What Lies Within - 3
Xander's increasing worry led him to keep an especially close eye on the situation in Giles' apartment. If this had anything to do with the bruises that were still black on his arm, or the stiffness he felt when using it, or the memory of his fear as he'd seen Giles standing over him with a bat, he didn't admit any of this to himself.
He was the first one, therefore, to notice the change.
He'd come to the apartment one day towards the end of the first month, just as Spike was coming down from his early evening shower. This time, the vampire wore a towel and was rubbing the greying brown hair with another.
Xander began to speak but then stopped, staring.
Spike glared at him. 'Fuck off, poof.'
'Oh! World of wrong, Spike. SO off the mark. But….' He waved at Giles' body with a puzzled expression. 'What have you done? What's different?'
'You tell me, ponce. You're the one who used to see this body quite a lot, I'm thinking. I've seen the photographs.'
Xander blushed deeply then paled and backed away. Spike grinned inwardly; the boy never learnt that his theatrical denials only made him appear guiltier. When there was no truth to the assertion anyway, this was always highly amusing.
Spike's tactic successfully distracted Xander. The vampire drank a long, slow, pint of water, entertained by the boy as he stumbled out.
It didn't distract Xander for long. He had seen something disturbing… only he couldn't work out what it was.
The next day, he followed Spike. He lurked outside the apartment, peeled off from the wall and followed the so-familiar body.
Spike headed towards the old mansion.
Xander gritted his teeth…. He'd known some evil vampire plot was afoot! He lurked once more, steeled himself to go in, and then boldly pushed open the door.
He didn't really know what he'd expected. He didn't expect Giles to be… hanging upside down…? Well, Spike was hanging upside down; Giles' body was just forced to go along with the indignity.
Xander backed off then came forward. 'What the…?'
Spike caught hold of the bar he'd been doing ab-crunches on and swung gracefully down. Xander stared - he saw it now.
The skin was deeply tanned… and… the thinness…! Giles' body was thin, toned, tanned and….
'Impressive, Spike, impressive. Don't know why I'm saying this, and still denying anything behind it, but I have to say… and why? That seems good to say, too. Why?'
Spike shrugged and wiped his bare chest and arms with a towel. He hitched up the old sweat pants - now ridiculously loose on the toned body - and said with a slight smirk, 'Why not? Something to do like. Dying in a few years time ain't no reason to let yerself go.'
Xander didn't glance down at his own belly. He only looked in awe at Spike. 'Has he not noticed?'
Spike laughed. 'No. Strangely… no. Or if he has, he hasn't commented. I guess we don't see our own bodies like other people do.' He looked pointedly at Xander's bulk and raised an eyebrow.
'I have issues, Spike.'
'You have flab, mate. Wanna try some of these?'
Xander came closer. Spike jumped back up and grasped the bar, swinging his legs up, hooking his knees over and hanging down once more. Folding his arms over his chest, he began to rise up at the waist.
Xander looked slightly sideward at him. 'And how many….'
Spike spoke between gritted teeth. 'In this body? I'll be lucky to do a hundred today. But then couldn't do one when I started.'
'And… I really don't wanna know this… but in your.…'
'No limit. 'Til I get bored, usually.'
He swung down again and nodded at the bar. 'Go on. Try it.'
Xander got up in position relatively easily, but cursed when his loose shirt flopped over his face. He unbuttoned it and threw it down, blood rushing to his head uncomfortably. He managed ten but was sweating heavily when he lowered himself down.
He looked away from Spike, pretending to examine the room. 'Where'd'ya get all this stuff?' He toed some of the obviously new equipment.
Spike shrugged and said carefully, 'It was all from Clem's place.'
'Huh.' He looked at Spike once more and shook his head. 'Watcher-man's gonna freak.'
Spike laughed. 'He's gonna get shagged.' He suddenly turned away, but Xander grabbed his arm, trying to see his face.
'Are you blushing? You are! Spikey-Giles…. Did you just let something slip there?'
Spike turned back, utterly composed - on the outside.
'So, wanna try and take me?'
'What? No taking! There'll be no taking of the weird, evil dead!'
'Wrestle, mate…. What did you think I meant?'
'Oh. Whole new perspective. But I got whammy'd, remember?' He held up his still-bruised arm.
Spike pointed to his fresh black eye and cut head.
Xander gritted his teeth. 'I don't trust you, Spike.'
'Oh, come on. It's just a friendly wrestle; I ain't gonna hurt you.'
The truth began to creep around the edges of their defences. 'I took you in, Spike. I fed you and looked after you! And you did this… first damn chance you got!'
'You are a bitch, Harris; you're always riding on me - jab - jab - jab, an'… I hate it!'
Silence…. Spike did a double take. 'Okay, withdrawing that girlie last, unsaid, 'k? Thinking we should now wrestle like men. Say yes.'
Xander stared at him, and then laughed: a genuine, amused laugh. 'You are weird, Spike. Do you know that?'
'Yeah, well, I've been dead for over a hundred years, bound to be a bit barmy like.' He grinned at the expression on Xander's face, twitched his eyebrow and glanced at the mat questioningly.
Xander began to respond to the challenge. 'Spike in an old human body…. I'm thinking… no contest!'
'Uh huh, you think? What you willing to bet then?' Spike began to circle Xander as if sizing him up for a kill.
'No bets! And hey - no wrestling! Giles wants his body back unhurt.'
'Giles' body ain't gonna get touched, mate, believe me.'
'Spike, that body is old and English. Granted you've… improved it. Okay, you've transformed it, but still old, and still English.'
Spike stared at him. 'And being English means…?'
'Well, come on, all that nancy-boy gentility and… drinking all that tea! I'm American…. Pioneers? New World?'
'Oh… excellent. So, what's the bet?'
'All right. You want this? I'm game. Name your price… but I'm not agreeing to anything until I hear it.'
'You win, I'll give you my bike.…'
'Jeez. Yeah. Okay.'
'But I win….'
'Oh, here it comes.… What, Spike? What sick, evil, twisted winnings are you gonna want?'
'I win, you stop riding me: ever. For good….'
Xander looked at the expression on the familiar face. 'Seems like I'd be getting the best deal there then… bike or… that.'
'Yeah, but you ain't getting the bike, and I get to stop havin' to listen to you beating yer gums at me all day and night. Now, you gonna fight, or talk me to death?'
'Bring it on, Spike.'
Spike did. He flattened Xander against the mat, time and time again. Spike didn't even have to try. Fixated on the age of the body, Xander had completely missed the fact that inside was the knowledge and experience of over a hundred years of fighting - every move, every hold, perfect.
Spike laughed and gave up after fifteen minutes: there was no contest, and he was getting bored. 'So, you hold your tongue in future?'
Xander climbed wearily to his feet from his last throw down and nodded.
'Yea for the English then?'
'Now, you gonna say something nice? Cus if you ain't….' He could barely suppress his glee. 'Then don't say nothin' at all!'
Xander glared and was effectively silenced.
If Spike was controlling his new body, Giles found his more… complex. Gradually, subtly, he became a victim of its needs and desires. All day - on and off - he relieved the sexual tension by slow, exquisite hand jobs. They could last anything up to an hour now, and he revelled in the strength of the sexual relief he got from them - but they weren't enough. While he pulled and played, images crashed into his mind that he neither wanted, nor could control. A desperate need to thrust into something began to overwhelm him. Utterly unsatisfied now by the hand jobs, he stormed around the apartment until night came, when he could take his frustration out in killing. For although he'd said he wouldn't, he killed and killed and killed and could not kill enough… but still the need for penetration and taking remained. Sometimes, he felt he could hardly string a rational sentence together when anyone spoke to him. The only person he could stand being near was Spike.
Spike understood, and although they never actually discussed any of this, they had no need to: the empathy was unspoken, but no less real for that.
The only thing keeping him sane at all was blood. With unlimited supplies, he feasted the dead body on blood. Thus Spike's body changed, too, the blood not altering the slimness, but enhancing the musculature, taking away the starved edges, making the whole body sublime… but in a never-ending circle of need, this enhanced body only screamed at him louder for penetration and taking.
One day, the inevitable happened. Spike had a late night and didn't get to bed 'til three. He didn't sleep well, his gradual starvation of the human body making him tired but too hungry to sleep deeply. When Giles came in at dawn, wanting the bed, Spike was soundly asleep; when prodded, he only groaned and murmured, 'Fuck off. Lie in.'
Giles went to take a shower, demon blood washing down the drain as the water warmed the perpetually cold body. He lingered, drank some blood, read the paper without interest, and then returned to the bedroom. Another poke didn't even raise abuse. He sat alongside the deeply breathing body and picked up a book. Spike spread-eagled himself as much as he could, claiming rights to the warm bed. Giles lay down on one edge and folded in on himself, compact and contained in the hard, slim body. Spike relaxed, sensing he was not about to be ousted and went back into an even deeper sleep.
Giles lay almost beyond despair: thinking about penetrating, splitting, tearing, and taking.
Spike woke at lunchtime and opened his eyes to his own face, only inches away on the pillow. He wasn't that familiar with it that he could turn away, unconcerned. He studied it for a few minutes, wondering again at the scar - no one had told him it was that noticeable. He wanted to reach out and touch it, but didn't want to wake the body it belonged to, knowing only too well the needs and drives contained in that pale form. He'd ridden the whirlwind of his preternatural flesh for too long to miss the signs of stress in it now.
He wasn't sure he could have lain alongside the body he was now in and… refrain. He acknowledged the watcher's stones for this, but idly wondered what would be left of Giles' humanity if they were stuck for longer than two months.
The blue eyes snapped open. Spike's heart missed a beat. 'Bloody hell! Don't do that!' He sat up and stretched.
'You were watching me.'
'Technically, I was watching me.'
Giles nodded but added neutrally, 'Why?'
Spike glanced down at him. 'I was thinking about stuff. You gone grr yet?'
Giles propped himself up on one elbow. 'I am human, Spike. I can't do that.'
Spike jerked his head back, bemused. 'You're in a demon body, mate, course you can.'
'No, you're the demon; you went away.'
'No. The demon's in the body - I'm just a…. Well, I dunno, but you can go grr; I can't. Ergo, you're the demon now.'
Giles sat up. 'No! I have a soul, and it came with me.'
'Uh huh. I'm not the one who wants to fuck me 'til I bleed right now, am I?' He glared at Giles, knowing he'd made a devastating point.
Giles got out of the bed and began to pace. 'I am still me, Spike. And I can't even discuss that with you, it's so preposterous.'
Assuming the watcher was referring to the chip and subsequent pain if he attempted such an act, Spike nodded. 'Yeah, I get that. 'S what's been stopping me up to now, but it just proves that thinking 'bout it means you're as demon as me.'
Distracted by the idea of being called demonic, Giles did not take the opportunity either to deny that sleeping with his own body had crossed his mind, or to confront Spike on his assertion that he actually had thought about it. 'You could still kill and maim and do evil things, Spike, even in that body. That's the demon in you.'
'Well, duh.… That's just like most of the adult population of the good ole US of A then, pet!'
Giles gritted his teeth and began to pace - the effect of his arguments rather lost, given that he was naked. 'Most people don't murder their own parents and drink their blood, Spike. That's just you and your demonic ilk.'
'Huh. You ain't spent many Christmases with your family recently. Look, all I'm saying is that you can do the vampire bit… if you want. I can't, can I? So, you're more vampire than me. That's all.'
'No! No! That's not true!'
''K, pet. Whatever.'
As if trying to deny this conversation, Buffy and Xander were treated later that day to the bizarre sight of 'Spike' running a Hoover around the apartment, feather duster in his other hand, and 'Giles' lying belly down on the couch, idly flicking the channels on the television. They watched for a moment.
'Your TV's all blurry.'
'No, that's my eyes, Spike. Wear the damn glasses.'
'Huh. And no.'
They left, both glancing at the offending clock to calculate how much longer this was to continue.
The friends laughed together at the time, but that was the last time they saw Giles attempting to assert his humanity over the demonic body. He fought the whirlwind, tried to rein it in, but the effort utterly consumed him. He became less and less the responsible, mature watcher they all relied upon. He became morose, irritable and restless. His earlier ease with Spike was gone - Spike now seemed to be the focus of all his… irritation.
Spike felt the obsession, knew those cool, blue eyes would be on him wherever he turned, whatever he did. He also thought he knew what the watcher was thinking - it was what he'd be thinking, if he were in that body. Spike didn't know if he felt angry about the chip, or pleased that it was preventing the inevitable. He stopped staying in bed in the mornings, lying alongside his pale body. He made sure he was up and about and out of the house, before Giles returned from his increasingly bloody nightly activities.
Unable, therefore, to fill all the long day sunbathing, snoozing and exercising, Spike went to… work. He wanted to go shopping and needed money. Possession being nine-tenths of getting what you wanted, as he possessed the body, he felt it only fair that he possess all the money, too. He sauntered through the door in the middle of the day, enjoyed that sensation so much, he went out and did it again. Anya looked up and did a double take. 'Beady eyes told me, skinny, but I didn't believe it!'
Customers came and went; Spike kept his eyes on the till and on Anya. Someone came up and asked his advice. He turned around, annoyed and surprised, and was about to make a caustic comment when he paused and almost apologetically, mumbled the answer. He felt the demon watching him and looked up challengingly. 'What? Still bleeding bad here!'
She shook her head. 'I say, stay like this.'
'What? I mean, why?'
'You make a reasonable Giles, and he makes a passable Spike… and he's getting better every day. You both are.'
Spike stood up. He stared at her in dismay and then fled back out into the sunshine, the money forgotten. He tried to think of something evil to do to cheer himself up.
He grinned. If he got out of Sunnydale for a while, he could wreak some real Big-Bad evil without the bloody Slayer getting to hear about it. He fetched his bike; it was the best thing he'd had his legs astride for far too long. He closed his eyes and tipped his face up to the sun. North? South? East? He picked south and kicked the bike into life. He felt insanely happy and tossed ideas for evil around in his mind. Killing someone was top of his list, and he mentally reviewed his favourite ways to do that. Not being able to bite them was a pisser, but he could be inventive. As long as they screamed, he'd be happy. After killing? Rape - that was always good. He couldn't think why he'd not thought of all this before. All that poncy lying around in the sun and working out, when he could be doing much more interesting push-ups. Murder, rape…. Hmm, pillage usually came next in the "Evil-Doers Guide to Being Really Bad", but he'd never been too sure what that was and hadn't liked to ask. So, third had to be.… He grinned; the third had to be his absolute, all-time favourite: torture. It never let you down. A good torture session was just what he needed.
When he hit the invisible barrier, it was as if he'd been on a long bungee chord that had tied him to Sunnydale and ultimately to the slayer. He 'pinged' off the bike as if plucked by a giant hand. Fortunately, the barrier seemed to ping him in a slow, graceful arc back onto the road. He picked himself up only bruised, embarrassed and furious about his bike. Thinking he'd hit something in the road, he marched angrily toward it, so bounced off the barrier once more. He sat theatrically on the hot tarmac; his fury knew no bounds. How dare they! What the hell did they think he was going to do? What right did they have, stopping him going where he wanted and doing what he wanted to do?
He had to ask someone to pass him back his bike; humiliation compounded his anger.
He drove slightly unevenly back to the apartment, storming up to the bedroom and the slim pale body, spread-eagled asleep on the bed. He paused: the languorous figure so enticing.
Giles came to with a hiss when Spike thumped him, and he rose up in full game face. Spike stumbled back. He'd never seen that face before, and it… drew him in. He wanted it back desperately. 'Who the hell put the fucking whammy on me?'
Giles didn't even seem to notice his demonic change; he came toward Spike menacingly. 'How dare you.'
'What? How dare I? Who the fuck do you think you're talking to, human? Hey! Remember your chip, vampire!'
Giles reared back and, once more, Spike assumed that the chip inhibited him. 'Don't call me that. What do you want, Spike?'
'I can't leave this God-forsaken hellhole. And I want to know who did it… and why.'
Giles slid back to a human face. 'I did. Or rather Willow did - at my insistence. I assumed you would try to leave and cause some mayhem with my body. Frankly, I'm rather surprised it's taken you this long to discover it.'
Spike punched him. 'How's that for mayhem, Rupert? Can't fight back, can you?' He punched again, making Giles take a small step back. Spike tried not to cry at his sore hand and used his knee instead, slamming it into Giles' balls. Those balls had been kneed before when he'd owned them - they'd recover.
Giles winced slightly. He debated letting Spike know - quite forcibly - that the chip wasn't working, but something made him hold back. If Spike knew that the technology was not restraining him… what might the vampire push for? What things would Spike suggest or allow that Giles could not (or would not) counter? Giles knew that he was so close to losing control of the whirlwind that if he allowed one moment of weakness - one temptation - he would be lost completely.
He fell back onto the bed, the power of the blows surprising him, but his perceptions were so altered that he did not realise enhanced muscles were doing the damage.
Eventually, he slipped past Spike and locked himself rather pathetically in the bathroom, listening to the blows and curses from the furious vampire.
The day finally came. Willow was prepared, Buffy and Xander anxious. They all arrived as soon as it was light and took possession of the kitchen counter. Giles and Spike seemed less anxious, less prepared. Spike sauntered down from the bedroom and flung himself on the couch. Giles lurked in the shadows, watching Spike.
Just before Willow called them over, Spike got up nonchalantly and wandered over to the door - as if needing some fresh air. Preoccupied with the spell, the others did not notice, but Giles watched him covertly from his gloomy corner. Spike put a hand up to his face, as if to shade his eyes from the brilliance of the dawn creeping over the walls, but Giles saw him rub the heel of one hand across his eyes in a childlike gesture that tore at him. He pushed off the wall and laid a pale hand on Willow's arm. 'Tonight. We'll do the spell tonight.'
Buffy looked at him anxiously. 'Why? We can do it now. Look - we're all ready. Giles, this….'
'Tonight. I… err…. I have some things to do.' He didn't look at Spike as he spoke; he didn't need to: he could sense astonishment, relief, and gratitude.
Spike spent his last day at the beach. Giles lifted the containment spell around Sunnydale, and Spike took the car. He sat on the sand and watched the ocean as it caught the light, the diamond-like glints entrancing him. He stretched out on the hot sand and soaked up sunlight, hoping some of it would penetrate right through to where he lay within this body, so he could take it with him back to the dark.
They reassembled that evening.
Again, Willow laid out her small supplies. She summoned them both to the counter. They stood side by side, the tension between them palpable.
Willow began to mix then looked up at them. 'Remember - make one clear wish. Don't confuse the issue with other things; make it clear.'
Giles looked at her, puzzled, and she returned a slightly sheepish look. 'Well, I think the "Do My Will" part can pick up on… half-thought wishes… if you get my drift. So you might think, "Turn me back into myself," but you might also think, "and I hope this whole business will be forgotten." You don't want to do that; keep it simple and clear, yes?'
Giles nodded, but Spike was looking at him oddly. Suddenly, he grabbed Giles' arm and drew him away to the other side of the room. Giles resisted at first, but when he saw the set of Spike's jaw, he gave in.
'Watcher. I want you to be careful what you wish for.'
'And what do you mean by that exactly?'
Spike looked down and toed the ground for a moment. 'I dunno exactly, only I just sensed.… Living here like…. I've got to know… things… 'bout you. An' being in my body's been the worse thing for you, cus it's kinda encouraged those thoughts. I know - I was in it.'
He looked up at Giles, and they both knew exactly what he was referring to.
Giles nodded thoughtfully. 'Uh huh. That's really useful, Spike. Thank you for that, but unconscious desires are just that: ones in our unconscious mind that we aren't consciously wishing for.'
'Oh. Well, that's okay then….'
'Until some pillock mentions them, of course, and then they….'
They looked at each other. Spike groaned. 'Oh bloody hell!'
Giles gritted his teeth. 'I'll suppress them with more potent conscious thoughts. I loathe you. How's that? I'll concentrate on despising you instead.'
Spike brightened. 'Oh yeah! Hate you, too - always have, always will. I'll picture doin' ya right good.'
'Biting! Staking! Gutting! Jeez…! Let's just do the fucking spell, Watcher. Once I get me own bloody body back….'
'Quite. Back to normal.'
'Let's do it.'
Giles clenched his jaw only setting off the near-perfect cheekbones, and said with utter determination, 'Yes.'