A/N: The lyrics in this chapter are from the song "Punk Rock Candy Mountain" by the Bone Fags.
Part III: Punk Rock Candy Mountain
Spike turned in the rental SUV just before they left California. On the same night, he found a bank teller's window that was open after sundown and withdrew all of the money from William and Katie Conner's account. He'd open a new account once they were settled. Or maybe he'd just stuff it all under the mattress…
He'd decided he didn't want to make it too easy for Peaches to find them. Sure, nothing would stop his sire if Angel really put his mind to it, but there was no need to leave the bank account open as a neon sign pointing the way.
That done, they went about getting themselves a new set of wheels. Red came in handy for that. Once Spike spotted a car he liked – a perfectly restored vintage Ford Mustang, black with a red stripe – he sent Red over to lurk around until the owner showed up. When the middle-aged man arrived, his comb-over failing to hide a bald spot, Red stepped out of the shadows, a tearful look on her face. In minutes she had the old sod wrapped around her finger and ushering her into the car.
Once they'd driven off, Spike crossed the street and waited where the car had been parked, lighting up a smoke. One and a half fags later, the Mustang came back around, shuddering and starting. It seemed that Spike's princess was a little too nutters to drive a stick shift.
Spike made short work of stowing their belongings in the back seat, and then he made Red shove over so that he could drive.
"I did just what you said, my Spike. I broke his neck so that his blood wouldn't make pretty pictures all over me."
"Did you put him in the boot?"
"We'll snack on him in a bit, before the blood gets too cold." Spike caressed her cheek, leaning over to plant a kiss on her lips. "You've done well, pet."
She leaned into his touch, beaming at him.
Red watched Spike drive for a while, taking note of when he shifted gears and when he used the clutch. The human Willow had never learned to drive stick, and so the vampire didn't know either. She paid close attention now, not wanting to look foolish in front of her Dark Prince again.
Eventually, she got bored. She wanted to ask Spike so many things, but she wasn't yet ready to let him know that her crazy act was just that – an act. So she settled for occupying herself with changing Rose's clothes and combing through the doll's hair with her fingers. When that stopped being amusing, she fiddled with the radio stations until Spike snapped at her and turned the station to punk rock. Finally she was reduced to pressing her face against the glass of the window, staring out at the passing scenery.
"Bored now," she whined.
"We'll stop soon, kitten," Spike promised.
"Bored now," Red repeated, dropping into game face. Her demon had little tolerance for being made to wait, and she was irritated and hungry enough not to even attempt to control it.
Spike grinned at her, and suddenly the car was filled with the smell of desire. He liked the look of her demon. He enjoyed her defiance.
Without replying to her again, Spike pulled the car over onto the shoulder of the road. Red clapped her hands, sensing both lust and violence within him. Seconds later and they were out of the car, Spike roughly pulling Red along by the hand.
She reveled in the feel of his fingertips digging into her wrist, in the bruises that he would leave. She pushed, and Spike pushed back. This was what she wanted, what she craved.
This was what Angel hadn't been able to give her.
Spike shoved her down, one large hand grasping her throat. If she needed to breathe, she'd be choking. He slipped into game face, and Red raised her hands to caress his ridges, his beauty making her thighs wet. She put up a token resistance, and then they were rolling along the ground in a haze of intermingled pleasure and pain. It was Red's punishment, but also her reward. In one tangle of blood and sex, Spike was asserting himself as her elder, her sire for all intents and purposes.
But her Brother in Blood, he who shared a maker with her, was giving her a distraction, alleviating her boredom as he played her body like a musician, eliciting waves of pleasure one moment, and curling her toes with pain the next.
Perhaps the intricacies of the act and all its underlying meaning would confuse and horrify her human self. But to the Vampiress Red, it was perfectly simple.
They made their way leisurely down the west coast, heading south, to the border. Spike was thinking they'd hole up in the dark jungles of South America, and he'd teach his girl everything she needed to know about being the Big Bad. He wanted out of the United States for a while. All it had done recently was kick his ass. The Slayer, the Initiative, the bloody Prince of Poofs – they could all have their precious United States.
He'd briefly considered Europe, showing Red around his old stomping grounds, but ultimately decided against it. Europe was the seat of the Watcher's Council. One day Red would be able to walk fearlessly through the front door of their headquarters and all the stuffed shirts would piss themselves in fear, of that he had no doubt, but for now she was newly turned and believed too much in her own immortality. Spike would keep her safe.
And besides, she'd nattered on one night about wishing they could go back in time to the years when he'd been part of the Scourge of Europe. Spike didn't quite have the mojo for time travel, but he could do the next best thing: Take Red to a South American country where the jungle was filled with beasts and people still believed in magic.
They began each night with a hunt, Red killing Spike's Happy Meals for him so that he could drain them without the chip firing. She was still messy, though getting better with practice. But Spike hadn't taken time to teach her much yet. That could wait until they'd found themselves a more permanent lair. Instead, he carefully avoided choosing targets that might be able to put up too much of a fight. He didn't want Red dusted, and the chip would keep him from coming to her rescue.
They'd spend the rest of the night driving, stopping only when the internal sense that warned them of the impending sunrise drove them to take cover in a cheap motel or abandoned factory. Spike made a mental note that Red didn't like the abandoned places. She preferred living amongst humans. It gave her a kick to smile and chat to them, knowing that they never suspected she was the thing that went bump in the night.
She might be as loony as Dru, but there was a twist to her demon that smacked of Angelus. If the poof didn't have his little soul problem, Spike was sure that Red would be his favorite grandchilde.
Hell, soul or no soul, she probably still was his favorite grandchilde.
"What's making puppy growl?" Red inquired from the passenger seat. She was playing with Rose. She'd taken a scarf from the woman they had drained for dinner and was busy fashioning it into a dress for the doll.
Spike blinked, having not realized he was growling. But there it was. Thoughts of Angelus loving Red, taking Spike's princess from him just like the ponce had taken Dru… It was enough to make him grind his fangs together.
"Not a puppy, pet," he corrected Red, easily sidestepping her question.
"If you were my puppy, I could make you bark," she teased, a little white hand coming to rest on his thigh.
Spike smirked at her, quirking one brow in invitation.
She returned his expression with a wicked grin of her own, her eyes flashing amber. Turning, she gently placed Rose in the backseat, and then she leaned down, burying her face in Spike's lap. He groaned at the feel of her tongue and teeth, leaning back and turning up the radio.
In the Punk Rock Candy Mountains you can never break your legs.
And for the price of a forty ounce you can buy yourself a keg.
Cause stores are made for you to loot and ya never gotta pay.
Oh I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
Just the kind that you put up your nose
In the Punk Rock Candy Mountains.
Cruising down the highway flush with fresh blood, a smoke in hand, and a beautiful woman sucking him off… This was the bloody unlife.
They were in an internet café, a few days from crossing the border into Mexico. Spike was browsing through the coeds, trying to decide who to seduce back to their motel room. A group of college girls was standing around him, all drawn to the handsome bad boy in the leather jacket who could talk to them about poetry.
Red's gaze darted to a computer, and then to Spike. He looked busy enough. He probably wouldn't notice. It had been weeks since Red had been able to use a computer, and she found that she missed it. And now that she wasn't held back by her human self's goody two shoes nature, she could use her skills much more lucratively.
She'd just finished stealing money from the offshore accounts of various rich jerk faces, just for shits and giggles, when she felt Spike's eyes on her. Immediately, she clapped her hands, spouting some nonsense about the magic box making pretty pictures.
Spike's eyes narrowed.
Through their bond, Red felt a simple command laden with anger that sent chills down her spine. Come with me, sister.
Then he was out the door, one of the coeds on his arm.
Red waited ten minutes, and followed.
Once they'd drained the girl and dumped her in an alley (Red keeping the girl's pearl bracelet as a necklace for Rose), they returned to their room. Spike immediately flung himself onto the bed, though he didn't start flipping through the television channels as usual. Instead, he stared at Red.
She crawled onto the bed after him, tucking herself into his side and laying her head on his chest. He put his arms around her, and she felt safe, a ball of tension she had been unaware of loosening in her gut. Her demon fidgeted within her. Spike was unhappy, and when Spike was unhappy, so was she.
"You're not half as crazy as you pretend, are you?"
Red turned her head to look up at him, lips stretching into a faint smile. "Half as crazy, twice as twisted."
Spike closed his eyes, and Red frowned to herself. Was that … hurt? Did she see betrayal in his face?
"Why?" he asked her, and nothing else.
"Because it was fun," she answered honestly.
"Fun?!" Spike exploded, seemingly flying from the bed. Red was knocked back by the force of his movement. She spun in the air, trying to land on her feet, but instead slammed into the rickety table in the breakfast nook and stumbled to her knees.
She got up and dusted herself off, the broken ends of the splintered wooden table making her nervous. Her Dark Prince wouldn't stake her, would he? He needed her, if for nothing else than to kill his dinner for him. Staking her would make Mummy mad.
Spike was yelling.
"If this is some bloody joke you and Peaches have cooked up," he sputtered, in full vamp face. "Get me out here having the best time I've had since the soddin' chip, only so you can take it away and point and laugh – "
Understanding dawned on Red. She felt her heart stop, and wondered how that could be, since it didn't beat.
Oh, her poor, broken prince. He'd been so cruelly used by the world. She longed to hold him in her arms, to suckle and coddle and whisper that they were together now, born in blood, and soon the only cruelty he would know would be that which they inflicted. The vampiric bonds of family sang a siren song, and maybe a bit of the human she had been was there too, aching to comfort.
She launched herself at Spike, trying to pull him into a kiss, only to have him backhand her, sending her crashing to the ground. Her demon rose, ridges forming on her forehead as she looked up at him, both frightened and aroused by the way he loomed over her and the steely set to his jaw. He snarled at her, pinning her chest to the floor with a knee on each shoulder, and she whimpered, writhing beneath him. He was stronger than her, and a much better fighter. There was no way she could escape him.
But then, she really didn't want to.
He was threatening her with exquisite torture, with tying her up, alone, to meet daylight. His deep voice was filled with the hard edge of a growl, his eyes glowing yellow, his fangs protruding over his lips. It would have been beyond sexy if she hadn't sensed the real despair beneath his rage.
"No one else knows," she squeaked once she could drag in enough air to make her voice box work. She may not need to breathe, but no air meant no speaking.
Spike paused, giving her a calculated look.
She did. She told him how she had fooled Angel, assuming a Drusilla-like persona as a matter of survival. How she had kept it up because it made Angel's lackeys underestimate her. The secrets that had been spoken in front of her, simply because all assumed she wouldn't be able to repeat them with coherency. And she told him that she had not planned to fool him forever, and now she didn't even know why she had done it at all.
Spike got up and started pacing.
Red watched him warily, her eyes tracking his every movement. She chose to stay on the floor, in a clear show of submission.
Going to the dresser, Spike pulled a cigarette out of a half empty pack and lit it up, never mind the 'No Smoking' sign hanging on the wall behind him. But hey, they were evil demons. Smoking in Non-Smoking rooms was a given.
"What the hell are you doing with me then, Red?"
"What?" she asked, sliding back into her human visage.
Spike clutched at his head. "If you were a nutter, then yeah, I can see why you'd come with me. Need someone to look after you and ol' Spike has got plenty of experience, hasn't he?" He let out a strangled laugh. "But if you're not, and I have this thing in my head, can't even catch my own bloody dinner," Spike continued, working himself into a froth. "Is it pity, or curiosity, why would you – "
It's me, isn't it? I'm not really the kind of girl vampires bite.
Willow, William, Will.
"Because you're my brother and I love you," Red interrupted Spike's tirade, getting to her feet. Approaching him cautiously, she paused, and then wrapped her arms around his waist when it didn't seem like he was going to throw her across the room again.
Spike stood dead still. "Real vampires don't love."
"You do," Red countered, running her tongue along Spike's neck to keep him from chiming in that he wasn't a real vampire. She shuddered in anticipation of drinking from him, tasting that heady elixir that was his centuries old blood. "I do. We may not love wisely, but we can love well."
"You sound like Dru." Spike's face relaxed, his demonic ridges fading away.
Poor baby. He was afraid. Afraid of her leaving him. Knowing that she meant so much sent a coil of smug contentedness through her undead heart.
She shook her head. "We are everything we were when we were human, but more," Red told her Dark Prince, feeling down to her demon that what she said was true. And it was. They were the distilled essence of what had been – what was left when all the namby pamby softness of moderation and conscience had been burned away. "Willow was smart. I am cunning. William was a man of love, and Spike is a vampire of all consuming passion."
She kissed him, and he returned the embrace, his fingers winding into her bright red hair.
"How do you know about William?" he murmured in her ear, some of his rage returning. She hummed at the feel of his nails slicing tiny cuts into her scalp.
"Mummy told me. How many times do I have to tell you we were made for each other?" she whispered against his lips.
They made love throughout the night and well into the day, gentler with each other than they had ever been before. They weren't Red and Spike so much as they were William and Willow, the remnants of their despised human selves somehow a balm to each other. William seemed like a man at sea, desperately clutching at Willow as if she were the only thing keeping him from drowning. He still didn't believe her. William couldn't bear to believe, and then find out it was a lie.
But Willow didn't mind. She had an eternity to prove herself to him.
And Red liked being the focus of Spike's fear.
The night they reached Mexico, Spike stopped just before the border and found a payphone. Peaches had said to call when they were safe. Spike had a… complicated relationship with his grandsire, but he'd let the poof know they'd got out of the country, if only to keep himself from a dull lecture the next time he crossed paths with the git.
And he wanted to listen to him speak to Red. He wanted to look her in the face to see if she was lying to him.
After Dru leaving him, first for Angelus, and then for other demons, he couldn't find it within himself to accept that Red wanted to be with him. It was just asking for trouble. Beyond stupid to believe that she'd willingly travel with a neutered vampire, master or not. She thought Angel was a ponce with his soulful reluctance to kill. She'd said as much. Why didn't Spike's chip make him just as pathetic?
"Angel Investigations," the cheerleader's voice came over the phone.
"Put the poof on," Spike commanded.
The chit sounded scared. That put Spike in a marginally better mood.
There was a screech that hurt Spike's ears, and then a long pause. Angel said, "Spike?"
"We're about to leave the country."
A sigh of relief. "Good. Good."
Neither of them knew what else to say. Static buzzed over the line. Then, casually, Spike offered Angel the chance to speak with Red.
"Yes. I'd like that."
"C'mere, poodle," Spike motioned Red over. She rolled her eyes at him, but she came, her doll tucked into the crook of her arm. He'd expected her to stop carting the thing around once she'd admitted she wasn't really crazy, but to his surprise she was actually attached to it. And she kept up the barmy talk when they were anywhere another demon might see them.
"Might come in handy one day. Give us an edge we need," she'd said when he questioned her about it.
He hadn't been able to argue.
But still, his suspicions lingered.
He handed Red the phone, watching her face as she put it to her ear. She kept her eyes locked with his.
"Granddaddy," she said in a tone that screamed of boredom.
"Willow," Spike could hear Angel return. He chatted at her for a minute, asking how she was, asking where she was, as if she might forget herself and tell him. On and on the poof went, with little halting pauses between topics as he waited for Red to reply to him. She never did, until finally, a twinkle of mischief in her eye, she said, "Hanging up now," in that same bored tone.
And then she did just that.
Spike sucked at his cheeks, feeling uncertain and hating it. He was the Big Bad – he shouldn't be reduced to this by anyone, not his sire, not his sister.
Not the bloody Initiative.
Red took a step closer, raising her hand to twine black painted nails in his hair. She'd gotten into his bottle of polish during the day. He'd woken to find her touching up the enamel on his nails, her own already painted.
She pulled his head down, and he let her, closing his eyes as he buried his face in her neck. He inhaled, taking in her scent. She smelled like leather, cigarette smoke, vanilla, and him. It calmed him, soothing the fears he wouldn't admit to out loud.
"Ready to go, my prince?" Red asked him softly.
He wrapped his arms around her, holding her tight against his chest. A human would have been crushed, suffocated in his embrace.
"Let's go, princess," he said at last.