Cross posted to sickchicks and my regular journal.
Hell Is In the Details – Chapter 13 – The Devil Incarnate
Spike glared desperately at Lorne. “Go!” he begged. “Catch her before she leaves.”
Lorne didn’t bother answering, just ran out of the room and down the stairs. In the main room, he found Buffy angrily rooting through the contents of his desk, tossing things about like a wild woman.
“Buffy, wait.” He gulped to catch his breath. “Girlfriend, you can’t just go off half cocked. First of all, you’ve left one very upset vampire upstairs.”
She snarled at him. “I was looking for a piece of mail with the damned address on it, so I could call a cab and head back to Wolfram & Hart.” Waving the frame wildly in the air, she fumed. “How could he do this? Spike is his family! Or was his family. I just don’t get how a piece of paper can separate someone from his own bloodline.”
Impeccably timed, at the mention of the vampire’s name, there came a loud thump from upstairs, followed by a stream of the bluest curses ever uttered.
Lorne winced. “Damn, I’m gonna run out of furniture by the time Blondie heals enough to leave. Are you coming back upstairs with me, cutie? I have a feeling someone needs our help.”
With a sigh, and her righteous anger abated only for the moment, Buffy followed the empath back upstairs… to find Spike sprawled on the floor, robe and blanket twisted around his naked body, exposing far more damaged skin than she had seen before.
Even from the floor, Spike was an imposing figure in his anger. “You bloody, stupid, thoughtless, buggering bitch! he spat. “Not back in my life a half-day, and you’re making decisions that aren’t yours to bloody well make – about things you don’t understand.”
Buffy was stunned. He hadn’t cursed her out in years, ~outside of pillow-talk, that is! and it cut her to the quick. After all, she’d been off in his defense and… oh damn. That must be part of it, his damned pride. And then she realized he was still a muddle on the floor, unmoving.
Her eyes widened with the knowledge that he was unable to stand Oh, no! She dropped to her knees by his side.
“Christ, Spike. I didn’t know. I’m so sorry…” The image of pink scar tissue in very tender places was going to remain with her for a long, long time.
“Summers, if I had any pride left at all where you’re concerned, I’d kick you the hell out of here. But, I don’t and there ain’t nothing you haven’t seen before. Just a bit more banged up than usual, s’all.” His bravado all but gone, he whispered, “Just help me up… please.”
As if snapping out of a trance, Lorne strode to the vampire’s side, and with Buffy’s help, settled Spike back into bed, pulling the robe closed once more to cover the damage still evident on his skin.
Lorne looked pointedly at Spike. “If you two kiddies are okay, I’m gonna make myself scarce for a bit. Seems as if you have a few issues that need airing. If you need me, I’ll be downstairs. Just give a holler.”
When they were alone, Spike reached out. Grabbing Buffy’s hand, he gently tugged, until she was sitting on the side of the bed next to him. She stared fixedly at the wall, unwilling to look at him.
Spike sighed. “I’m sorry, pet. I didn’t mean to take off so on you. First thought I had was ‘Bloody hell, she’s such a magnificent bitch, all puffed up with Slayer strength.’ Problem is, you’d ping off every magical security measure that Wolfram & Hart has in place. You’d never get near ‘im in the state you’re in.” He paused, unsure as to how much the girl had actually heard. “Buffy, luv, look at me.”
She turned, tears gliding down her cheeks. “What the hell did they do to you, Spike. God, what I saw… and your legs. Please,” she begged. “Please tell me you’re not… again.” She couldn’t bring herself to form the words. The thought of him being stuck in a wheelchair again made her ill.
“No, sweet girl. Not paralyzed, not this time.” Spike cupped her chin, raising her head to look into her eyes – to see the compassion shining there, just for him. “There’s been some nerve damage and they don’t hold my weight yet.” Wiggling his toes, he smiled. “See? I’ll be right as rain soon enough, I bloody well hope.”
Like a little girl, Buffy wiped her teary eyes and runny nose on the back of her hand. “I’m so tired of seeing you hurt, Spike. Especially if I’m to blame.”
Spike snorted. “Gotta admit, I’m tired of looking like a bleedin’ Pollock paintin’ myself. I know I’ve said it’s always all about you, Buffy – an’ it might have been what ticked over the poof, but this shite wasn’t anything you can take blame for.”
“Well, it’s not all about me, I get that. So why don’t you tell me what that… that… paper means to you,” she spat, pointing at the frame she’d dropped on the floor, earlier.
“Dunno how much you know about vampire lineage, pet… but I can make it simple. You can trace your family backwards, from your father and mother – to their fathers and mothers, right?”
“Vampires trace their lineage from the beginning – the head of their Order. In my case, the Watchers diaries got somethin’ right - they have the Order of Aurelius marked as my lot. Aurelius turned the Master, who turned Darla, who turned Angelus, who turned Dru – who drained me… but it was Angelus who actually turned me.”
Exasperation colored her voice, “Another lie, then. What is it with you guys lying to me over and over again? Do I have ‘not worthy of the truth’ sign stamped on my forehead? Why would you deny Angel as your Sire? Isn’t that just as bad as what he did to you?”
Spike stiffened, the weight of his impending confession causing his shoulders to slump. “Buffy, when we had our ‘discussion’ about Spike – the Slayer of Slayers, we weren’t exactly best mates, were we? I lied. Was pissed off at the stupid pillock for near a century, and denied his role in my life to you and everyone else. Except myself. Never myself. I might have hated the bastard, but for over twenty years, he was my bloody God and father.”
Buffy reached out for him – to offer what comfort she could, but he flinched away, pulling tighter into himself.
“What Angel did, was cast me out of the family and out of the whole bloody Order. He denied me to himself, and the rest of the demon world. Do you have any idea how many demons have seen that by now? Have heard of my disgrace? This was the worst insult he could have done. Selling Sire’s Rights means the vamp – usually an incorrigible fledge – cannot be taught to mind. Too bloody stupid to be brought to heel and become a working part of the family unit, he’s better off elsewhere or dusted.”
Raising his head, Spike looked directly into Buffy’s eyes, boring into her very soul. “Luv, I was one of the youngest Master Vampires in the history of our Order. Been able to care for myself an’ Dru against all odds after the soul hobbled our Father. I’ve not been a burden on anyone since I’m ten years turned. Can you even begin to understand what his betrayal meant to me? What it still means to me?
“S’like taking your name out of the family bible, an’ sayin’ that you never existed. No little Buffy, firstborn of the Summers clan. No elder sister to Dawn. No Buffy, ever. An everyone knowin’ you’re still here – walkin’ around, unwanted and meaning less than trash to those who bore you.”
This time, Buffy pushed through the anguished vampire’s defenses, gathering Spike into her arms and rocking him gently. Mercifully, he relaxed into her embrace, accepting her comfort and gaining strength from it.
“S’why I gave up fighting, once I found out my lot in life. The demon who’d bought me took great delight in telling me how worthless I was to my Sire. He cut me – scarred me.” Spike brought Buffy’s hand to his neck, where Angelus had claimed him. “He desecrated the familial mark. Everyone would be able to tell I’d been ousted from my Order. I’d have been better off dusted.”
Buffy looked at the bite mark, or rather where the mark had been defaced. An ugly jagged cut bisected the claim. She stroked her fingers over the mark, then placed a kiss on the same spot.
“Never worthless, Spike,” she murmured. “A definite pain in the ass, but never worthless.”
Relief flooded his system. Never, never had he expected this level of compassion from the girl. Yeah, they’d gotten closer over the years, but this directly involved Angel in the role of twat, and she’d never been able to accept that before. He burrowed deeper into her arms, allowing himself the comfort for a while longer.
For her part, Buffy relished the feel of the vampire in her arms. Spike was hurting, badly. And for a change, she was able to offer him relief, as he’d often done for her in those horrid days fresh from the grave. It felt damned good as she gently stroked his strong back, fingers playing in the soft curls at the nape of his neck.
She branched out, running her fingers in figure eights over Spike’s shoulders, when he flinched. Buffy pulled the robe away from his shoulders, noting the massive discoloration still in evidence.
“Alright, Spike, this has gone far enough,” Buffy demanded, releasing him from the cradle of her arms. “What the fuck happened to you at this place? If you’ve been here for four days, glutting on the best that humans can shed, according to Lorne… why the hell are you still all banged up? These have got to be long standing injuries. Talk to me, please. I need to understand.”
Spike closed the robe around his body, easing back to lie on the pillows. “S’not an easy tale to tell, pet. Haven’t even spoken of it to Lorne, and since he’n Gunn are the ones who found me passed out cold, I’d wager what they found was worse’n I remember.”
“You need to tell someone,” she encouraged. “Believe me, when you hold stuff back, it’s a whole world of badness. You remember our year from hell? If I can spare you that, it’s worth listening to it all now. I may not be all stoic-y, but I’ll listen.”
Spike sighed. “Just do me a favor an’ don’t look at me for a bit. I couldn’t bear to see you, hearin’ all that was done.”
Buffy nodded and turned around, backing up on the bed until she could rest her head against his shoulder. “This okay, Spike? I’ll even keep my eyes closed. I just… just… hold onto me, and tell me what you can.”
He placed a kiss on the crown of her head, grateful for her warmth; grounding him for the personal hell he was about to unleash.
“I remember comin’ to, face to face with a S’lugith demon – not one of your overly beastly types – all red hair and little horns. Taller’n me and outweighed me some. Whatever I’d been shot up with kept me sluggish and muzzy, so’s fighting wasn’t the wisest way to go. He stripped me, an’ I don’t think I wore another stitch of clothing until I came to, here.” Spike’s hand crept into Buffy’s lap, fingers intertwining; another point of contact and comfort.
“The tosser shaved me, bare as a babe – and had me collared, cuffed, ringed an’ chained to the wall. Left me hungry, too. Can’t say as much as it mattered at that point, just slept the best I could. The real fun started the next day.”
Spike’s fingers tightened around Buffy’s, finding strength in her quiet acceptance. “He cuffed me open like a bloody starfish on the cot I slept on, pet,” he sobbed. “He gagged me and fucked me and if I had a wish comin’ to me at that moment, I would have asked to die again. To stay dead. And every day for weeks he did the same bloody thing.”
Buffy couldn’t stand it anymore. Spike’s chest hitched from the emotions roiling through his body. She turned around and kneeled up, straddling his slender hips and wrapped her arms around his trembling torso.
“C’mon, baby. You can get through this,” she crooned. “Get it all out and we can move past it. I’m not going anywhere.”
Spike calmed slightly in her arms, enough to go on. “It all went wonky from there. I lost track of time. S’like I wasn’t there no more, an’ I don’t know where I went. Went hungry lots, the S’lugith stopped comin’ regular for awhile. An’ when he came back regular again, he sent other demons in to me. Bit one, I think – far as I can remember. Lost m’fangs for it.”
That was all she could take. Disentangling herself, Buffy ran to the bathroom and tossed up the refreshments she’d had earlier. She splashed water on her face and rinsed her mouth before walking back into the bedroom.
Carefully, she sat back down on the bed. Spike had resettled himself on the pillows, looking far calmer than he had been when she left.
“M’alright, Slayer. C’mere an’ look.” He opened his mouth, showing her his almost fully erupted incisors. She ran her finger gently along the gumline, as if reassuring herself that he was indeed, fine.
“Luv, I don’t know how to thank you. For just listenin’ and not thinkin’ less of me. As bad as the physical shite was… the demon in me is more freaked by being Orderless. No Sire for last chance reprieves, no hope for help… it hurts. Demon and soul, pet. We’re just lost.”
Buffy shook her head. “You need to listen to me, Spike. You are not alone. From now on, you’ll always have me by your side. You need anything, and I’ll do what I can. Right now, I have to go back to Angel. He’ll get awfully suspicious if Lorne doesn’t bring me back. But I promise you… I’ll see you later this evening. I just need… to clear my head and settle some things.”
Spike relaxed further into the bedclothes, weariness evident in every line of his being. “Don’t do anything stupid, pet. I need you back here. Not gonna lose you again,” he slurred, well on his way to falling asleep after his emotional upheaval.
“Don’t you worry, Spike,” Buffy promised. “I’ll be back.” Brushing a few errant curls from his forehead, she kissed him, and left.
Less than an hour later, she stood outside the door to Angel’s office.
Angel looked up from his paperwork. “Buffy! Glad to see you’re back from your day with Lorne. How’d it go?”
“It was cool. Saw lots of interesting things,” she said. “Actually, shopping is overrated. I did enjoy spending time with Lorne. He’s got the dirt on so many people. You’d be amazed who we gossiped about.”
“Nah, Lorne’s got dirt on everyone. I’d hate to piss him off. I’m glad he kept you entertained, ‘cause this paperwork will be the death of me. I’ve still got hours to go, baby. Can you keep yourself busy?”
No way. Buffy put on her best pout. “Aw, Angel, I missed you so much. Couldn’t you just cancel the rest of your appointments for the day? Please? For me?”
One look at her pretty face, and he was lost. “You’re not good for the company, Buffy, but I can’t refuse you when you beg so prettily.” A few phone calls later, and he was free.
“Good!” She climbed onto his lap. “I’ve got so much to share with you, Angel… I don’t know quite where to begin.”