Part VI: Chain Letter
They chained Spike in the bathtub and Cordy 'kept watch' over him until the humans decided he was unlikely to wake up before daybreak. Giles cast a spell to strengthen the chains wrapped around Spike, and then told all of them to get some rest.
Rather than argue, Cordy left when the Scoobies did, then waited until Giles was asleep before sneaking back into the house.
Spike's golden eyes snapped to her the instant she entered the bathroom. With a crunch of bones, Cordy also shifted to her true face, silently climbing into the bathtub and kneeling before her sire, offering him her throat. He struck with a flare of pain, too hungry to be gentle, and greedily sucked down Cordy's blood. The pull of it lulled her, making her both aroused and dozy. She leaned against her sire's chest, wishing his arms were free so that he could hold her.
Home home home, sire sire sire, chanted the little voice in her head that she was pretty sure was her demon.
Her vision was starting to go grey around the edges when Spike pulled back, licking at the fang marks in her neck.
The Gem of Amara healed the punctures within minutes. Spike lifted a brow in question.
Cordy lifted her left hand to show him the ring on her thumb. "It kept me alive while you were gone. The minions revolted. I had to take over the Hellmouth from you."
He smirked and looked proud and amused at the same time, and Cordy thought that she'd have blushed if she was still human.
"Why didn't you just leave?" he asked, leaning forward so his lips were against her ear.
She punched him in the shoulder, barely remembering to keep her voice down in time. "What kind of question is that, you jerk?"
Spike shrugged and Cordy growled in frustration.
"Never mind your self-esteem issues, Spike. Tell me what happened and where you've been, and how you escaped."
He scowled, and for a hot second Cordy thought they were going to have to risk having one of their little dominance battles in the Watcher's bathroom before she could get any answers. But then Spike slumped, his chains clanking, all of the fight going out of him. He seemed almost… fragile, when he started talking.
He told her about soldiers, and experiments, and drugged blood. He told her about all the demons he'd seen in the other cells. He told her about his escape. And he told her that something had been done to keep him from being able to fight, to feed… and the excruciating pain it caused him.
Suddenly his reluctance to fight her for dominance made sense. He already knew he would lose.
Except, wait a minute...
"Hey, Spike… is the reason you didn't feed before you came looking for me because the whatever it is hurts you if you bite humans?"
He gave her an impatient look that clearly said he was thinking some very mean things.
Cordy rolled her eyes.
"Think back a few minutes, Bleach Brain. What did you just do to me?" She crossed her arms. "I know you're slow. Don't worry, I'll wait."
Spike was opening his mouth, no doubt to rant at her with all his weird British slang, when the light bulb went on. He shut his mouth with an audible click.
"I bit you," he mumbled. "Was so hungry, I didn't even think about it."
Cordy held out her arm. "Bite me again."
Spike did, though he only took a few swallows. Cordy was thankful for that. She didn't want to say, but she'd need to feed before she could give him much more. The Gem of Amara would keep her from dusting and heal the punctures, but it couldn't replace the blood.
"Do you think whatever it is they put in me got buggered up somehow?" Spike asked hopefully.
"I don't know." Cordy shifted around so she could check his head, running her fingers through his hair. He'd said the pain was mostly in his head, so maybe there was something…
There was a dark spot about the size of a half dollar piece on the back of Spike's skull that was his natural hair color, and shorter than the surrounding hair. Cordy pressed her fingers to it and felt a little depression in his scalp. The chains clanked as Spike instinctively tried to bring his fingers to the spot as well.
Cordy thought, drawing on all of her experiences, and all the tv shows she'd ever seen, and all of the comics and stuff she'd been forced to listen to Xander talk about recently, when she'd been undercover with the Scooby Gang.
"I think it's kind of like those shock collars my mom always had for her yappy little dogs. If the dog barks, it gets shocked. So… biting me doesn't count as barking, I guess?"
And sort of like the shock collars the X-Men had to wear when they were tricked into slavery in Geneva, she added silently, with a vow that she would never, ever admit to having absorbed that much X-Men knowledge to any sentient being.
Spike sighed. "I've been spending too much time with you, luv. I actually understood that."
"Shut up," she told him absentmindedly. "You missed me like hell when you were in that place. Don't even try to deny it."
Another sigh. "Yeah, luv. I did."
Cordy snuggled up to Spike, idly stroking his face. She didn't know how long they stayed like that, just that they both needed the comfort.
After some time, Spike broke the silence. "Every time the shock collar's gone off, it's been because I was trying to fight a human."
Cordy nodded. "So you can still fight demons, probably."
Good. That was something. Spike would still be able to rule the Hellmouth, once she got him away from the Scoobies. She pulled at the chains trapping Spike in the bathtub, cursing at Giles for thinking to put a spell on them to make them unbreakable, even for two vamps working together.
"I don't know what he did with the key, but I doubt it's just sitting around somewhere."
"Don't worry, kitten, we'll think of something," Spike assured her. "We've both got out of tighter spots than this."
Cordy nodded, then slipped the Gem of Amara off her thumb, moving to slide it onto Spike's ring finger.
"No," he stopped her. "You've got to go feed and deal with running the Hellmouth. And you'd best come back in daylight to keep the Scoobies from getting suspicious of you."
Cordy knew that stubborn look. Suddenly she regretted pointing out that Spike could probably still hurt demons. Now that he knew he could fight her he'd be much harder to manage.
"But the Slayer – "
"Childe," Spike growled, using a hint of the powers of a sire to make her spine shake and her knees turn to jelly with the pressure to obey.
"Fine," she snarled at him. "But I'm coming back during the day to make sure no one stakes you. And if we haven't freed you yet, I'll come again at night to feed you."
Spike nodded once, his jaw set.
Spike feigned sleep for a good portion of the day, but when the Watcher shoved a mug of pig's blood under his nose, he couldn't keep his eyes from snapping open. The git was taunting him with the horrible stuff, and while the Watcher didn't know Spike couldn't hurt him, Spike himself was all too aware. He couldn't bear keeping his eyes closed with an enemy – an enemy he couldn't currently defeat – so close.
The old git was wearing a tweed suit, and held a crossbow tightly in one hand. Spike kept his eyes trained on the weapon, his nostrils flaring at the scent of the pig's blood.
It was a good thing his Cordelia had given him her blood the night before. Otherwise he'd be whinging and spilling his guts just for a swallow of the swill the Watcher was shaking in front of his face.
He turned his blue eyes on the Watcher. "Planning to torture me with hunger, then?"
"Tell me what I want to know, and I'll give you the blood." The Watcher's voice was cold, calculating… Reminded Spike of Angelus in a way.
He found himself hoping that Rupert Giles was never vamped.
Spike pretended to consider for a moment, then turned his nose up. "Nah, thanks but no thanks, Rupes. Not quite bad enough off to go bargaining for that shite, 'specially as it's probably spiked with holy water."
The Watcher set the mug down and leveled the crossbow at Spike's chest. "You don't seem to fully appreciate your predicament, vampire. You will make yourself useful and tell me what I want to know, or I'll kill you."
Spike paused, assessing how serious the threat was. Pretty serious, going by the glint in the bloke's eyes. This was one who liked the kill, no matter how much he told himself otherwise. No wonder he scared demons – few creature could be more cruel, more monstrous than a human that believed firmly in the righteousness of what they were doing. Spike had seen that first hand.
"Saved your life, that time Angelus was torturing you. Got him to use Dru instead. Joined up with the Slayer to stop him. That's gotta count for something."
Was a gamble, saying that. Could remind the Watcher of honor and debts owed. Or could just royally brass him off.
But Spike never had to find out, because the Slayer chose that moment to barrel through the bathroom door.
"Oh my god, it's true. I thought Willow had lost her mind or was playing some really bad joke, but nope. This is happening. You really have Spike tied up in your bathtub."
The Watcher gave a long suffering sigh as the Slayer continued to blather on, and eventually pulled the girl from the bathroom so he could explain things to her. Spike snorted. Idiot probably thought that Spike couldn't hear them if they talked about him in the lounge of the Watcher's flat. He was a bleeding vampire! Of course he could hear them. He could hear them breathe and discern their heartbeats too, if he concentrated.
He leaned back and closed his eyes, listening as the two humans discussed what to do with him like he was a rabid dog.
The Slayer was all for staking him while he was still chained. No muss no fuss. No giving him a fighting chance. Spike decided to take that as a compliment, a tacit acknowledgment that she knew she couldn't kill him unless he was trussed up in chains and unable to defend himself.
The Watcher wanted information out of him first, wanted to know where he'd been and what his captors were planning, and something about finding out if a human witch was still alive.
Spike started to consider the real possibility that he would be dust before Cordy got back. It was daylight out – he couldn't run even if he could get himself out of the chains, the shock collar in his head kept him from fighting the humans who wanted to stake him… He was going to end up just like Cordy's first sire.
He snarled, self-loathing swirling up to choke him. He'd promised himself he'd be a better sire than any who had been sire to him. That he would do right by his childe. That he would keep her safe and happy for centuries, until she was good and ready to step out on her own, and that he wouldn't let her stray far from his side, even then.
But he was weak. Not demon enough. Just like Angelus had always said. Just like Dru said. He'd failed his Queen C. He was going to leave her with nothing but the Gem of Amara and a pile of dust to mark his passing.
That was when he knew he loved her. Oh, he'd known that he wanted her, that he craved her presence, but he'd put it down to the bond between childe and sire. The loyalty and affection that held them together was family and blood, nothing more.
But now, his final death being casually plotted in the other room, Spike knew that he'd give anything for one more night with his Cordelia. Not because she was his childe, not because she was sex on two legs, but because she was Queen C – imperious and commanding and still so new, his night blooming jasmine who had just begun to open her petals.
It was a quiet love that had snuck up on him, filling his undead heart when he wasn't looking, growing like a choking vine between eye rolls and demands to be taken shopping.
Spike had always been a sucker for bossy brunettes.
The Slayer came back into the bathroom, and Spike looked her in the eye, resolving to meet his final death head on.
"Oi, Slayer. Before you stake me, you mind granting a last request?"
The Slayer stared at him, pulling a stake out of her back pocket and twirling it in her fingers. "Don't usually do that."
"But I'm not just any slay, am I?" Spike smirked. "Come on. Won't take a minute, and then you can have a fine time playing with my ashes."
She looked disgusted.
"Hey now, I'd do it if our positions were reversed," Spike wheedled. Buffy snorted. "Well I would, so long as it wasn't something daft like untying you or letting you phone a friend."
The Slayer rolled her eyes at him, and Spike felt a pang, wishing it was Cordy he was spending his final moments with.
"Fine, what do you want?"
"Want to write a letter to my childe. And want your word you'll leave it where it can be found."
The Slayer was opening her mouth when the Watcher interrupted. "You sired a childe?"
He looked torn between horror and fascination. That's a Watcher for you.
"Yeah mate," Spike nodded, hope springing up in his chest. If he could keep them talking long enough, Cordy might arrive before he was so much dust on the wind. "Had to, didn't I? Vamps aren't meant to be alone, and Dru wasn't taking me back anytime soon. She's still brassed off I helped you lot with Angelus."
The Watcher was getting pen and paper, and polishing his glasses, mumbling to himself about pack mentalities and how there'd always been theories but no confirmation. Spike suppressed a sigh. He'd been the subject of human study a bit too long already.
But at least the Watcher didn't seem to be planning on cutting him up and implanting him with things any time soon, so that was something.
"Giles – " the Slayer protested.
"Oh Buffy, really. You're acting like a child deprived of a toy. It's not as if he's going anywhere."
The Slayer turned a couple of interesting colors, and then pulled herself up onto the bathroom counter to pout. She clearly wasn't going to be persuaded to leave the Watcher alone with Spike, but at least his staking no longer seemed quite so close at hand.
"Now then." The Watcher put the lid of the toilet seat down and took a seat, pen and paper in his hands. "I won't free your hands, so if you want to leave a letter to this childe of yours, you'll have to dictate."
Spike narrowed his eyes and sneered. Damn Watcher was too clever by half. Spike had hoped that having his hands free would give him some leeway to at least get himself out of the bathroom and hide somewhere until nightfall. And the Watcher had twigged it, damn him. And by making Spike dictate, he clearly hoped to get insight into vampirism for his Watcher books, and maybe find out who Spike's childe was so that Buffy could go out and get stake happy.
He growled. They weren't getting Cordy. She had the Gem of Amara. She'd be fine.
She'd be fine.
"He's not talking, Giles. Can I stake him now?" the Slayer whined.
"Fine!" Spike snapped, slipping into game face as his rage overwhelmed him. He quickly switched back when both humans went for weapons. "Oi, I'm hungry and tied up in a bathtub while the Slayer talks about shoving a bit of wood through my heart. Can't blame a bloke for getting tetchy."
"I told you I would give you blood in exchange for information."
A sigh. "Not my own blood, Buffy. Pig's blood."
Spike turned his head, making his voice petulant. "Pig's blood's disgustin'. 'Sides. Don't trust you not to poison me."
Another sigh. "The letter, Spike?"
This time Spike sighed. "To my Queen… you getting this, Watcher?"
Giles blinked and began scribbling on one of his bits of paper.
"To my Queen," Spike started again. "Don't mind the handwriting. Watcher's making me dictate." He paused for a minute, thinking. The Slayer twirled her stake. Spike ignored her.
"Don't really know what to say, luv. Just that I'm going to be dust before the day is out. Wish I could have seen you again, told you how beautiful you are. Told you how much I love you. Reckon you know where I stashed all the money and such. Just know that I didn't mean to leave you. If love was enough, we'd have had eternity. Yours, Spike."
The Slayer snorted as he finished, and Spike glared at her. "It's impolite to mock a bloke's dying thoughts."
"Like you even mean half of that. You don't have a soul. You can't feel. You're just trying to mess with our heads so we won't dust you."
Spike roared and jerked forward against his chains, the chip in his head giving little warning shocks that made him wince even as he slipped into his true face. "You don't get to tell me what I feel," he hissed around his fangs. "You get to kill me, but you don't bloody well get to tell me my love isn't real."
The Slayer instinctively backed off, pushing herself against the mirror at her back. Spike allowed himself to feel smug, that he could still menace her even in his current state.
"You can't love," the Slayer rallied, looking to her Watcher. "Tell him, Giles."
Spike laughed without humor. "Of course. We're just soulless things without feelings. Makes it easier, dunnit?" He smiled maliciously, rattling his chains. "Because if I had feelings, that would mean that I was a person and it would be cruel to starve me and chain me and mock my dying wishes. It would mean that you go out and murder every night, same as any vampire who kills to survive."
The Slayer punched him, making Spike cut his lip on his own fangs.
Spike blinked a few times and ran his tongue over his teeth. Then he turned to meet the Watcher's eyes. "You just seal up that letter, mate. Put it in an envelope and write 'Spike's Childe' on the front. Take it to Willy. He'll see that it gets to her. And… when it's done, put some of my dust in there, yeah? So she'll know it's not a trick and not go getting any harebrained schemes about rescuing me into her head."
The Watcher's mouth opened into a little 'o', but then he nodded and almost tentatively asked, "Wouldn't it be better if you told me her name?"
"Do I look bloody stupid to you?" Spike demanded, ignoring the Slayer's muttered 'yes.' "I'm not telling you her name just so you can send the Slayer after her."
Giles nodded, and cut his eyes to Buffy. "Before you're… on your way, why don't you tell me a bit about yourself? For posterity."
Spike waited a beat.
"Before you kill me in cold blood, you want my life story for your buggering Watcher's Diaries?"
"Erm… yes, well…"
"Don't get your knickers in a twist, Watcher." Spike shrugged. "Might as well, I suppose. Means a few more hours of being alive, if nothin' else."
When Cordy made it to Giles' apartment, Spike was tied to a chair in the living room, telling stories to Giles. Giles was avidly writing everything down, even the obvious bullshit. Buffy was prowling around the room, her Slayerness making Cordy's skin crawl.
"Hey guys. What's with story time?"
Spike's eyes followed her around the room, though he never paused in his recitation of how he had first crossed the Atlantic in the belly of a cargo boat.
"Giles wants to write down his whole stupid life story before I stake him."
If Cordy had a heart that beat, it would have skipped a few. "You're going to dust him?" she asked, going for casual, her eyes locking with her sire's.
"Yeah, as soon as Giles is done listening to his obviously made up stories." Buffy raised her voice until she was almost screaming, drowning Spike out.
They both ignored her, though Spike's arm twitched like he would have done his British flip off peace sign thing if his hands weren't chained down.
"Really, you wouldn't believe some of the stuff he's spewed to try and get us to feel sorry for him. He even did this whole thing where he had Giles write a letter to his childe – oh apparently that brunette he was shacking up with wasn't Dru – about how much he loved her and she was beautiful and he didn't want to leave her and blah blah. I mean. A vampire that can love without a soul," Buffy sounded vaguely desperate. "Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous?"
Cordy wanted to rip her throat out.
She smiled instead. "He said that?"
"Yeah." Buffy dragged a hand through her hair. "I mean, how dumb does he think we are? If vampires could love without souls…"
"Then Angelus should have still been in love with you?" Cordy finished that thought with a sneer. "Ego, much? I mean. Get over yourself. Maybe he didn't love you as much as you thought he did. Or here's a thought: he was crazy. Maybe trying to kill everyone was his way of showing you he cared. But that's not the point. The point is, just because Angelus couldn't love you doesn't mean that other vampires can't love anyone."
Cordy watched as all the blood drained from Buffy's face. "You bitch."
Buffy's fingers curled into fists. In that instant Cordy was very glad that Buffy thought she was human. Otherwise she'd be getting the beating of her unlife.
"Truth hurts," Cordy shrugged, executing a strategic retreat to the other side of Giles. "How goes the interrogation?"
Giles looked between her and Buffy, not saying anything.
"Oi, ducks. You're a bit of alright," Spike leered at Cordy, winking.
Buffy stormed from the room, Giles on her heels.
As soon as they were gone, Cordy sat on Spike's lap and indulged in a passionate kiss. "You really left me a letter?"
He nuzzled her throat. "Thought I was going to fail you, luv. It was a bit touch and go there. Didn't want to dust without saying a proper goodbye."
She kissed him again, murmuring, "I love you too, you know," against his lips. He groaned, and she slid her hands underneath his shirt, snarling when the chains holding him to the chair stopped her progress.
"Where's the key?"
"Watcher has it on 'em. Doubt he's going to give it up."
Cordy smiled. "I can make him. Sex magic to the rescue."
Spike nodded, covering every part of her he could reach with little butterfly kisses. "Be careful, kitten. Make sure you've got him alone. I don't fancy you being staked just trying to get me out of here."
Cordy promised, then pressed her neck to Spike's lips. "Take what you need. Quick, before they come back."
It was surprisingly difficult to get Giles alone. The Scoobies came in and out of his apartment unannounced like the place had a revolving door. Twice, Cordy had to back off at the last minute before she was caught in a compromising position.
She thought that she could probably take them all, so long as Buffy wasn't there, but Spike didn't want her to risk it even with the Gem of Amara. He said he couldn't stand to watch her dust, knowing he was right there but couldn't help.
For the unlife of her, Cordy couldn't get the big stupid man…vampire… manpire to see that she felt just the same way about him.
Then she got distracted by a spell.
Buffy and Spike were getting married. And they were kissing and giggling and snarking at each other, and dammit that was Cordy's job, and her Spike, and her kisses, and her snarkage!
Then Giles went blind, and Cordy figured it was probably due to the utter wrongness that was Buffy and Spike making out on his couch.
She was about two seconds from throwing herself at the Slayer and ripping her in half because dammit, Cordy did not share, never mind that they were so obviously under a spell, when Xander and Anya burst into the apartment.
As soon as Cordy set eyes on Xander, she forgot all about Buffy and Spike.
Xander smelled so good. Like chocolate, and heaven, and new leather shoes. And he glowed, a beautiful pulsing that reminded her of the lights in L.A., something about him pulling her toward him like the world's most powerful magnet. She couldn't resist. She had to have him. She'd turn him and make him her consort and they'd rule the Hellmouth together and he would be so delicious….
She couldn't remember doing it, but at some point she had slinked over and started running her hands over Xander's chest. "Shhh…" She put a finger to his lips and let him have a blast of sex mojo.
Anya tried to pull her away, and Cordy snarled at her, assessing the other woman. Deciding she wasn't a threat, she turned back to Xander, already pulling his clothes off.
"Hey, get a room!" Cordy faintly heard Buffy say, followed by a snort of laughter from Spike.
"No, don't get a room!" Anya countered, trying to pry Cordy away from Xander again. She didn't have much luck against Cordy's vampire strength, and she stopped trying when she caught a dose of sex magic meant for Xander. In haze of lust, she pulled herself closer, rubbing against Cordy's back and moaning.
And then the spell broke.
Willow stood in the center of the Giles' living room, shamefacedly explaining what had happened with her Will Be Done spell. Buffy and Spike were still spitting and wiping at their mouths, and Giles was lecturing while Xander tried to placate Anya.
They all seemed to have forgotten that Spike was unbound and dangerous as far as they knew, Buffy having let her 'Blondie Bear' out of the uncomfortable chains while under the spell. Cordy sidled over to him, ready to help him make a run for it. Thankfully, it was dark out.
"Hey, wait a minute," Xander's voice interrupted Cordy's careful examination of possible exits. "What'd you say about Cordy then, Wills? I mean I get what happened to everyone else, but why did Cordy go all…slinky seduce-y?"
Before Cordy could come up with an explanation, Anya chimed in.
"Well it's obvious, Xander. Willow's spell made you a demon magnet, and you attracted Cordelia. She's a demon."
"Don't be silly, Ahn. Cordy's not a demon." Suddenly Xander paused, not so sure of himself. He turned to Cordy. "Are you?"
Cordy and Spike shared a look.
Then Cordy darted forward and grabbed Willow, putting her wickedly pointed nails to the girl's throat. "What the hell," Cordy said as she shifted into vamp face. "I was getting tired of pretending to like you people anyway."
There were shocked gasps and cries of denial all around. Except for Anya, who just said, "See? I was right!"
Willow struggled, and Cordy hit her with a shot of sex juice. Her frightened squeaks became moans and her struggles turned more into dry humping as she whispered something about thinking she was 'kinda gay.'
Cordy met Spike's eyes. "Coming, sire?"
Another round of gasps.
"Cordelia is your childe?!"
"But, but… daylight!"
"My wicked Queen is special, aren't you, kitten?" Spike drawled as he stalked over to her. She purred at him.
"Give us Willow, and I'll let you go," Buffy demanded, never mind that she was in no place to be telling Cordy what to do.
"Hmmm," Cordy pretended to think as she and Spike backed towards the front door. "Deal."
She watched them all slump in relief before sinking her fangs into Willow's neck. A few quick pulls and she'd drained enough that the girl would need medical attention.
"Wills!" Xander snarled, doing a pretty good impression of when he was hyena boy.
"Ah, ah!" Spike taunted. "You can come after us, or you can take Red to the hospital. Your choice."
Cordy tossed Willow at the Scoobies, and then she and Spike turned and fled.