To Lie Down With Wolves
By Barb C.
Disclaimers: The usual. All belongs to Joss and Mutant Enemy, and naught to me.
Rating: R-ish for violence
Synopsis: Spike’s volunteered for an undercover mission at Wolfram & Hart, much to Buffy’s dismay, but he’s beginning to think he’s bitten off more than he can chew…
Author’s notes: Um, yeah, so I wanted to write a happy fluffy story this time, but that didn’t happen. *cringe* This story takes place in the same universe as “Raising In the Sun,” “Necessary Evils,” and “A Parliament of Monsters.” It’s a direct prequel to “Every Silver Lining Has A Touch of Gray.” I totally screwed up and had the idea that my posting date wasn’t until November 6th, so I haven’t come anywhere near finishing this. My apologies; I’ll be posting the rest here and at my journal as soon as it’s done. I’ve got the rest plotted out and it’s only 1/? because I’m not sure if I’ll need to break it into one or two parts. Don’t be surprised if this post is replaced by a revised version in a week or two!
My eternal gratitude to verity, slaymesoftly, typographer, readerjane, soundingsea, rebcake, downunderdeb, kehf, bruttimabuoni, and fenchurche, for beta duty above and beyond the call of duty on extremely short notice. I love you guys!
Pain, pain, and more pain, ripping along his spinal cord and flooding his brain, head jerked back, fingers clawing ineffectually at the heavy studded collar encircling his neck. Throat screamed raw and bleeding. Brave new world every time, this. No chance for familiarity to breed contempt.
“I feel that I should remind you,” Wesley observed, “that you can end this unpleasant phase of our relationship with a single word.”
Spreadeagled on the floor of the cell, Spike licked his lips. His reply came out in a ravaged croak, attenuated ghosts of words too faint even for vampire ears. His tongue felt leathery behind his teeth.
Wesley bent lower, dropping to one knee. “What’s that, Spike? I didn’t quite catch it.”
Spike tossed matted, filthy curls from his eyes with a sneer. “Piss. Off. That’s two, but they’re small. Reminds me of somebody’s balls.”
Angelus would have flown into a rage. Wesley merely rose to his feet, removed an extremely expensive handkerchief from the pocket of his extremely expensive waistcoat, and wiped the spittle from his face (Spike was already regretting wasting it.) His eyes were flecked with yellow, and the hot metallic reek of anger flooded his scent. Score one for William the Bloody; Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Wolfram & Hart’s first vampire C.E.O., considered himself above such juvenile displays as showing fang.
Pryce stepped back towards the door of the cell, his expression that of a critical director observing an actor whose performance dissatisfied him. He caressed the sleek lines of the device in his hands, the latest bleeding-edge descendant of the smart tablet. “Has it ever occurred to you,” he asked, “that you’re not intended to be happy?” He slashed a finger across the touch screen, fingernail slicing an imaginary throat.
Spike didn’t answer. Too busy not fainting. White-hot agony sizzled through every joint and nerve. Bloody stupid question, anyway, as he hadn’t been happy for a good long time. Funny, a vampire seeing a few piddling years as a long time, but he wasn’t exactly a standard-issue vampire any longer. And that was the last thing he needed to be thinking of. Focus on the here and now, the cold gritty concrete beneath his fingers, the acrid smell of disinfectant and his own unwashed pong. He’d done this with the chip, all those years ago. Reality as an anchor against the pain.
Hadn’t worked all too well then, either.
Wesley watched his convulsions with mild interest. In the part of his brain still capable of thought (six neurons up and over to the left a bit) Spike wondered if he’d yell “Cut!” and demand they do it over. No such luck – he was in for more soliliquizing. Take two!
“As vampires, you and I are built for extremes,” Wesley went on. Like a bloody lecturer at the Watcher’s Academy. “Passion. Rage. Terror. But happiness? Such a tepid emotion. And yet it’s the one we’re advised to pursue. Perhaps because it’s so elusive, for all its banality.” He flicked the screen, and the pain vanished.
Talk about your killer apps. Strings cut, Spike collapsed. Or the floor rushed up to smash his face in, he wasn’t sure which. He curled like a pillbug in the middle of his cell, every muscle racked with twitching spasms. Wesley extended a foot, about to prod him in the ribs with one well-shod toe – technology was all well and good, but even the thoroughly modern vampire liked a spot of one-on-one.
Before Italian ponce-wear could meet sternum, the intercom clicked to life overhead, indistinguishable for a moment from the ringing in Spike’s head. Harmony Kendall’s voice chirped, “Mr. Wyndam-Pryce, you have a call from Duke Sebassis on your private line.”
Wesley looked up with an irritated tch. Didn’t like his monologues interrupted, that one. He slipped the controller into his pocket and consulted his wristwatch – it was the old-fashioned wind-up kind. If Spike listened he could hear the relentless tick-tick-tick of order succumbing to entropy. “Thank you, Harmony. Tell him I’ll be with him shortly.” He turned to Spike, his tone almost benevolent. “I’m afraid our time for today is up.” He started for the door, then paused, every movement, Spike was sure, as calculated as his words. “Out of curiosity, do you have any idea how long you’ve been here?”
With a supreme effort, Spike rolled over onto his back and aimed a bleary glare in Wesley’s general direction. The sound of his own weak, raspy chuckle unnerved him. “Haven’t seen a newspaper of late.”
“Forty-eight days.” Wesley’s head canted to one side, his gaze measuring. Spike could guess what he saw: haunted eyes, gaunt frame awash in a shapeless coverall, hollow cheeks masked by weeks’ worth of scruffy, greying beard. “You’re going downhill rather more quickly than I anticipated. Has it occurred to you to wonder why the Slayer hasn’t mounted a rescue attempt? Perhaps you should think about it. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
The cell door slid shut behind him, closing with a barely audible hiss. Spike let his head thump back to the floor and drew a deep shuddering breath, instantly wished he hadn’t. Best ration his oxygen until his ribs stopped hurting quite so much. Good thing he didn’t need much. Forty-eight sodding days. He’d never meant this to go on so long. Just get Wesley to tell you where the muo-ping’s hidden. Weasel it out of him when he thinks he’s got the advantage of you. You’re good at that, Spike. One semi-kind word from Angel and he’d swallowed the bait, as if he was still the gullible fledge he’d been a hundred and forty years past. Sodding Angel and his sodding plans – no bloody wonder his own brilliant machinations went south on a regular basis; he’d learned from the fucking best, hadn’t he?
Or maybe, a small voice in the back of his head suggested, its posh cadence suspiciously reminiscent of a certain former Watcher, Angel’s plan was going right to spec after all.
No. Even after all that had happened in the last year, Buffy wouldn’t stand for that. Would she? Bloody hell. He’d had reasons of his own to agree to this, reasons that were nothing to do with Angel. He sat up, rubbing his aching eyes. Pryce was right; he was a wreck. He’d dreamed, some nights, of cheating Wes of his fun by drifting off into some hallucinatory Sam Lowry fugue. A normal vampire would be starving-mad by now, honed by hunger into a mindless killing machine. He was just starving, and couldn’t afford to go mad. He was here for a reason. He could lose everything else, so long as he remembered that.
Right, then. He’d lain about long enough. Inch by creaky inch, Spike levered himself to his feet and straightened with a grunt. Upright and more or less mobile, he raked the tangle of hair out of his eyes and gave himself a none-too-invigorating shake. Gingerly, he prodded at the collar, on the off chance he’d managed to loosen it, wincing as his fingers met raw flesh. No luck. He’d clawed himself up good and proper trying to get it off a dozen times – once literally, when he’d been in vamp-face when Wes had zapped him. We could have installed another chip, of course, Wesley had told him, the day after they’d brought him in. But I’m partial to symbolism, and the Duke will find it amusing.
He’d gone about this all wrong, he could see that now. He should have pretended to crumble long before this. Given Pryce his one bloody word, called him ‘Master’ and begged to suck his dick. You wouldn’t think an up-to-date bloke like Pryce would buy into all that Ye Olde Aurelian shite, but then again, old Wes was the sort of repressed public school git who’d eat that bollocks up with a spoon. Probably would have dressed Spike up in leather fetish gear and paraded him around W&H Headquarters on a leash. Then at least he’d have had some chance of sussing out where the sodding muo-ping was hidden on his own.
Or maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. The thing couldn’t be anywhere obvious. Angel had been searching for fifteen years, and much though it pained him to admit it, Grandsire wasn’t quite as big an idiot as he acted. Spike scratched his cheek – he would have gladly killed for a razor and a bar of soap – and tried to think of non-obvious places, but right now his brain was about as nimble as a Fyarl demon attempting the jitterbug. With a sigh, he gave up and limped over to the little table beside his narrow cot.
The tray with today’s sumptuous repast (half a grilled cheese sandwich and a Dixie cup of tap water) was still where he’d left it – Wesley had interrupted him for today’s session before he’d had time to finish, which, considering the paucity of the fare, took some timing. Spike picked up the congealed remains of the sandwich and tore into it mechanically, trying to conjure up the smell and taste of warm fresh blood – human, pig, ferret, didn’t matter as long as it was hemoglobin. His lack of a soul had meant the Mohra blood couldn’t make him human, as it had Angel – he might be alive, but he was still a vampire in all (well, most) of the ways that counted. The protein in the cheese was enough to keep him alive and mobile, barely, but it wasn’t what his body craved.
Three ravenous bites later, the sandwich was gone and he still felt as if his belly were excavating its way out of his gut via his spine. The collar was painful, but it wasn’t really any worse than the chip had been – if nothing else, it made him forget for a moment how fucking hungry he was.
Might as well husband his strength, what there was of it. Spike flung himself down on the cot, staring up at the stains in the ceiling. He’d memorized them all in the last month or so, along with every other square inch of his ten by fifteen cell. The fact was, he was getting too bloody old for this bollocks. He’d been on this Earth for a hundred and seventy years, give or take, but since the Mohra blood, he didn’t have the luxury of losing count any longer. In human terms, he was what, forty-five, forty-six now? He might or might not be slowing down, but it definitely took longer to bounce back.
And the Duke was starting to press Wesley for results. Bugger. He was running out of time in more ways than one. Forty-eight days – had it really been that long? He wondered what Buffy was doing now, whether the children missed him, or if they’d grown so used to his absences in the last year that they barely noticed he was gone.
He didn’t mind dying half so much as he minded dying a failure.
Fifty-two days earlier…
“It’s a perfect setup,” Angel said. All earnest brown puppy dog eyes, if the puppy dog in question were plotting a corporate takeover. He leaned forward in his chair, his broad shoulders tense with eagerness. “My sources inside Wolfram & Hart tell me that Wesley needs Duke Sebassis’s influence to secure a lucrative contract with the Brotherhood of Gharvak. The Duke has wanted to make the two of you an example for years now, ever since you humiliated that envoy of his. And you two… ” He had the grace to look awkward. “There’s enough gossip in the demon underground about your, uh, troubles that it’s plausible that you might want some time apart.”
He paused expectantly. When neither Buffy or Spike responded, he gave a short, exasperated sigh and resorted to words of one syllable. “If Wesley happens to discover via some reliable informants that Spike’s wandering around on his own in L.A., it’s a perfect chance for Wesley to score points with the Duke by capturing Spike. Once Spike’s on the inside, he can find out where the muo-ping is, and alert my contacts. Wham, we pull him out. Easy.”
“Or it’s a perfect chance for Wesley to tip the Duke off himself and eliminate the middleman,” Buffy countered. “Or just, you know, go Scott Evil and kill Spike himself.” She perched straight and ferocious on the end of the couch facing Angel’s armchair, her eyes pinning him to his seat as surely as a sword. “I don’t like it. There’s too many ways for this to go wrong.”
It was a sweltering August afternoon, and Spike was still yawning and thinking uncharitable thoughts about Angel’s lack of respect for a middle-aged vampire’s beauty sleep. Outside on Revello Drive the cicadas were buzzing and the birds were singing and the squirrels were doubtless engaged in the joyful making of other rotten little squirrels, but inside there was an arctic chill that had nothing to do with the air conditioning. They’d sent the kids upstairs to their rooms, but Spike could hear them scuffling for position on the upper landing. Bill was doubtless giving Connie and Alex a sotto voce transcription of the adults’ conversation, courtesy of vampire hearing. It tickled Spike sometimes that he and his eldest could stand in the basement and the attic respectively and carry on a conversation without shouting, but there were times when he missed the days when he was the only one in the house with preternatural senses.
“It won’t go wrong.” Angel shot a look at Spike, both collusive and challenging, as if there were a secret Aurelian handshake involved. “Trust me, Wesley will want to keep Spike around, at least for a while.”
“And you know this with your awesome powers of mind-reading which have totally failed to divulge the location of Wesley’s soul up until now how?” Buffy raised a sarcastic eyebrow. “Angel, is this another lame attempt to dispose of Spike for my own good? ‘Cause I thought you were way over that, but I’m starting to wonder.”
Spike had to give it to the Slayer; there weren’t many people who could make Angel squirm. His grandsire fiddled with his cufflinks, glanced at Spike again, then at his shoes, then at the door – anywhere but Buffy’s face. “Because Wesley wants me more than Sebassis wants Spike,” he said at last. “And one way or another, he’ll think Spike will lead him to me. It’s a vampire thing. You wouldn’t understand.”
Buffy’s snort was inelegant but to the point. “I’ve been married to a vampire for fifteen years. Sire issues? Been there, done that, got the quasi-incestuous t-shirt. I also know that you’re human now, and – “
“Human or not, Granddad’s got a point, love,” Spike interrupted. “Pryce has daddy issues. Could be used against him.”
Angel leaned over and punched Spike in the shoulder, something he could do with relative impunity now that he was all human and mortal and Spike wasn’t allowed to eat him. Which didn’t make it that much different from the days when he’d been vampy and immortal and Spike wasn’t able to eat him. “Don’t call me Granddad,” he grumbled. “I’m two years younger than you are.”
“Uh uh. Either you play the vampire card, or you fold.” Buffy hadn’t backed down an inch. Her eyes narrowed, her mouth tightened, and she zeroed in for the kill. “OK, you’ve told me why Spike. What I don’t get is, why now? I know you feel guilty about being the one who turned Wesley, but you’ve been trying to re-soul him for fifteen years. What the heck makes you think Spike can find this muo-ping-pong thingy in a couple of weeks?”
“I don’t. He can’t.” Angel slumped, vampire card tossed onto the discard pile. Just a big, good-looking guy heading into middle age, with a hint of grey in his hair and dark shadows under his eyes that never entirely went away. “But con the location out of Wesley? He might. I know it’s a long shot. But Spike’s good at getting under someone’s skin. The spells binding Wesley’s soul to the muo-ping are due to be renewed soon, and he’s got to have it close to him in order for the ritual of renewal to work. This is the best chance we’ve had since Wes was turned to give him his soul back.” He met Buffy’s eyes full on, now. “I know you never thought much of him, but Wesley was my friend. I don’t have so many friends I can afford to give up on them. Tell me there’s nothing in your past you wouldn’t jump at a chance to fix.”
Buffy froze, a waxwork statue of a Slayer. Angel blanched in turn. Looked almost like his old self. He shook his head, denying everything. “Oh, God. I didn’t mean…!”
“I know.” Buffy’s voice was high and brittle – was that the salt tang of swiftly repressed tears? “It’s just hard, when everything reminds me of him. Even when it’s not about him.” She still avoided saying the name, the one they’d decided on so late. As if naming him would make Christopher’s loss too real and present to bear, even now, a year later. She bit her lip, glancing down the intervening length of the sofa at Spike, eyes a troubled, stormy grey beneath dark lashes. Wondering what he was thinking, perhaps, when once she would have known without question. “Angel, I’m sorry, but it’s different now. We – “
“I’ll do it.”
“What?” Buffy whipped her head up, staring at him as if he’d expressed a fervent desire to go to clown college.
“I’ll do it,” Spike repeated. “Desperate mission, impossible odds, immortal souls at stake – right up our alley, yeah?” He eyed Angel. “And you’ll owe me big time, won’t you?”
Angel’s scowl was murderous, but he nodded. “I’ll owe you,” he conceded.
“But – ” Buffy gaped at him, blinking in consternation. He’d surprised her. Stunned her, even. Once upon a time, they’d known each other’s minds. “It’s not that I don’t think – it’s just – we’ve been through so much…. stuff… lately, I – ” She made a desperate, furtive gesture, indicating that there was too much she couldn’t say, not with Angel here, nor with the kids listening. “It’s not good. For the children. For you to be gone again so soon.”
Spike made a noncommittal noise and picked at a loose thread on his end of the couch. Time was they wouldn’t have been sitting with all that great expanse of cushion between them, either, but time moved on. “It’s only a fortnight, or so Angel says. I’ve been away that long demon-hunting now and then, and you too.” He clapped hands to his knees and gave Angel an expectant grin. “When do we leave?”
Two hours later, he was packing. Buffy stood forlorn in the bedroom doorway, arms crossed beneath her breasts and her hands tucked into her elbows, maybe trying to ward off that nonphysical chill. Her hair was drawn up in a loose ponytail, and her eyes looked little-girl huge. The sight of her made his heart ache – his loins and his fangs, too, but there was no time for the first now, and no time for the last ever. She was so thin these days. She had said she wanted to lose the baby weight and the memories that went with it, but she’d lost more. Not quite back to the razor thinness of her back-from-the-dead days, but not the sweetly curved Slayer of their happily-ever-after days, either. Well, he’d done more or less the same – on the bright side, it was loads easier to maintain a set of chiseled abs when he was too naffed off to bother with eating.
Black t-shirt, black jeans, extra pair of socks; what did a chap wear to an abduction, anyway? Buffy watched him without comment, that worried stitch in her brow which might mean she was angry and trying not to show it, or might mean she was puzzled. The kids were clustered in a mournful huddle behind her, whispering among themselves, Bill’s eyes full of silent reproach, Connie’s full of resentment. Alex clung to his mother’s leg, sucking his thumb. He was too old for that, but Spike didn’t have the heart to chastise him.
“Has it been so bad?” Buffy said at last. She sounded so young, so broken. The I tried in her voice ate at his heart like acid. “After everything that’s happened, when we’re just putting everything back together – “
He could have laughed, or wept, but folding socks seemed more useful. “I don’t give a rat’s arse for Wesley Wyndam-Ponce,” he said. “Nor Angel.” That last was a lie, but not one he’d ever admit to himself. He turned to face Buffy. They’d never been farther apart, for all they were sleeping in the same bed again. He’d fix that, or die trying. “But restoring Wesley’s soul – it’s the right thing to do, innit? So that’s what I’m going to do.”
Her eyes fell first. He wasn’t used to that. Wasn’t sure he liked it. She let her arms fall loose to her sides, and took a step into the room. “Is this really that important to you?” she whispered.
Spike dropped his socks and took her chin in his hand (first time he’d touched her, all that day) and smiled, tender as he knew how. He could tell her he loved her till his voice wore away, but sometimes words weren’t enough. “After everything that’s happened? Yeah.”
Fifty-three days later…
Harmony brought his dinner the next day – a scant cup of weak chili sans carne. “Don’t get any ideas,” she snapped, shoving the tray through the slot in the cell door. “I’m on to you, Spike.”
Spike stared at his meal, such as it was, in disgust. Sodding hell, beans weren’t even animal protein. He summoned up his most cajoling grin, hoping his teeth weren’t falling out from the vampire equivalent of scurvy, and through the window gave her as soulful a look as he could manage without one. “Harmony, sweetheart, love, pet, my succulent little chocolate pork chop…” Not the best imagery there; hunger really was getting to him. “Any chance you could slip me a pint under the boss’s radar for old times’ sake? If you can’t get blood, organ meat’ll do in a pinch. Liver, heart, marrow – “
“You!” Harmony snapped her fingers at his nose, shooing the words away. “Don’t try your sinister attraction thing on me! I’m not some pathetic high school wannabe from Sunnydale any more. I’m an L.A. career girl now. Personal assistant to the C.E.O. of Wolfram & Hart, and I don’t need a man to validate me unless he’s bringing in six figures. Who are you? A gross old skinny wrinkly semi-vampire with a mortgage.” She huffed in indignation – she still had a glorious rack. “Face it, Spike, a loser like you just doesn’t have it, do you?”
Meekly, Spike shook his head. He didn’t have it. Satisfied she’d put him in his place, Harmony tipped her nose skywards and sashayed out of the cell in a flurry of peach ruffles. She still had a spectacular ass, too. He wasn’t sorry he’d given up immortality, all those years ago, but he’d be lying if he didn’t admit to missing the perks now and then.
He’d made his way halfway through the unappetizing beans when he caught the distinctive rhythm of Wesley’s footsteps in the hall outside. Pryce inhaled deeply as the door slid open. “Ah, Harmony’s been here. I hope you enjoyed the view. She’s a vacuous whore, but she’s an exceptionally lovely one.” He dusted the foot of the cot off with his handkerchief and sat down beside Spike, crossing one immaculately tailored leg over the other. “I’ve been re-reading your file. Very illuminating.”
Spike gulped down the last of the despised beans. “Always improving to read up on the exploits of your betters.”
Wesley favored him with the look of tolerant amusement a Borzoi might have bestowed on the yapping of a rat terrier. “I admit I haven’t kept abreast of events in Sunnydale as well as I might have. It’s a bit of a backwater since the Hellmouth closed. The supernatural set does gossip, but I hadn’t – “
A low growl rumbled through the small room, and Spike realized he’d slipped into game face. “Pardon me, that really is fascinating,” Wesley murmured, examining the rows of tiny, stubby horns sprouting along the lines of Spike’s brow and jaw with clinical curiosity. “Vampire aging compressed into a human lifespan – you really have no difficulty resuming human features?” His expression was almost regretful. “It’s a pity Sebassis wants you alive; our medical department has been begging me for a chance to dissect you. Where was I?” He was toying with the controller again. Spike knew better than to try to take it away from him. “Ah, yes. We’ve been quite careful to noise it about that we have you, so there’s no doubt that the Slayer knows you’re here. As do other interested parties. And yet, no gallant crew of heroes has ridden to your rescue. Why do you suppose that is?”
Spike shrugged off the horns and scales and fell back against the wall, trying to make it look like an insouciant lounge. “‘M a big boy. Slayer thinks I can handle myself, I expect.”
That got him an outright chuckle. “I should have realized that there was trouble in Paradise even after Buffy took you back. It’s not unusual, you know – losing a child puts a great deal of strain on any relationship, to say nothing of a relationship between the Slayer and a soulless demon.”
He’d rather have the collar than this. “Fuck you, Pryce. You know bugger all about it.”
“On the contrary. Telling, isn’t it, that we still refer to Buffy as the Slayer, though she’s only one of many now?” Wesley laughed again, a dark and chilly mirth. “Buffy Summers stands for something, or she used to. It’s taken me awhile to put the pieces together, but they make a very interesting picture indeed. I told you that my people are thorough, but they hardly need to be when the matter involves one of my own employees. Fifteen years ago, you slaughtered Warren Mears, and the Slayer covered it up.”
None of this, Spike reminded himself, was news. “I repeat, fuck you. She had her reasons.”
“Of course she did.” Wesley reclined at perfect ease, elbows on his knees, holding the controller tablet before him with deceptive laxity. “How many master vampires and demon lords down the centuries have sought to destroy a Slayer, and failed to do any more than kill them? I applaud you, Spike. You’ve brought her low in a way no other vampire could have dreamed of. You made her love you.”
Spike throttled down another growl. “If you think anyone ever made Buffy do anything, you’re a sight dimmer than I’m giving you credit for.”
“And you dragged her down into the darkness with you, step by step.” Wesley’s smile was slow poison. “Oh, perhaps you didn’t mean to. But in the absence of a soul, how could you help it? It’s what we do, we vampires. We’re demons. We destroy humanity. Not simply in the crude physical sense, though that can be amusing. But in leading them to destroy themselves, one compromise, one lie, one excuse at a time – in leading them to become what they most despise.” Spike’s look of stricken panic seemed to delight him. “How she must hate you.”
It wasn’t that Wesley’s finger was one vamp-fast twitch away from blowing the top of his head off that kept Spike moored to the cot. It was the bitter grain of truth at the core of the lie, the seed of a malignant pearl. “If she does, it’s her business. That’s not for me to say.”
“But you have said it, haven’t you?” Wesley made a show of tabbing through files on the tiny screen. “There was an extremely memorable scene at the hospital last year, wasn’t there? When Buffy lost the baby? Witnesses report that you accused her of deliberately putting its life in danger – ‘playing the hero,’ I think you called it?”
Fuck knowing better. A red wash of fury obscured Spike’s vision, and he was off the wall in an adrenaline-fueled rush of demonic rage. He caught a brief glimpse of Wesley’s wide, startled eyes flaring gold in alarm as Spike’s claws sank into the muscle of his shoulders, and Spike’s fangs slashed for his throat. A second later Spike rammed head first into a wall of agony and crashed to the floor, flensed with pain as Wesley stabbed the controller’s touch screen again and again and again.
Wesley scrambled to his feet, breathing hard, and after a moment, straightened his jacket and smoothed his hair, features entirely human once more. For a moment he watched Spike writhe, and then with a savage, gloating grin, struck home. “The happiness you’re chasing is an illusion, Spike. It always has been. Do you imagine this is some kind of penance you’re doing? That if you endure enough physical pain it will balance some cosmic scale? If you do you’re a fool. Embrace your rage, Spike. Embrace your betrayal. She’s not coming for you. You’ve disappeared, and she’s relieved.”
He dropped to one knee and grabbed a handful of Spike’s hair, yanking his head around, forcing him to listen through the pain. “Buffy Summers, the greatest warrior of light in her generation, eaten by guilt all these years, for Warren’s death and every other compromise she’s made for your sake. So in thrall to your cock that she allows her vampire lover to kill unhindered – even helps you hide the murder. How she must hate herself for what she’s become.” His voice dropped to a darkling purr. “How she must have hated your child. It’s no wonder she put your demon-spawn in harm’s way – the wonder is that it took her this long.”
Spike blacked out. Under the circumstances, it was a mercy.
To Be Continued…
You can read the whole story here on AO3
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/330803.html