The Demon Within
Disclaimer: I own a brand new 'Spike' coat but not much else.
Summary: What if the Initiative experiments were very different from just implanting a chip? AU from season 4.
Reviews: Yes please. Readers Rock but Reviewers RULE!
A/N: Was minding my own business finishing up 'Silence Is Golden Unless' and working on 'Resurrected' when that damn plot bunny stomped on my head with this insane idea. Please read and let me know what you think.
Thanks to WayWard Childe for reading it and giving me your valuable opinion.
The tests were done. All that was needed was for the Hostile to escape. Maggie Walsh was rather proud of herself. She'd wiped out all traces of humanity from the Hostile, converting it to pure demon form. Now the final step in her plan would take place, releasing the demon and watching how it acted with her little 'adjustment'. An evil smile played across her lips. This was gonna be fun.
In retrospect, it was almost too easy. If coherent thought had been possible the demon would have been suspicious. As it was, its only thoughts were about escape, food and killing. The escape part was accomplished easily, too easily but the demon did not see that. He now needed to feed. He was hungry, achingly so. He kept to the shadows unaware of the tracking device imbedded in his shoulder. It was not the only bit of scientific hardware in his body but he did not know that either. He lifted his head, scenting the air. Searching for someone to eat. He was so very hungry. There. Finally at the end of the alley. There was someone. Alone. Vulnerable. The demon silently moved in the shadows of the alley. The human paused as if hearing a noise or sensing a presence. The pause was all it took. The demon darted out almost too fast for the human eye to see, grabbed the hapless victim and pulled him into the darkness. There was no need to change visage. The demon was in control. The struggling human in the demon's arms didn't have time to scream. Except, he didn't die. He wasn't harmed at all. The second the demon placed his fangs on the skin of the human a searing pain shot through his head. Again, the demon tried to feed, tried to pierce the tender skin of the human in his arms but the pain returned, worse than before. Releasing his victim with a howl of agony, the demon ran. Preternatural speed kept the victim from seeing clearly who had held him so briefly. After a few minutes to recover, the human shakily and speedily ran home.
The demon continued to run. He couldn't understand what happened. He was still hungry but the pain in his head from trying to sate that hunger was tearing his skull apart. He took refuge in a crypt in the cemetery, huddled in a corner. The waves of pain had eased but his head still hurt. He couldn't understand. What was happening to him? His entire being pulsed with fury, pain and hunger. His instincts were all that was controlling him. Hunt. Feed. Kill. But he couldn't. Not without the pain. Confusion reigned in the feral golden eyes of the demon. Like the wild, wounded creature that he was, he crouched in the corner. Wary and afraid, he kept watch. He pulled his worn leather duster closer around his slender body and tipped his platinum head back to rest against the wall. Hunger ate at him and he growled in frustration.
Outside the crypt, the small group of soldiers who'd been assigned to follow this particular hostile gave each other small pats on the back. The equipment was working properly. The demon couldn't feed on living creatures without incurring a headache and the tracking device allowed them to follow without having to match the unnatural speed the demon had used. Riley Finn keyed his radio and reported in.
"Professor Walsh?" He said.
"Yes, Agent Finn." The scientist answered.
"The hostile has found refuge. If he follows normal patterns, he will establish his nesting place here. The equipment is working beautifully. He tried to feed but the chip nearly fried his brain. It was a lovely sight, I don't mind telling you. Tomorrow, while it's sleeping, we'll install cameras in its lair. We'll tranq it first to make sure but we should be able to get that part of the experiment done without problems." Riley reported.
"Excellent. That will be sufficient. Leave two men to watch over my pet and the rest of you get some sleep." Dr. Walsh instructed.
"Will do. Finn, out." Riley closed the connection and gave out the orders. The project was working perfectly.
The next day…
The installation of the surveillance equipment was accomplished without any problems. Agent Finn was very pleased things were going as well as they were. He was certain that he would realize a promotion when it was all said and done. The Hostile had been tranquilized and would wake up unaware he'd had company during the day. Now all that was needed was for the demon to awaken and attempt to hunt again. Finn set up a rotating shift schedule for the soldiers who would be assigned to watch the demon and track it on its nightly forays and hunting attempts. They set up posts on nearby crypts that overlooked the one the demon had chosen for its lair. Nothing could interfere with this stage of the experiment.
Later that night…
It had been a routine patrol. Buffy was happy that Giles had decided to come with her. It gave her someone to talk to while waiting for something interesting to fight. A rustle in the bushes caught her attention. She peered closely, stake ready, alert for whatever might be hiding there.
The demon tried to be still but hunger and fear made it difficult. He'd been hunting, hoping that this night would be different than before, that he would not suffer the crippling pain when he attempted to feed. A deep-seated unease had forced him into hiding. All his instincts were screaming for him to run, that the small human female was a danger to him. A sense of familiarity crept into his thoughts. He should know this human, this food source. Angry that he could not do what came naturally, dreading the pain that occurred when he did, he crouched in the inadequate cover provided by the shrubbery.
Buffy cautiously pulled aside some low hanging branches of the bush concealing the creature hiding there. A glimpse of platinum blond hair startled her. She backed away marginally.
"Giles? There's something here. I think maybe it's… Spike?" Buffy said uncertainly. "There's something wrong."
The Watcher moved up slowly behind his slayer. He peered over her shoulder trying to see into the brush. "If it is Spike, I'd say that classifies as something wrong. Are you sure?"
"Pretty sure. I mean that hair is kinda unique." She answered.
"Spike. Come out of there." She ordered. A low rumbling growl came from the depths of the greenery.
The demon was confused. The small female kept calling him by a… what was the word? A name? She kept calling him 'Spike'? What is a Spike? He shook his head. Attempting to do more than follow his instincts made his head hurt almost as bad as trying to feed had. He growled again, this time in pain. Raising his head, he scented the air. There seemed to be only the two humans. The other scents he'd detected near his new lair were not close enough for him to smell. Some of them were from 'that place' and he feared having to go back there.
Buffy heard the difference in the growling coming from the hidden demon. The hair and the black leather indicated that this was Spike but the behavior was not that of the snarky British vampire who'd helped her avoid an apocalypse. "Giles, I think he's hurt."
"How can you tell?" The Watchers asked curiously, he leaned in closer trying to get a better look at the snarling vampire.
"There's something about the way he sounds. Like he's hurting. He's never been shy before. The Spike I know would be out here trying to kick my ass." Buffy inched closer to the bush and pushed more branches out of the way.
The demon turned his head to look at the human. He should know that face. He frowned, his brow ridges shifting in confusion. He wanted to figure it out but it hurt his head to try. He growled again, finally moving out of the shrub and stalking toward the two humans.
Buffy backed carefully away from the advancing vampire. He was in full game-face. There was no recognition in the golden eyes. "Giles?" She whispered.
"I've never seen anything like this before. I wonder if we could study him. He seems to have reverted to purely demon form. Fascinating." The Watcher could not deny the overwhelming urge to figure out what had changed the vampire so much.
Without warning, Spike lunged at Buffy, fangs flashing in the light of the streetlamp yards away. He grasped her arm in a bruising grip only to let go just as fast. He dropped to his knees in front of the stunned Slayer and Watcher. He clasped his hands around his head with a howl of agony.
"Oh Dear Lord." Giles breathed. "What's wrong with him?"
Buffy watched the vampire with wide green eyes but she had no answer. In seconds Spike had recovered enough to regain his feet. His golden eyes glittered with something suspiciously close to tears. The humans were startled when he ran off.
'Run. Danger.' His instincts were shrieking at him to get as far away from the small female as fast as possible. That was all he had to go by anymore. Everything else had been removed. He finally made it back to his lonely crypt. The other scents were outside his lair again, the humans from that place. He curled up in the corner, frightened, hungry and confused.
In a lab deep underneath U.C. Sunnydale…
Maggie Walsh and Riley Finn watched as the demon huddled in the corner of his lair. The surveillance team had reported that the subject had at first hidden from and then attempted to assault a petite blond female and her older male companion. The only worrisome bit of information from the encounter was that the humans had appeared to recognize the Hostile. Professor Walsh gave orders for the team to monitor the situation and report any further contact with the unknown humans. They would not be allowed to interfere with the research.