What Lies Within - 4
They stood side by side once more. The dust puffed out. They made their wishes, not looking at each other.
They waited some more.
'Why's it not working?'
Willow flinched. 'Give it some more time.'
They did. Another hour passed. Nothing.
Giles began to pace menacingly. 'This is typical: fucking magic done by a fucking amateur.'
Spike laid a hand on his arm. 'Hey, mate, calm down; give it some more….' Giles wrenched his arm away.
'I wished for two months! That was two months ago! Two months for you to….' He stopped pacing. He stared at the rug for the moment. Suddenly he tipped his head back and said quietly. 'Oh. Shit.'
Willow came over nervously. 'What?'
He looked at her in despair. 'I wished for Spike to have a couple of months in my body, so he could know what it was like to have to go to work and earn money.' He turned and looked at the offending vampire. 'He's spent the whole two months pissing around and sunbathing.'
Spike's eyes grew wide. Giles grabbed his arm. 'You! Spike! What did you wish for - exactly?'
Spike mumbled slightly. 'You know. You heard.'
'Not that! In your head. You said you wanted me to know what it was like. What did you actually mean?'
Spike wrenched his arm away, too, and stormed off to the other side of the room. Suddenly, he whirled around. 'Okay! You want to know what I wished for? I'll tell you! I wanted you to know what being me was really like: the gut wrenching hunger all the time; the fear; the loneliness; everyone hating you; pratty American teenagers riding you all the time. I wanted you to know my unlife, Watcher, not this parody of it you've been living. Shit, you've slept in your own bed; you've gorged yourself on blood, and you've still 'ad all of them….' He swept his arm in Buffy's direction. 'They still fawn on you - though you could kill them all right now, couldn't you Giles?'
Giles came menacingly forward as if to hit him. Buffy stood between them. 'Back off.'
'What? Who the fuck are you…?' Giles looked at her and took a step back. 'Buffy. I'm so sorry. I have to get out of here; I can't do this….'
She took his arm and looked deep into his eyes. 'We've been here before, remember Giles? Apocalypse? End of the world? Death? Destruction? Fear…? We've faced them before, and we'll face them again. You are stronger than you think, Giles; you have to hold on for me. Okay?'
She led him to the couch and indicated for Spike to sit, too. He gave her a look; she gave him an even lookier-look back and pointed at the couch. He sat.
Buffy took a deep breath, anticipating their reaction. 'You have to play out your assigned roles better…. Shut up! Listen! Giles, you have to move into Spike's crypt - shut up - and do Spike-like stuff for two months. Spike - shut up - you have to come to the shop… shut it now…! Anya will tell you what you have to do. No! It's the only way!'
She had to stifle a small giggle. She couldn't tell who looked more shocked: Giles, that he had to live like the undead in a crypt with no regular supplies of blood, or Spike, who had to do some work.
'Now. Agree on it. Shut up! Two months. It's nothing, and it'll be over before you know it. Agree. Now!'
Spike's alarm went off at six the next morning. He whimpered, turning back into his warm spot. Xander and Anya had anticipated this and came to collect him, almost forcing him to dress.
He slumped on the research table, wanting to die. She put books in front of him. He opened one eye. 'Order books, Spike. Seven until nine, you do orders. At nine until lunchtime, you can serve customers. Lunch is twelve thirty 'til one - then you research usually. At one you can serve again until the shop closes at six. We stock-take from six 'til seven, and then Giles usually does the tidying and cleaning for half an hour. Got it?'
Spike paled and thought he might vomit. He tried a small gag - just to see if she took pity. It was not in her vocabulary.
By eight, Spike was so bored he contemplated setting fire to everything and going out in a blaze of glory.
By ten, he was shaking, and Anya took pity on him, sending him for doughnuts. He managed to make that small errand last until three - which cheered him up immensely - but when he returned to the shop, she made a big show of adding an imaginary day to his imprisonment, and he sank gloomily on a chair.
His whole life stretched ahead of him. What was the point of being alive if you had to work? He would have no fun until he was too old to enjoy it anyway. He tried to rally at the thought that it was only two months, but it didn't help: it was still a life sentence.
He was still in the shop when it got dark. The bell jangled one more time, and he turned to face yet another customer he'd rather slot than serve. Giles eyed him over the counter. 'How's it going?'
Spike didn't reply directly to this. 'Tell me what you've been doing all day. Tell me.'
Giles shrugged slightly. 'Sleeping. Pissing around. You know.'
Spike couldn't even reply to this: the unfairness just too much to cope with.
'So, what's "she who must be obeyed" had you doing all day?'
Spike outlined his timetable morosely. Giles spluttered. 'Bloody hell, Spike! And you've done all that?'
Spike bristled at the slight hint of humour he detected in the large smirk that spread across that… bloody hell! Why had no one told him how fucking irritating his face was?
'What the fuck do you want, wanker? And I can call you that with every certainty that it ain't just a shot in the dark - so to speak.'
'I'm… hungry. I need money.'
Spike felt his whole unlife had been redeemed. It all coalesced into this, and the satisfaction was so sublime, he gave the moment due weight, suppressing his snicker, straightening his features, and saying with a caring, almost reverential tone, 'Ah.' Then he grinned and said, 'Bummer, hey?'
Again, the clench of that jaw that set off those fucking cheekbones… and why had no one told him what a bloody nancy-boy poof he looked half the time? 'So?'
Concentrate - enjoy the moment. 'Oh… I don't know, Giles.' He shook his head sadly (but wisely). 'Paying the unrighteous to do good….'
'Shut up! Fucking shut up, Spike.'
Spike sat down, smirking, and put his feet up on the table. 'Now, this is just… peachy! Beg some more, vampire.'
Giles banged Spike's legs off the table and saw himself disembowelling that body slowly. He made as if to hit Spike, but backed off, needing to control the passions raging though him. Spike laughed and assumed, once more, that the chip was deterring any violence against him. Giles saw red and flew at Spike, crashing him against the counter… and into Anya. His chip fired off at her pain, and he staggered to the ground, whimpering slightly.
'We should give him some money, Spike.'
'No. We should not. ("Where's the fun in that?") Think of the spell, Anya; I'm only thinking of the spell.' He actually managed a complacent tut without creasing up. 'Just as well one of us is mature enough to….'
Giles launched himself at Spike again but, once more, Anya intervened, and he fell. This time, the pain was so bad he felt bile rising in his throat -- two-day-old pig's blood bile. He gagged and ran out of the shop.
'He had your coat on.'
'Err….' Spike was distracted by the look he'd seen on the pale face. He knew that look from the inside and, despite his glee, feared what it portended. 'What?'
Anya continued to tidy complacently. 'That's the first time he had the duster on. If he had the accent, he'd be you now.'
Once more, the days began to merge into one another. Spike dutifully went to the shop each day. He desperately wanted to have his body back and knuckled down to whatever Anya suggested. Surprisingly, it was Buffy who saved him from the conflagration option. She came in one day to find him stacking shelves, took one look at his expression and nodded towards the back room. 'Train. Me. Now!'
Spike looked at her, surprised. 'Me?'
'Come on, Spike…. This is your chance to take me…. Think you can? No chip now!'
Spike grinned and followed her in. He stripped out of his T-shirt and turned. Buffy was the last to see it, and she whistled slowly. 'What's the secret, Spike? You could sell that diet plan and make a fortune.'
Spike blushed, and she laughed. 'Come on, fess up. What's with the new look for Giles?'
He gave a small smile. 'Initially? I'll tell you, Slayer; at first it was all that fucking human… stuff, ya know? Comes as a shock after a hundred years. So, I just kinda thought, if I didn't eat, I wouldn't need to….' He saw her grimace of distaste and laughed again. 'But then I could get into all the cool kit he's got stashed in boxes, so I just kept it up. Human hunger ain't so hard to bear, Slayer, believe me. Wait 'til you're so hungry, you'll give a blow… by blow description of the Giles' diet there, Slayer!'
Buffy didn't hear the save and began to stretch off. 'Hand-to-hand, Spike. I want to test you out.'
Spike laughed. 'I'm gonna get slaughtered, ain't I?'
She grinned. 'Oh yeah.'
He did. He was flung, pummelled, sat on, twisted, stretched, and generally abused for an hour… but it was the most fun thing he'd done since he'd been human. She finally let him be and sat back on the mat, looking at him. 'Ten out of ten, Spike. The old Giles would have lasted about five minutes.'
Spike tried to push himself into a sitting position but lay on his belly instead, laughing. She crawled over to him and straddled the small of his back. 'Oh, I forgot! Silly me. Cold chills…!'
He gave a mock girlie scream, and she giggled, twisting his arm not too hard behind his back. 'Feeling chilled, Giles?'
'Yes, bloody cold! Let me go, Buffy; it's takin' unfair advantage of the old!'
She rolled off, and they lay side-by-side on the mat. He turned to her and said softly, 'You called me Giles.'
She snorted. 'I did not.'
He shrugged slightly and sat up, glancing at his watch. 'That's good. We're getting closer.'
'Do you really want to go back, Spike - or is this part of some fiendish but ultimately unsuccessful plot?'
He offered her a hand, smiling at her surprised face and pulled her to sitting as well. 'At first I didn't - give you that. But now?' He shrugged slightly. 'It's complex, Slayer. There're things I'll miss: the sun obviously. But there are things I miss now. Guess I just miss being me. Ain't more fiendish than that really.'
'But you hated being you, Spike. Giles told me.'
'Maybe. At times. Don't we all though? Can you honestly say, Slayer, you wouldn't change with the witch sometimes, or Anya? No… okay, maybe not Anya, cus then you'd have to do the groiny with Harris, and I'm thinking neither of us wanna go there.'
She pouted slightly. 'Are we having a conversation, Spike?'
He lay back down (very carefully). 'If we are, I'll deny it when I'm evil again.'
'So… not evil now?'
'Confused evil, pet, an' it's getting worse.'
It was getting worse for Giles as well. He was now at the point of desperation. The need for blood consumed him. He'd drunk a demon one night, and it had made him insane: its poisonous blood coursing through his body. He tried to steal money; his chip fired off too many times. He begged for money but was beaten and laughed at. He found a dead cat one night - road-kill - and wondered if he could bring himself to eat it, but realised its rancid blood was already in his mouth. He bit into it again and sucked it dry… but it wasn't enough.
He became increasingly vicious in his kills: each demon neck human in his mind. He had no idea of time passing. Day and night were only differentiated by whether he was killing or not killing.
He felt at home in Spike's crypt, his brain now so in synch with the preternatural body that he could see quite well, even in the darkest corners. What had once seemed scary now seemed perfectly normal.
Spike had warned him off interfering with his spider army of the undead, other than that, he was free to use and abuse anything he wanted. So he abused Spike's body viciously, always seeking an elusive relief.
Gradually, he sank beneath the deep, stormy water that was Spike's demon, finally feeling at home in the dark.
Time passed. They were nearing the end of their ordeal. Spike was doing some neat entries in the order books one evening, having stayed to take in some late shipments. He was beginning to enjoy owning the shop and had made some unilateral decisions on stock and décor that had surprised and pleased Anya.
Giles crashed in, the bell jangling loudly. Spike looked up and slid softly out of his chair. 'Bloody hell!'
'Give me money, Giles, NOW!'
'Err… you're Giles, mate, remember?'
The pale, starved, stressed body, stormed towards the till. Spike shook his head. 'No. 'Sides - none in there. Anya banked it tonight.'
Giles turned, an odd expression in his eyes.
He knew the watcher couldn't hurt him, nevertheless, Spike backed away behind the table. 'One more week, pet. Last one more week, and you can 'ave all this back. Treat you to a nice juicy steak then, hey?'
Giles flipped his head to one side, his expression maniacal, and slowly advanced on Spike. 'Think I'll have one now.' He reached Spike's side so fast that Spike didn't even see the move. He was impressed and unsettled in equal measure.
'Just calm down, Giles - you know you can't do anything. Neutered, yes?'
'Neutered… no!' He began to giggle, and the sound was inherently evil. 'You're all wrong, and the chip knows it.'
Spike felt the blood draining from his face but didn't have time to enjoy this novel experience. He smashed a chair into Giles and dashed for the training room. Cursing, he tried to break open the weapons' cabinet. He didn't even feel the fangs until the sucking began.
He'd not realised how much fear and pain there could be when a vampire bit you. The only time one had bitten him, he'd stretched his neck to his lover and prayed it would never end.
Giles began to feed deeply. He pressed Spike's back against the wall, lifting one thigh over him, pinning him, stopping his wiggling. It was a mistake. He pulled away, blinking slowly. The blood reanimated him, made him swell, and made his thoughts drain from Spike's neck to his…. Giles looked down and grinned.
Spike's bowels flooded with a cold chill of fear, and he swallowed, trying to speak. 'Giles. Listen. It's you in there… ugh.' A fist closed around his throat; tears sprung out at the pain. Giles looked at them curiously. He leant forward and licked slowly up Spike's face, gradually releasing his hold. Spike tried to speak, but his windpipe was too bruised to make more than a croak.
The bruising didn't stop him screaming later though.
Giles forced him face down onto the mat, ripping off the jeans just enough to expose the warm backside. Spike couldn't speak, and he couldn't fight back. He was held rigid by a knee in the small of his back and if he moved, Giles hit him hard across the back of his head. Spike's heart was pounding, and he felt vomit rising in his throat. He desperately swallowed it down, fearing he would choke, pressed face down like this to the mat. Giles didn't bother with any preliminaries. He wasn't in this for pleasure but for release, for taking, for finally being in something that he could penetrate and tear, rip and abuse… and he did. He thrust in, dry, tearing skin, ripping muscle. That's when Spike began to scream, and it sounded so good, Giles let him turn his face to the side, so he could enjoy the music. He began to hear a rhythm in his victim's pain, so matched it with his thrusting. The smell of the blood invigorated him. He pulled out, bending down to lick and suck at the torn, swollen hole… but not for long. With an animalistic cry of delight, he re-entered and tried to find release. Spike had stopped screaming; he had stopped doing anything at all. Giles grabbed him by the soft brown hair and began to beat his face into the mat. 'You-have-to-switch-on-here-Giles. I-want-screaming.' Every word punctuated by a bang of the face into the soft rubber.
Spike had nothing left to scream with. He was hardly there at all. He lay, whispering the mantra 'I'm Spike' quietly to himself, waiting for the inevitable to happen. When it did, when someone actually ejaculated inside him, he slipped away completely, leaving just a bleeding, torn, and pain-ridden body on the floor.
Giles rode his orgasm as he had been riding Spike's power and passion. He had never felt anything like it. It tore through his spine, made every nerve scream its bliss, made him howl, jerk, and hump, and then ease delightfully as the last drops squeezed out. It was so warm in this human ass, so comfortable…. He wondered why the watcher was so quiet, and pulled out, chuckling at the pleasurable interruption to his dinner. He glanced idly at the torn hole, considered feeding from there, but shrugged and returned to the neck.
He sensed the Slayer's approach long before she reached the front door. He tipped back his head, cursing, swiftly pulled the body behind the training horse and, fastening his jeans, slipped out of the back door. He had enough blood to last him until Giles topped up again. He had a human blood source at last - what a rush! He gave a screech of delight to the soft darkness and sucked his fangs for a moment, wondering what to do next. Killing - death was always a good dessert.
Spike heard Buffy in the shop, lay very still, and she did not find him.
The next day, he called in sick.
He didn't know what to do; this was utterly outside his experience. The pain was awful: the humiliation worse. He was the Big Bad. He was a Master of the Universe, but he'd been taken like a woman on the floor. He'd been top of the food chain his whole immortality, but he'd cried and begged and sobbed for the taking to stop.
He had no one to turn to and no one to ask for help.
The next two days passed in a blur of pain. He wasn't stupid; he found a hotel to stay in. He was being hunted. He sensed it. Human blood for the taking…? A human body for the taking…? What would he do if their positions were reversed, and he found a weak human that did not set off his chip?
So he lay in the filthy room and thought about evil as his body ached and bled, itched and swelled, but gradually began to heal.
On the last day, he telephoned Buffy. She answered on the first ring. 'Hello?'
Spike cleared his throat. 'It's me.'
Spike closed his eyes and dipped his head for a moment. 'No. Spike.'
'Where have you been? We've been frantic and looking… everyone looking, Spike!'
'Has… he been looking for me?'
'We haven't seen him either! What's happening, Spike? You have to be here tonight!'
'Yes, I know. I'll be there. But… I don't think he will. Slayer…. Buffy, you'll have to bring him.'
'Uh huh. And that would be….'
'He's just a little… overwhelmed, yeah? Find him and bring him for me.'
Spike got there in the daylight and laid out some weapons, just to be sure. He took the opportunity to shower and change, realising for the first time that he'd done neither since… since… since the rape. There, he could actually think the word without vomiting now - but then he hadn't eaten since being raped, so vomiting would have been a little nugatory.
He found some clothes in the bedroom and pulled them on distractedly. They felt familiar, and he looked down to find he'd put on a pair of his own jeans. Walking as if in a trance to the full-length mirror, he looked at the body he inhabited. It was black and blue, the throat torn; it was the body of a victim, and he hated it. He pulled his collar high and buttoned it over the bite, thus covering the physical injury quite well.
Giles came in with Buffy as if he were not being forced. He joked, he smoked, and he stomped around, laughing at everyone's expressions. He came up to Spike, chucked him under the chin and blew him a small kiss.
'So, great to see you all, how ya been? Course, I know how you've been, Giles, don't I?'
'Spike. It's Spike. You're Giles.' Spike spoke so softly no one heard him.
Giles turned with glee to Willow who was preparing the spell once again. 'So, how's this gonna work then, seeing I'm not… going back? No wishing here!'
Spike stood up but felt faint, so sat back down again. Xander saw this and came hesitantly to stand alongside him. 'Not looking good, evil one; you okay to do this?'
Spike didn't look at him for fear the child would see his humiliation but nodded and gritted his teeth. 'You gotta make him. Make him, please.'
Giles heard and laughed, flinging himself into a chair and hooking one leg over the arm. 'What a rush! I'm riveted. Go on, entertain me some more!'
Buffy looked at him and went toward Spike. 'Just make the wish, Spike.'
'He has to as….'
'Spike! Trust me! Just do it.'
He didn't catch her eye, either, but blinked slowly, looked directly at the pale vampire in the corner, and made his wish… es.
Giles looked utterly unconcerned and studied his fingernails with interest. 'Gotta paint 'em black - like the original. Hey, I think I do him better than he did. What'd'ya think?'
He looked at Buffy and was curious to see her mouthing some words at him while she held Willow's hand.
v He said - to no one in particular, 'What's the bitch doing?'
Xander smiled at him. 'We've altered the spell a smidge, Giles. Funny… thought you might pull something like this! Buffy's making a wish on your behalf. Be grateful.'
'No!' Giles sprang up, but a well-aimed kick from Buffy sent him sprawling to the ground.
It was done. She nodded at Xander, and together they stood in front of the door - an effective barrier to anyone trying to leave. They didn't have to wait so long this time… but it was the longest hour Spike felt he'd ever spent.
Giles cursed, begged, stormed, sulked but finally sat morosely in the armchair, glaring at Spike.
It was the last thing Spike remembered seeing: his own face glaring at him. Then he was looking at a very thin, very tired, very stressed-looking man, dressed in his clothes that was looking at him with an expression of total, deep shock.
Spike stood up, his body welcoming him, folding in around him, whispering its joy to have him back. With a grin, he lunged at Giles, slamming him into the floor… but he screamed and dropped to his knees, clutching his head.
Everyone began to talk at once until Buffy, helping Giles to stand, shouted for silence. She glared at Spike - but it wasn't one of her most chilling looks. 'What are you doing?'
Spike felt tears prick his eyes, and he dashed them away - how much more humiliation could he stand? 'I wished this fucking chip away, that's what.'
Buffy nodded and said, half to herself, 'Giles wasn't the only one we altered the spell for; did you take us for fools?'
Giles was looking increasingly distraught. He gave a small cry and looked down at his hands. 'Where have I been? I….' He twisted his head in thought. 'I've been somewhere awful, haven't I? Have I been in a hell dimension?'
They sat him down and fetched him things, ministering to him lovingly. He responded slowly, memory returning.
Spike waited and watched. He wanted to see the moment when the bastard remembered. Giles swallowed deeply, squirmed slightly on the couch, then winced with a very puzzled look. He stared straight ahead for some minutes until, with an audible crack, he jerked his head around to stare at Spike. His mouth fell open as if he would speak, but no words could ever express the confusing emotions threatening to overwhelm him.
Spike nodded, satisfied and pleased, and took his body away to enjoy the feel of power once more.
Quite why he spent the rest of the night on the roof of his crypt, chain-smoking and thinking, was a puzzle - and not one he wanted to probe too deeply.