Another Not for Profit Venture by Snow
For the loving_angel_69 I will not fade away ficathon
Beta by stir_of_echoes
Oh no, here it is again
I need to know,
When I will fall in decay?
With every plan of my life
I didn't really notice that you've been here
Destiny of a lie
~Heaven’s a Lie by Lacuna Coil
Ribbons of torn flesh, skin that was once a part of my body now decorate the dirt floor around me. Dark, dark red, blood, so dark it could almost be black, my blood, seeps from my body to pool at my feet. My head hangs down, chin touching my chest and I watch both sweat and blood run down my legs. I pick out two drops here and there and bet on them, something, anything to distract my mind from the now, from the constant, never ending pain. The blood always wins. It’s heavier, fuller, falls faster.
I don’t know how long I’ve been here, hanging in this prison, being tortured by demons, but I know how long I will be here.
Forever and forever and forever.
The night was ours, the plan; seamless, flawless. Despite Wesley’s death, or maybe because of it, despite Gunn falling quickly, outnumbered as he was, it was a triumphant victory, their sacrifice ensured that. And now it was time to pay up. I’d rather have been killed in battle. I begged for it. I bested the dragon, the giant and hundreds of demons. Broken through three swords, sliced and hacked at limbs and heads and armor until my arms felt as though they would fall off my body until even the clash of steel against steel went unnoticed, until all that was left was the fight and the will to win. I lost track of Illyria and Spike as I chased after the dragon, thought I’d seen Spike’s blonde hair flashing in the bright silver of a lightening strike, once, later, but not again.
I’d have gotten away too, if I hadn’t gone back to look for them. For him.
When the night had ended, the rain had finally stopped and the sun began to rise, I’d finally been forced to seek shelter from the dawn, from the slivers of light that chased me away from the battle and right into the waiting group of demons. And it was then I finally admitted defeat, I gave up. Too tired, too heartsick, feeling too old to care. I held my arms out, dropped the thousand pound sword I carried and waited for the sharp wood to pierce my heart, for the quick blade that would slice cleanly through my neck, for the push back out into the heat and light of the day. But no. Nothing like that happened. Yes, they had attacked me. Beat me. Stripped me. Cut me. Tied me. Carried me. Brought me here.
Some Hell dimension of Wolfram and Hart, perhaps, I don’t know. I’m in a cave lit by torches that burn against the walls, sending oily black smoke to cover the ceiling and heat the room. I hang naked in the center of it from chains bound to cuffs on my wrists and have decided that this is a fitting unending to my life. What better way to atone for all the death, the pain, the torture and rape and dismemberment that I’m guilty of, crimes I committed during my long years as Angelus. What better retribution for hijacking the lives of Cordelia and Doyle and Wesley and Fred and Drusilla and Lindsey and Lorne and, yes, even Spike. And the one person I will never regret having known, Connor, who deserved so much more than I could ever give him.
So I take my punishment; the whipping, the beating, the burning, the cutting and the bright beams of light that cook my skin like the sun. Both of my shoulders are dislocated, one leg is broken in two places and I have lost count of how many ribs. And I know that they will never kill me. Ever. And that is okay. This is my peace. This is my destiny. Perhaps this will someday silence all the voices that scream in my conscience for retribution and revenge and my suffering.
I’m not going to say that I’ve hung here stoic and proud and calm all this time. I cry until I have no more tears. I scream until I lose my voice. I beg them to stop and I plead for death. But there is a perverse part of me that remains and will remain until the day that they do kill me. That part always thanks them after a particularly heinous session.
I said it aloud until they broke my jaw. Now I just say it in my mind.
Thank you for giving me this pain. Thank you for helping me atone for everything horrible I’ve ever done. Thank you for showing me that I did hurt the Senior Partners with my plan. Thank you for another day here in this world so that I can remember my friends, my lovers, my enemies, my parents, my sister, and my son.
And as I replay my life over and over, who comes to the fore every damn time? Spike. William. Absolute pain in my ass from the day he was sired and I miss him so much. I never thought I’d exist in a world without him. As much as I’ve tried all these long years, I could never kill him. I might leave him, hell, I even ran away from him once, trying to lose him. But like a bad habit, he always found me.
And even when I offered him the world on a platter; a jet, money, an expense account to go anywhere and do anything, he stayed with me. When I asked for the vote, his was the first hand up. What have I done to inspire such undeserved loyalty from him? Teased him. Beat him. Hated him. Fucked him into submission with my cock and my fingers and my fist. Tasted his tears and his come and his blood. I loved him and despise myself for feeling it and not showing it and for never, not once, telling him so.
The bones in my jaw and my leg have healed and that’s one way I can tell more time has passed. I’m starving. I haven’t eaten since that night and don’t see my jailers serving me anything anytime soon. I know that my skin has become tight and dry and that I’m scarring, which would never happen if I were able to eat. One thing about not eating, something these demons might not realize, eventually I will fall into a coma-like state. And no amount of torture will rouse me. That’s probably when they’ll kill me, probably when I’ll die. Unknowing, unseeing, uncaring. Unless they can find a way to feed me without giving me pleasure. Some way to make it part of the torture.
A rat ran past my feet a few hours/days/weeks ago and I would have drooled, had there been any moisture left in my body. But it did look like a rat. A regular, old, Earth dimension rat. And for some reason, the thought that it was, that it could have been, has given me a glimmer of unreasonable, insane hope.
It would be too much to think of anyone coming for me. Of anyone thinking that I might have survived.
Buffy. Giles. No. Too busy with the slayers-in-training. And besides, they wrote me off as soon as I signed on with Wolfram and Hart. I’m sure of it. It hurts too much to consider that she might not even think of me at all anymore.
Illyria. I know that she had to have made it through the battle, but rage and grief could have carried her anywhere, or even buried her.
Not Nina, I sent her away. Angry with me. And I remember the last time we were together. Her soft, warm skin and the smell of her that always reminded me of Oz, always took me back to Sunnydale and quiet evenings in the mansion, stolen moments in alleys behind the Bronze.
Oz could make me smile. He understood my pain. Two demons, brothers beneath the skin, lovers because we could be. I close my eyes and try to remember him. Try to remember the feel, the very shape of his small, strong body beneath my fingers.
I hear the heavy wooden door to my cell open and ignore it. This is not where I want to be right now.
The sharp voice brings me out of my fantasy as quickly as if I’d been doused with holy water, which, in fact, I was expecting today. I open my eyes, and I’m numb with disbelief.
He walks towards me. I can’t believe how good it feels just to look at him. How very thirsty I’ve been just for the sight of him, of anyone, actually, that wasn’t one of the hideous demon trolls.
“What? How?” Is all I can get out, it hurts too badly to talk and my words are slurred, my voice sounds harsh and rough to my own ears.
“Well, who did you expect? Who else would be looking for your ass?”
He reaches up and lifts the chain that binds my wrists together off the hook in the ceiling, holds me in his arms. He’s right. There is no one else. No one left that would voluntarily cross heaven or hell to look for me. Do anything to find me. Only Spike.
I try to stand on my own, but it’s been too long. I’m too empty and weak and the wrist and ankle cuffs and the chains between them seem to weigh hundreds of pounds. Spike keeps his hold under my shoulders, and then notices their displacement.
“Just a second.” he says and I see his lips tighten over his teeth as he quickly pops my joints back into place. I don’t even flinch at the pain. It’s there and gone, like a brief, bright flash of light. I lean into him, ignoring the discomfort of his clothes against my torn and bruised and burnt skin, because in the small spaces where I’ve not been cut, it feels so good. Instinctively I inhale and realize I can’t smell him at all. The smoky oil-burning torches have completely ruined my senses.
“Gone on a diet, have you?”
I watch his face as he looks me up and down, taking in the way he can see each of my ribs.
“Yeah. Best one ever. Should sell it to the stars in LA.” I’m whispering because it doesn’t hurt quite as much. “Didn’t happen to bring anything to eat, did you?”
“Let’s get you out of here first. Then we’ll worry about feeding you.”
Spike half carries, half drags me out of the room and into the hallway. I see the evidence left of the fight that brought him to me. Demons lay dead, blood still pouring from wounds and I wish I’d been there to watch them fall. I know I lost consciousness at least twice as he takes me from the caves through a sewer system and suddenly I’m in the Hyperion again. In my old room. It’s dusty and filthy and the furniture has been broken and overturned, but the bed is soft and the sheets are clean and it feels so good to lie down. I feel him moving the iron cuffs in his hands.
“There is no lock. They must be enchanted. I’ll have to find a witch to get them off.”
“Spike.” I catch his attention. “Blood. Please.”
“Oh, yeah, of course.” He moves to another part of the room and brings back a jar. I reach for it, already in game face, unable to stop myself from changing. So hungry. So very, very hungry. “I’ll hold it.” he says and I know he can see the way my hands are violently shaking.
God. It tastes good. Human. At this point I don’t care. It goes down like silk inside of me and it’s empty before I’m done. I want to stick my fingers inside of it. Lick them clean. I want to break it and suck on the shards. Wisely, Spike takes the jar with him and returns with another. I can already feel it working inside of me, healing me, warming me and I lick my lips when the second is empty.
Now I can’t keep my eyes open. I’m trying. But the bed, the blood, the knowledge that I’m out and free and Spike is here with me. Taking care of me. I barely feel the blanket he pulls up to my neck, covering me, chains and all and I’m lost. Gone. Asleep.
I wake abruptly in the dark, tense, sweating, my fists tight and my jaw aches sharply from grinding my teeth. Spike is sitting in a chair beside the bed, his eyes closed. His black shirt and pants blend in with the shadows and I take a deep breath out of some left over human habit as I stare at the gleam of his hair and skin. I feel cleaner, different and I realize that Spike has washed me while I slept. Wiped away some of the dirt and grime and dried blood. I can feel bandages covering the worst wounds on my stomach and thighs and my back.
His eyes open, but he doesn’t move.
“Why are we here? Isn’t this the first place they are going to be looking for me?”
He shakes his head and stands, straightening out his back. “They are not going to be looking for you. I think that the Partners were shocked that they even had you in the first place. I’ve been all over this town searching for you. I knew you were still alive, somehow, I don’t know . . . but once I found the right demon,” he laughed, “once I killed the right demon, it really wasn’t that hard to get you out.”
He makes it all sound so simple, so easy and I try not to think of the time that has passed, of the healing I still have to do and of the pain I’ve endured.
“Still hungry?” Spike asks and hands me another jar of blood without waiting for an answer. I can’t help but grab for it and drink it, quickly, greedily. The chains on my wrists rattle and clink as I move.
“I need these off. Now.” I say as I give the empty container back.
“Working on it. One thing that has changed, it’s a lot harder to find people that don’t want to be known. Witches and Warlocks, unless they worked for the baddies, they’ve gone underground.”
My skin itches where it is healing and I pull up the blanket, look down at my chest, my legs. Spike moves closer to the bed, one of his eyebrows lifts in that inquisitive look I remember so well.
I nod and grab his wrist before he can move off again. “Thank you.”
He shakes his head, his face as serious as I’ve ever seen it. “Don’t need to be thanked.”
I don’t let go of him. I won’t let go of him until he understands what I am saying.
“Spike. Thank you. For everything. For all of it. From the beginning until now. I’ve never said it to you and I’ve wanted to, so many times. But I’m stupid and stubborn and . . .” Now he’s smirking. Just a bit.
“Got that right.”
“We’ve bounced off each other forever. For too long. And some of it was fun. Some of it was vicious. But so many times you’ve been there for me when I needed you.”
He shakes his head again and twists his wrist out of my grip. Instead of moving away, as I’d expected, though, he reaches up to my face and I feel his thumb touch the side of my mouth.
“Had some blood there.”
Instinct catches me and I take his hand in mine, bring his thumb back to my mouth and lick the droplet off. I’m barely holding him, but this time he doesn’t pull away. He sinks down onto the bed beside me and into my arms. Because of the chains, I can’t hold him like I really want, but he helps, bringing me in tight to his chest. He is different; stronger, leaner, older and I think it’s because I’m still feeling so weak and helpless and, yes, warmer from the blood and his presence and my relief. And the need that pulses through me after all the loss, all the stress and all the pain and death and the grieving I still have to do, I realize I want him. Now. Here. In this bed and even with the chains and my wounds still healing. I’m sure he can smell my arousal, just as I should be able to smell his, though I can’t, my nose, apparently, is still recovering from the thick smoke in the cave. But I can feel him against me, feel his cock through his jeans. Hard.
I slide one hand down and pop the buttons, slip my fingers inside and run them along the length of him. He trembles and his mouth is on my neck, my jaw. His tongue licking me, tasting my skin. I hear his voice, a whisper between kisses.
“Are you sure?”
I squeeze his cock in my hand and pull up on it from the root.
“I’m sure. I want this. I need you. I’ve missed you.” I’m rambling, babbling senseless words and strong emotions and I turn my head to meet his lips and silence myself in his mouth. I feel him carefully reach down my abdomen, avoiding some of the deeper cuts and bandaged spots and when his fingers wrap around my cock I could come right now, at this moment, with nothing else. I clamp down on the pressure and concentrate on kissing him and the movement of my hand. I remember how he likes it, even though I never admitted it.
I know him so well, inside and out. I know how he wants to be touched. There were times, yes, to be honest, that he liked the rape and the beating and the fucking I gave him. But there were so many more nights when I could have been gentle. I should have been loving and caring and respectful. And I wasn’t. I will do whatever I have to, to make up for those mistakes. For the rest of our time together. Whatever it takes.
So I move my hand slowly, my fingers feeling just how he thrusts and I mirror them. I slide my thumb over the tip of his cock, moistening my grip with the precome that I find there. I squeeze tighter at the base, pull the loose skin up and over the top, then back down and Spike purrs. A deep rumble in his chest, which I match with my own. His hand moves lazily on my cock, as if he knows I’m trying to hold back, waiting for him. And I can’t stop talking or stop kissing or stop licking his face and his neck.
“I want to feel you come, Spike. I want to feel it in my hand and on my chest. You feel so good. So right.” And I smile as I hear his purr change to a growl and I know he would love nothing more at this point than to sink his fangs into my neck. But he won’t. Too many years of being the young one, the Childe, the one that dare not drink unless permission was given. And if I was at full strength I’d happily give it and let him know there would never be reason to ask again. But I’m not and he knows it and seems content with sucking on my lips and my tongue.
I keep talking between kisses, telling him how thankful I am for him, how much I missed him, how very, very much I need him. How I will show him forever just what he means to me and he is panting now, my hand moving faster, his cock wetter and harder and then he comes against my thigh. Hot from the blood he’s been drinking and the friction I’ve made and I keep touching him, squeezing him, until he pushes my fingers away and kisses me one last time.
I groan as he takes his hand off my cock. What is he doing? It’s not like I’m in any shape to get up and chase him, fuck him face down on the floor and make him come again and again. Much as I’d enjoy that.
He slides out of the bed, stands up and buttons his pants. And the room swims for a moment before my eyes, out of focus. I stare up at him, realization dawning.
I can’t smell him.
He feels different.
It’s not Spike.
I’m not here. Not at the Hyperion. Not in my bed.
The demon grins at me, Spike’s form shifting away from him. I close my eyes tightly.
. . . no, no, no, no, no . . .
over and over and over and I can’t stop. And the pain slams back into my consciousness. Each cut. Each broken bone. Each torn ligament, internal bruise, fracture, burn. The only difference is that I’m not starving anymore.
I’ve been fed.
I’m hanging from the ceiling of the cave. The torches burn on the walls, thick, hot black smoke fills the air and the whipping continues. My chin rests on my chest and I watch drops of blood and sweat trickle down my legs. I pick out two drops here and there to bet on.
The blood always wins.