FIC: Seraph (1/?) - NOW COMPLETE

Jan 27, 2009 16:17

Title: Seraph
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Characters: Spike, Dawn, ensemble (genfic, no pairing except canon)
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Through the end of S4, plus a few spoilers-by-implication through early S5
Warnings: See author's note below

Disclaimer: None of these character are belong to me. They are belong to Whedon, Greenwalt, ME, and co.

All parts may be found here.

A/N: Well, kids, here 'tis, the first chapter of the crack!fic I've been talking about all this time. Woe and alas, for I have written mpreg.

Actually, wait, no. I worked hard on this and I’m proud of it. I’ll readily grant that the vast majority of mpreg--in any fandom--is acid to the eyeballs, but I don’t think that that means the premise is inherently flawed. I realize it’s an insurmountable squick for some people, to whom I say, sorry, this is not the fic for you. To everyone else: give the story a chance, yeah? Remember how I love Spike and Dawn and Spike&Dawn and genfic and snark and prose that flows and characterization that I can believe? All here, at least in the attempt.

Incidentally, the title is provisional and subject to change, if I happen to come up with something I like better.

Also: I'm flying without a beta on this, but if you should happen to be so enamored with what you see here that you'd like to volunteer, I'll not say you nay. *g* I'll happily trade beta-ing for anything that isn't smut or slash.

ETA: And for the WIP-shy, I have the majority of this written, including the final scene. It's just some stuff in the middle that still needs work.

~~~~~~~

It started with the heat. He noticed it just days after he broke out, a hot bullet deep in the pit of his stomach. It came to him that the soldier boys had done something more to him than strip away his entire vampiric existence, but he decided, a bit desperately, that he didn’t mind the heat so long as that was all it was.

Then came the hangovers like he’d never had since he was turned, maybe not before then, retching and cramps so sharp they clenched him into a fetal knot until they passed.

Breath was a tool, a thing he used for smoking or speech or emphasis, but now when he went too long without any of those things he started feeling breathless. He tried just not breathing, but eventually his lungs always pulled in hitching gasps of air whether he willed or no.

He’d been free two months when the moth began flapping its wings in his belly, rapid but ever so gentle, basking in the heat of his mysterious fire. It was so faint he doubted anyone could have felt it that wasn’t already dead. He’d have blamed it on too much Jack and not enough blood, except he’d been avoiding the Jack these days. Maybe it was just the ‘not enough blood’ part, which would make sense, since he felt like he was hollowing from the inside out. Before the chip he’d never noticed how often he was hungry.

He’d thought vamps didn’t gain weight, but then, he’d never known a vamp to try to subsist on pigs’ blood before. He scavanged looser jeans and hoped it’d level off soon. He wondered about Angel, but only once did he consider calling to ask.

But today he knew. Today as he bent to lace up his Docs, he felt it, down there with the heat and the flutter: a ripple, a pebble sinking to the bottom of a pond. With a sudden stark clarity he realized what the soldier boys and their pet labcoats had done to him. It took two nerve-steadying breaths before the words followed.

They’d knocked him up.

~*~*~

He screamed oaths from every plot of land he’d ever prowled that had had the pretense to call itself a country, he drop-kicked the television (already broken by the soldier boys and not yet replaced) into the wall, he stomped the last remains of Mrs. Ethel Trawley to splinters, and all the while underneath the rage the revulsion, slimy and cold, crept like a cohort of slugs up his spine. Finally, when the same punch fractured a knuckle and put a crack in the sarcophagus lid, he paused to look around his broken crypt. He’d long since run out of curses and the wordless yelling had started to turn his throat sore. For a moment he just stood there, cradling his hand, and then he slumped to the floor and considered.

He was not panicking. There was nothing to panic about. None of the demon doctors he’d consulted about the chip could guarantee against brain damage, but this was not that. This was soft-tissue surgery, down where a few nicks in long-dead organs wouldn’t hurt anything. Compared to the chip, this was simple.

And it could be he was wrong. They could have stuck anything in him, secret government scientists that they were--some kind of monitoring system, or a bomb (nope, don’t think about that, that was not a preferable alternative), or... well, they were the bloody government, weren’t they? Could be he was now relaying signals from nameless numbered federal agents buried in the Mafia. That would be the, um, L.A. branch?

Sod it. Whatever it was, it was fixable.

He got up and burrowed beneath the shattered remains of the television. Eventually he found the list of demony medical experts that he’d gotten from the Rolodex demon down at Willy’s--not that anyone called her that to her face, of course. He let his finger fall on a name--Kthboui’ull Mo’ullrnrl, Kurelli, general surgery--and then at dusk he shrugged into his duster, found a payphone, and made the call. Preliminary exam next week, the receptionist said, and took his information.

Those labcoats thought they were going to stick whatever-it-was into him, did they? Thought they had themselves a cowed little lab-vamp to do with as they pleased? Chipped he might be, but fangless he was not. Whatever perverse experiment they’d meant to do, he was going to personally smash it to bits.

Spike sauntered away from the phonebooth feeling obscurely pleased. Not panicking at all.

~*~*~

The night of, he found himself at the Bronze, standing just far enough from the bar to keep from catching the bartender’s eye, and wishing he dared some pre-appointment liquid fortification. Finally the certain hangover--from one sodding piss-thin American beer, how wrong was that?--decided him against it.

Spike wondered later who had gone with him to see the Kurelli. Had he asked the demon girl along after she’d stomped out of the phone booth, complaining to all and sundry about Harris ditching her to kill Shavroc demons with the Slayer? Had he gone alone? It ought to have made a difference, he felt. It seemed to him that every event in those early days had been precision-balanced, that with any deviation at all he would have made a different choice, a series of choices that would have changed everything.

But later, it was Dawn he remembered inviting along on a ride to the pit of sin and celluloid. As he turned to leave the Bronze he noticed her standing in a corner near the door, hugging herself and darting glances towards the dance floor with a wallflower’s studied nonchalance. And then a glance darted to him and the shoulders drew a little tighter and then... relaxed. Before Spike could take offense at that, she was halfway to him.

“Hi, Spike.” Bright and too casual. And what was she wearing? There was more of her out than in--she was just asking for a nibble, or more.

“Late for edible niblets to be running about, isn’t it?” He gave her jugular a judicious leer.

A pause, while she decided whether she was offended by the description or scared of the leer or both. Then, “I’m supposed to be staying at Janice’s because Mom’s in San Francisco. But Janice said we could pick up high school boys here if, you know, we dressed right.”

“And?” Spike wasn’t sure why he was asking, except perhaps to wonder at the rank stupidity of high school boys not to have plucked this plum already, ripe or not.

She eyed the concrete, flushing. “And Janice did. I guess she’s better at the dressing than I am. Or maybe it was the sparkly eyeshadow?”

“So she ditched you. What are you hanging around here for? Go home.” Get rid of the sodding face paint; you haven’t got the attitude to carry it off.

“I’m not supposed to spend the night by myself.” She grimaced even as she said it. “Mom thinks I’m five.”

“And you’re supposed to be here, swinging your skinny ass and talking to vampires? Slayer’d love that, I’m sure.” He shook his head and took a step for the door.

“Where are you going?” she said.

He gave her a hard, suspicious look: that question had sounded almost hopeful. “I, who am a grown vampire and allowed to stay out after dark, have business to take care of.” Which reminded him why he was here in the first place and where he was going. Making cutting remarks to the Slayer’s kid sister--not that he’d gotten around to making any yet--suddenly lost its flavor. After another once-over, he said, “You want to come?”

And so as he drove into L.A., there she was, perched on the DeSoto’s bench seat and regaling him with tales of teenybopper derring-do. He’d long since decided that the Janice bird was useless for anything but draining. Then Dawn asked him about his ‘business,’ and he hedged, and played the ‘private’ card twice, and finally he said, “S’a demony doctor. Need some work done.”

“Oh. You mean the chip.”

“No, I--” He gave her a glance. “Yeah. Seein’ about the chip.” It was as good an excuse as any.

“Buffy’ll try and stake you again.”

“Yeah, well, don’t need to give her the chance. Won’t be any need for sticking around, will there?” He’d spent bits and pieces of the worst two and a half years in his recent unlife in SunnyHell, and he couldn’t now remember why he’d stuck around so long. Oh, right. Dru, wheelchair, gem, chip. And now this.

In the reception area, Dawn shrunk against him as the Kurelli came out to meet them. It had four leg-tentacles, four arm-tentacles, and four eyes all radially distributed around a velvety blue trunk, and it went by the name Steven Marie. “Your vocal chords are not capable of reproducing the sounds of my given name,” it said in a burbling voice, proffering a tentacle first to Spike, then to Dawn to shake. Dawn took it tentatively and gave the demon an uncertain smile.

“Don’t go staking the secretary while I’m gone,” Spike told her. He left her looking over the magazines and followed the Kurelli into a labyrinth of offices and hallways to an exam room as impersonally sterile as any Spike had seen while sneaking blood from Sunnydale General.

After gesturing Spike onto the bench, the Kurelli said, “Now, what is your complaint?”

“My complaint? Sodding government electrocuted me, stuck a bloody chip up my brain, and, and…” He gestured vaguely. “And they did this to me. That’s my complaint.”

“I mean, what are your symptoms?”

“Oh. Right.” And he listed them all: the weight gain and the hunger, the hangovers, the heat, the breathlessness, the staccato trembling in his gut, and the bit of a tickle that had finally decided him on this glorified corpse inspection.

Steven Marie prodded and poked for a while. Then it brought out the ultrasound, which Spike nearly walked out on, placated only by the Kurelli’s utter lack of fluster. “Judging from your descriptions of the laboratory, any number of invasive procedures may have caused these symptoms,” it said as it slathered jelly across Spike’s bare stomach. “Even if it is a parasite, there’s no reason that it need be human.”

“Dunno if I feel better or worse about that,” Spike mumbled.

The Kurelli peered at the display with one and then another of its eyes and burbled to itself. Finally it flicked the screen around. “It looks like you were right. You have a humanoid embryo enclosed in some kind of protective sac in your abdomen. I’d guess the sac is functioning as a form of artificial womb, as well as an interface between the parasite’s biology and yours.”

He stared at the ghostly white image on the screen, familiar from scenes in a dozen different soaps. “I don’t have biology. I’m dead. Gave up on Bios when I gave up breathing”--not that that last was strictly true anymore.

The curled form was misshapen, warped, yet he almost thought he could see a profile in the wisps of light. Unthinking, he reached toward his stomach and grimaced as jelly stuck to his fingers.

“Your human referents are not useful in this case,” the Kurelli said. “Blood sustains you as food, water, sleep, heat, and respiration sustain humans. It seems likely that the sac transforms the blood you ingest into the parasite’s sustenance.”

“It’s human, then?” He couldn’t tell which answer it was he was hoping for, much less what difference it made.

“It appears so, but I can’t be certain at this point.”

“What do you mean ‘at this point’? What else do you need?”

The Kurelli shifted a pair of tentacles in what might have been a shrug. “I can’t tell from the image alone. It could be any number of species, natural or supernatural. It could be a gorilla fetus for all I can tell. I could remove the sac and run some tests on the remains--” It paused when Spike jerked his head up, then continued, “Or I could attempt exploratory surgery. However, I have no reason to think that the sac, once breached, would continue to function, and even basic human prenatal screening procedures involve piercing the uterus.”

“So you’re saying if I want to find out what it is, I have to kill it.”

“Most likely.” The Kurelli began wiping the jelly away with a paper towel.

“That mean it’s alive?”

“You may consider yourself a dead human, but you’re a live vampire--you are, shall we say, differently animated. And yes, the parasite appears to be at least as alive as you are.

“Now, if you want it removed, we can schedule an appointment for the surgery.”

“Or...?”

“Or if you wish to continue hosting it, I can refer you to a specialist in symbiotic and parasitic health.”

“Uh huh.” Because he wanted to play host to a government experiment that’d been stuck in him without so much as a hope-you-don’t-mind. “What about, you know, a bit of mojo? Couldn’t you just magic it out?”

The Kurelli contrived to stare at him out of three of its four eyes. “I am in the medical profession, vampire. I give medical opinions only.”

“But--”

“I doubt it would help you. You are supernatural, but this is medicine, and interaction between the two is unpredictable at best.”

“Right.” Spike regarded the slight curve of his belly, barely noticeable except that in a hundred and twenty years of stasis, it had never been curved before. “Well, then. Want it out.”

“If you’ll speak to my assistant as you leave, she’ll make an appointment for the surgery.”

~*~*~

Dawn dropped a back issue of Demonic Herb and Health onto the table--weird, but way more interesting than the stupid home decorating magazines they had at the dentist’s--and followed Spike out the door. “So, what did he say about the chip?”

“The chip?” Spike glanced back at her, brow knit in an expression half-puzzled, half-somewhere-else-altogether. “Right. Said I need to come back in a couple of weeks. Gonna cut me open.”

“Oh.” A pause, and then--“Do you want me to come with you?”

Now he stopped and turned to face her, his head cocked in that way that assured her she had his full attention. But all he said was, “What’s that, love?”

Now she was all nervous, which was stupid, because it was just Spike. Who was totally bad boy hot, with a record that’d make any human poser wet his pants. Who kicked Buffy’s butt for fun and then let her go just so he could do it again later.

Who was, she realized, still waiting for an answer. She flushed. “It’s just, um, it’s kind of scary getting surgery, you know? Like when I was seven and I got my tonsils out, and Mom kept telling me they weren’t taking my voice out and I didn’t believe her?” He hadn’t changed expression yet. “I thought maybe you’d like someone to come with you.” Which was, again, stupid, because Spike the bad boy vampire? Totally not scared. Of anything.

He was smiling now, just a little. “So you’re serving yourself up as my post-chip appetizer, is that it? Thoughtful of you.”

She hadn’t even thought of that. Crap. “I-I’ll come if you promise not to eat me. If you want me to. I’ll tell Mom I’m staying with Janice--she’ll cover for me. I’ll tell her I have a date with this way older guy.”

After a smirk he dropped his gaze and said, “Then, yeah. Wouldn’t mind the company. Makes a bloke a little nervous, having folks taking knives to him.”

“Promise you won’t eat me.”

“Cross my--well, rather not do that, and anyway I’m already dead.”

“Promise?” She wasn’t coming unless he did. No way.

“Yeah, Niblet. Promise.”

And then Dawn could breathe again. He didn’t think she had stupid ideas. He wasn’t going to eat her. And really, it was another trip to L.A. with a guy who totally smoked that pimply sophomore Janice had been rubbing up against at the Bronze.

Janice could eat her heart out.

next part

ch: spike, ch: ensemble, topic: mpreg, longfic: seraph, fandom: buffyverse, length: longfic, seraphverse, pairing: gen, ch: dawn, entry: fic

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