Table of Contents
Previous Chapter: Preservation
Next Chapter: Trepidation

Getting thrown back into his cell had all the reverence of being thrown out of a bar- head first, by a Chirago demon, and he didn’t even have booze to make himself feel better about it. Soldier boys weren’t exactly gentle either. Not that it would have mattered much if they had been, what with all the broken… everything.    He’d been over it in his head a dozen times already, and he still couldn’t really rationalize it. Any of it. Going after the Slayer. Trying to comfort her. Watching over her while she slept. Putting himself in harm’s way for her. Even if he could blame it on some remnant of Poncy William, it didn’t explain why he cared. Vampire, Slayer. He should have taken her out long ago, but she was just too much fun to dance with. And maybe that’s what it boiled down to. He’d grown accustomed to having that thorn in his side. He liked that particular thorn. It hurt in all the right ways. She kept him on his toes. All his years, he’d never come across somebody who he’d stalemated with. Not like her. Not that many times. So yeah, maybe he dreamed of killing her every day, but he didn’t actually want her dead.    He really didn’t want somebody else taking that from him, either.    God, he’d been daft to ever think his plan had even the slightest chance of working out the way he’d imagined it. Though what had he expected, really? It was him and plans, of course it had gone all sixes and sevens. The idea had been to get the Scoobies on board, have Red use a spell to immobilize or incapacitate all the government people, slip in, grab the Slayer, and slip back out. Easy as pie. Except the Scoobies were a bunch of bleeding idiots, and they hadn’t even believed him about seeing Buffy get caught. They all looked at him like he’d grown a second head. Bloody Xander, making a mockery of the whole thing.    Oh, let me guess. Commando guys, yay tall, two eyes kind of in the middle? And they just, what? Overpowered Buffy and dragged her away to their lair so they could… experiment on her? Nice fantasy, Spike. Except she’s not like you. She’s not a monster.   Like hell. Military types were always the same. Follow orders, don’t ask questions. Boss said jump, you didn’t bloody well ask how high. You just started jumping. Walsh, she was smart. But not smart enough to see what was right in front of her face. All she’d have had to do was ask the Slayer what she was, and she would have had her answer. All this? Entirely pointless, other than pleasure seeking. If they wanted to know the weaknesses of demons, they could have learned that from the Slayer, too.    And Xander wanted to talk about who was and wasn’t a monster? Take a look in the bloody mirror. Wanker. Demons, they had an excuse to be bad. With the no soul having, everything was pretty much morally grey unless the demon decided it wasn’t. Personal code and whatnot. Some of them weren’t all that bad when it came right down to it. But humans. Now those were the real pieces of work. They knew right from wrong. No real question about that. But some of them really just didn’t give a damn. Some of them just liked to do evil things.   Murderers, rapists, and the like. They all had souls. Assumingly, at any rate. Didn’t stop them from doing what they did. Didn’t make them come over all remorseful about it. Souls weren’t what separated monsters from men. It was actions. And while Spike didn’t particularly have an interest in being seen as less monstrous, or being less bad, the chip was forcing him to. Temporarily, at least. Getting in good with the white hats seemed about the best way to keep them directly off his arse about things while still being able to drive them absolutely bat shit crazy. They’d trust him more when he did eventually get the chip out, and make it much easier to pick them off.   But when he’d seen the wanker boys taking down the Slayer, something had gone all… He didn’t even know how to describe it. Just – seeing somebody else touch her, hurt her, drag her limp body away the way that they did. His first instinct had been to go rip their throats out, untie the bint, and – well. Not let them have their meaty hands all over her when she couldn’t defend herself, that was for sure. But the chip was doing little warning sparks for even thinking about it, which was infuriating as hell. And without her righteous little gang of helpers on board, he figured he’d be getting a hell of a lot bigger headache anyway. Either they’d stake him in her absence or accuse him of doing something to her.   So the plan had to change, to this total crapshoot. Sneak in on his own, try to stay undetected in hallways with nothing to dip behind, find the stupid bint, and somehow get her out. Yeah. And why exactly he’d gone through with it? He hadn’t a clue. He shouldn’t have cared, shouldn’t have risked his own life for hers, and shouldn’t have expected things to go any different than they had. There’d been that feeling though. His blood, screaming out to have its will done. And for whatever reason, it willed that he go play hero and save the distressing damsel.   And now, he was back in his holding cell, just as powerless as before, except now he had a bunch of wounds that needed mending. He couldn’t decide what was bruised, cracked, or broken. All the pain just blended together. Soldier boys hadn’t been taught to spare the rod, that was for sure. Or maybe they just enjoyed the carnage as much as any monster, and were too soul having to admit it. That one though- he’d been enjoying it more than the others. Spike could smell it on him. The jealousy. Fear. Rage. Intoxicating little mixture, even when you’re getting your ribs kicked to pieces.    He still didn’t really know why he’d done it. Why he’d put himself between them and her. Why he’d got his arse kicked to save hers.    He’d been hoping the Slayer would get her wits about her, stand up, maybe kick the door down. Or rip somebody’s arm off and beat the rest of the wankers with it. But no, she’d just cowered there behind him, like some kind of meek, feeble, slip of a girl. He could smell the drugs on her, once they were close. Whatever concoction they’d put in that water pack of hers was potent stuff. He hadn’t realized it until her blood was really pumping. She smelled sickly. She wasn’t in her right state. Honestly, the fact she’d been mostly able to keep up with him for all the running was kind of a miracle. Might’ve been what did them in, actually. Getting that mixture coursing through her whole body all at once instead of letting it just mellow for a few hours until it was out of her system. Nothing different she could have really done, and he was stupid to have hoped for anything else. The white coats were doing their best to keep her as non-lethal as possible, and succeeding. Which really didn’t sit right with him, somewhere deep down. Slayers were supposed to be lethal, that’s what they were for…    And of course, Spike himself was as harmless as a kitten. They’d seen to that. Couldn’t even trip somebody without getting a zap to his gray matter. That beating he took was just a show of force for them. A show of defiance for him. A lesson he refused to learn. He’d played that game before, for a few decades. He wanted them to know exactly who it was they were dealing with. He wasn’t some fledge, fresh out of the grave. He wasn’t running around killing the first person to cross his path. He only wanted one girl. He was a master in his own right, and… He wasn’t going to just sit there and let them use him as a lab rat. And he wasn’t going to let them do it to her either. Not if he could give her a chance. Not if he could stop it.   Why, exactly, he wasn’t sure yet. Something had stopped him from abandoning her there. When the quake hit and the power failed, he should have just left her to rot with the rest of them and got out on his own. He wasn’t doing any good trapped behind glass. He wasn’t doing any good watching her sleep off the drugs. And why the hell was he even worried about doing good all of a sudden? Useful was a more appropriate word. And he didn’t even care to be that most of the time. Especially not to her. The thing with Angel was supposed to be a one time deal. Temporary truce. Wasn’t supposed to become a habit. But he’d felt it back then, too. That urge to run to her side and help her. He hadn’t, because he had Dru in his arms and he was a bit preoccupied with the thought of shagging his ass out of the Hellmouth and never coming back. How well that had turned out.   He was an idiot.    Never should have even come down here. Should have just washed my hands of it and been on my way out of SunnyHell. Gone back to LA, or down to Brazil. Found some black market doctor to take the stupid chip out and tracked Dru down, tied her up, and made her love me again. But no, had to go and be bloody possessive of her. Had to come be the hero for some buggered reason.   I haven’t been making attempts on her life for two bleeding years, just to have her snatched out from under me by a bunch of government white coats. She’s mine. My kill. We’ve been doing the dance too long for it to end any other way. The only time she ought to be this defenseless is when she’s dead. Not because she’s been drugged by some skeletal bitch with a tranq gun. And I’ll be damned if I let that glorified hall monitor be the one who chokes the life out of her.   She’s going to die a glorious, bloody death, at the hands of somebody that can best her in combat. And they’re going to have to earn it. I’ll have to earn it.   So he told himself yet again. But that image of her beneath him, throat bared, exposed… Well, it was a heady bouquet. One still fresh in his memory from Red’s spell that had the slayer wriggling in his lap in all the best ways. Something like that, you didn’t have an easy time shutting out. Since then, his fantasies had shifted from violent death to… well, still her death. But he couldn’t help but be curious. Slayers had stamina, strength. God, she could probably go for hours and never get tired. Little nip on the lip, little Spike would be ready again in a heartbeat. Not like he could kill her right then anyway. Not until he found some way to get the chip out. And the next best thing for taking out a frustrating day… happened to be a different kind of rough and tumble.   He shook the thoughts from his mind. Again. He had other things to be concerned about. Plotting a grand escape. Healing. And the sack of half congealed drugged blood wasn’t all that appealing in any sense, but he didn’t have much choice. He’d just have to do what he did the first time around and drink it slowly enough. If he paced himself, whatever sleeping medication they’d added to it wouldn’t even have that much of an effect. At least he wouldn’t be as bruised. Bones, though. Those took longer. The stuff was human, at least, but diluted with whatever medical crap they kept it fresh with. Kind of sweet, too. He could deal with that. Not nearly as good as fresh from the source, but he highly doubted they’d be very forthcoming with that.   He had no clue how long it had been. Without any windows, all he had to go on was his natural sleep rhythm, and that wasn’t much help considering he didn’t stick to the normal vampire routine. He sipped at the blood slowly, not taking more than a little at a time, and waiting for the dazed feeling to pass before he had more. But he was getting antsy. He’d already started pacing back and forth again, like the caged animal they believed him to be. Hurt like hell, too. He was pretty sure he had at least a few minor fractures that weren’t setting quite right. It would probably take even longer now that he was walking on it, but he couldn’t bear to sit still any more. He needed to move.   They still hadn’t brought the Slayer back from wherever the hell they’d whisked her away to, and it had been enough hours for most of his less severe wounds to completely heal. His lip wasn’t as bad, he could almost open his eye again, sort of. His bruises weren’t as tender to the touch. On the packaged blood he was drinking, that wasn’t a great sign for Buffy. Something wasn’t right about it, and the images his brain was drumming up were doing bugger all to calm his nerves. Either they had her strapped down to a table doing whatever they wanted to her unconscious body, or they’d killed her and were busy with an autopsy.    He bristled just thinking about either scenario. He already knew they were sadistic pricks to demons. Never mind a helpless young woman. The soldiers were bad enough. All they did was bring you in, hand you over. Occasionally kick your everything in if you got out of line. The white coats were worse. They were the ones that put chips into you. The ones that cut you open and played around with your insides. The ones that tinkered with you until they figured out everything they wanted to know. Trying to find the limits of a Slayer? That could take some time. Trying to control one? Even longer. And Buffy –    Spike was drawn from his thoughts by a commotion down at the end of the hall. Demons reacting to something coming through the door. Spike could smell their excitement, even through the glass. Not that he needed to. They were making it plenty well known: White coats were bringing her back in. Finally. He was over to the door in an instant, ignoring the throbbing in his leg and almost forgetting about the barrier being electrified. He craned his neck, looking as far down the corridor as possible. He’d been almost relieved to know she was coming back in one piece, but something wasn’t quite right. He could smell it, the rich scent of Slayer blood. Thick and potent. When they came into view, he almost wished he hadn’t looked.   Two soldiers were dragging her. Limp and bleeding. Definitely unconscious. God, she looked way too pale under the lights. They could have at least used a gurney. This was just disrespectful. Spike watched them intently as they approached, all of his senses focused on her. Her breathing, her heartbeat. Trying to pick them out over the roars of demons. The closer they got, the easier it became. Weak, sluggish. But steady, and that was something, wasn’t it? She wasn’t dead. Yet.   They stopped in front of her cell, swiped a card, and the door slid open soundlessly. When they tossed her in like trash, Spike’s vision went red. They treated her like she was nothing. Like she hadn’t averted how many apocalypses. Like she didn’t lay her life on the line every single night to keep people like them safe. The floor they threw her on wouldn’t even have existed if it wasn’t for the things she did.   No, to them she was just another thing to study and tinker with. A lab rat. Not a person. Not the One Girl in All the World. She was nothing. They had absolutely no idea what she was. And if they did, that just made it worse. This Slayer was a rarity. She’d made it out of her teen years. She’d killed at least two master vampires. She’d killed Batface, for Christ’s sake. She’d killed her own boyfriend, to save the world. She’d taken down who knew how many vampires on a nightly basis. And she somehow managed to have friends. A family. Bleeding social life. She was going to college. Because she was strong enough to think, maybe, someday, she’d be allowed to have a future that didn’t involve slaying.    Spike had to admire her, even if he did want to kill her. It would almost be a shame. Almost.   That’s why you had to drug her to take her down, isn’t it? You lot of pansies could never take her in a fight. She’d mop the floor with you. You ought to have a little more respect. What the hell did you do to her? Strap her down and flog her? Did it make you feel all manly?    The two soldiers turned to look at Spike for a moment, amusement on their faces. “She can tell you when she wakes,” the shorter of the two said. “Well, if she wakes up.” He laughed. Spike watched the vein in his throat, determined that he’d rip it out with his teeth some day. Blunt. No fangs making it quick. They’d all suffer.   It wasn’t until they’d walked away that Spike realized he’d spoken out loud, that he’d shifted into game face, and that his hands were balled so tightly into fists that his nails were digging into his palms. His teeth were cutting into his lip, and he wouldn’t even have noticed if not for the taste of blood.   Calm down. She’s your bleeding enemy. You don’t need to protect her. You don’t need to defend her. You were the idiot who came in here to get her out, and that’s all you need to worry about doing. She’ll be just fine. If you couldn’t kill her, you really think they’ll be able to? She’s still breathing. Look, you can see her breathing. Just look. See? Breathing. Her chest rising and falling…right. Stop looking. Anytime now. Just stop. Stop it, what is wrong with you?! Gotta be this bloody chip. Behavior modification, yeah? All those zaps to my brain can’t be good for me.   Still, as much as he hated to admit it, he felt calmer watching her. Knowing for sure that she definitely was still alive, even if she was weak. So he settled himself in, just a few inches away from the door, thankful her pulse was still within earshot, if he listened intently enough. He wasn’t going to think. Not about why he was feeling so protective. Not about why seeing her hurt bothered him so much. Not why he’d… Not any of it.


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Table of Contents
Previous Chapter: Preservation
Next Chapter: Trepidation

Reviews ( 2 )

Saranac
October 23, 2020 00:50

I can hear Spike's voice in your writing. He follows his blood, which can make introspection very unfocused and messy. You have a good hold on that.

Zab Jade
October 22, 2020 17:29

That's Spike's slayer, darn it, and no one else gets her! So many ways of rationalizing his behavior to himself, and all with at least a degree of believability (so exactly what he'd come up with). Excellent job.