Title: Imperial, Chapter 2: Bound
Pairings: Buffy/Spike (Willow/Oz, Xander/Anya)
Length: ~21 K (this chapter: 3903 )
Timeline: Prologue S3, the rest S4, this is an alternate reality world in which things didn’t go quite the same for Buffy at the end of S2
Warnings: Character Death, Violence (including gun violence), Sexual Situations
Summary: Buffy returns to Sunnydale in order to take down the Initiative and find her chosen mate, she’s just a little different than when she left. My love letter to heroic bloodshed movies (Think: Mi:II, Wanted, The Matrix). This one’s for fun!
Notes: The Initiative is bigger and badder than in canon. Beta’d by Gort and 13Lilies. Response to a challenge on Elysian Fields by Sharade.
Chapter 2: Bound
Leather and jeans
-Lady Gaga, “Paparazzi”
Spike’s instincts were screaming at him to run. What had Giles dragged home with him? Power and authority swirled in the air thicker than oil.
The source of all that heady sensation was quickly approaching his prison. The vampire braced himself. He expected almost anything except the slip of a girl that stormed into the bathroom, an out of breath Giles on her heels.
Spike’s eyes widened to the point of nearly falling out. “Buffy?” he asked, then looked past her to Giles. “Where did you sodding discover her? They got a Slayer lost and found now?”
Posture rigid, Buffy shifted her face to that of the Slayer, the unleashed magic and power snapping across his senses like a whip. He shrank back against the tub, yelping in surprise. “Bloody hell!”
“Yes,” the Slayer said in a flat monotone. “I know hell.” She rounded on Giles, a clawed hand easily lifting him by the neck and slamming him against the bathroom wall. “Why do you have this vampire chained within this dwelling? Is he your slave?”
Throat clenched in her fist, Giles could only weakly shake his head no.
“What?” Spike sputtered “His slave? I’m nobody’s slave, luv. I’m my own man, just a tad tied up at the moment is all.”
The Slayer turned her head to look at him. “Quiet,” she hissed and Spike instantly fell silent.
Slightly loosening her chokehold on Giles, she asked him again: “Is this vampire your slave? I tell you I am sent to free demon slaves, you offer to help me, then I find that in your own abode you chain and starve this demon. Why should I not kill you?”
“We’ve been trying to help him.” Giles managed to say around the vice of the Slayer’s grip. “He was captured by the Initiative and they implanted a chip.” The Slayer looked askew at him. “Uh, a little machine, in his brain that won’t let him fight or harm things. He came to us for help; we feed and protect him, but we don’t trust him.”
“Is this true?” the Slayer asked Spike.
The urge to lie and watch this magnificent creature snap the Watcher’s neck like kindling was strong, but he couldn’t get the words past his lips. She probably wasn’t the sort to appreciate a lie. He sighed “Yeah, the ponce is telling the bleeding truth. This little beauty in my noggin is keeping me from killing. Pig’s blood is better than none, and the white hats have kept the soldier boys off my tail. I help as I can, info and stuff.”
The Slayer dropped Giles to the floor, where he sat rubbing the bruises on his neck. “Buffy, the Initiative is what I believe you’ve been sent here to stop. They’ve been collecting demons and performing experiments on them. Spike is the only source of information on them that we have.”
“Does the hellmouth have no Slayer? Does she and her Watcher not know of this… Initiative?” Buffy sat down on the edge of the tub. Spike squirmed uncomfortably, his vampiric senses were screaming Slayer and danger, but at the same time there was a feeling of awe.
Oh, bloody hell, she was an Empress!
Spike swallowed hard, fear clawing at his throat. He should be cowering on hands and knees, begging her forgiveness for even having dared to look upon her majesty. He was both terrified and deeply aroused by the slip of a girl that was seated mere inches from him. It was all very confusing.
Giles was speaking: “I don’t suppose you remember Kendra? You met her before you, ah, left.” The Slayer shook her head. “Well, both she and her Watcher are very…orthodox, in their approach to the minutiae of slaying.”
“They’ve both got bloody sticks up their asses is what he means.” Spike chimed in.
“They are working with the Initiative to hunt demons,” Giles continued, his gaze dropping to the tiled floor. “After Kendra was nearly killed by Drusilla, her attitude hardened.”
“Only good demon is a dead demon and all that rubbish.” Spike continued to fidget nervously, making the chains clink against the porcelain side of the tub.
“Vampire.” The Slayer turned her intense silver eyes on Spike. “I will need allies. I would have you as one for the knowledge you possess of my foe.”
“Does it involve getting out of this bathtub?”
The Slayer nodded.
“Right, then I’m your man.” He didn’t want her to know how badly he wanted to be near her, to serve her. He was a moth and she the bright shining flame.
“Wait,” Giles said. “Can we talk about this first?”
“No.” The Slayer brought her wrist to her mouth, sinking her fangs into the artery there. As soon as the smell of blood hit the air Spike vamped out, lunging towards her. Giles jumped back, but the Slayer didn’t even blink. Calmly she brought her wrist to his fangs. He latched on, using his own hands to keep her arm there. The Empress’ blood washed down his throat, warm and heady. He whimpered against her arm. “Shhh, shhh,” she cooed at him, running her free hand over his hair. “I remember you.” The Slayer looked down at the vampire sucking at her wrist. “You helped me, when I was here before.”
“He helped you?” Giles asked.
“Yes, just before I was taken to my home.”
“Well, wonders never cease.” Giles shook his head. “Spike, don’t you think that’s enough?” The vampire growled, sucking harder at the wound.
The Slayer continued to pet Spike’s hair. “He can have as much as he wants, I long ago lost the ability to die from exsanguination.”
“Yes, I see. I think I’ll go to the living room and call some others who might be able to help.”
The Empress inclined her head, dismissing him.
Spike continued his meal, the Slayer sitting patiently on the edge of the tub. He drew his knees up, trying to hide the effect both her nearness and her blood were having on his body. With a knowing smile the Empress leaned forward and settled her free hand over the bulge in his jeans. She stroked him hard through his pants and he came nearly instantly.
“I take care of what’s mine,” she whispered, her gaze intense.
At last Spike’s demon face fell away, and he licked tenderly at her wrist as the Slayer let the wound heal. He leaned back, staring dreamily up at the ceiling. The world was perfect, and he knew his place in it now and what he was meant to do. He turned and looked at the demon sitting on the edge of the tub. Glorious was what she was, radiant. He’d serve her until he dusted, whether that was tomorrow or ten thousand years from now. The chains clattered as Spike held his bound hands out to her in supplication. Leaning over him, the Slayer hooked her claws under the shackles and parted the metal like it was nothing but wet tissue paper. Rising, she indicated the vampire should clean himself and follow her.
Spike walked behind the Slayer as she walked down the hallway, lithe and regal. Sinking gracefully into the living room chair she beckoned the vampire closer. “Can you find me sustenance?” He nodded and headed into the kitchen.
“You got anything to eat in here Watcher?” Spike growled, banging cupboards and drawers open and closed.
“Not really, Xander’s bringing pizza,” he replied.
“Pizza?” Spike was aghast. “You can’t feed pizza to an Empress!”
“Buffy liked it a great deal, and since she hasn’t had any in 600 years I think we should at least let her try it. Besides, I’m all out of Foie Gras and Filet Mignon at the moment. So, in the words of today’s teenagers: deal with it.”
Scowling, Spike grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge. Taking the lid off he handed it to the Slayer, then sank down to sit at her feet. After a moment he leaned over just enough to rest his head against her knee. The Empress smiled down at him, running her claws gently through his hair again.
Giles came out of the kitchen, eyes uneasy as he watched them. “Lady,” the Watcher said after a moment. “Perhaps it would be best if you greeted everyone as Buffy. These people were once friends of yours.” A pause, and the Slayer let her human visage slip into place. Spike couldn’t decide which face he liked better. The clink of glass indicated that Giles was pouring himself another scotch. The vampire almost felt sorry for the sod, he was really going to need that drink.
Xander was starving. He hoped the three large pizzas he’d grabbed would be enough for everyone. Walking towards the front door of the apartment with Anya, he saw that Willow and Oz were just about to knock.
“Hey, wait up!” he called.
“Hi!” Willow said. “Any idea what this is about? Giles sounded pretty weird on the phone.”
“Maybe bleach boy finally gave up some useful information,” Xander said. “It’d be nice to be ahead of the Initiative for five seconds.”
“I second that.” Oz nodded his head his head once, emphatically. The werewolf had been getting increasingly nervous about the commandos. Xander shuddered to think of him ending up as a science project down in their lab.
“We’re never going to solve anything out here,” Anya said, reaching past them to bang on the door. “Open up, we’re hungry!”
Giles cracked the door open, looking at the four eager faces. “I have to warn you before I let you in, because this is somewhat of a shock, but I found Buffy.”
“What?” Xander cried, pushing past Giles before he could say any more. He came to a sudden halt a few steps inside, the pizza boxes hitting the floor. That was Buffy, really Buffy, only she was dressed like a slutty renaissance fair reject and Spike was sitting at her feet, apparently being petted. There were gasps behind him as the others piled inside.
Buffy didn’t move, just cocked her head to the side to examine the newcomers. “You do not look like a promising army. The witch has power, but it is not yet fully tapped. The werewolf is strong during his change, but is too young to control it. You other two would be good only as cannon fodder.” There was a moment of stunned silence. “Names,” Buffy demanded.
“What’s going on?” Xander managed to squeak. His friend’s green eyes were cold, no spark of recognition. He shuffled forward another couple of steps. “Buffy?”
Spike sprang to life, fangs and ridges showing. He was in Xander’s face, snarling: “On your knees in the presence of your betters.”
“But, it’s Buffy.” He leaned back from the irate vampire. “And why aren’t you chained?” Xander squared his shoulders. “It’s not like you can do much of anything with that hardware in your head, Johnny Five.” Xander went to walk around the vampire, batting away the hand Spike held out to bar him. With a whimper of pain from the firing chip Spike grabbed Xander’s shoulder and wrenched him back a few steps. The vampire clutched at his head even as he forced himself in between Xander and Buffy again.
Xander started to push Spike out of the way again when Buffy’s voice rang out. “Stop.”
Anya was at his Xander’s side immediately, yanking on his shirt. “Kneel, kneel now.”
“What, not you too?” He just wanted to see his friend that he’d missed very much.
“Kneel before you die, you idiot.” Anya managed to pull him down to his knees, then she fell forward onto her hands as well, prostrating herself.
Xander looked back towards Buffy, only it wasn’t Buffy anymore. Her eyes glowed a soft silver, and her face had become all flat planes and sharp angles.
She glided towards them. “Once I was Buffy, your friend, but that was many centuries ago for me. I do not remember your faces. I may remember your names.” She stopped beside the kneeling Spike, who was still holding a palm to his temple. Gently she ran a hand over the vampire’s head, the bloom of a pink rose entwined around the wrist. He sagged in relief. She bent down and whispered something in his ear. He nodded, stood, and gathered up the pizza boxes before heading to the kitchen.
Buffy strode to Oz, grabbing his face by the chin. “I am the Empress. I am here to free the slaves held by the Initiative and to find my mate.” Xander was stunned. Empress? Centuries? Mate? Buffy looked back down at Oz. “Name?”
“Daniel Osborne. Mostly I’m called Oz.”
Buffy nodded and her eyes turned to flame, locked with the werewolf’s. After a few moments she pushed him back. “You are not he.”
“Wow. That was…intense.” Oz slumped towards the floor.
Buffy turned to Willow. “Your name, witch.”
“Um, Willow Rosenberg?” It sounded more like a question than an actual statement.
Buffy’s face shifted back to her human one. “Willow?” The redhead nodded. Buffy grabbed her friend in a hug. “Oh god, Willow. I missed you so much. I was so alone. I’d pretend I was talking to you, telling you about everything that was going on. I can’t believe you’re really here.”
Willow wrapped her arms around her friend. “I’m sorry Buffy. I’m sorry I wasn’t there, or that I couldn’t bring you home. What happened to Angel? Did the spell work or was he still Angelus?”
“Angel?” Buffy looked confused for a moment. “Oh, yes. He died a few weeks after we arrived. Your spell worked, he did have his soul.” She paused and sighed. “He was useless.” There was a snort from the direction of the kitchen. “He kept trying to fight for me, not beside me, and he was reluctant to connect with his demon and bring it to the battle. He dusted quickly and I was better off without him as he would have kept me from finding my Slayer side.” She shrugged. “It was all a long time ago.” Gently she set Willow back on her feet and shooed her towards a seat on the couch.
Xander cringed as Buffy stepped in front of him, her Slayer mask back in place. She looked at him expectantly.
“Xander Harris,” he mumbled. Buffy cocked her head to the side, then shook her head.
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember you. Were you my friend, too?”
He nodded. “How long have you been gone, Buffy?”
He gasped. She grabbed his chin and her eyes turned to fire. Xander felt his insides sear. Oh god, she was going to know everything, like how he sometimes ate cheese dipped in ketchup. It felt like forever before she pushed him away.
“You are not he.” The Empress turned to Anya. “And you?”
“I’m Anya, you didn’t know me before,” she said, remaining prostrate on the floor.
“Why are you different?”
“I was a vengeance demon for more than a millennium before I lost my power. Now I’m human.”
Buffy made a choking noise. “That has to be horrible!”
“It is, but I’m learning to adapt.”
There was a pause. “I may be able to restore it.” Xander’s stomach lurched. For a while now he’d suspected that he had actual warm and fuzzy love-type feelings for Anya and if she got her power back she’d leave him and he’d never know if those love-type emotions could grow into actual love.
Anya shook her head. “I’m okay with how things are right now, Empress. I’m not, strictly speaking, turning you down, but I need some more time to think about it.”
“Of course.” Buffy benevolently inclined her head. She returned to her chair, where Spike was standing with a plate loaded with pizza and a new bottle of water. The Empress waved her hand. “You all may sit and enjoy the repast. We shall discuss this Initiative.” She accepted the plate and smiled hugely at the first bite. “This is really good!”
Xander chuckled. “Pepperoni, fit for a Queen. Wait until you try the Hawaiian!”
Spike glared at Xander as the vampire returned to his knees beside Buffy.
“So what’s with Pentium Boy?” Xander asked around a mouthful of pizza, pointing a greasy finger at Spike.
“He is mine,” Buffy said, her voice cold.
Giles sat on the arm of the couch. “Let me explain.” Buffy frowned, then nodded her assent. “Buffy, as a Demon Empress, holds the loyalty of any demon she comes across. Spike would be naturally inclined to serve her, but in this case he has knowledge of the Initiative that is important to Buffy’s mission, so she has formally bound him to her, with his consent.” Giles looked pointedly at Xander. “He is her servant, yes, but his life and well-being are in her hands. She will not tolerate him being…interfered with, in any way.”
“He is mine,” Buffy pronounced again, obviously closing the matter. Spike’s face relaxed into an expression of bliss and he leaned his head against Buffy’s knee. She smiled at him and paused in her eating to stroke her fingers across his face. “Now, I wish to be informed about this Initiative.”
They’d talked for several hours, laying out everything they knew about the Initiative, which wasn’t very much. Spike had reluctantly recalled as many details as he could from his time imprisoned there. He’d kept his eyes trained on his Empress the entire time, not wanting to see the Scoobies’ alternating looks of pity or near glee as he described his torture and eventual chipping. The Empress’ expression had hardened and quickly shifted from angry to downright furious.
Spike at last had felt vindicated. As the others had continued to talk, Buffy had leaned down to his ear and whispered: “They will pay.” The vampire knew it was no empty promise.
Finally, the others had left. Even Giles, who’d said something about a twenty-four hour coffee shop and a need to clear his head.
Tomorrow night they would all meet up again and go hunting for the Initiative’s base. The only clue they had as to its location was that Spike had climbed out of an air vent on the campus of Sunnydale University, so they would start there.
Buffy had remained seated, her fingers idly running through his hair again. He knew it was a riot of curls from her combing, but he didn’t care, especially because earlier in the night she’d found his duster and insisted that he wear it. Spike felt much more himself with the leather around him where it belonged.
“Spike,” she finally said.
“Yes, your Grace?”
“Do you have any idea as to where I should hunt for my mate?”
Spike bit back a growl. He’d realized that he’d have to end up serving whatever tosser was her mate as well as her, but the thought left him uneasy. At least it hadn’t been Harris. That would have been a fine kettle of fish. Hawaiian shirts and bad hair cuts for all eternity. Spike took a calming breath and made sure his voice would be even before he spoke. “There are several places demons gather in this town, though they are much fewer than before, I would suggest starting there. I can show them to your Grace. There’s also a good chance your mate is a resident in an Initiative cage.”
“Just another reason to act quickly and crush them into oblivion.”
The Empress wrapped her palm around his cheek. “Let me do something for you.”
“It may hurt some.”
He waited patiently. Her hand, the petals of the pink rose fluttering slightly, drifted from his cheek to the side of his head. Spike winced as her claws dug into his scalp. There was a buzzing in his ear and a sharp twinge inside his skull that made his vision white out. When it cleared Buffy’s fist was in front of his face. She turned her hand palm side up and unclenched her fingers. Lying there was a tiny piece of plastic with a few wires connected to it.
With a howl of delight Spike jumped to his feet and snatched the chip from her palm. He threw it to the floor and stomped in into fragments. He laughed, arms stretched out.
The Empress was smiling as well. “Vampire,” she said.
Instantly he dropped to one knee before her, head bowed.
“I have done this thing in good faith. Drink from no others but me on this plane, kill none beside those I tell you to or that seek to kill you. This is important to me.”
“Yes, your Grace.” He would fly to the moon or fetch her the Holy Grail if she asked.
The Empress sighed and slumped in her chair. “This has been a long, strange, and trying day.”
“I imagine so, your Grace.” He risked peeking up at her. She wore her glorious demon face, but he could still see the anxiety that troubled her. “I…I could make it better for you, if you wish…”
Her head tilted towards him and she regarded him for a moment. “Remove my boots.”
Gently, he loosened the laces of one boot and pulled it from her foot. He massaged her instep with firm strokes and was gratified to hear her groan. Stripping off her stocking he was delighted to find her toenails painted bright pink. Perhaps the girl she’d once been wasn’t buried so deeply after all. He repeated the process so that both her feet were bare. She stretched and wiggled her toes against the rough denim of his jeans.
Carefully, in case he’d read the situation wrong, he began pushing her deep purple skirt up her legs. “Let me make it better,” he whispered.
The Empress sunk even further back in the chair, wiggling her hips towards him. “Mmm, that sounds wonderful.”
He shifted to his demon face and pushed her skirt all the way up. No underwear barred his way. The sight of her dark blond curls and soft pink flesh nearly undid him. Spike hooked his arms under her knees and pulled her legs over his shoulders. With a growl he nuzzled his face into her sex, licking and nipping at her tender flesh. His fangs cut her in a few places and her rich blood mixed with the intoxicating taste of her cream.
Her hands grasped at his leather clad shoulders and her bare feet rubbed up and down his back as he worked to make it perfect for her. He’d make it so good that even after she was tied to some git of a mate she’d still crave his tongue on her.
After she’d cried out several times, the last one satisfyingly being his name, Spike reached to free his aching cock.
Her foot stopped him. She ran her pinked tipped toes over his confined erection. “Uh-uh. No touching until I say so.” He looked up at her and she ran a finger over his lips, bringing it back to her own mouth to lick off. “And when you do, I want to watch.”
Spike groaned. His Empress really was the perfect woman.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/552357.html