who's on the menu?"
"I just want to shred someone." Angelus said before he stopped. "Looks like I found the lucky folks."
A smiling couple were moving a trunk into an gray van. Penn could hear them joking about finally getting the hell out of dodge. The van puttered in park.
"Today you're wheel man. I'll throw them in the back and you can have the woman." Angelus smirked looking over. "Always been partial to pretty blond men."
Franz was holding her ankle in a firm yet gentle grip as he peered at the mottled purple bruises.
When Spike had tugged her off the bed, she hadn't had time to yell before she had hit the ground. There was only sickening dread that blossomed into realized fear. She covered her face with her arms in time for them to bounce against the wood of the backboard instead of her nose. The fear still made her shake. It wasn't Spike or possible death that had scared her to the bone. It had been nothing but petty retaliation. Tit for tat. Franz's icy hands made a chill run through her. They were as cold as Spike's.
Spike had jerked her up off the floor.
Willow hadn't yet come to terms to being awake and her legs had buckled.
He snarled and pulled her to him. "I'm 'pose to be her fucking Knight. Armor and all." His fingers were like chilled talons digging into her arms. "I'm not gonna put up with this shit from that ignorant sodding git."
"I'm not trying to do anything."
"No, girlie, you don't get to talk." He said before slapping a hand over her mouth. "Changed he has." Spike growled; his face getting bumpy. "'Gelus is mucking everything up. Now, I'm gunna return the favor."
Willow closed her eyes when remembering how insignificant she felt then. She had done nothing to Spike, but that didn't matter.
People may look for her, but how would that help if she got killed before they could find her. Willow turned her head away from Franz as hot tears blurred her vision. She had never been so mood swing-y before, but she had felt the whole emotion spectrum today. She looked up, tears running hot down the side of her face, and she realized that Angelus had been right about there being no rules. There was so much going on in this house that she could never get a handle on it. She didn't even know who her rescuer was. This wasn't like playing Risk with her Dad. The South American stronghold wouldn't work. There wasn't any way to strategize when she had no power. There wasn't any way to strategize when there was no way to know who did. Chaos-y badness surrounded her.
"Cry, if you need too, Miss Rosenberg. Its not my place or inclination to punish you for it." Franz's voice was soft as his fingers pressing lightly on her ankle.
"There's no point." Willow said.
"I hope you won't think me too bold, but I consider you one of my friends, Miss." Franz set down her foot. "Your arm, please?"
"You know you're my buddy." Willow smiled even though it was probably a big fat lie. She had no idea what was behind Franz's polite mask. She had no idea about a lot of things and Spike had taught her that. She knew she was alone in this house even as she lifted up a bruised arm.
"I am truly sorry again that I wasn't there." Franz frowned. "I have been appointed to guard your door even more strictly and I assure you that nothing of this nature shall happen again."
"How long have Spike and Angelus been fighting over Drusilla?" Willow asked. Curiosity might kill the cat she thought, but did it matter in a vampire nest?
"Since 1880." Franz let go of her arm
She nodded wrapping her arms around herself. "Who saved me?"
"Sam Lawson. I don't know much about him. He was turned during the 1940s, but that was when Angelus was..." He paused as if searching for the right word. "When he was ill. I was not there."
Willow nodded; she had been right. It had only been another episode of meaningless in-fighting in a decades long saga. She snorted bitterly as she imagined future Spike, Angelus, and Drusilla in a flying car laughing about the time they fought about old whose-her-face and then made up over a massacre of orphans.
"He was very grrr." Willow sighed. "I didn't like that at all." She looked into Franz's eyes. "He doesn't always try to get back at Angelus like that? Does he?"
"No, this is one of his more extreme infractions."
"Is Angelus here? Never mind." Willow shook her head. "I feel like I'm in a dark cage and I never know who is going to jump out at me." Tension seemed coiled around this place and it kept drawing tighter and tighter until it was a noose around her neck. She was nothing to them all. Just something that could be used against each other.
"He's not here."
"Maybe I need to sleep." Willow closed her eyes. The 'Random Rampage' strategy meant nothing. Angelus treated her like a toy. She had read the Watcher's Diaries and knew that he grew bored of his 'pets' easily. Heck, she didn't even know if he was in control here. In spite of it all, she felt lucky that he was so wrapped up in his vampire family or else she would have gotten his full attention which just the thought of terrified her. She was getting off lightly for the moment, but any day that could change.
"It had been a trying day." Franz nodded. "You have my word that neither Penn or Lawson will harm you."
"I know you will do your best." Willow said rolling over on her side before she looked over at him quickly. "Who is Penn?"
The vampire had a blank expression when he answered. "Angelus's first childe. He is also visiting the mansion."
Yay, Willow thought as she listened to Franz walk out and close the door. More unknown variables.
Finally something she had expected happened. Rain started to tap against the window. It had been overcast and thunder-y all day. She got out of bed to look at the rainy world beyond the bars. Pressing her forehead to the cool glass, she breathed deep trying to relax. Below was an abandoned Victorian house with old sycamores in the large backyard. There was something familiar and yellow in one of the trees. She looked closer. Was that a Sunnydale gym shirt? It was someone with binoculars; Someone she knew. She waved, biting her lip to keep from yelling out.
It was Xander.
His panting was the only sound in the room. His chest and back burned. Spike's arms had become numb hours ago. He hadn't been hung up this long in a hundred years. The basement room was pitch black even to a vampire's eyes. He was in Angelus' playroom. Sobriety was a bitch, he thought, his mistake clearer after hours in the dark. Roughing up the Old Man's pet was just the perfect bloody ending to his week long bender. Spike reckoned that this was the time to say goodbye to his back skin. Angelus was a bleeding artiste who had to stretch the limits of pain. He deserved his lumps though, that business with the pet was a right cock up.
The door opened; light stole into the room.
"Spike, my darling boy, I feel you in the dark and I've come to light your way." Drusilla was a vision in white, holding a candle, as she walked through the doorway.
"We're finally leaving this pit?"
Drusilla walked closer before putting a finger onto his lips.
He kissed the soft pad of her finger.
"Everything is wrong here. Miss Edith has been weeping for days." She said in a small girlish voice as she leaned closer to Spike raising the candle above her head. A hairs-breath away, her dark locks brushed against his chest, and she leaned back after caressing his cheek. She lowered the candle before wiggling her slender fingers over the flame.
"You noticed it too?" Spike moved onto his tip-toes to ease the pain in his shoulders.
"Tangled in nets, I shan't see a single albatross. All I know is the rocking of the waves," Drusilla said, tears ran down her cheeks catching the flickering light of the candle.
"No tears, love." Spike tensed as he felt Angelus, powerful and familial, moving nearby.
"A storm is near." Drusilla kissed him between his eyes. She let out a small cry when the door flew open hitting the wall.
"Dru, I think its time for you to go." Angelus growled from the doorway.
Drusilla cupped his cheek and kissed Spike. A drop of her rich and powerful blood fell on his cracked lips. "Be brave," she whispered before turning back to her sire.
"Now." Angelus's voice boomed in the empty room.
Drusilla looked back at Spike and ran out.
Angelus slammed the door closed and the darkness was absolute. Silence dragged on for minutes.
Spike closed his eyes, waiting for the first blow, even as he knew that Angelus was going to make a grand spectacle of discipline. So many fangs in the place meant he couldn't let it go. The minions had to smell the blood, hear the screams, and be afraid.
"Now, I get the feeling you're angry at me." In the silent room, his voice boomed. "I wonder why." Spike couldn't see Angelus, but he could tell his voice was moving forward. "I've healed you; Vino de Sang straight from the source; none better around."
A light bulb turned blindingly on. Angelus dropped the chain to the naked bulb and walk over to a table in the corner. A table that shined in the light.
"This isn't your style. Attacking a pet is Penn's deal." Angelus picked up a scalpel. "You two have been braiding each other's hair since he got here." The dark haired man walked closer holding the scalpel with both hands. "I was hoping he'd be a better influence."
"Whot'cher want? Me to carve a cross--"
"No," Angelus interrupted. "That act has been stale since Napoleon invaded Egypt." He sighed tossing the scalpel from one hand to the other. "I had thought that Penn and you were working together, behind my back, scheming sweet schemes. Now, I know I just gave the both of you too much credit."
Spike bit his tongue to keep any expression off his face.
"It was cute, really, when Penn and I drained some yuppies today. He marked them with a cross and looked to me for approval. I told him about what a bad boy you were and what a good boy he was."
"Squirmed like a puppy, didn't he? Leave a dead bird on your slippers?" Spike snarled. "Berk."
"Close." Angelus smiled. "Penn deludes himself into thinking he is an artist when he has been in a two centuries long rut. Predictable to the last. But, he's stopped trying to touch my toys." His smile grew as he raised the scalpel.
"Giles, I saw her!" Xander yelled as he sprinted into the library. Sweat poured down his face and he bent over, panting. He had a stitch the size of Vermont in his side. It didn't matter because Willow was alive.
Ms. Calender sat at the computer and Giles stood behind her with a hand on her shoulder. She looked up from her typing before cracking her neck.
"What?" Giles asked as he took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose before putting them back on. Stubble darkened his jaw.
"I saw Willow." Xander straightened. He couldn't help but smile. This was the best news they had in weeks. He had saw his best friend again. "She waved to me."
"Waved?" Jenny asked and she glanced at Giles.
"Through a window at Chateaus de Blood Breath. I don't think Angel has turned her." He shook his head. "Why is no one making with the woo and the hoo?"
"How close were you to the mansion?" Giles asked, quietly.
"Close enough for them to smell you? Did you even--" The Watcher tightened his jaw and he walked over to the filing cabinet and opened a drawer. "Did you listen to a word I said before? Your reconnaissance is dangerous."
Xander threw up his arms. They had done all the research they could a few days after Willow disappeared. Somebody had to figure out what was going on in there. "What else could I do?"
"I don't know." Giles closed his eyes and he took an audible deep breath.
"The translation is done." Jenny pointed to the computer screen. "There's no time to lose."
"We've been out of 'time to lose' for a while now. Twenty-four days to be exact." Xander muttered. He was getting sick of doing nothing. Giles and Jenny had something they were working on, but they hadn't told him about it despite making him promise not to tell Buffy that he was even talking to the computer teacher.
"Damn it. We've all been working bloody long hours on this. You're not the only one who cares for-" Giles pull out a manila folder before slamming the drawer close.
Xander interrupted. "Long hours working out a way to save Willow and keep precious Dead Boy safe. That's what we've done."
"Stop arguing, children. " Jenny said, standing up. "Where can we go to do the spell? It obvious that Angelus can get into our homes and he's been to the school. We can't be interrupted." She shot a look at Xander. "He's a sly guy."
"What spell? It wouldn't be a mega vamp killing spell, would it?" Xander asked. "Because that is something I can get behind."
Jenny shook her head. "No, its my people's original curse."
"Yeah, because that worked great the first time." Xander sneered.
"Xander." Giles said, his eyes hard with warning.
"No, Giles, someone needs to talk to him." Jenny nodded and folded her arms. "There are at least four master vampires with countless minions living in that nest. We only have one slayer. Count 'em." She raised a index finger. "One. If we cure Angel then we take out the leader and gain a experienced fighter. I don't care if you stake him after we get Willow, but right now, either you're helping or you go home."
Xander lowered his head, feeling the shame hung heavy in his gut and knew she right. "What can I do?"
Chapter Fourteen: Sullen Wind
"You will do as I say, how I say it, when I say it, tulip," Drusilla didn't look insane as she stared coldly down at Franz.
Willow had crept to the window, her back pressed against the cold glass, while Franz had tried to stop Dru from coming in.
Penn had come in soon after, drawn by the fighting. "Franz, when did you gain influence on anyone above the minions?" His malevolent gaze didn't linger on the Dutchmen instead he focused on Willow. Her blood ran cold as their eyes locked.
She had thought that Spike had been frightening, but she knew that she was lucky that it wasn't Penn who attacked her as she didn't doubt that he would enjoy the chance. There was something in his eyes that made her know that he saw her in a way that Spike hadn't. She wasn't a means to an end to him; she was a rival. There was blind hatred in his eyes and she couldn't understand because she didn't even know the vampire. Turning her head, she stare at the rain outside empathizing with the drops falling from their home in the dark clouds. She knew what it felt like to be dropped into a situation she had no control over and little knowledge of without warning.
"When Angelus gave me expressed instructions to secure the room and isolate Ms. Rosenberg," Franz replied in a frosty tone as he blocked Penn from her view. "I can not defy his orders."
"As Princess, I must inspect my ladies in waiting. Bumblebees, fat and buzzing, led me to her and whispered how dear she will be to Daddy and I. Our little vicious darling." Drusilla cooed and smiled fondly while her eyes were far away. "Wilted violets and dead birds wash up on the beach." She snapped her fingers. "Stars burst into poisoned apples."
"I'm sure that Angelus shall grant permission for an audience, but I have no authority to do so."
"Audience?" Penn sputtered, striding pass Franz, to look and point at Willow. "Mortal." He pointed at himself. "First-made Childer. I don't need an audience to make small talk with a school girl."
"Angelus' rule is law," Franz reminded him as he backed up.
Penn opened his mouth before shaking his head and sneering. "Fine." He turned and walked back to the door before glancing at Willow with a look that was more like a threat and a promise.
"Bastard!" Buffy shouted. She flipped off a tombstone, using her hands to push her off, and slammed her feet into his chest.
Angelus cursed himself as he fell backwards on to a low gravestone that jabbed him in the back. He didn't even hear the bitch creep up on him. Who told her that vampires can come outside earlier on cloudy days? Oh, right, him and his damn soul. He shouldn't have dismissed Penn, he thought before snarling, "This isn't the night, Slayer."
"Oh, is it lonely at the top of the demon heap?" Buffy pulled out a stake and got into fighting position. "Color me not giving a damn."
"Fine." Angelus jumped up. "Punching you in the face always perks me up."
"House of crazy vampires falling down?" Buffy asked sweetly before back handing Angel with her fist.
Angelus laughed. "What if I'm the craziest one there?" He grabbed Buffy by the shoulders and shook her.
"Well, if the shoe fits." Buffy head butted him.
"Are you jealous that I moved on to another girl? Willow might not be much at the moment, but she'll make a vicious vampire. Someone my equal." Angelus lied about the last part because while Willow had potential, he hadn't had an equal since Darla.
"Wrong." Buffy shook her head in disgust. "You're not my boyfriend, you're just the demon whose wearing his face." She circled around to the left with her stake ready.
"Oh, come on, Buffy, don't be coy. I know it must eat away at you that when I get done fucking with your head, I go home and nibble on your best friend." He quickly lunged at her before stepping back with a chuckle.
"Wow, aren't you just an insightful guy now?" Buffy snapped. "Duh, I'm worried about my kidnapped friend." She roundkicked him in the chest, sending him flying back. Her eyes were cold and her jaw clenched as she backed up to an empty grassy patch in the graveyard.
"Yeah, I'm sure thats all that it is." Angelus chuckled as he picked himself up off the ground. He fought the urge to pull back his mortal disguise because he knew that it hurt Buffy more if she saw the face of her beloved. He had never seen her so furiously solemn as she did today in her dark grey turtleneck and black jeans without a single trace of repressed anguished love in her expression. "I know deep down you're wondering why I went after Willow instead of you and asking yourself why." He said softly, stalking towards her.
She raised her chin and smirked darkly. "I already know why, Angelus. Willow's smart and cute so no mystery in seeing why out of my friends you chose her to kidnap."
"Oh, Buff, I hate to break it to you, but its not about you." He sneered, but her comment stopped his advance.
"Then why don't you leave Sunnydale?" Buffy asked. "If its so not about me..." She smiled grimly and circled warily around him. "Then why not take Willow and pack up the whole vamp family off to Miami or L.A.? Why the sick fascination with me and mine?" She shook her head.
"Still as self-absorbed as ever." Angelus hid it, but he was rattled. This wasn't how their chats were supposed to go. Buffy was the one who was supposed to be set off balance.
"I'm seeing clearly now and you're right, its not all about me." She pointed her stake at him. "You have a death wish. I bet you dream about it sometimes. " She raised her stake. "All those years with the soul, living off rats, crawling through gutters and saving humans must have loosened a few screws. I've read the history books and you never used to have a thing for Slayers. That was Spike. But here you remain, right in harms way and pissing me off to the point where I don't see any of the man I loved."
He charged at her, but she used his momentum against him and slammed her elbow into his face before hopping back. Blood trickled down from his nose. The clouds were clearing up and the sun burned him as smoke rose off of his arms. He needed to find shelter fast and he sprinted to the Alpert mausoleum.
"I'll be seeing you, Angel." Buffy chuckled coldly.
The sound echoed after him as he fled the light. Her words hit too close to the disgust he felt about what he thought of as his lost century. He had been trying to compensate for it by increasing his brutality, territory, and nest, but he hadn't fooled Buffy. Angelus wondered who else had seen through his act.
Spike hung limply in his chains, weak from blood loss and torture, staring into the darkness. A knock on the door awoke him out of his pained reverie before it opened and light spilled into the room causing him to close his eyes in reflex.
It was Penn who strode into the room with a scowl on his face. The dim light reflected off his glasses. "That wasn't part of the plan, Spike. The Humbling is for tonight and I will try to convince Angelus to make the show more private, but you'll have to submit. Trust me, submit quickly."
"No shit." Spike murmured hoarsely, a jolt of fear hit him at the thought of enduring a Humbling. He had been told stories about Penn's humbling in 1861 and it would have given him nightmares if he had been human. "I'm already choreographing the blow job in my head." The urge the pass out rolled over him, but he resisted the allure. Penn, sorry sod that he was, was his main ally and fount of information. Spike didn't want to blindly crawl to the humbling. "I figured you'd be happy, what with being the golden boy again."
"Yeah, I'm the golden boy." Penn grimaced. "More like the cash cow to be used and put aside until his wallet is empty. At least with Drusilla, you're a close second in her heart. I'm lucky if I make it into the top five."
"Mate," Spike began, trying to collect his thoughts. Penn was a bitter mirror that reflected his own struggle for his sire's affections. They were both sorry sods, if he was honest with himself. Maybe that was why he always had a soft spot for Penn. "You ever think that you ought to play hard to get? Or get out of your rut and find a new demon?"
Penn smiled sadly. "I could say the same for you, but Drusilla is much..." He trailed off before shaking his head. "You'll have my vote tonight." Turning, he walked out the door and closed it leaving Spike in the darkness.
"Appreciated." Spike stood up on his tiptoes with a groan as pain rushed through his lacerated and abused flesh. Angelus had decreed a Humbling and that was bigger than a couple of rounds of Kick the Spike. He stared around the basement room wondering if this would be his last night on Earth. Spike smirked grimly. He'd been in tougher and tighter spots. The Great Poof wouldn't be the death of him... He hoped.
Chapter Fifteen: February 24, 1998 part. 1
Lawson heard the humming after he felt the familial presence. It was unsettling how quickly his body had tuned itself to the rest of his estranged clan. He ran a hand through his short dark hair before dressing. It had to be late afternoon, but he couldn't have slept in. There was too much tension in the household with a Humbling on the agenda.
Drusilla tapped on the open door with her fingernails as she leaned against the door frame in a dark purple velvet gown. A deep blush infused her cheeks; she had feed recently. Her other hand rested on her black lace- covered clavicle. Rubbing her hand up from her chest to the side of her face, she pushed away from the door and into his room. "Fog and ill weather clouded my sight. I could see naught by will 'o the wisps in the distance, but I smelled the storm on the horizon." She swayed towards him, holding out her hands, palms up. "We shall be great friends."
He laid his right hand upon hers. Ignoring her coy and inviting jasmine perfume, he allowed her to examine his palm.
A mysterious smile crossed her lips as she said, "oh, yes, we shall be the best of friends."
"I hope for nothing less." Lawson was charmed despite himself and his confusion. He had heard of her mind control powers and other gifts, but didn't feel the intrusion of a mind probe so he let himself stay charmed and amused. He had no doubt that he could make use of Drusilla in the future whether as the Childe-heir or a seer. "You can rely on my friendship."
Drusilla kissed his palm before gliding back into the hallway with an unearthly, sensual grace. Lawson couldn't help but smile. That broad was something, he thought.
He had only just put on his sneakers when another visitor rapped on his door. Looking up, he saw that it was Franz Pieterzoon. He was wearing a pin-striped business suit that seemed more 1958 than 1998. Polite to a fault, he stayed in the hallway and bowed slightly without speaking.
"Well, hello there," he said, waving slightly as he stood. Lawson didn't quite know where to categorize Pieterzoon. The man reminded Lawson too much of himself in that way. He had found out that Pieterzoon was a well connected vampire among the vestiges of the Order of Aurelius. There were other independent master vampires that had broke off from the Order in the past and Pieterzoon had worked for or known nearly all of them. He didn't seem to have a goal beside being handsomely paid for his services. No vampire was that simple.
"Angelus has given his assent, I believe, for a meeting between yourself and Miss Rosenberg." Pieterzoon's brow furrowed before his face returned to its habitual neutral expression. "When I asked him as he was coming back from hunting, he said 'whatever.'"
"Yes, that is what the kids are saying nowadays." Lawson grinned. "I'd like to say a quick hello before the Humbling. I assume that the little lady won't be attending despite her new found status. No last minute restituo during the ritual to keep us on our toes?"
"No, Angelus wants to wait some years before turning her, I believe. He wouldn't use her turning as a punishment for Spike or replace him with her in the family." Franz Pieterzoon was a pure professional without a trace of personal emotions on his face.
"How gentlemanly," Lawson said, drier than he intended. "She's a b.y.t and a real blackout girl when all dolled up, I've heard."
Pieterzoon nodded."I will be standing guard over her during the Humbling." He gestured to down the hall. "If you will."
"Wouldn't be a fit place for a human girl," Lawson commented as he stepped out in the hallway. "Heck, wouldn't be a fit place for a human man." He studied the vampire beside him with a long searching look from the corner of his eye. Pieterzoon seemed to be medium everything: height, hair color, temperament. Even his suit was tailored and well-made, but non-designer. He looked like the kind of man that would frustrate witnesses, police officers, and their artists by his averageness. He was handsome despite his desire to blend into the background however. There had to be an angle as most vampires did their damnest to stand out and intimidate.
"Indeed not." Pieterzoon agreed, bowing, as he stopped in front of the pet's door. He unlocked it then called for the girl.
Lawson would have missed the small, warm smile directed at the human if he hadn't been watching Pieterzoon's face. There had to be something about this girl, Willow. Angelus had told him that he had already gotten the paperwork around to induct her into the Order of Aurelius. Her name had been put on a list of more promising potential recruits for the Order. He wouldn't have bothered to make nice with a temporary pet, used and discarded quickly, but this human had just gotten a lot more permanence. Lawson threw on his broadest and friendliest grin when he entered the room. He always did like to make a good first impression just like his Mama told him.
The girl was sitting, back straight and serious, in a chair by the window. She was wearing a high-necked cream sundress with her hair done up in a bun and green low-heeled shoes on. There was something about her outfit that reminded him of the early sixties. She looked better than her pictures on the Today Show and Lawson could see why Angelus had decided to snatch her up.
She stood up and walked to him with the barest hint of a smile. "Hello, I'm Willow."
"Pleased to make your acquaintance." He held out his hand. "My name is Sam Lawson."
She looked at it, hesitant, before giving him a firm handshake. "Thank you for rescuing me from Spike, Mr. Lawson. It was kind of you."
"It was nothing, miss." Lawson smiled humbly, but he knew that it would have been a more kind if he had put this poor girl out of her misery before Angelus found the time to focus his energy on her. Fading bruises and fang scars mottled her neck contrasting with the elegance of her dress. "Excuse me, but I must be going. It was nice meeting you."
"Thank you again." Her sad green eyes belied her words.
"See you downstairs, Franz," Lawson said over his shoulder as he walked out the door and into the hallway. He slowed down to listen as he got closer to the hallway door.
"I shall return. Do not open the door no matter what you hear, Miss Rosenberg. Heed my words," Franz said with warmth in his voice.
"FRANZ!" Angelus yelled, sounding like he was downstairs and angry.
Lawson looked behind him as he opened the door to the antechamber.
She stood in the threshold of the door, pale and scared, as she stole a glance down as a scream tore through the mansion.
Franz pulled out a large key ring from his suit pocket. "I must answer his call." He bowed to the pet.
"Of course, Franz." She frowned and nodded, looking at the Dutchmen as if he was her last lifeline to sanity before letting him close and lock the door.
Lawson went through the door and put aside his questions about the pet's relationship with her bodyguard when more yelps of pain reached his ears. All childer were expected to participate and view the Humbling and it wasn't just for the torment of those being humbled. Vampire rites were nothing but hierarchy affirming bullshit. He had probably tested Angelus' patience by taking his sweet time dressing, but he was planning his entrance to have the least offense to all his clan mates. The less time he was whipping Spike in front of Drusilla, the less likely either of them would be out for vengeance afterward. He braced himself before going through the door and walking down the steps.
The scent of blood and fear was almost overpowering to his keen senses. Lawson balled up his fists, looking at the scene in the antechamber, as he descended. Spike was nailed to the wall by his palms, head drooping, on the opposite side of the room with fifteen scared minions, chained by the leg in a line, in front of him. Blood dripped down his nude body and the wall to puddle around his feet. It was all Lawson could smell and it was making him hungry. By the size of the puddle, he could see that he had arrived in the middle of the punishment, but the beginning of the Humbling ritual. The silver Humbling chains glinted grimly in the dim light as they hung empty from the chandelier.
Angelus stood glowering in the center of the chamber with his arms crossed before he looked over his shoulder at Lawson. His expression was glacial. "I'm glad you made it," he said dryly as he walked to his childe and pushed him next to Penn and Drusilla who stood a few feet behind the minions. "Get the hell over there." He looked up when Franz walked through the upstairs door a second later. "Remove Spike from my wall and put him in the chains. After that, call Willy and make sure that my get doesn't come back, then stay with Willow until I summon you." His next words were in Latin and said with a wolfish grin as he stared at his childer. "Cubo cruor."
Drusilla whimpered quietly, her eyes wide as she stared at Spike as if their were no one between them. Her hands were clasped tightly over her belly.
Penn's teeth ground together as he clenched them and his glasses slid down his nose. His arms were crossed as he stared at Angelus. His poker face was better than usual.
Franz looked at Drusilla with an apologetic glance before he pulled the nails out of Spike's palms. Blood gushed thickly from the wounds and Spike groaned as he fell over into the Dutchman's arms. Franz carried the other vampire half over his shoulder around the line of minions to the chains then locked him in the manacles. Spike slumped over, looking like a broken puppet, with his arms locked in chains that hung down from the chandelier. He was situated face to face with Drusilla with only a few yards between them at most.
"Now that everyone is here..." Angelus stalked behind the minions before circling them once. "Cubo cruor. Vitualamen cruor parvulus." He continued in Latin before striking quickly and grabbing a petite female minion in the middle of the line and draining her. The bite was vicious. "The blood has been reclaimed," He finished in English.
Spike frowned as she turned to dust. Lawson felt a distant pinch as if on a sleeping limb.
"Redempto per nex. Cubo cruor. Vitualamen cruor parvulus. Cruor redemptor. Veneratio prosapia quod cruor. Inhonesto quod persolvo scelero. " Angelus kept up his circling and more Latin as he drained minions at seemingly random. "Hper poena. Quis meus filius partum , ego attero."
Lawson's Latin was rough, but he could make out some of his sire's words. 'Redemption through death. Sacrifice the childe. What my childe created, I destroy... Humility through pain.' He stopped himself from rolling his eyes at the gothic cliches. Boston to Buenos Aires, he had heard similar mumbo-jumbo passed down as sacred rituals. He figured that somewhere along the line, vampire fat cats just threw together phrases that sounded tough and then choreographed some whipping before calling it a ritual. Once he contained his morbid mirth, Lawson noticed that by the sixth minion that Angelus was weeding out the runty ones. Touche, old man, he thought.
Spike's face was tinged gray as the ash piled up on the floor and the dust clogged their nostrils. His pained gaze was on Drusilla who looked as queasy as vampires got. Vampires maintained metaphysical connections to those they make, even with minions, and losing so many at once had to hurt.
Lawson was startled to realize that many of the minions had been hers for years or decades. Angelus was cleaning house in more ways than one. By his calculations, the house would have only five minions left-- all made by Angelus. This was one of his mind games, Lawson thought, the Humbling wasn't only for Spike's benefit and was meant to dick with them all. His game with Drusilla and Spike was obvious, but Lawson couldn't figure out how it was to get Penn. He had heard rumors of a past Humbling in either 1861 or 1877 or both, but he hadn't gotten the details. He was certain that the message, Angelus wanted to sent to him was the absolute knowledge that he could and would do this to a childe more than a century old so he would hesitate to do it to Lawson.
Blood dribbled down Angelus's chin as he dropped his eleventh disintegrating victim. He wiped it off with the back of his hand extravagantly as he smirked. "This is the portion of the ritual reserved for the dramatic reading of your crimes, Spike. I'm not going to do that; you know what you did. You attacked my pet in retaliation against me. Hell, I even know why you did it so we're going to skip the ritualized excuse-making and groveling. You see me as a obstacle to your dark true love with Drusilla." Angelus chuckled. "Do you really think that if I had problems with you mooning over Drusilla that you would have survived to see 1881?" He walked slowly to the chained man and stalked behind him. His gaze was dark and full of meaning as he stared into Drusilla's eyes. "Did you know that the first time she ever stood up to me as a vampire, it was to save you after that mob chased us out of Devon?" Angelus ran his fingertips over Spike's lacerated shoulders. "I know your motives and excuses, boy. Unless you have something to add." He poked the drooping vampire on the cheek. "If you're still conscious that is."
"Still here, mate," Spike murmured hoarsely. "Sums it up."
"Glad you concur." Angelus stood with his back to Lawson, but a smile was evident in his voice. "No, I'm going to tell you how I was going to reward you for your loyalty. Los Angeles was my next goal. I was going to send you and Dru to gather info and set up shop in style while I tied up loose ends here." He leaned closer to Spike's ear. "I was going to allow you to become Drusilla's consort."
"Consort?" Spike snorted, looking up for the first time, his eyes were blazing equal parts defiance and pain. "Sure."
"Its true," Drusilla whispered. "T'was to be a surprise."
"Christmas gift from me to you." Angelus laughed, but it was short lived. "Now you're getting coal in your stocking."
He stepped through the diminished line to towards a folding table and picked up a billy club. He twirled it before tossing it. "Sammy, put down any deserters." He looked over at Penn. "Restrain Dru." Walking back to face Spike, he said. "These are your strongest minions. The oldest too. Its time to fight and show me that you are worth the blood spent creating you." He turned on his heels to address the minions. "Do you want to join your nestmates on the floor? Then fight your maker." Angelus went to his childer in the back before clapping and murmuring something harsh and guttural. He smiled at Lawson. "Magework -- gotta love it.
The chains released Spike who fell to his knees with a thud. Hunched over, he straightened slowly and rose to his feet. Visible tremors ran through his arms. He rolled his shoulders with a wince. His nude body was taut and emaciated with rope-like muscles straining through his extremely pale skin.
"You ready?" Angelus asked curtly as he tossed a stake to his bleeding childe.
"Always." Spike looked up at them through his eyelashes with a grim smirk as he squared his shoulders and caught the stake. He turned to face the minions with his bloody back to them.
Angelus clapped and murmured in the same strange tongue as before. The chains around the three minions' ankles fell to the ground with a clink. They looked at each other with wide eyes before moving into defensive stances. The minions circled him then, with nary a look exchanged, attacked.
Spike met their charge with his own. He pounced on the nearest minion, in game face, with all the viciousness of a starving man. He plunged the stake into its side and used the stake to anchor the to him as he drank noisily before tossing the disintegrating body at a charging Asian minion. The minion got the dust in his eyes, blinding him. Spike staked him fast with a roar. His movements were jerky and stiff as he fought without mercy. There was a rosy tint to his cheeks. Spike grinned, bloody and naked as the day he was born, dark thick vampire blood staining his teeth and dripping from his jaws, with hunger and malice in his eyes as he stared at his minion. There was no trace of humanity in his features. He was total predator and he was up against the wall, fighting for his unlife, and not as close to the his final death as he looked.
"That's my dark knight." Drusilla murmured. "My wicked poet."
Penn clutched the undead seer, his fingers dug into her thin arms, as his eyes darted between Spike and Angel. His mouth was twisted into an ugly sneer.
The vampire patriarch leaned against the stair rail with his arms across his chest. Lawson noticed Angelus' miniscule smile from the corner of his eye.
Lawson recognized the one minion left. They called him Big Red and he was considered the toughest in the gang. He had backed off when he saw the others get staked.
Spike laughed hoarsely. "I killed you once, mate. I can do it again."
"Yeah, but now I ain't stone-drunk in a Louisiana honky-tonk and you've just gotten the tar beatin' out of you by your sire." Big Red stalked around the naked vampire. "The odds are better for me."
Spike laughed, more bone-chilling than mirthful. "That's where you're wrong now, mate." He spun and punched the minion in the stomach before bouncing back with a sneer.
The two exchanged blow after blow. Spike, despite his injuries, was the quicker of the two and kept dodging his minion's fists. They circled each other.
The redhead hit Spike with a mean right hook across the face. Spike's head snapped to the side as he spit up blood.
Spike threw punch that his minion deflected before the blond backhanded him with his left hand.
Big Red stumbled, but he shook it off and crouched low to kick Spike's feet out from under him.
Spike fell backward, grunting when he landed on his lacerated back, dropping the stake.
Big Red circled him before kicking him in the side. "I might finally die tonight, but I'll do it with a big ole grin. I saw you get the whuppin' of a lifetime. He ripped you a new one and then he stole yer woman." He kicked him in the ribs. "The look on your face." He guffawed as he stomped on Spike's chest. "I ought to thank you, Spike, though, its been a helluva of a half-century."
Spike sputtered and coughed as he scuttled back on his hands. His jaw tight and eyes narrow, he sat leaning on his hands as if dazed.
Charging his sire, Big Red snarled.
Spike tossed off all vestiges of weakness and launched himself, feet first, at his minion. They crashed together and Spike landed on Big Red's chest. Grabbing his curly red hair, Spike punched Big Red in the face. Blood squirted from the minion's nose. His fist collided against the minion with a meaty thump. Howling, he didn't stop hitting Big Red until his struggles stopped. Spike stared at his clan mates with his fangs bared before he chomped down on his minion's neck. He stood, picked up the stake, and dropped to his knees. "Still grinning?" He asked as he staked Big Red.
Angelus clapped as he walked over to Spike and put a hand on his shoulder. "This insubordinate son of a bitch fought like an animal, proving that Drusilla wasn't wasting her time all those years ago... but, does he deserve to live and redeem himself?" He looked over his clan without a trace of an expression. "Sammy might not know the rules, but we do it the old Roman way here. Thumbs down means mercy and a thumb pointed at the neck means final death. Dru, your childe dishonored you and got your whole cadre of minions killed. What is your verdict?"
She put her thumb down without hesitation as she blew Spike a kiss. "He was wonderfully brave."
"Sammy?" Angelus asked.
"He's a fighter," Lawson said as he gave Spike the thumbs down. He had put up one hell of a struggle. The Humbling had been vicious even for vampire standards. The ritual was shorter than most at under an hour, but Spike had been paying for his crime since yesterday. Lawson was surprised that Spike had survived. Mostly, though, he was happy it didn't run on forever. He had been to a Humbling in Trier, Germany that had lasted five hours.
Penn let go of Drusilla and strode closer to her kneeling and bleeding childe. He pushed up his glasses. He scanned both Angelus and Spike before gesturing his thumb down and turning around to go to the foot of the stairs. Lawson studied his face as he passed by. Seething rage or resentment shone in his features in his tight jaw and furrowed brow.
"Well done, William." Angelus said, eyes on Penn before he looked down at Spike. "Now, for your punishment." He took his hand off Spike and walked to Drusilla. He caressed her face before smacking it. "Go with Penn. He'll chain you up and you'll stay in your room without a drop of blood for at least a week. I'd suggest you spend that week reflecting upon discipline and our old arrangement."
"Yes, daddy." Drusilla nodded, pouting and wide eyed, before joining Penn.
Angelus spun on his heel to stare at Spike who kept his head lowered. "Spike, you're still going to get some of your reward. You'll go to LA without Dru and you'll stay there without her until I decide that you've been a good boy. You'll go tonight." Angelus checked his black watch. "Sunset is in thirty minutes. Dress and pack. Now."
Spike stood and strode by Drusilla with a single passionate look before walking up the stairs. Penn held on to her arm, preventing her from walking beside Spike, until the other man had opened the door to the hallway.
"Lawson." Angelus crooked his finger. "I have a job for you. Make sure that Spike leaves town. Go to Willy's and round up my minions to escort him out. Make sure he is followed to LA." He walked to the staircase and put his foot on the first step before he looked over his shoulder. "If you get the job done, you don't have to report to me when you return. I'm spending the evening with my pet and I don't want to be disturbed."
A trail of blood followed him up the stairs.