Standard disclaimers apply.

"You could probably tell me what I'm doing wrong. But honestly, I sorta hope you don't." The cheerful face leaned closer to his, and Giles wished he had been able to finish the job at the factory - or that Buffy had any of the times she'd had the chance. "Because I really wanna torture you."

Later - minutes, hours, who knew - Angelus had walked off looking for the perfectly shaped branding iron and he heard the squeak of badly oiled wheels. He kept his head down, just tried to keep Buffy in mind, and Willow and Xander and even Cordielia. He'd like to think he was a man who would give his life for any one of them, he could stand the pain for all of them and the rest of the world, besides.

"Mr Stone actually do what Peaches thinks?" Not the question he expected and he found his gaze involuntarily drawn to the sharp profile beside him. The blond vampire wasn't even looking at him, just lighting a cigarette and looking towards the courtyard. "Was thinking it would be a trip, yeah, if its mouth was open because it was in the middle of singing, or 'Gelus pulled the sword and Ugly attacked him, like it was a training golem or summat..."

The laugh startled out of him by that image immediately turned to a choking cough. Spike rummaged around in the chair until he found a bottle and offered a drink. Whiskey, and not a good brand at that, but he made himself swallow as the vampire continued his thoughts. "But I figure it must be something good for Peaches or at least bad for you lot, else you wouldn't be putting up such a fight, right? Still and all - swallow the whole world into Hell?" Sharp blue eyes suddenly pinned him. "Really?"

Unsure of where this creature's loyalties lay, he took a chance. "Really. It will take some time, perhaps days before everything is gone, but the texts are clear on Acathla's purpose." He got another sip in response and wondered if he was bring drugged, or lulled, or tricked in some way. But the vampire only lit another cigarette and took a long slow drag.

"Can't say I fancy the idea." Again, he wasn't looking directly at Giles. "Dru thinks it will be wicked fun and tea parties for all, but I can't see it working out. Tried to tell her, 'no one makes doll dresses in Hell, love, and where could I take you dancing' but she's so wrapped up in what her sodding 'Daddy' wants she won't even consider whether the demons what would end in charge even tolerate half breeds like ourselves..."

Now he was looking in amazement and he heard his own voice say, "Such creatures would probably consider most Earthly demons to be tainted with humanity, much less a vampire."

Spike nodded, smoked more, gave him another drink. He wondered how much longer they had before Angelus returned. "Tried to make a deal with your Slayer." Said so casually, like it was something Master vampires did regularly. "Chit wasn't in the mood to talk, unfortunately. Would have liked to get rid of 'Gelus, get Dru back, you know?" And he did know, knew the story written between the lines in the Watcher journals, of a vampire powerful for his age, who could have held a court a century ago but wandered itinerant instead, deferring and catering to a sire he had long surpassed in strength and had been turned surpassing in sense. "Gonna have to settle for damage control until I get a better chance."

Giles figured he was imagining the note of sympathy in the soulless monster's voice, but anything could happen and lately had. "Kill me?"

"Sorry mate," and it sounded sincere, "don't fancy taking your place, and vampires can survive a lot more than humans." Blue eyes darted to the doorway and the vampire's voice lowered as he offered the human a final drink. "Peaches hates being called a poof. Think Darla handed him around the Court when he was a fledge. Gets him killing mad."

By the time Angelus walked back into the room, Spike was back in a corner, smoking without concern, and he looked on with blank eyes and the occasional professional suggestion as the watcher was tortured again. But when Giles pretended to break and told the smug bastard that he would have to perform the ceremony in a low cut frock so that he would be ready to be buggered by the newly awakened Acathla like the demon's bitch that he was, the blond raised his cigarette in a quiet salute. And when he heard the crack of his own neck breaking, he felt both pride and gratitude.