AN: Written for Good_Evil. The characters for this round were Good Giles and/or Evil Ethan. Couldn't decide, so I did a bit of both. Since the original beginning was scribbled out almost a year before it actually grew into a fic, and since it was intended as a Spuffy fic, those victims of their own UST will figure almost as prominently in this fic as they usually do in my stories; but this time they will be going up against an evil and vengeful Ethan Rayne and will be rescued (because, all-in-all, they aren't doing very well against the sorcerer and his evil accomplices) by a Watcher who must reach back into his past for the tools he needs to save his Slayer. Many thanks to my beta, Always_jbj who worked hard with me to see that there were no contradictions or lapses in logic as I worked out some of these scenes, as well as providing constant encouragement for my first attempt at writing a dark fic. This has grown into a four-fic series.
As Buffy raced out of the burning building, she cast a quick glance behind her to see that both Spike and Drusilla were buried under the collapsed organ and its many large pipes. She smiled with vindictive satisfaction.
That should take care of those two. Now to get Angel back to his apartment and see if he's all right.
She quickly caught up to Giles and her friends as they struggled with their burden. Smiling at them in thanks, she positioned herself under Angel's large, unconscious body and hefted him onto her small shoulder. When she staggered slightly, Xander laughed and got on the other side to help balance the load.
"Super strength is all well and good, Buffster, but I think expecting to carry something that big on your skinny little back is defying some kind of law of physics."
In the rush to leave the burning building and get Angel someplace safe, no one noticed the dark-eyed mage watching from the shadows. His face broke into a smile as he assessed the aura of the vampire to whom the Slayer was tending so lovingly.
Oh yes, Ripper. That may not have worked out quite the way I planned, but this will do nicely. Very nicely, indeed.
With Giles helping Xander to support Angel's other side, they were able to get the still-unconscious vampire back to his home and onto his bed. He groaned slightly when they put him down as gently as they could. Buffy drew in a breath sharply as she caught sight of the burns on his chest.
"Giles! They tortured him! If I didn't know that bleached blond menace was being barbequed right now, I'd go back to that church and baptize him in holy water." Buffy's face was a combination of determined Slayer and worried girl friend.
"I think he'll be all right, Buffy," her watcher said quietly. "Why don't you go get him some blood?" He remained some distance from the bed, studying the vampire with cold eyes.
Glancing at her Watcher curiously, she went to the far side of the room and got some pig's blood out of the small refrigerator there. She put it in a mug and stuck it in the microwave to warm it up, watching over her shoulder the whole time to see if Angel was waking up. She frowned slightly as she noticed Giles gesturing to Willow and Xander to stay back away from the bed. Her frown increased as she realized that he was holding a cross in one hand.
"Giles? What are you doing? It's Angel. He isn't going to hurt us!"
"Buffy, we have no idea what kind of effect that ritual may have had on him; nor can we be sure that he will recognize us when he first wakes up. I believe caution is warranted in this situation."
"Caution, schmaution. This is my boy friend and he isn't going to hurt anybody," she said confidently as she approached with the mug of pig's blood.
Willow was the first to notice that Angel's eyes were open and she watched as he looked around the room before fastening his gaze on Buffy. There was something about the way he was looking at her friend that bothered her, but she shook it off as Buffy smiled down at him.
"Angel! You're awake. I'm so sorry they hurt you like that... I tried to get there sooner. Here, I warmed up some blood for you..."
As she babbled in relief, she sat beside him on the bed and supported his shoulders while he leaned toward the mug. Suddenly the mug went flying across the room and she was pinned beneath him, his vamp face was firmly in place as he ran his fangs lightly across her neck.
"I think I'd prefer it right from the source, lover," he growled as he licked at the trickle of blood his actions had yielded. Buffy was too surprised and shocked to react, remaining immobile under him as he licked her neck and ground his obvious erection into her leg. As quickly as he had grabbed her, he let go with a snarl when Giles thrust the cross in his face, forcing him away from Buffy who then rolled off the bed. In spite of the pain and fear gripping her heart at Angel's actions, Buffy's slayer instincts took over and, in seconds, she was on her feet, stake in hand.
"Angel...? I don't understand... wha—" She remained in a fighting stance, but her face was a study in dismay and fear.
"We're not looking at Angel anymore," Giles said, never taking his eyes off the snarling vampire and waving at Willow and Xander to leave. "Are we… Angelus?"
Across the bed from them, Angel shifted back to his human face and said smoothly, "Nonsense, Giles. I just over-reacted a little to the smell of pig's blood, that's all. I'll need to stop by Willy's and pick up some human blood to get these wounds healed."
He turned his head toward Buffy and looked at her with calculating eyes.
'You believe me, don't you, darlin'? You know I'd never hurt you."
"Stay away from him, Buffy," Giles warned as she wavered.
She looked back and forth between the two of them, frantically trying to decide which was telling the truth. She loved Angel with the whole of her sixteen-year-old heart, but something was setting off alarm bells in her head as she stared into his strangely flat eyes. When she didn't immediately agree with him, she saw a flicker of impatience cross his face and his eyes briefly flashed yellow before he could control it.
"That's all right, lover," he said suddenly, relaxing his posture, but maintaining the distance between them, "I'll just go get my blood and I'll see you later. I'll see you, too, Watcher," he said with deceptive mildness as he edged toward the door, but Giles did not miss the threat.
Buffy flew to the door behind him, telling herself she wasn't worried about Willow and Xander, that she just wanted to be sure that they hadn't gone far. She found them pressed against the wall holding out crosses and cringing against each other.
As soon as Buffy saw the crosses and the frightened looks on their faces, she crumpled to the ground sobbing. Giles pulled her to her feet somewhat abruptly and said, "I understand this is a shock, Buffy, but right now you need to be the Slayer. One of the most vicious vampires in the world is now loose in Sunnydale and you are the only one who can stand against him."
He gazed at the girl he was coming to think of as his daughter and his heart ached for her loss, but he refused to allow any of the pain he was feeling on her behalf to enter his voice as he urged them all back to his car.
He drove Buffy back to her home and suggested they all stay there for the night. When they asked him why, he responded with impatience.
"Angelus has an invitation to all your homes, does he not?" he asked curtly.
Buffy and Willow nodded their agreements as Xander spoke up.
"Nope, not to my house. Never had any reason to give Deadboy an invite to the Harris casa."
"All right, then, Xander can go home. Willow, you will need to do some disinvite spells for Buffy's house and for your own immediately."
The novice witch nodded her head and walked up to the door with Buffy.
"We'll do your house first," she said with as much confidence as she could muster. "Then we'll go over to my house and do it. My parents are away this week, so there's nobody there if Angel shows up."
They burst into Buffy's house and followed the sound of Joyce's voice into the kitchen where she was drinking the hot chocolate she'd prepared for them.
"Well, you girls are home late," she said with just a trace of irritation. "Now that I know you're safe, I'll be going to bed. Don't stay up too late," she cautioned as she turned to go upstairs.
Just then they heard a sound from upstairs, as though someone had bumped into a table.
"Willow, do the spell now!" Buffy ordered as she shoved a cross into her mother's hand and ordered, "Stay here, Mom."
Joyce sputtered in surprise and anger at being told what to do by her sixteen-year-old daughter, but the memory of how competent and in charge Buffy had been at the terrifying Back to School Night events stilled her tongue and she waited impatiently with Willow.
Buffy flew upstairs just in time to see Angel leap out the window and onto the roof. She ran to the window, but halted before she got close enough for him to touch her. There was no doubt, as she looked into the cold, evil countenance of Angelus, the Scourge of Europe, that her Angel was gone.
Tears filled her eyes as she stared at the familiar, and yet so different, face glaring back at her.
"A... Angel?" she couldn't help the plea in her voice as she begged him to tell her she wasn't seeing what her slayer senses were telling her.
"He's gone, lover. And I'm back. But don't you worry, Buffy, we're going to have lots of fun without him." He leered at her and made as though to come back through the window, only to bump up against an invisible barrier.
While the vampire snarled and growled on the roof, Buffy sent him a last sad look and said, "The locks have been changed, Angel. You... you're not welcome here anymore."
She turned away from the window and went slowly down the stairs to join her mother and her best friend in the now-safe kitchen. At Joyce's, "What was that all about, Buffy?" she just absently took the cross from her mother and mumbled something about a big animal on the roof. Joyce missed the widening of Willow's eyes as she bustled about putting the hot chocolate ingredients away.
Since there was no one at Willow's home to worry about, the girls decided to stay at Buffy's for the night and go to Willow's in the morning. Although Joyce was more than suspicious that they weren't telling her the truth about what was going on, she decided to wait until the next day to discuss it. It was obvious that Buffy had been crying, and she decided to believe there had been a typical teenage crisis of some sort that Buffy and Willow would sort out over ice cream while she went to bed.
As had become her custom, she'd ignored Willow's strange chanting while Buffy was upstairs, as well as the obvious sounds of someone on the roof that she'd heard. Her chosen way of dealing with the strange things that went on with and around her daughter was to ignore them as much as possible. The only alternative – to believe in the monsters that Buffy had tried to tell her about when they lived in Los Angeles – was unthinkable.
The two girls were up early the next morning, running quickly to the Rosenbergs' much larger house several blocks away. When Willow went to rush in, Buffy grabbed her arm and shook her head silently. She handed Willow a large cross and clutching her stake firmly, stepped into the silent house.
While Willow began the disinvite spell, Buffy prowled the large rooms, making sure that there was no undead ex-boyfriend waiting to surprise them. Upon reaching Willow's bedroom, she cringed at the sight of the open French doors, the empty fish tank, and Willow's beloved colorful fish now hanging from a string over the bed. Before Buffy could head her off, Willow had entered the room and seen her pets dangling from the safety pins through their bodies.
"He... he was here. In my bedroom." Willow's eyes were frightened behind the tears threatening to fall as she took her fish down.
"It'll be all right, Will. I promise, he won't be able to do this again, " Buffy said grimly as she watched her friend sadly drop her dead pets in the waste basket.
When the dis-invite spell had been completed, the two friends walked in silence to Giles's apartment. Each was trying to hide her sadness in order to keep the other from feeling worse, but eventually a sniffle from Willow had Buffy turning to her friend to apologize.
"I'm so sorry, Will. I never thought he'd..." She couldn't finish her thought as a sob ripped from her throat.
For several minutes, the two friends stood on the sidewalk, holding each other and crying for their lost innocence before Buffy straightened up and swiped at her eyes angrily. They took matching deep breaths and continued into Giles' apartment complex.
Buffy released the breath she hadn't even known she'd been holding when her Watcher opened the door for them.
"Giles? I didn't think about it last night, but Angel's been here a lot of times. Weren't you worried?"
"No, Buffy, I took precautions, but I wasn't gravely concerned. Angelus took a great deal of abuse before the actual ritual took place, and the ritual itself cost him a substantial measure of blood. I believe that he was too weak last night to pose a threat to either of us. I'm sure that's why he left once we realized who he was. He really wasn't strong enough to fight us, and certainly not both of us at the same time."
"What about your apartment? Do you want me do the spell?" Willow asked eagerly, anxious to demonstrate her growing skill with magic.
"It's taken care of," he said shortly.
"Oh," she said with a disappointed look. "Who did it for you?"
"I did it myself," he said flatly. When he saw her disappointment, he sighed and said more kindly, "I know enough magic to do a simple disinvite spell, Willow. Although I do thank you for the offer."
"Oh, okay. You're welcome," she replied, somewhat mollified. "But any time you need..."
"Yes, yes. Thank you, Willow. I will certainly let you know if we require more magic."
The young witch's eagerness reminded him that, as much as he might like to pretend that magic was no longer important to him, he was going to have to take the responsibility for teaching Willow the basics. Somehow, he was going to have to find a way to explain to the children he worked with that the dabbling in black magic that had produced Eyghon was more than the one time thing he had implied it to be.
He realized that convincing Willow that he knew enough about magic to guide her in its proper use might be more than difficult now that he had spent the past year planting the idea that he preferred to avoid it as much as possible. Sighing, he put that worry off for another time as the morning's research began.
When Xander arrived, carrying both doughnuts and the morning papers, the group settled around the table to see if there was any sign of Angelus having stayed in Sunnydale. Willow opened her laptop and began checking the hospital and police records.
They found two short articles about the burning of the abandoned church, with the fire being attributed to "vandals". Willow found mention of two missing children on the latest police report, as well as an unusual number of "gang related" murders leaving victims with their throats slit.
Buffy frowned. "That's a lot of killing for one vampire."
Giles looked at her with sympathy. "Buffy, Angelus is a demon that kills for the thrill and amusement it gives him. It is well documented that he does not kill just to eat, and that he enjoys tormenting his victims before he kills them."
Buffy shut her eyes in pain as she remembered Angel's brief description of how he drove Drusilla crazy before finally turning her; shuddering, she looked back at her Watcher with tears in her eyes.
"Isn't there anything we can do? Can't we re-curse him or something? Give him his soul back?"
"What we can do, Buffy," he said, sounding very much like a Watcher and less like a compassionate friend, "is slay him. He is entirely too dangerous to be allowed to continue to live, and the soul is obviously not as permanent as one would have hoped."
Buffy bowed her head and nodded, struggling to hold back the tears that threatened to flow down her cheeks.
In an abandoned factory in another part of Sunnydale, a completely recovered and very strong Drusilla was cooing to her crippled child as she gently laid him in their bed.
"Don't worry, my sweet William. Daddy is coming back to us and we will be a family again. . Miss Edith says he'll be here soon and then he will make that nasty Slayer pay for hurting my sweet Spike. Maybe even tonight."
The badly burned and broken vampire just frowned weakly; he was drifting in and out of consciousness and couldn't really follow what she was saying or why she thought Angelus was coming to them. As far as he knew, the elder vampire should have been dead by now.
Drusilla bustled around the large room, humming to herself and conversing with Miss Edith as she waited impatiently for night to fall. Spike tried weakly to get her attention so that he could ask her for some blood to begin healing, but she ignored him in favor of giggling with her doll.
When the sun had finally gone down, her demeanor changed; giddiness gave way to agitation, and she occupied her time by spinning around in circles until the sound of the upper door slamming open made her stop.
"Angelus?" she breathed, waiting as the heavy footsteps descended the stairs.
"None other, my pretty poppy," he growled, strolling into the room and looking around. He laughed when she threw herself into his arms, squealing with joy and kissing his face. He glanced around the room, spotting Spike's battered body lying on the bed.
"Will doesn't look too good there, Dru. Have you fed him at all?"
He peered down at Spike with much less concern on his face than his words might have implied.
"I think I forgot. I was too excited to see you again."
The big vampire shrugged as he stood up, "Oh well, we'll bring him back a little something." He turned and smiled at his excited childe. "Are you ready to go out hunting, Drusilla?"
She clapped her hands with glee and twirled around so that her flowing skirt spread around her.
"Oh, goody, Daddy. I've missed hunting with you so much. Can I have a little baby..." Their voices trailed off as they went up and out of the old warehouse, leaving Spike forgotten on the bed.
When they returned toward dawn, they were flushed with new blood and excitement.
"Oh, William, it is so wonderful to have Daddy back. Even Miss Edith is happy for us."
"Yeah, it's bloody marvelous, Dru. Did either of you think to bring me something to eat?"
Spike's voice was weak and ragged, but the irritation was evident. Angelus walked over to the bed and stared down at his grandchilde.
"Think you'd be wantin' to be a little nicer to us, boy. After all, if we don't feed you, you don't eat. You'll just lie there and get weaker and weaker. Then, when the Slayer comes for us," he stopped and grinned. "Well, that'll be the end of William the Bloody, Slayer of Slayers, won't it?"
Spike just glared at the older vamp as best he could with his burnt and disfigured face. Tears of frustration threatened to collect in his eyes, but he fought them back and fixed his grandsire with his best icy stare. After over a hundred years, it had taken only a few hours for them to fall back into the antagonistic relationship that had earmarked most of their time together.
With a laugh, Angelus shoved a partially drained wino onto the bed and said, "Here, boy, if you can hold it, you can eat it."
With a supreme effort of will, Spike pulled the man toward him with one shaking arm and buried his fangs in his neck. He was actually grateful that the meal was drunk, as the alcohol in the otherwise disgusting blood worked to ease the pain of his burns.
Less comforting was the fact that he still couldn't feel the burns visible on his legs, nor could he feel the legs themselves. With a frustrated growl, he realized that he was going to be totally dependent on Angelus and Drusilla until his spine healed enough for him to hunt on his own. He had no doubt that his grandsire would find ways to use that dependency for his own amusement
Buffy went through the day in a daze, her entire world turned upside down by the change in the man she had so recently thought of as her soul mate. She couldn't understand how just losing his soul could have made such a difference in his feelings for her. How could he not still love her? How could he want to hurt her?
Willow and Xander did their best to be supportive. As her closest male friend was already jealous of the vampire, his support always seemed tinged with a hint of "I told you so," and Buffy soon tired of it. Her Watcher was not much different, trying his best to explain to her that she was seeing the real Angelus – the demon Angel had kept hidden beneath his souled exterior.
"He's a demon, Buffy, and without the help of his soul, he can't love you. It's just not possible."
"Then how could Spike love Drusilla?"
Buffy's innocent question took Giles completely by surprise. She waited, eyes wide open and trusting, for him to explain to her how a soulless demon could have risked his life to come to the Hellmouth and fight another Slayer in order to help his lover heal from injuries inflicted by an angry mob - an angry mob from which he had rescued her at great risk to his own life. Why that same soulless demon would back off from an opportunity to kill his third Slayer and provide his minions with a room full of victims to save his lover from Buffy's stake.
Giles cleared his throat noisily. "Yes, well, it would appear that William the Bloody may be… That's really beside the point, Buffy. However Spike and Drusilla may feel about each other, they are demons and I am sure it isn't truly love. Not love in the way we think of it."
"But it's something, isn't it? Something has kept them together for over a hundred years. And if they can still feel… feelings, then why can't Angel? Why does he want to hurt me?" Tears gathered in her eyes again and her lip trembled. "Why can an insane and skanky vampire get somebody to love her for over a hundred years and my boyfriend can forget about me in a few minutes? What's wrong with me?"
Giles sighed again, mentally vowing to stake Angelus himself if he had to, if for no other reason than for the emotional pain he was causing his charge.
"There is nothing wrong with you, Buffy. You are a beautiful, sweet, innocent, intelligent girl; one who has fallen in love with the wrong man. The demon is simply not able to appreciate you the way that Angel could when he had his soul. It is sad, and I am sorry for your pain, but you have to promise me that you will not let yourself be distracted from your duty by the fact that your current enemy is wearing the face of your former boyfriend."
"I know, Giles," she agreed with a sigh. "I'll get him. I mean, how hard can it be? Spike and Drusilla are ashes; we'd already killed all the minions. All I have to do is find him and put a stake through his heart."
Her lip quivered again at the thought of never seeing Angel—her Angel—again, and Giles groaned.
"I do think it would be wise of you to always have someone with you when you're patrolling, at least for a short while…" At Buffy's angry glare, he quickly explained, "Not that I think that you cannot or will not do your job; I simply feel that you might need moral support when you are called upon to do so with Angelus."
For several weeks, Buffy followed Giles's advice, taking Willow or Xander or the well-armed Watcher himself with her when she made her rounds of Sunnydale's many cemeteries. After weeks with no sign of her former love, Buffy began to relax and to hope that he might have left the area to set up a nest somewhere without a resident Slayer.
Unbeknownst to Buffy, Giles was spending a good bit of his time during the daylight hours searching for potential nesting sites. He was sure that he had picked up a trail once or twice in the early weeks; any leads quickly vanished, however, and even the use of some of his long-neglected skills in the magic arts, yielded no trace of the dangerous vampire. The vampire who, despite Buffy's frequent hopeful remarks, Giles knew to be still in Sunnydale and responsible for many of the torn and mutilated bodies still turning up on a nightly basis.
If I didn't know better, I would think Angelus was using a cloaking spell of some sort, though I've heard Angel grumble about magic too often to think he would suddenly begin its practice.
Buffy was on her way home, alone for a change, when she heard a child crying; she ran, without thinking, into the alley from which the sound was coming. Shock paralyzed her for a few seconds as she recognized Drusilla. The vampire was holding a small child, letting it dangle from her arm like a doll and ignoring the steady whimpering coming from it.
Recovering quickly, Buffy pulled out her stake and stalked towards the smiling woman.
"You really should have left here when your boyfriend dusted," Buffy growled, raising her stake threateningly.
Instead of shrinking away in fear, the dark-haired vampire cocked her head and cooed, "My sweet William is not dust. And I have my daddy back. You would do well to think about that, Slayer. Daddy is not happy with you."
"Daddy? You mean Angel?" Buffy's voice rose in horror. It had never occurred to her that Angel might be reunited with his family and the thought of all three of them together made her blood run cold.
Drusilla took advantage of the Slayer's momentary distraction to toss the child at her and slip away as Buffy automatically stretched to catch the limp body.
"I mean Angelus, little girl." Dru's voice drifted back into the alley as she disappeared into the night. "And he is not happy with you."
"I'm not real thrilled with him right now, either," Buffy whispered as the mad vampire sped away.
She adjusted her grip on the child and started out of the alley, halting suddenly when a tall, slender man stepped in front of her. There was something familiar about the smiling but obscured face, but before she could recognize his features, he waved a hand in the air, sending a small cloud of dust into her face. Buffy gasped in surprise, then coughed and choked as the dust she had inhaled filled her mouth and nose.
She glared at the man, the fury in every line of her body gradually being replaced with fear as she found herself unable to move. Her attempts to ask him what he was doing failed as miserably as her attempts to hit him, her mouth having been paralyzed along with the rest of her voluntary muscles. Once again, she felt the tingle on her neck that indicated the presence of a master vampire and she struggled against the magical bonds holding her, unable even to cast her eyes around to see if Drusilla had come back.
The mystery didn't last long, however; she suddenly heard the familiar and yet so alien voice she remembered from a month before.
"Well, hello, lover." The words came from behind her. "I see you've met my new friend, Ethan."
Buffy's eyes focused on the smiling man in front of her; as the dust and shock cleared, she recognized him as Ethan Rayne, the man from the costume shop whose magical costumes had turned Halloween into an actual nightmare. The man whose idea of fun had almost gotten them killed before Giles had found him and made him break the spell. She remembered waking up with Spike drooling over her throat and preparing to make her his third conquered Slayer.
The sorcerer's assistance to a vampire had been inadvertent that time; now, however, it appeared that he was deliberately and willingly working with another master vampire. Her eyes glared her promised retribution even as her heart beat faster at the sensation of Angelus' cool breath on her neck.
"We're going to have so much fun, lover," he purred. "Just you and me and my pretty poppy. Hours and hours of fun…" He raked her throat with one fang, lapping up the free-flowing blood and laughing at the fear he could smell rolling off her body.
"All right, Angelus," Ethan spoke up. "Remember, she is my bait. You don't get what you want until I get what I want."
"Fine, fine," the vampire agreed easily. "I'm a patient person. I can wait."
He picked Buffy up as though she was a sack of potatoes, throwing her over his shoulder in a gross parody of the tender way she'd carried him out of the burning church so very recently, and followed the man as he glided down the street.
Spike was rolling through the mansion's main room, searching for any left-over bodies that he might be able to reach and drain of any remaining blood when his sire came dashing in, laughing and smiling with delight.
"My darling William," she said, kissing him lightly before dancing out of his reach once again. "You will never guess what Daddy has done. He has brought us a present to play with."
Spike glanced toward the entrance in time to see a tall, elegant-looking man enter the mansion fearlessly, Angelus following closely behind him. He gave an unconscious gasp as the smell of Slayer blood assaulted his nostrils and his starving body reacted to it. The smell of magic was also strong in the air and Spike eyed the smiling man with suspicion. Angelus strode into the room and unceremoniously dumped the still-immobile Buffy to the floor in front of Spike's wheelchair.
He laughed cruelly at the naked hunger in the younger vampire's eyes as they focused on the inert Slayer and the blood tricking from the cut on her neck. Spike was leaning so far forward that he was in danger of falling out of his chair as his demon strained toward the hot elixir only feet away from his watering mouth. Angelus laughed again, shoving Spike's chair just out of reach of Buffy and her bleeding neck.
"I get to play first," he growled. "Then Dru. I'll let you know when it's your turn. You will just have to wait; but then, that's all you can do, isn't it, Spike?" he added with a laugh. "Wait – wait for Dru to feed you, wait for someone to dress you, wait for… wait, wait, wait."
Spike snarled, lunging uselessly at the older vamp, who stayed just out of reach. Spike was so angry, it was several seconds before he thought to wonder who the human man was and why he seemed so unafraid of the two Three! There are three! deadly vampires in the room.
To Spike's amazement, Ethan chided the older vamp, saying, "You need to save your creativity until we have the camera ready, Angleus. I don't want Ripper to miss one scream or one drop of blood that leaves her body."
Spike stared back and forth between the human man and his family; he could still smell the magic in the room and realized that the seemingly uninjured Slayer must be under a spell to keep her so still. His gaze accidentally met hers when he looked down and he flinched at the venom he saw there. He watched curiously as her expressive green eyes reflected horror, fear, anger, defiance and a trace of sadness all at the same time.
Much to his chagrin, he found himself staring at the girl who had thwarted him at almost every turn and wishing he could do something to change the fate he knew only too well awaited her. He found the idea that Angelus was going to torture and kill the vibrant, smart-mouthed girl who'd stood against him since his arrival in Sunnydale surprisingly repellent.
Spike wanted her dead, but it wasn't personal; she was a Slayer, he was a vampire, and this opposition was the fate they shared. She would kill him, or he would kill her – but after a fair fight between warriors. He bore her surprisingly little animosity, considering the fact that she was responsible for his current helpless situation. If anything, he admired her creativity in the face of his and Drusilla's possible escape. He resented the hell out of the outcome of her actions, but he knew that he would have done the same thing himself if their positions had been reversed.
He knew by a hundred years of history and the smell of black magic that there was nothing fair about the way Anglelus had captured the Slayer, any more than the older vampire's interest in her was impersonal. If he'd seen nothing else over the past month, he'd seen how enraged the demon was to think he'd been forced to love and protect the girl currently immobilized on the floor. Angelus was determined to make her pay for causing his souled alter-ego to fall in love with her.
"Had to bring in a sorcerer to help you, Angelus? " He couldn't resist the dig at the older vampire.
"You couldn't handle this slayer," Angelus sneered. "It took a real demon to take her down."
He watched from his chair as the other vamp strutted around the room, describing how he had used Drusilla and a small child to distract the Slayer so that the sorcerer could catch her by surprise when she had her hands full.
"So, you had to sneak up behind her and cheat to beat her. Is that what you're sayin', Angelus?" Spike put as much contempt into his voice as he could.
"Not enough balls to take her on?"
He could see anger beginning to darken the other vampire's face, but he couldn't control his mouth. He sneered in contempt when he spoke again. "At least I wasn't afraid to face her – vamp to Slayer. Didn't have to hide behind the skirts of a woman and a baby—"
Angelus approached rapidly and backhanded the smaller vamp out of his wheelchair, leaving Spike on the floor only inches away from Buffy's bleeding throat.
"You couldn't beat her even with the Order of Taraka's help, so just keep your pueling mouth shut, boyo." After planting a heavy foot in Spike's side and smiling at the crack of a rib giving way, Angelus left the room muttering, "Just let me get my stuff and I'll show you how to handle a Slayer. Maybe I'll just leave you down there on the floor where you'll get a good view."
Angelus went off with Ethan to find the video camera that Spike had used to study Buffy's fighting technique, leaving his grandchilde on the floor, one hand on his broken ribs and his face still inches from the Slayer blood oozing from Buffy's neck. The crippled vampire watched her lashes fluttering as she struggled to regain the ability to move and his eyes bored into hers, silently willing her to remain still.
Spike waited for Drusilla to come and help him back up, but instead she trailed Angelus out of the room, wheedling with him to leave the nasty slayer and play with her. He ground his teeth, knowing only too well what she meant by "play with her". He closed his eyes tightly for a second, then opened them to find the dazed green gaze of the Slayer upon him. She was apparently regaining some control over her body; he watched as she swallowed hard and licked her dry lips as she tried to speak.
"Hello, cutie," he hissed through his clenched teeth. "Welcome to my world."
"Sp… Spike?" The weakened tone in which she spoke her whispered question told him she was still not recovered enough to get away; nevertheless, he whispered back, "Now might be a good time to run, Slayer."
When her eyes rolled up and she tried without success to make a face, he growled softly in frustration. The scent of her blood, still oozing from the deep wound on her neck, was making his fangs itch and without thinking about what he was doing, he leaned forward and licked it clean, closing the wound as he did so. The elixir that was Slayer blood went through his starving system instantly, giving him a burst of energy that caught him completely by surprise.
With a gasp, he realized that draining the Slayer might very well be all it would take to restore his legs and allow him to stand up to his overbearing and sadistic grandsire. He used his arms to pull the still immobile girl closer to him, and slid into his vampire face; the scent of her blood was making his mouth water and he growled softly as he went to sink his fangs into her neck.
Her resigned sigh spoke straight to the guilt he found himself feeling at the thought of feeding off his most respected opponent while she was unable to defend herself and he stopped before he pierced her skin.
"I'm sorry, pet," he surprised himself by saying. "But I need this more than you do right now. And if I save you from what Angelus and Dru have planned, you'll be thanking me from up there in Heaven."
"Right," she gasped sarcastically, "So you're just doing this to help me."
He grinned appreciatively at her ability to quip in the face of imminent death and for a second he seriously considered not draining her until he could defeat her properly in battle. A renewed reminder of their situations – her inability to do more than try to roll away from him, and his own sudden fear that he wouldn't be able to reach her if she did – sent that thought away instantly.
His body was screaming for more of the blood he had just tasted; with an apologetic shrug, he buried his teeth in her throat and began pulling the hot, powerful blood into his mouth. He had only taken a few swallows when he felt himself yanked backwards, his fangs leaving gaping wounds in the Slayer's neck where they tore the flesh.
"What the hell do you think you're doing, boy?" Angelus' enraged roar was worth the pain of being flung away from the Slayer's body, Spike thought; as useless as he'd felt, it was nice to know his actions could still have some sort of impact. "I don't want her dead yet. If you've…" He stopped ranting when the sound of her heartbeat told him that the Slayer was still alive. With a snarl and another well-placed kick to Spike's side, he stepped past his grandchilde and pulled the Slayer far enough away that Spike would be unable to drag himself to her without grinding his broken ribs together.
"Hello, lover," he crooned to her. "You didn't think I'd forgotten about you, did you?"
Fear and defiance fought each other to a standstill in Buffy's eyes as she glared at Angelus helplessly. From the corner of his eye, Spike could see her fist clench behind her back and silently cheered her for not letting Angelus know she was gradually regaining her ability to move.
Angelus ran his hand down her body, pausing to cup her mound and chuckle at the horrified widening of her eyes. Blood rushed to her face, and she blushed with embarrassment as the vampire continued to fondle her virginal body in way he had never allowed himself to do while he had his soul.
Buffy fought the shudders that threatened to go through her body, forcing herself to lie still and pretend she was incapable of reacting to the rude invasion of her personal space. To her relief, Drusilla came back into the room, scolding Angelus for starting to play without her and telling him that Ethan needed him in the library.
With a final squeeze, Angelus reluctantly stood up and left the room, convinced that Buffy was still immobilized by the sorcerer's magic. As soon as he was out of sight, the Slayer began to tremble all over, her face crumpling in the face of the humiliating treatment and the fact that it had taken place in front of her old enemy. When she dared to look at Spike, she found that he had rolled to his side and was clutching his ribs as he looked at her with an expression of genuine sympathy.
Fully expecting him to verbally assault her the way her former boyfriend had just done physically, she was astonished to hear him say, "Don't let him see you cry, luv. It will only make him worse."
She frowned at him with confusion, then began testing her arms and legs, trying desperately to get enough feeling back to be able to leave before Angelus came back into the room. After painful minutes, she gave up, dropping her head in exhaustion. Although the spell was obviously wearing off, it was nowhere near enough for her to be able to run or fight. At best, she could move her head slightly and clench her fists.
"Shake it off, Slayer!" Spike's anxious voice broke into her tired mind and she turned her head to meet his eyes across the floor.
"I can't," she said dully. "I tried. It hasn't worn off yet."
"Try harder! They're comin' back. You need to try again – you need to—"
He broke off as Ethan strode into the room holding a video camera, closely followed by Angelus and Drusilla. The big vampire grabbed the Slayer by her hair and dragged her into the center of the room, smiling to himself at the tears that involuntarily spurted from her eyes when her hair was used as a handle.
When they had positioned her in the middle of the room just the way they wanted her, and the sorcerer had given them the nod, the two vampires began to systematically remove the girl's clothing – using their claws and teeth to rip it from her body as she bit her lip and tried not to acknowledge them or the damage they were doing to the flesh under the clothing.
When Angelus fastened his mouth around one breast and sank his fangs through the soft skin there, Buffy couldn't prevent the smothered scream that escaped her throat nor the involuntary flinch away from him. Her eyes squeezed shut at the physical and emotional pain that was wracking her young body and she began to wish that Spike had drained her when he had the chance.
At least his bite didn't hurt very much. Not until Angel yanked him off, anyway.
Ethan stood with the camera, encouraging their activities and laughing when they had the embarrassed girl naked. He walked around with the camera, being sure to get close-ups of the bloodiest wounds and keeping up a running commentary the whole time.
"It appears your Slayer might be in a bit of difficulty, Ripper. Since you don't know where she is and cannot help her, I thought I would be kind enough to film it for you so that you do not miss a thing. How long do you think it is going to take her to die, eh, Rupert? Angelus assures me he can drag this out for weeks, if necessary. I suppose that means we will have to purchase more video tape if we are going to keep you apprised of her condition."
He moved the camera slightly and caught Spike trying to painfully pull himself into his wheelchair without tipping it over.
"Oh, here. Perhaps you will enjoy this too. William the Bloody, Slayer of Slayers, reduced to begging for blood from his sire and confined to a wheelchair with a broken back. A confinement for which your Slayer is responsible. How well do you think she will fare if Angelus and Drusilla decide to turn her over to William when they have tired of her? Hmmm?"
Only Buffy suspected that Spike's answering snarl was aimed at Ethan and his words moreso than at the thought of being given Buffy's broken body when Angelus was through with her. Through her pain, she laughed silently at the thought that in her current situation, William the Bloody was the closest thing she had to a sympathetic onlooker.
When Ethan felt that he had enough of her torment on tape to send Giles into a guilty frenzy, he insisted that Angelus and Drusilla quit anything that could potentially cause the Slayer's death from either blood loss or shock, and allow him to get the tape delivered immediately. He promised the pouting Drusilla that she could "play" some more after he knew that Buffy's watcher had seen the first tape.
With a snarl of reluctance, Angelus yanked Buffy over toward a set of manacles that were bolted to the wall and carelessly fastened one around her wrist.
"That should hold you if the spell wears off," he laughed, slapping her on her bare ass as he stood up.
The two vampires left the room, retiring to their bedroom for a round of noisy sex while Ethan left to go find someone to deliver the tape for him. Buffy eyed Spike carefully, wondering whether he would to try to drain her again now that they could clearly hear how busy Angelus and Drusilla were at the other end of the big house. The devastated look on his face as he sat, trapped in his chair, and listened to the love of his life as she screamed her "daddy's" name in ecstasy told the Slayer that she was the last thing on his mind at that time.
The pang of sympathy she felt for the vampire who had tried to kill her so often and so recently surprised her.
It's not like I don't know how it feels to have somebody you love boinking somebody else practically in front of you, she admitted to herself. She knew that had Angelus not spent so much of the evening trying to humiliate and torture her, the sounds coming from the back of the building would be tearing her heart out. As it was, she was simply grateful that Drusilla was keeping the demon that wore the face of her first love too busy to remember the naked slayer in the main room.
She cautiously tried moving her body, finding that, while it hurt terribly to bend her limbs – covered as they were with bleeding wounds – she could bend them. She was weak from the loss of blood and the remaining effects of the spell, but at least she was no longer completely immobile and unable to defend herself.
If that demon or his whore put their hands on me again, I swear I will break them off at the wrists, even if it's the last thing I do.
Buffy had been so wrapped up in her thoughts about what she would do if Angelus came back and attempted to touch her again, that she had failed to notice Spike's departure from the room. Only the sound of his wheelchair on the stones brought her attention back to the vampire and she gave a start when she realized he was rolling straight towards her. In his lap were a pitcher of water and a bag of cookies.
"Can you move yet?" he asked abruptly, holding the cookies out to her.
She nodded silently, taking the bag and staring at him suspiciously.
"Quit lookin' at me like I've got three heads," he grumbled, passing her the water. "How the hell are you going to dust that wanker if you don't keep your strength up?"
Buffy upended the pitcher of water and drank almost half of it before setting it down to get into the bag of cookies.
"What kind of vampires keep Chips Ahoys in their kitchen?" she mumbled around a mouthful of stale cookies.
"They're mine," he said sheepishly. "Dru got them for me before she became so besotted with the great poof that she forgot to feed me at all."
"You eat chocolate chip cookies," she said, a trace disbelief in her voice.
"I like chocolate," he answered defensively. "Jus' can't live on it, is all."
Something about the way he said it reminded Buffy of his remark about Dru not feeding him at all, and she took her first good look at him since she'd been carried into the mansion. Spike had always been lean, but she'd always suspected that there was a solid covering of flesh and muscle over his bones; her fights with him had given her a pretty good idea of what that body looked and felt like.
Now, the formerly handsome vampire was thin and wasted-looking; his eyes were sunken and dark-rimmed, his prominent cheekbones jutted out more than ever before, and his upper body – clearly visible in the black tee shirt he wore – was all bones and pale skin. She gasped and looked up at his face in shock, only to find him staring at her own body, his eyes flashing amber.
She suddenly remembered the way he'd bitten her throat when she first came in-and his whispered, "I need it more than you do."
Shrinking away from him in sudden fear, she almost knocked over the water pitcher, only to see the vampire save it at the last second. His hiss of pain, and the way he grabbed his side indicated that the damage inflicted earlier by Angelus' foot had not begun to heal.
Trembling with the danger she knew she was inviting, she tentatively extended one badly-gashed and still-bleeding leg, offering, "I seem to be wasting a lot of blood on stones that don't need or want it. Maybe… maybe you'd like to…?"
Before she had finished, he had her foot in one hand and was running his tongue all over her lower leg, carefully lapping up every drop of blood and then gently laving the wound until it stopped bleeding and began to close. Buffy closed her eyes so as not to see the vampire as he fed on her. When he moved up her leg to the cuts on her thigh, her eyes flew open again and she flinched, remembering her nudity. The angle at which Spike was holding her leg left her open to his gaze and she blushed, struggling to keep her thighs together; he sent her a quick, amused glance, then went back to what he was doing. When he'd finished cleaning the wounds on that thigh, he pulled the other leg into his lap and began, matter-of-factly, to cleanse the deep gouges and cuts there.
When he reached a particularly nasty cut just over her femoral artery, she gasped at the sensation in her lower abdomen as the vampire's tongue slid over the skin at the top of her thigh. Spike could see and feel the blood pulsing through the vein so near his mouth, and he stopped for a few seconds to visibly fight down the demon's desire to bury his fangs. Buffy froze, instinctively aware of what was happening, struggling feebly to pull her legs away and succeeding only in exposing more of her private parts as he held her fast.
Oh my god. He's getting stronger. Just that little amount of blood is making him stronger already.
She began to worry that she had made a very big mistake and unconsciously tensed, preparatory to pushing him away. Before she could move, his eyes went back to their normal bright blue and he shrugged apologetically, saying quietly, "Sorry, luv. Just had a moment there. It's alright now."
"You scared me," she admitted softly.
"Scared me, too, pet," he snarked. "I'm countin' on you to get us out of here and send that bog-trotting bastard to hell where he belongs. Wouldn't do for me to kill you before that happens, would it?"
"So, we have what? A truce until we get out of here? What about your crazy ho-bag of a girlfriend?"
His eyes flashed amber again and she flinched when he snarled, "Watch your mouth, missy."
Leaving the incongruity of this feared vampire's ability to control his demon in the face of starvation – as well as his obvious love for his unfaithful consort – for another time, she silently held out her unshackled arm. Instead of taking it, Spike pulled her further up into his lap and began licking all the bleeding cuts on her chest and belly. Buffy was beyond embarrassed by the places his tongue was going, squeezing her eyes shut and trying to pretend she couldn't feel its moist roughness as it cleaned and closed dozens of small wounds,
When he got to her right breast, where Angelus had sunk his fangs around the nipple and nearly severed it, she flinched and gave an involuntary moan. To her amazement, Spike stopped immediately and apologized.
"I'm sorry, luv. I know that probably stings a bit, but if you let me close it, it won't hurt as much and it will heal faster. Your ex went pretty deep here and you don't want to be letting those puncture wounds scab over until they're clean inside."
Still not opening her eyes, Buffy gritted her teeth and nodded permission, fighting down the urge to scream when his tongue entered the largest puncture. Noticing her pain, Spike fastened his mouth over the entire bite-covering not just all four fang marks, but her nipple as well -and began to suck gently.
As he gradually pulled the blood from the wound, the sensation changed from pain to something Buffy couldn't identify. She lay still, trembling slightly while the vampire suckled on her breast and ran his tongue over the nipple. Eventually, she realized that he was not pulling any more blood from it, and she opened her eyes to glare at him as best she could; embarrassed that, if she was honest with herself, she would have to admit whatever he was doing felt pretty good.
"Wha—what are you doing?" she managed to croak out.
The sound of her voice snapped the vampire out of the lust-filled daze the combination of her blood and the pert breast from which he was pulling it had inspired; he startled, releasing her nipple with a soft popping sound. For long seconds they stared into each other's eyes, each wondering if they had done something that would cause the other to end the truce.
"Nothing," he said, finally. "Just got a little carried away. Didn't mean anything by it, Slayer."
"May—maybe you'd better put me down now," she whispered, disgusted with herself when she realized she really didn't want to be back on the cold, hard floor.
"Good idea," he agreed, reluctantly sliding her body off his legs until she could lower herself to the floor on shaking arms. He examined her closed wounds for a second, then gestured to the arm he hadn't touched. "Might be a good idea, pet, to spread some of that blood around on the other bites. Just in case anybody looks close enough to see that you aren't bleedin' anymore."
Buffy nodded, quickly using her hands to spread the rapidly coagulating blood from her arm onto her legs and torso to hide the already healing wounds there.
Spike picked up the water pitcher and held it out, waiting until she had drained it to take it back and begin to leave the room.
"Get some kip, Slayer," he said, not unkindly. "You could have another long night ahead of you tomorrow.
Buffy shuddered at his advice, wondering what else the two vampires could do to her—and just how badly the sorcerer wanted to keep her alive. She curled up on the cold floor and, trying to hide her naked body as best she could, fell into a restless sleep.
When Buffy did not show up at school the next day, Giles immediately sought out Willow and Xander to see if they had any idea where she was. When neither one could say that they had spoken to her since the afternoon before, his stomach began to churn and he debated ringing Buffy's home to see if her mother knew where she was. Only the fact that he could come up with no good reason for the school librarian to be phoning a student's house at 9:00 in the morning to ask where she was kept him from frantic dialing.
The courier's arrival at noon, with a small package for which he had to sign, did nothing to relieve his fears and the sight of the videotape inside the package made his hand tremble. He quickly set up the nearest TV/VCR, thanking the stars that not all the library's machines were out on loan for the day. One glimpse of the first shot of an immobile Buffy lying on a stone floor at the feet of Angelus and Drusilla and he collapsed into his chair with a moan. He watched in horror as the two vampires ripped the clothing and flesh from his clearly incapacitated slayer, cringing at the agony in her eyes. When he recognized the voice coming from behind the camera, he felt a cold hand take possession of his heart, squeezing it into something hard and icy.
His initial fear and pain were replaced by a lethal rage. Immediately he realized that this was about himself and Ethan – the vampires were superfluous to the sorcerer, only a means to an end – as was the torture of his slayer. Giles had no trouble recognizing a baited trap when he saw one. Had he not been so outraged at the ordeal Buffy was undergoing at Ethan's behest, he might have been shocked at his own impatience to spring the trap and confront his old friend. As it was, emotions and desires he hadn't experienced in many years roiled through his body as he continued to watch the video.
Giles watched in bemusement as Ethan gleefully filmed Spike attempting to crawl back into a wheelchair, wincing despite himself at the vampire's obvious weakness and trembling limbs.
So, not only do we have Angelus back amongst us, but his family is not dead either. Buffy is at the mercy of three master vampires, at least two of which have every reason to hate her.
Giles was not so foolish as to think that there was any trace of affection for Buffy in the demon now controlling the body of her former boyfriend and protector, but he was not yet aware of how angry the demon would be at having been the Slayer's pet vampire. His fear was that Drusilla and Spike would be the ones to revenge themselves on Buffy before killing her. He was still watching the tape when he heard the doors to the library slam open and quickly turned the television off, ejecting and stuffing the tape in his coat pocket.
Tersely, he explained to the anxious teens outside his office that Buffy appeared to have been captured by Angelus and that there was sorcery involved. While he was mentally chastising himself for not having properly finished the beating he'd administered to Ethan at Halloween, he was already gathering the books and supplies he would need to rescue his slayer. He barely acknowledged his two companions as, with an ease that surprised him, he fell into the necessary ruthless pursuit of vengeance that had been such a part of his life as a younger man.
Taking Willow and Xander with him, he drove to his home as quickly as possible. While he rummaged in a closet for more weapons, he set Willow to work performing a locator spell to help them find where Buffy was being held. The novice witch had bravely volunteered to try to come up with a spell to use against Ethan, only to be disappointed when Giles gazed off into empty space as he said, "No, thank you, Willow. I believe I will be handling this one myself."
Xander's face had paled at the thought of facing three of the four members of the Scourge of Europe at the same time, but he dutifully began to sharpen stakes and fill water guns with holy water. By the time darkness had fallen, the weapons were stacked by the door and the two teenagers were anxiously waiting to leave. However, Willlow's locator spell could find no trace of Buffy and the redhead's eyes filled with tears as she feared the worst. Giles, on the other hand, was not surprised, he simply ran his eyes over the map and noted the area that the locator light seemed to be avoiding.
"He's cloaked the building," he said brusquely. "It is obviously somewhere in this area –" he waved his hand at an older and more remote part of Sunnydale. "Perhaps one of those old mansions on Crawford Street; they periodically attract vampire nests that Buffy must go in and clean out."
"Let's go then," Xander shouldered the weapons' bag and began to open the door.
"No," the Watcher said flatly.
"No? He's got Buffy and you're saying, 'no'?" Xander challenged, his question echoed in Willow's eyes. The faces of the two teens reflected their fear and confusion.
"I am saying that you are not coming with me. This will be a fight involving serious magics and I cannot be worrying about you two."
Willow's face was hurt and her lip crept out as she said softly, "I can do magic, Giles."
Giles fixed distant eyes on her as he said, "You cannot do these kinds of magics. Nor should you. Do you understand me, Willow? Under no circumstances are you to try to summon anything magical tonight." His hard eyes bored into hers until she dropped her gaze and nodded obediently.
"But," Xander protested weakly, "The stakes. Won't Buffy need them for vampire dustage?"
Giles appeared to think for a minute, then reluctantly agreed, "All right. The two of you may accompany me to the area, but you are to remain in the car and if you see anything at all… untoward, you are to drive away immediately. Is that clear?"
They nodded eagerly and began carrying things out to the car. He waved them out, then closed the door and focused, pulling into himself as much power as he was able. He could feel the magics enter his body and fill it with the strength of the earth and its essence even as he chastised himself for not having continued to practice the techniques that he'd been taught by the coven so many years ago.
Finally, offering a prayer that he had absorbed as much power as would be needed to counteract whatever Ethan had done, he left the house and joined the impatient students waiting in his car.
Buffy awoke to the feeling of cold hands yanking her over onto her back, hands which began an immediate assault on her bruised and cut body, smacking her face until she opened her eyes to glare at the vampires once again standing over her. She pushed down the fear clenching her stomach as the demon wearing Angel's face leered at her nakedness and ran his hands up her thighs. He roughly inserted his fingers into her vagina, laughing at the cry of surprise and pain that escaped her lips before she could stop it.
Once again, Ethan was holding the video camera and directing the vampires as they began another round of torment on Buffy's body. He could see that she had regained some feeble use of her limbs and asked idly if they wanted him to strengthen the spell; Angelus laughed, saying with a leer, "No, let the bitch struggle. It'll be more fun that way. She's no match for the two of us."
Angelus signaled to Dru to hold Buffy's arms while he yanked her legs apart and unzipped his pants. Buffy couldn't prevent the tears from leaking out of her eyes as she realized what he was planning. When, instead of the romantic lovemaking she had pictured him allowing her to share someday, he rammed into her dry, virginal passage she gasped with both physical and emotional pain. He shoved his way past her hymen with no pause, using the blood to lubricate the dry channel so that he could pump into her more easily.
Ethan was once again carrying on a running commentary on the action, offering Giles close-ups of the Slayer's tears as well as the blood that colored the insides of her thighs when Angelus finally shuddered to release and pulled out of her. Buffy was sobbing silently, her dreams as shattered as her maidenhead. She barely noticed that Spike had once again rolled back into the room and she completely missed the suppressed rage on his face at what he'd seen.
Drusilla had not missed her former lover's arrival, however, and she took Angelus' arm and began to whisper in his ear. The demon threw back his head and roared with laughter.
"That is just delicious, my pet! You are truly fit to be my mate."
He walked over to Spike's chair and pushed it closer to Buffy, the puzzled mage filming the whole time.
"Here's the thing, Will," he began conversationally. "The Slayer looks like a ripe little peach, but she's dry as a bone. Maybe I don't appeal to her anymore – the devil knows she used to get wet for me just kissing good-night..."
Buffy squeezed her eyes shut, sure that if the vampires did not kill her soon, she was going to die of humiliation and pain all by herself. Whatever trace of affection she might have still felt for the gloating demon had completely fled and her only thought was to hold on long enough see him turn to dust, preferably at her hand.
She heard him continue as he dragged Spike out of his chair and threw him down beside the still-silent girl, saying, "So, for the sake of making it more interesting the second time I take her, I want you to work some of that magic you do so well, and get her wet for me. Drusilla tells me you have a very talented tongue; let's see you do something useful with it. When I go again, I want her ready, willing and waiting for my cock."
He pushed Spike's face toward Buffy's still bleeding sex, laughing the entire time as Spike snarled and snapped at him. The blood that Spike had taken from the Slayer the night before had gone a long way towards helping him heal, but he knew he wasn't yet strong enough to take on his grandsire. He glanced up into the face of the woman he'd loved for over 100 years, hoping for some sign that she objected to what he was being asked to do, but her dancing eyes and the way she held the Slayer's arms told him she didn't care what he did to the girl. Her eyes were only on Angelus, and it was clear that her only thought was to please him.
Instead of doing as he was told, Spike pulled himself up the Slayer's trembling body, pretending to be much weaker than he actually felt. He allowed his head to fall against her neck, whispering quickly, "I'm sorry, luv. You don't deserve this any more than I do." Before Angelus could object to the disobedience, he dropped between her spread legs and began to lick the blood and Angel's spendings off the insides of her thighs. As his mouth got closer and closer to her center, Buffy felt the same fluttering in her lower abdomen that she'd felt the night before when he'd been suckling on her breast.
Spike felt her pulse increase slightly and smelled the faintest trace of arousal as he ran his tongue through her folds, carefully cleaning her off and soothing the bruised and torn area. Buffy turned her flaming face to the side as she realized that Spike was having exactly the effect Angelus had expected him to; she clenched her teeth and fought the sensations emanating from her previously untouched and unseen most private parts.
Drusilla leaned over her, cooing in the Slayer's ear, "My William is very talented, is he not, Slayer? Don't try to pretend you don't like it. I know you do – I know you—" She broke off abruptly to snarl, "No fair, William. You are just to prepare the Slayer for Daddy. You are not allowed to enjoy your taste of the Slayer. She is Daddy's!"
"Sod your fuckin' 'daddy'," Spike growled, rolling away from the kick Angelus aimed at his head. He bit back the bitter words he wanted to throw at Dru about how much better Buffy tasted than she did, knowing that she would take her anger out on the helpless slayer rather than on him.
A loud noise at the front of the house attracted Ethan's attention and he put down the camera, ordering Angelus to, "Go see what might be interrupting us. I'm quite sure Ripper will not have been able to locate us yet; perhaps you will have the opportunity to eat a Girl Scout or two."
The old vampire snarled at being given orders by a mere human; however, he had acquired his knowledge of what the mage could do the hard way and was reduced to grumbling his assent as he left the room. Drusilla drifted behind him, curious as to what might have knocked on their door and picturing the Girl Scouts that the sorcerer had jokingly mentioned.
Neither Spike nor Buffy held any actual interest for the magician, so he ignored them in favor of drinking some wine while he waited for the two vampires to come back.
Spike's roll had taken him across the Slayer so that he was now lying beside her, their eyes only inches apart.
"How's that spell doin', pet?" he whispered anxiously. "Any chance you're ready to dust that wanker yet?"
Buffy shook her head silently, gesturing at the bolt holding her chain which she had managed to work loose. "I'm loose, but I still can't move very fast. It's just taking too long to wear off. What about you?" she hissed. "Didn't my blood do you any good at all?"
"More than you know, pet," he smirked, thinking about the hard-on he'd been sporting just a few seconds ago. "But I'm not up to fighting them yet."
"So we're screwed," she said sadly, then flashed her eyes at him, daring him to say what he was thinking. She flushed when the humorous glitter there told her he was biting his tongue. Then, to her surprise, his expression changed and he appeared almost ashamed as he said quietly, "I wouldn't have said it, Slayer. Angelus is an animal, and if I was any kind of a gentleman I'd be apologizing to you for having any part in what's goin' on here."
"You're a vampire, Spike. Not a gentleman."
Her easy acceptance of his role in her humiliation and rape angered him more than he cared to admit, and he snapped out, "I might kill you, but I would never have raped you. Got too much pride for that."
Buffy's intended answer never came as movement at the edge of the room caught her eye; she gasped when she realized that she was looking at her Watcher's face reflected in the glass of the window.
Spike immediately followed her gaze and muttered, "The cavalry's here, huh, pet?"
She nodded, her face screwed up in a worried frown. "But what is Giles going to be able to—"
Her whisper was cut off as Giles pointed his hand at her and she felt the last vestiges of the spell leave her system. With a yank, she pulled the bolt out of the floor, wrapping the chain around her wrist and leaping to her feet. Her nudity, to which she had become somewhat accustomed, suddenly made her feel exposed again, and she looked around frantically for something with which to cover herself. Feeling the brush of cloth across her hand, she looked down to see that Spike had taken off his tee shirt and was holding it out to her.
With no time to puzzle out his ability to read her mind, she snatched it out of his hand and whirled to face the sorcerer who had yet to realize what was going on. He frowned at her in surprise, muttering, "Must be that Slayer healing. No way should that spell be wearing off yet." He reached into his pocket and pulled out some more of the dust, raising his hand to blow it towards her, only to find himself knocked to the floor, the hand holding the dust firmly pinned down.
"Ripper!" he crowed, with what sounded too much like happiness. "You're early, but that's all right. You can still join the party."
Behind him, Angelus and Drusilla came back into the room, having found no one at the front door and no sign of entry. They blinked for a second at the sight of Ethan lying on the ground, Giles sitting atop him wearing a look the formerly souled vampire had never seen on him before.
"Remove this violent person from me and then you may have your Slayer to do with as you wish," Ethan proposed. "Just do not kill him, please. That privilege is reserved for me." He waited confidently for the two vampires to overwhelm his former lover and allow him to begin the torture he had been planning for him.
Angelus looked at the mage and quickly decided that what happened between Ethan and Giles was not his problem. His gaze settled on the Slayer, now on her feet and standing almost protectively over his smirking grandchilde. Drusilla, behind him, saw what Buffy was wearing and flew across the room, only to be caught on the face by the chain Buffy was wielding like a mace.
"Go get him, Slayer," she heard from behind and below her. "Let me worry about Dru."
Taking Spike at his word, Buffy stepped forward to meet the snarling vampire. Confident that Buffy would still be weak from blood loss and the lack of anything to eat or drink for over twenty-four hours, Angelus glided towards her, his demon face to the fore. Behind him, Giles was pounding on Ethan's face with one hand and restraining the hand containing the immobilization dust down with the other.
In a physical contest, there was no comparison between the aging but still fit Watcher and the slender, effete magician. However, Ethan had not come back to Sunnydale to engage Giles in a physical confrontation, but rather to overwhelm him with black magic. Squirming free of the watcher's punishing fist for just a second, he gasped out a quick Latin phrase and waited for Giles to collapse.
A grin that looked much more like the Ripper Ethan remembered from their early days together shaped Giles's face as he responded with a phrase of his own. Ethan felt himself become paralyzed, and frantically tried to summon enough of his power to raise one hand. Instead, he found himself flattened to the floor as surely as if he'd been tied down and gagged.
Giles stood up and turned to watch Buffy as she squared off against her former boyfriend. From the corner of his eye, he could see Spike holding onto to a hysterical Drusilla as she screamed for her daddy and struggled to break free. With a sigh of resignation, Spike brought up his fist in a vicious uppercut that effectively silenced the mad vampire, leaving her in a crumpled heap across his lap.
While Buffy was beating Angelus bloody with her chain, she was no closer to dusting him than she had been when she started and Giles could see that she was beginning to tire, the events of the previous night having taken more of a toll on her than she wanted to admit.
He bent down and unclenched Ethan's fist, shaking the dust into his own hand and getting as close to Buffy and Angelus as he could without getting hurt. He held up the handful of dust so that Buffy could see it, and when she kicked Angelus in the crotch and shoved him towards her watcher, Giles blew the dust into the vampire's face. Immediately, Angelus was frozen in place, toppling over and landing on his face on the floor, his hands still clutching his testicles.
"Thank you, Giles," Buffy said gratefully. Now that she could stop the fight for her life, she realized exactly how tired she was and rested her trembling weight against a table.
"I'm sorry it took me so long to get here," he responded, his normal softness once again evident on his face. "I hope they did not have time to hurt you any more than—"
A snarl from the vampire still sitting on the floor with his unconscious girlfriend in his lap reminded him that they were not alone in the room. He was staring at Spike and Drusilla and therefore completely missed the pleading look that Buffy sent Spike.
The two mortal enemies locked eyes and Giles frowned as he realized that some sort of communication was taking place between Buffy and the vampire. After a few tense seconds, Spike nodded almost imperceptibly and said quietly, "No, Watcher. Seems like you were just in the nick of time. Slayer's all alive and well and on her way back to being the obnoxiously perky little pain in my ass that she's always been."
There was complete silence in the room as Ethan and Angelus struggled to speak and Giles looked back and forth between Spike and Buffy, wondering what he was missing. The silence was growing more and more uncomfortable until Willow and Xander burst through the door, stakes, crosses, and holy water in hand. The sight of Buffy wearing nothing but a black tee shirt, her arms, legs and neck visibly covered with partially healed wounds stopped them in their tracks.
Willow's sympathetic, "Oh, Buffy!" almost covered for the boy's sudden gasp as he realized that she was probably naked under the shirt. Spike did not miss the gasp, nor did he miss the sudden increase in the boy's heart rate, and he surprised himself with the possessive growl that emerged from his throat.
Buffy had turned to look at her two friends and hadn't missed the look on Xander's face or the growl from the vampire behind her. Once again, one of world's most feared vampires was showing more concern for her dignity than was someone who should care about her and she felt another small piece crumble off her slayer's rigid view of the world. She tugged ineffectually on the shirt in an attempt to cover more of her legs as she asked quickly, "Xander? Stake?"
"Wha-–? Oh. Oh, yeah, of course, stakes. Here you go, Buffy."
He tossed her a stake, then frowned when she didn't hold out her hand for two more.
Buffy stalked up to the immobile vampire and turned him over so that he was facing the ceiling. She bent over Angelus as far as she could without flashing the vampire behind her and looked him in the eye.
"Kinda a scary feeling, isn't, Angel? Can't move, and you know the person who can is probably really, really pissed off at you?"
In spite of the vampire's best attempt to appear contrite and loving, the eyes staring back at her bore no trace of the soul that had shone out so visibly before, and she didn't need Spike's quiet "Don't fall for it, Slayer," to make her decision. While a sorely wounded part of her would have taken some pleasure in having time to make the vampire suffer the way she had at his hands, the girl who had loved him was controlling her now. She calmly brought her hand into position and said, "You know why I'm doing this." His eyes reflected brief panic just before she raised her arm, bringing it back down quickly and plunging the stake into his chest. She waited stoically as the dust settled to the floor, then straightened and turned to look at the equally immobile sorcerer.
"I will handle this, Buffy," Giles said quietly, stepping closer to Ethan. "I am the reason he is here. Why don't you take care of the other two vampires and let Xander and Willow take you home?"
Buffy turned to look at Spike and Drusilla where they remained on the stone floor; she saw his arms tighten protectively around the insane vampire and felt her heart wrench at the proof that soulless vampires could indeed love and forgive. Spike's eyes stared into hers as he waited anxiously to see what she would do. There was none of the pleading that she had seen in the eyes of his grandsire, just a calm acceptance of their probable fate.
She toyed briefly with the idea of just staking Drusilla and allowing Spike to find his own way out of Sunnydale; however, she quickly realized that not only would he probably not want to live without his lover of over 100 years, but he would never forgive her. She would have no choice but to kill him as well, or spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder.
Giles studied Buffy while she stared indecisively at Spike; as he watched her, he observed her healing wounds, the shirt he'd seen the vampire rip off and hand to her, and the fact that she was in generally good condition to have suffered the things he had so painfully watched. Even with Slayer healing, it seemed unlikely that she would be so well on her way to recovery so soon after suffering such damage. His eyes narrowed as his gaze shifted to Spike and he surprised himself by saying, "If you do not want to do it, I will take care of it for you, Buffy. You can go home."
"No," she whispered, stepping closer to the two vampires and kneeling down beside them. She heard the shocked intakes of breath from both Xander and Willow as she calmly sat down beside the vampire who had been her surprising support through her ordeal.
She looked at Spike, trying to read his eyes and his normally expressive face, but it was still and mask-like.
"I don't want to kill you," she said quietly, letting her eyes fall on the now-stirring woman in his arms.
She saw him tighten his grip again, his eyes now pleading with her. "I can't live without her, Slayer. I won't."
Buffy's eyes filled with tears of sympathy as she struggled with her inherent need to rid the world of the creatures in front of her.
"You can't control her," she said bluntly. "If I leave her here until you can travel, more families are going to lose their children. I can't do that, Spike."
"Do what you have to do, Slayer," he said with stubborn resignation. "I won't be without her."
Whatever Buffy's intended reply, no one heard it; as Buffy began speaking, Drusilla came to her senses and began to look around the room frantically for Angelus. She pulled out of Spike's arms, ignoring the startled Slayer, and began running around the mansion screaming for Angelus. Giles quickly ordered Willow and Xander into the car and threw the inert Ethan over his shoulder. He looked back at Buffy as he walked toward the door saying with more sympathy than he'd shown when Angel was the danger in question, "Spike is quite right, Buffy. You must do what you were born to do."
She waved her hand dismissively and got to her feet, stake in hand as she waited for Drusilla to return to the mansion's main room. She looked at the small pile of dust where Angelus had last stood and braced herself for the coming attack. Behind her, she could hear Spike's low moaning as he tried to get to his feet.
"Please, luv, please," he chanted over and over – not sure if he was talking to the Slayer or to his suicidal mistress.
Drusilla burst back into the big room, her eyes this time going right to the Slayer and the stake she was holding. "Where is he?" she shrieked, running at Buffy. "What have you done with him?" The lighted candle the insane vampire had picked up somewhere along the way fell out of its holder, landing unnoticed on the edge of the small carpet upon which rested all that remained of her sire. She gave a piercing wail as she glimpsed the pile of dust at the Slayer's feet.
Heedless of the rapidly developing fire behind her, the grief-stricken vampire fell to her knees in front of the small dust pile that had been both her destroyer and her life's focus. The fire quickly crept up the old, dry rug to catch the edge of her flowing dress and set it smoldering.
"Dru!" the horror and fear in Spike's voice was palpable and sent a chill through Buffy. She could see him out of the corner of her eye, struggling to get to his feet and run to the woman he loved. Tears of frustration rolled down his face as his still-crippled back would not allow his legs to work.
Finally noticing the flames eating at her dress, Dru leaped to her feet and whirled briefly in fear and confusion. Her actions fanned the flames into the inferno that would destroy her ancient body in seconds as well as scattering sparks to other areas. The fire quickly spread to the draperies and furniture as the vampire turned back to the pile of dust and sank to her knees on the flaming rug. She knelt there, her hair now catching fire, crying and moaning in her grief and agony. Buffy shook herself and cast an apologetic glance at the now-sobbing Spike who had given up his attempt to stand and was instead trying to drag himself to the rapidly growing conflagration that was the women he had loved and cared throughout his unlife. Before he could get close enough to touch her, Buffy reached through the flames and mercifully plunged her stake into the flaming vampire's back.
She snatched her hand back quickly, hissing at the burns on her arm, and looked over at Spike. The room was filling with smoke and Buffy's eyes began to burn as she coughed.
"Go on, Slayer," he choked out, his eyes ravaged by grief. "Get out!"
With a silent nod, she ran for the door, pausing just outside to breathe in the cool fresh air. There was no sign of Giles and Ethan, although Willow and Xander were waiting obediently in the car, their faces illuminated by the flames now beginning to show through the curtained windows. Buffy began to walk hesitantly towards the vehicle, trying to blank her mind to the way Spike had cared for her, soothed her cuts and her feelings. She told herself it was only because he wanted her to kill Angelus for him that he'd been so concerned for her welfare, but his whispered apologies for hurting her, his genuine regret at having been Angelus' instrument of humiliation gave the lie to that interpretation of his behavior.
Memories of leaving him inside the burning church while she carried Angel's unconscious body out to safety flooded her brain and suddenly the idea of leaving the strange vampire to burn again was more than her sense of fair play could tolerate. To the accompaniment of horrified screams from Willow and Xander, she whirled and ran back into the burning building, She got down on her hands and knees to avoid the heavy smoke, crawling until she found Spike huddled over the piles of ashes and dust in the center of the floor. Being in the very center of the room had so far kept him safe from the flames leaping up the walls and she sighed with relief when she saw that he was not on fire.
Summoning up the last reserves of her strength, she grabbed the unresisting vampire around the neck and began to pull him behind her as though saving a drowning man. He didn't fight her, but he gave her no help either, seeming to have gone into a catatonic state as the depth of his loss overwhelmed him. With a gasp of relief, Buffy fell out the door and onto the cool, damp grass of the yard, rolling over until he was lying there with her. She dragged him a safe distance from the building, then propped him up against a small tree. His eyes were dull and focused on the burning building, paying no attention to the nearly nude girl gasping for air on the grass beside him.
"Buffy!" Willow's frightened voice brought the Slayer to her feet, groaning with the effort. With a last glance at the emaciated vampire, she staggered towards her friends and a ride to the safety of her home. Xander's strong arm went around her waist and he got her into the back seat before running around to take his place behind the wheel.
"Where's Giles?" she asked dully, forcing herself not to look back to where she'd left the weak, heartbroken vampire sitting outside with nothing but a small tree to provide shelter from the sun's impending arrival.
"He said he would be home later. He took Ethan off that way." Willow gestured toward the nearest building, another abandoned house with an over grown yard. "He said not to follow them."
Buffy nodded tiredly. "Wasn't really planning to," she admitted, settling back against the seat. There was silence as Xander started the car and pulled out onto the dark street. They were almost to Revello Drive when Buffy said mockingly in her perkiest voice, "So, anybody got any ideas about what to tell my mom about where I've been for the past two nights and why I'm wearing nothing but a man's tee shirt?"
The sequel is titled Love Awakened