Coming Through

Chapter Sixty Three – Plan B

Spike leaned sideways and peered around the vampire standing on his porch. "You're alone?" Angel nodded and opened his mouth, but Spike spoke before he could get a word out. "You're here to tell me that you fed the Watcher to Dru, aren't you? That's why I haven't heard from the old man in almost a week."

Angel inwardly sighed with relief. He'd been sure that Giles had already told Spike about what he'd done to Thomas, but apparently Giles was laying low… or he was dead. Drusilla always did have a little trouble keeping her fangs to herself. Angel tried not to smile – a smile would tip Spike off faster than almost anything else – and he tried to keep the relief out of his voice when he said, "I showed him the library…"

Spike laughed, "You turned an ex-librarian Watcher loose in a library? We'll be lucky to see him before Christmas… next year."

Angel chuckled slightly and nodded. "Yeah."

"So what're you doin' here then?"

Angel dropped his eyes and studied his shoes as he tried to inject as much sincerity as he could into his voice, "I… uh… I've been doing a lot of thinking…"

"Brooding, you mean."

Angel looked up, anger flashing on his face as he battled with Angelus to keep him from just reaching out and tearing Spike's head off. "No… thinking. Can you just shut up long enough for me to say this?"

Spike leaned his shoulder against the doorframe wearing a bored expression. "All right, I'm listening. Go ahead."

"Like I said, I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I didn't want to do this on the phone, so…"

"Do what?" Angel closed his eyes for a few seconds in frustration and Spike smirked. "Right. Shutting up."

Angel opened his eyes again, his brown orbs locked with Spike's blue ones. "I drove down here because I… I wanted to apologize to you and Buffy."

Spike's mouth dropped open, the smirk wiped completely from his features as a look of incredulous shock took its place. "You? Apologize to me? In what universe would you ever do that?"

Angel tried not to growl, but Angelus was getting harder and harder to keep under control. Angel was also slightly concerned about the blocks of time he'd lost in the last couple of days, when he'd suddenly been in places around his building that he didn't remember going to. And dealing with his insolent grandchilde was not helping his control in the least. He closed his eyes and snarled at Angelus, trying to get him to back off, then said calmly, "This one, apparently. Are you going to let me in or not? I only want to do this once, so could we go get Buffy so I can get it over with?"

Spike just stood staring at him for a moment then stepped back, waving the older vampire in. "Slayer's in the kitchen. Come on." Spike turned and started for the dining room, not noticing the evil smile Angel was sporting as he stepped over the threshold and closed the door.

Spike had only gotten three steps into the dining room when something hard crashed down on the back of his skull and he crumpled to the floor in a heap. Angel stood over him, clutching tightly in his fist the piece of enchanted black onyx he'd hit Spike with. "I know I've told you at least a hundred times to never turn your back on me. Guess I'll have to punish you for that. It'll be just like old times. Get ready to spend some 'quality time' with Angelus, Willy me boy. Think I'll let him out long enough to have some fun with you." He closed his eyes as images of all the 'fun' he'd had with a fledgling William during his pre-soul days washed through his mind then he lowered his hand and started for the kitchen, not noticing the tendrils of inky black smoke that slithered from the stone and wrapped around Spike's head.

Buffy heard something thump in the dining room and reached over to turn the music down as she cocked an ear toward the door. She called out, "Spike? Xander? You guys need some help?" When there was no answer, she put down the ice cream scoop and started for the door. She was just about to push it open when it slammed into her, knocking her back. She landed on the floor, her hands coming up to try to stem the blood flowing from her nose. She heard someone step into the kitchen and looked up just in time to see something dark speeding toward her head. It connected with her temple with a solid crack and then all she saw were stars that quickly faded into darkness.

Angel knelt down next to her, lightly stroking her cheek with his fingertips as he said, "You love me, Buffy. We're soul mates. You don't love Spike, you love me. We live in Los Angeles and you work with me at the firm. You don't love Spike, you love me. You came with me when I left Sunnydale after you beat the Mayor. You don't love Spike, you love me." He stopped talking then closed his eyes and pictured the life he wanted Buffy to believe was hers – just like the mage had instructed him to – as he held the magical stone above her forehead.

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Xander juggled the three pizzas and two bottles of soda he was carrying as he gave up waiting for somebody to answer the door and fumbled it open. "Hey, guys! I'm coming in so put your clothes back on!" Spike's duster started ringing, but with his hands full, Xander couldn't dig the phone out so he yelled again, "Hey, Spike! Your cell phone is ringing!" He made it into the living room and plopped the pizzas and sodas onto the coffee table. "You guys here? Anybody?"

Spike's cell cut off just as Xander started for the duster and a few seconds later the house phone started ringing. Xander dove for the couch, searching for the handset and found it stuffed between the arm and the cushion. He breathlessly pushed the button. "Hello? Uh… Summers residence, Xander speaking."

"Xander? Where is Spike?"

"Giles? Wow, haven't heard from you for a while. How's LA? Angel being a good little bloodsucker?"

"Where is Spike?"

"I don't know. I just got back and he's not in the living room or dining room. I haven't checked upstairs yet, but I'm not sure I want to. They're probably doing the horizontal mambo, and I…"

"Xander!"

"Giles?"

"It is vitally important that you locate Spike immediately. I'll wait."

"Uh… ok. Be right back." He started to set the phone down on the couch then rolled his eye at himself and started for the stairs, still clutching it in his hand. "Spike? Buffy? You guys up here? I'm coming up, so you'd better have your clothes on when I get there!" He quickly checked each room then headed back downstairs, stepping into the empty kitchen. There were three buckets of melting ice cream sitting on the counter, but no Buffy or Spike. He trotted down the stairs into the basement and back up then poked his head out into the back porch, but all he saw was the sleeping boulder demon in the back yard. He turned around to head back into the dining room and that's when he saw it – spatters and smears of blood on the kitchen floor.

"Uh, Giles? I think we may have a problem."

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Spike groaned around the gag in his mouth and closed his eyes, his lashes brushing against the blindfold he was wearing. God, his head hurt, and not just from the lump he could feel on the back whenever his head brushed the wall he was chained to. He was pretty sure his nose was broken and he could feel sticky blood on his cheeks, chin, and neck, so Angelus must have started the punishment while he was unconscious, which was a bit unusual, considering that he loved to hear Spike's cries of pain.

His head was the only thing that hurt… so far… so it looked like this was another of the sadistic git's 'Take It From The Top' punishments. If he stayed true to form, Angelus would stuff him full of blood and then Spike's torso would be punished – most likely with a metal bar or a set of brass knuckles. Then more blood before the whip would start punishing everything from the waist down. Everything. And of course Angelus would make sure to turn him around so he'd be able to mark up every square inch of Spike's legs before he'd bugger him bloody and then sodomize him with the handle of the whip. Then, by the time he'd flayed the skin off Spike's feet, Spike's face would be mostly healed and the cycle would start over. The last time this had happened, Angelus had cycled through seven times before he'd gotten bored, keeping Spike chained to the wall of the lair for nearly two months.

Spike was trying to remember what he'd done to anger his Grandsire enough to earn this punishment, but there seemed to be a gray fuzzy cloud blocking out most of his memories. He knew who he was and who the members of his immediate family were, but the only memories he could pull up dealt with nothing but his immediate family. He did have one clear flash of someone who wasn't his family, but it had been gone almost before he'd registered what it was – a small woman with shining blonde hair twirling as she fought.

He'd tried to pull her back up, see if he could get a look at her face, but he could remember nothing else, no one else, no matter how hard he'd concentrated, so he'd shrugged, finally deciding that it must have been Darla he'd seen. But why he'd be thinking of Darla when he was chained to a wall about to be beaten to within an inch of his unlife was a mystery, considering he hated her and tried his very best not to even acknowledge her existence. He especially hated how she'd stand there, laughing with delight whenever Angelus struck particularly hard or in a sensitive area. Watching Angelus whip his dangly bits seemed to be her favorite pastime other than shagging the great hulking lummox.

Spike silently sent up a wish that she'd be off visiting the Master during this punishment. That way Dru wouldn't have to see it, either, since Darla usually took her along. Watching Angelus punish him always sent Dru even further around the twist, and it would take weeks to get her back to some semblance of normalcy.

Because of the blindfold and his swollen nose, he hadn't been able to figure out where his Grandsire had him chained this time, but it sounded big. Anytime he'd moved, scraping his feet on the floor or rattling the chains attached to his wrists, the sound had echoed, so he was in a large room… somewhere. The wall behind him felt like stone. It was cold and damp against his bare skin, so he was guessing that he was in a cave, but that was all he'd been able to come up with.

He slumped against the wall, relaxing his arms as much as possible and letting his head drop onto his shoulder. Best get some sleep while he could. Who knew when Angelus would come back to start the next phase of the punishment?

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Buffy opened her eyes and groaned as bright spears of pain lanced through her head. She lifted her hand and gingerly touched her nose, wincing at the painful throb. Her fingers slipped up to her temple and she winced again at the blood matted hair she found. She didn't want to chance lifting her head, so she just turned it slightly, taking in her surroundings. "A hotel room? What am I doing in a hotel room?"

The door suddenly swept open and Angel stepped through, a fast food bag in one hand and a first aid kit in the other. "Oh good, you're awake. I was starting to get worried; you've been unconscious for a few hours. I brought you something to eat and some bandages to take care of that cut on your head." He pushed the door closed with his foot and moved toward the bed, setting the bag down on the nightstand before sitting down next to her and opening the first aid kit.

Buffy scooted slightly away from him. "Angel? What are you doing here? Where is here?"

"Sunnydale. We came down from LA to help the new slayer and decided to do a patrol for old time's sake. Don't you remember the Fyarl demon that hit you with a rock?"

"New slayer? LA? What? We? What do you mean, we?"

"You and me. We come down to help out once in a while."

Buffy's eyes narrowed suspiciously as she maneuvered herself into a sitting position, trying to ignore the throbbing in her head. "We don't do anything, Angel. Where's Spike?"

Angel flinched then pasted a smile on his face. "Spike? Wow, that Fyarl demon must have hit you harder than I thought. We haven't seen Spike in years, not since he took off to South America with Dru."

Buffy's eyes narrowed further, but now it was in anger. "Bullshit. I don't know what you're trying to pull, but I was with him earlier! At my house! We're going to be mated!" She reached up and fingered Spike's Claim mark, just above the collar that only Spike could remove, and she suddenly noticed that Angel had the singed fingertips to prove it. "See? This is his mark! What the hell have you done to me and where the hell is Spike?"

Angel sighed as his shoulders slumped in dejection, "It didn't work."

"What didn't work?"

Angel reached over to the nightstand and hefted a pear-sized black rock. "This." Then he swung his hand out lightning fast, the rock connecting with Buffy's temple once again. The force of his blow threw her sideways across the bed and sent her crashing to the floor on the other side. He tucked the rock into his pocket then walked around the bed and hefted Buffy up over his shoulder. "The mage told me it might not be strong enough to overcome the Claim, but I had to try. Guess it's time for plan B."