Title: Stitched Up
Era: BTVS s2
Rating: NC-17 eventually
Summary: Something goes horribly, horribly awry with Willow’s ensoulment spell, and Angel’s soul finds an unexpected home – in his dirty laundry. Read now the tale of a Sock with a Soul; it’s on a mission to help the helpless, and it’s starting with Spike and Buffy.
Departs canon forever during Becoming Part Two. Has about the nuanced characterization one should expect from an Ensouled Sock AU. As seems to be my preferred genre now, this is a shameless smutty Spuffy farce, once I get that pesky canon drama out of the way.
Warnings: By the laws of California, Buffy is still under the age of consent (18) at the beginning of this fic, and will be for many more months. Spike doesn’t care (he’s evil) and Buffy doesn’t care (she’s a teenager who wants to be treated like an adult) and since Spike has the emotional development of a teen (or even tween) himself, we’ll call it good. She’ll be 18 before they get TOO far, anyhow. There will be sexual situations, bad language, character death (or characters-sucked-into-a-demon-dimension, which is close enough), and plain old explicit sex. Also an ensouled sock. If you keep reading, don’t blame me.
Temporary Spike/Drusilla & Buffy/Angel – nothing explicit, but given where this fic veers off, some mooning is inevitable.
Notes: Chapter 1 contains some dialogue and events from “Becoming, Part 2” written by Joss Whedon. Thanks to Alexander Thompson at Buffyworld for the transcript.
Chapter 1: Becoming (a Sock)
Spike watched darkly as Angel directed his minions in preparations for the ritual that would send the world into hell. Spike’s minions, they were, or had been, and while it was really the least of the indignities he had suffered through his months of recuperation – how the underlings that used to scurry in fear at Spike’s orders now bowed and scraped before Captain Hairgel – he took a moment to reflect on how satisfying it was going to be when the slayer mowed through them on her way to taking down Angel, leaving their dust floating on the breeze. Served the disloyal buggers right.
Drusilla was dancing to the fey music in her head, a dreamy smile on her face as she twirled around Acathla, and Spike’s eyes were drawn to her. She danced with her whole self, she always had, dark expression flowing from her flashing eyes all the way to the sharp, polished tips of her fingers – that had been an inspired present, turning that nail technician with the gift for French manicures – and he couldn’t keep from devouring the sight of her, hunger like a cannonball in the pit of his stomach. God, she was everything. Everything.
He was hard, with lust and gleeful anticipation of Angel’s death, and he adjusted the drape of his duster to hide it, because it wouldn’t do for anyone to suspect that his shattered spine had finally healed, and so well that only the tiniest tingle in his toes remained as a reminder of the severed nerves. Nobody could know until the last minute, when he smote Angel down like the fucking bug he was. That was going to be fun, that was. He wished he had time to set up a fucking candid camera, maybe two or three, so that later on he could replay the moment from every angle, see the look on Angel’s face when he bashed him on the head, because unfortunately, he wasn’t going to be able to see it when it actually happened.
That was the problem with stabbing someone in the back: not being able to look them in the eye when you did it.
Drusilla danced over to him then, crooning one of her own special songs, one of the lullabies she had composed for Miss Edith. She swooped around behind him, tracing a sensual hand over his chest. “Isn’t it delicious, my sweet knight?” She encircled his neck with her arms from behind, pressing her cheek to his; he closed his eyes and breathed her in, every bit of her, sweet sweet death. “What a lovely party we shall have!”
Spike made himself sound bored, even as he wanted to fling her to the floor, show her a real party. “Of course, pet.”
Drusilla’s fingernails scraped across his chest, and he hissed in lust and fury, turning his face away, because it had been so long, so bloody long, and even now he could tell she didn’t want him, that she had eyes only for her precious Angel. She was crooning her mesmerizing song again, in his ear, and finally she spoke, her voice gentle and soft, almost sweet. “I shall miss you, my Lancelot.”
He looked at her then, sharply. “Not going anywhere, love,” he muttered, glancing sidelong at Angel, who was broodingly regarding Acathla, like the drama king he was. Fucking wanker.
Drusilla laughed then, brightly, and danced away, stepping between Angel and Acathla to caress the hilt of the sword that protruded from the chest of the grotesque statue. “’Who so pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England,’” she intoned, then burst out in a fit of giggles.
“Leave it, Dru,” Angel growled, taking her by the shoulders and setting her aside. She laughed and danced on as if she hadn’t been interrupted, eyes closed as she wove in and out of the bustling workers.
Spike watched every step.
It had been too long, but he was finally through with waiting.
It was time to take back what was his.
Buffy crept into the mansion silently, sword ready in her hand. She could hear Angel’s voice, speaking some sort of ritual words, and she closed her eyes briefly, hoping against hope that she had come in time, that she could stop the ritual before it began, that Giles was still alive, that Xander would find him and they would escape, that she could still save the day. It hurt, it hurt so much to hear Angel speak, to hear his dear voice without his soul behind it, but she was a big girl now, she had died and lived and loved and lost and lost and lost, and she was going to do what it took to save the world.
Then she would go somewhere private and cry. A lot.
She crept into the room, eyes fixed on the stupid-looking minion who was probably supposed to be standing guard but was instead watching Angel as he did something near the statue – please, please let me not be too late! – and she swung her sword in a smooth arc, beheading the vampire quickly and silently.
As his dust settled to the ground, she looked up at Angel, who seemed more annoyed than angry. Well, she would change that.
“Hello, lover,” she purred.
Willow looked at the dot-matrix printout in front of her, trying not to shake. She still felt weak, but she was full of resolve, and she was going to cast this spell if it killed her. For Buffy. Even though she felt all ooky in her stomach, kind of excited and terrified and sick all at once, at just the thought of taking on a spell this intense, at the thought of all the things that could go wrong. Buffy was totally worth the risk. Buffy had been too unhappy for too long, wracked with guilt and misery over Angel, and she just wasn’t supposed to be unhappy, not when everyone else was all coupley and googly-eyed. Well, not Giles, but there was only so much Willow could do.
Cordelia was almost done setting out the candles and rune stones around the Orb of Thessulah, and Willow heaved a deep breath. Oz leaned in to press his forehead against hers; she could feel herself calming just from the contact, like Oz’s perpetual mellow was flowing through her like cool rainwater.
“You sure about this, babe?” he murmured, stroking her hand.
Willow nodded. “Mostly sure. I’d feel better if we had time to get some sort of binding agent from Angel, you know, like some hair from his hairbrush, to narrow down the aim, but we don’t have time for that, and the odds of the spell working are still really good. Plus, I don’t know if he even has a hairbrush.” She wasn’t going to think too hard about the things Giles had said about spells rebounding and energies going wild and all the other things that could go wrong. She wasn’t going to let things go wrong. Magic was like school, right? Know the right words and plug in the right data, and you’d get an A on the test. Willow might suck at fashion and popularity and conversation and all the things that high school students actually cared about, but she was really, really good at tests.
“You don’t have to do this, you know.” Oz’s voice sounded a shade worried, which meant he was totally scared; Willow squeezed his hand reassuringly.
“Don’t worry. I want to do this.” Willow met Cordy’s impatient gaze. “Are we ready?”
Cordelia held out her wrapped bundle of sage. “Stinky herbs are a go.” She lit it, glancing nervously at the hospital room’s sprinkler head as it started to smoke. “How sensitive are the smoke detectors in here? My hair looks really good today, especially considering all the fleeing.”
Oz looked down at the book in front of him. “Did I mention I didn’t take Latin?”
Willow smiled, hoping she looked serene and confident. “Y-you don’t have to understand it. You just have to say it. I hope.” Okay, the stutter didn’t help, but she really was confident. Really.
Willow cast her handful of rune stones and began the Ritual of Restoration.
Spike felt the impact of iron against dead flesh shiver up his arm, and it felt glorious, seeing Angel fall before him; he reveled in it, striking again and again, a blow for each time Angel had sneered or mocked him, for each time he had fondled Dru in front of him. The blows fell harder and harder: one for every time Angel had fucked Dru right in front of him, every single bloody time Angel had tried to prove that Dru didn’t belong to Spike, had never belonged to Spike, not for the hundred years he had served her and loved her and given her his whole self.
“Painful, isn’t it?” he grunted, hearing ribs crack, trying to count them to make sure he didn’t miss any.
He had barely made it to three when Dru leaped at him, whimpering, the force taking him down to the floor.
Spike caught a fleeting glimpse of the slayer taking out another traitor minion as he rolled to his feet, before Drusilla filled his vision. She was furious, glorious, incandescent with rage; he thought dizzily that she had never been so beautiful.
“I don’t want to hurt you, baby,” he said cajolingly. She slammed him into the wall by his throat, and he shuddered with desire, before steeling himself. Later, he would let her unleash her fury on him, when they were safely away from this fucking town. Later.
He punched her in the face. “Doesn’t mean I won’t,” he shrugged.
Drusilla whipped her head back up to glare at him, eyes burning. She was muttering under her breath; Spike could barely catch the words.
“‘Now I have warned thee of thy vain glory and of thy pride…’” she hissed, circling him. “’…That thou hast many times erred against thy Maker. Beware of everlasting pain, for of all earthly knights I have most pity of thee, for I know well thou hast not thy peer of any earthly sinful man.’” She lunged at him, talons clawing lines across his cheek, then downing him with a punch. He grinned as he fell. That was his precious girl, right there. Beauty and death and poetry all at once.
“Dipping into the Malory, are we, pet?” he laughed out as he rolled back up to face her.
There was a sudden flash of light, blinding, and Spike turned his head to see Angel standing before Acathla, sword in hand. The King of Pain, finally worthy. Bugger.
Drusilla’s smile was radiant as she watched Angel spin the sword jauntily. “Oh… Here he comes,” she crooned reverently.
Eyes only on Angel.
Jaw clenched, Spike stepped up behind her, hooking his arm around her neck in a chokehold. He was good at this bit, had over a century of practice capturing pretty presents to bring home to his dark princess. She wouldn’t break free, he was sure.
They were going to be together again, the way things used to be.
Buffy felt numb.
Covered in the dust of Angel’s minions, she faced him down, sword against sword, trading quips and blows, blood for blood, but deep inside she felt dead, because she knew that she had already lost, the moment Angel pulled that sword free. Nothing left to lose, she had told Whistler, but there had been one thing, one thing left to her, she knew now.
She knew the story of Pandora’s box, the box that held all the world’s ills, misery and pain and death – she wondered now, as her leaden arm parried and lunged, if maybe that box had been something like Acathla, releasing terrors from hell – and at the very bottom of the box, Hope. When she was young, she had felt bad, that Hope was stuck in the nasty box with all those horrible things, but now she thought maybe she understood, because Hope seemed like a nice thing when you had it – until it went away, and you were left with nothing.
Buffy had nothing left.
Angel disarmed her then, flinging her backwards into something made of hard stone, and she grunted at the impact, scrabbling backwards as he advanced on her for the kill.
She closed her eyes. Waiting.
Drusilla finally went limp in Spike’s arms, and he hoisted her up, like a groom carrying his bride across the threshold – and that was rather true, he was taking his sweet princess off to their new life, blissful togetherness far away from Sunnydale and Angel and the accursed slayer, and they would finally be happy again. No distractions, no interlopers, nothing but blood and carnivals – perhaps the Carnival, in Brazil, which seemed to have an endless supply of beautiful girls in beautiful dresses for him to bestow upon his own beautiful love.
He caught a glimpse of Angel out in the atrium, realizing he had the slayer cornered, defenseless.
“God, he’s going to kill her,” he said out loud, momentarily wondering if he should go to his erstwhile ally’s aid. Then he shrugged. Bugger that. He had Dru; that was all that mattered. He turned and headed for the door.
That was when Drusilla knocked him out with a single wild punch.
Drusilla rose to her feet gracefully, gazing down at her devoted chevalier, pity in her eyes. Poor, poor Spike. She would miss him so. He always brought her the most darling presents, the most delectable tidbits. Foie gras and dollies and entrails and sweets, and the secret songs of his devotion, the ones his heart sang silently when he looked at her, the ones he thought were hidden away. Effulgent and fervent.
But he had betrayed her, had betrayed her Daddy this night and had betrayed them both in his heart, in his future, his future of sunshine and tears. She could not follow him there, and he could not follow her where she was destined to go.
“Forgive me, my gallant Lancelot,” she murmured sweetly. “But Guinevere must follow the Once and Future King.”
Gallant he was, and devoted, but not always wise, her knight-errant, else he would not have thought denying breath to the breathless and bloodflow to the bloodless could bring her low. Foolish, dear boy. So blind. So easily lulled into defenselessness.
How she would miss his jests.
She placed her hand on his head, briefly, found his devotion, cradled it to her mind for a final nostalgic moment, then turned to her Daddy, smiling. She felt wicked, full of joy. The moment had come. Daddy had become Other, had become an avatar of Acathla, and soon the portal would open.
The portal to Avalon.
Where she would rule as Queen.
She laughed and opened her eyes wide to destiny.
Angel advanced on Buffy, sneering. “No weapons… No friends… No hope. Take all that away… and what’s left?”
Buffy was empty, completely empty, but in that moment, with her death before her wearing her lover’s face, she suddenly felt something well up inside her, pure and clear like spring water, and she realized everything she had lost, everything she had mourned, had just been masks obscuring the truth. She felt it like sunlight inside her, and as Angel thrust at her with his sword, it came in slow motion; she clapped her hands together and caught it as if it was nothing.
What’s left? she asked herself, and answered out loud, “Me.”
She shoved the sword forward, feeling Angel’s nose break under the hilt, and leapt up, smiling with newfound confidence as she fought. She was so going to win.
At least she thought so until the first shoe hit her in the head.
She spared a quick glance and saw Drusilla off to one side of the battle, picking up refuse from the floor and flinging it randomly towards the swordfight. The mad vampire had laughably terrible aim, or else really didn’t care; one missile, an old, worn book, hit Angel squarely on the side of the head.
He batted aside a crumpled newspaper, rolling his eyes. “What the fuck, Dru?”
Drusilla laughed merrily, eyes and mouth wide, clapping her hands in glee. “She cannot have you, my king!” She hurled another book; Buffy’s sword cleaved through it, sending pages flying like snow. What happened to my good buddy Spike? she thought grouchily, shifting so she could see both vampires at once. Wait, there he was – crumpled by the door. Great.
Behind Angel, the statue of Acathla started to rumble.
Willow wasn’t entirely sure how, but between one gasp and the next, something happened, something wonderful and terrible, and she knew, she knew what to do, she didn’t need the printout any more. Her head dropped back and she let the magic and the words – words she had never heard but somehow knew as if they were written on her bones – and the soul, Angel’s soul, she let it all flow right through her, and it was better than anything she had ever experienced, her eyes seeing whole worlds in the foam tile ceiling of her hospital room, seeing the whole universe, vast and glorious and terrifying, and when the final word “Acum!” passed her dry lips she felt the soul go forth, now now NOW, and for a moment she was empty and she wanted to cry, but then everything that was Willow rushed back into the void the magic had left, and she was full and complete again, and she looked around at the room and Oz and Cordelia and the beeping monitors, and everything was back to normal, but it would never be normal again, everything was suddenly more. She took a deep shuddering breath and met Oz’s concerned look with a brave, shaky smile.
Cordelia had stopped waving the burning bundle of sage and was staring at her. “Is that it?”
Willow rolled her eyes, because wasn’t it just the way of the world, that she could have a transcendent, universe-expanding experience, and then have to come right back to earth because of Cordelia. “Yes, that’s it.” Cordelia wouldn’t know magic if it bit her in the butt.
Some sarcasm must have made it into her voice, because Cordelia gave her a narrow look. “Did it work? I mean, the Orb did that cool glow thing, but, you know, it might have just been because it went wrong.”
“I’m pretty sure it worked,” Willow said confidently. “I felt something go through me.” She looked down at the Orb of Thessulah, now still and cold again in the center of the circle.
Then she frowned, tilting her head. Something about the circle… “Cordelia, did you put out the rune stones exactly like Giles did at the library?”
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Of course I did! There were two stones between each of the candles.”
“Yes, but the symbols…”
“Oh, were those important?” Cordelia shrugged. “I think they were the same. I mean, it’s just a bunch of lines and stuff, right?”
Willow stared at Cordelia, appalled. “Of course they were important! Everything’s important when you’re casting a spell!”
“But you said it worked!” Cordelia stood up abruptly, taking her smoking bundle of sage over to the sink of Willow’s bathroom. “Jeez, picky much?” She doused the burning herbs under the faucet.
Willow looked at Oz significantly, eyes wide; he returned her gaze steadily. “Are you okay?” he asked gravely.
“…Yeah,” Willow grumbled.
“Then the spell was a success,” Oz shrugged. “We’ll just have to wait until Buffy gets back to see if it worked at the other end.” He leaned in and kissed her gently on the forehead. “You did everything you could do. Rest now.” He lifted the tray-table with the candles and rune stones and the Orb and set it on the floor up against the wall while Willow slid back down in her bed, trying not to feel disappointed.
Cordelia came back from the little bathroom, setting her dripping herb bundle down with the rest of the supplies. “So, are we done? I mean, if the world’s not going to end tonight after all, I’d like to get to bed at a decent hour. All the moisturizer in the world can’t fight the effects of sleep deprivation.” She gave Willow a sympathetic look. “I can bring you some exfoliating cleanser if you want. All you have in that bathroom is a tiny bar of Irish Spring.”
“I’m good,” Willow said hurriedly. “You can go.” Please, please go.
Cordelia looked relieved, but she shook her finger at Willow. “Promise me you’re not going to let that green skin-destroyer anywhere near your face.”
Willow rolled her eyes. “I promise.”
Once Cordelia had left, Oz eased back down on the bed next to Willow, careful not to jostle her monitors and tubes and accoutrements. “So, you really think it worked?”
“I do,” Willow said firmly, snuggling in to Oz a bit while she had the chance. (The night-shift nurse had given them the stink-eye last time she came by to check Willow’s vitals.) “I could feel the soul, Oz. It was there inside me, and then I felt it rush away. It had to have worked.”
She closed her eyes and inhaled the faint remnants of incense and herbs, and the special comforting scent that was Oz, clean soap and spicy deodorant and a lingering hint of the Bronze, and tried not to worry. She knew she had done her best, but… Willow knew how it felt to walk out of a test and know that you had aced it, and she didn’t feel that way now. She felt… B-plus-ish.
She just hoped a B-plus would be good enough.
Buffy dodged another shoe, a sassy black stiletto with a red sole – it was so not fair that Drusilla owned a pair of Louboutins when Buffy had to make do with Famous Footwear! Whoops, distraction! She caught herself just in time to parry another blow and was watching for an opening of her own, when three things happened at once.
One – the statue of Acathla trembled and its grotesque mouth yawed open, swirling yellow energies spreading and growing; scattered shreds of paper started to skitter across the floor, drawn to the portal.
Two – Angel froze mid-swing, face a rictus of agony; his eyes started to glow faintly.
And Three – Drusilla shrieked, “NO! You shall not have him!” and flung an entire basket of laundry, hitting Angel square in the face.
There was a sudden blinding flash from within the clothing that enveloped Angel’s head, and Buffy hesitated, wondering what could have happened. Was it a good thing?
Then Angel shook himself like a dog, peeling a sock away from his face to expose his cruelly familiar evil leer. “Looks like I win, lover,” he sneered, jerking his head at the widening portal behind him. He flung the sock off into a corner of the room, glancing away from Buffy for the barest second.
Buffy narrowed her eyes, set her jaw, and stabbed him through the heart.
He roared in fury, reaching out to claw at Buffy’s face, but the violet energies crackling about him twined with the yellow of the portal, holding him in place, and Buffy backed away, watching stoically as he struggled against the forces sucking him inexorably backwards.
She just wished it would happen faster.
Spike groggily swam up into consciousness, the clang of swords and Drusilla’s joyful laughter pulling him out of darkness into… yellow. Yellow glowing behind his eyelids, and he sat up all in a rush, instincts screaming Daylight! But it was barely dawn, the sky outside the window just pinkening at the horizon, and the yellow was sickly and pulsated grotesquely.
Drusilla was there, at the edges of the yellow glow, her curls dancing as she whirled and spun. As he watched, she threw a book, then a shoe at the slayer and Angel, who were locked in whirling, frantic battle, swords gleaming unpleasantly in the noisome light.
She was so beautiful, a dark goddess in her element, that for a moment he forgot that he was supposed to be abducting her and getting the hell out of Sunnydale, watching her lithe body arch and sway in an ecstasy of violence, but a moment later he realized the slayer was winning, and he didn’t put it past the crafty bitch to consider their deal to let Dru live null and void – even though he had kept the watcher alive! – just because Drusilla was being a bit of a nuisance, and so he rolled to his feet and started towards the fray.
Drusilla’s shriek as she flung the basket of clothes stopped him in his tracks, wounded, because even now, even now she was thinking only of her sire, of keeping him from Buffy, when she had left him, her devoted slave, like trash in the hall – but he set his jaw and circled around behind her, watching for his chance. So he had a beautiful, satisfying view of the surprise and shock and rage on Angel’s face when Buffy impaled him, and it was just as wonderful as he might have imagined; he grinned at the bastard over Drusilla’s shoulder as he crept up in her blind spot. Now, now Drusilla would be his, for all eternity, and Angel wouldn’t be able to lay his meaty pathetic paws on her again. He reached out for Drusilla’s shoulder…
…and missed as she turned serenely to face him. For a moment she looked into his eyes, her own lit from within, seeing right through him. She reached out a hand, brushed the scratches on his cheek tenderly with her knuckles.
“Farewell,” she said softly, face radiant with unholy joy.
Then she turned and ran to Angel, quivering as the lightning that crackled around him enveloped her as well. She wrapped her arms around Angel’s waist and closed her eyes, laughing as the energy swelled and sizzled and boiled, and then she and Angel and the sword and the light, all went back and in, melting and melding together, flowing into Acathla’s wide-open mouth, and then she was gone.
Spike fell to his knees, uncomprehending, as the echoes of Drusilla’s laughter faded.
Then understanding rushed in, and he began to weep.
When the light had faded and the wind had stilled and Angel was well and truly gone, Buffy felt the adrenaline and rage that had kept her fighting drain suddenly from her, and her legs trembled and failed, and she landed on her butt in the dust of a dozen vampires, shaking and empty.
As the wind died down, she became aware of the sound of sobs, great wracking heaves of breath and whimpers and moans of sheer misery, and for a moment she thought they were her own tears, that she was so overwhelmed with grief that she didn’t even know she was crying, but then she shuddered and looked across the room and saw Spike, collapsed on the floor, tears running down his pain-wracked face, hands scrabbling at his wet cheeks. She faltered to her feet, stumbling towards him, not knowing anything except that his pain was hers, they were the same in this moment, and she fell beside him, wrapping her arms around him desperately, not caring that he could kill her, just knowing that for this moment he was the only one who could understand, and then the tears came, huge fat drops and desperate sobs, and they clutched at each other for what seemed like hours, giving and seeking solace, here at the end of the world.
Then he shoved her away, eyes furious. “This is all your fault!” he hissed.
Buffy scrubbed tears off her face with a fist. “What, that you couldn’t even take out a girl?” she lashed out.
Then he dove at her neck, fangs out, clumsy with emotion, and she punched him in the nose with her tear-stained fist, then backhanded him upside the head, knocking him out cold.
Her nose was running; she blew it on his shirt, because he was such a stupid jerk.
Then she tossed his unconscious form over her shoulder and left the mansion behind – forever, she hoped. At the threshold she paused, uncertain. She couldn’t go home – maybe not ever, but definitely not tonight – and what she really wanted was to leave, leave everything behind, go somewhere where nobody knew that she was Buffy, that she was a vampire slayer, that she had had to kill her own boyfriend to save the world, somewhere that she could just be an ordinary girl… but she couldn’t just leave Spike there in the mansion, she had to at least restrain him in some way, and there was only one place in town she could be assured of finding manacles and chains without a side order of sex toys (she hoped), and that was Giles’s apartment. And he had a couch, and tea, and a non-evil shoulder she could cry on – hopefully not too badly injured, but she figured Xander would have stuck around if that was the case – and she desperately needed all of the above.
She heaved Spike’s body a bit higher on her shoulder and trudged listlessly off into the night.
Behind her, in a dusty corner of the vaulted hall, something stirred in the shadows…
It was alive.
End Chapter 1
Chapter 1 Notes:
In addition to copious dialogue and descriptions of events from “Becoming, Part 2” this chapter has several quotes from Malory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur,” which has absolutely zero significance for the rest of the story.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/521346.html