Title: Interviewed By A Vampire
Rating: T (just to be safe)
Summary: This is PreIsland AU. A crossover with Buffy the Vampire Slayer end of Season 4, after 'Primeval'. Sayid is trapped in the remains of the Initiative's bunker, overlooked but for one out of sorts vampire.
Featured Characters: Sayid, Spike
Status of Fic: complete
Author's Notes/Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story, nor do I own any rights to the television show "Lost". They were created by JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof and they belong to them, Touchstone, and ABC.
I've played fast and very loose with time line. This meeting couldn't happen by about 10 years. I did it anyway.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story, nor do I own any rights to the television show "Lost". They were created by JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof and they belong to them, Touchstone, and ABC. Nor do I claim any to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" – Joss Whedon's genius.
Thanks to IslandPalm and Whoknowswhy99 – betas, handholders, motivators extraordinaire.
Sayid had not spent much time considering bunkers. They were part of the landscape to the Iraqi citizen. They were a piece of equipment to the Iraqi soldier. Either point of view understood that they protected the Leader and his assets. At no point in the considerations did he think of a bunker outside of Iraq, especially in the Decadent West – one word to him until reaching fifth class – populated with chimera extracted from afternoon matinees of his youth, chimera donned in strange human attire. Least of all, did he consider his own slow demise inside of one so far away from home.
Yet here he was in a bunker, under the ridiculously named town of Sunnydale, surrounded by dead creatures worthy of nightmares fueled by those matinees, his right leg pinned to the unyielding floor by a mechanical unit the size and shape of a book shelf in university library. It had taken a small troupe of horned beasts to fling the block of mechanism designed for those who liked blinking lights and whirling parts, and his poor luck to present as it landed. He was undecided at the moment if his superior's luck was worse, being completely covered by the hunk of steel. Sayid hoped that the death had been quick and wavered between wishing the same had been his fate and the hope that human help would arrive soon.
The battle – no, melee better described the chaos of beasts and humans he had just witnessed - took place in an arena of concrete. The objective of the clash was simply to kill, utilizing varied weapons: guns, claws, horns, teeth. It had lasted what seemed hours. Screams, gun shot, blaring sirens, sparks from exploding machinery had filled the space as beings rushed at one another. There had been a lull when the lights died but as the emergency power changed the dark to a red haze, savagery reigned once more.
That he remained alive once trapped amazed him. He speculated, now in the horrible quiet, that he did not provide enough of a challenge to those bent on killing their captors and invisible to those intent on quelling the escaped. He must have been stuck a number of times as combatants raged around him but was never a target. He had no explanation. Perhaps he was mistaken for dead after he lost consciousness.
The eerie groans and horrible cries were slowly replaced by a silence broken only by drops plopping irregularly. It did not take long for the aggregate body fluids of the deceased to congeal into a stench that threatened to gag him. Only the thought of being found dead in his own sick kept his stomach contents down. He ignored the possibility that he might not be found at all or not be recognizable if the American military investigated the disappearance of its troops. He did not address being found by something other than human.
He had been trailing his superior – shooting when necessary, wending their way to the nearest exit. They had no part of this fight to retain – what had they been called? Sub terrestrials? They had been sent as emissaries of the Leader's army to show an interest in this US Military Project – perhaps because it sounded so unbelievable. Perhaps more arms was the desired outcome.
They had not made it to the elevator or the stairs. Sayid's last glimpse of his superior had been of raised arms, empty pistol still clutched in his hand, as the machine had crashed atop of him.
His screams had been quickly silenced.
Sayid shifted, biting his bottom lip as red jolt of pain shot up his spine. He wished for something to support his back then amended the wish to be freed. The leg throbbed painfully but there was naught to be done for it. He eased onto his back, leaning on his elbows. He would not lie down again. The idea caused a ripple of ill ease as he recalled the terror of waking in the hell tinted bunker.
He wondered how long it would take to starve to death. He did not believe that he was bleeding - outside of his nose from wild punches, his face and arms from scratches and gouges. He disregarded the idea of infection from the claws and digits of the creatures that swung and snapped at him. He had ascertained his injuries upon waking, using his hands pushed down his leg as far as he could reach under the slab. It had been an examination wrought with stabbing jolts but he found no sign of blood. Shock was not in his immediate future.
But neither was movement. Or freedom. He was not able to drag the limb from underneath the machine or budge its weight. His muscles jumped with effort as he tried but to no avail.
Would the American Military come? The operation was clandestine: a secret bunker, disguised troops; the ingress hidden behind panels in a fraternity house; had the misleading name of the Initiative. Did the causalities include all of the unit or did anyone survive to walk the battlefield? Sayid had watched the unit's commander disappear under a wall of blue fur and green scales. He fought a low feeling as he realized that expecting help, in or outside the military was a wasted wish; one that he did not admit to making.
A sound – from where? – broke the horrible silence. His heart began to pound. Someone – something? – that did not feel the need for stealth was moving about. He cast about for a weapon. Nothing was at hand. Cement, dust, and rubble littered the ground around him, the machine over him. He looked about slowly, trying to see before being seen.
He was not successful. Had the weight on his leg not been abetting gravity, he would have jumped when a soft, rich male voice sounded in his left ear.
"Well now, look at you all trapped and alone."
Sayid gasped and whipped his head to lock eyes with a grinning man crouched next to him.
Sayid's eyes followed as the speaker, his attire testifying to his lack of military involvement, rose to stand over him. "Your mates run off and leave you?"
The man was dressed in black made darker by the dim light, his hands now thrust deep into pockets of his long coat, pulling it tight across his shoulders. His smile was mocking, his eyes calculating as they studied Sayid, his short white hair tinged crimson by the glow.
Despite his immobility, Sayid squirmed. The gaze was disconcerting, somehow threatening. Was this man human? Sayid attempted to suppress the dizzying thought that he was pressed to the floor by the eyes alone.
"Noooooo. My miss." The grin grew wider, cruel. "You don't play for the home team."
Sayid identified the accent as British. The pocketed hands were freed as the head cocked to the right, the eyes narrowed. "So no one's gonna be trackin' you."
"I am a member of the Iraqi Republican Guard," Sayid stated crisply, pleased that his voice did not waver despite the tightening of his throat. This one was not on a rescue mission. The hope that it was human dissolved with that of release.
"Yeah?" It dropped back to a squat, eye level, its coat pooling on the floor. "Iraqi? In'nt that Persia?" The grin was now open mouthed, the tongue curling behind the teeth.
The sense of being toyed with tempered the heat but Sayid could not stifle his retort, "We are Arabs." Neither could he prevent the lesson. "Iran was Persia."
"That right?" It rocked back on its heels. "No one here gonna take you for a Persian ginger cat." The mouth closed to a tight smirk.
Cold dread filled him. "What are you?" His mouth was dry, like the floating concrete dust falling around them. It betrayed the emotion as the words caught. His eyes felt huge despite his attempts to control the outward signs of fear. He forced his hands to open from tight fists, resisting the desire to curl into as much of a ball as possible.
"Here kitty kitty. How long've you been in Sunnyhell?" Dark eyebrows, a startling contrast to the hair, pushed down to crease the pale forehead. "Ever see me before?" With a short shake of his head, the smooth faced morphed into one of thickened skin pulled about the nose and cheeks, coarsened features, eyes protected by heavy ridges, jagged teeth pushing the jaw slightly forward. It smiled. The effect was feral.
It was terrifying.
The man in the coat was a vampire.
As their attaché, a black man named Forrest had led the Iraqi contingent through the maze of the facility, he had stated emphatically that the animals contained in the cages were not human, most not even sentient. Forrest had classified them all as 'sub terrestrials' despite the obvious different types apparent even to Sayid's disbelieving perspective. At the shoulder of his superior as they had visited the place, Sayid had tried to avoid meeting the stares from the clear walls of the cells. Hostility, pleading, or madness had poured from the beings claimed to be so much less than human that experimentation was done freely, openly on them.
The first time Sayid had witnessed some type of medical procedure on a struggling, strapped, animal he had been shocked and sickened, the shrieks echoing in his ears. His superior had blithely marched past and Sayid had wondered if the rumors concerning his interrogation techniques to rise through the ranks were not exaggerations after all.
On one early morning tour – why did they keep coming back to this cavern? Why were they attending these briefings? – Forrest had used a taser on such a being strapped to a gurney, promising to surprise them. He had succeeded. The young woman's face had transmogrified into a gruesome mask. "Vampire," tossed Forrest, handing the weapon to a sentry. "We got them under control."
Not long after that, Forrest was replaced. Graham, another of the series of young white men in uniform, seemed much more placid to Sayid. His route to the briefing room did not involve weaving through the maze of cages. But the image of the vampire had stayed with Sayid.
Now Sayid felt trapped by this creature's gaze. He was dizzy, his breaths rapid and shallow, his heart racing. He was unable to look away.
"Cat got your tongue?" mocked the monster. It leaned close to Sayid's neck and inhaled deeply. "You smell bloody delicious." It pulled back, running its tongue over its bottom lip.
Fear was strangling him. He would die without the creature laying a hand on him.
He was suddenly a boy watching in dismay as his aunt's cat tortured a mouse. He attempted to intervene but the end results were not hued with cheer: the mouse was dead, he was scratched, and the cat stalked him malevolently at visits thereafter, nasty sharp nips when he least expected.
With a tiny shake of his head, Sayid rejected the role of mouse. His mind churning, he reached for an argument to dissuade the being from killing him. Was he mad to think of asking for humane treatment from a creature not human? He tried to ignore that humane to the monster could be to complete the act quickly.
"And me all peckish like." The tongue returned to the mouth as it stretched into the semblance of a smile. "Any last words? Not that anyone will ever hear 'em, but I like to do things right and proper."
Sayid closed his eyes. He needed more time! The image of flailing limbs flashed through his mind, not the persuasion that he needed. Logic, now with a voice, whispered that to resist death was foolish, that submission was his only path. With a deep breath, he attempted to quiet his mind, make what peace that he could. He would die a soldier's death – with dignity, facing his foe calmly. Without fear.
Resignation was new to him: leaving university in the middle of the term was his first lesson in it and although the military demanded complete acquiescence at his rank, he struggled. Every day was a challenge to bow and scrap at the whim of ranking officers, choking back anger at his father for placing him in the position that so denied his nature.
He should take a deep breath, several, order his thoughts, place an image on which to focus as long as possible.
Rage, bubbling deep in his chest, refused the idea. He was not ready to die – in particular in such an ignoble fashion.
Sayid turned his head to face the creature. "I will not go easily," he declared, lifting his chin. His voice was low pitched, but the force behind it was palpable. "You will prevail but know that my blood is tainted with such disgust for your cowardly action – I am trapped and unable to defend myself! - it will sicken you so you will be….," he hunted madly and found the memory of the jocular insults traded by his father and friends. He wanted to scream with frustration, instead grasped tripped over a thought that should be horrifying to a predator. "Be unable to attack another." His hands pulled into fists as he tensed himself for the assault, back stiff, jaw clenched.
The words were weak. They would probably be met with hilarity. Sayid pushed air from his lungs, narrowed his eyes, letting all of his anger spill onto his face.
The eyes blinked. Once. Twice. A horrible grin spread slowly across the face, bringing Sayid's full attention to the razor edged teeth. "Now that's a real curse," it chuckled, plopping onto the floor, legs crossed the shins. "No barkin' soul to bollix things up. No woe is evil me broodin'. Poetry. Like it."
Confusions, along with uncertain relief, poured through Sayid, making him sag momentarily. He realized that he was looking at the vampire with perplexity and attempted to school his face. He straightened his spine, flinching as pain sizzled through his leg.
"What's the name, soldier boy?" The creature lifted his seat to pull the coat free, straightening his legs as he plumbed the pockets' depths.
"Sayid Jarrah," he answered automatically and cursed again the training that had been slowly draining his will.
"Well Sayid Jarrah." Long white fingers fumbled and produced a cigarette that was pressed between lips that now framed smooth teeth as the creature settled to sit. "Know a ponce hit with a curse. Bloody pain in the arse it made him. A right prat." A match was struck, flame casting a brief golden glow on the sculpted face. "Can't take the chance yours might bugger me samewise." The left hand waved the match and tossed it away as the vampire inhaled deeply. "No ginger cat, but maybe gypsy."
Sayid swallowed the automatic correction. If being any part a gypsy stayed his death, he would read the vampire's palm. He watched in awed trepidation the cigarette shrink. If death was not to transpire, what was?
A thousand questions swamped his mind – he disregarded those that could be associated with demise. No need to remind …this thing that ….it had elected not to kill him. So far. He mulled until the cigarette was flicked into the dankness. Sayid watched its arc. "Do vampires have names?" he asked, then looked at the demon.
"Think we're all called Dracula?" The voice was amused; the eyes were intent upon him.
"I have not thought about it at all," replied Sayid. He added, "Until now. Would Dracula be the tribe name?"
"I died, bloody fool. Became a creature of the night, not got soddin' matrimonial," sneered the creature. It pulled its back to full height. "Made the bloody Watcher's Guide. Two pages. When type was set by hand."
Seconds ago he did not know of the book's existence. Now his palms itched to hold it, to page respectfully through its knowledge. Books produced this reaction in him, though not all. He had little interest in fiction and at this moment recognized that if presented with the tome between classes and coffees at University, he would have rejected it disparagingly. He was to be a scientist; there was no time for the fantasies of the imaginative if not morbid fancies of the mad.
Simmering anger towards his father, anger he had considered permanently banked, flared hotly. Books, foods, clothes – all were required to possess complete utility. The list grew to include his son as he reached the age of military service. Sayid knew that he was not military fabric. His mind was wasted in the ranks. He was not one that sought glory or power. He understood the need for a strong army. He recognized the benefits that had been enjoyed by his family because of the standing of his father but none of these led to the son following the father's footsteps.
"What, it was on the required readin' list for the Iraqi Republican Guard?" observed the vampire. "For a look that dark, you musta read about Angelus."
Sayid swallowed and eased his face into neutrality. He was tired to let his emotions so close to the surface. He was handing the creature the means to needle him. He sighed and looked at the sharp face. "You are not a straight forward animal."
The grin dimmed slightly, the piercing gaze seemed to turn inward. "Got that right, Sayid Jarrah. I am an animal." It pulled its legs to its chest, resting its wrists on its knees. "Stripes can change but the heart stays true. I kill for pleasure." It considered further, the gaze returned to full intensity as it rested on his face. "Your vocation puts a nobler face on it, donit?"
"My stripes do not include killing for pleasure." He would not share his true feelings with this killer. Its tone, not boastful, did not hold shame. If pride in killing was held, Sayid's dismay in belonging to an organization whose main goal was to keep the Leader in power through intimidation - a means accomplished through many ways including random death - might only aggravate the creature. That could not result in any good.
The monster made show of inspecting Sayid's uniform. "Not sportin' many yet. Obviously someone thinks you're capable. Just need some trainin'."
Sayid blinked quickly, dropping his eyes to his hands. Had the killer resumed toying with him? How could it know the pain of such words? Was the creature aware of the burn at the back of his throat when he considered his position? His father, the hero, revered by all, believed that his son would excel in the military. Sayid pushed with his right arm as pain jangled again through his leg, and thought with dark satisfaction that his death, completely without glory, would certainly prove otherwise.
"Not like bein' a vampire. You claw your way from the grave with this burn in your belly, mad in your brain for blood." The grin faded; it was seeing a past that produced a great longing.
The expression surprised Sayid from his bleak reverie. Without knowing it, he had absorbed Forrest's view that sub terrestrials were without ….humanity, without any real thought or feeling. Watching the emotions cross the vampire's countenance confused him. Wasn't it evil? Did evil yearn for better days? What would that be?
"You know it's ambrosia, the best thing to ever pass your tongue. To kill is your purpose, your art, and you know where and how and if you can avoid the slayer or falling onto some sharp bit of wood, you survive."
The voice stopped and Sayid realized that he had been mesmerized by its richness, the flow of words. The tone had matched this countenance, the words that of the beast. Who or what was this creature? What was its place in the world?
"Even a git like you could thrive. Not like the club you belong to now." Another cigarette was pawed, then lit. The relish of the inhale smoothed its features with bliss. The expression slid to sly as the demon's attention returned to Sayid. "Interested?" it asked, smoke wafting lazily from the open mouth.
"What?" The hair on the back of his neck raised as his stomach lurched. His eyes widened. Wondering was not becoming. "No!"
The lips set smugly, followed by a slight nod. "Thought not."
That the being believed that it was so easily reading Sayid pushed a bubble of irritation through him. His leg throbbed as he shifted to find a more comfortable position. He turned his attention back to the vampire, struggling to contain the annoyance as the mocking eyes met his. If the beast felt that it understood him so well, perhaps it wouldn't mind answering some questions now.
"How long have you been a ….vampire?" The word was inane. The situation was ludicrous. Yet he was not laughing. Neither, he acknowledged with a wry and deprecating twist, was he dead.
The exasperating mirth faded as the dark brows pulled close.
Sayid frowned, struggling to distinguish the direction of the gaze – was it inward or was he its target? Was the creature truly capable of plumbing his depths? Was it seeing what others – his father – could not?
What would it tell him were he to ask what was found wanting, what was sound. What would his father say to that, his son weighing the words of the parent against that of a monster?
"We have a thing or two in common, soldier boy," it said slowly. "And not just being in SunnyD at the wrong time." It sighed, holding the cigarette before it with its left hand, focusing on the burning ember. "Pushin' change in my – down our throats." It glanced at Sayid, and returned the tobacco to its lips. "It all comes down to this, dunnit? Sitting here, being what they want."
"Becoming a vampire was not your choice?" Then the view had been internal? There was nothing to gain there.
"This?" It squinted, the jaw moving from side to side to end in a reflective grin. "Naah, I was good on this."
"Then -" Confusion was irksome. To what did the monster refer?
"Not that I planned it. It fell on me, so to speak." The grin grew sly, then matter of fact. "Dunno that I was completely…..aware of what I was getting into." Its expression touched on wistful. "Woman involved."
"Without all facts, it was not a choice," said Sayid firmly. He stopped, and added, "Regardless of who was involved."
The mouth pulled tight, the eyes narrowed. "That right?" The tone was cold, the words picked up speed. "You just out of the pram and all knowing about choices. Grow a few rings. Then we'll …chat."
It jumped to its feet, pointing at the machinery. "Oh, that's right. Not gonna happen, is it? You're trapped under some soddin' bit of tin under a bloody bit of foreign ground, and no. One. Cares." It took several steps away from his prison, turned and stomped back. "Listen, you pillock, it was my choice. A question. An answer. This bit of silicon in my noggin," the hand holding the cigarette tapped the head with such force ash was sent floating, oddly limned in scarlet, to the ground. "This was done. To. Me. No choice."
The pull on the nicotine was angry, as was the force of the exhalation. It glared at Sayid. The creature was clearly displeased with him. He knew it did not speak well of him that seeing this pleased him.
"Not all have your….fortune." He certainly did not and would not be painted with brush of the weak because of it. "There are not always choices."
The cigarette butt was flicked away, Sayid following the glowing arc. He sighed as it disappeared into the darkness and looked back at the creature. It was studying him intently, anger gone.
"Military not your choice, lieutenant?" Its proper pronunciation was comforting to Sayid's ear after the Americanized edges of the past week. "Tough work that."
Sayid leaned back, easing his weight on his elbows. He did not expect empathy from the beast. But, he acknowledged reluctantly, expectations have not withstood its company. "Destiny," he said flatly.
"Destiny?" laughter erupted from the vampire. It was almost a giggle. "You stupid sot, destiny is for the big boys. Just because you didn't say no doesn't make it predestined."
"I said no!" The words slipped past his lips. He grimaced and pushed up to sit, biting his lip at the tearing sensation in his leg. How could it matter what this killer thought of him? There were no answers here. The beast took no aim but scattered comments that could pass as insight.
"Then you had choices. Destiny doesn't come with choices." The vampire stretched languidly and crouched next to him, face close.
"My options –"
'You own you had 'em," it cut in smoothly.
"There is no honour in shirking duty," retorted Sayid hotly.
"Ohhh! Honour," it smirked condescendingly "Duty. Sounds like Britannica hit your shores for a time. Spreadin' all that natter about God and country, honour and duty. Bugger it all, you ponce. Duty's just a word used on the masses so they can moo their way to cannon fodder. Doesn't preclude 'no'."
"No is not always an option," he argued. "You do not understand my culture. When my father –"
"Ohhhh," the smirk grew into an open mouthed grin.
The urge to squeeze the throat to stop the superior tone swept through him. He was an easy target for ridicule to this killer. There was little humanity in it.
"It's all about the patriarch." It drew its legs to its chest and rocked in glee. "Tell ol' Spike about Daddy dearest."
"You are not worthy of knowing his name!" said Sayid angrily. The mocking frustrated him. He would not add his father – not so much as his name – as a target of this monster. He would not betray his blood. Not even in reciprocation.
"Not me put you in the uniform, lad," came the soft and unexpected reply. "Wouldn't do that to my worst enemy." Spike paused, and grinned wickedly. "Well, Angelus."
Sayid closed his eyes, weariness washing through him. The vampire's mercurial moods were difficult, he acknowledged. The bleakness that lumped in his stomach had nothing to do with the thought that his father's insistence of a military career for him felt a greater hazard somehow than Spike's fangs. It was the speed from angry to amused that brought home that he had little to no hope of surviving this encounter.
He lifted his head and watched as Spike rose easily, hands plumbing pockets once more, face drawn, eyes hooded.
Sayid waited until the cigarette was found and lit then asked, "What was your destin - not your choice?" He ignored the faint tone of pleading in his voice.
Spike cocked an eye brow, grinning around the lit ember. "Won't participate in soddin' destiny, mate. It had a tedious mediocrity with an inglorious death all chalked out for me." Spike rolled his shoulders, stretching his neck. "Buggered it the night I met Drusilla. Been thwartin' it ever since."
"What was the choice that was not given?" persisted.Sayid. This was better. He was leading the questions now.
The cigarette ash danced in the dim light, bringing out the almost constant movement of Spike's hands. "Sorta a sideways angle from your troubles. Damn solider boys pressed a chip into my head. Tryin' to change my behaviour." The red point paused midway to Spike's mouth. "Maybe not so sideways."
Spike's head turned suddenly. "Think we got company, mate." He dropped the cigarette from knee height, crushing it with his toe. "Back in mo."
Sayid strained to hear. He glanced up at Spike to spot the back of the coat melting into the dim light. His heart began to pound in his ears, his throat draw tight. He would appreciate later the irony of feeling vulnerable without the vampire nearby, he decided, his eyes drilling into the dark until they watered. He could see nothing, hear nothing. Once again, he waited.
"Well pet." Sayid jumped as Spike's smooth tone crooned in his ear. "The Cavalry has arrived."
Sayid sighed, "Are they human?"
Spike grinned but it was dark, inward "This is Sunnydale," he said dryly. "It couldn't be any other way." He squatted near the corner of the metal, pushing his palms under it. He seemed to try the weight, pushing up experimentally. "Just think, it not Captain Cardboard himself, you'll get to meet one just like him."
Spike pushed up.
As pressure on his leg decreased, hot tongues of pain flared through his leg. Sayid gasped and reached down.
"Move it or lose it, lad," grunted the vampire.
Sayid pushed against the gritty floor, backing away until his leg was free.
A thick, metallic tone sounded as Spike straightened, dusting his hands. He reached for a cigarette. "It's been entertainin', corporal. Ta ever so." He turned so the coat flared behind him.
"Ahh…..Spike," called Sayid, the name foolish on his tongue, his fingers moving gingerly down his limb.
The vampire turned, cigarette between lips, hands poised to strike a match. "Yeah?"
"What was done to you? That you will outwait?" Sayid was no medic. He had no idea the seriousness of his wound so he took the time for the question before calling to the search party. His curiosity outweighed his pain at that moment.
"Military did me one up from you." The smoking match fell without ceremony. "No more bitin' of the humans. Nice little shock when I try." He inhaled and grinned ferally, "For now."
With a minute shake of the head, the coarse features returned. The grin did not diminish, if anything grew broader. Spike turned and stepped away. He paused, just a faint outline now. "Oi!" he shouted, the sound loud and slightly distorted through the teeth. "Man down over here! Best step it up before some beastie takes a taste!"
Sayid stared at the spot, no longer able to make out the vampire's shape. He turned at the sound of voices moving closer. Even to those searching this area, he had no idea what he would say – if anything – about the time with the vampire. He felt an odd loathing to mention the creature, especially to those associated with this project. Sayid liked the idea that the vampire would do extend the courtesy should Spike come across his father. He could not rule the meeting impossible. Nothing fit into that category. Now.