2 Days Later…


Agent Riley Finn ducked just in time to narrowly miss being struck with the mug Professor Maggie Walsh had thrown in his direction. The ceramic shattered, splattering the wall with hot coffee. Backing away a pace, he looked on nervously as she paced in front of her soundless monitors.

"That's it," she muttered, anger ratcheting through her voice. It was time for her contingency plan.

In the days since she had first introduced Experimental Pair HF17, they had not only destroyed her equipment, but half of her data, her hypothesis, and the moral of most of her team. Hostile17 had fed only once, not even enough to satisfy itself, and since then had proceeded to show levels of control that bordered on human.

The first time it had shed its coat to cover its Feeder, Maggie's jaw had dropped, but she had quickly convinced herself it was a fluke, a mistake that she could gloss over and explain away in her reports. The next day it had sat side by side with its Feeder, having yet another conversation that Maggie could not hear, and forcefully refusing to feed. It was then that she truly began to worry. Later that night, when the Feeder had fallen asleep, Hostile17 again crouched down, tucking its hideous leather jacket around the girl like a father would a daughter. Then it stood, faced the camera, and flipped her off, a devil's smirk on its demon face. And that quickly, it was personal.

Between screams, the utter destruction of her workspace, and the fracturing of a knuckle when she struck the screen just a bit too hard, Maggie had managed to summon Dr. Angleman and demand that they develop a strategy to correct the horrible path her experiment was taking. They had argued for hours, Angleman claiming that she was jeopardizing the entire Initiative project and all of her results by altering the procedure midway, and Maggie declaring that it no longer mattered, that the girl should be dead already and that they had never planned for such an outcome.

So they had improvised. Instead of pumping cold air into the cell the next night, they had turned up the heat, raising the temperature until the girl had kicked off the coat, leaving it crumpled in the corner. Too uncomfortable to sleep, the pair had sat on opposite walls, panting and sweating, their hair plastered to the sides of their faces. Maggie had hoped that a sort of dehydration would force Hostile17 into feeding, but it was now it was time for more drastic steps.

Feeder17 watched quietly from her corner as her Hostile became paler and more drawn by the hour, his cheeks hollowing out and his hands beginning to shake, dark bruises forming under his eyes. She wasn't feeling so well either. She was nauseas and light-headed, she wasn't eating, and ever since the heat had been turned on, she had become increasingly lethargic. She'd rolled up the arms and legs of her scrubs in an attempt to cool her body, scraping her short hair back from her face in a look much like that of her Hostile.

After telling him as much as she could remember about what little she'd seen of the doors and hallways of this place, they had sat across from each other in silence for hours, and she began to wonder what the men in white would do to them. 'Soon,' the voice said. 'They'll do it soon. This isn't how it's supposed to work. You're making them angry.'

And it was true. When they finally came to the door, two of them, accompanied by two soldiers with guns ready, she could see the fury in their eyes. One of them swiped their card in the key box to bump the force field down, taking it from a solid wall to one which could be passed through, but was still debilitatingly painful to touch. Her Hostile immediately leapt forward, prepared to throw himself through the electricity if it meant even the smallest chance at freedom, but one of the soldiers, a brunette with a soft face and a hard body, whipped up a wooden cross and her Hostile fell back, hissing behind sharp teeth as he held up an arm as if to block a glare from the crucifix.

The men in white ignored him, instead turning to her with their angry eyes, bending down and placing a plastic tray on the floor before sliding it hard through the barrier towards her. She instinctively pushed herself away from it, backing her body hard against the wall of the cell. Sneering at her, the two turned and left without word, as did the second soldier. Not so the first.

"Eat up," he said smugly, pocketing his cross. "One of you has to… eventually."

"Oh I'll eat up all right," her Hostile muttered viciously, watching him walk away down the hall. "Split you in half and eat your bloody heart right out of your sodding ribcage!"

Feeder17 flinched at the gruesome image he painted under his breath. And then wished she hadn't, because for the first time in many hours, it drew his attention fully back to her. Rising to his full height, he strode across the cell, nudging the tray with the toe of his combat boot. She glanced, but didn't move for it; it was just a lunch tray, much like she'd gotten before, and hungry as she was, it was probably laced with drugs.

Crouching, her Hostile rummaged brusquely around on the tray. She watched silently as he cursed and sat back on his heels.

"Not even a sodding spoon!" he huffed.

She didn't mean to respond, but at that moment her stomach growled. Loudly. Looking up at her, a smirk tilted at one side of his mouth, causing her to blush. Automatically his eyes darkened, his jaw clenching as he saw her color, felt the blood swish just under the skin of her cheeks. Swallowing hard, he looked away and handed her one of two bottles of water.

"Come on pet," he encouraged softly. "The pillock was right; one of us has to keep it up."

He's tells it true.

"It's drugged," she said flatly, taking the bottle and twisting off the cap. She didn't mean to, but the first cool mouthful was heaven, and her dehydrated body drained all of it in one go, guzzling away as water trickled down over her chin.


She shot him a glare, immediately dropping her eyes when he quirked a scarred eyebrow at her.

"Don't worry about it luv," he said. His eyes followed her as she lifted the second bottle of water to her neck, rubbing the cool plastic against her flushed skin. Sneering, he turned away, and she lowered the bottle with a sudden flush of shame. She hadn't meant to… tease him.

Cracking off the top, she drank half and set it aside before picking the applesauce cup from the tray. Turning it in her hand, she pried up the foil lid.

It was an accident. Or maybe not. The plastic edge of that cup was awfully sharp. A hiss of pain, and an inch ling gash appeared along the base of her palm, then blood was running freely down her hand.

Spike was on her in seconds, his demon latching down on her wrist and biting hard. His human brain screamed at him to stop, to back away, but he kept pulling, drinking deep, reveling as the hot, salty liquid coated his parched throat and swollen tongue. He could taste the drugs, almost immediately absorbed by the girl's failing body, but he couldn't stop, just kept going as his thoughts faded away, leaving only the need to fill his empty belly behind. And then there was nothing.

From her reconstructed work station, Maggie Walsh smiled.