Parallax (7/8)

Aug 17, 2010 15:55

Title: Parallax
Author:  whichclothes   
 Chapter: 7/8
Fandom: BtVS/AtS
Characters: Spike, Angel 
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I'm not Joss
Warnings: Dub-con, angst
Summary: After the battle with Wolfram & Hart, Spike and Angel return to the Hyperion. But Spike is feeling unwanted and unappreciated until he meets a new friend...and then that friendship takes an unexpected turn.
A/N: Thank you to silk_labyrinth  for the excellent beta job and for suggesting such a great title. And thank you to sentine  for another awesome banner!

Previous chapters here.


For some time-days? weeks? Spike had stopped keeping track-he saw little of Angel. Most days he saw him only once, when Master brought Spike in there to give Angel a packet of blood. Master made Spike hand it over, and sometimes he was a bit slow and Angel managed to grab hold of him through the bars; but Master was underfeeding Angel and he wasn’t at full strength, so Spike could get away with only minor bruising.

Usually Master would use Spike after that, buggering him or shoving his dick in Spike’s mouth so that Angel had to watch. Even if Angel curled up at the bottom of his cage and shut his eyes, which he often did, he was able to hear them and smell them.

Spike didn’t know if Master was working his mojo on Angel yet, getting Angel to crave him. Certainly Angel didn’t seem any happier about his situation than he had been at the beginning, and no more inclined to want to please Master. He didn’t speak to either of them. Just glowered, or pretended to ignore them completely. None of this seemed to bother Master, who was whistling and cheerful. Spike had the impression the bloke was working on his next acquisition, but Spike had no idea what that might be. Master was on his computer a lot.

And then one late afternoon, as Spike was dusting the living room, Master came walking through from the kitchen. He was wearing a sharp suit and a yellow tie. “Going out,” he said as he passed. “Stay away from Angel.”

Spike waited ten minutes. He wanted to make certain Master was truly gone, but of course he had no way to know how quickly he would return. He was not likely popping out to the grocers dressed like that, but then he was a strange man and not very predictable. As soon as Spike determined it was safe, he dropped the dust rag and sprinted up the stairs.

Now, Master had told him to stay away. But he hadn’t specified how far away. He hadn’t told Spike to stay out of the room entirely, for instance. To his enormous relief, Spike found himself capable of entering Angel’s room, and of sidling along the wall towards the cupboard.

Angel was lying on the floor. He looked smaller, somehow, diminished, and not just from the lack of feed. His eyes were deep-set and hooded, and they tracked Spike’s movements around the room. Just as Spike reached the cupboard door, Angel spoke. His voice was whispery and paper-thin. “Do you really hate me this much, William?”

Spike moved his lips, trying to explain the magic and the compulsion, trying to tell Angel that although his feelings about his grandsire were complex and many-faceted, they didn’t include hatred. But no sound would come out, not so much as a groan, and in the end Spike only shook his head slowly and opened the cupboard door.

His clothing was exactly where Master had left it, with his duster right on top. Spike stroked the familiar leather lovingly, just once, and reached into the pocket. He pulled out the brown leather phone book. With a last, sorrowful look at Angel-who’d turned around so his back was facing Spike now-Spike left the room.

Master generally used his mobile phone, which of course he’d taken with him, but he still had a landline in service. Spike picked up the phone in the kitchen, where he’d be able to ring off quickly should Master return, opened the book to the right page, and punched the buttons.

The call connected immediately. The latent Victorian in Spike still marveled that he could ring someone in London and the conversation would be as clear as if they were standing next to each other. After three rings, a slightly breathless voice said, “Hello?”

Spike swallowed. “Red?”

There was a long pause. “Who’s this?”

“Erm, is this Willow?”

“Hey, you dialed me, mister. You tell me who you are first.”

“It’s Spike. Erm, the vampire Spike.” He felt like a complete berk. “You know, devastatingly handsome, sharp wit. Please, I haven’t much time. I need your help.”

After another long pause, she said, “You can’t be Spike. He’s dead. Completely dead, I mean.”

“Well, not so much, actually. I was only temporarily finally dead, as it turned out.”

She seemed to digest that for a moment. “How do I know it’s really you, and not some kind of impostor?”

He closed his eyes and thought frantically. “That time-right after those wankers shoved the chip in my head-I came to your dorm and tried to bite you, but I couldn’t. And you blamed yourself, but I told you I wanted to bite you ever since I saw you with that fuzzy pink number-”

“Stop! Okay, got it. You’re the real deal. But how? And- Oh! Does Buffy know?”

“It’s…it’s a very long story and no, she doesn’t. But I haven’t time for it now. Please, I need your help.”

“That’s twice you’ve said please. You must really be in a pickle.”

He laughed bitterly. “You could say that.” And then, as quickly as he could, he told her what had happened. She gasped and made appropriately horrified noises as he spoke, which was slightly gratifying, at least. When his tale was done, he said, “So? Tell me you can do something.”

“Um…that’s dark magic. I try to stay away from dark magics these days. You know, after the whole ending the world fling and all. But I’ll do my best, okay? I could tell Buffy and-”

“No! She can’t do anything about the talisman. If she comes here, I’ll end up fighting her to protect Master. And perhaps he’ll decide he wants to own a Slayer, too. Don’t tell her.”

“All right.” She sounded uncertain, but he reckoned she’d keep her word. “I’ll get on it right away, get cracking with the research.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to ring you again.”

“If I figure something out, I’ll find a way to let you know.”

“Cheers, love.”

He hung up the phone feeling only slightly less despairing than he had before.


Nothing happened. Not for perhaps two weeks. Angel barely moved out of the tight ball in which he kept himself curled. He’d drink the blood he was given, but only because he had no choice. A vampire might choose to drink from animals rather than humans, but even a vampire with a soul couldn’t deny the demon’s demands entirely. The hunger was too strong. So Angel drank his meager ration but otherwise showed few signs of unlife.

Master was completely unperturbed. Spike realized rather belatedly that Master was using a different tactic on Angel, perhaps for his own entertainment. He wanted to break his new toy even before he began using the talisman. Spike was fairly certain Master wouldn’t succeed, at least not easily. After all, Angel had survived hell and recovered within months. A tiny cage in a sociopath’s mansion might be miserable, but it wasn’t hell.

Master left Spike and Angel alone in the house more often now, sometimes for several hours at a time. But Spike was still forbidden from going near his grandsire, and in any case there would have been nothing he could have done to make the situation better. He did consider ringing Willow again, but he was concerned that Master would notice the calls on his phone bill.

And then one morning Spike had a dream. He didn’t dream often, and when he did, they were usually unpleasant. But this one was nice. He was in Sunnydale, in that stranger’s house where he and Buffy had spent the night together shortly before the battle. He had the same feeling he had then-a bit of fear, overshadowed by the quiet joy of knowing that Buffy trusted him, that she thought he was important, that he could comfort her and she would make him her champion. He’d known then that he wouldn’t survive the upcoming fight-champions were meant to be sacrificed, and magic jewelry was never a good thing. But he’d been content. Fulfilled.

There was no Buffy in the dream, however. Instead, the bedroom door opened and Willow walked in. She looked a bit older than when he’d seen her last, her face showing some of the trauma she’d survived, but she was still pretty, and she carried herself now with a confidence that made her quite beautiful. She was dressed in a pair of jeans and a lime green t-shirt, and her hair was short, curling slightly about her cheeks.

“Wow,” she said, looking about. “This is your happy place? I was expecting something more…crypty.”

“My happy place?” he said.

“Well, yeah. ‘Cause dream sendings are kinda tricky-and I never tried one with a vampire before, so that’s new-and I thought this might be more comfortable for you than the Beyond. The Beyond’s not so bad once you get used to it, but at first it’s a little creepy. It’s not regular dimensional space, you know. It’s kinda…bendy.”

He didn’t have any idea what she was going on about, but decided it didn’t matter. “Is this real, then?”

“Well, it’s still your dream, but I’m really in it.”

He leapt up from the bed where he’d been sitting, and grabbed her shoulders. “Have you sussed out the mojo?” he asked her urgently.

She gave him a small smile and patted his arm a bit awkwardly. “Yeah, I think so. And it’s really nasty stuff, too. Mucho dark.”

“Yeah, got that. How do I stop it?”

“You can’t destroy the talisman. I think maybe my coven could, if we all worked together and we were really careful, but one lone vampire? No way. You’d just end up getting zapped if you tried. Probably take out half of LA, too. It’d be like a bomb going off.”

His hands were still on her shoulders, and he clutched tighter, so much that she flinched a bit, but she didn’t move away. “What can I do?” He was well aware of how plaintive he sounded, how desperate, and he didn’t bloody care.

“You can trade for it.”

He made a horrible sound deep in his throat and turned away. With his back to her, he said, “Trade? Mas-He won’t trade it to me. And I’ve nothing to give for it anyway. He already owns me.”

She put a warm hand on his back, which is when he noticed that he was naked even in the dream. He hunched in on himself and covered his face with his hands.

Softly, she said, “The trade doesn’t have to be done willingly, Spike. You just have to give him something that would be valuable to him and then you can take the talisman in return.”

“Told you. I have nothing.” And then a horrible realization hit him. In the barest of whispers, he rasped, “My soul. I can give him my soul.”

“No!” Willow exclaimed, and despite himself, relief poured through him. “Not your soul. Besides, I don’t think it’d be worth much to him. He didn’t even care about his own, did he?”

His face still hidden, Spike shook his head.

“Sweetie, it doesn’t need to be something that’s important to you, just something he’d want.”

The laugh that escaped from his throat sounded insane. “What do you get for the bloke who has everything?”

“I can tell Buffy and Giles and Xander, if you want. Maybe they can figure something out. Or…or Angel’s friends in LA?”

“I’ll kill them if they show up here,” he said, very matter-of-fact because he knew it was true.

Her hand moved from the center of his back, and instead she wrapped an arm about him. He wanted to squirm around in her embrace, to sob onto her shoulder, to be held and comforted. Instead, he stepped away.

He heard her sigh. “I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you a week. If you haven’t figured out a way to trade by then, I’m gonna tell Buffy.”


“Spike, I can’t just leave you two there. It’s not right. And if Buffy ever found out she’d murder me.”

It was Spike’s turn to sigh. “Give me a week, yeah? And tell them…if they come, tell them to stake me straightaway. Don’t…don’t try to save me.” Not that they'd be likely to do so, most of them anyway. And some of them would probably be thrilled to finally end him, actually.

“Oh, sweetie,” she said, and she once again came up close and gave him a squeeze. “It’ll all work out somehow.”

He didn’t share her optimism. But he nodded and she stepped away. “I have to go. Dream sendings are pretty draining. Do you want me to leave you here for a little while, though? You can just kinda…rest.” She did that California thing, where her inflection went up at the end of the last sentence, turning a statement into a question.

“Ta,” he mumbled.

She squeezed him once more, and then he was alone.

He made his way to the bed and lay down on it. If he buried his face in the pillow, he discovered, he could catch just the ghost of Buffy’s scent. He clutched the bedding to himself like a drowning man might clutch a life buoy.

f: buffyverse, c: spike, c: angel, a: whichclothes

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