Here is the latest chapter of Beloved from liliaeth and myself for your reading pleasure. This takes place immediately following Will’s second kidnapping by Roger Wyndam-Pryce. Please follow the Warning Alert System.
2014 - November
William is ten and a half years old.
And the focus returns to young Will. Those of you who were wondering about his fate at the hands of Thing One? Remember, you asked for it. We’re talking invasive procedures, though not graphically described.
Please, as always, read and comment! Buffy!Muse has taken to dumping the prozac into a bowl of water and swimming in it for hours at a time. We’ve been having regular pow-wows, however, and the next part of the story should be along fairly quickly. Feedback is always welcomed.
Goddess bless willa_writes - my bestest bud, and gillo, back to her now infamous blue Word bubbles of doom and hyphen magic, not to mention her invaluable aid in voice and continuity, and just_sue, for being my cheerleader and
To read Beloved from the beginning, go Here.
Full-sized banner by sueworld2003 beneath the cut.
Beloved – Chapter 22 – Down in the Valley
William sat on one of the few remaining unbroken pieces of marble edging the pool; eyes closed, head back. He basked in the peace and quiet – which were unexpectedly broken by his protesting squawk as his ankles were grasped by a pair of cold, wet hands and he was dragged into the water.
The shock of finding himself immersed in frigid water was followed instantly by a shove against his butt from underneath, forcing him to the surface, rapidly. Will sputtered while treading water, twisting this way and that, looking for whoever dragged him under but finding himself alone.
With a splash, little fingers covered his eyes as he was grabbed from behind and then he felt it… lips! On his cheek! Girl lips!
“Just you wait, Buffy,” he cried as she dove back into the water, putting some distance between them. It had to be her…nobody else knew where to find him. Sure enough Will spotted his assailant treading water several feet away. He swam in her direction, somewhat hampered by his now-sodden clothing. “When you least expect it, your ass is grass!”
“That’s what you always say,” the young girl snickered, sending wavelets crashing in his direction before she turned. All he saw were the soles of her feet as she vanished once more beneath the mirror-like surface of the pool.
By the time he caught up with her, a dark shadow loomed directly overhead, partially blocking the sun. Startled, Will looked up… way, way up, to a many-tentacled statue that filled his vision, and shuddered. It was monstrous – horrifying. Yet… the longer he stared, the more familiar – and safer – it felt.
Swimming up behind him, Buffy wrapped her arms around his shoulders.
“Don’t worry, Will,” she whispered, giving him a firm hug. “He’s watching over us. To protect us.”
“Is that God?” Will couldn’t keep the awe from his voice.
Buffy wrinkled her nose. She grabbed a reed growing through the cracks in the marble at the deeper end of the pool, close to the statue’s base, and nibbled on it, thoughtfully.
“A god… an Old One,” she settled on as her explanation. “Older than the stones. Older than the grass. Even older’n people!”
“Older than dinosaurs?”
“Older than dirt?”
“Shhhh, it’s resting now,” Buffy whispered. “It needs to gather strength to keep us all safe.”
Clambering out of the pool, she shook herself dry in the sun. All yellow hair and… and… not much else!
He followed her movements closely, unable to tear his eyes away. Buffy spread her arms; a ray of sunlight caught the gold bracelets encircling her biceps and sparkled. She even had a gold tiara of some sort woven into her hair.
“Why are you still in the water, silly? Your lips are turning blue!”
Startled out of his daze, Will felt the warmth of a blush creep into his cheeks.
“You’re n-naked,” he stammered.
“So are you,” Buffy pointed out. “No need to cover anything up here. Illyria sees everything.”
Will glanced down at himself, and sure enough, his clothing had disappeared, and he was as naked as she.
“But it’s not right,” he tried again.
“Were we ever?”
Buffy held out her hand, helping Will out of the water.
He lost his footing on the wet marble, and struggled to maintain his balance.
“Hang on, Will. Don’t let go,” she cried, gripping his hand as tightly as she could.
It was no use, however. Will’s fingers were too slippery, and he felt himself falling backwards into the water.
The white light was blinding and Will’s eyes teared uncontrollably. He felt himself being carried and laid down on something hard. His body shook convulsively, though he was barely able to move much more than his head and his fingers with conscious effort. And cold! He was sure his toes would fall off from frostbite.
In the absolute quiet, Will felt straps being buckled around his ankles and wrists and wondered why they bothered. It wasn’t like he could get up and run away. Or had anyone left to run to.
Her name was barely recognizable as it made it past his parched lips, but it was enough to set the old man off. He grabbed Will’s head and viciously dug his sharp-nailed fingers into his ears. The sounds came back with a vengeance as the earplugs were torn out: the clanking of metal; the rustle of cloth; the clomping of shoes on a tiled floor… and then that hated voice – harsh and painful.
“You will never lay your filthy hands on another Slayer,” Thing One spat as he moved fully into Will’s field of vision. “You and that animal, Angelus, should have been dust centuries ago.”
The old man motioned to someone Will couldn’t see.
“Dr. Potter,” he called, snapping on a pair of latex gloves. “The demon is as vulnerable and close to the surface as it’s ever going to be after eight hours in a sensory-deprivation tank. I want samples taken and analyzed, immediately. If you have to take it apart cell by cell, we will find the physical aspects that make it less than human.”
Will could hear the doctor fiddling about with stuff on a metal tray above his head. With each clank his belly twisted in fear. Nothing good could come from this.
“Evelyn! What the bloody hell is the hold-up here?”
“I-I’m sorry, Mr. Wyndam-Pryce,” the doctor apologized. “I can’t seem to find the local anesthetic.”
Thing One’s gloved hands grabbed Will’s arm and held it tightly against the table to which he was bound.
“No time and no need,” he snarled. “Simply take what you need. Its discomfort will affect neither us nor the usefulness of the samples.”
“Very well, then,” the doctor replied. “Let us begin.”
Will made out the blurry shape of a shiny scalpel, and swallowed convulsively as it was lowered to his arm.
Don’t let it hurt, don’t let it hurt, don’t… that didn’t hurt. Why didn’t that hurt?
The first few scrapes of the instrument were totally painless, like a fingernail scratching an itch, and the boy relaxed. Unfortunately the calm didn’t last for long as Thing One’s grip became firmer, and the doctor’s scalpel continued to scrape until the area began to sting.
“Hurts,” he groaned, as the scalpel moved from area to area, leaving painful little hotspots in its wake.
“Quiet, demon,” Thing One hissed, digging his fingers even harder into Will’s thigh, as the doctor continued her scrapings.
Will tried to be brave. The pain wasn’t bad, but it was continuous. Arms; pits; legs; feet, neck; belly… all received the same, impersonal treatment. Nobody spoke to him, they just poked, prodded and scraped.
The doctor’s next words struck a note of terror in the boy’s heart:
“Please hold the head steady.”
Thing One’s harsh fingers gripped Will’s hair and pulled down, not allowing him the small movements he could make.
When Will saw something coming straight at his eyes he panicked. Were they going to cut them out? He tried to wriggle out of his captor’s hands, but was unsuccessful.
The doctor’s gloved fingers held his left eye open and scraped over the surface. He waited for the pain to blossom… and waited. Nothing.
“Make sure you use enough swabs, Evelyn,” the hated voice rang in Will’s ears. “We’ll need to run several tests for each set of samples.”
No wonder. Just big old q-tips.
Will could do nothing as his eyes were swabbed, or his nostrils and ears. His jaws were pried apart and he expected more of the same.
He gasped at the first touch of the sharp blade to his inner cheek. By the time the doctor was finished, tears were running from his eyes. The roof of his mouth hurt, the gums throbbed, and his tongue was on fire.
“What about hair samples, Mr. Wyndam-Pryce? I need to extract strands with the root intact to be of any value.”
“That will be no problem, Dr. Potter.” Thing One grabbed a small curl of hair and yanked… hard.
Will gagged from the pain. As he watched, several droplets of blood fell from the follicle ends where the hair had been ripped from his scalp. There was a look of sick satisfaction on Thing One’s face as he passed his hair to the doctor
Dr. Potter nodded her head. “Those should do nicely, indeed.” A few rustles and clinks that Will couldn’t make sense of, and both the doctor and Thing One moved to the other side of the room.
He breathed a small sigh of relief. Maybe they’d let him rest now. They’d taken what they wanted, and now they’d leave him alone.
Oh, how wrong he was.
The doctor brought several paper-wrapped packages over to the metal tray by Will’s head and wheeled it down by his feet. A long piece of clear plastic tubing and a bag came into view, and he couldn’t figure out what they were going to do with it.
Will managed to turn his head towards the harsh words.
“Is there a problem, Mr. Harris?” Thing One asked the guard standing by the door.
“No, Sir. S-sorry,” the man stammered. “It’s just… it’s well past the end of my shift, and I have to… I need to get…”
“It’s been a long night for us all.” Thing One sighed. “Just make sure Mr. Forbes takes your place before you leave the grounds.”
The man nodded, and left the room in a hurry, slamming the door behind him.
Will watched, eyes wide with apprehension, as the doctor moved in between his legs and reached for…
“No! Leggo!” he screamed, his voice raw and scratchy. “Don’t touch me there!” He bucked his hips with all his might, but the slight movement wasn’t enough to get the doctor to release his penis.
“Sir, if it doesn’t hold still while the Foley is inserted, there will be tissue damage,” she complained. “The samples will be compromised.”
With fury blazing in his eyes, Thing One grabbed Will’s face and forced the boy to focus on him.
“Be silent! Any more noise from you and Dr. Potter will put an end to your miserable existence and we shall send your body back to the woman who raised you,” he growled, spittle flying everywhere. “We will then begin all over again with Angelus. Do you think we’ll be as easy on that beast as we have been on you? The Council will be more than happy to make it pay for all the death and destruction it caused during its heyday.”
Angel… Dad! He hadn’t thought of family or home in forever. Not with EJ and Mr. Chalmers in his life. But they were gone now. This creep killed them for no reason, and now he wanted to hurt his real family.
“No. Don’t,” he cried. “Please leave them alone.”
“Continue, Evelyn. I believe you’ll have no more trouble.”
Will held his breath and bit his tongue in an effort not to cry out as the plastic tube was inserted into a place nothing was meant to go. His tears ran down his cheeks and onto the table, and he wished it would all go away.
Will! Look at me.
He had to be hallucinating. Will could have sworn he heard…
Hurry, Will. Take my hand.
Sure enough, Buffy stood right next to him, her arms outstretched – reaching for him.
Take my hand, Will. We’ll go someplace safe… back to Illyria. Hurry!
Buffy sat in the shade of the God King’s statue, cradling her friend’s head in her lap.
“Rest now, kiddo,” she whispered, carding her fingers through Will’s curls. “Let me take the pain for a little while.”
She watched as his furrowed brow smoothed in sleep, no outward marks from the creeps who tortured his body and soul. Gently easing him onto the grass, Buffy took a deep breath and began to sing softly, gently stroking his back in time to the words:
Early one morning, just as the sun was rising,
I heard a maid singing in the valley below;
“O don’t deceive me,
O do not leave me!
How could you use a poor maiden so?”
As soon as the final word had left her lips in a strangled wheeze, she grabbed her knees, rocking herself back and forth. A thin line of blood trickled down her back, dotting her shirt, as she psychically absorbed the brunt of Will’s physical pain, and she bit her own arm to prevent her cries from waking him.
“Dad! You need to calm down,” Connor’s voice rang across the private airstrip. “Remember your… condition?”
Angel couldn’t control his demon, flashing bits of amber in his angry brown eyes. For the first time Angelus was forcing his way to the fore through all of the defenses the souled vampire had erected over the decades. He roughly fisted Connor’s shirt, bringing his son nose-to-nose.
“He’s screaming for me,” Angel growled. “I can feel him, Connor. Will’s in agony and I stand here with some lackey driver because Giles can’t be bothered picking us up?”
He turned to the livery driver now cowering against his car. “What can be more important than finding my son?”
“I-if y-you p-please, Sir,” the chauffeur stammered in his fear. “All I know is that… that there was a pressing emergency, and Mr. Giles said you were to be driven to his office, immediately. I don’t know anything about a missing lad. I’m sorry for your…”
“Enough!” Charlotte put out her hands, forcing Angel to back away from the terrified man. “We can stand here and scare the guy to death, or get in the car and see what the situation is.”
Angel relented, throwing himself into the car and slumping back in his seat in stony silence. Flanked on either side by Connor and Charlotte, they began the next leg of their rescue.