|Can't Buy Me Love
Giles treats Buffy’s wounds while Spike tries to keep his resolve and the location of the Gem to himself. Will Travers find a way to break him where Weatherby failed?
Edmond “Eddie” Giles Rosenberg-Maclay born March 11, 2010
Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004
The twins (Danielle Dawn, "Dani" and William Rupert, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004.
Annie was born on February 14th, 1999
Spike and Buffy were married in February 1999
Buffy was born January 19th, 1981
William/Spike was turned by Dru in
All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.
Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.
The ‘Wish-World’ lasted from January 19th, 2005 to January, 16th 2010.
Iron Maiden by Iron Maiden
ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:
Special thanks to 'epd4' for betaing this chapter!!
|Rating / Warnings:
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.
(Later that night), Monday, April 26th, 2010, 11:30pm, London:
As Buffy and Giles waited for someone to come back with the things he’d requested, Buffy told him what had happened over the last couple of days … had it only been a couple of days? Giles said it was just Monday evening … Buffy and Spike had come down here Saturday night – it seemed much, much longer.
“So … our rescue depends on a soulless vampire who’s been loaded with Phenobarbital and a six year old boy?” Giles questioned at last.
“Yeah … that pretty much sums it up,” Buffy agreed with an eye roll that Giles couldn’t see.
When the supplies arrived, Giles worked on washing Buffy’s wounds and trying to loosen the tattered remains of her clothing from where it was stuck to the scabs. Buffy gritted her teeth and buried her face against her pillow as the clean water both stung her wounds and cooled her fevered skin, making her feel like she was freezing to death while being stabbed by hundreds of sharp icicles. She wanted desperately to open the bond with Spike, just to feel him near her, but knew that he’d be able to feel what she was feeling if she did that … so she kept it closed. He had enough of his own pain … she didn’t want to add to it, and she wasn’t practiced enough at opening the bond ‘just a little’ like he was – she’d lost five years worth of practice with it.
When Giles had gotten as much of her back cleaned and free from her clothing as he could, he used the scissors to cut her jeans and shirt up the seams on both sides. He then took the clean sheets that they had been given and hung them up the best he could on the bars of the cell to try and give Buffy a little privacy for what he had to do next.
“Buffy, I’ve loosened all that I can, but I’m afraid pulling your clothing off is going to be painful no matter what I do … but it must be done,” Giles warned her.
Buffy nodded and gripped the thin mattress that she was laying on. “I know … go ahead.”
“On three then,” Giles suggested and Buffy nodded, closing her eyes, burying her face against the small pillow, and holding on to the small cot for dear life.
Giles stood next to where she lay on the cot and got a good hold of the waistband of her jeans in one hand and the bottom hem of her t-shirt in the other. “One … two …” On ‘two’, Giles pulled the back half of her clothing off, ripping it as quickly as he could from her ravaged back.
Buffy screamed out in surprise and agony and her head shot up off the pillow from the searing pain of the scabs being ripped open again; it felt like a hundred dull, burning knives were stabbing into her body at once, all along the long lengths of the lash marks. Buffy’s whole body tensed as she held onto the small cot and tried to breathe through the pain that shot through her as unbidden tears welled in her eyes.
She tried to think of something happy … tried to think of Spike’s arms holding her, of his voice whispering his love as she tried to counteract the physical pain with mental calm … it wasn’t really working.
Giles tossed the back half of her clothes on the floor before kneeling down next to her. Her whole body was trembling from holding onto the cot so tightly and Giles laid a hand on one of her wrists. “Let go of the cot, Buffy… I believe the worst is over – try to relax,” he advised her quietly, pulling on her wrist.
Buffy finally forced her hands to release their grip on the small mattress. “Remind me to give you a ‘Count von Count’ video for Christmas. Your counting sucks,” she finally whispered to Giles.
“I’m sorry ... but I thought it would be better that way,” Giles explained.
“Even the Tootsie-Pop owl made it all the way to three!” Buffy complained as she dried her tears on her pillow and took deep shuddering breaths.
“Who?” Giles questioned as he began examining her wounds more carefully … they were oozing blood and yellow pus in the places her clothing had ripped the scabs open and they already had a definite stench of infection coming from them. It was actually worse than he originally feared. The tattered remains of her clothing had hidden the deep purple bruises that had formed along the length of each wound, which crisscrossed her back like a satanic game of Tic-Tac-Toe. With deep red slashes atop a dark purple background, all her captors needed were red-hot branding irons in the shape of an “X” and an “O” to make the game complete.
“Never mind …” Buffy moaned, dropping her face back onto her pillow as Giles pushed the image of Lucifer with a branding iron from his mind and began applying antiseptic to her wounds. He should’ve asked for ice to help the bruising and swelling … perhaps if the woman came back he could get some then.
“Sorry…” Giles muttered his apologies over and over as he cleaned the wounds, wincing along with her each time he touched the cotton balls with the medicine down on her skin.
Buffy just kept her face buried in her pillow as her hands gripped the sides of the cot while Giles worked. It seemed to hurt just as much as the flogging itself each time the antiseptic stung her back, but she knew it needed to be done, everything that could be done to help her body heal needed to be done, so she just tried to breathe through it and stay as still as she could. She’d never forgive herself if she lost this baby. Behind her closed lids she could see the hurt and disappointment that would be in Spike’s eyes if she lost their child … he’d never say it, of course, but she knew that it would be her fault and she couldn’t let that happen. She couldn’t let him down … she couldn’t let the promise of the life she carried be wasted. Giles was right … prophecies, like rules, were meant to be broken, and if anyone could break them, it was her and Spike. This child deserved a chance at life … and she, by God, was going to give it that chance no matter what that meant she had to endure. The possibility that Spike wouldn’t be there with her to raise their child, or may not even live long enough to see it born, or that they would both still be in the dungeon and their baby would be raised by the Council, scurried around in the shadows of her mind like a hungry rat, not wanting to come into the light of day, but not wanting to leave lest some fodder be tossed its way.
Giles worked as quickly as he could, cleaning all the infection from the wounds that covered the back half of her body from her shoulders to her knees. When he’d completed that, he applied an ointment to the slashes that would help keep the infection away and also keep her clothes from sticking to the scabs.
“Okay,” he began as he finished applying the ointment. “She brought you a couple of hospital type gowns to put on,” he told Buffy, holding up two open-in-the-back cotton gowns for Buffy to see. “I suggest putting one on forwards and one on backwards …”
Buffy nodded her agreement and began to push up off the cot and Giles turned his back to allow her to put the gowns on with as much privacy as possible. Buffy gritted her teeth and took deep breaths as she pushed up off the cot, the wounds on her back actually felt better with the ointment … either that or she was just getting used to unbearable agony, she wasn’t sure which. When she tried to stand, however, renewed pain shot out from her bruised and battered knees and they buckled when she put weight on them. Buffy screamed out as she fell to the floor, landing with all her weight on her knees and struggling to lean forward onto the cot to keep from wallowing her newly cleaned back on the dirt of the floor.
“Dear Lord!” Giles exclaimed as he turned around quickly at the sound of her distress and pulled her up off the floor and helped her lay back down on her stomach on the cot.
When the pain subsided, Buffy admitted solemnly, “I’m gonna need help. My knees are … fucked up.”
Giles didn’t even realize she had an injury to her knees, his whole focus had been on her infected wounds. “I’m sorry, Buffy – I didn’t know…”
“It’s not your fault … I had just about forgotten about them – until I tried to stand up. I guess that old pain remedy really does work,” Buffy observed.
“What old remedy?” Giles pondered, his brows furrowed as he picked up one of the gowns.
“You know, the best way to make one thing stop hurting is to make something else hurt worse …” Buffy quipped.
Giles rolled his eyes as he threaded one of her arms through one of the gowns, then the other arm, covering her back.
“Do you think you can sit … or roll over onto your back?” he questioned.
“I’ll try to roll over … on three,” Buffy joked as she pushed over onto her back, sucking in a gasp of air and clenching her eyes closed when her back hit the hard mattress of the cot.
Giles hurriedly laid the other gown on top of her, keeping his eyes on her face. When her breathing slowed back to nearly normal and her chest quit heaving from the pain, he carefully held the sleeves for her to slide her arms through. She hated this … she hated having to get help from anyone, she hated feeling weak and helpless. Spike, of course, had been right before when he said that she wouldn’t be happy as anything other than a Slayer … with a normal life and normal vulnerabilities. She didn’t do vulnerable well.
Once she was ‘dressed’ in the two gowns, Giles suggested, “Why don’t we move you to the other cot and I’ll change the sheets on this one?”
Buffy nodded her agreement, hating the fact that she needed help changing sheets that she’d peed on … and hating the fact that she couldn’t even get up to pee … in fact, she pretty much decided she hated this whole scenario. Giles pulled her to her feet, taking most of her weight on himself by wrapping one of her arms around his shoulders and they walked the couple of feet over to the other cot that Travers’ lackey had provided for them.
“Sit or lay down?” Giles questioned.
“Try … to … sit,” Buffy gritted out through her pain and Giles turned her around and sat down with her, lowering her slowly onto the other cot.
Buffy closed her eyes and concentrated on her breathing for a few moments, not daring to move once she’d sat down. Finally, she opened her eyes and looked at her Watcher, who was watching her with concern. “You must be so disappointed in me,” she lamented quietly, looking back down at the floor.
Giles furrowed his brow. “Why on earth would I be disappointed in you?”
“It’s all my fault … getting captured – Spike tried to warn me, but I just rushed in without thinking. I thought I’d … I thought I’d learned better, gotten smarter, more careful, but I just … I saw Bess there and, I don’t know what happened – my brain just frizzled … short circuited. I walked … actually I ran right into their trap,” Buffy explained, meeting his eyes with hers.
Giles shook his head slowly. “If you want me to say you acted rashly … well, perhaps you did. You saw your child and you reacted without any thought. If you want me to chastise you for that ... wag my finger at you and tell you that you should’ve known better, well, I’m not your man, Buffy.
“There’s a special love between a parent and a child … a love that sends caution to the wind, a love that, at times, short-circuits brains and defies reason. From what you say, even if you followed our plan, it’s quite likely we would’ve had the same outcome.
“I perhaps don’t tell you enough, but I’m proud of you – as proud as any Watcher could be of any Slayer; as any father could be of any child.” Giles continued. “Buffy, you’ve faced more hardship than most people would know in a hundred lifetimes and still you always endeavor to do your best – you always put others' safety first before your own.
“Slayers were never meant to have families – they were never meant to live that long, but look at what you and Spike have accomplished. How could I be disappointed in you? Your mother would be so proud of what you two have built, how wonderfully you’re raising the children, how you’ve balanced your Calling with a family and friends – and I’m proud of you, as well. I hope I can be as good a parent to Edmond as you and Spike have been to your children,” Giles assured her sincerely.
“We all underestimated Travers … we simply cannot allow that to happen again. We’ll get another chance, Buffy … we’ll find a way out of here,” Giles promised.
Buffy blinked back her tears and leaned against him. “You’re the best Watcher … and best father, anyone could ever want,” Buffy whispered through her tears. “Thank you…”
As Giles changed the sheets on the other cot, Buffy massaged and moved her knees, trying to get them back to simple agonizing pain. She tried to stand a couple of times, but couldn’t without Giles helping her up. But, after a few attempts, she was finally able to stand and walk a few steps before having to sit back down on the cot. Every movement was excruciating, but she had to keep trying, she didn’t know when that next chance that Giles spoke of might come – she had to be as ready as she could be.
Finally her muscles gave up and refused to walk another step, so she simply sat on the cot and rubbed her knees and thighs, trying to reduce the swelling. Giles unwrapped one of the Cadbury Fudge bars for her and a Wispa bar for himself as they sat facing each other on their respective cots. Buffy took a bite and closed her eyes as she let the rich chocolate melt in her mouth … then opened the bond with Spike – she finally had something good to share with him.
Spike … taste, Buffy sent to him as she rolled the chocolate around in her mouth.
Tastes like a proper chocolate bar, Spike replied. What’d you have to do to get that!?
Not what you think! Buffy assured him with a small smile. Giles got it along with the medicine.
Couldn’t have asked for a bloody key to the gate, eh? Had to go for chocolate … Spike teased.
Well – you know me … Forget the horse! My kingdom for a chocolate bar! Buffy replied jokingly.
Spike supposed Buffy had no idea what happened to Shakespeare’s Richard III shortly after that famous line … and he wasn’t going to tell her.
So, how did Rupe’s date go? Spike asked, happy for a new distraction from his own physical agony.
His leg with the metal rods had actually stopped hurting about half an hour ago, mainly because he had stopped feeling anything in his lower extremities. He didn’t know if it was from sitting in the same position for so long or if there was some kind of drug on the rods that Weatherby had stabbed into his flesh. He was pretty sure he couldn’t even wiggle his toes … although his eyes were swollen shut so he couldn’t be 100% sure, but he tried moving his feet and toes and never could feel them moving against the dirt floor. He wasn’t so ‘lucky’ with the pain radiating out from his battered and broken nose and blackened eyes, the gaping hole in his chest, or the various cuts, bruises and burns on his arms, chest and back. Those still pretty much hurt like a son-of-a-bitch… times a hundred.
“So,” Buffy said aloud when she swallowed the chocolate, opening her eyes and looking at Giles. “How was Olivia?”
“She’s … fine,” Giles hedged.
“‘Fine’ as in you spent all day Sunday snuggled up and never left her apartment or ‘fine’ as in … ‘fine’?” Buffy questioned, taking another bite of chocolate and savoring it as she kept the bond open with Spike.
“Fine as in … I was supposed to meet her for dinner several hours ago,” Giles confirmed.
“Oh … so there was sparkage and Sunday snuggling?” Buffy teased.
“I refuse to answer on the grounds that ‘snuggling’ sounds rather nancy … however – we did not leave her flat except for basic sustenance … and wine,” Giles admitted.
Buffy smiled. “There’s nothing wrong with snugglies … Spike snuggles.”
“Indeed … well, I’ll be certain to remember to take the piss out of him about that later. ‘Snuggly Spike’ … I believe that may be an oxymoron. Pretty soon they’ll be soft little stuffed Spike dolls and the children will carry them about like teddy bears – they’ll be book and movie deals and the tourists will be queued up to see the Hellmouth and our snuggly vampires,” Giles intoned dryly.
“You’re just jealous that no one thought to make snuggly Watcher dolls …” Buffy countered. “Hey! We could have the whole line! Snuggly Watchers, Vampires, and Slayers … it’ll be the biggest thing since Elmo!” Buffy continued.
“Now I do know you have a fever! Snuggly Slayers is even more preposterous than Snuggly Vampires!” Giles contended wryly.
Buffy clicked her tongue and frowned at him. “I’m snuggly! I’m a snuggle-fest! I can’t believe you don’t think I can be soft and cuddly! Just for that, there will be no Snuggly Watchers …”
“There is a God, after all …”
(The next afternoon), Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, 1:00pm, London:
Quentin Travers frowned as he picked up the blizzard of pink phone messages from his desk and scanned them. Faith and Wesley had both left three messages; Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg had each left two; and Tara Maclay, Anya Harris, and Lorne had each left one – all just since this morning, and all looking for Spike, Buffy, and Giles. This wasn’t good. His plan to show their friends the burned-out rental car and unrecognizable pregnant, female body had turned into a fiasco when he realized that William the Bloody had the legendary Gem of Amarra. Then it was further complicated by Giles showing up before they could find the Gem and have the ‘accident’ staged …thus requiring another burned, middle-age, male body …
The incompetents he had working for him had yet to find the Gem in the white room or in the possession of any of the demons that had been in there, despite working through the night … now twenty-four hours straight. Could it have gotten destroyed somehow in the skirmish between the two vamps? Had one of his less than reliable guards seen dollar signs ... or Euro signs, and pocketed it?
“Where the bloody hell is it?!” Travers demanded loudly of his empty office, sending pain radiating out from his blackened eyes and swollen nose. One thing was certain, he had to take action – and quickly. It wouldn’t be long before the Slayer’s friends would be doing more than leaving frantic phone messages … they would be here – they could ruin everything!
Travers pressed down on the intercom button of his phone. When his secretary responded, he barked, “Get me Weatherby!” before disconnecting.
“Where is my Gem?!” Travers demanded without preamble when Weatherby entered his boss’s office; still wiping blood from his hands, face, and neck … it never ceased to amaze him how much a vamp could bleed and still remain conscious.
Weatherby shrugged. “The big one says he don’t got it … don’t know; the pretty one don’t say nuthin’ … he’s a tough nut to crack, but not un-crackable,” Weatherby explained. “I’m gonna enjoy breaking him down; it’s gonna be sweeeet.”
“You’re disappointing me, Weatherby … badly,” Travers informed him. “I need that Gem and I need it NOW!”
“They’ll be singing like birds soon enough … I’ve no doubt,” Weatherby assured him.
“You better be right!” Travers threatened. “You do not want to disappoint me … I can assure you.”
“I’ve got it under control, boss … I’ll have it for you within the hour …”
(two hours later), 3:00pm:
Knowing that Weatherby was probably overly optimistic about having the location of the Gem in an hour, Travers waited longer before going down to find out what was going on. Travers stepped through the blue door and into the chamber of horrors that Weatherby liked to call his ‘hobby room’ nearly two hours later … the scene in front of him didn’t fill him with hope that Weatherby had succeeded...
Kralik was slumped in his chair, barely conscious, moaning and repeating, ‘Don’t have it ... Don’t know…’ over and over under his breath. There was a machete still embedded in his groin, it had been sliced down from his bellybutton all the way until it hit the hard wood of the chair seat under him, cutting everything from his navel down in half. Blood oozed from the gaping wound, pooling under him and covering his crotch and legs; it looked like someone had dumped several gallons of red paint or ketchup over the lower half of his body, but the strong, coppery aroma said otherwise.
As Travers walked past the large vamp, who had been almost literally cut in half, Kralik looked up at him with haggard eyes and begged weakly, “Dust me…”
Travers snorted and kept walking towards Weatherby … who was just pressing the machete into Spike’s stomach, just above his navel. Travers stopped about three feet away and folded his arms over his chest as he watched his best ‘interrogator’ work.
Spike’s body tensed as the thick blade pierced his flesh, his knuckles white as they gripped the arms of the heavy chair. “Ya almost got it … up and to the left a bit … bloody well itches,” Spike rasped out through the pain as the machete sliced through his hard muscles and into his abdominal cavity.
“Where’s the Gem?” Weatherby asked for the millionth time. “This can all be over … just tell me where it is.”
“Pretty sure it ain’t where you’re lookin’,” Spike pointed out through grit teeth as he tried to take his mind out of his body.
Spike’s mind wandered back in time to the Christmas when
Annie was six … Lorne had ‘produced’ their Second Annual Crawford Street
Christmas Extravaganza and Talent Show that year and Annie’s song and dance was ‘I’m
a Little Teapot’ …
She and Buffy picked it out as a follow-up to ‘The Hokey-Pokey’ that she’d done the previous year. Since that first year, Buffy and Annie … and later Dani and Billy, had picked out dance-along songs to do every year … just to see Spike do them. ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It” came the next year, followed by 'Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes', ‘The Chicken Dance’, and ‘The Bunny Hop’ (which Anya protested vigorously) this past year. Spike’s mind relaxed as he remembered them pulling him from his seat each year and ‘forcing’ him to dance to their silly songs. Despite his ongoing protests, he never could tell them no … especially when faced with a wall of pouty lips … that Summers blood ran deep through all the children, even Billy had that pout down. Spike was nothing if not love’s bitch … and there was nothing he loved more than those pouty lips.
Spike began humming ‘I’m a Little Teapot’, as he pictured Annie and Buffy starting the dance … being joined, little by little by their friends, until the only one not dancing was Spike – just like the year before.
“I’m not bloody short or stout,” Spike protested as he sat in his chair, the twins, who were almost two, playing happily at his feet.
“Papa … pleeease,” Annie begged. “It’s my most favorite song in the world!” she proclaimed sincerely, tugging on his hand. Spike pursed his lips to keep from smiling. A few days before her ‘most favorite song in the world’ was Zip-a-de-do-da … they must not have been able to find a dance for that song.
“What’s that sound?” Travers asked Weatherby as the rusty machete sliced further into Spike’s midsection, perforating his stomach.
Weatherby stopped … all he could hear was Kralik moaning and begging. He stepped over to the large vamp and punched him hard in the jaw – shutting him up by knocking him out cold. He hated to waste all that moaning and begging, but there was a job to do now – fun would have to wait.
“♫ I’m a little teapot, short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my spout. When I get all steamed up, hear me shout …” Spike murmured under his breath as he played the scene out in his mind – successfully disassociating himself from the pain in his body.
“What is he saying?” Travers asked Weatherby when Kralik had been shut up.
Weatherby listened a moment, leaning in closer to Spike’s mouth to hear better. Spike’s head rolled back against the chair and Weatherby jumped back, afraid that he’d been suckered … but Spike didn’t seem to even know his tormenter was there as he continued his song.
“♫ I’m a clever teapot, yes it’s true. Here’s an example of what I can do …” Spike continued.
Weatherby frowned. “He’s singing ‘bout bloody teapots!”
Weatherby grabbed the handle of the machete and twisted it in Spike’s gut. “No singing!” Weatherby growled. “Stop that bloody singing!” he demanded angrily.
Weatherby continued to turn the wide, metal blade inside Spike, twisting his stomach and intestines around the weapon as blood poured from the now gaping wound in Spike’s stomach. Spike’s fingernails began to bleed as he gripped the chair handles, digging them into the hard wood as he tried to hold onto the vision of that Christmas … but the feeling of his entrails being sliced and twisted inside him, of his flesh and muscles ripping open further with each turn of the machete, dropped a curtain on the scene in his mind. Spike began to laugh maniacally, a deep rumbling laugh that was his last defense against the agony being inflicted on his body.
“You bloody pillock!” Travers screamed at Weatherby. “You’ve driven him insane! I’ll never get my legacy now!” the Council Head accused furiously.
“No! No! He was … he was fine …” Weatherby defended. He stopped twisting the machete and instead slapped Spike’s face to bring him out of whatever trance he was in. Weatherby had done this enough to know that there was a fine line that you couldn’t cross if you wanted the toy to remain lucid … he had been certain that he hadn’t yet approached it with this one. This pretty boy was going to be a tough nut to crack, the blond had obviously had experience with torture before, but no one was as skilled in interrogation as Weatherby was – no one.
“I’ll get ‘im back,” Weatherby assured Travers, pulling the machete out of Spike’s torso in one quick motion. Spike’s laugh degenerated into wet coughs as blood came up from his ravaged organs into his throat and mouth. There didn’t seem to be one place on Spike’s whole body that wasn’t covered in blood, bruises, or burns … or all three at once. There was only one thing that kept him from begging for a stake to the heart … his family. He promised Buffy he wouldn’t let her walk alone, he promised they would get out of this … he promised Bess, he promised Billy, and he promised Annie that he’d come back.
When the machete stopped moving inside him, Spike tried again to go away mentally as he spit the blood out of his mouth and began singing again. “♫ I’m a little teapot, short and stout…”
Travers completely lost it when Spike started his song again, closing the distance between them quickly, grabbing Spike by the shoulders and shaking him violently. “Where is my fucking Gem!?” the Council Head screamed at Spike … his anger overtaking his good manners and proper Cambridge vocabulary.
Spike began to laugh again as he felt all his organs sloshing around inside him … he wasn’t sure, but he thought that some of them may have actually come out of the hole in his abdomen when Travers shook him. It was probably just as well that his eyes were still swollen shut … he wasn’t sure he could get an image like that out of his mind for a good long while.
Travers pushed Spike back against the chair one last time and released him when the vamp started laughing again. This wasn’t working … he was going to lose everything! He needed a different plan and he needed it now! Travers began pacing back and forth between Kralik and Spike, trying to think … perhaps he could say another vamp discovered the Gem and stole it … Buffy, Spike and Giles were racing after the other vamp in a car when it crashed. Would her friends buy that a vamp had been able to defeat both of the ‘fair warriors’ and discover and steal the Gem? Travers rubbed tiredly at the bridge of his nose. His story had to be bullet-proof; it had to be beyond reproach, beyond question. If he could produce the damn Gem to show them, that would be so much more credible – he would be the hero for catching the vampire that stole the Gem and avenging their deaths. He needed their little Scooby friends to believe the warriors were gone … he didn’t need any of them snooping around asking questions.
Weatherby began wheeling a car battery and jumper cables over towards Spike and Travers shook his head. That wasn’t going to work anymore than slicing his insides into ribbons did or any of the hundred other things Weatherby had done to the vamp’s body … they needed a different approach.
“Get them!” Travers exclaimed suddenly, waving his arm towards the door. “Get them all and bring them in here!”
“All who?” Weatherby questioned, not sure if he meant all the vamps in the cells or what.
“The Slayer, her Watcher, and the girl – get them and bring them in here this instant!” Travers clarified, moving to the side as Weatherby slid past him and out the door.
“You think you’re soooo bloody smart … clever little teapot, indeed,” Travers murmured more to himself than Spike as he waited for Weatherby to return.
Spike didn’t hear him … he was thankful for the break in the action and let his mind wander back to embrace the ghosts of Christmases past.
Spike was pulled from his self-induced trance by the sound of Buffy’s voice … was he dreaming it? Was it part of the play in his mind? She sounded angry … yelling at someone … telling them they’d never get away with it. Spike pulled himself out of the fog bank that he’d built in his mind and tried to focus on her voice … it sounded close.
“Buffy?” he questioned tentatively – then he could smell her. She was close! “Buffy!” he exclaimed, trying to pinpoint where she was from the sounds and smells. He tried in vain to open his eyes to see, but it was no use, they were completely swollen shut.
“Spike! Oh my God, Spike!” Buffy screamed when she saw him. “You fucking bastard! What have you done to him!? I’m soooo going to enjoy killing you!” she growled at Travers as two guards held her at bay a few feet away from both Spike and the Council Head. Her hands were shackled, but they’d left her feet free after Giles protested vigorously that shackling them was unnecessary given the condition of her knees and may put undue strain on the fetus. Buffy’s knees did actually feel better and she’d been able to walk the whole way down the hall on her own … actually, even if her knees hadn’t been better, she would’ve walked on her own or died trying – she refused to give Weatherby the satisfaction of knowing how badly he’d hurt her. She was still in the hospital gowns … her back was finally starting to heal, but it still felt like a hundred sharp barbs were sticking into her flesh every time she moved and the scabs cracked open.
“Good Lord…” Giles murmured as bile rose in his throat at the sight of Spike’s wounds. A huge gash in his chest seemed to have started to heal, but there was a fresh gaping hole the size of a softball in his stomach through which Giles could clearly see the pink of his intestines even through the blood that still oozed out from his torn and jagged flesh. Giles apparently wasn’t viewed as much of a threat, he hadn’t been shackled at all.
“Open his eyes,” Travers ordered to no one in particular, waving an arm towards Spike as they waited for Bess to be brought in.
Weatherby grabbed a sharp scalpel from the table and walked up to Spike. Holding his head still, Weatherby slit Spike’s swollen and blood-filled lids, releasing the pressure so that Spike could see what was happening.
Spike blinked against the light that began to filter in and tried to clear the blood from his vision as he squinted through his lids to see what was going on. Spike’s mind raced when he saw Buffy, the side of her face was still swollen and black-and-blue from being hit with the tire iron, he couldn’t see any more of her skin because of the hospital gowns that hung loosely over her body, covering her from her shoulders to below the knees. His eyes met hers across the open space between them and he suddenly hurt more than he had in hours. He was thankful for the blood running in his eyes, it helped cover the tears that were welling in them now … tears for her.
Spike looked quickly at Giles … the Watcher seemed to be unhurt, but seemed a little green around the gills. Spike looked back at Buffy, her face was ashen and he could see her eyes glistening as she clenched her jaw and refused to cry. Their expressions told Spike all he needed to know about his own condition – he didn’t bother looking down at himself – he could see it reflected in their faces.
Don’t cry, luv … don’t give the buggers the satisfaction, Spike sent her through their bond, admonishing himself as much as he was her, and Buffy nodded, her jaw tightening as she swallowed and blinked back the tears that were just below the surface.
Suddenly, the door swung open again and another guard pushed Bess inside roughly. Buffy tried to step forward and keep the girl from falling, but the two guards holding her arms held her tightly and kept her from moving. Bess stumbled, unable to catch her balance with her hands and feet shackled and she fell to the floor in between where Buffy and Giles were being held and where Spike was.
“Now, I believe all the guests have arrived and we can begin this tea party,” Travers announced haughtily as he moved closer to the group of prisoners.
Bess began to get up from the floor and Travers pressed his foot on her back, stopping her … well, making her choose to stop, because he couldn’t actually stop her if she had wanted to keep going. Bess looked at Spike, then to Buffy and back again, as she stayed on her hands and knees under the Council Head’s heel, unsure what was going on. She’d fought against the guard when he guided her towards the blue door rather than the white door, knowing that nothing ever comes out of the blue room except screams, and she knew she didn’t want to go in there, and yet, here she was. She had tried to hold onto hope while she was in solitary confinement … but as she looked at the vamp that had given her that hope, battered, bruised, burnt, and bloodied – that small flicker she'd been clinging to died inside her. She had been foolish to allow it to burn for even one second … having hope and losing it was perhaps a worse torture than anything they did in this room.
“You obviously don’t care what we do to you … but perhaps you will care what we do to her … or them,” Travers addressed Spike, waving his arm first at Bess, then back to indicate Buffy and Giles.
Spike glared at Travers as his mind raced. He needed a new plan, the Calvary was obviously not going to arrive … at least not in time. “I’ll bloody well make you wish you’d never been born if you lay one hand on any o’ them,” Spike growled at Travers.
“You, sir, are what we call a sheep in wolf’s clothing … you can talk a good game, but your impotence is evidenced by the fact that I am still standing here … quite unharmed,” Quentin retorted.
“Looks like the bloody sheep kicked you in the face,” Spike pointed out, referring to Travers’ broken nose and blackened eyes.
“Well … even the losers get lucky sometimes,” Travers quipped as he took his foot off Bess’ back and yanked her up by the hair.
Travers leaned over near Spike’s ear and whispered, “What Weatherby’s done to you is nothing compared to what’s about to happen to this girl. I think we’ll start with the Pear of Anguish … are you familiar with it?”
Spike growled low and struggled against his restraints with renewed vigor as anger-fueled adrenaline rushed through his body, but it wasn't enough, they weren’t giving at all.
“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’,” Travers sneered as he backed up away from Spike and shoved Bess towards Weatherby. “Do it,” he ordered his henchman and Weatherby smirked as he caught her and lifted her up, hooking her shackled hands over a heavy metal hook on the wall and hanging her by them.
“Quentin, I can assure you that if Spike knew where the Gem was, he would’ve most certainly told you by now,” Giles tried to intervene. “He’s a vampire,” Giles pointed out, as if that said it all.
Travers looked at Giles, narrowing his eyes angrily. “Let’s just make sure, shall we?”
“You don’t want to do this!” Buffy piped up as Weatherby walked over to the other side of the room to retrieve his toy.
“You know … actually, I think I do,” Travers dismissed her objection as he turned back to Spike. “You can stop it … just tell me where it is,” the Council Head informed him evenly.
Spike looked between Bess and Buffy … they both looked frightened as they watched Weatherby retrieve the Pear of Anguish from its place on the back wall. Buffy had never heard of it before, and watched with wide eyes as Weatherby worked the crank on pear-shaped metal device as he walked and four segments began opening wider and wider. It made her think of how a ‘blooming onion’ at the Bronze looked when it came to their table, like it had actually opened its ‘petals’ and bloomed like a flower… only this was a deadly, satanic flower.
Buffy shook the thought from her mind and looked back at Spike. Tell them! she silently demanded of him as Weatherby approached Bess.
Spike looked from Buffy to Bess, then Travers stepped into his line of vision. “Where should we start?” Travers asked Spike. “Perhaps her mouth … I understand it’s quite painful, breaking bones and teeth as it opens, sending sinus cavities pressing into eye sockets … I wonder if her eyeballs will pop out of her head. I wonder if her eye sockets will be crushed and pushed into her brain… Do you suppose vampires can become brain-dead? Or would that be redundant?”
“Spike! Please!!” Buffy begged him. “Tell them what they want to know! It’s not worth it!”
Spike met Buffy’s eyes with his. It’s not worth your life? Not worth Rupe’s? Not worth that littlest bit growing inside you? he asked her silently. ‘Cos that’s the cost if I give them the Gem … none of us will ever get outta here.
Buffy looked into her husband’s eyes, she could barely see the blue through his still swollen lids. Blood still ran down his face freely from where Weatherby had cut him; she didn’t know how he had any blood left to run. Buffy bit her lip as she let her eyes wander down his ravaged body again – he had endured all that to keep the Gem out of their hands, to keep the hope alive that their friends would know the truth and come to find them. Burns, cuts, gouges, stab wounds … that huge gaping wound in his stomach that looked like someone had inserted a giant corkscrew and tried to extricate his entrails through his belly button with it. He’d endured all that for her … for them. Buffy felt tears welling in her eyes again and she fought to keep them back … would she have been that strong? Would she have been able to endure that much punishment and keep her resolve? She honestly didn’t know … but she did know that she didn’t want to see him endure any more … not him or Bess.
Spike was trapped … the proverbial rock had landed on top of him, pinning him firmly against the ‘hard place’. He could take as much pain as they wanted to dish out, but could he subject Bess to it? If he didn’t give in, if he let them torture Bess, would they then move to Buffy? He knew there were plenty of painful tortures that could be meted out on her without harming the baby, and he had no doubt that Travers and Weatherby knew them all. The Council Head liked to appear a prim and proper gentleman to the world, but Spike had no doubts that he was perhaps even more sadistic than Weatherby … perhaps more than even Angelus, and Spike was threatening his ego … his legacy. He didn’t know if Bess had gotten the message to Billy or if their friends had started looking for them yet. He didn’t even know how long they’d been here … had it been a week, a month? He looked down and tried to judge the bulge in Buffy’s abdomen, but the gowns were too loose, he couldn’t tell if she was any bigger or not.
How long have we been ‘ere? he asked through the bond.
Just …umm … this is the third day, Buffy told him, barely able to believe that’s all it had been – it seemed much longer.
Spike closed his eyes. Only three days? Bugger…
Spike was pulled from his shock and disappointment by Bess thrashing against her shackles, her legs and body jerking and flailing violently against the wall at her back as Weatherby and two other guards approached her with the medieval, satanic toy. Spike bit down on his lip and closed his eyes as he tried to think; his mind raced as he tried to figure out how he was going to keep his promises … all of his promises, and get them all out of here.
Iron Maiden, by Iron Maiden
Won't you come into my room, I wanna show you all my wares.
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