The light knock on the door made me jump, which caused my cheek to scrape painfully against
the brick wall of the bathroom. Fear coursed down my spine, making all my muscles tense again.
I had finally managed to calm down enough to think logically, but with a single bloody rap on a
piece of wood, I'm scared shitless again.
He's come back to kill me.
Oh God, I know you don't care about me any more, but please...
I blink rapidly against the tears when I hear my name as the door opens. The concerned,
feminine tone was definitely not that of my Sire, unless he'd undergone a sudden sex change.
Buffy enters the bathroom and pushes the door shut behind her. I shove myself to my feet, my
right arm scraping against the wall, adding a mark matching the one on my left arm from the
earlier fight. My mind doesn't even register the pain.
I need to get Buffy out of here before Angel kills her too.
"Buffy," I say, stepping forward, my hand extended to her. "You have to leave. Angel, he's
not," wheeze, "he's not," wheeze, "he's not," wheeze...
I can't finish because I'm starting to hyperventilate again, which is still pretty ridiculous for a
vampire who doesn't need to breathe. I give up the pretense of trying to control my emotions, the
grief and pain squeezing my heart is too intense now that I'm face-to-face with the little girl who
loves my Sire as much as I do.
I always claim I hate the poof.
"Shh," Buffy says, taking my hand and pulling me to her. I find myself enfolded in her embrace.
She's so tiny, but I feel as though I'm being held by the biggest, strongest person in the world.
I feel like I'm being held by my mum.
A sob rips from my throat and I squeeze my eyes tight against the cold tears. I wrap my arms
around her small shoulders and bury my face in her hair.
"Shh, it's alright, Spike," Buffy comforts me. "Angel's still Angel. He didn't mean to scare you.
Her hand is rubbing a small circle on my back as she continues to speak softly to me. "It's okay.
Shh. You're fine now. You're fine. Shh..."
I manage to yank myself back together after a few minutes broken only by my pathetic display,
and I step back from her. "Wh-what are you doing 'ere?" I ask with a loud, undignified sniff. I
wipe my face with the back of my wrist.
"He called," she answers, as if that explains everything. Which, of course, it does.
"He told me what happened," she continues, and I see her eyes grow hard. "I'm sorry you were
hurt. I don't know how they found you, but they're not going to take you back. You have my
I believe her. Just as I believe the sun rises every soddin' day, I believe her. The Slayer, protector
of the helpless. Helpless like me. Helpless against gits in camouflage who come in the early
night to take me back to that nightmare. Helpless against witnessing Angel rip the bloke's heart
right out of his chest.
"Slayer, we have to leave. Now," I say, grabbing her hand and giving her an imploring look.
"Before he comes to kill us."
She gives me a puzzled look. "Who?"
"My Sire." The words come out in a painful whisper and I have to bite the inside of my cheek
yet again so I don't burst out into tears. I'm such a bloody baby, but this is my Sire. He's my
rock, my protector, my teacher, my father and, recently, my savior.
Why did he do that? Why, why, why, why, why??
"Spike, look at me," Buffy instructs. I meet her eyes and she asks, "Do you trust me?"
"Yes," I answer without hesitation. I trust her implicitly.
"Angel is not going to hurt you," she says.
"Listen to me," Buffy interrupts, but quietly. "Angel was protecting you the only way he's ever
known how, and yes, he was apparently a bit brutal."
She squeezes my hand, her eyes filled with such a strong certainty, I know whatever she says
next is the complete truth. "But he loves you, his demon loves you, and your life was threatened.
He reacted instinctively, letting his demon free to protect you."
Buffy lowers her eyes and her voice grows even softer, making me lean closer in order to hear her
next words. "I never told anyone, but I did the same thing when Angel was dying. The cure was
the blood of a Slayer, and I went after Faith...and I killed her. All because my Angel was
She sniffs and I see her shoulders shake. I'm not too sure who this Faith is, but she must have
been someone important. I'm about to pull Buffy into a hug when she looks up. Her eyes are
clear, although shiny because she's repressed the tears. "Some things we regret and some things
we should regret, but don't. I don't regret going after Faith to try and get the cure for Angel, and
I know he doesn't regret killing that guy to protect you," she says.
Her voice turns soft again, full of mostly-hidden pain, but I can still hear it. "But he regrets
scaring you and I know it's eating him up inside. You're everything to him, Spike. I think even
more than me." She gives me a sad smile. "Color me green with jealousy."
"That's not true, Slayer," I tell her. "He loves you so bloody much it's unbelievable."
Buffy shakes her head slightly. "Doesn't matter," she says in that same hidden-pain-filled tone.
She squeezes my hand. "Come on. We need to figure out what to do about the Initiative
I lick my lips and swallow nervously. I really don't want to leave the safety of the bathroom.
What Buffy said made sense logically -- my Sire isn't going to turn on us and rip our hearts out
the second we leave -- but emotionally...I'm a soddin' pussy.
I hold onto the Slayer's hand like a lifeline. My legs feel like lead, growing heavier with each
step. I look around quickly as we exit the bedroom, everywhere but at the stain on the floor, and
the sudden feeling of eyes on me makes my step falter. Buffy glances at me in concern, and I
give her a tight-lipped nod indicating that I'm okay. Which is a lie, because I'm not okay.
I don't know if I'll ever truly be okay.
And then I see Angel.
I freeze, unable to go any further, and stare at him. He's sitting on the floor in front of the sink,
his legs bent up, his forearms resting on his knees, his head leaning back against the chipped
cabinet behind him. It's not the fact that Mister Perfectly Groomed is sitting on the linoleum
floor that stuns me.
It's the haunted look he doesn't hide when he raises his eyes to me.
"I'm sorry, Will," he says in a low, hoarse voice that clearly indicates to me that he's been crying.
"I'm so sorry."
I nod. What else am I suppose to do? I can't seem to find my voice to speak, and I wouldn't
know what to say anyway. I'm glad you're sorry you scared me half to life? Don't worry, I'm
sure that piss stain on your antique carpeting will come out with a good washing?
"I'm going to go talk to Cordelia," Buffy says. I jump slightly at her voice, but Angel doesn't
move. She squeezes my hand again and releases it, then heads for the stairs. Soon her footsteps
disappear, and my Sire and I are left alone.
It's too bloody quiet. At least Buffy's human body made noise that I could hear -- the blood
pumping through her veins, each breath she took, the squeak her shoes made as she shifted her
weight. Now, though, it's just too bloody quiet.
For the first time since I got caught, I could use a fag. It would give me something to do with my
hands and distract me from all this bleedin' silence. But since the blighters forced me into
quitting cold turkey -- it's hard to take a drag when you're being tortured -- I haven't smoked.
Hadn't even thought of it until now.
"I don't remember Hell."
The words came so far out of left field my mouth falls open in shock. Angel looks up towards
the ceiling, his hands closing into fists before falling loose again. "I know that I was raped and I
know that I was tortured, but only because of a few of the nightmares I had around the time The
First started playing mind games with me. Hell broke me, Spike. Hell broke me so badly that I
don't remember a single thing that happened between the time Buffy shoved a sword through
my gut and when I finally figured out who she was after I was tossed out."
He laughs hollowly. "I bet they let me go because it's no fun to torture someone who doesn't
have a fucking mind anymore."
Holy shit, Angel just swore.
He never swears. Never, ever, ever. Not even when I tore up his favorite velvet smoking jacket
with his initials hand-stitched on the lapel with gold thread. The little chit who sewed it then had
her mouth, nose and eyes sewed shut after she was through, which was quite amusing, if I
remember rightly. But even when he was a soulless wanker, my Sire never uttered a single
I'm still standing rooted to my spot, my mouth hanging open even wider because the toff just
swore, as he goes on. "It was The First that actually pushed me slightly over the edge of 'saintly'
into 'borderline psychotic,'" Angel says, looking up at the ceiling as if there were cue cards
tacked to the I-beams. "I'd finally gotten myself completely back from Angel the animalistic
vampire to Angel the soulful vampire, with only splotches of my memories missing from pre-Hell
life, when The First appeared."
"What happened?" I ask before I even know that I can speak again. Angel lowers his eyes and I
shudder at the chill that seeps into my skin. The haunted look has been replaced by almost gold
eyes and a cold mask of suppressed anger.
He's not going to hurt you, he's not going to hurt you, he's not going to hurt you...
"They fucked with my mind," Angel tells me with a low growl. "They vividly replayed every kill,
every sick game, and showed me every face of my victims with full and complete surround
sound interaction. They pointed out how I reveled in my twisted games and how it took an
equally twisted, evil mind to come up with the things I did."
I want to remind him that he didn't have his soul back then, but I don't say anything, and I
quickly am glad that I didn't.
"I tried to tell The First that it wasn't me that did those things but the demon that lives in this
hulking body with me." Angel chuckles humorlessly. "They reminded me that I was a useless
nothing when I was still human except for when I was playing tricks on the villagers. Some of
them they refreshed my memory about were as cruel as anything my demon can cook up,
proving that I was born into this unfair world to be evil."
"No," I protest, unable to keep silent any longer. I walk rapidly over to him and kneel down
beside him, sitting on my heels. "You're about as evil as a fluffy poodle with primped hair.
Well, except for that slip when you drained that bloke's heart, but no puppy is perfect."
He half-smiles at me, the yellow disappearing from his eyes, leaving them solid brown again. He
moves his hand up and cups my cheek lightly over the bandages, brushing his thumb over my
cheekbone. "I don't know what I would have done if you had really been dusted," he says
"Probably would of broke out the bubbly and thrown a party," I say.
"My sweet boy," Angel says, shaking his head slightly. "You are so very wrong."
I can feel the blood in my body rushing to my cheeks as I blush like a silly schoolgirl. "Er, right,"
I say. It's official, I'm beyond pitiful.
"I'm very sorry, William," Angel tells me quietly. "The last thing I ever want to do is hurt you."
"You didn't hurt me, mate," I say, dropping my chin slightly so I'm looking at the floor on the
other side of my Sire. "They did."
"Tell me," he says, his voice low and soft. His thumb brushes over my cheekbone again and,
before I knew what was happening, the words came spilling out.
"It was horrible, Sire. So bloody painful. I just wanted to fucking die. Even when you were
furious with me, your punishment didn't come close to what the sods did to me because at least
with you I knew that it would end. With them, all I could do was wish they'd cock up and I'd be
"They barely fed me, and when they did, the blood was usually drugged. They took all my
soddin' clothes away the second time they caught me an' never gave em back. When they
weren't runnin' their experiments on me, I was locked in this little room with bare walls and an
electrified glass door like a lab rat, which is what I was to them -- a bloody lab rat.
"An' the experiments, cor, Sire, they were...indescribable. They cut me and poked me and
hooked me up to all sorts of bloody machines. They took samples and readings and did tests.
"But what was worse was when they made me see you an' Dru together, or the Slayer staking
you both, or Dru sayin' she was there to take me out of there, only to laugh at me before
disappearin'," gasp, "or 'er wanting to see me wank off and me doin' it," gasp, "only for 'er to
vanish again an' the white lab coats were there observin' me instead," gasp, "or Dru tellin' me
she never loved me," gasp, "that I was a soddin' pitiful excuse for a demon," gasp, "an' a bad
substitute for you," gasp...
I'm crying -- again -- and am forced to suck in great gulps of air in order to speak. My heart is
being squeezed like a vice is around it. Everyone knows how much I loved Dru, it's not a secret.
I still love the bloody bitch even though I haven't seen her since she broke my heart for the last
time almost two years ago. If she saw me now, she'd definitely think of me with pity and scorn.
I think of myself with pity and scorn.
"An' they were always watchin' me," I continue. "Watchin' and writin' on their bloody
clipboards, even when they locked me back in the bleedin' cell," gasp, "an' I'd curl up in a
soddin' ball in the corner, they'd watch," gasp, "All those eyes borin' into me..."
A shudder rips through me as I feeling of eyes on me intensifies. Angel tightens his arms around
me, one of his hands continually running over my hair. I didn't even realize that we'd changed
positions, that I'm sitting sideways between his legs again, my head tucked up near his bruised
chin, a low purring rumbling softly in his chest.
"Please make it stop," I whisper, my voice choked with tears. "Please, Sire, I can't do this
"I know, my Childe," he says quietly, his hand still running over my hair in a soothing manner.
"I know, my beautiful boy. I'd do anything to take your pain away."
He falls silent, save for the soft rumbling deep in his chest, and just holds me. The "but" is left
hanging, although it's unnecessary for him to finish. I know that there's nothing he can do
except stake me.
I wish he would.
I'm sick and tired of crying all the bloody time, of the feeling of being watched, of the
nightmares, of the inability to do anything or go anywhere alone, of being fucking scared of my
own shadow. And now these Initiative gits found me again, throwing my world back into chaos.
I really wish he would stake me. I really do.